Redstate

PA-GOV: Fumo’s corruption creates opportunities for GOP

In March, I wrote about the GOP opportunities that follow from the conviction of South Philly machine Democratic State Senator Vincent Fumo. The recent news of Democratic corruption out of New Jersey (mayors, rabbis, and body-parts, oh my!) and the emerging consensus that this fundamentally damages Jon Corzine's already difficult re-election, when combined with outrage at farcically light sentencing creates real opportunities for Republicans.

Let's go over the facts and see how much this helps Pennsylvania Republicans in 2010:

1. Pat Meehan, one of the Republican candidates for Governor got the initial indictments against Fumo. Tom Corbett, the other one, has his own story to tell about indicting Fumo and his operation. If Chris Christie ends up winning in New Jersey, there will be a ready-made media narrative comparing New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

2. That narrative will be a little emphasized because southern New Jersey is almost entirely in the Philadelphia media market. It will be non-national political news relevant to both parts of the the Philly media market.

3. Corruption is the sort of thing that suppresses Democrat-leaning independent turnout in formerly Republican suburbs in Bucks and Montgomery countes, and, to a lesser extent, in Chester and Delaware counties. And the South Philly turnout operation that Fumo was so effective at selling is probably somewhat reduced in effectiveness. Democrats can't win statewide without huge margins out of southeast Pennsylvania. You couldn't build a better script for reducing those margins.

Grab the popcorn. This will be fun to watch.

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By Soren Dayton, ago
Redstate

Obama’s new rule: When the math doesn’t work, reject math and shoot the messenger

We now have a pattern on our hands. When the math behind Barack Obama's health care plans doesn't work, Obama attacks math. Now, he doesn't do it directly. He gets Peter Orzsag to debase his intellect for Obama's political ends. First, he did it with the IMF score. Then this week he pressured the CBO scorers early this week after their math provided defeat after defeat to his healthcare dreams. And then this weekend, Orzsag has attacked Doug Elmendorf, the CBO director.

Case 1: The IMF. At a G-20 meeting earlier this year, Barack Obama came away empty-handed. The only success was to send money to the IMF. $100b. This wasn't going to pass on its own, so they attached it to the Supplemental that paid for our troops. And claimed that $100b leaving the treasury costs nothing. According to the Politico, Orzsag had a totally unprecedented meeting with the OMB scorers putting political pressure on them to cook the books. Only a little comment at the time. Oh ... and no one bought Orzsag's nonsense, and the amount became a focus of attention as a bailout of European banks.

Case 2: CBO Whitehouse meeting. Earlier this week, the President meant with the Director of the CBO. According to Jake Tapper, there was a lot of pushback against the unprecedented nature of the meeting:

Said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky: "I noticed that the CBO director was sort of called down to the White House yesterday. It strikes me as somewhat akin as the owner of the team asking the umpires to come up to the owner's box."

McConnell said that "if the CBO is to have credibility, they're the umpire. They're not players in this game."

CBO is tasked with providing “objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget.”

Case 3: Keith Hennessey puts it nicely, "CBO Kills the President's Medicare Comission Proposal". You see, the CBO found that Obama's great plan to limit costs was to create a commission only saved $2b. One half of one percent of the total cost. So what happens? Orzsag goes after Elmendorff in all but name:

A final note is worth underscoring. As a former CBO director, I can attest that CBO is sometimes accused of a bias toward exaggerating costs and underestimating savings. Unfortunately, parts of today’s analysis from CBO could feed that perception. For example, and without specifying precisely how the various modifications would work, CBO somehow concluded that the council could "eventually achieve annual savings equal to several percent of Medicare spending...[which] would amount to tens of billions of dollars per year after 2019." Such savings are welcome (and rare!), but it is also the case that (for good reason) CBO has restricted itself to qualitative, not quantitative, analyses of long-term effects from legislative proposals.  In providing a quantitative estimate of long-term effects without any analytical basis for doing so, CBO seems to have overstepped.

What is going on is crystal clear. The CBO is not caving to extended political pressure. After weeks of Pelosi "scolding" and Baucus aides "expressing frustration" it has come to open attacks on the CBO, its director, and the institution's integrity.

Well. I have to say, finally Barack Obama is bringing change I can believe in. Chicago-style change.

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By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

ID-01: Not all McCain staffers hated Sarah Palin

Much has been written about the fights between Sarah Palin and John McCain's campaign staffers. Apparently not all of them.

Palin's mother-in-law and father-in-law both gave to Vaughn Ward, a candidate for the first district of Idaho.

Now, Vaughn would have had a lot of contact with Palin. He was the McCain state director in Nevada, a swing state where Palin spent a bunch of time. And Palin grew up in Idaho, so she might have seen a little bit of herself in him. Or maybe like her son. He is an Iraq vet and a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve.

This could also be a preview of what Sarah PAC looks like.

Just a thought.

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By Soren Dayton, ago
Redstate

Indiana budget in surplus

Most state budgets are in crisis. The Big Picture's Barry Ritholtz notes that state tax revenue has fallen sharply the last two quarters. The left wing Center for Budget and Policy Priorities notes that "[a]t least 48 states addressed or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for the upcoming year."

Not Indiana. Under Mitch Daniels' leadership the state reported a $1.3b surplus. The State Auditor Tim Berry noted that they even raised school funding:

Berry stood in front of charts Friday that show Indiana increased school funding, avoided a tax hike, and maintained a surplus of about 10%. [...]

"Measures that were taken early on by Governor Mitch Daniels to restrain spending have amounted for a large amount of these fiscal reserves," Berry said.

The Louisville paper notes that tax revenue was even down $1.2b below projections:

The state had $1.33 billion in its main checking account and reserves when the fiscal year ended June 30. That's roughly the same as one year ago, even though state taxes brought in $1.2 billion less than originally projected.

How's that for successful governance? No wonder there is a draft movement for Mitch Daniels for President.

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By Soren Dayton, ago
Redstate

Indiana budget in surplus

Most state budgets are in crisis. The Big Picture’s Barry Ritholtz notes that state tax revenue has fallen sharply the last two quarters. The left wing Center for Budget and Policy Priorities notes that “[a]t least 48 states addressed or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for the upcoming year.”

Not Indiana. Under Mitch Daniels’ leadership the state reported a $1.3b surplus. The State Auditor Tim Berry noted that they even raised school funding:

Berry stood in front of charts Friday that show Indiana increased school funding, avoided a tax hike, and maintained a surplus of about 10%. [...]

“Measures that were taken early on by Governor Mitch Daniels to restrain spending have amounted for a large amount of these fiscal reserves,” Berry said.

The Louisville paper notes that tax revenue was even down $1.2b below projections:

The state had $1.33 billion in its main checking account and reserves when the fiscal year ended June 30. That’s roughly the same as one year ago, even though state taxes brought in $1.2 billion less than originally projected.

How’s that for successful governance? No wonder there is a draft movement for Mitch Daniels for President.

(Crossposted from The Next Right)

By Soren Dayton, ago