By banning filibusters of most executive-branch and judicial nominations, the Democrats have done historic damage to the Senate. This will have long-term consequences for the nation, but the most significant initial fallout will likely be the confirmation of Rep. Mel Watt (D., N.C.) to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giantsFannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Since these two government-sponsored enterprises became insolvent in September 2008, FHFA has also been their conservator, with the power to control their operations and policies. Mr. Watt is a good man, but he is a man of the left, and he will use his control of Fannie and Freddie to return to the policies that brought on the mortgage meltdown in 2007 and the financial crisis in 2008.
Just before the crisis, 58% of all U.S. mortgages—32 million loans—were subprime or otherwise weak. Of these, 24 million, or 76%, were on the books of government agencies, primarily Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This shows incontrovertibly that the government itself was the source of the demand for these low-quality loans.
- There are 13 leaves on the left olive branch with 13 berries.
- 13 stripes on the middle shield.
- 13 arrows on the right.
- 13 stars above the eagles head.
- 13 letters in the "E Pluribus Unum" on the ribbon.
- 13 letters in Annuit Coeptis.
- There are 13 blocks top to bottom on the pyramid.
- Fritz Springmeir in his The 13 Bloodlines says these 13 blocks represent the 13 Satanic family’s.
Obama Discovers Too Late That Big Government Isn't Efficient
By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
Posted 12/12/2013 06:05 PM ET
In explaining the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare, President Obama told Chris Matthews he had discovered "we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly."
An interesting discovery to make after having consigned the vast universe of American medicine, one-sixth of the U.S. economy, to the tender mercies of the agency bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS.
Most people become aware of the hopeless inefficiency of sclerotic government by, oh, age 17 at the department of motor vehicles. Obama's late discovery is especially remarkable considering that he built his entire political philosophy on the rock of Big Government, on the fervent belief in the state as the very engine of collective action and the ultimate source of national greatness. (Indeed, of individual success as well, as in "If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.")
This blinding revelation of the ponderous incompetence of bureaucratic government came just a few weeks after Obama confessed that "what we're also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy."
Another light bulb goes off, this one three years after passing a law designed to force millions of Americans to shop for new health plans via the maze of untried, untested, insecure, unreliable online "exchanges."
This discovery joins a long list that includes Obama's rueful admission that there really are no shovel-ready jobs. That one came after having passed his monstrous $830 billion stimulus on the argument that the weakened economy would be "jump-started" by a massive infusion of shovel-ready jobs. Now known to be fictional.
Barack Obama is not just late to discover the most elementary workings of government. With alarming regularity, he professes obliviousness to the workings of his own government.
He claims, for example, to have known nothing about the IRS targeting scandal, the AP phone records scandal, the NSA tapping of Angela Merkel. And had not a clue that the centerpiece of his signature legislative achievement — the online ObamaCare "exchange," three years in the making — would fail catastrophically upon launch. Or that ObamaCare would cause millions of Americans to lose their private health plans.
Hence the odd spectacle of a president expressing surprise and disappointment in the federal government — as if he's not the one running it.
Hence the repeated no-one-is-more-upset-than-me posture upon deploring the nonfunctioning website, the IRS outrage, the AP intrusions and any number of scandals from which Obama tries to create safe distance by posing as an observer.
He gives the impression of a man on a West Wing tour trying out the desk in the Oval Office, only to be told that he is president of the United States.
The paradox of this presidency is that this most passive bystander president is at the same time the most ideologically ambitious in decades. The sweep and scope of his health care legislation alone are unprecedented. He's spent billions of tax money attempting to create, by fiat and ex nihil, a new green economy.
His (failed) cap-and-trade bill would have given him regulatory control of the energy economy. He wants universal pre-school and is unwavering in his commitment to slaying the dragon of economic inequality, which, like the poor, has always been with us.
Obama's discovery that government bureaucracies don't do things very well creates a breathtaking disconnect between his transformative ambitions and his detachment from the job itself. How does his Olympian vision co-exist with the lassitude of his actual governance, a passivity that verges on absenteeism?
What bridges that gap is rhetoric. Barack Obama is a master rhetorician. It's allowed him to move crowds, rise inexorably and twice win the most glittering prize of all. Rhetoric has changed his reality. For Obama, it can change the country's. Hope and change, after all, is a rhetorical device. Of the kind Obama has always imagined can move mountains.
That's why his reaction to the Obama-Care website's crash-on-takeoff is so telling. His remedy? A cross-country campaign-style speaking tour. As if rhetoric could repeal that reality.
Managing, governing, negotiating, cajoling, crafting legislation, forging compromise. For these — this stuff of governance — Obama has shown little aptitude and even less interest. Perhaps, as Valerie Jarrett has suggested, he is simply too easily bored to invest his greatness in such mundanity.
"I don't write code," said Obama in reaction to the website crash. Nor is he expected to. He is, however, expected to run an administration that can.
GOP Could Win House And Senate If Current Polls Hold Up
By MICHAEL BARONE
Posted 12/12/2013 06:05 PM ET
Michael BaroneDemocratic National Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says that ObamaCare will be a vote-winner for Democrats in 2014. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the same thing.
Perhaps they really believe that. But the numbers in polls conducted since Oct. 17, when the end of the government shutdown put the spotlight on the rollout of ObamaCare, tell a different story.
Democrats currently hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win a majority there.
This looks to be within reach. Seven Democratic-held seats are up in states carried by Mitt Romney. And four Democratic incumbents are seeking re-election in target states in the 2012 presidential election.
In three Romney states — Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota — Democratic incumbents are retiring. The likely Republican nominees, two current House members and a former governor, have been leading by wide margins.
These are not gimmes yet, but they probably will be.
Of the four incumbent Democrats running in Romney states, only one, Alaska's Mark Begich, has a statistically significant lead in the most recent public poll. But that poll was conducted in August.
A Republican poll last weekend in Arkansas found challenger Tom Cotton leading Mark Pryor 48-41. That's a significant difference from pre-Oct. 17 polling showing an even race — and that's bad news for an incumbent.
The latest Louisiana poll has incumbent Mary Landrieu at 41% in the state's all-candidate primary. That's well below the 48% she got in an August Democratic poll.
The most frequent polling in these races comes from North Carolina, where the Democratic firm PPP has matched incumbent Kay Hagan against several Republicans 12 times in the last year.
In the first 10 polls, Hagan led controversial state House Speaker Thom Tillis by an average of 48% to 38%. In two polls conducted since the ObamaCare rollout began, Hagan's lead was down to a perilous 44% to 42%.
Races have been tightening in 2012 target states too. Colorado Democrat Mark Udall led 2010 Republican nominee Ken Buck 50-35 last June. Post-rollout, his leads were 45-42 and 46-42. In 2012 Mitt Romney carried Colorado whites 54-44 but lost Hispanics 75-23.
Given Barack Obama's big post-rollout slide among Hispanics nationally, Udall may have difficulty matching Obama's Hispanic numbers.
Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley has been the favorite to replace retiring Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin. But a Republican December poll showed Braley with only 40% to 42% support and just 3 to 6 points ahead of five Republicans that have limited name recognition.
Pre-rollout polls showed New Hampshire incumbent Jeanne Shaheen with double-digit leads over state Republicans. But she led former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown by only 48-44, and Brown now seems interested in the race.
Obama carried Michigan 54-45 in 2012. But a Democratic poll this month shows Republican Terri Lynn Land leading Democrat Gary Peters 42-40. Neither is well known. But the Republican label seems surprisingly strong in a state where Republicans have won just one Senate race in the last 40 years.
So Republicans have plausible chances to gain as many as 11 seats. But there are countervailing factors.
Republicans nominated some astonishingly weak candidates in winnable races in 2010 and 2012, and Democrats hope they will do so again in Georgia, where Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, has been running roughly even with — or a bit ahead of — various Republicans.
And Democrats have hopes of depicting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a Washington insider and toppling him in Kentucky, despite the state's anti-Obama leanings.
That being said, National Journal's survey of Washington political insiders shows most Republicans and a near-majority of Democrats predicting a Republican Senate majority.
That's noteworthy, because these insiders, who spend so much time with incumbents, didn't predict party takeovers in 2006 and 2010 at this point in those election cycles.
The ObamaCare rollout has also shifted opinion on the generic vote — which party's candidate do you support for the House of Representatives?
When the shutdown ended, Democrats led 47-41 in Real Clear Politics' average of recent polls. Now, Republicans lead 44-41 on the question that has often underestimated actual GOP performance.
Analysts Stuart Rothenberg and Larry Sabato see more than 20 Democratic House seats at serious risk.
All this could change if public opinion on ObamaCare — or Obama — shifts once again. But it looks like recent obituaries of the Republican Party were premature.