In light of the fact that the powerful lobbying group for Israel, AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation league don’t have a problem with Chuck Hagel becoming SecDef. And even Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister approves of Hagel, conservative opposition is running out of pearls to clutch. So long to gumming up the nest Obama administration nominee Jacob Lew, as Treasury Secretary. But Lew has some heavy baggage, he is linked to that Obama dude, Treasury Nominee Jack Lew Linked to Barack Obama
President Obama has formally decided to nominate Jack Lew, his chief of staff, for Treasury secretary. Republicans are already complaining about Lew, reports Politico’s Manu Raju. Lew’s disqualification, according to numerous Republicans quoted in the story, is that he doesn’t agree with Republicans on public policy issues. The quotes are sort of amazing:
Johanns said it’s also about policy, saying a Lew choice would be “controversial.”
“I just think there are economic policies in this administration that haven’t been well received, and Jack Lew is in the middle of that,” he said.
“We’ve got to have a person who has credibility with the leaders of the American and world economy, someone who has credibility with the Congress, and I would feel like Mr. Lew’s nomination would be a mistake,” Sessions said.
Obama can’t have a Treasury secretary who agrees with Obama’s policy agenda!
The sudden gang-up on Lew is doubly amazing since, until approximately today, he was a figure of high repute within Washington. Lew’s image was that of sobriety and willingness to bargain. That was the thrust of a 2011 Washington Post profile of Lew (Republican Dave Camp quote: “You feel like you’re reaching him when you talk to him. I think he gets the art of the possible”). It was also the thrust of this 2011 Politico profile (Eric Cantor — yes, Eric Cantor! — quote: “He was always very polite and respectful in his tone and someone who I can tell is very committed to his principles”).
There is another SHOCKING reason that conservatives would oppose Lew. He is actually a numbers wonk. He knows math and economics and stuff like that, unlike Mr. PowerPoint Paul Ryan (R-WI) who passes for a knowledgeable wonk among conservatives who went eight years without paying the bills. Trusted Aide to Obama Faces Test in Budget Showdown
But Mr. Lew’s last go-round with Republicans, the debt ceiling talks in the summer of 2011, ended uncharacteristically badly. Mr. Lew, still the budget director at the time, irked Speaker John A. Boehner and his staff, who viewed him as an uncompromising know-it-all. Mr. Lew’s defenders call it an aberration.
“I think it’s because Jack knows the numbers, and they couldn’t pull a fast one,” said David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s chief political adviser.
As long as unemployment is over 4.5% we do not have a debt problem. Let’s say that we did, well Republicans built that. As to all the hand wringing over the debt ceiling and let’s teach those..cough..cough..undisciplined mad spending liberals a lesson; well no surprise it is more about the conservative agenda than genuine concerns about America’s fiscal well being. They raised the debt ceiling seven times from 2002 to 2008.
One of the strange things about opposition to Lew and Hagel is that while Lew is fairly progressive, both he and Hagel are to the Right of Sen. John Kerry. And there is very little opposition to Kerry as SecState.
Despite the concerted efforts by conservative media to convince the public other wise, Democrats and the White House have bought into austerity-lite and done more than Congressional Republicans or the last Republican President to reduce the deficit. This is from a very long new report from American Progress, The Deficit Reduction We Have Achieved So Far
So where does all this deficit reduction leave us? Since the start of fiscal year 2011, Congress and the president have cut about $1.5 trillion in programmatic spending, raised about $630 billion in new revenue, and generated about $300 billion in interest savings, for a combined total of more than $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction. The result is a substantial cut in how much publicly held debt the country is expected to hold 10 years from now. Instead of reaching nearly 93 percent of GDP, debt is now projected to total about 83 percent of GDP—fully 10 points lower. And while that won’t be enough to finally put the budget onto sustainable footing, it is a massive improvement. In fact, it’s about two-thirds of the way toward stabilizing the debt-to-GDP ratio.
It’s been a bumpy few fiscal years. But don’t let all the twists and turns obscure the simple fact that we actually have accomplished a significant amount of deficit reduction along the way. Three-quarters of that deficit reduction has been achieved through spending cuts totaling $1.8 trillion, with only one-quarter coming from revenue increases.
If Obama is building FEMA camps to imprison conservatives who don’t agree with him, he must be using his own money.
It’s generally assumed that the gun lobby and its many supporters in legislatures and the general public will never, ever support any restriction on the sale or possession of any gun under any circumstances. But I know how that could change. I realized what would bring about the change while reading this Victor Davis Hanson column — which isn’t about guns at all, and barely mentions them.
(Hanson)..Take former vice president Al Gore. He has made a fortune of nearly a billion dollars warning against global warming — supposedly shrinking glaciers, declining polar-bear populations, and the like — while simultaneously offering timely remedies from his own green corporations, all reminiscent of the methodology of Roman millionaire Marcus Licinius Crassus, who profited from fires and putting them out. Now Nobel laureate Gore has sold his interest in a failing cable-television station for about $100 million — and to the anti-American Al-Jazeera, which is owned by the fossil-fuel-rich royal family of Qatar. Gore rushed to close the deal before the first of the year to avoid the very capital-gains tax hikes that he has advocated for others less well off. That’s a liberal trifecta: enhancing a fossil-fuel consortium, attempting to beat tax hikes, and empowering an anti-American and anti-Semitic media conglomerate run by an authoritarian despot — all from a former vice president of the United States who crusades for ending our reliance on fossil fuels and for raising taxes on the wealthy….
Imagine if every fedora’d Brooklyn hipster packed heat. Imagine if this were also true of Hollywood celebrities. Imagine if the hip in Hollywood and elsewhere actually changed the gun market — demanding, and paying big bucks for, beautifully crafted, appallingly lethal “artisanal” guns. Imagine if these became the accoutrements no liberal wanted to be seen without — imagine if they showed up in every paparazzi photo ,and in every Vanity Fair portrait photo by Annie Leibovitz. Imagine if cheap knockoffs of those guns became all the rage among The Kids.
I’ll have to unpack this in pieces. Few liberals are advocating the complete ban of guns and those who might be will never get any traction. Sensible limits on the types of guns, magazine size etc. the gun fetishists always portray as the straw man liberal who wants to take away their guns, all of them. NMMNB is being a little facetious, but he might be on to something. Let’s have liberal gun giveaways – to the poor, those scary people of color and especially women. Let’s raise money to buy all liberals plenty of ammo, extended magazine clips, designer personal carry holsters and free flak vest for the kids. Let’s make it mandatory that everyone under 18 to wear a flak vest when out in public. That is certainly no more an onerous burden than putting an armed law enforcement officer on every corner and in every school, and it would be cheaper.
Unpacking the rest. I wish Gore had sold to a domestic buyer. Sometimes appearances matter, even when they’re appearances obscured by the xenophobia of two-faced weirdos like Victor Davis Hanson. No one of the Right should be lecturing anyone in foreign media when a rabid far Right conservative named Rupert Murdoch has so much influence, direct influence through media and personal contact with elected officials – on U.S. politics. The accusations of elitism and what individuals do with their money? Davis must be off his meds again. He just supported a guy who kept huge bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman islands, and directly outsourced jobs to Asia. This is the way it works in the never-ending hypocrisy the Right shovels out about anyone to the left of Eva Braun. When conservatives are wealthy, they are industrious captains of commerce. When Democrats are wealthy they are elitist. When Democrats make modest incomes they are Marxists, when conservatives have modest incomes they are the salt of the earth. That is not simply jaw dropping hypocrisy, that is the thinking of dangerous zealots who have an agenda mired in jack boots and delusions, not fidelity to small r republican principles. Conservatism is one big apparatus for the growth of plutocracy, yet they churn out shallow knee jerk column after column bemoaning America’s cultural decline. Are their low income and middle-class voters who support them. Sure there are. In the same way the plutocrats of the early 20th century convinced some Americans to use brick bats and guns against laborers who wanted to unionize. There will probably always be Americans who work against and vote against their own rational self interests and the best interests of the country in favor of voting for the wage slave plantation.