The Weekly Standard has it covered here...
The politics could have hardly been better: The Obama administration and other Democrats would not only have to defend an unpopular law, but they’d have to try explain that a mandate upheld because of the power of Congress to tax was not, in fact, a tax. Democrats tried unsuccessfully to make that case this weekend with White House chief of staff Jack Lew and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, among others, struggling to deflect the obvious implications of the Court’s decisions.
Those struggles may have ended yesterday morning when the Romney campaign announced that their candidate does not consider the mandate a tax. Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom appeared on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, where he agreed with the host’s assertion that Romney “believes that you should not call the penalty a tax.”
Fehrnstrom explained: “The governor disagreed with the ruling of the Court. He agreed with the dissent written by Justice Scalia, which very clearly stated that the mandate is not a tax.”
When you've got a way to hammer your opponent, to keep a major point down on your opponent, like the Supreme Court ruling that the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional unless it is a tax, and that the Democrats who rammed Obamacare through into law, also passed the largest tax increase on the American people in history, you do not, to use the parlance of some Democrats, take the boot off of their neck.
It's time for the Romney team to just punt Eric Fehrnstrom into the unemployment line.
Several Romney advisers and spokespersons had to go before the press after Fehrnstrom's gaffe to clarify and correct the Governor's position, with campaign advisor Andrea Saul turning the tables on the President and his supporters -
“The federal individual mandate in Obamacare is either a constitutional tax or an unconstitutional penalty. Governor Romney thinks it is an unconstitutional penalty. What is President Obama’s position?”
At Patterico, Patrick Frey drives home the lesson to the Romney campaign -
Never, ever say the word “penalty” without the word unconstitutional. It is an unconstitutional penalty. And always toss in the idea that the only way it could be constitutional is if it were a tax.
Romney had better play this better in the debates than his advisor did. Trouble is, no matter how well he plays it, his advisors have now given Obama a quote to use against him.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
UPDATE: I don’t believe the mandate is a tax. But the Supreme Court has said it’s a tax. If the President wants to pretend this is constitutional, he is going to have to deal with the fact that it’s only considered constitutional if it’s a tax.
This issue is that simple - but unfortunately pinheads in the media and knuckle heads whose next stop should be the unemployment line are not to focus on the fact that under the Commerce Clause, the individual mandate was ruled unconstitutional. Or that it was also ruled unconstitutional under the 'Necessary and Proper' clause. The only way, ruled the SCOTUS, that the mandate was constitutional is if it is a tax authorized by Congress under its authority to tax. Obama's own Solicitor General argued before the SCOTUS that this was a tax - so it is a tax.
Even Wolf Blitzer on CNN get's the point...
...'The Solicitor General tells the Supreme Court it is a tax - why can't you acknowledge it is in fact a tax', Blitzer asked the Chair of the Democrat National Committee, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Replied the DNC chair - 'Because it is a penalty'.
DWS is as dim as Eric Fehrnstrom - or is it the other way around?
Thankfully, according to a CNN poll, the majority of Americans aren't as dim as either the DNC Chair or Fehrnstrom - with nearly two thirds of Americans (63%) viewing the individual mandate as a tax, and only 39% agree with DWS, Fehrnstrom, and Barack Obama that it is a penalty.
Attorney General Eric Holder visits with the Washington Post and channels his 'inner-Obama' while claiming that the GOP investigation has nothing to do with gunrunning and the murder of Brian Terry - that it's all about MY positions and because 'I am a proxy' for President Obama...
The attorney general has long been a lightning rod for Republican lawmakers’ anger toward the Obama administration. But Holder said the debate over documents related to the gun operation, known as “Fast and Furious” — along with the National Rifle Association’s attempts to make it an electoral issue — have made matters worse.
“I’ve become a symbol of what they don’t like about the positions this Justice Department has taken,” he said. “I am also a proxy for the president in an election year. You have to be exceedingly naive to think that vote was about . . . documents.”
Despite the eagerness of the WaPo to rush to the aid of the President and Attorney General, Eric Holder's record of incompetence and actions do not fit the meme that he and the Post are trying to paint. Succeeding the equally incompetent Jamie Gorelick (9/11 and Fannie Mae) in the DoJ during the Clinton Administration, Holder was the primary driver behind the Clinton pardon's of Marc Rich and the FALN terrorists.
Since becoming the Attorney General under Barack Obama, the Holder DoJ, and his own actions, are the worst of any AG since John Mitchell. Given that Janet Reno is included in that - that's quite an accomplishment.
In addition to Holder's efforts to block and cover-up a DoJ program which walked thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels - which in turn resulted in hundreds (perhaps over a thousand) Mexican dead as well as a US Border Patrol Agent - all in the hope of ginning up a public relations case to promote new draconian gun control laws in the US, under Holder, the DoJ...
- Dropped pursuing the conviction of 2 members of the New Black Panther Party on voter intimidation charges - which resulted in the convictions being dropped...
- Massively politicized the DoJ by hiring exclusively hard left wing progressive attorney's across multiple divisions of the Department of Justice
- The Civil Rights Division of the DoJ has halted all investigations related to voter fraud
- The DoJ, with the President, and outside of Congressional authority has stopped enforcing major elements of Federal law including DOMA, and Immigration law.
- Has filed suit against U.S. States seeking to enforce / protect the integrity of their voting rolls via Voter ID legislation and purging the dead / non-U.S. citizens from voter registration lists.
- Has filed suit against U.S. States seeking to enforce state statutes to identify and protect the states from costs associated with illegal immigrants.
- Advocated the civilian trial of the 4 primary 9/11 defendants - and to provide these terrorists with the full rights and privileges of American citizens despite the fact that they are illegal enemy combatants with limited rights under the Geneva conventions.
All of this is before one looks at the actions of the Holder DoJ regarding Fast and Furious - which is, as I've stated before, like Watergate except with hundreds of dead bodies.
There is a stunning and unique blend of arrogance, incompetence, and dishonesty throughout much of the Obama Administration - which takes their marching orders (and attitude) from the top. The latest example of this comes from the current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, who brings all of those traits together when she tries to tell us that there has never been a loss of jobs because of EPA regulations.
ROLAND MARTIN: Some people will say that by pushing these various rules that it’s impacting jobs — that it’s taking jobs away. I always say that that becomes the Kryptonite for any conversation–that the moment you say, “Jobs will be lost,” people go, “Oh, no, then we can’t do it.” So how do you respond whenever that’s always the answer given, that measures EPA’s taking that’s taking away thousands and millions of jobs? I see the coal commercials on these Sunday morning news shows targeting the EPA.
LISA JACKSON: Well, they’re going after EPA but the facts don’t bear out the claims they’re making. First off, the EPA’s been around for 40 years. There hasn’t been one economic downturn or loss of jobs that’s ever, in this country, been blamed on the fact that we insist you don’t pollute our air, or that you don’t pollute our water — the fact that we have strong environmental laws and an EPA. So that’s number one, the facts aren’t there. Number two, we’re very mindful — because the president has asked us to be — that this nation is trying to grow jobs in this economy. One of the ways we believe you do that is set standards that are actually job creating. Our mercury and air-toxic standards create 41,000 short-term construction jobs — net positive for jobs — create thousands of longer-term jobs. What we’re doing is investing in our energy infrastructure here — removing arsenic, removing mercury, removing cadmium, removing lead — and at the same time, creating jobs. That’s actually how the environmental movement has developed, and there are millions of Americans who work in fields that are related to cleaner air and cleaner water.
This is Orwellian in its complete disregard to the truth or the facts - particularly around Jackson's use of EPA regulations to gut the domestic coal industry as part of the Administration's war on fossil fuels. Her promises regarding short term and long term jobs is as vapid as the President's claims of thousands of green jobs being created by his stimulus - with us subsequently finding that not only did we create far fewer jobs (dozens instead of thousands), but the average cost per job exceeded $9 million of taxpayer funds....and those are in the companies that haven't received millions from the U.S. taxpayer and subsequently failed.
Speaking of lost 'stimulus' funds, the U.S. taxpayer's loss on President Obama's takeover of 'Government Motors' (GM) is now hitting $35 billion as GM shares tumble.
General Motors(GM) shares fell to a fresh 2012 closing low of 19.57 on Monday. The stock hit 19 in mid-December, the lowest since the auto giant came public at $33 in November 2010 following its June 2009 bankruptcy.
Normally you might say, tough luck investors. But this is Government Motors. The Treasury still owns 26.5% of GM, or 500 million shares. Taxpayers are still out $26.4 billion in direct aid. Shares would have to hit $53 for the government to break even.
Those shares were worth about $9.8 billion as of Monday. That would leave taxpayers with a loss of $16.6 billion.
But that's not the full tally. Obama let GM keep $45 billion in past losses to offset future profits. Those are usually wiped out or slashed, along with debts, in bankruptcy. But the administration essentially gifted $45 billion in write-offs (book value $18 billion) to GM. So when GM earned a $7.6 billion profit in 2011 (more on that below), it paid no taxes.
Include that $18 billion gift, and taxpayers' true loss climbs to nearly $35 billion.
The French national audit office has placed the country on notice that it is entering the 'danger zone' given its economic challenges - particularly with the new Socialist government expanding government entitlements in the latest effort to spend one's way to surplus and economic recovery.
France faces major test as it enters ‘danger zone’ - Late on Monday the national audit office said the French budget deficit will overshoot by 6-10 billion euros ($7.56-12.6 billion) this year and by 33 billion euros in 2013. In order to bring the budget in-line with EU rules, Hollande is going to have to make difficult decisions on spending and taxes that could draw criticism from his own party and unions who supported the pro-growth message that saw him beat Nicolas Sarkozy to the presidency in May.
"The country is in the danger zone in terms of its economy and public finances. We cannot rule out the possibility of a debt spiral," Didier Migaud, head of the Court of Auditors said in a news conference reported by Reuters. "2013 is a crucial year. The budgetary equation is going to be very hard, much harder than expected due to the worsening of the economic picture."
Among the steps being considered by the French socialists to address their spending problem are efforts to increase tax / fee revenues by adding an annual license fee for computer screens and implementing 'fairness' - taxing those earning more than 1 million Euros per year at a 75% income tax rate.
It seems they haven't heard of either the Laffer Curve or the fact that when faced with oppressive taxation - the wealthy, the job creators, the businesses will just leave the country.
Speaking of debt - here's the latest advertisement from the RNC...'Unpatriotic Debt'
John Nolte, writing at Big Journalism on Breitbart.com, takes a well deserved clue-by-four to the increasingly insufferable Washington Post - highlighting their latest unethical shenanigans - this time coming from the WaPo's 'Fact Checker' - Glenn Kessler, who is apparently desperately trying to make up for his 'gaffe' awarding the false 'outsourcing' attack by Barack Obama on Mitt Romney - 4 pinochios' - the highest level of dishonesty.
Kessler now has gone after Mitt Romney in a particularly dishonest manner over Romney's attack on a promise made by the then candidate Barack Obama to lower the health insurance premiums of Americans if elected. Not only does Kessler, as documented by Nolte at the above link, give Barack Obama a free pass on his original statement, he then calls the Romney attacks on that original promise a lie because the 'President didn't mean what he said' about reducing health insurance premiums.
At least we can count on the NY Times to get some facts right - like when they report on classified U.S. Government programs and initiatives to aid and abet our enemies. But the WaPo? It has absolutely zero credibility left - particularly around their efforts to provide cover for Eric Holder and the senior officials behind Fast and Furious - and its cover-up.
Today in History
1775 – General George Washington takes command of the Continental Army, riding before the American troops gathered at Cambridge common in Massachusetts.
1863 – Confederate General Robert E. Lee makes his last attempt to break the Union defensive lines along Cemetery Ridge, sending 15,000 Confederate soldiers, primarily from General George Pickett’s division, on a frontal assault of the center of the Union lines after a prolonged artillery bombardment. Faced with withering fire from Union troops and artillery, only a few hundred Virginians reached the Union lines where they were overwhelmed. In less than one hour, 7,000 of the attacking Confederates were killed or wounded in Pickett’s Charge. The Union lines had held and the battle was a turning point in the Civil War.
1940 – British naval units engaged and destroy the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, an Algerian port, in order to prevent Germany from being able to use the French ships to augment their fleet. The mission was called Operation Catapult. The British sank 2 French battleships and severely damaged a third after the French refused an offer to sail their ships to French West Indies where they would be handed over to the neutral Americans.
1945 – The first civilian passenger car built since February 1942 was driven off the assembly line at the Ford Motor Company plant in Detroit, MI. Production had been diverted to military material due to World War II.
1954 – Food rationing, begun during the Second World War, ended in Great Britain.
1988 – The USS Vincennes, a Aegis class cruiser, shoots down an Iranian passenger jet that was mistaken for a hostile Iranian combat aircraft killing all 290 passengers and crew on board. Minutes before launching 2 missiles at the Iranian airliner, the Vincennes was engaged with Iranian gunboats that had fired on her helicopter.