Tags: Chris Dodd

Things to Be Reverse-Thankful for on Dodd-Frank’s Fourth Birthday


Madison Project’s Daniel Horowitz raises the corpse of the American economy to help ring in the the fourth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank law, a.k.a. the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a.k.a. the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010.

The years since President Obama signed Dodd-Frank have witnessed the most anemic post-recession recovery in the U.S.A. in the last 70 years. Regulation is economically depressive, but theories differ on how heavily regime uncertainty factored into prior economic recessions, and it is even less clear how much responsibility surging bureaucracy bears for our continuing stagnation. And anybody peddling the idea that Obama-era regulation has hamstrung Wall Street is unlikely to find a buyer’s market given the performance of the Dow since 2010. From a street-level view, the last four years appear to have been a decisive victory for the Northeast Corridor over the rest of America.

Still, I think Horowitz is correct in calling Dodd-Frank “the forgotten Leviathan of the Obama administration — one that is dragging down the economy just as much as Obamacare.” I also concur with Horowitz that Dodd-Frank has not received as much attention as Obamacare, though I don’t think the costs of either law are terribly well understood. Horowitz writes:

Here are some of the worst aspects:

  • Too Big to Fail: - Title I of the bill created a new permanent bailout regime, the Financial Stability Oversight Council.  This institution would vitiate the bankruptcy process and allow the government to take over any entity that it deems vital to the rest of the economy.  In other words, it consummates “too big to fail” as a permanent policy, the very policy this bill was supposed to fix.
  • Volcker Rule – The Volcker rule ostensibly prohibits regular banks from investing their own money by engaging in bond trading.  It also prohibits banks from holding more than a 3% stake in private equity funds.  Just this part of the bill is 300 pages long!  It will take hundreds of new Keynesian jobs just to enforce, interpret, and comply with the rule.
  • CFPB – The bill created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP), which will limit the choices of consumers in financial markets, making it harder and more expensive to obtain credit.  This unaccountable agency will operate autonomously within the Federal Reserve and will not be subjected to congressional appropriations or oversight.  It is essentially the “death panel” of the financial sector, with control over bank accounts, mortgages, and student loans.
  • Derivatives Trades – Some key restrictions on derivatives trades only apply to banks with assets above $10 billion.  This has created a perverse incentive for banks to limit their expansion, and by extension, creation of jobs, for the purpose of staying below the limit.
  • Debit Card Fees – The new limitations on bank charges for processing debit card submissions from retailers has caused an increase in user fees for customers, most notably, for opening checking accounts.  It has also prompted banks to eliminate debit card rewards programs.
  • Freddie/Fannie – Dodd-Frank did nothing to privatize or even reform these two behemoths that are responsible for the housing crisis and the recession.

It’s no wonder such an odious law was conceived by two of the most corrupt members of Congress – Barney Frank and Chris Dodd – who were largely responsible for the housing crisis and ensuing freezing of the credit market.  Sadly, three Republicans joined with Democrats to give opponents of free enterprise 60 votes in the Senate to pass the bill.  

The Republican Senate votes for Dodd-Frank were Maine’s Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, along with Scott Brown of Massachusetts.

Snowe retired from the Senate in 2013. Collins is expected to defeat Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows in November. Brown lost his Bay State Senate seat to Elizabeth Warren in 2012. He later changed his state of residence to New Hampshire and is seeking readmittance to the world’s greatest deliberative body in a November challenge to incumbent Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen. He is expected to lose

Tags: Chris Dodd , Barney Frank , Inflation , Financial Regulation , Banks , Great Recession

Barney Frank: The Community Reinvestment Act Was a ‘Republican Failure’


In today’s Wall Street Journal:

Asked who was to blame for the 2008 financial crisis and whether any bankers should have been prosecuted, Mrs. Bachmann and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich put the onus on the federal government, with Mr. Gingrich suggesting that former Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank, former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, should both be jailed.

“It was the federal government that pushed the subprime loans . . . that pushed the community reinvestment act,” said Mrs. Bachmann, citing what she considered the causes of the housing meltdown.

Mr. Frank released an emailed statement in response: “In fact, Chris Dodd and I were in the minority from 1995 until 2006, so Gingrich is blaming us for Republican failures.”

So panicked is the response from Congressman “I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing” Frank that he forgets that from May 2001 to the end of 2002, Democrats controlled the Senate and Dodd was the second-ranking Democrat on the committee after chairman Paul Sarbanes.

It is also revealing that Frank believes that Bush-administration assent to policies he supported means that the consequences of those policies are, ipso facto, “Republican failures.” As Peter Wallison lays out on the Journal’s op-ed page, you can blame Wall Street for reckless gambling on mortgage-backed securities all you want, but the risk of the mortgage-backed securities never takes off unless the federal government starts pushing lenders to lower their standards for worthy borrowers. Sure, the big-bank investors never should have gone dancing in the minefield, but the minefield was set up by federal policies that encouraged massive loans to “borrowers with blemished credit, or were loans with no or low down payments, no documentation, or required only interest payments.”

It is rather amazing that with laughably inaccurate defenses like this, Frank is still considered a significant voice in the Democratic party today.

Tags: Barney Frank , Chris Dodd , Michele Bachmann , Newt Gingrich

Okay, Menendez Is Absolutely Certain the Third Connecticut Democrat Won’t Drop Out of the Race


The NRSC chuckles at this

The allegations are considered extremely damaging for Blumenthal’s candidacy, but Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said that the Connecticut attorney general would remain in the race. “I am sure that he will continue to stay in the Senate race and we will continue to support him,” he told reporters at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

…because they remember this:

Q: “Does the DSCC still support Chris whole-heartedly in light of these new numbers, and do they surprise you?”

Menendez: “Are you serious? Chris Dodd is going to be re-elected. He’s a great senator.”

Tags: Chris Dodd , Richard Blumenthal , Robert Menendez

By This Standard, John Edwards Was a Fantastic Job Creator


Connecticut Republicans who aspire to the U.S. Senate, like Rob Simmons and Linda McMahon, are incredulous about the latest statement from Richard Blumenthal, the lawsuit-happy state attorney general who stepped in for Chris Dodd: “Our lawsuits, our legal actions actually create jobs because businesses actually welcome competition and a level playing field. What they really want is fair enforcement.”

Credit where it’s due; technically, when he sues someone, he creates a job for another attorney to represent his target.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

‘Mr. Ford, Senator Feingold on Line Two.’


Harold Ford Jr. may not be running for Senate, but he wants to make sure every New Yorker knows that the Democratic party bosses in that state stink:

WHEN it was reported two months ago that I was thinking seriously about running for the United States Senate from New York, Democratic Party insiders started their own campaign to bully me out of the race – just as they had done with Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Steve Israel and others.

But as I traveled around New York, I began to understand why the party bosses felt the need to use such heavy-handed tactics: They’re nervous. New Yorkers are clamoring for change. Our political system – so bogged down in partisan fighting – is sapping the morale of New Yorkers and preventing government at every level from fulfilling its duty.

The cruel twist, of course, is that the party bosses who tried to intimidate me so that I wouldn’t even think about running against Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who had been appointed to the seat by Gov. David A. Paterson, are the same people responsible for putting Democratic control of the Senate at risk.

I don’t know how much I agree with his assessment, but this line jumped out at me:

Yet the party has been too slow to change. The effects of its lack of flexibility have been clear in a series of worrisome political events: Ted Kennedy’s “safe” Senate seat was lost to a Republican; Evan Bayh of Indiana and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota announced they weren’t running for re-election; Senate seats held by Democrats in Wisconsin and Delaware now seem to be in jeopardy; New York’s state government faces even more controversy and challenge.

Good morning, Senator Feingold!

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Were Non-Texan Lefties More Enthused About the Perry-Hutchison Primary Than Righties?


From today’s Morning Jolt:

Everything’s Bigger in Texas

Today is primary day in Texas. The big show is the governor’s race, which may come down to a runoff between incumbent Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and . . . you know, the Truther. (She insisted afterward that she’s not a Truther, but when a candidate is asked, “Do you believe the government was any way involved with the bringing down of the World Trade Center on 9/11?”, the correct answer is ‘no.’)

Perry’s campaign is hitting “Kay Bailout” with a web ad calling her “Earmark Queen”, a parody of the Sweedish pop group ABBA’s 1976 “Dancing Queen,” which after a meaning left me yearning for the simple, old-fashioned values of the Demonsheep. It seems like KBH never really put together an ironclad argument about why Perry didn’t deserve another term, and the state seems to be doing pretty well, particularly compared to other large states like California, Michigan and New York, that seem abysmally mismanaged . . . The Democrats think they can knock Perry off in the general, but I’ll want to see some polls on that.

NR’s John J Miller noted, “For months, [Hutchison] has promised to resign her Senate seat, win or lose – she made the pledge over and over, including in her interview with me. So far, however, she hasn’t quit. Assuming she doesn’t pull an upset, a lot of establishment Republicans will urge her to break her promise, on the grounds that the GOP doesn’t need the problem of having to defend a Senate seat that won’t be up until 2012. (It wouldn’t be her first broken vow: In 2006, she ran for a third term in the Senate, despite saying that she would serve no more than two terms.) Yet conservatives may be happy to take a gamble in 2010, on the assumption that if Hutchison resigns, Perry would appoint someone like Michael Williams to replace her.”

Over at Patterico’s Pontifications, they noticed “The conservative backlash from Obama’s first year hasn’t helped the moderate-by-Texas-standards Hutchison as she’s dealt with unpopular issues like the Stimulus and bailouts . . . this probably doesn’t interest most people outside of Texas and there’s no reason it should, but now even Washington is treating Kay like the Rodney Dangerfield of politics. The House Press Gallery website has a “Casualty List” of retiring and deceased House and Senate members [at the link, click Casualty List in the left sidebar]. The Senate side includes this entry:

Hutchinson (R), TX

She’s been in Washington since 1993 and they can’t even spell her name.”

Despite the big names, there have been few glaring policy differences to turn this into a Toomey vs. Specter or Rubio vs. Crist style race that quickens the pulse, and the smash-mouth Texas campaign style hasn’t drawn in a ton of outside interest. As I noted three weeks ago, “For the better part of a year now, I’ve gotten daily e-mails from the campaigns of Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, each one laying out some new outrage perpetrated by the other. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the amount of hyperbole used in press releases.”

As always, if you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so. I’m flogging Chaka to ensure it arrives earlier.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

I Always Thought I Was a Happy Warrior


In the eyes of The Atlantic, I “hiss” and “fume.” I’ll try to keep the even-tempered tone of their most famous contributor on the Palin Fallopian Tube beat.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Arlen Specter’s Comeback? I Still Think He’s Toomed


I generally think of Quinnipiac as reliable, but this poll out this morning really surprises me:

Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter leads Democratic primary challenger, U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak 53 – 29 percent and has pushed ahead of Republican Pat Toomey 49 – 42 percent in a general election matchup, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today, up from a    44 – 44 percent tie December 18.  In a battle of the unknowns, Toomey leads Sestak 39 – 36 percent with 24 percent undecided.

President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in Pennsylvania remains below 50 percent, at 49 – 46 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.

Fewer than one in five Pennsylvanians think the federal government in Washington, or the state government in Harrisburg, does the right thing almost all or most of the time.

“Sen. Arlen Specter seems to be having a good winter politically. He is back ahead of Republican Pat Toomey after having been essentially tied with him since last summer, and there remains no evidence that his primary challenger, Congressman Joe Sestak, has made much progress as we get within three months of the May primary,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “Specter’s lead over Toomey is built upon a 52 – 36 percent margin among women voters, while Toomey has a small 49 – 46 percent lead among men, an indication that the gender gap remains alive and well.

A lot of other polls had Toomey up, quite a few showing him up comfortably.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Baron Hill, Earl Pomeroy . . . Tough Year for Guys With Names That Are Nobility Titles


You’re Earl Pomeroy. You’ve been representing North Dakota in the House of Representatives since 1993. It’s such a sparsely populated state that your district is the entire state. A Democratic senator who represents the same geographic territory, Byron Dorgan, suddenly retired, rather than face the electorate in November. The phenomenally popular governor, John Hoeven, will be running for Senate, and is expected to win by a landslide; he currently leads 71 percent to 17 percent. In other words, this November, in the toughest environment in many years, you can count on nothing from the top of the ticket.

You’re rumored to be a possible choice to be the next president of the American Council of Life Insurers, a nice cushy job heading up an interest group.

And now Nancy Pelosi wants you to vote for health care. You voted for it earlier, even though 64 percent of North Dakotans oppose the bill and only 30 percent support it.

You represent the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, and so you should be doing a bit better than your average Democrat. Yet you trail Rick Berg 46 percent to 40 percent, and 46 percent of respondents have a negative view of you. Then you turn on your television and see this:

That life insurance job has to look pretty good, no?

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Funny Thing About Those New Blue States, the Azure Washes Off Quick


Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling observes:

Barack Obama now has a negative approval rating in every state he flipped from the Bush column to his in 2008. In each of those places his level of support is now in the 44-46% range. It’s probably a good thing he doesn’t have to run for reelection this year. He can only hope things start turning around for him once the midterms are in the rear view mirror, much as they did for Bill Clinton.

Maybe he can sign welfare reform. Oh wait, Obama opposed that.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

It Has Been a Long Time Since Republicans Led in Michigan So Consistently


There’s a new gubernatorial poll out in Michigan, where seemingly several thousand are running for that office on both sides. The short version is, if you have an “R” after your name, you’re in the lead in a general-election matchup. The two leading Republicans are Rep. Pete Hoekstra with 27 percent and state attorney general Mike Cox with 21 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

The Name You Know, With an Exciting New Gender!


Here’s an interesting slogan, perhaps taking shape in Kansas’s 3rd congressional district: “Stephene Moore for Congress . . . because, you know, her husband Dennis Moore was in Congress for a long time.”

Usually when a wife runs for her husband’s seat, it’s because he’s died.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

None of These GOP Incumbents Expect a ‘Cornhusker Kick-to-the-Curb’


Today is also the filing deadline for federal office in Nebraska. Neither Senate seat is up this year, although obviously Ben Nelson is already sweating his reelection bid in 2012. There is a governor’s race this year, matching incumbent Republican Dave Heineman against . . . Mark Lakers, an Omaha investment banker and political unknown. Before you laugh, note that Nebraska Democrats are just happy to have somebody; his arrival “ended months of speculation about whether Democrats would field a candidate to challenge the GOP heavyweight.”

Give the Democrats credit; they have found challengers for all three House seats, and one them is sorta-kinda almost serious. In the 1st district, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry will take on either Jessica Lynn Turek or Stanley E. Krauter, and who knows, either one of them might get a campaign website someday. (UPDATE: Ivy Harper, an author and Hill staffer, is also running, but she’s not currently listed as a candidate with the secretary of state.)

In the 3rd district, Rebekah Davis qualifies as the most likely Democratic candidate, as she has actually raised money ($15,931); she’ll seek to unseat Rep. Adrian Smith. Money isn’t anything, but the GOP incumbent has raised roughly 28 times as much so far.

The 2nd district qualifies as a competitive race in this state; Obama actually carried the district and its electoral vote, 50 percent to 49 percent. In 2008, Republican Lee Terry won by 4 percent, and his most likely challenger has both experience in government and six-figure fund-raising, state senator Tom White. Terry has raised twice as much, and should still be favored in this R+6 district.

UPDATE: Perhaps I should emphasize that when I say Terry’s race will be relatively competitive, I mean really relatively. An Omaha reader weighs in:

The Nebraska Second is NOT a competitive race.  First of all, the Democrat brand is currently dead in Nebraska.  Thank you, Ben Nelson, thank you, Omaha mayor/cranky-old-man Jim Suttle, thank you Nancy Pelosi.  Second, Obama’s superb campaign organization won the NE-2 but was not able to carry their guy across the finish line.  As we have seen in races around the rest of the country, Obama’s organization was a one-hit-wonder.  Will it be around in 2012?  Maybe, but it won’t be operative in 2010.  Third, Lee Terry is a decent enough Congressman. Fourth, Tom White is [what Mr. Bumble called the law].  Nobody likes him in the legislature.  He is currently ticking off the local Democrats by trying to knock down a double taxation issue that is worth millions of dollars to Omaha.  He is also one of the lead idiots in the Safe Haven law that made Nebraska the laughingstock of the nation.  I happen to agree with him on the double taxation issue, but I think the issue is technical enough that it won’t help him with most Independents.  I think Lee Terry wins by 10 this year.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Will This Be a Tough Year to Be a Mississippi Democrat?


Today is the filing deadline for federal candidates in Mississippi. Neither Senate seat is up, and it may surprise you to learn that three of the four U.S. House seats are currently held by Democrats.

In the 1st district, Democrat Travis Childers managed to win 54 percent of the vote in a district where John McCain won 62 percent. He’s not quite a freshman Democrat; he won a May 2008 special election before winning a full term in November. He’ll face either Angela McGlowan, well known for her appearances on Fox News, or state senator Alan Nunnelee, who is showing healthy fund-raising, or lawyer Henry Ross.

In the 2nd district, Democrat Bennie Thompson is in his eighth term, representing a district where 65 percent of registered voters are African-American. Republican Richard Cook faces an uphill climb in a district where Obama carried 66 percent of the vote; another Republican with the perfectly cinematic name of George Bailey is running. (Perhaps he should be running for the seat that represents Bedford Falls, Pa.)

In the 3rd district, Republican Gregg Harper will face Democrat Joel Gill, who ran against Harper in 2008 and won 37 percent of the vote.

In the 4th district, Democrat Gene Taylor is in his tenth term, and cruised with 75 percent of the vote in 2008, even while McCain was winning 67 percent of the vote. He’ll face either state representative Steven Palazzo or executive Joe Tegerdine.

For obvious reasons, the 1st district seat looks most competitive, but Taylor also seems like the type who has to be careful about appearing out of step with his district; he was the first Democrat to call on Charlie Rangel to step down as chair of the Ways and Means Committee. He’s only raised $238,949 so far, which seems a little low for a longtime incumbent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

More Menacing Than a Jabberwocky


Chuck DeVore, GOP senatorial candidate from California, is sponsoring a “Demon Sheep hunt” fundraiser, jumping off the infamous Carly Fiorina web ad.

Tragically, I understand three donors have been already eaten this morning. Rough prey, that Demonsheep.

The Demonsheep, emerging from behind a tree.

You don’t hunt the Demonsheep; it hunts you!

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Reactions to Primary Challengers Aren’t Always So Predictable


MSNBC’s First Read:

While Arkansas isn’t Pennsylvania — where Joe Sestak’s primary has pushed Arlen Specter to the left — [Bill] Halter’s challenge probably ensures that [Blanche] Lincoln ends up voting for reconciliation, assuming that Lincoln wants to remain in the Senate.

Why do folks now see Lincoln as a certain “yes” on Obamacare? Sure, a “no” hurts her in the primary, but a “yes” dooms her in the general. Put another way, she’s near-certain to be looking for a new job to start in January 2011, any way she votes . . .

Over in the House, the cap-and-trade vote appears to have helped trigger a primary challenger to Rep. Allan Mollohan of West Virginia:

[Mike] Oliverio agrees with [Gov. Joe] Manchin that coal will be the deciding issue in this year’s election. Oliverio noted that while Mollohan voted against “cap and trade” climate control legislation, he indicated his opposition only in the last hours before the vote.

“Instead of a member of Congress waiting to the last hour, what West Virginia needs is a leader a fighter on an issue that is important to the state,” Oliverio said. “Think of the jobs, tax revenues and low cost energy it provides.”

Anyone want to bet on Mollohan voting further to the left between now and November?

The West Virginia primary is May 11.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

‘The [Charlie] Rangel scandal is starting to register with the public.’


Hmmm. Peter Beinart reports:

A Democratic source says party pollsters are picking up rumblings that the [Charlie] Rangel scandal is starting to register with the public. If Pelosi and the White House wait until the ethics committee hands down its final verdict, it may be too late.

Congressional job approval is averaging 14.3 percent. How can these party pollsters isolate the anger at Rangel?

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Obamacare Opponents Do Not Want to Deal With This


Apparently Rep. Nathan Deal (R., Ga.) thinks he can help his gubernatorial campaign by being known as “the House Republican who helped pass Obamacare.” If he resigns, as rumored, the Democrats will only need 216* for a majority.

Moments ago, he made it official:

U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) said Monday morning he will resign from Congress to “devote my full energies to the campaign for governor.”

Deal is one of seven Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for governor. He will resign from the U.S. House on March 8.

Deal, whose departure apparently voids a U.S. House ethics investigation into his business dealing with the state, announced his resignation at the Gainesville Civic Center before a crowd of about 100 supporters, who applauded his remarks.

It’s been noted that this resignation cancels an impending House Ethics Committee investigation. Somehow, I doubt this sudden announcement will put that issue to rest.

UPDATE: Lest you had any thoughts of the GOP losing this seat, Deal represented an R+28 district, where John McCain carried 75 percent of the vote in 2008.

ANOTHER UPDATE: There are 435 members, with vacancies in the seats formerly occupied by Robert Wexler of Florida, John Murtha of Pennsylvania, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, and now Deal. So when Deal officially resigns, there will be 431 seats, and a majority would be 216 seats, not 217 as I originally wrote.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

A Primary Against Lincoln Is Threatening the Already-Doomed


Some lefty blogs are somewhat enthused about Arkansas’s lieutenant governor, Bill Halter, a Democrat, challenging Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary. It appears he’s aiming to challenge her from the left: “I cannot stand by while jobs are shipped overseas, seniors are pushed to the brink and big banks and insurance companies get bailed out while Arkansans are left to pay for a mess we didn’t create.”

But it’s not clear how much this would improve the outlook for Democrats; a threat to beat someone in a primary is not all that menacing to a candidate who already looks like toast in the general election.

Beyond that, it’s not clear how much room there is to Lincoln’s left among Arkansas Democrats. Yes, Lincoln’s approval is only at 51 percent among self-identified liberals, according to Public Policy Polling, but it’s lower among moderates (38 percent) and conservatives (10 percent). Comparatively speaking, it’s the liberals who like her. And even if Halter beats her, in general election match-ups, he performs even worse than Lincoln does, no matter who the Republican nominee is.

When 63 percent of Arkansas voters disapprove of congressional Democrats in general, their nominee will be in trouble, no matter who it is.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Democrat With No Chance of Losing Her Seat Urges Others to Sacrifice Their Seats


I just sent off the first Morning Jolt in about two weeks to the editing desk. A preview — subscribe if you haven’t!

End Her Time as Speaker, She’s Cool With It

The gauntlet is down: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers, a call to arms that underscores the issue’s massive role in this election year . . . ”We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress,” she said. “We’re here to do the job for the American people.”

Easy for her to say; she represents a district where not only did Barack Obama carry 85 percent of the vote . . . but John Kerry carried 85 percent of the vote. The last time she was held to less than 80 percent of the vote was 1990. For her, risk to her seat is an entirely theoretical concept; she is one of the few Americans with job security, who will keep collecting her current salary and benefits until she voluntarily retires or dies. I wonder if she’ll have the audacity to say, “I know where you’re coming from,” in her conversations with Blue Dogs, red-district Democrats, or other nervous members of her party.

The Lonely Conservative summarizes: “Pelosi to the Lemmings: Follow Me Off the Cliff.”

At Hot Air, Cassy Fiano is unimpressed: “While Nancy Pelosi might be trying to appear noble by sacrificing her career for the admirable goal of passing sweeping health care reform, it’s a shallow and feeble attempt. She claims that they’re there to “do the job for the American people” . . . but that isn’t what Democrats are doing, and their job in Congress is not to just run wild on a crazy spree of spending and power-usurping. Too many politicians — both Democrat and Republican — have forgotten that they are not royals who get to make decisions with no repercussions based solely on what they want, and screw what the little people think. Politicians are supposed to be public servants. They’re supposed to be representing the interests of their constituents, and that clearly isn’t what they’re doing here with Obamacare. They aren’t trying to reform health care into a European socialist system for the good of their constituents. They know darn well that their constituents want nothing to do with Obamacare, yet Pelosi is trying to get her Democrats to soldier on anyways. And she’s not trying to do it for the good of the American people, no matter how noble she may try to sound. They’re doing it because they want to, because they get to be exempt, because it gives Washington more power, and because they are radical socialist liberals.”

Left Coast Rebel: “Now mind you, I am naive perhaps because my first assumption when reading this headline was that Nasty Pelosi suddenly had (the first) honest moment in her career. She was admitting that Obamacare would cost American jobs – as it will, millions, in fact. Of course I was wrong, though. Pelosi was actually making a reference to the jobs of Democratic members of Congress.”

Dennis the Peasant chuckles, “Nice of her to underscore the fact that for a sizable number of Congressional Democrats, the combined leadership of Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are only asking for a short walk off a very tall cliff. Now that’s how you rally the troops!“

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review