Tag Archives: midterm elections

Europe had intense interest in the US midterms…here are some reactions

The American midterm elections attracted intense interest in Europe, where much of the political and media establishment are hostile to U.S. President Donald J. Trump, and many had openly hoped that the vote on November 6 would weaken him and his legislative agenda.

Newspapers and magazines across Europe provided saturation coverage of the elections. The overwhelming majority of commentaries and editorials, while customarily vitriolic in tone, grudgingly acknowledged that the midterm results did not amount to the total repudiation of the Trump Administration and may even help the president’s chances for reelection in November 2020.

  • “Many commentators around the world have looked at the US election results as a chicken looks at a knife: not knowing exactly what to do with it…. It is now proven that Donald Trump’s election was not an accident. The victory in the Senate, even if anticipated, shows for the first time in a great democracy that a populist can keep power after having begun to exercise it.” — Les Échos.
  • “…Trump is expected significantly to increase pressure on Europeans to invest the target of two percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. Above all, Berlin will face pressure to spend billions and billions of euros, because the federal government is far from achieving this goal.” — Die Welt.
  • “Many in the country had hoped that the first full electoral verdict on the presidency of Donald Trump would deliver a decisive repudiation of Trumpism. The results do not bear this out.” — Irish Times.

In terms of transatlantic relations, many observers raised fears that if the Democrats, who won control of the House of Representatives, succeed in thwarting Trump’s domestic initiatives, the president may place more focus on foreign policy and increase pressure on free-riding European allies to spend more for their own defense.

In Britain, the BBC, in an article entitled, “Midterm Election Results: What it all Means for Trump,” wrote:

“Even handing over power to Democrats in the House of Representatives may have a bit of a silver lining for the president. Now he’ll have someone to blame if the economy takes a turn for the worse (and, given business cycle realities, it might). He’s got a ready-made explanation for why he can’t get anything done in the next two years — and a pitch for what needs to change in the next election.

“Day in and day out, he’ll have a set of clear political opponents to contrast himself with.

“Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama lost control of the House in their first term in office and went on to win re-election.”

The left-leaning Guardian, in an article, “Don’t be Fooled. The Midterms Were Not a Bad Night for Trump,” agreed:

“While there was a Democratic ‘blue wave,’ it was modest, in line with usual midterm shifts, particularly when one party is in charge of all the branches of government. Trump will celebrate this as a victory, which is not without merit.

Another Guardian article, “Democratic Presidential Frontrunner for 2020 Fails to Emerge from Midterms,” observed:

“As many as two dozen Democrats are said to be seriously considering running for president. The sprawling field spans the ideological spectrum of the left and is distinguished by gender, race and age….

“The major fault line is between those who believe the party’s next presidential nominee should be unapologetically liberal who can boost turnout among progressives, minorities, young people and other base voters, and those who believe the party should nominate a candidate who can chart a more moderate course that appeals to independent and undecided voters in battleground states.”

In an opinion essay, Guardian commentator Jonathan Freedland wrote:

“While Democrats in the House can launch investigations, Republicans in the Senate can keep appointing judges. Trump retains the power to put a third justice on the supreme court, as well as packing lower benches with reliable conservatives who will be in place — making decisive rulings on civil rights and the like — for the next 40 years. That could prove Trump’s most lasting legacy.

The left-leaning Independent, in an article entitled, “What Does the Democrats’ Win in the House of Representatives Mean for US Politics?” wrote:

“The Democrats may be in a stronger position than they have been in Congress for eight years, but without majorities in both congressional houses they will still struggle to block many of the Trump administration’s political moves….

“Donald Trump has already registered his 2020 campaign slogan as ‘Keep America Great.’….

“Most presidents who lose one or even both houses in their first midterms go on to re-election — including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.”

The center-right Evening Standard, in an opinion essay, “Midterms Show It’s Going to Take a Lot More to Topple Donald Trump,” wrote:

“There is a difference between an electoral scolding and a tornado of public fury. Even the most partisan opponent of the President would be hard pushed to describe these elections as transformational in character….

“Trump was indeed chastised by the US electorate: but scarcely to the extent that he might have feared, and many hoped. The resilience of his political base and the strength of the US economy — which has recorded growth near or above three percent in five of the seven quarters since he took office — saw him through: bruised but still standing.

“What will it take to topple this man? A lot more than the Democrats have yet mustered.”

In another Evening Standard commentary, “Moral Rage Alone Won’t Win Power,” essayist Ayesha Hazarika observed:

“The big lesson for the Left is that while liberal disgust at Trump was a powerful driver, it isn’t enough…. This is a battle of ideas, who we are and what we believe. Even if you loathe Trump and the Republicans, you know their script. Low taxes, low regulation, jobs, borders, traditional values and guns. Make America Great Again. Not one political geek in the room knew what the core positive Democrat message was, or if one even existed.”

In France, the center-right Le Figaro, the country’s oldest national daily, in an article entitled, “Trump in a Strong Position for 2020,” wrote:

“The Trump Fortress is besieged but its ramparts are solid. By depriving it of its majority in the House of Representatives, but strengthening it in the Senate, Tuesday’s elections normalized a presidency that the Democrats hoped to disqualify as a historical anomaly….

“Although his ability to govern is going to be seriously undermined, the president feels he is in a good position to be re-elected in two years. His fiercest opponents, who dreamed of having his rhetoric and nationalism disqualified at the ballot box, have ended up with a president who has become ‘normal’ in two elections, firmly established at the head of his party and ready to fight in 2020.”

The Journal du Dimanche, in an article entitled, “Donald Trump Lost Midterms, Not the Presidential Election of 2020,” wrote:

“For the next two years, Donald Trump will rule the country with a Democratic House of Representatives, which will be able to block his reforms and launch investigations into his affairs. As he has shown several times since his campaign in 2016, the billionaire is never as formidable as when he is attacked.

“While he has run his political program for two years, he could use the Democratic opposition to tighten even more his base around him: nothing like a common and identified adversary.”

France’s leading business newspaper, Les Échos, in a commentary, “Trump, Beaten but Still Standing,” observed:

“Many commentators around the world have looked at the US election results as a chicken looks at a knife: not knowing exactly what to do with it….

“In fact, Donald Trump never stopped proposing a referendum on his personality and style. His bet is partly won: it is now proven that his election was not an accident. The victory in the Senate, even if anticipated, shows for the first time in a great democracy that a populist can keep power after having begun to exercise it.

“The battle will now rage in Washington on the assumption of a second term of Donald Trump in 2020. But what lessons can be learned from the vote for the rest of the world and Europe? The choice by voters for someone with a big ego as a remedy for the supposed powerlessness of ‘traditional’ leaders is not a parenthesis. On the Old Continent, and particularly in France, where opposition parties are weak, the political and economic elites must realize this.”

In Germany, the center-right Die Welt, in an article entitled, “For the Europeans, Everything Could Now Get Worse,” lamented that Trump might increase the pressure on Europeans to spend more on defense:

“The mood between the US and the EU is likely to worsen further. Put simply, Trump is expected significantly to increase pressure on Europeans to invest the target of two percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. Above all, Berlin will face pressure to spend billions and billions of euros, because the federal government is far from achieving this goal.”

In an analysis for the left-leaning Die Zeit, columnist Martin Klingst wrote:

“From a German perspective, the result of these midterms is unclear: Donald Trump’s Republicans lose the majority in the House of Representatives, but expand their majority in the Senate. And even the elections of governors in more than 30 American states are not as devastating for Republicans as expected. Why, one wonders, have voters not punished the unpopular Trump and his party far more severely?

“The answer is simple: Because this election took place not in Germany, but in America, which, by reestablishing a balance of power in Congress, returned to political normality on November 6, despite and because of Trump….

“These midterm elections have also shown: Donald Trump remains an unpredictable and strong opponent for the Democrats. It will not be easy for them to take the president out of office in two years. Almost everywhere Trump fought in this Republican campaign, his supporters have won. By contrast, his party critics have lost.”

The Frankfurter Rundschau, in, “Trump Will Exploit the Weaknesses of the Democrats,” wrote:

“The Democrats have a chance in the presidential elections in 2020 only if they prove their own political ability, drive a coordinated course and advertise with charismatic minds for a change. Currently, the party lacks all three conditions. Trump will exploit this weakness. He will flatter power-hungry faction leader Nancy Pelosi today and demonize her tomorrow. He will lure the Democrats with poisoned offers and defame them as blockers if they refuse.”

Germany’s leading business newspaper, Handelsblatt, in an article, “The Success of the Democrats Will Not Slow Down Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy,” wrote:

“Seldom before has the world followed the congressional elections in the USA with such interest. Above all, people from outside the country wanted to know one thing: Is US President Donald Trump a unique industrial accident in American history or a message for a permanent change of course for the world power? The midterm elections have given no clear answer — at least nothing definitive.

“Although Trump is politically weakened by the victory of the Democrats in the House of Representatives … for the rest of the world hardly anything changes.

“The Democrats share Trump’s protectionist instincts and will particularly support Trump’s aggressive course on China. Even Europe cannot hope for support from the now-Democratic-dominated House of Representatives in the fight against Trump’s punitive tariffs. Trump has enough leeway to tighten his ‘America First’ policy, for example with duties on automobiles….

“Apart from trade, the House has little say in America’s foreign policy….

“In general, Germany must be ready to remain the target of American foreign policy. When it comes to moving
Berlin towards higher defense spending, Democrats and Republicans may not use the same approach, but both
agree on the point.”

In Ireland, the Irish Times, in an article, “Donald Trump Likely to be Vindicated by Midterm Results,” wrote:

“Many in the country had hoped that the first full electoral verdict on the presidency of Donald Trump would deliver a decisive repudiation of Trumpism. The results do not bear this out.

“If anything, Donald Trump is likely to be vindicated by the results. In recent weeks he has been criticized by many, including members of his own party, for not focusing on the strong economy in the run-up to the election and instead focusing on immigration. The better-than-expected performance of Republicans seem to suggest that his strategy worked.

“Trump will also argue that his decision to focus on the Senate and not the House races proves that he still has the political instincts that helped win him the White House in 2016. Ultimately the three states he visited on his last day of campaigning on Monday — Ohio, Indiana and Missouri — all delivered Republican victories. Trump’s final tweet of the day on Tuesday seems to suggest that the President is pleasantly relieved at the results of the midterms. ‘Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!'”

In Italy, Corriere della Sera, the country’s largest-circulation newspaper, in an opinion article entitled, “United States: Signs of a Split Country,” observed:

“One thing is certain: Trump is not an anomaly destined to be quickly forgotten. The anti-system wave that carried him to the White House was not a quirk of history; it is one of the signs of our time. In some respects, his electoral result in 2018 is more solid than that of 2016. Then it was outsider’s luck; now it is the substantial estate of a leader who became head of the Republican Party.”

The Milan-based Il Giornale, in an opinion essay, “America Hostage to Minorities,” observed:

“Do not be deceived by the headlines of some newspapers. It is true that Donald Trump lost the House, while consolidating his majority in the Senate. It is not true, however, that the Democrats have swept back America. Quite the opposite. There was no blue wave against the tycoon. The Democrats absolutely have not found the person who can defeat Trump at the next election. Instead they risk becoming increasingly hostage to minorities. In fact, it will be very difficult for the party to find a programmatic synthesis to unite all of the extremely different interests. The Democrats have not yet found the new Barack Obama.”

Italy’s leading business newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, in an analysis entitled, “A Second Term for Trump is No Longer an Impossible Event,” wrote:

“If these mid-term elections were to be — as they were — a referendum on Donald Trump, the result is not the condemnation that many in America and especially in the rest of the world were hoping for….

“In a sense, today the Republican party is even more his own than it was yesterday. And this increases the possibility that a second term in two years is no longer an impossible eventuality. It would have been if the Republicans had lost the majority in the Senate.

“The results of the midterm election will allow him to reshape his court in the White House, as Louis XIV did in Versailles. For each presidency the midterm elections are an opportunity to make changes to the presidential team.

“Before the midterms, half of Democratic voters considered Republican voters to be enemies, and vice versa. From now on it will be more difficult to return to a bipartisan policy that everyone claims and no one practices: the head-on collision will continue until the great presidential battle of 2020.”

In The Netherlands, the country’s newspaper of record, NRC Handelsblad, in an analysis, “The Trump Era is Far from Over,” stated:

“The big question for friend and foe of the United States is whether the election results point to a weakening or strengthening of Trumpism… Foreign countries would do well not to cheer too soon. Because it is not at all said and done that the end of the Trump era is nigh. This applies to countries that have difficulty with Trump’s approach, such as Iran. That is true, conversely, also for countries that benefit from his policies, such as Israel….

“It is also not obvious that the ‘America First’ president will suddenly adopt radically different positions. His aversion to alliances like the European Union is deep. The idea that freeloaders are taking advantage of the US is not just an opinion, but a conviction Trump has cherished for years. It therefore remains very logical that he will continue to put the European NATO partners under pressure to increase their defense spending…. US presidents tend to respond to mid-term losses with changes in domestic policy but continue to pursue the already set course in foreign policy with extra energy.

“Trump has great freedom of movement in trade policy. The rest of the world has already experienced this during the last two years. Should Trump direct more political energy to trade policy, then that will be especially detrimental to China, which incidentally has dug its heels in the sand. No one benefits from a large-scale and long-term American-Chinese conflict: it is detrimental to the entire world economy. Beijing can expect little from a Democratic House of Representatives: many Democrats are also critical of China.

“A bright point is that a Democratic House of Representatives attaches more value to good relations with the EU. Europe could therefore be spared, perhaps in the form of a trade agreement.

“Canada and Mexico, in renegotiating the NAFTA treaty, agreed to an American ban on concluding treaties with ‘non-market economies’ (read: China). Japan is also being pressured by the Americans to accept these new clauses.

“The question is whether Europeans should be deprived of this sovereignty. Probable answer: no. Whether this will lead to a new impetus in European-Chinese trade relations is the question. Distrust in increasing Chinese investment in EU countries is growing in Brussels. This is how Europe stays between the two fires of the ruling and the emerging world power.”


[From an article published by THE GATESTONE INSTITUTE]




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis





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The “scorched earth meltdown” of Democrats continues…

Just when you think you’ve seen the ultimate meltdown from a Democrat, there’s always more. Their ‘terrorist’ and ‘ISIS’ vitriol toward those who rejected them gets uglier and uglier. This frenzy to cast fellow Americans as dangerous terrorists because you disagree with them politically is beyond any normal or acceptable political discourse.


The hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh was an utter debacle for the Democrats. However, it did provide an opportunity for reassessing their view of the world and their attitude about the American people. The Democrats clearly chose not to reassess anything and are now doubling down on hate.

The new narrative from Democrats and their enablers is the insane insistence that President Donald Trump is responsible for the horrible Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. Democrats are now showing us they are truly desperate people who seek to use every human crisis as a political opportunity.

Mr. Trump is a politician and has terrific people surrounding him. He has shown us for over two years now that he can handle the slings and arrows of the dying Democrat establishment. But the more troubling and sinister messaging has emerged against voters who chose freely in 2016 not to support the status quo any longer.

In the aftermath of the synagogue massacre, two people fanatically opposed to the president have gone on national television and compared the president and his voters, in one case, to the Islamic State terrorist group (also known as ISIS) and, in the other, accused the president and his supporters of having “blood on their hands.”

On Monday at CNN, just two days after the synagogue horror, GQ columnist Julia Ioffe made headlines. During a debate segment she said, “I think this president, one of the things that he really launched his presidential run on is talking about Islamic radicalization. And this president has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did.”

David Urban, a Trump supporter and another guest on the panel, confronted her on-air for the remark. After Jake Tapper declined to push back on the claim, Ms. Ioffe doubled-down on comparing supporters of the president to the blood-thirsty terrorists, “ISIS had like 10,000 members. I think the president has far more supporters who espouse an equally hateful ideology,” Ms. Ioffe retorted.

In the aftermath, outrage at the remark grew, and Ms. Ioffe apologized in a non-apology sort of way by explaining it was “hyperbole” fueled by our “emotional and painful time.”

Newsflash for Ms. Ioffe: That massacre was and is emotional and painful for all of us. This was not a poor choice of words, a mistake we all can make. This was an accusation, which she reinforced even after being confronted about it in real time.

Within two days of the mass murder, Steve Schmidt, chairman of the John McCain 2008 campaign and himself a hater of Mr. Trump, went on MSNBC to discuss the massacre, but instead used the horror to unleash a screed against those whom he despises. He declared the president and others “had blood on their hands.” Without any pushback from host Chris Hayes, he said Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and “the vile president that she serves, abetted by Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh and Breitbart and NewBusters and Judicial Watch and all the rest of them, have blood on their hands. For the incitements that they have made that have triggered and radicalized these crazy people. It is deliberate …”

This frenzy to cast fellow Americans as dangerous terrorists because you disagree with them politically is beyond any normal or acceptable political discourse. It’s one thing to target a direct political opponent with rhetoric that is unseemly. But here we have the failing establishment, both Democrats and in some cases Republicans, choosing to malign actual voters in the week leading up to an election.

Hillary Clinton’s declaration that the president’s supporters were “deplorable” and “not American” was the moment the losers in 2016 decided a scorched earth campaign to punish those who did not comply would be their new strategy.

It is now apparent Rep. Maxine Waters of California was not a rogue congresswoman calling for the harassment of Republicans; she was simply carrying forward the official Democratic torch.  What would possess the Democrats to think that attacking the American people would be their salvation? We may have received a clue as to their expectations when Mrs. Clinton said that the instability and incivility would stop when Democrats “won again.”

In 2016, the American public saw through the attempts to gaslight them into believing things that aren’t true. One of those false assertions is how Democrats care about the American people and are champions on the issues we care about.

Their latest accusations, attitude, and lack of any coherent position on policy for this country, proves not just the chaotic incompetence now destroying that side of the aisle, but makes clear their actual malevolence toward American citizens. We are the ones who fired them, therefore we are the ones they are determined to punish.

When the midterms wrap up Democrats are going to discover that we are not ISIS, or Nazis, or racists, or terrorists. We are Americans. We are moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and best friends. We are voters and families who look to the future and want it to be the best it can be. To achieve that, we must urge the American people not to reward those who condemn others for rejecting the status quo. We must together decide to stand for freedom, fairness and a renewed American future.


[From an article by Tammy Bruce, published by THE WASHINGTON TIMES]




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NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis






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Democrats furious with Obama over his self-serving mid-term endorsements

On Aug. 1, Obama offered up a list of 81 Democratic candidates he’s sup-  Mr. Zerobama
porting in races across the country in November.

Those who received Obama’s support include gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom of California, Stacey Abrams of Georgia and Richard Cordray of Ohio; U.S. House hopefuls Susan Wild of Pennsylvania and Sean Casten of Illinois; and Nevada Senate candidate Jacky Rosen.

“I’m confident that, together, they’ll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity that’s broadly shared, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law,” Obama said in a statement, according to USA Today.

“But first, they need our votes — and I’m eager to make the case for why these Democratic candidates deserve our votes this fall,” he said.

Many Democrats, however, are irate about the timing and the size of his endorsement list.

They say it “came too late in the midterm season and failed to put Obama’s stamp on Democratic primaries,” The Hill reported Friday.

The report said those upset with him include party strategists as well as former Obama aides and fundraisers.

“I think a lot of us have wondered why he didn’t feel the need to get involved earlier,” The Hill quoted one former senior Obama administration official as saying.  “There are a lot of folks who could have used his help much earlier. And there are a lot of people who think he should put a stamp on the party.”


NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Obama has already “put his stamp on the party.”  That is exactly the problem Democrats now face, apparently without realizing the scope of that problem.


The report said a top Obama fundraiser blamed him for the fact that some of his former aides — including congressional candidates Ed Meier in Texas, Alison Kiehl Friedman in Virginia and Sam Jammal in California — lost their primary races.

“His endorsement during the primary would have changed the outcome of a number of races,” the fundraiser said. “Obama was playing it safe and doing what was best for him, not for them and not for the country.

The Hill quoted a Democratic strategist as saying Obama’s decision to sit on the sidelines has hurt the party.

“I was on a call this morning where it was coming up a lot,” the strategist said. “I think a lot of people saw it as lazy and a little too methodical and not well thought-out. There are ramifications for this and I hope we don’t suffer the consequences. We can’t just go red to blue. We need to make states blue for the long term.

“Now’s not the time to sit out and be too cute by half. Where’s the audacity of hope?”


[From an article by Todd Windsor, writing for WESTERN JOURNAL]


NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  The “audacity of hope” for most people these days seems to be that they are fervently hoping Obama will go away and stay silent.  Being continually and openly lied to by the Commander in Chief was an experience most people are not eager to repeat…and quite anxious to forget. Most people are very grateful to now have a president who wants to live up to that title rather than to repeatedly tell Americans why he disdains the title and the office. Mr. Trump is doing exactly what he told Americans he would do if they elected him. He is living up to and keeping his promises…something his predecessor showed us he had no intention of doing, ever. Unfortunately for the predecessor, that makes Obama’s time in office look all the more poor and shabby and a failure by comparison.  If Obama were as smart as he thinks he is, he might have thought of that before he decided to become such a miserable failure as president.  Democrats are now calling him lazy and self-serving.  Not much of a legacy, is it, Mr. O?




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Obama’s “go-it-alone” agenda has Democrats worried heading into mid-term elections. He seems to be concerned (much too late) about his “presidential legacy”…

Groups that closely follow regulations are expecting the Obama administration to continue issuing controversial rules through the midterm elections, despite the political risk it will pose for Democrats.

With time running out on President Obama’s second term, federal agencies are hitting the gas on a number of regulatory initiatives that are central to the White House’s “go-it-alone” agenda.

The pace of rulemaking is a stark contrast from the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, when the flow of rules came screeching to a near halt.

The expectation that the gears of the regulatory process will keep moving highlights how the president’s desire for a second-term legacy sometimes conflicts with the short-term political considerations of congressional Democrats.

“We can’t underestimate the role politics plays in regulatory decisions,” said Stuart Shapiro, a former staffer at the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, who is now an associate professor at Rutgers University. “It’s important to remember that at the heart of regulations are political decisions.”

Obama’s regulatory push is having a notable impact on Kentucky’s Senate race, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is using the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial climate rule against his opponent Alison Grimes, a Democrat.

Critics say Kentuckians stand to lose thousands of coal jobs under the EPA’s climate rule, making it very unpopular in the state. McConnell has promised to fight back against the EPA’s climate rule, and has not been shy about pointing out Grimes’ Democratic ties to President Obama.

ObamaBut Obama isn’t “backing away” from the EPA’s climate rule, said Ronald White, regulatory policy director at the left-leaning Center for Effective Government — or for that matter, from the EPA’s waters rule, which is just as controversial.

The EPA says the water regulation is needed to clarify ambiguity in the law, while critics say it would give federal regulators expansive powers over the small bodies of water such as those found on many farms.

“Obviously, there are still some sensitivities, but if President Obama were really worried about negatively influencing the midterm elections, would he have been this aggressive on climate? Would he have been as supportive on the waters rule?” White asked. “I suspect not.”

The opposite was true leading up to the 2012 presidential election, when critics say Obama twisted then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s arm into dropping a controversial ozone rule that would have established stronger air quality standards.

The ozone rule was unpopular with the business community, so the White House pushed it to the backburner to deprive Republicans of a campaign attack, White said.

“That was clearly politically motivated,” White said. “They made some lame attempt to say it was ongoing, but it was clearly politically influenced by the White House’s policy folks, who didn’t want to take on a major controversial rule in the year before a presidential election.”

The ozone rule wasn’t the only regulation that stalled in the runup to the 2012 presidential elections.

The number of economically-significant regulations that OIRA approved dropped to 83 in 2012, about a 35 percent decline from an average of about 127 rules during each of Obama’s first three years in office.

“The results of the election made people in the Obama administration realize that excessive regulation was a talking point Republicans could use,” said Susan Dudley, a former OIRA administrator during the George W. Bush administration.

The assertion from critics that the Obama administration may have been playing election-year politics during his 2012 campaign was given credence by a government report that came out late last year.

The analysis by the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), an independent federal agency that monitors the government’s rule-making process, found that regulatory delays at OIRA spiked in 2012 as the administration put controversial rules on hold until after the election.

But the same can’t be said this time around with the congressional midterms approaching in November, observers say.

“I don’t think the Obama administration is willfully delaying regulations right now — at least not for the benefit of members of Congress running in November,” said Sam Batkins, regulatory director at the conservative American Action Forum.

OIRA is currently reviewing 24 rules and has already completed reviews of another 70 rules, putting the agency on pace to cycle through close to 125 rules by the end of the year.

Some say the tempo of regulations points to a schism between President Obama, who is focused on carving his legacy in Washington before his term expires in two years, and congressional Democrats, who are consumed with keeping control of the Senate.

“There is certainly a cost from President Obama’s point of view to slowing down the amount of regulations,” said James Gattuso, who studies regulations at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “I don’t see any reason why he would want to do that.”

Shapiro, the former OIRA official, suggested President Obama has “less incentive” to protect Senate Democrats this time around than he had to protect himself during the 2012 campaign.

“The president has some reason to put his priorities first, because generally speaking, an individual regulation won’t play as big of a role in a congressional election,” Shapiro said. “It’s hard to see a Senate race turning on that.”

That said, it’s not as if President Obama can accomplish all of his policy goals while completely disconnecting from his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.

“The last two years of his presidency will be determined, in large part, by whether Democrats maintain control of the Senate,” Jillson explained. “So he does have a stake in the midterms, but it’s not as immediate of an issue for him.”

[by Tim Devaney, writing for THE HILL.COM]


NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  We feel compelled at this juncture to offer a couple of suggestions to the president:  (1) Your legacy is secure, Mr. O, very secure. We have spent the last six years watching you flail around on the golf course just like you have been flailing around attempting to be presidential. If you are just getting around to trying to pin down the legacy thing, now is too little and far too late. Instead of golf, try checkers. Instead of being president, work on being retired. The sooner, the better.  (2) Since you have never, ever exhibited a concern for doing what is best for the citizens of this formerly-great country, no one who still has any smarts (we ALL have lots of smarts from your time in office because we are all smarting from your miserable attempts at running things, but that is best left for another day) is going to believe at this late date that you have that concern or, sadly, want to do something about it.  (3) Because you have already demonstrated to virtually everyone’s satisfaction, Republicans and Democrats alike, that you are no more effective working alone than with the Congress, if we were you we would not be overly worried about the two years from now till retirement. Most of us have stopped caring, frankly, about your flailing, failed presidency. The best thing you could do for any of us, quite honestly, would be to spend the next two years finding a nice place to move into where the people in your neighborhood have short memories, and just wait for the moving vans to show up in January of 2017. We promise not to bother you at all. The Presidential Library Project shouldn’t concern you, either…since a presidential library is meant to show off your important decisions while in office as much as anything else, a nice 8 by 12 garden shed in your new back yard should prove more than adequate.



As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis

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Obama realizes Democrats may not want his help, and other Duh-nuts…

The Washington Post reports President Barack Obama, who is struggling with low approval ratings, conceded in private remarks that some fellow Democrats may not want his help in this fall’s midterm elections. “He said he knew he is not popular in some of the states so he would not be offended if he were not invited to visit them this year,” one senator who met with Obama Wednesday told the Post. “But he said he could be helpful in some parts of some states.”

Mr. Obummer

Lawmakers could release as early as Thursday a bipartisan measure to permanently solve one of the most nettlesome issues in the country’s health-care system, Fox News reports. Members of Congress are crafting permanent “doc-fix” legislation that would create a so-called patch to prevent doctors who treat Medicare patients from seeing steep cuts to their reimbursement payments.

Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, lists in Politico “the 10 most outrageous government boondoggles I ever saw.” They include a museum dedicated to the Woodstock music festival, an “adult baby” who relied on Social Security and unemployment payments to millionaires.

The Hill reports the IRS is showing renewed signs of confidence some nine months after the agency apologized for its singling out of tea-party groups. The agency’s new commissioner, John Koskinen, is shifting its focus to other issues including taxpayer services, implementing Obamacare and even handing out bonuses to IRS employees.

Quartz asks, “Is this the end of America’s debt ceiling wars?” Its piece says it looks more likely now that the issue of increasing the debt ceiling “may be returning to normal: Democrats in the Senate will take the lead in raising the debt ceiling, and Republican leadership will let such a bill come to the floor for a ‘clean’ increase.” The debt ceiling is suspended through Friday, and the Treasury says it can borrow through the end of February by using so-called extraordinary measures.

[by Robert Schroeder, writing for MARKETWATCH]


As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis


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