No Debate; CNBC Debate Moderators' Abysmal Performance

Editor’s Note – Here at SUA we often find ourselves watching endless coverage of Congressional hearings, reading almost every headline published and devouring most of the more impactful articles in depth and you can bet the house on the fact that we watch every debate, sometimes more than once.

But last night may prove to be one of those “I paid for this microphone” moments we will remember for decades to come – an abysmal performance by all at CNBC we may never forget.

It not only started out bad with insipid pre-debate banter that over ran into the time the candidates were being introduced where one commentator actually brought up previous memorable debate moments like the Reagan line, presaging more memorable moments about to be heard.

Debate moderators Carl Quintanilla (L), Becky Quick (C) and John Harwood  question candidates at the third Republican Presidential Debate hosted by CNBC, October 28, 2015 at the Coors Event Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.  AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) But will they still have jobs after last night?
Debate moderators Carl Quintanilla (L), Becky Quick (C) and John Harwood question candidates at the third Republican Presidential Debate hosted by CNBC, October 28, 2015 at the Coors Event Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Ironically, that Reagan v. Bush debate was also on NBC when Ronald Reagan so famously scolded the moderator then like Mitt Romney should have scolded Monica Crowley in  2012.

Mr. JON BREEN, Moderator: Would the sound man please turn Mr. Reagan’s mic off for the moment?

Mr. RONALD REAGAN, GOP Presidential Candidate: Is this on? Mr. Green…If you ask me… I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!

Reagan may have gotten the name wrong, but he certainly put Breen in his place and last night, Sen. Cruz put the entire panel of moderators in their rightful place – ignominy!

Last night we saw virtually every candidate feel the need to scold the moderators from CNBC and correctly so in our opinion. In fact, many think Crowley recovered okay but John Harwood and Becky Quick may have ruined their careers with their performances last night.

These two may take the gold and silver as the following article explains, but it was more than Mr. Priebus on the carpet now, it may also have been the death knell from Jeb Bush who was bested at least twice, one by Rubio and then by Chris Christie:

The mainstream media—as represented by the business cable network’s principal moderators, Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and especially John Harwood—took it on the chin as candidate after candidate, to hearty applause from the partisan audience at the University of Colorado, pointed out that their questions were inaccurate, unfair, or otherwise plain silly.

“Are we truly talking about fantasy football?” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie demanded after Quintanilla asked former Florida governor Jeb Bush whether the online sports industry should be regulated as a gambling enterprise by the federal government.

Bush however may be the biggest loser for another reason, not only did he get bested by his former “student” he also wasted his scant time (he had the least) on talking about his fantasy football prowess instead of how to fix the nation.

Perhaps our favorite line of the night also came from Senator Cruz when he pointed out the irony of an all democratic set of moderators at a Republican debate as well as Democrat debates:

…nobody watching at home believed that any of the moderators had any intention of voting in a Republican primary. (Read the entire transcript here.)

Senator Cruz rightfully scolds the moderators...
Senator Cruz rightfully scolds the moderators…

Also, why were there so many moderators and why were they always appearing to yell? Jim Cramer…shake the head folks! Last night proves what we all know…media bias is a clear and present danger to our nation!

Please watch here for the “ten best moments” as compiled by the Washington Post then read on:

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CNBC’s Harwood Now Media Bias Poster Boy After Career-Altering ‘Moderating’ of GOP Debate

I had to watch it again.

I had to make sure I witnessed what I just witnessed.

And upon absorbing the whole thing and double checking my notes from watching last night and again this morning before sunrise, they were practically identical. Conclusion: CNBC, a solid niche network with solid talent, just performed the worst moderation of any debate — and we’re including all presidential, vice presidential, fictional… the one fromOld School (Will Ferrell’s Frank the Tank vs. James Carville moderated by Jeremy Piven’s Dean Pritcher), the one from Clueless (Alicia Silverstone vs Amber on the plight of Haitian refugees) — in American history.

So who’s to blame? Here’s your Top 3 culprits:

1) Gold — John Harwood.

I was foolish enough to believe that Harwood, who doesn’t hide his biases leftward, would be professional and (more importantly) aware enough of being on the biggest stage of his career to ask substantive questions without editorial. First question out of the gate? Dubbing the GOP frontrunner’s (RCP average) candidacy as fiction, as right out of a “comic book.” That set the tone for the entire evening, and most of the candidates on stage sensed what was happening. Ted Cruz, who tied winning this debate with Marco Rubio, seized the opportunity with this haymaker:

“Let me say something at the outset,” said Cruz. “The questions that you have asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people do not trust the media.

“This is not a cage match,” he said.

“And if you look at the questions: Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math. John Kasich, will you insult two people over here. Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues people care about.”

I’ve never been one to reflexively use the term “liberal mainstream media” anywhere–TV, radio, columns. It’s a beaten-down term that sometimes has some weight (via a specific hard example) behind it, but oftentimes doesn’t (via reaching to connect the dots around conspiracy theories). And it’s used so often that the impact gets lost (Google any instance the term “liberal mainstream media” has been used in this space, win valuable prizes). But last night wasn’t one of those times where Republicans and conservative media were whining without warrant for being treated different than their Democratic counterparts. They were treated differently. Blatantly. At two points Harwood outright lied (yes… lied… these weren’t cases of simply misstating the facts).

The first instance regarded Rubio’s tax plan, which Harwood had to correct himself on in a story written two weeks ago:

HarwoodTweet

HARWOOD: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds to you. The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale. Since you’re the champion of Americans living paycheck-to- paycheck, don’t you have that backward?

RUBIO: No, that’s — you’re wrong. In fact, the largest after- tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan. And there’s a bunch of things my tax plan does to help them. Number one, you have people in this country that…

HARWOOD: The Tax Foundation — just to be clear, they said the…

RUBIO: …you wrote a story on it, and you had to go back and correct it.

HARWOOD (now lying): No, I did not.

RUBIO: You did. No, you did.

The second time Harwood lied regarded the length of the debate itself. Per about 1,000 media outlets and the network itself, CNBC had planned for three hours, but shortened it to two after Trump and Carson threatened a boycott. And when Trump was bragging about getting the network to acquiesce to his demands quickly, Harwood inexplicably insisted the debate was two hours all along. It’s not hard to imagine an executive producer back in the control room using the CBS Sports director line from the movie Tin Cup, when Kevin Costner’s Roy McAvoy was self-destructing on the final hole of the U.S. Open: “That’s insane! Somebody tackle him!”

Needless to say, no objective person will take Harwood seriously about anything for a very long time. This was career-altering stuff we witnessed last night.

2) Silver — Becky Quick.

She had Trump dead to rights on a disparaging quote regarding Mark Zuckerberg and Rubio (calling Rubio the Facebook founder’s “personal senator” on his own website). We’ll avoid the details, because the true relevance here is Quick’s preparation and sourcing. Here’s the transcript:

QUICK: You have been very critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who has wanted to increase these number of H1b —

TRUMP: I was not at all critical of him. In frank, he’s complaining that we’re losing some of the best people … I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to work in Silicon Valley.

QUICK: So where did I read this and come up with this you’re —

TRUMP: Probably, I don’t know. You people write this stuff.

Moderator 101 stuff: If you’re quoting someone to their face with millions watching, you might want to have the source of where that quote came from at the ready. Quick did not, even after having weeks to prepare for such a moment. Again, like Harwood, this was another unforced error that will at least ensure she’s never part of any presidential debate going forward.

3) Bronze — Reince Priebus.

The RNC Chair should take a few lessons from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who rules with a Vladimir Putin-like iron fist when it comes to debates, format, moderator selection, etc. You can blame CNBC all you like, but Priebus agreed to this Fugitive-esque train wreck. Many conservatives on Twitter are calling for him to be fired for allowing Harwood anywhere near the moderator table and not vetting the network better beforehand. That won’t happen, of course, but if and when it eventually does, mark Oct. 28/CNBC in your calendar for when that ball got rolling.

Honorable mention — Saturday Night Live. Will NBC mock their own sister network the way they did Fox and CNN for prior debates? Don’t count on anything too edgy… we’ll put it that way.

The Republicans held their third debate last night. It was so bad, it had to be viewed twice just for confirmation alone. And just like the first two debates, the next day we’re not talking about who made the best arguments, presented the best ideas or who appeared the most presidential.

Instead, in a recurring theme on this reality show: It’s all about the moderators, the food fights, and in last night’s case, the unmistakable bias marinated in snark.

 

McCarthy – "Knives Come Out for Senators Cruz and Lee"

The Knives Come Out for Senators Cruz and Lee

Republican leaders don’t want them to derail Obama’s amnesty.

By Andrew C. McCarthy – NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE

'The Art of the Impossible' and Eating Their Young

By Scott W. Winchell

Once again, its Andy McCarthy who sums up a “what just happened” moment so clearly. His column below describes best what really was taking place in the whole Ted Cruz/ObamaCare/Shutdown/Debt Ceiling ‘crisis’ and the rancor now in the Republican Party.

Now that the left has won the day, again, and do not think it was not a big win, we see all the hand-wringing from the establishment Republicans, and gloating from the left. Leading that charge is none other than Rep. Peter King of New York – go figure, a “Republican” from the northeast, a “Lawn Guyland” boy from Uber-Blue New York.

If you listen to establishment Republicans like Peter King, you would think Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, and the Tea Party Caucus in the House ruined any chance for the resurgence of the Republican Party for ever. Peter King sounds more like a White House staffer than a Republican in interviews today and he has a terrible memory. We Tea Party people gave you a majority in the House back in 2010 and what do you do Mr. King, you castigate the millions who made it happen.

Rep. Peter King (R) NY
Rep. Peter King (R) NY

“Washington does not listen”, Peter King is deaf, and the RINOs forget. Remember this Mr. King, if you were not in “our” majority, far more would have been achieved in the ‘fundamental transformation’ Obama called for in 2008 because the Democrats would still have the majority. It would not just be the Senate, but also in the House. That would have allowed them to unilaterally foist more Nancy Pelosi, “we need to pass it so we can see what’s in it” bills.

King does not like the fact that a grassroots movement expressing basic and sound concerns about the fundamental operations of government, but he is cool with supporting the NSA to sweep into possession all forms of American citizen communication – hypocrite.

Instead, we here at SUA salute these people as heroes to emulate, not vilify. Why, because they did what they said they would do when campaigning, and they actually listened to the people of their districts, and they actually did what Peter King and the establishment always forget to do – that is to REPRESENT the people who elected them.

To people like Peter King, John McCain, and Mitch McConnell, doing nothing, for years, is a winning strategy. Earth to Peter King, doing nothing and hoping for miracles does not a good business plan make. In addition, ‘Mr. Kentucky’, Senator Mitch McConnell, is now the poster boy for buyouts, a position once held by the likes of Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson back when ObamaCare was shoved up our… err, I mean, down our throats..

People like the ‘Architect’ Karl Rove did what he does best as well, picking losing strategies, losing candidates, and losing Presidential elections. Rove did engineer the Bush Presidency, by the narrowest of margins, but what has he and the establishment done since but LOSE? During the whole shutdown, their sound bites were treasonous to their own causes and made for wonderful talking points for the left.

The Democrats rarely eat their young, Republicans have made a culinary art form out of it. Cruz and company were trying to do the best they could for America, Rove, McConnell and King are doing their best to win a political game, sad priority that one. Some say politics is the ‘art of the possible’, but true representatives never compromise their principles nor do they only seek political victories – that is why America is in a death spiral.

The Art of the Impossible

The strategy to repeal Obamacare by winning serial elections is not even a Hail Mary pass.

By Andrew C. McCarthy –  National Review

In considering the Republican retreat that ended the partial government shutdown, funded Obamacare, and unconditionally extended more credit on Uncle Sam’s tapped-out credit card, my friend Jonah Goldberg argues that we should be more understanding of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s predicament. Politics, Jonah aptly observes, is the art of the possible, and McConnell had “no good options” when he led the GOP cave-in to all of President Obama’s demands — a decision that, McConnell insists, was not in any way influenced by the tidy $3 billion earmark thrown in for one of his pet Kentucky boondoggles.

McConnellReid
Old ‘goats’ that really must go!

I agree that we must be realistic about what was achievable in the Obamacare battle. What I don’t get, though, is why our sympathetic cast of mind must be from the GOP-establishment perspective alone. Aren’t we also obliged to be realistic about the options available to the Republicans who took seriously their campaign promises to do everything within their power — which includes their constitutional power of the purse — to stop Obamacare?

Virtually all congressional Republicans elected or reelected since 2010 ran on that promise. Stopping Obamacare is the cause that most animated the conservative base, without which there would be no Republican majority in the House. If Republicans expected to maintain that support, they had to act on that commitment.

Beyond promises, something also had to be done because Obamacare is a disaster for the productive part of the country. And, more urgently, that something had to be done now. This was not a manufactured crisis. Obamacare was set to commence on October 1. Consequently, Republicans had two options. Option One was the GOP establishment’s “win elections, then repeal” strategy: Do nothing for now; allow Obamacare to be implemented; assume its unpopularity would increase, creating a climate for extended, uninterrupted GOP electoral success, finally leading to a Republican Congress of such substantial majorities that an Obamacare repeal would pass both houses and be signed by a Republican president. As we shall see, core assumptions of “win elections, then repeal” require the suspension of disbelief.

Alternatively, there was Option Two: Because, as a matter of law, Obamacare could not proceed unless both congressional chambers agreed to fund it, and because Republicans control the House, House Republicans could deny it funding. The hope was that Obamacare’s unpopularity and patent unreadiness, coupled with the Democrats’ desire for the rest of government to be funded at today’s exorbitant levels, would pressure the Senate and the president to agree to a delay. Option Two would be tough to pull off, but it was not exclusive of Option One; and, contrary to conventional wisdom, there was the chance that the memory of any government shutdown would fade quickly while raising public consciousness about Obamacare’s downsides would have enduring electoral benefits.

Republicans tried Option Two and lost, at least for now. It is only natural, I suppose, that defeat brings myopic focus on the strategy that has been defeated. Thus, it is fair enough, in the post mortem, to emphasize how uphill a battle the defund/delay strategy faced. Nevertheless, since the point is to be realistic about what all the alternatives were, we must account for what GOP-establishment sympathizers keep glossing over: The utter implausibility of their preferred option.

It is repeatedly said that the crusade to defund Obamacare was delusional, that it never had a chance. That is an overstatement. Hail Mary passes are tried because they occasionally work. A lot of things have to go right, and the success rate is low. But a Hail Mary is a ray of hope when the clock nears zero, when something has to be done, and when you are out of better options.

So, were we out of better options? I think so. To my mind, if the defund plan was delusional, the GOP establishment’s “repeal Obamacare by winning elections” alternative is delusional squared.

Inertia is a powerful non-motivator. It is always extremely tempting to avoid the hard thing that must be done now by rationalizing that we’ll have both the capability and the stomach to do hard things at some indeterminate future time. That is the main appeal of the GOP-establishment strategy: It is outlandish, but unlike defund/delay, it is hard to disprove in the present because its impossible assumptions are conveniently imagined to occur several years from now, in a brighter and shinier future.

To buy it, you first have to believe that the GOP is suddenly going to become an electoral juggernaut. Mind you, we are talking about Republicans who have won the popular vote in a presidential election only once since 1988; who are rapidly losing the confidence of the conservative base that gave the GOP the historic midterm victory in 2010; and whose current priorities include a mass legalization of (Democrat-leaning) illegal immigrants that would make it increasingly difficult for Republicans to win elections in the future. We are to believe, moreover, that this electoral juggernaut is poised to take off in the cycle right after the GOP lost to Obama and lost congressional seats despite high unemployment and no economic growth.

To repeal Obamacare on the establishment plan, the GOP needs sudden and sustained electoral success — despite the high hurdle of media bias. At least two federal election cycles, and more likely three or more (i.e., at least four years, and probably six or more), will be necessary. Obama, after all, will still be president for three more years and will never sign a repeal bill. Even if a Republican wins the White House in 2016, and even if Republicans by then have held the House and won the Senate, the GOP will not have overwhelming congressional majorities.

Furthermore, unlike Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats are unified and disciplined. Knowing the press is the wind at their backs, they are disposed to use every parliamentary privilege available to a minority to obstruct a repeal of Obamacare. Remember, Democrats unilaterally enacted Obamacare at a time when it was very unpopular and seemed likely to cost them dearly at the ballot box. But they are influenced by movement progressives to a far greater degree than the Tea Party influences Republicans. So important was socialized medicine to the Left that Democrats rammed Obamacare through, regardless of the likely electoral consequences. They are going to fight repeal to the death.

These obstacles alone are enough to make “uphill” an understatement. But that’s not the half of it. To buy the GOP establishment’s “repeal by winning elections” alternative, you also have to believe that Republicans are going to repeal a vast entitlement that has, by then, been on the books, with millions of Americans drawing subsidies, for at least four, and more likely six or more, years.

Remember, Republicans are the guys who gave us a new Medicare prescription-drug entitlement when Medicare was already tens of trillions of dollars in debt. They are the guys who ran in 2012 as the saviors of Medicare — even though they well knew that slamming Obama over taking money out of Medicare would make it much more difficult to address Medicare’s unsustainable costs in the future. They are the guys who accept core premises of Obamacare: Republicans do not make the case that health care is like any other commodity in a free market rather than a corporate asset to be centrally managed. The disagreement between statist Democrats and the GOP establishment is aboutthe degree of government intrusion in health care, not the matter of government intrusion in principle. Republicans are also the guys who want to keep some of Obamacare’s core, anti-free-market elements — e.g., provisions that forbid denial of coverage owing to preexisting conditions and that keep “children” on their parents’ coverage until age 26.

The Democrats, the media, and all the Left will tirelessly portray any proposed repeal of Obamacare as a callous denial — a removal — of coverage from millions of underprivileged Americans, including those struggling with sickness. Moderates and “compassionate conservatives” already lecture us about the need to get real and make our peace with the welfare state; what will they be saying four or six or eight or who knows how many years from now? They will be arguing that Obamacare’s prodigious infrastructure is now part of our social fabric — that repealing it at this point (whenever that point happens) would be radical, the very antithesis of the Burkean conservative disposition. The GOP’s will to fight for repeal — which has never been as strong on action as it is on election-season rhetoric — will dissipate.

I said a few times prior to last summer that I did not believe the Supreme Court would invalidate Obamacare and that Republicans were making a big mistake putting all their hope in the prospect of a judicial repeal. Far greater emphasis should have been put on the need for a political repeal — including nominating a presidential candidate who was in a better position than the architect of Romneycare to make Obamacare a huge 2012 campaign issue. Pessimistic as I was, however, I had far greater confidence in the Supreme Court than I do in the prospect of Republicans repealing Obamacare once it has been up and running for a few years.

I believe there is no chance that will happen. I also believe the Republican establishment, in its heart of hearts, realizes how implausible this prospect is. A few times over the last two weeks — though not nearly as often as it should have happened — Republicans taking pot shots at Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and House conservatives were asked what their alternative plan was to stop Obamacare. The usual response was to shuffle feet and mumble about winning elections. It was a meek comeback because even these seasoned politicians were embarrassed to promise a bold repeal in, oh, 2017, 2019 . . .

If you accept, as I do, that something had to be done before October 1, the question is not whether defund/delay was a promising strategy. It is whether it was the most promising — however unlikely — of the available alternatives.

As I have argued before, I think defund/delay had a chance precisely because it was not repeal. The president was not being asked to erase what he sees as his signature achievement. Obamacare would have remained law. But it is a law that was already delayed a few years by design, so pushing for a delay for another year or two was hardly a pie-in-the-sky demand.

Significantly, Democrats were being asked to delay Obamacare under circumstances in which the program is undeniably not ready for implementation. The president could have been made to see that he could look reasonable by delaying and simultaneously mitigate what has been a disastrous rollout — “excruciatingly embarrassing,” as even Robert Gibbs put it.

Democrats were being asked to defund or delay Obamacare under circumstances in which Obama himself had already defunded and delayed major portions of it. The president could have been made to see that he was just being asked to do for everyone what he had already done for corporations, cronies, and Congress.

Contrary to what you’d believe from reading press accounts over the last two weeks, Obama has a history of reversing himself — to take just a few examples: on closing Guantanamo Bay, on a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, on the Bush tax cuts, even on the near-term desirability of single-payer health insurance. It was never delusional to believe Obama and congressional Democrats could be persuaded that political expedience counseled what Obama has famously called “flexibility.” But you could not get there absent intense political pressure.

To create the pressure necessary to give defund/delay a Hail Mary’s chance to work, Republicans had to demonstrate that they were so fearful of Obamacare’s harmful effects on the country that they were firmly resolved not to fund it. If this ended up meaning the government got (very partially) shut down, they had to tee that up in a way that could persuade the public that it was Obama, not the Republicans, who was forcing the shutdown. That could be done only by agreeing to fund all the rest of the government, and sticking together on the single, clear message that Obama could reopen the government anytime he wanted by signing the funding bills the GOP had willingly given him.

Could Democrats have been made fearful that the public would hold Obama responsible for keeping the government shut down solely over Obamacare in spite of the law’s unreadiness and unpopularity? It was a long shot in which three things had to go right: (a) The public had to see that the government shutdown was not as painful in reality as the media had predicted it would be; (b) Obamacare’s deleterious consequences had to begin to emerge such that they were seen as a bigger problem than the shutdown; and (c) the Republicans had to stay united — they had to keep pounding these themes with unwavering conviction.

In the event, things could not have gone better, in the Hail Mary sense, on the first two elements. The shutdown, in which four-fifths of the government continued running, did not have an impact on most Americans — and Obama’s obnoxious contrivances to make the shutdown seem painful only underscored that, in reality, it wasn’t so bad. The Obamacare rollout turned out to be worse than Republicans could have imagined — when not reporting on the system’s massive technological failures, and the tiny number of “exchange” applicants, the press was forced to report on sticker-shock as Americans finally grappled with eye-popping, family-budget-breaking price hikes for coverage.

But then there’s that third element. If Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and House conservatives can justly be accused of being delusional, it is in adopting a strategy that banked on Republican unanimity in the face of withering opposition. It never happened; the intramural squabble started even before the shutdown.

Democrats could have pulled this strategy off. Indeed, their media-annealed steel is why we have Obamacare in the first place. But not Republicans. Today’s Republican establishment is the George W. Bush “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move” GOP — with all that portends, as Jonah expertly itemized in this 2004 G-File (i.e., before the GOP Congress and White House larded a few trillion dollars more onto the national debt).

Republicans do not have a unified position on Obamacare, on “entitlements,” or on the relationship between the citizen and the central government. Yes, it is an exaggeration to say there is no meaningful difference between the GOP establishment and Barack Obama — although I do not believe there is much difference between, say, John McCain and Hillary Clinton. But it is not an exaggeration to say the GOP establishment is more sympathetic to Obama’s case for the centralized welfare state than to the Tea Party’s case for limited government and individual liberty. And it is not an exaggeration to say that Beltway Republicans are more worried about what the media will say about them today than what the Tea Party may do to them every other year.

That is why the GOP establishment’s proclaimed strategy to repeal Obamacare by winning serial elections is not even a Hail Mary pass. It is politics as the art of the impossible.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

The Big Default Lie – Obama Scare Tactics, Blame Game

Editor’s Note – With all the scare tactics being employed by the administration over the continuing resolution (CR) deadlock and the looming debt ceiling issue, it is apparent that the truth is in rare supply. Political ‘optics’ are clearly the driving force and its just abominable.

The White House continues to blame the Republican membership in the House, especially the Tea Party Caucus, and continually lambastes Senator Ted Cruz, but who really is at fault for the so-called shut down and impasse? What is for certain is that the those who constantly employ scare tactics and the blame game are the ones who are indeed to blame. Guilt transference for political game is the artifice of the coward and scoundrel.

Now the big talk is about America’s status on the global economic stage and what the true meaning of default really is; who cares if the Chinese are concerned. They see a political ploy as well and will use any leverage to make us look bad, so isn’t President Obama and Harry Reid actually shouting fire in a crowded theater? Read the facts below, stay informed and stop allowing America’s low-informed folks from being manipulated for political game.

Again, it is their stock in trade to scare and blame, because they know who is really to blame! It is time to hold the President, Harry Reid and John McCain responsible for their lies and personal attacks on our elected representatives in the House and Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, et al.

Obama’s Big Lie-There Won’t Be Default Unless HE Ignores Constitution (We’re Already Over Debt Limit)

From Yidwiththelid

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void. US Constitution, Amendment 14 Section 4

 The President is doing his best to frighten Americans and our creditors by claiming if the GOP does not capitulate to his demands and “cleanly” raise the debt ceiling we will default on our debt, damaging forever the full faith and credit of the United States. Simply put, that is a lie!

debt-ceiling

In fact we are already over the debt limit and the sky hasn’t fallen. The present debt limit is $16.999 trillion. According to Treasury Direct, the Dept. of Treasury’s website the US has already surpassed the debt limit by over $47 trillion.

If the October 17th deadline is passed without an increase in the debt ceiling it simply means the government can’t borrow money and has to “live” on the tax revenue it takes in each month (about $250 billion). Interest on the federal debt runs about $20 billion each month leaving money left to run parts of the government.

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 8.22.07 AMForbes’ Jeffery Dorman describes one way for the remaining dollars to be spent

The federal government estimates it will collect almost $3 trillion in revenue for the fiscal year that runs from October 1, 2013 until September 30, 2014. Below I demonstrate one possible way the federal government could institute some priorities and spend only the amount it receives in revenue.

To begin with, the interest on the national debt must be paid. I will budget $240 billion for that. The White House is guessing a little lower, but interest rates have been rising, so I will play it safe. Next, social security payments should run about $860 billion. Place that as the second priority and we already have spent $1.1 trillion of the $3 trillion we have.

Holding Medicare spending to about its fiscal year 2013 total and making some small cuts to Medicaid and other health spending would keep health care spending by the government to $860 billion. This does not include additional spending for the Affordable Care Act, but we need to prioritize and I am making it a lower priority than the health spending we have already been incurring. Also, there is no need for extra spending for the Affordable Care Act before January 1 since the coverage does not start until then. So as long as the debt ceiling is raised before then, there is no problem.

Veteran’s benefits will cost another $140 billion if we leave it unchanged. Department of Justice programs and general government functions add another $83 billion if their spending levels are held roughly constant. We can save some money by cutting science funding to $10 billion and international affairs spending to $13 billion which is enough to operate the State Department and embassies, but not pay foreign aid. This takes total spending to $2.2 trillion.

If the debt ceiling deadline is missed the federal government will have to prioritize spending. And despite the scary verbiage, there will not be a default unless Obama himself decides to ignore the constitutional direction that interest on our debt comes first.

Obviously nobody believes deficit spending should be brought down to zero immediately that would be irresponsible and will eventually damage the economy. On the same hand if the debt assuming that a debt ceiling freeze is not a permanent fix and lasts just a short while, the government can operate and our debt can be serviced without a blow to the US economy.

The damage will come when, just as he did with the sequester and the shutdown, Obama acts like a spoiled angry child and prioritizes government spending in a way that will cause the most “hurt” to the American people.

UPDATE Moody’s Agrees

” We believe the government would continue to pay interest and principal on its debt even in the event that the debt limit is not raised, leaving its creditworthiness intact,” the memo says. “The debt limit restricts government expenditures to the amount of its incoming revenues; it does not prohibit the government from servicing its debt. There is no direct connection between the debt limit (actually the exhaustion of the Treasury’s extraordinary measures to raise funds) and a default.

The 'filiblizzard' – GOP New vs. Old, Constitution vs. President

Editor’s Note – Senator Rand Paul, now famous for his almost 13-hour triumphant filibuster for the Constitution and against the usurpation of power by the Executive seemed to set the world on its ear yesterday and late into today. Since the end of his marathon, new questions emerge.

Who is the lifeblood now of the GOP? Is it the likes of dissenters Lindsay Graham (SC) and John McCain (AZ), or is it the new studs, Marco Rubio (FL), Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), and Gomert (TX) to name but a few quickly making names for themselves.

The second question regards President Obama’s stature, especially when he challenges the Constitution so often in his many end-runs around it. Last but not least, has America awoken? When many liberals ‘Tweeted’ support and even one Democrat Senator stood in support, has interest in what is happening and what is wrong finally becoming popular. Probably for the first time in its history, CSPAN2 was popular.

For almost 13 hours, Kentucky Senator filibusters John O. Brennan’s nomination to be CIA Director over the administration’s legal interpretation of using deadly force on American citizens on Americans soil when there is no imminent danger – a big win for the GOP, Conservatives and Constitutionalists

To see the entire transcript of the event, one that surely made history click the links below or download them here:

What did Rand Paul accomplish last night?

By Timothy P. Carney – Washington Examiner

So, did Paul accomplish anything besides “blowing up Twitter,” as his cohort Ted Cruz put it? He certainly did. How much he accomplished will be determined, but here are some places to look:

  • He got the major media talking, for almost the first time, about the government’s ability to kill U.S. citizens, without trial, even when they’re not posing an imminent threat, on U.S. soil. Also, more broadly, about our government using drones to execute people that maybe we should be trying to capture and try.
  • He got many Republicans to express objections to extrajudicial drone killings. Republicans, as a party, haven’t been very worried about U.S. overreaches in the “Global War on Terror.” Paul was something of a loner on this front when he was running in 2010. But Paul’s filibuster captured the attention of the media, and the heart of conservatives and libertarians around the country. Twitter provided such instant feedback, that it was pretty easy for Republican politicians to see there is a real demand for these sorts of civil liberties concerns on the Right. It may even be that some conservatives who rushed to “Stand to Rand” were really coming out of the closet, emboldened by Paul. Probably, most politicians coming to Paul’s side were being opportunistic. Certainly many conservatives in the Twitterverse and Blogosphere were motivated a bit by partisanship — knocking Obama’s hypocrisy on due process and civil liberties.

But still, even when politicians move for opportunistic or partisan reasons, they move, and the bounds of permissible dissent move with them. It’s now easier for any future Republican politician or conservative commentator to push back on military overreach.

  • Paul made a conservative case for limiting war powers. I’ll sound an even more hopeful note here: Paul may have made some conservatives watching on C-Span — or even some GOP lawmakers watching from the floor — more skeptical about executive power in the sprawling “war on terror.”

Paul spent hours yesterday setting the case against extrajudicial drone killings in various conservative contexts. He made pro-life arguments. He made Edmund Burke-sounding arguments. He mostly made constitutional arguments. He drew the lines from conservative principles to his more libertarian foreign policy conclusions.

  • Paul made a libertarian outreach to the anti-war Left. Much of Paul’s arguments last night involved the need for constraints on power, even constraints on the majority. He often hinted towards the Ronald Reagan line that a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to kill you while sitting at cafe.

The only check on an executive armed with flying death robots is the separation of powers and an understanding of the Constitution as a limit on government power. This has implications beyond counter-terrorism and war.

  • Paul exposed the craven partisanship of the Democrats. As I wrote last night, Democrats refused to allow Paul a vote on a non-binding resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that government can’t kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, while those citizens pose no imminent threat. There’s no way this course of action jibes with the party’s stated principles. The most likely explanation is that they didn’t want a vote that might embarrass their party’s president.
  • Paul made himself a major Republican figure. That can only be good for the GOP.

Paul Injects Life into Party with Nearly 13-Hour Filibuster

The “filiblizzard” of the Brennan nomination over Obama’s secretive drone program, joined by one Dem, outlasted the snowstorm that paralyzed D.C.

By Bridgett JohnsonPJ Media

In December 2010, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) conducted the longest talking filibuster in 27 years, speaking for 8.5 hours in opposition to President Obama’s tax deal with Republicans — a speech Sanders later turned into a book.

On Wednesday into Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) busted the “Filibernie” record — by far, at 12 hours and 54 minutes — as he demanded answers from the Obama administration on policy regarding domestic drone strikes.

“I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court,” Paul began.

“That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country,” he said. “I don’t rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle.”

The filibuster against the CIA director nomination began at 11:47 a.m. Wednesday, on a Hill sparsely populated because of the snowstorm outside.

Hence, Paul’s effort quickly took on the name “Filiblizzard,” with its own Twitter account. Like Sanders, Paul rapidly was honored with a site tracking his filibuster, IsRandPaulStillTalking.com.

“I will speak today until the president responds and says no, we won’t kill Americans in cafes; no, we won’t kill you at home in your bed at night; no, we won’t drop bombs on restaurants. Is that so hard?” Paul said. “It’s amazing that the president will not respond. I’ve been asking this question for a month. It’s like pulling teeth to get the president to respond to anything. And I get no answer.”

And as the #StandWithRand hashtag reigned on Twitter, and more Republicans filtered onto the Senate floor to help out Paul, it became clear that Paul didn’t just make a point on civil liberties but breathed some chutzpah into his party. Unlike historical filibusters that have included phone-book or cookbook reading to fill time, the senator stayed on topic the entire time. Supportive House members came into the upper chamber and cheered on the son of their former lower chamber colleague.

“Sending strength and prayer to @SenRandPaul for him to ‘Drone’ on and on!” tweeted Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).

This monumental moment for the Senate GOP, though, was muddled by the evening absence of a dozen Republicans who enjoyed a three-hour secretive dinner at the Jefferson Hotel with President Obama: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-S.C.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

According to the White House, Obama picked up the check for the party.

Chambliss and Toomey helped Paul with his filibuster before or after the dinner. Later on the floor, Johnson said the meeting was an “excellent dinner.”

“This evening at our meeting with the president, we had an opportunity to express our views on the challenging task of getting our nation’s fiscal house in order,” Hoeven said in a statement. McCain and Coburn each flashed a thumb’s up to reporters staking out the hotel as they left.

Though eating is not allowed on the Senate floor, Paul took nibbles of snacks at points, continuing to read his notes while chewing. Mid-filibuster, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) put an apple and a thermos full of green tea on Paul’s desk in a nod to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; the Senate sergeant-at-arms later had the snack removed per the rules.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wandered onto the floor. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) offered to hold hearings on drones, which Paul brushed off as just a standard congressional stall tactic.

And unlike Sanders, who didn’t have a bipartisan Filibernie, Paul had Democratic support — some wholehearted, some tepid.

The ACLU and Code Pink praised the Paulibuster. “Good for Sen Paul-a talking filibuster to fight for an important ideal- unlike McConnell’s partisan silent filibusters designed to paralyze,” tweeted Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a vocal critic of Obama’s drone program, was the only Democrat to join Paul on the floor.

“Sen. Paul and I agree that this nomination also provides a very important opportunity for the United States Senate to consider the government’s rules and policies on the targeted killings of Americans and that, of course, has been a central pillar of our nation’s counter-terror strategy,” Wyden said.

The lack of Democratic representation as the GOP waved the flag for due process rights didn’t sit well with some liberals off the Hill. “For gods sake where are democrats ?? ‘@democracynow: Rand Paul: Obama Admin Response Drones More Than Frightening’ http://owl.li/itdHI ,” tweeted actor John Cusack.

Read the rest here at PJ Media.