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It’s beginning to look like the GOP wants Barack Obama to win the next election:

Newt Gingrich will not appear on the Virginia presidential primary ballot, state Republican Party officials announced Saturday, after he failed to submit the required number of valid signatures to qualify.

The announcement was made on the Virginia Republican Party’s Twitter account. On Friday evening, the Republican Party of Virginia made a similar announcement for Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.

Ten thousand signatures are needed to get on the ballot for the Virginia primary, which is March 6, known as Super Tuesday. The Perry campaign says it submitted 11,911 signatures, according to The Washington Post. But at 6:30 p.m. the Virginia Republican Party posted on its Twitter account that after verification, it was determined that Mr. Perry did not submit the requisite amount.

Mr. Gingrich submitted 11,050 signatures, but after verification, the state party said it determined that he had not submitted enough signatures.

The deadline for signatures was 5 p.m. Thursday. Mitt Romney and Ron Paul obtained the needed signatures to qualify.

Jon M. Huntsman Jr., Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, the other Republican candidates, did not submit signatures in Virginia and therefore did not qualify.

If they can’t manage a signature campaign, how on earth are they gonna run a Presidential campaign?

In the last few days and weeks we’ve been hearing a lot about the payroll tax hike/cut.  Lately the pitch has ramped up for two reasons.  One, the Senate was ale to negotiate a bipartisan agreement to extend the tax cuts.

For 2 months.

Now, most recently, the House Republicans have declined to accept that compromise.  They voted Tuesday to reject the Senate deal and are asking for the two bodies to meet in committee.  We’ll see who blinks.

However, for me, what has been lost in all of this is why the Democrats are fighting for a tax cut to begin with?  I certainly understand the whole “We-They” thing, after all, the whole payroll tax cut idea was the Democrats brain child.  But why, at all, do the tax more, big state liberals want ANY tax cut?  Especially one that funds their most precious social program, Social Security?

Why?  Because Social Security is SO broken, so in debt and so “no chance of survival” that the Democrats feel they have little to lose.  In fact, they KNOW the government will “bail out” Social Security.  So, in some perverse way, the payroll tax cut can be seen to be a stimulus program.  Albeit not a perfect one.  For starters the more you make the more it benefits you.  And, you have to actually be working to benefit.  But other than that, any money not sent to Social Security is just added to the bill that Congress will eventually pay.

Rascally Rabbits!

So, I get the hinge.  The Democrats in the Senate won a vote to extend the payroll tax cut for 2 months.  The House GOP doesn’t like that bill and wants to vote on one of their own.  They want the tax cut to be longer than 2 months, more like a year:

The fourth-ranking House Republican argued Tuesday that a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut “would do more harm than good.”

Now, in so far as we can reduce the tax burden for a s long as we can, I resonate with the good Mr. Hensarling, Rep from Texas.  What I don’t understand however, is why even such a relatively short extension of a year is thought to be THAT much better.  If you’re gonna end the tax, end the tax.  A temporary reduction is just as random and unpredictable if it’s 2 months or 12.

I’m a little disappointed in both parties over this one.

Most certainly, however, I am sure they are not alone.  But I can’t blame ’em.  Really.  They’re just a victim of the tribalism going on in Washington.

So, specifically, Democrats labelled Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan as one that would “end Medicare as we know it.”  And they defend this statement thusly:

“The very definition of the Medicare program is a national health insurance program for seniors which House Republicans would abolish under their budget,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in an earlier rebuttal of Politifact’s analysis of the Ryan plan.

And additionally:

“It seems foolish to have to parse the meaning of the word ‘end,’ but if there’s a program, and it’s replaced with a different program, proponents brought an end to the original program,” liberal blogger Steve Benen wrote at the Washington Monthly. “That’s what the verb means.”

Okay, but the silliness is obvious.  Using this logic any time any program is changed, even by the slightest bit, the old existing plan would “end” and the new plan, complete with all it’s new language, would be the new plan.

Wanna change the test scoring system in public education?  Well, go ahead, but be aware that you are “ending public education as we know it”.

Wanna increase the speed limit on I-40 from 60 to 65?  Okay, but be prepared to defend how you are “ending the federal interstate program as we know it.”

Absurd, truly.

And I am not alone.  Politifact has named the Democrats charge the “Lie of the Year”.

Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact for people 55 or older, but dramatically changed the program for everyone else by privatizing it and providing government subsidies.

Democrats pounced. Just four days after the party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a Web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care “because Republicans voted to end Medicare.”

Rep. Steve Israel of New York, head of the DCCC, appeared on cable news shows and declared that Republicans voted to “terminate Medicare.” A Web video from the Agenda Project, a liberal group, said the plan would leave the country “without Medicare” and showed a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. And just last month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a fundraising appeal that said: “House Republicans’ vote to end Medicare is a shameful act of betrayal.”

After two years of being pounded by Republicans with often false charges about the 2010 health care law, the Democrats were turning the tables.

PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.

Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.

Go read the whole thing.  There are worse things to do on December 20th.

A long time ago President Bush lowered the marginal federal tax rate.  However, he was only able to do it through reconciliation.  This meant, of course, that they were not permanent; they would have to expire.  Since then we’ve been engaged in class warfare as the Left screams to reset the rate for the richest 1%.  As Republicans work to prevent the tax increase, all the rage from the Democrats was that this wasn’t a tax hike, it was simply allowing the tax to go back to where it previously was.

Now, in an admittedly bizarre twist of fate, we have the Democrats bemoaning the fact if the the House doesn’t pass the most recent tax bill, it would be a tax hike on the middle class:

“The bipartisan compromise passed in the Senate yesterday received 89 votes, including 39 Republican votes, and Speaker Boehner himself just yesterday called it a ‘good deal’ and a ‘victory,’ ” the White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, said in a statement.

“If House Republicans refuse to pass this bipartisan bill to extend the payroll tax cut,” Mr. Pfeiffer said, “there will be a significant tax increase on 160 million hard-working Americans in 13 days that would damage the economy and job growth.”

As I mentioned, this is bizarro world and I happen to agree with the Democrats.  If the bill fails and the payroll taxes are reset, it would represent a tax hike on America.

I’m just glad that the Democrats finally agree with me.

Last night I spent some time over at alan.com.  Alan Colmes is a liberal commentator on Fox.  He has his own radio show that I enjoy and his blog and chat room are both exceptional.  In fact, it’s because of Alan that I started TarheelRed.  Anyway, so, I was chattin’ up the locals and, as you would expect, found myself in the minority on many topics.

We discussed taxes, education, labor, Presidential politics and even Iran.  The banter was back and forth, very quick and not unpleasant.  It’s hard and frustrating, to be sure, being the only Voice of Reason in a room full of Liberals, but hey, good times.

As I left I had two takeaways:

  1. Democrats and Republicans are very nearly the same.
  2. Very few people understand Liberty

I think that all people, from the Left and the Right, want good things to happen to people.  I think all people wanna help people when they need that help.  I think all people feel that everyone should contribute to society.  I think we’re all on agreement there.  And it goes even further.

Both Republicans and Democrats want to coerce man to cast aside their wicked ways.

The vehicle for the Republicans is Religion.  Via faith and God, the Right attempts to coerce people into doing good things.  The vehicle for the Democrats is the State.  Via laws and guns, the Left attempts to coerce people into doing good things.

We were discussing education.  I tried to make the case that given we ALL want a great educational system, up to and including college, we should work towards building a system that works.  I was immediately accused of wanting to privatize education.  When I admitted that would be preferable I also ceded the argument for the sake of discussion and said we could keep it public.  Even in a public setting, we have room for reform.  For example, disband the unions and allow administrations to hire and fire based on merit.  Provide bonuses and pay increases based on performance.

The response?

I hate teachers and don’t wanna educate the poor.  Why don’t I want the whole country to be educated?  It’s for my own good.  Even evil capitalists want and need educated children and adults.

The premise?

People, left to their own devices, will not find it within themselves to provide an educational experience that satisfies the needs of the society.  And so the Leftist enacts laws, the Conservative pulls on faith, all in an attempt to coerce people into doing what is deemed to be in their self interest.

The folks felt that even college education ought to be free.

I asked them if my neighbor to the west was unable to provide college tuition for his daughter, would I be within my rights to knock on the door of my neighbor to the east and demand money and time from him, by force of gun or sword, in order to provide tuition for my neighbor’s daughter.

They laughed and considered me extreme.

I then asked what real difference is there in THAT scenario and the one where a bunch of people vote to take my eastern neighbors money via the state.  I mentioned that they had a confused sense of Liberty.

Which brings me to point number 2 and perhaps the quote of the year:

Liberty Schmiberty

Sadly, I had to acknowledge that neither the Democrat nor the Republican are interested in Liberty.  Rather, only forcing their brand of charity through their approved vehicle of coercion.

Liberty Schmiberty indeed.

I know that the Left doesn’t like the ruling that allows corporations to donate to campaigns.  Or, perhaps more importantly, actively campaign for the candidate of choice.  The granting of free speech rights to corporations does seem, in some ways, a bit silly.

Further, I resonate with those who feel that massive corporations can impact a campaign in a way and manner that can seem, how to say, unfair.  And in many ways, this political donating is similar to how I feel about unions.  The individual members of the union, or the workers/shareholders of a corporation may not WANT their money going to candidate A or to party B.

But I don’t know how to fix it.

I know that individuals are limited in the amount of money they can contribute to a candidate.  But after that, if an individual wants to spend private money to purchase air time on the radio in support of a candidate, she can, right?

I think so.  Even if it means that this woman can donate massive amounts of money to Minnesota Democrats:

For more than 30 years, one of the most influential charitable and political donors in Minnesota has been a woman passionate about issues but guarded about her privacy.

Alida Messinger, an heir to the fabled Rockefeller fortune, has quietly given at least $10 million to candidates and causes over the past decade. Some recent gifts have been extraordinary: $500,000 to a group that last year backed her former husband, Mark Dayton, for governor. And before that, $1 million to help bankroll the ballot campaign for the Legacy amendment, which raised the state sales tax to create 25 years of new funding for conservation and cultural projects.

Now, Messinger is preparing for a new showdown that will be expensive, contentious and, for the first time, public.

She is vowing to do all she can to help the DFL regain control of the Legislature and get President Obama re-elected. Her millions could also become a force in the fight over the constitutional amendment on the ballot next year to define marriage as a union of man and woman — not gay couples. Messinger, 62, contends GOP politicians are harming Minnesota. “We are not a quality-of-life state anymore,” she said. “Citizens need to get involved and say we don’t like what you are doing to our state.”

A single citizen, full of money, is helping to shape the political climate of a state.  Going so far as to elect her ex-husband to the Governor’s mansion.  And that’s not all of it.  Part of her giving, $500,000, went to a GROUP that worked to elect the good governor.

I don’t like it when a single individual can influence politics that much.  I suspect that much of my chagrin this afternoon has to do with the fact that Ms. Messinger donates to Democrats.  But I get that for ever rich Messinger, there is a rich Koch, or two.  For every Steve Jobs, there is a rich….well, a rich Republican.  I get that.

And maybe just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not capital “R” Right.

Let’s see if Obama can let the Republicans craft policy in the same way that Bill Clinton let the Republicans in his day:

(Reuters) – The United States will likely suffer the loss of its triple-A credit rating from another major rating agency by the end of this year due to concerns over the deficit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecasts.

The trigger would be a likely failure by Congress to agree on a credible long-term plan to cut the U.S. deficit, the bank said in a research note published on Friday.

A second downgrade — either from Moody’s or Fitch — would follow Standard & Poor’s downgrade in August on concerns about the government’s budget deficit and rising debt burden. A second loss of the country’s top credit rating would be an additional blow to the sluggish U.S. economy, Merrill said.

“The credit rating agencies have strongly suggested that further rating cuts are likely if Congress does not come up with a credible long-run plan” to cut the deficit, Merrill’s North American economist, Ethan Harris, wrote in the report.

Everyone knows that the Republican Congress has passed job creating bill after job creating bill only to have Harry Reid kill it in the Senate.  Obama’s job bill was defeated by Democrats and then Senate Democrats supported the Republican version.  And this was after Obama’s first shot at a jobs bill was defeated 99-zip.

This is Obama’s economy.

Because I think that the debate over taxes has been going on for a long time, and while continue to go on through the election, we should take a break and chuckle:

Even though this pokes fun at my side, I enjoy a good laugh just as much as the next guy.

But let’s be very clear here as well.  There is simply no reasonable argument that can be made that we have a revenue issue that’s contributing to our nation’s debt.  The problem always has and always will be spending.

Further, the idea that Reagan and Obama share the same economic philosophy is laughable.  Even more so than that cute clever video.  Reagan believed in less government.  He felt that government could not and never could, be the solution.  It was government that WAS the problem.  Obama?  Well, he feels very different.  The more that government gets involved, the better off the people of this nation will be is center to Obama’s thinking.

We simply disagree.  And we can’t compromise on that.  How do you compromise with someone who wants to rob your house?  Is it a moral victory to let him “only take” your TV while you get to keep the rest of your property?

No.

Last, the House Republicans led by the fiscal conservatives are doing yeoman’s work.  Obama and the Democrats know that they have no chance what-so-ever of passing nonsense through the House.  So the aren’t even trying.  The bills they craft are being written in such a way that they HOPE they get through.  If the House were less conservative, Obama’s bill would be even worse than they are today.  But, BUT, I feel my comrades are making two critical errors:

  1. Refusing to add revenue simply on principle.
  2. Missing the opportunity to “cash out”.

First, if we can raise revenue without raising rates simply by making the code easier and removing crazy-ass “loopholes”, DO IT!  For gawd’s sake man, take “W”.

Second, i was very distressed to see all Republican candidates raise their hand during one of the debates when asked if the would reject a plan that had 10-1 spending to tax ratios.  Dude, take the flippin’ deal and push away from the table.  Especially if these guys are offering up Social Security and Medi-X.  In fact, if they let me reform either or both of those programs I’d give on taxes in a second.

Anyway.  Enjoy Obama quoting Reagan!

After Weiner was “caught” exposing his private self in public, New York had a special election to replace him.  Here is some commentary:

In what can be taken as a referendum on Barack Obama, Republican Bob Turner  picked up a Democratic seat in New York thanks in part to his ability to attach Democratic candidate David Weprin to the President’s handling of the economy.

Although observers warn against looking too much at the special election as a bellwether for 2012, Republicans were quick to tout the win as a referendum on the President’s jobs agenda.

“Bob Turner’s victory tonight is a tribute to Republicans commitment to preserve and strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and grow our economy. And it sends a clear message that will echo nationwide: Democrats will be held accountable for their vote to pass the President’s jobs bill,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH., said in a statement.

Republican Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel sent a similar warning message to Republicans.

“Today, the Democrat’s plan to begin a new round of stimulus cost  $3.4 million and a seat in Congress. And this is only the first seat,” Israel, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “We served notice to the Democrats that we will fight them anywhere in America when it comes to defending and strengthening American’s.”

Interesting huh?  One election and the Republicans are talking all that.  But check it out.  THAT isn’t the language of the election in New York this past Tuesday.  THAT is the report from the press back when the Democrats took the Republican seat back in May.

This is one seat in one state that is likely to go away soon.  However the news may be overstated by the Republicans, in no WAY can tis be considered good news for the Democrats.