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So Much Happening, So Little Time

PoliticsGovernment WasteI’m currently working on three or four projects that I’m very excited about. The day job at NCTA is really taking up a lot of time with our National Show last week and markup on the house telecom reform bill next week. I’ve also got daddy duty since mom is traveling this week. Little Turk and I spent a lot of time playing last night and he eventually passed out on my shoulder.

I’m also working on a side project that should be going public in the next couple of weeks. I haven’t given it the attention it needs the last week or two, but that’s changing this week.

On top of all that, there’s also a lot going on in the news. Between the continuing speculation about November mid-terms and the reshuffling of the White House staff, it’s hard to pick a place to start.

Stuart Rothenberg has a great write up on the bizarre spectacle of Democrats celebrating another near-win as if it were an actual win. (It’s Roll Call, though, so you’ll need an account).

Democratic operatives rightly understand that they need to repeat their message of change often if they are to help build a tidal wave of dissatisfaction that leads to Democratic control of the House of Representatives in November.

But it does no good to claim victory when there was none. Busby didn’t win anything except the Democratic nomination, which gives her a place in the runoff.

Contrary to what you may have heard from Democrats, Busby’s 43.9 percent showing doesn’t even constitute some sort of breakthrough for the Democrats in this Southern California Congressional district. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) drew an almost identical percentage against President Bush in the district, and both Al Gore in 2000 (43 percent) and Bill Clinton in 1996 (45 percent) drew a similar percentage of the vote in the district.

After the special election in Ohio-02 last year, I was surprised at the sheer volume of the Democrats screaming, “We Almost Won!!!” It really struck me as odd that they could get so excited about a loss. That was followed by the November elections where they kept offices they already had, but gained nothing else. Again the cheers of joy went up from the “we-didn’t-lose-as-bad-as-we-could-have” crowd.

Now, it’s California-50. They have spent so much energy telling us Busby won that they’ll look retarded when she loses the rn-off – which she will.

In another odd bit of writing, Senator Judd Gregg, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, decries the government’s broken and out of control budget process and “emergency spending” specifically. (Sorry, it’s the Wall Street Journal and you’ll need an account here as well.)

The safety valve has become a fire hose, so much so that to understand budget estimates one needs to know not only the budget, but the “shadow budget” as well. We discuss regular spending “within the caps” and emergency spending “outside the caps”; but emergency spending is considered “free money” because it is not controlled or offset vis-√†-vis other federal spending. The White House regularly transmits and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees report bills containing “emergency” spending above budget allocations and controls. This emergency spending is charged straight to the U.S. government’s deficit and debt, like a credit card, with our kids and future generations paying the interest.

Sorry, I hate to be the insensitive goon to rain on your heartfelt concerns for out of control spending, but you’re a Republican, right? And Republicans have control of the levers of power (at least until November), right?

Then how about spending less time writing op-eds for the Wall Street Journal and more time changing the law. We’re in control. If we don’t like the off-budget budgeting, then change it. I guarantee you the Democrats won’t be nearly as accommodating if they get back in power.

Written by Michael Turk