Practice What You Preach, Mr. President

Jonathan Alter???s upcoming book, The Promise: President Obama, Year One, reportedly quotes Obama verbally attacking Americans who participate in the Tea Party movement. The President supposedly said that Republican opposition to his Recovery Act, ???helped create the (expletive deleted) and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party where it now controls the agenda for Republicans.???

Apology Owed

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told Fox News, ???it is insulting to have him lecture on civility while being the least civil participant. Obama, get out of the gutter, wash your mouth out with soap and grow up.??? It is un-presidential for Obama to attack Americans who are exercising their 1st Amendment rights to protest against big government. The President owes Tea Party members and the American people an apology.

These revelations come just days after Obama addressed the University of Michigan Class of 2010. There, he spoke of a letter he received from a kindergarten class in Virginia asking, ???Are people being nice????

???Well, if you turn on the news today, or yesterday, or a week ago, or a month ago???particularly one of the cable channels, you can see why even a kindergartener would ask this question. We???ve got politicians calling each other all sorts of unflattering names. Pundits and talking heads shout at each other. The media tend to play up every hint of conflict, because it makes for a sexier story, which means anyone interested in getting coverage feels compelled to make his arguments as outrageous and as incendiary as possible.???

Why not be ???nice??? and practice what you preach, Mr. President?

Gun-Grabbing Legislation

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.) is using Americans??? fear of terrorism to promote legislation that could restrict the right to own a handgun. Lautenberg is a sponsor of S. 843, the Gun Show Background Check Act of 2009, a bill that would effectively close gun shows throughout America. Lautenberg also supports reinstatement of the so-called ???assault weapons ban,??? a bill that would expand the definition of an ???assault weapon??? in a manner that would ban types of guns that are rarely used in crimes while ignoring the fact that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens actually reduces crime. In short, Lautenberg aims to severely restrict the right of Americans to own a handgun.

Last week, the Senate Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on two Lautenberg proposals. The first, S.1317 is a bill that would grant the attorney general the power to deny the transfer of firearms if the AG determines that the transferee is a suspected terrorist. Citizens wrongly placed on a no-fly list would lose their constitutional right to possess a firearm without any due process. The second bill, S.2820, would allow gun records to be maintained by the federal government for six months. These ideas infringe on law-abiding citizens??? right to self defense.

Federal and International Bailouts

The Senate is intent on completing work on S. 3217, the so-called Restoring American Financial Stability Act, by the end of this week. Senators Richard Shelby (R.-Ala.) and Chris Dodd (D.-Conn.) added an amendment to protect taxpayer exposure to emergency lending to insolvent companies, because that was one of the very controversial actions taken by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis of 2008. Many conservatives worry that there still are provisions in the bill that would give the federal government permanent bailout authority.

Not only is there a worry about federal bailouts of Wall Street, but there???s an emerging debate about the use of taxpayer dollars to bail out foreign governments.

A year ago, Sen. Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) offered an amendment to strike a $108 billion increase in funding for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of debate on a war supplemental spending bill. Recently, the IMF approved a $40 billion bailout of Greece.

Republican DeMint???s amendment failed on a 30 to 64 vote, with the tri-partisan support of Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Democrat Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. J.D. Foster of The Heritage Foundation worries that Greece is merely the first in a long line of international bailouts. ???A Mediterranean contagion is starting that is likely to sweep up many sad actors in the region. Are U.S. taxpayer dollars to be used to bail out these countries as well???? With the benefit of a year???s experience, many senators should be having second thoughts about this vote. n