Socialist Sanders on Shooting
By far the most outrageous response to the Tucson tragedy came from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, self-styled Socialist and independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats. In a letter to supporters last week, Sanders said: “What should be understood is that the violence, and threats of violence in Arizona, was not limited to Gabrielle Giffords. In light of all of this violence–both actual and threatened–is Arizona a state in which people who are not Republicans are unable to participate freely and fully in the democratic process? Have right-wing reactionaries, through threats and acts of violence, intimidated people with different points of view from expressing their political positions?” Asked by HUMAN EVENTS Political Editor John Gizzi what the President thought of Sanders’ salvo, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said only: “I haven’t talked to him about it.”
KBH First Out In ’12
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R.-Tex.) last week, became the first of the 33 U.S. senators up for election in 2012 to formally decide against running. In a letter to supporters that surprised few Texans, the 67-year-old Republican widely known as “KBH” explained she was making her retirement known early “to give the people of Texas ample time to consider who my successor will be.” Already mentioned for the Republican primary next March are State Railroad Commissioner Mike Williams, former GOP State Chairman Tom Pauken, and Lt. Gov. Dave Dewhurst. The only Democrat now considered a possible candidate is former Houston Mayor Bill White, who lost a race for governor last year to Republican Rick Perry.
Latest California “Brown Out”
In becoming only the second governor in California history to be elected to a third term, Democrat Jerry Brown last week laid out a plan to deal with his state’s record $25.4 billion budget deficit. Blaming leaders who spent the last decade crafting budgets with “gimmicks and tricks and unrealistic expectations,” Brown called for $12.5 billion in spending cuts, a 10% cut in take-home pay for some state employees, major reductions in social services, and turning over numerous state responsibilities (including fire and emergency responses) to counties and municipalities, thus bloating their budgets. Always a liberal Democrat, the 72-year-old Brown also called for extending several taxes for five years—a proposal that will have to get voter approval after being placed on the state ballot by the legislature. Already, State Assembly GOP Leader Connie Conway has declared opposition to the taxes and said her fellow Republican lawmakers were “the last line of defense for California taxpayers.”
Fairness Doctrine Again?
In remarks that left civil libertarians and constitutional authorities reeling, House Democratic Conference Chairman John Clyburn (S.C.) said last week that the shooting in Tucson should cause politicians to rethink the limits of free speech. “Free speech is as free speech does,” said the third-ranking House Democrat, “You cannot yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater and call it free speech and some of what I hear, and is being called that, is worse than that.” Clyburn, who also wants to revive the Fairness Doctrine to water down conservative talk radio, singled out the remark of Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle last year that the public may consider “2nd Amendment remedies” for political disputes unless Congress changed course. Condemning the Tucson tragedy from California (where she is caring for her 88-year-old father), Angle said: “Expanding the context of the attack to blame and to infringe upon the people’s Constitutional liberties is both dangerous and ignorant. The irresponsible assignment of blame to me, Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement by commentators and elected officials puts all who gather to redress grievances in danger.”
Dems’ Abramoff Sentenced
Although readers had to look hard in the January 6 Washington Post to find it, there was a news report that the former superlobbyist, considered by many to be the “Democratic Jack Abramoff,” was finally sentenced for making hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign donations and lying to the Federal Election Commission. Paul Magliocchetti, former congressional staffer and close associate of longtime powerful Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.), was sentenced to 27 months in prison. As part of his plea-bargain arrangement, Magliocchetti was also sentenced in U.S. District Court to two years of supervised release and a $75,000 fine. By switching to a guilty plea on 11 felony counts two months ago, Magliocchetti cooperated with prosecutors and this could well spark nervousness among many of the lobbyists and Democratic politicians who profited from his friendship.