If … 19

“If Biden becomes president …” The words chill us to the bone, but we cannot now avoid uttering them.

And we cannot avoid hearing Trump supporters comforting one another by saying, “You don’t need to worry too much because we will still have the Senate. The Democrats won’t be able to put any of their dreadful domestic policies into effect because the Republican majority there will stop them.”

Suddenly, they trust the Senate Republicans!

Is there reason to trust them?

Julie Kelly writes at American Greatness:

In February 2020, Mitt Romney became the first U.S. senator in history to vote to convict the president of his own party. Despite a laughable impeachment case concocted by House Democrats and clear evidence of corruption tied to the Democratic presidential candidate whom the impeachment effort was designed to protect, Romney nonetheless supported the removal of Donald Trump from the White House.

“My faith is at the heart of who I am,” Utah’s junior senator claimed while working up tears from the Senate floor on February 5. “The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.”

As we all know, President Trump had done nothing wrong, let alone an extremely egregious wrong. He was accused – to put the case briefly – of bribing a Ukrainian government to investigate whether Joe Biden had bribed a Ukrainian government to protect and enrich his son Hunter Biden and through his son, himself. President Trump had not done it. Joe Biden had done it. And Joe Biden’s party impeached Trump for doing it.

But Romney didn’t just pontificate about the president’s behavior. In that very same soliloquy, Romney defended the actions of both Joe and Hunter Biden.

“Taking excessive advantage of his father’s name is unsavory, it is not a crime.” Romney concluded, therefore, that since no crime had been committed by the Bidens, in his opinion, the president’s request that Ukrainian officials look into their shady business dealings was “political.”

With that, Mitt Romney secured his place in political history for something other than losing two campaigns for president.

In many respects, Romney is the poster child for the present-day Republican U.S. Senate: pandering, feckless, disloyal, and weak.

Yes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s record on confirming federal judges, including three Supreme Court nominees, is laudable. But the four-year reign of the Republican Senate under a Republican president is a shameful account of missed opportunities, broken promises, and straight-up subversion of Donald Trump. During one of the most fraught, destructive periods in American history, Senate Republicans squandered rather than wielded their immense political power.

Longtime pledges to reform immigration laws and repeal the Affordable Care Act were cast aside. When the president used his legal authority to attempt to secure the southern border in the spring of 2019, a dozen Senate Republicans vetoed his emergency order.

Rather than stand up to the Democratic Party’s race hustlers, Senate Republicans—including McConnell—condemned the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor as racially motivated even when evidence contradicted those claims. A few Republican senators sponsored legislation to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a sop to the Left.

As lawless thugs tore down statues of America’s Founders and Antifa mobs occupied swaths of major U.S. cities, some Republican senators didn’t even bother to attend a public hearing about Antifa’s ongoing threat to the country. President Trump often was the lone voice defending America’s history and ideals; following his riveting July 4 address at Mount Rushmore, where he unapologetically confronted America’s domestic enemies, Republican Senators were silent.

Of course, there’s no greater example of the Senate Republicans’ abdication of power than its complete and total failure to hold accountable any of the perpetrators of so-called Obamagate for orchestrating the biggest American political scandal of all time.

Republicans knew early on that the Steele dossier was garbage; Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) were fully aware that the dossier was political propaganda sourced from a foreign operative paid by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee but legitimized its use as the pretext for the collusion scam.

Rather than put a stop to the phony Trump-Russia collusion plotline, Senate Republicans played along with their Democratic counterparts. Every single Republican senator supported the appointment of Robert Mueller, a Beltway crony and BFF of James Comey. The Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) then by Graham, performed no oversight of Mueller’s destructive probe despite holding the purse strings. When the president justifiably expressed his frustration at Mueller’s “witch hunt”, instead of defending the president, Senate Republicans vowed to “protect the Special Counsel”. 

At the same time, top Republicans did nothing more than write stern letters and give Fox News interviews threatening to “get to the bottom” of the real scandal. Subpoenas were blocked; criminal referrals were ignored by the Justice Department; public interrogations were canceled or delayed until public interest waned.

The flagrantly corrupt chiefs of the country’s law enforcement and intelligence apparatus, rather than face jail time or at least a public tribunal of sorts similar to what House Democrats did to Donald Trump and his loyalists for two years, continue to demean the president on cable news shows and on social media.

The current composition of the Republican-held Senate is a tower of Jello, a quivering, wavering ship of fools, an embarrassing collection of dunces, dupes, and paper tigers.

We’ll call that a string of metaphors rather than a mixed one and give it a pass, because most of the Republicans in power are cowards, fools, dunces, and dupes of their more cunning, more determined, utterly unscrupulous Democrat colleagues.

For example, in a pre-Election Day tirade, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) insisted the president would cause major GOP losses as voters across the country rejected his antics and tweets. “We are staring down the barrel of a blue tsunami,” Sasse told supporters.

Now that is a mixed metaphor. A prize one. Proof that Republican Senator Sasse is a dunce. An inability to talk sense simply reveals an inability to think sensibly.

And he was wrong about the imminent arrival of a “blue tsunami”:

Not only did Republicans hold the Senate but they’ve picked up at least six House seats with more victories predicted.

Even now, as the president is fighting widespread election irregularities and suspected fraud, he is on his own. “Where is the GOP?!” Eric Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon. “Our voters will never forget . . .” (Late Thursday, Graham announced he would donate $500,000 to Trump’s legal defense fund.)

It’s pure folly to think this Republican Senate will act as a bulwark against a Biden-Harris Administration. Armed with a slim majority, Senate Republicans undoubtedly will play footsie with their former colleagues under the solemn banner of “bringing the country together”.

There is no reason to believe Senate Republicans won’t sign off on a Democrat-backed coronavirus relief package that includes a partial bailout of bankrupted blue states, a lite version of the Green New Deal or at least “climate change mitigation” legislation, expanded Obamacare coverage, more flexible immigration laws, and a variety of taxpayer-funded goodies from college debt forgiveness to some form of racial reparations.

McConnell already is ready to work with Biden on his cabinet after Democrats made life a living hell for every Trump appointee. … McConnell is signaling to Team Biden that he will approve “centrist options” and fight the nomination of any progressive candidates. But that won’t fly with the Democratic Party base; Biden owes them. And once the media goes scorched earth on Republican senators who won’t acquiesce, don’t be surprised when they cave.

Oh, and the little matter of Hunter Biden and the overwhelming evidence of the Biden family’s pay-to-play schemes with hostile foreign entities? Don’t hold your breath waiting for any follow-up investigation. Both Graham and Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) recently refused to commit to issuing a subpoena for the younger Biden.

“And this election did not give the Democrats power,” Ben Shapiro tweeted Thursday morning. “Biden’s most progressive priorities are DOA in a McConnell-run Senate.”

Only people who haven’t paid close attention to a McConnell-run Senate believe that to be true. Do they really believe folks like Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham will hold their ground against Biden? Do they really think Mitt Romney won’t attempt to carve out some “Conscience of the Senate” role that lets him find common ground with Biden and Harris for the “betterment of democracy” or some nonsense?

Pure fantasy.

I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt I am. Listening to the deafening silence of Senate Republicans this week only reinforces my cynical analysis. If you’re disappointed with McConnell and company now, just wait until next year if Joe Biden is president.

If the Democrats get control of the presidency, the House and the Senate, they will do everything they can to stay in power permanently, and America is all too likely to become a one-party state. Ambitious politicians who call themselves Republicans now will happily become Democrats. It will not be a big change; they have been conniving with their opponents for years.

The Republican Party needs to be taken in hand by new young members who will make it energetic, effective, dedicated, and extremely aggressive – starting now before we even know for sure who the next president will be.

F for a mess-up 0

Investors’ Business Daily deplores the strengthening American dictatorship and the manner in which it is spreading and tightening its control by means of an increasing and ever more privileged bureaucracy:

With the passage of health care reform and the ongoing boom in federal hiring, it’s becoming increasingly clear that America is now run by a new, privileged class of bureaucrats.

For those who remember the old Soviet Union, it was a grim place — at least for average citizens. But not so for those in government. Contrary to the official ideals of equality and a classless society that the ruling communist regime espoused, the USSR created a privileged class of party members inside government — the nomenklatura.

This semipermanent bureaucracy earned higher incomes, got better health care, ate better food and had greater job security than average Russians, the much-despised proletarians. Today, our bloated federal government seems, in significant ways, to be creating this same dynamic.

Take the just-passed health care bill that carefully excluded the White House, congressional leaders and their staffs from having to live under the reforms’ restrictions.

“President Obama will not have to live under the Obama health care reforms, and neither will the congressional staff who helped to write the overhaul,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. “The message to the people at the grass roots is that it’s good enough for you, but not for us.”

The hypocrisy of these officials and the contempt they show for average Americans is bad enough. But  Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public can also go to jail or be fined up to $250,000 for not buying insurance. And the government is spending $10 billion to hire 16,500 new IRS agents to make sure they don’t escape the new system. [But see below]

Under current budget plans, this won’t end soon. With $45 trillion in new government spending planned over the next decade, this new privileged governing class can only grow.

Today, as we witness a massive shift of resources from the private to the public sector, the only place adding jobs is government. Since the start of last year, the federal government has added 81,000 jobs. By contrast, private-sector payrolls have shed 4.71 million.

Big government is the place to be these days. Federal workers are some of the country’s best-paid, earning far in excess of their counterparts in the private sector. …

The average government worker gets a whopping $40,785 a year in health care, pension and other benefits compared to $9,882 for a private worker. The difference in total compensation widens to $38,548 a year — for the same job with the same duties.

Anyone who has visited the slow-moving Post Office, talked to the surly and often hostile IRS agent or even gone to the local DMV to spend time in waiting-room hell can tell you that pay gap doesn’t represent productivity, training or ability.

What it does represent is the new Nomenklatura — the privileged apparatchiks who now run our government and with it, sadly, much of our lives. This is very much a result of years of “progressive” thinking that has pushed the Democratic Party sharply leftward across the political spectrum.

Since the Civil War, the so-called Progressive Movement’s dream has been to exalt bureaucratic expertise and control over free-market efficiency. With the new administration, their dream has become our nightmare.

It’s true and very bad – but  one statement  needs qualification:

Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public can also go to jail or be fined up to $250,000 for not buying insurance. And the government is spending $10 billion to hire 16,500 new IRS agents to make sure they don’t escape the new system.

According to this report by Morgen Richmond at Big Government, there is no provision in the act for enforcing the individual mandate:

One of the more controversial elements of ObamaCare is the mandate for most individuals to purchase insurance beginning in 2014. There is really no precedent for a federal mandate of this scale requiring individuals to purchase a product or service. So not surprisingly a number of state Attorney Generals have indicated they will be filing suit questioning the constitutionality of this provision.

Of course the individual mandate is also very risky from a political standpoint, as the Democrats who orchestrated the passage of this bill are mandating not only that the young and healthy obtain insurance, but also that even their most fervent liberal constituents must purchase this coverage from the “evil”, private insurance industry.

Republicans for their part have focused on the fact that this mandate will be enforced via threat of a financial penalty (or tax), with the added assumption that it is the dreaded IRS which will be enforcing this. And sure enough, it’s already been reported that the IRS anticipates hiring possibly in excess of 15,000 additional personnel to deal with the collection of the individual mandate, and other tax related provisions within the bill.

However, it turns out that the Democrats who crafted this bill significantly – and I mean significantly – hamstrung the ability of the IRS or any other federal agency to enforce or collect on this mandate. Here is what the federal Joint Committee on Taxation had to say about this issue in a report released earlier this week:

The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the [Internal Revenue] Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.

According to a footnote in the report, “subtitle F of the Code” is the portion of the tax code which grants the IRS the authority to assess and collect taxes. In other words, as the law is written the federal government has no legal authority to enforce this mandate, nor will it have any recourse to collect any penalties that go unpaid!

Without an effective mechanism of enforcing the individual mandate, the entire system is likely to collapse. (The individual mandate is the “third leg of the stool” as many a liberal has been pointing out for months.) Given that the bill also bans insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, WHY WOULD ANYONE OBTAIN INSURANCE COVERAGE PRIOR TO NEEDING IT? This was already going to be a problem with the relatively low cost of the penalty, but take away any meaningful enforcement of it and it is a complete and total joke.

The net result will be an ever increasing shift of healthcare costs on to those who remain in the insurance system (or to tax payers), and possibly even the bankruptcy of the insurance industry. Given all the double-talk the past year over the public option, and the demonizing of private insurers, it is hard not to wonder whether this was by design. But let’s give our Democratic friends the benefit of the doubt, in which case this represents an inexcusable level of incompetence from the people we have just entrusted with overseeing one-sixth of the economy. Nice job guys.

If it’s a mistake it could be a lucky break for the oppressed  But if the apparent mess-up is part of the plan, what fresh hell awaits us?