The Madness

of Queen Nancy. She seems determined to drive her party over a cliff. OK by me.

More than a few Democrats in Congress are perplexed and worried that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is insisting on ramming through a 1,900-page health care bill on Saturday, just days after her party took heavy losses in Tuesday’s elections. “It reminds me of Major Nicholson, the obsessed British major in the film ‘Bridge on the River Kwai,'” one Democrat told me. “She is fixated on finishing her health care bridge even as she’s lost sight of where it’s going and what damage it could cause to her own troops.”

Indeed, the Speaker’s take on Tuesday’s off-year elections struck some of her own members as delusive “happy talk.” “From our perspective, we won last night,” a cheerful Ms. Pelosi told reporters, citing her party’s pick-up of a single House seat in a New York special election and retention of another strongly Democratic seat in California.

That’s not how many of her own troops see it. Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama told Politico.com that members are “very, very sensitive” to the fact that the agenda being pushed by party leaders has “the potential to cost some of our front-line members their seats.”

You don’t get it, Congressman. She doesn’t care about your seats, as long as she doesn’t lose her majority. She can do without you knuckle-dragging southerners.

And this is simply stupid, but explains why the Dems are screwing up so badly — they complete misread history:

One Democratic House moderate says the leadership has mislearned a lesson from the 1994 collapse of Hillary Clinton’s health care bill. “They believe they lost the elections that year because they failed to pass anything,” he says. “But they forget it might have been even worse if they’d passed the wrong bill.”

They lost the House in 1994 because (among several other things) a) they attempted to pass a similar bill and b) they passed the “assault weapons” ban and c) they had established a reputation for corruption, with Rostenkowski and others. Not to mention d) Newt came up with an appealing campaign strategy. All that’s missing for a similar earthquake next year is a Republican Party that isn’t brain dead — all the other ingredients in terms of corruption and overreach are already there, and if they ram this through the House, it will just add fuel to the fire, even if it dies in the Senate. Unfortunately, a smart Republican Party is often too much to ask for.

Another Karine-A

Noah Pollack has the story:

What will Obama say about all this? Being that evidence of Iranian-Syrian hostile intent complicates the administration’s desire for “engagement,” whatever that means anymore, the answer is: probably nothing.

What will the human-rights hustlers say? Where is Judge Goldstone? Where is the flurry of outraged press releases from Human Rights Watch? These weapons are intended for one purpose only — to terrorize Israeli civilians and drag the region into war. Shouldn’t this be an easy call for peace-loving human-rights activists? HRW has condemned Israel for violating international law over the way it funds public schools. I would bet a large sum that HRW will say nothing about the 500 tons of arms Iran just tried to send to Hezbollah. Priorities, you see.

That this is happening almost exactly thirty years after the hostage taking in Tehran is particularly appalling.

A Free-Market Party?

What a concept:

The rise of free-market populism in this country finally has manifested in an election. And judging from the hyperbolic reactions, you know it’s a political movement with staying power.

When tepid, traditional conservative candidate Doug Hoffman knocked off liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava—a candidate who was supported by nearly every boogeyman in the GOP handbook—you might have thought that the rabble had stormed the Bastille.

Sophisticated New York Times columnist Frank Rich called the event “a riotous and bloody national G.O.P. civil war” and compared the conservative surge to a murderous Stalinist purge. (Remarkably, the esteemed wordsmith failed to unleash similar histrionic language when one-time-Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman met the same fate.)

Purging moderates is indeed a self-destructive strategy for any national party. But running a party without any litmus tests on the central issue of the economy seems to be similarly self-defeating.

The most impressive trick played by Rich and other liberals, though, is creating a narrative wherein the ones attempting to fundamentally reconfigure the American economy are cast as the moderates.

The nearly powerless who stand in their way? Well, they play the part of Stalinists.

But of course, as Orwell pointed out, the real Stalinists are the people who torture the language like Frank Rich does.

Is It 1993 Again?

…or 1938?

Democrats lost 80 seats in the 1938 election, after gaining seats in 1930, 1932, 1934 and 1936.

How did this happen? As Amity Shlaes notes in her history of the Depression, “The Forgotten Man,” Roosevelt believed less competition and high wages would heal the economy. Aided by Congress, he went about engineering those two things with a vengeance, trebling the size of the federal government in less than a decade.

At the time, such drastic action may have seemed warranted. Within three years of the 1929 crash, GDP had fallen nearly a third and a fourth of the U.S. work force was idle. Even so, the economy appeared to stabilize in 1934 and 1935, and in 1936, Democrats won landslides in both Congress and the presidency.

What happened next is a tale of overreach and hubris — one that holds lessons for today’s Democrats.

But they seem determined not to learn them. Because to do so would negate their entire world view.

Congratulations LaserMotive

It looks like they just won almost a million dollars in the power beaming contest.

I sure hope that the administration will request a lot more money for Centennial Challenges, and Congress grant it. Tomorrow’s award of the NGLLC prizes at the Rayburn Building would be a good opportunity to make the point that, dollar for dollar, they put to shame anything else that NASA is doing, Constellation most of all.

They Couldn’t Have Found Anyone With More Expertise

If this is true, whoever sets up lectures at Harvard had his sense of irony removed at birth:

HARVARD UNIVERSITY EDMOND J. SAFRA FOUNDATION CENTER FOR ETHICS

Eliot Spitzer, former Governor and Attorney General of New York, will deliver a public lecture as part of the 2009/10 Labs Lectures on the Question of Institutional Corruption.

Truly amazing.

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