Big news of the morning is Barney Frank’s retirement:
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will announce Monday that he is not seeking re-election, ending a 32-year career in the House.
Frank, 71, is the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee and the architect, with former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), of the sweeping Wall Street regulatory reform law enacted in 2010.
He is scheduled to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. in his district, according to a spokesman, who said the congressman would announce at that time the reason for his decision. His retirement will deprive the House of one of its most colorful characters, a man known for his quick and often caustic wit.
Elected in 1980, Frank survived scandal early in his career and rose to become the nation’s most powerful openly-gay elected official. After coming out publicly, he became a champion for gay rights and helped campaign for an end to the military’s ban on gays serving openly, which ended this year.
(1) With Frank out, the Democrat next in line to become the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee is Rep. Maxine Waters of California. In other words, another ethically pristine,meek personality.
(2) With Frank out, both authors of the controversial 2010 Wall Street “reform” bill (which enshrined “too big to fail” and left Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unscathed) will be out of Congress — each with anethical cloud hanging over his head.
(3) With Frank out, a scramble is already underway to replace him. Several Democrats are moving to run in Franks recently re-drawn district, and Republican Elizabeth Childs had already announced plans to challenge Frank in 2012. Massachusetts lost one Congressional seat in reapportionment; two sitting members from the state’s 100 percent Democratic House delegation have now announced they won’t return in 2013.
PubliusNM friend John Dendahl has recently posted about the implications of Ohio’s recent election for Big Labor. On November 16, Dendahl noted:
Two ballot issues in Ohio produced the most talked-about results, at least in part on account of the appearance of voter Schizophrenia. By a margin of 61-39 percent, about 3.5 million Ohioans voting on Issue 2 “vetoed” Senate Bill 5 enacted last March. That law placed limits on public employee unions’ bargaining rights and stepped-up employees’ financial responsibility for their health insurance and retirement contributions. (Arguments pro and con can be seen here.)
The Issue 2 vote is seen as a big victory for organized labor and for the national leader who has advocated for union interests in Ohio and Wisconsin elections, Pres. Obama.
Not so fast, though. By an even larger margin, 66-34 percent, the same voters approved Issue 3, a constitutional amendment barring that state’s citizens from being required to purchase the health insurance that is the lynchpin of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, ObamaCare in shorthand. Since ObamaCare looms as a major issue in the 2012 presidential election, this is seen as a huge loss for Obama. Hence the appearance of voter Schizophrenia.
The union side on Issue 2 spent some $30 million, perhaps three times the opposition’s spending. For perspective, John Kasich’s campaign spent under $19 million last year getting him elected governor. Remaining to be seen is whether in fact this turns out to be the win for organized labor that is superficially apparent. Gov. Kasich had said repeatedly that the changes in law are mandatory for the state and political subdivisions to finance operations without severe layoffs.Webinar guest speaker John Fund, until recently a respected political analyst and reporter for The Wall Street Journal and now writing a book, called the union win “a Pyrrhic Victory,” suggesting that unions will now pay the price of job losses.
After I blogged the other day about who really won in the Ohio ballot fight over public employee unions, over at News21, my kids who live there sent a related piece published in Columbus by the mayor of a nearby small town, entitled “A few tweaks could improve collective bargaining.” They commended it to me as “thoughtful.”
My reaction was that (a) the mayor had indeed written a thoughtful piece, but that (b) I still can’t share his faith in binding arbitration. A city’s elected leadership should not be barred from deciding to take a strike or instituting a lock-out. So, in that view, one might argue that the mayor is nibbling around the edges. I do understand, though, that he was writing from a position materially weakened by the election (Issue 2 on the Ohio ballot on November 8) and, perhaps, attempting to get some cheese out of the trap.
If a business executive and/or board of directors agrees to a labor contract that is economically ruinous, sooner or later the executive, the board or the entire company is gone.
1.Gingrich is an academic.
He earned a PhD in history and taught college before winning a seat in Congress. He has often spoken of himself as a historian. In 1995, he told CNN’s Bob Franken: “I am the most seriously professorial politician since Woodrow Wilson.”
But whereas Wilson spent years publishing scholarly works, Gingrich was more like the professor who wins popularity awards from undergraduates but doesn’t get tenure because he doesn’t publish anything significant. He even told a college newspaper in 1977 that “I made the decision two or three years ago that I’d rather run for Congress than publish the papers or academic books necessary to get promoted.”
Since then, he has given countless lectures and written more than 20 books, but has never produced truly serious scholarship. A typical Gingrich work is full of aphorisms and historical references — and devoid of the hallmarks of academic research: rigor, nuance and consideration of alternative views. Conservative political scientist James Q. Wilson once assessed materials for a televised history course that Gingrich was teaching as a “mishmash of undefined terms .?.?. misleading claims .?.?. and unclear distinctions.”
Yet Gingrich has been quick to cite his credentials as a source of authority. In a letter to Reagan budget director David Stockman, he once wrote: “From my perspective as a historian, you don’t deal in the objective requirements of history.” And recently, he suggested that mortgage giant Freddie Mac had paid him for his historical expertise, not his Capitol Hill connections.
Former two-term Gov. Gary Johnson (R-N.M.) tells the Santa Fe New Mexican that he feels “abandoned” by a Republican Party that shut him out of all but two of GOP presidential debates so far. As a result, he’s mulling over the idea of running for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.
“If I’d have been included in 16 of the last debates we wouldn’t even be having this conversation,” Johnson said.
Johnson said there have been “overtures made” by the Libertarian Party. While there’s no guarantee he’d win the nomination, Johnson believes he’d have a fair chance….
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There’s little doubt that Johnson – who unambiguously supports an end to the drug war, a non-interventionist foreign policy, reproductive rights, liberalized immigration policy, free trade, and many other libertarian position – would be the highest-profile LP candidate at least since Ron Paul hit the hustings back in 1988. As a pol who won election twice in a Democratic-heavy state and governed to bipartisan acclaim, he’d also be the first one who could point to administrative experience and success, which would surely help with publicity for the LP’s existence and positions.
Since we’ve got some interest in voter fraud (discussed more below), here’s a lengthy but relevant video for today. On November 11, at the Federalist Society’s annual convention, the Free Speech & Election Law group hosted a panel discussion on the issue featuring, among others, John Fund former WSJ columnist (click here to view in YouTube):
There should be no doubt that electoral fraud can and does happen, at least occasionally, in New Mexico.
Two of the most recent examples come from Doña Ana County, where a former Sunland Park judge wassentenced to 18 months on probation in 2009 for fraudulently voting and registering as a candidate for judge, and where someone involved in the county GOP allegedly altered seven voter registration forms to change new voters’ party affiliation from “declined to state” to Republican.
There should also be no doubt that there are problems with New Mexico’s voter rolls. Secretary of StateDianna Duran knows it. County clerks from both parties know it.
There should be a bipartisan way to address these issues. Voters essentially charged Duran with leading such an effort when they elected her last year, making her the first Republican secretary of state in eight decades. Duran had the support of many Democrats, including some county clerks.
In electing Duran, voters sent a strong message that they’re tired of shenanigans in the Secretary of State’s Office and want integrity in their elections.
But instead of leading a bipartisan effort to address problems with the voter file, Duran has created division with a months-long investigation that lacked transparency and integrity. As a result, the likelihood of county clerks and legislators from both parties coming together to address issues with the voter rolls is lessened.
Read his full piece here and get back to us in the comments: is Haussamen correct? Is Duran’s report snarky and untrustworthy?