Talking to 'children'
"The YearlyKos presidential forum here in Chicago did such a wonderful job of spotlighting the extreme elements of the Democratic Party that conservatives should hope that they make it a monthly, even weekly, event," Chicago Tribune columnist Dennis Byrne writes at www.RealClear Politics.com.
"Consider: It really takes something to make Hillary Clinton look good, but the leftwing bloggers who partake of the poisonous rhetoric that flows on the Daily Kos web site pulled it off. Of course, making Clinton look good isn't saying much when you're sharing the debating stage with the other Democratic candidates, there to kowtow to their base," Mr. Byrne said.
"When Clinton spoke the truth at the forum about lobbying practices in Washington, the crowd roundly booed her. Asked about taking campaign money from lobbyists, she pointed out that lobbyists 'represent real Americans. They actually do. They represent nurses, they represent, you know, social workers. They represent — yes they represent corporations that employ a lot of people.'
"See, right there she stepped in it, not just on the lobbying thing, but acknowledging what the lefties don't want to hear: Corporations, for all their faults, do something good; they give people jobs.
"Amid the boos, she might have added — if she could have been heard — that people make their livings representing them too. There are abortion industry lobbyists, twisting arms for 'a woman's right to choose.' Other lobbyists are prowling the halls of Congress on behalf 12 million illegal aliens yearning (we're told) for citizenship, universal health care, global (un)warming, family farmers, teachers — I could go on forever listing lobbyists who are excused or ignored by the left because they are doing it for 'good causes.' ...
"Clinton discovered what conservatives long have known: Talking to lefties is like trying to talk to children. Rational argument and facts don't impress."
Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson is returning to his home state of South Dakota for the first time since suffering a life-threatening brain hemorrhage eight months ago.
The senator has been recovering at hospitals and in his Fairfax, Va., home and has not appeared in public since he fell ill. He will travel to South Dakota this month and is expected to return to the Senate in September. Mr. Johnson has been undergoing speech therapy and is expected to use a scooter to get around in the Capitol.
In a statement released yesterday by his office, Mr. Johnson said his doctors have cleared him for travel, the Associated Press reports.
"I know my return has taken longer than some people have liked — count me among them," he said in the statement. "But I learned early on in this journey the importance and necessity of relying on the advice and counsel of those doctors, nurses and therapists without whom my return would have been impossible."
Hillary vs. lenders
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday called for penalties against mortgage brokers who engage in predatory lending and a $1 billion federal fund to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
The senator from New York has been critical of subprime mortgages, loans given to people with blemished credit histories or low incomes. Weak home prices and rising interest rates have made it increasingly difficult for borrowers to keep up with their payments; delinquencies and foreclosures are rising sharply.
"Today we have a clear choice: We can look at the statistics, wring our hands and continue to do nothing, or we can do what America has done in times of difficulty: acknowledge we have a real challenge and confront it head-on with real solutions," Mrs. Clinton said in Derry, N.H. "I think we need to act now with smart, practical solutions to strengthen our housing and mortgage markets."
Mrs. Clinton's proposal includes a $1 billion federal fund to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, an end to prepayment penalties and more affordable housing options, the Associated Press reports.
The nation's 10th largest mortgage lender, American Home Mortgage Investment Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection a day earlier. Two other mortgage lenders said they are not accepting new applications. Falling home prices and a spike in payment defaults have scared investors away from investments backed by home loans.
"It's a combination now of economic conditions that are not working for the majority of Americans, and unsavory practices that are undermining the dream of homeownership," Mrs. Clinton said.
"Republicans faced a time for choosing last week, when Senate Democrats brought to the floor an ethics 'reform' bill that may make it easier for Congress to dole out pork-barrel spending. In the words of GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, the bill 'not only failed to drain the swamp, but gave the alligators new rights,' " John Fund writes at www. OpinionJournal.com.
"Rather than block the legislation and insist on better reforms, image-sensitive Republicans largely backed the bill," Mr. Fund said.
"Have they learned anything? They lost control of Congress last year in no small measure because the GOP had become identified with the culture of pork-barrel spending, frittering away the American people's former confidence in them on fiscal issues.
"If 34 Senate Republicans had united and voted against the bill, Democrats would have been forced to draw up more meaningful reforms. They might even have forced Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to accept the very 'sunshine' provisions the Senate unanimously adopted in January — so at least the public would know who is doling out pork. But when it came down to it, only 17 voted for prolonging debate on the bill.
"The bill the rest voted for had been gutted: Disclosing an earmark is now voluntary (not mandatory), protecting an earmark requires only 41 votes (instead of 67), and the power to determine whether a spending provision inserted by a senator is officially considered an earmark will now be up to ... Mr. Reid.
"The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Democrats lead Republicans by 16 points on controlling government spending and by nine points on taxes."
Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.