- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First they came for …

A week ago, it was the gays; now, it’s the unions. Another White House official has angered a key liberal constituency via an anonymous quote denigrating that group.

On Saturday, Politico profiled Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and one of the Obama administration’s toughest critics on the left on the health care battles. The profile included the following: “‘We have had just about enough of his gratuitous slaps,’ said a senior White House official Friday. ‘… He’s doing his members a real disservice,’ said the official, who said that while all other labor leaders had been careful to keep their opposition to elements of health care proposals modulated and largely inside the tent, McEntee was ‘beyond the pale.’”

Several liberal and left-wing bloggers, led by Jon Walker at Firedoglake, took quick umbrage and said it was the Obama administration that was engaging in unnecessary slapping.

“That’s interesting because the progressive community thinks Obamas broken promises and secret deals are the real gratuitous slaps. Having a top progressive reform priority — allowing Medicare to save billions by directly negotiating drug prices — sacrificed in a backroom deal for campaign ads from PhRMA is beyond the pale,” Mr. Walker said, before going on to list a half-dozen health care provisions that candidate Obama backed but on which President Obama surrendered.

Diarist David Waldman at Daily Kos noted the White House’s different attitude toward liberal activists and senators, contrasting “the fierce response from a White House determined to keep allies in line … but not Democratic senators, who continue to imply coyly that they’ll vote ‘no’ on cloture if the bill actually helps someone.”

After an obscene volley at senators, Mr. Waldman concluded: “Now, you could certainly argue that you use the soft touch with senators, since they’re a prickly bunch. But what does a hard line with ‘allies’ get you, really? What’s ‘unity’ worth, exactly? What’s it good for? You’ll get unity if you pass decent reform and are seen fighting for it. You’ll need unity if you plan to shush critics, pass a [weak bill] and call it a win.”

The previous weekend, MSNBC’s John Harwood kicked off a storm when asked about the Oct. 11 gay march in Washington by saying, “For a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn’t take this opposition, one adviser told me those bloggers need to take off the pajamas, get dressed, and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.”

Space oddity

To paraphrase the rock band Genesis, it’s no fun dressing as an illegal immigrant.

Several national retailers have on their sites an “illegal alien” costume, consisting of a space alien wearing an orange jumpsuit and carrying a green card.

“Controversy has ensued, of course. Some people who lack a sense of humor find it offensive. Why not? Everything else is deemed offensive if it’s on the wrong side of the politically correct fence,” wrote Shannon Bell at Right Pundits.

Ms. Bell linked to a KNBC news report in which the Los Angeles station quotes Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles as telling Target Corp. that the costume is “distasteful, mean-spirited and ignorant of social stigmas and current debate on immigration reform.” Target pulled the costume from its Web site.

“That argument might hold water if I were to dress up as a Hispanic gang member — say I belong to MS-13 and have the words illegal alien on my chest. But how exactly is a fake alien from outer space mean-spirited? Unless liberals think that we’re being particularly hard on aliens from other galaxies,” a frustrated Ms. Bell wondered.

Pegging Snowe

While many conservatives were calling for the head of Sen. OIympia J. Snowe of Maine for providing the sole Republican vote on the Senate Finance Committee for the latest health care bill, Dan Perrin at Red State had a different take, calling the Mainer’s vote “neither a defeat for conservatives nor a victory for liberals.”

Mr. Perrin said Mrs. Snowe’s commitment “radically increases the likelihood of Dem-on-Dem political violence over any single significant move to the left that the Democratic leadership contemplates when they attempt to merge the bill” with four other proposals at some stage of the legislative process on Capitol Hill.

He cited 10 significant issues that might torpedo the health care bill and said: “Think of the Snowe vote as tent pegs holding the bill in place, while liberal-generated windstorms attempt to move the tent to the left. The chances of the pegs coming out and the tent being blown like a tumbleweed are real.”

He also noted that the need to keep Mrs. Snowe onboard to pass anything at all with any claim of any Republican votes might keep those provisions conservatives most dislike out of whatever bill does pass.

“Plus, Senator Snowe’s voice now carries a high-wattage amplifier with it inside the Democratic leadership. The liberals want a public option? Lose Snowe. Want to bring up a Vapor bill? Snowe is at no. Want to spring legislative language on the Senate without a CBO score of the language? Snowe is at no and so are eight other Democratic senators who sent a letter to Majority Leader Reid last week requesting a CBO score on actual legislative language and a 72-hour review period by the public of the bill prior to its consideration on the Senate floor.”

Privacy rules?

Remember “Joe the Plumber”? And remember the questionable checks of state computer systems for confidential information about Joe Wurzelbacher as soon as Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain gave him that moniker and made him a household name?

In the words of Michelle Malkin: “Ho-hum.”

“Government contractor abuses access to citizen’s confidential info. Left shrugs. Privacy invader gets a slap on the wrist. Crickets chirp,” Mrs. Malkin wrote in linking to a report in the Columbus Dispatch about the one criminal charge brought in the case, against a former contractor with the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.

“Brett A. Gerke… is charged with attempted unauthorized use of property, a first-degree misdemeanor. Gerke entered a diversion program Oct. 2, which typically results in the dismissal of a criminal charge. He has not entered a plea,” the Dispatch reported, also noting that three state employees also lost their jobs, although no criminal charges were brought in any of those cases.

“I see justice really moves swiftly out there in Ohio,” added the Jammie Wearing Fool at his self-named blog. “In the end nobody will pay a price for the invasion into Wurzelbacher’s privacy, which is ridiculous. Just imagine if Republicans unleashed the hounds against private citizens like Obama and his thugs do?”

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