"0ne of those pathetic bloggers who tries to make a living out of attacking other bloggers and media folk in an effort to illicit a reaction and draw traffic to his site." -- Owen Robinson of Boots and Sabers
Although he and his running dogs lambasted the very concept of high speed rail generally, and Talgo specifically during the campaign (just on Friday Charlie Sykes sneered about "Spanish trains"), Walker wants them to stay in Milwaukee. "Sorry I denigrated your product and all, but ..."
Says a Talgo spokeswoman:
Talgo spokeswoman Nora Friend said the company hopes that Walker can be convinced of the value of the project.
"He was very kind to explain that the decision is not final. He's just trying to understand the implications of the big project. He needs time, and we think that's fair," Friend said.
Not so, says the hapless Jill Bader:
"Scott remains opposed to the train. He reached out this afternoon to encourage Talgo to remain in Wisconsin," Bader said. "He needs time to have discussions next week with the Doyle administration on their intentions when it comes to this project, and will continue to examine all legal options to stop the train."
So who's right?
My own theory: Bader's comment is less categorical than it seems. Scott remains opposed to the train -- totally or a train that will cost $7.5 million to $10 million in annual operating costs. Would he favor the train if operating costs came in at a tenth of that?
Walker's claim -- and that of his supporters -- that ongoing operating costs would be a millstone was always just another Scott Walker lie. Another Scott Walker lie: the $810 million could be used for other transportation projects.
So will Scott OK the train and figure he can take the heat from his base (some will be angry, the Brawler has no trouble seeing Sykes flip-flopping to praising Walker if the train goes through)? Or will Scott be happy to kill the train, kill thousands of jobs, and happy to watch the $810 million (some of which comes from Wisconsin taxpayers!) be spent someplace else?
Scott Walker (and Charlie Sykes) told voters that he could kill the train and use the $810 million in federal funds for other transportation projects. That was never in the cards. But he just might be able to help fund rail projects in New York. Still I wonder if Scott will blink. Today I heard him say the state can't afford to pay $7.5 to $10 million in operating costs. Of course the actual cost to the state will be a fraction of that. Will he try to take credit for fed subsidies and declare victory? Or will he kick off his administration by killing jobs in WI and creating them in New York and elsewhere?
Feeling there's no time like a recession to make it harder for lower and middle-income kids to attend college, Paul Ryan is getting ready to take the ax to the Pell Grants program (a program the Brawler was able to avail himself of back in the day).
The House Republicans’ much-ballyhooed Pledge to America includes a commitment to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to the level at which it was in 2008. This would mean — among many other things — that funding for Pell Grants would be reduced by $9 billion, even though demand is likely to go up as the effects of the Great Recession linger.
McCarthy may be playing it coy, but according to Inside Higher Ed, incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and potential House Education and Labor Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) both have their eye on Pell reductions:
He thinks Scott Walker in his heart of hearts want the train to go through. Sure, he'll say he can't do anything and grandstand against the boondoggle. But in 4 years he'll take credit for it.
My theory is that Doyle doesn't want to give Walker that option. He wants Walker to publicly commit -- will you kill the train or will you let it move forward? And if Walker says "I'll kill it," the federal dollars move to a clime more hospitable to rail.
By forcing Walker to make a choice Doyle either
Makes Walker flip flop on the choo choo
Makes Walker commit to killing jobs and squandering a huge economic development opportunity before he even takes office (and endear himself to the builders and the operating engineers)
Also, the administration kills an "Obama is ramming this train down our throats" narrative that will otherwise linger for the next two years. And it ensures the money can go to other rail projects vs. having Paul Ryan allocate it to road projects.
My theory is Doyle will clearly outline what we lose if the train dies in terms of jobs, and make plain how much the feds will subsidize operating costs to neutralize the ridiculous numbers Walker and his allies have been throwing out. And he'll let us know exactly what kind of weasel we're dealing with in Scott Walker.
Patrick McIlheran writes many dumb things. He also writes more than his fair share of petty ones, for instance this piece celebrating a slam by everyone's favorite asshole congressman, Jim Sensenbrenner, against Jim Doyle. This, by the same Patrick McIlheran who sniveled "One More Whack" when someone booed George W. Bush and Dick Cheney -- the dynamic duo who lies us into a war -- while watching the inauguration at Uihlein Hall. Nothing like a cheap shot artist with an overdeveloped sense of resentment, though that's par for the course in the land of right wing shills.
Remember when Republicans declared Obama -- who had run on a platform of health care reform -- had a mandate when he was elected president with 53 percent of the vote with 57% turnout, the highest in 40 years? Yeah, me neither.
One of the more humorous claims of House Republicans and their flacks is that they were cast out of office years ago for their fiscal recklessness. It's funny because I don't recall a massive GOP rebellion against spending at the time (though this followed the passage of the deficit-busting Medicare prescription drug benefit). It's funny because it's as if this thing called the Iraq War they cheerleaded never happened. It's funny because there's no mention of how they ignored pressing needs, such as enabling more Americans to get health coverage (and no, HSAs weren't the answer).
But it's also humorous because there is absolutely nothing in their rhetoric to suggest that they have changed their profligate ways. They want to cut taxes, sure. But what will they cut? They'll get back to us on that. And while Paul Ryan likes to claim his Road Map will fix the deficit, it doesn't, really, though it will screw over poor and middle class Americans.
Conservative Daniel Larison says GOP voters will ge the leadership they deserve.
The midterm results didn’t represent a dramatic shift in the overall public’s views, but they did confirm that rank-and-file Republicans and movement conservatives are quite happy to enable a party that badly disappoints them every time it is given an opportunity to govern. Four years ago, movement conservatives were looking for the exits and claiming that they as conservatives had nothing to do with those unpopular Republicans. Today, Republican triumph is taken as conservative vindication, and the deeply dysfunctional, unhealthy identification of conservatism with the cause of the GOP has become stronger than ever. In a little while, maybe a few months or a year or two years, the people who made John Boehner the next Speaker of the House will be groaning and complaining that Boehner and his colleagues are reverting to their old ways. That is inevitably what Boehner and his colleagues will do, and why wouldn’t they? They have every reason to return to their old habits, and they have just been shown that change or reform is entirely unnecessary to advance their careers. For a while, the disillusioned movement conservatives may be receptive to critiques of Republican leadership, but as soon as the 2012 campaign gets going they will begin rushing back to empower another batch of Republicans so that their interests can be neglected some more. ...
Reformists argue that Republicans have to be more than a rejectionist party, but rejectionism has rescucitated the party and undone most of the political losses of the last six years. It doesn’t matter that this is akin to the reanimation of a zombie. As long as there is some sign of life or undeath, that will be enough. Reformists and dissident conservatives alike have insisted that Republicans have to answer for their years of disastrous misrule and incompetence before they could hope to win back the public’s trust. Granted, the GOP doesn’t really have the public’s trust now, but they have been entrusted with much more power anyway, and they did this with an unreformed, unchanged party leadership. The Republican Party that the public rejected and repudiated four years ago has not meaningfully changed, and all that it had to do to regain power was engage in reflexive opposition and wait. Even if one believes, as I do, that time is not on their side, and that they are throwing away their future with the next generation, why would the current Republican leadership care? Their preferred way of doing things is to reap the benefits in the present and defer costs and responsibilities until later.
During the last few months, I have been reading the argument that angry Americans want to restore some measure of justice and order in society so that rewards go to the deserving and failures are not bailed out. It is a significant problem that the chosen method to express this anger has been to reward the undeserving and promote the failures.
In a world where weepy libs are all doomy-gloomy, it's heartening to read some red meat served up by Subcomandante Markos at the Great Orange Satan.
I'm less interested in talking about the ways the administration screwed up, than in what they're going to do about it in preparation of 2012. First thing's first -- stop bashing the base, or the professional left, or whatever liberal boogeymen pisses them off. Fact is, people who fall in those disaffected categories -- the young, blacks, Latinos -- don't read blogs, or watch Keith Olbermann, or read Firedoglake. But they are losing their jobs and their homes, and they see Wall Street get all manners of bailouts without any of it trickling down to them. That has killed us. Make their lives better, or (since nothing will happen with Boehner in the House) at least fight to make their lives better. ...
The administration needs to stop pretending they're going to woo the Right, and start looking at their reelection battle the way Bush saw his -- as a time to mobilize the base and get them engaged in an epic war. Luckily, they won't have to deal with the Beltway Blowhards screaming about "bipartisanship", since that's no longer operative in a GOP-led House. The media only cares about bipartisanship when the Democrats have both the White House and Congress.
Obama needs to fire Tim Kaine at the DNC. He's been useless. His political team also needs to provide an honest assessment of OFA's effectiveness, given its inability to get Obama's most rabid young supporters to the polls. Heck, why not bring back Howard Dean to give us a DNC that many activists and state parties can believe in again and once again work towards a national 50-state party? Tim Kaine is yet another Blue Dog-style Democrat of the kind that got decimated last night. We don't need more of that polluting our party.
It's going to be a tough slog in the next two years, but as we learned yesterday, two years is a political eternity and everything can and will happen. The American people are schizophrenic -- exit polls found that:
Republicans are more unpopular than Democrats, yet they still voted GOP;
35 percent believed Wall Street was to blame for the terrible economy, yet they still voted for the GOP. (56-42, to be exact).
31 percent of voters wanted the new health care law expanded, yet 14 percent of them voted Republican. 30% want the law kept he same as it is now, and 30% of them voted Republican.
There's more, but you get the point. Democrats didn't lose because Republicans are suddenly popular, or people embrace their agenda. Democrats lost because people are angry and desperate and flailing and had to punish someone for the nation's economic woes. There's little there for the GOP to build on.
Now that's more like it!
And, it's small solace, but I have to admit to being encouraged by the fact the Dems were able to increase Milwaukee voter turnout by 2 points over '06 levels. It wasn't enough, obviously, but not bad in a year where the base was less than fired up and facing a bad environment. And it suggests the potential for greater things in '12.
In my recollection of 1994 (I was living in DC at the time), Dems were in shock, literally, for months and outplayed afterward. Hopefully, things have changed.