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IMPERIAL PRESIDENT: The Hill: Obama moves to give legal status to 5 million illegal immigrants.

Plus: Obama Would Veto Any Bill Undoing Immigration Executive Action.

And: Sen. Sessions reacts: We must stop Emperor Obama.

Plus, this observation on tone from Moe Lane, which is spot-on: “Barack Obama wants you to be angry. The Democrats NEED you to be angry. So don’t be. Smile, shake your head ruefully, and say no. Nicely.”

Plus, from Mickey Kaus: Don’t Count Out the Court.

With Obama’s executive amnesty imminent, anonymous White House aides are cockily dismissing John Boehner’s threatened lawsuit against it as a stunt. Even among opponents of executive amnesty — and I’m with them — there’s a tendency to pooh pooh the suit. It’s a loser, it will take forever to decide, it’s an attempt to ‘redirect Republican rage’ away from budgetary remedies like denying funding, etc.

Not so fast. I’m all for giving defunding a try — also holding up appointments — but don’t sell the lawsuit short. I’ll even go so far as to lay down an Yglesias style marker: If Obama’s executive action is as broad as described, the Supreme Court will strike it down.

I think he’s right. I agree that this is comparable to the Steel Seizure Case. And I’m also a fan of Richard Neely.

Plus — Exclusive! Must Credit Instapundit! — a photo of President Obama immediately after his speech.

SunKingObama

MICKEY KAUS: The Democratic Carnage Brought About By Immigration Reform Proposals.

Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas voted for the Gang of 8 bill. He’s GONE.

Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE.

Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE

Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska voted for the Gang of 8 bill. Almost certainly GONE

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana voted for the Gang of 8 bill. She will probably be GONE after a January runoff.

Alison Grimes supported the Gang of 8 bill in Kentucky. DEFEATED

Michelle Nunn supported the Gang of 8 bill in Georgia. DEFEATED

Greg Orman supported the Gangof 8 bill in Kansas. DEFEATED

Bruce Braley supoorted the Gang of 8 bill in Iowa. DEFEATED

Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia voted for the Gang of 8 bill and BARELY SURVIVED against longshot challengers.

Do you sense a pattern in there somewhere? Schumer would probably be chairman of the lucrative Banking Committee if he hadn’t pushed his amnesty bill. . . . Do you think that, say, Oregon’s Democratic Senator Ron Wyden will be eager to vote on the Son of Gang of 8 next year? He’s up in 2016. Yesterday, his state’s voters rejected a bill to provide drivers’ licenses to illegals — it lost by a margin of 68 to 32, with more votes cast against it than were cast in favor of any candidate. It lost big in Democratic areas and lost in Republican areas. I don’t think Wyden wants to vote for another “comprehensive” bill.

The question is, will the GOP take the lesson?

MICKEY KAUS: A NOTE TO NEW HAMPSHIRE DEMS: “Here’s why I think New Hampshire Democrats should vote against Jeanne Shaheen on Tuesday. I know this is a tough sell, and you’re maybe sick of any kind of sell. I’ll keep it short. . . . Opponents of the Vietnam War (I was one, like most of my college cohort) spent a lot of time destroying the careers of perfectly decent liberal Democrats whose one sin was going along with Lyndon Johnson’s escalation. Hubert Humphrey is only the most obvious casualty. It was worth it because the war was a big mistake. Likewise, a massive immigration increase and the surrender of control over our borders is a big mistake. Yet unlike with Vietnam, there is virtually no debate within the party, certainly none at the Senate level. If a sturdy, popular figure like Shaheen loses her seat over it — in a swing state, to a longshot carpetbagger! –we are likely to get that debate. It won’t be the end of Shaheen. She can run for something else, or join the administration. But it might be the end of the party’s poisonous discipline on immigration — and the beginning of at least a temporary fix for our deepest economic anxieties.”

MICKEY KAUS UNVEILS the Kausfiles Midterm Rooting Scorecard.

MICKEY KAUS: Do We Need An Ebola Luxury Resort?

Voluntary quarantining has proven incompletely effective. At the same time, we don’t want to discourage volunteer health care workers from traveling to West Africa, where the main fight against the disease is being waged. They’re not exactly encouraged to make the trip if they know they’ll have to spend 21 days in a tent with a portable toilet on their return.

What to do? Protect the public here or incentivize workers to go there? This is a false choice! What’s needed is a quarantine so luxurious that health care workers will look forward to their 21 day quarantine, or at least not dread it. What if the federal government took over an isolated resort, say on the Gulf Coast. Stocked it with finest foods and wines in the land, and the best films and recreation and wireless Internet access and volunteer musical acts — a French widow in every room, as a friend of mine used to say, equivalent to a very expensive vacation, available for free to any returning volunteer. The only catch is they couldn’t leave for 21 days. (They could bring their spouses and partners, if they wanted –but then the spouses couldn’t leave either.)

This makes a lot of sense, and hence won’t be adopted by the authorities so long as any other alternatives exist. . . .

MICKEY KAUS: New York Times Cocoon, Verified!

A man named Tyler Pearson had posted a list of the 1000 Twittter accounts most commonly followed by the 677 New York Times staffers on the paper’s public list. It is, as you would expect, embarrassingly cocooned: Times staffers follow people who share the liberalish/leftish viewpoint of the Times itself, meaning these staffers are less likely to even find out discordant information. Which may be why they are so often surprised, or late to a story.

Actually, it’s not as bad as expected. It’s worse! Jack Shafer takes the Liebling-Optimality** award (in that he’s the first non-liberal on the list, and with 235 NYT followers well above anyone more conservative) but as far as I can see you have to go a long ways down, past acceptably self-critical conservative David Frum, and the NYT‘s own Ross Douthat to get to a genuine partisan ‘winger Tweeter –@Karl Rove, who’s followed by 67 Timesers that person is merely talking head Ari Fleischer, followed by 6.9% of Timesers. [Correction: I’d missed Rove. Thanks to alert reader NM for pointing him out] …

Of the 1000, you could count those who oppose comprehensive immigration reform on the fingers of one hand, and you wouldn’t need the thumb (and maybe not the pinkie). …

Coming soon: The memo from @deanbaquet telling reporters gee, maybe they should branch out a bit and include some Republicans on their feeds! Whoever gets that Times affirmative action traffic will have some MSM-influencing power. …

Not on the list: Byron York, Instapundit, Rich Lowry, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham., Jonah Goldberg, Conn Carroll. No Powerliners, no Red Staters. certainly no Ace of Spades.

To be fair, there’s one NYT editor who pitches links to me. I assume that means he follows. But maybe not!

MICKEY KAUS: Moe Tucker Conservatives?

Wickham focuses on the flip-flop and contradiction angles, but maybe UKIP has backed into an intriguing model for a 21st century First World party, namely fighting against all the modern forces pulling the economy and the culture apart. The forces: Technology and trade increase income inequality (UKIP’s Nigel Farage: “The country’s got a big, big problem and in the course of the last decade the ‘rich’ have got remarkably richer.”) Uncontrolled immigration brings discordant cultures and lower wages, making it harder for unskilled workers to live traditional, ordinary middle class lives. Even if wages weren’t going down, it would be harder to have social equality when incomes depend increasingly on smarts, skills and knowledge. Income differences take on a nasty new edge. Endless, inconclusive wars — disorienting in themselves — increase the gap between military and civilian culture, between those who serve and those who don’t.

Not sure I agree with Kaus’s analysis here, but he’s onto something.

MICKEY KAUS: The Trouble With Sunny ObamaCare Charts.

MICKEY KAUS: Obama’s A.G. Excuse.

Holder that amnesty: Don’t the coming Attorney General confirmation hearings offer Obama another convenient excuse to put off his unpopular (and arguably unlawful) executive amnesty plans? True, Latino interest groups are expecting something big from the White House, amnesty-wise, before the end of the year. But what if Obama and Biden– “The president’s going to do it, and he’s going to do an awful lot”– are just stringing them along until the mid-term vote? With Senator Sessions trying to make opposition to executive amnesty a litmus test for any A.G. appointee, couldn’t Obama say he doesn’t want his promised amnesty to create an unnecessary obstacle to filling this vital post, etc.? If the A.G. nominee is liberal enough the more established Democratic interest groups and team-playing Dem Congressmen might fall in line. ….

Why would Obama want to put off executive amnesty? So as not to kill the chance of legislative amnesty. Perversely, this logic may seem especially powerful if GOPs win everything in November — now that Jeb Bush and the not-wildly-credible Mario Diaz-Balart are running around boasting that a Republican-controlled Senate could produce an immigration deal. Republican office-holders who may be afraid of knuckling under to the current Dem-produced immigration plan might think they have cover for a GOP-branded plan, even if it amounts to more or less the same thing.

We showed Obama! Instead of his amnesty plan, we passed our own amnesty plan!

MICKEY KAUS: “Should Republicans make the 2014 midterms a Referendum on Amnesty? Short answer: Yes!”

MICKEY KAUS: The Mystery of the Shutdown Scenario has seemingly been solved. “Why would Dems publicize their secret troll plan in such a self-defeating way so far in advance? It now appears the Shutdown Scenario was a desperate late gambit by advocates of pre-November executive action who were losing the internal White House debate. After all, it was never really logical for Obama to amnesty millions of illegals (and give them work permits) before the election — 2014′s key Senate races are mainly in states with low Hispanic populations but lingering job and wage insecurity.”

MICKEY KAUS: Is Executive Amnesty A Briar Patch?

MICKEY KAUS: Nice Try, New Republic.

Imagine Mitt Romney, campaigning on a platform of raising the limit on taxable estates to $20 million dollars (from the current $5.3 million). Romney wins the election. He’s President! But he can’t get his estate tax bill through Congress. He decides he can’t wait! If Congress won’t act to boost the incentives to “job creators,” he will! His IRS announces that, as a matter of “prosecutorial discretion,” no estates under $20 million that fail to pay estate tax will be pursued by the IRS. Romney could grant case by case leniency power to IRS auditors and lawyers — but a blanket categorical free pass makes the law so much more predictable, don’t you think? And predictability is important for job creators! They have investments to make. You wouldn’t want an IRS with the leeway to play favorites — going soft on Republicans, or Romney donors, while coming down hard on dead multimillionaire Democrats.

Yeah, it’s supposed to work the other way, apparently.

RAZORBLOGGING: So shaving and shavers have been an occasional topic here at InstaPundit for quite a while, and the other day I was at the store and saw a display with the new Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Men’s Razor With “Flexball Handle Technology.” I bought one and gave it a try.

There’s technology all over this thing. Pressing a button in the handle makes it vibrate with surprising intensity, and the “Flexball Handle Technology” means that the head pivots about 30 degrees to the left or right, supposedly ensuring a better and more even shave. Verdict: Good! I felt (and the Insta-Wife agreed) that it left my face extremely smooth. I shaved both with and without the vibration and honestly I couldn’t tell any difference. The “Flexball Handle Technology” actually did seem to make things a bit easier. Is it better than previous Fusion and Fusion Power razors? Possibly, though the difference is probably the blade: I’ve long suspected that they use a better quality of steel in the new variety of blades at first, then gradually cut back as they roll out new models later. (I think Mickey Kaus observed this a while back). Still, not bad at all.

But if you’re going to shave with a razor, my number one recommendation is to keep a styptic pencil around. I almost never cut myself, but when I do, it’s inevitably at an inconvenient time.

MICKEY KAUS: Lamar! Win Not Reassuring!

MICKEY KAUS: Obama’s Corporatist Constitution.

One sturdy obstacle to corporatism, you’d think, would be the U.S. Constitution. It’s written down, relatively hard to change, and incorporates several specific anti-corporatist ideas, like the notion of equal protection, universal (equal?) rights and democracy.*** That is why it’s alarming when the “constitutional scholar in the White House” seems to advance a novel constitutional argument that is grounded quite explicitly in corporatism. Here is President Obama from his press conference last Friday, explaining why he feels justified in making an end run around the House of Representatives and imposing his own immigration policies through executive action.

Yeah, his scholarly credentials are looking increasingly iffy.

MICKEY KAUS: How About Plan C? “The latest reporting suggests House Speaker John Boehner thinks a bit of tweaking will save his border bill — after it was (embarrassingly) pulled from the floor Thursday due to lack of majority support. . . . There is an alternative for Republicans worried about “doing nothing” about the border before they head home. That’s to drop all the risky policy provisions in the bill, making it a ‘clean,’ temporary money bill giving the Obama administration the temporary stopgap funding it says it needs.”

HE MADE THE MISTAKE OF CROSSING MICKEY KAUS: Roll Call: The Almost Invisible Final Days of Eric Cantor. “You may be a rooster today, but you’ll be a feather duster soon enough.”

WAPO: Tea party opposition puts fate of House Republican border bill up in the air. Tea Party? I thought the Tea Party was dead. I blame Mickey Kaus.

MICKEY KAUS: Tell Boehner: “No New Laws.” “Senate Democrats are now explicitly saying they will try to use Boehner’s border bill as a vehicle for broad, ‘Gang of 8’ style amnesty, and immigration activists are urging them on. All the more reason to call ((202) 224-3121). A House vote on Boehner’s bill is expected Thursday.” Wow. The last time Mickey got this involved, Eric Cantor lost his job.

MICKEY KAUS IS TELLING PEOPLE TO melt Boehner’s phones. Hey, the last time he did that kind of thing, Eric Cantor wound up out of a job.

MICKEY KAUS: Boehner’s Bad Coach. “A good football coach thinks several plays ahead. Rep. Salmon seems incapable of thinking one play ahead. By passing any immigration change now — even a desirable one — Republicans open themselves up to a protracted negotiation, perhaps into a lame duck session, with the massed forces of Obama, Haley Barbour, the Chamber of Commerce, (and Rupert Murdoch), all angling for one part of ‘comprehensive’ reform or another. That might be good for GOP fundraising — lobbyists can be generous when they really want something — but this isn’t a fundraising game (or a PR game, let alone a football game). What is at stake is the fundamental policy of the nation.”

I say revisit it in 2017. Until then, in Bob Dole’s memorable phrase, remember that sometimes a little gridlock can be a good thing.

And remember this from (immigrant!) Eugene Volokh:

I think, though, that the “Pilgrims = Illegal Aliens” equation illustrates the exact opposite. The whites immigrated to America — and took over the place. (I’m glad they did, but I can surely understand why the Indians might have disagreed.) Likewise, Jews immigrated to Palestine (adding vastly to the numbers already present), sometimes illegally — and eventually there were more Jews in some parts than Arabs, so Jews started running the place. Now Israelis are sensibly objecting to Palestinians’ asserted “right of return” to their and their parents’ homes, because if enough Palestinians are allowed to immigrate into Israel, they’ll start running the place.

The bottom line is that for all the good that immigration can do (and I’m an immigrant to the U.S., who is very glad that America let me in, and who generally supports immigration), unregulated immigration can dramatically change the nature of the target society. It makes a lot of sense for those who live there to think hard about how those changes can be managed, and in some situations to restrict the flow of immigrants — who, after all, will soon be entitled to affect their new countrymen’s rights and lives, through the vote if not through force.

I sometimes pose for my liberal friends a stylized thought experiment. Say that they live in a country of 3 million people (the size of New Zealand) where 55% of the citizens are pro-choice and 45% are pro-life (1.65 million vs. 1.35 million). Now the country is facing an influx of 1 million devoutly Catholic immigrants, who are 90% pro-life. If these immigrants are let in and become citizens, the balance will flip to 2.25 million pro-life to 1.75 million pro-choice (56% to 44% pro-choice); and what my friends might see as their fundamental human right to abortion may well vanish, perfectly peacefully and democratically.

It’s unlikely that any constitutional protection will stand in the way: Even constitutions can be amended, and new judges can be appointed. Nor can one rely on “education” or “assimilation” — what if the immigrants simply conclude that their views on abortion are just better than the domestic majority’s? I think many of the current residents may rightly say “We have nothing against Catholics; but we don’t want our rights changed by the arrival of people who have a different perspective on the world than we do.”

Letting in immigrants means letting in your future rulers.

If today’s immigrant wave were likely to vote Republican, all right-thinking people would be demanding deportations and a mile-wide belt of barbed wire and minefields along the border.

MICKEY KAUS: Has Obama Trapped Himself?

MICKEY KAUS: BEWARE THE WILBERFORCE TRAP. “Could the Wilberforce Fix be another way to trigger a Senate-House conference — a conference where amnesty-supporter Harry Reid and amnesty supporter John Boehner would predictably stack with … amnesty supporters? There are plenty of reasons to be suspicious.”

MICKEY KAUS: The Lie at Heart of “Immigration Reform” Exposed.

“Trust” is for Con Men: The reaction to the border chaos in Texas has accomplished one thing: It has exploded the lie at the heart of current “comprehensive” immigration reform plans. The basic structure of those plans is a swap of a) near-immediate legalization for b) increased border security in the future. The appealing idea is to let current illegals stay while taking the steps necessary to prevent further waves. The lie is the assumption that, once current illegals get their legalization, pro-immigrant activists in both parties will continue to support the second half of the bargain, the increased security.

The chaos in Texas shows they won’t. Faced with a clear hole in the border — with a wave of tens of thousands of undocumented Central Americans crossing into the U.S. in order to get in line for hearings years from now, which they likely won’t attend while they continue to live here – pro-reform activists have scrambled, not to show their border security bona fides, but to generate arguments and outbursts designed to let the new wave stay. As National Journal‘s Major Garrett reported, when President Obama, met with activists at the White House, he proposed that he make it clear that new migrants who don’t qualify for humanitarian relief won’t get in. The activists would have none of it.

Of course not.

MICKEY KAUS: Poor Malia! “I don’t even want to think about the intricate political calculations involved in picking out Malia Obama’s new car. The poor girl’s going to get stuck with a Cruze… Update: A Volt, you say? She’d be lucky to get a Volt. People who have them like them. But it seems a little upscale, and would remind voters of Obama and GM then-CEO Dan Akerson’s insane projections for electric vehicle sales. …”

MICKEY KAUS: The President is “Pissed”!

MICKEY KAUS HAS 4 Questions For Politico. “In each of these questions, you seem to be carrying water for someone.”

MICKEY KAUS: I was wrong: Obama’s amnesty strategy isn’t a partial shambles. “Politically, it would seem to be disastrous for Obama to further weaken immigration enforcement when the weakening that’s already taken place seems to be attracting a new wave of illegals and threatening total border breakdown.”

MICKEY KAUS: Kausfiles Lashes Out At Its Friends!

INSTAVISION: My interview with Mickey Kaus on Eric Cantor, Immigration, and the GOP is now available on YouTube.

INSTAVISION: I talk with Mickey Kaus about the Cantor defeat, the diverging views of immigration inside/outside the beltway, and what’s likely to happen next. Plus, is Eric Cantor the Admiral Byng of the GOP?

instakauscantor

ELIANA JOHNSON: Ingraham’s Insurrection: An immigration backlash — and a huge win for the grassroots. Mark Levin deserves credit, too. And Mickey Kaus!

MICKEY KAUS: Notes On Cantormageddon. “The main issue in the race was immigration. It’s what Brat emphasized, and what his supporters in the right wing media (Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin) emphasized. It’s the charge Cantor defended against—by conceding the issue and posing as a staunch amnesty opponent. . . . More generally, you’ll hear that Cantor’s loss kills the possibility of amnesty this term. But amnesty was already dead. It’s been killed about 6 times. It’s a zombie. Maybe the 7th will do the job. But don’t expect the lobbyists who back it to give up. If they give up, their corporate clients might rethink their quest for an inexpensive immigrant work force and stop paying them. Mark Zuckerberg’s ex-roommate might have to look for a job.”

My take: Cantor got cocky. Don’t get cocky.

MICKEY KAUS LOOKS AT David Brat, the guy who beat Eric Cantor:

This is a pitch — against a “low wage agenda” and “crony corporate lobby” — that can appeal to Democrats as well as Republicans. Maybe partisanship will eventually be transcended, not at the top, with David Brooks, Gloria Borger and Jon Huntsman imposing a Beltway consensus they hammer out at an Atlantic panel, but at the bottom, where less sleek figures like Brat, Phyllis Schlafly and Jeff Sessions, can make common cause with Democratic workers who’ve gotten the short end of previous top-down triumphs such as global trade and Reagan’s 1986 amnesty, as well as of ineluctable technological trends like automation. 2) Perhaps not coincidentally, Democrats can vote in the Cantor vs. Brat primary.

And there’s some evidence that they did. This was posted before polls closed today. I look forward to Mickey’s victory cry tomorrow, if he’s not too hungover from celebrating in the bars of Richmond.

Related: The Big Murkowski: Will Cantor Try to Salvage Seat Through Write-Ins?

I CREDIT THE POWER OF MICKEY KAUS, who’s been pushing his opponent for weeks: Eric Cantor Loses Primary in Massive Upset. If he hadn’t supported amnesty, he’d be cruising to an easy victory. I suspect a lot of folks on both sides of the aisle just lost enthusiasm for an immigration deal.

MICKEY KAUS: Cantor’s Mistake: “President Obama — by reducing deportations and granting ‘kids’ de facto legal permission through executive action — is mostly responsible for the more permissive atmosphere, of course. But isn’t that what Cantor wanted too? Potential immigrants pay attention to what Republicans as well as Democrats say — if you read the Spanish language press, you know the subject of immigration is covered there in depth and detail. (‘That is what they are saying on the news, that if you travel as a woman with a child, there is an opportunity to get in’ — Paulina, 29, to Arizona Republic.) And maybe Obama acted, in part, because he knew Cantor couldn’t really object.”

MICKEY KAUS: Cantor’s Mistake.

MICKEY KAUS: I Sense A Pattern. “Twice now–on deportation policy and on admitting young illegal immigrants into the military — the Obama administration has set in motion concessions to immigrant activist groups only to put those changes hold in order to not inflame Republicans who might, left uninflamed, pass an immigration bill.”

MICKEY KAUS: Will Virginia Republicans Be Fooled? “Now we know how embattled GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor plans to hold on to his seat against a primary challenger. A week after lobbyist Haley Barbour praised Cantor for his commitment to passing an immigration amnesty–and claimed that Republican voters support it – Cantor dropped a mailer into GOP voters’ boxes claiming that he’s … a fighter against amnesty!”

MICKEY KAUS: Profile In Spinelessness. “In other words, after criticism from his underfunded challenger, Cantor ditches the ENLIST act. Then after a disapproving sentence from activist Frank Sharry, he tacks back and unditches it.”

MICKEY KAUS: Cantor’s Still Protecting Amnesty. “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seems to be in a real race to retain his seat in the GOP primary. His challenger, economist Dave Brat, has attacked Cantor as soft on immigration amnesty. The charge is accurate.”

MICKEY KAUS: Gaslighting The GOPs? “If you’re a top White House political aide, things look bleak for the 2014 mid-terms: slow recovery, stagnant wages, Obamacare distress, serial foreign policy humiliations and a sense that social change is maybe proceeding a bit too rapidly for universal voter comfort would seem to give Republicans an advantage in a relatively low-turnout election in which enthusiasm matters. A Republican Senate and lame-duckness looms. What to do? Answer: Look back to the last Democratic president who faced this bleak prospect, Bill Clinton. . . . I’m not suggesting the White House is intentionally provoking Republicans over Benghazi, the better to produce counterproductive overreach. OK, sorry. I’m totally suggesting the White House is intentionally provoking Republicans over Benghazi.”

MICKEY KAUS ON Amnesty Gyrations: Two Weeks And You’re In! “The mere fact that Obama is thinking about another de facto amnesty decree shows he is way too solicitous of Latino activists to reliably implement any enforcement provisions in a future amnesty bill such as an employment-verification system.”

MICKEY KAUS: A Marxist Analysis of Hillary.

The Clinton mode of production, then, is running for office or serving in office. That is the material basis for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton lifestyle and the whole Clinton institutional structure. In order to keep this mode of production from breaking down, the Clintons–-one of them, at any rate–-must be at least potentially in the running for a powerful office at all times. If Hillary doesn’t really want to run, she can’t admit it in public. She must maintain the facade of candidacy until the last minute–or else the Foundation will have to cut back and Ira Magaziner might need to find a job. If it looks like Hillary might not run–perhaps because of health reasons–the model would predict that another Clinton, presumably daughter Chelsea, would start making noises about launching a political career. Voila! Data point confirmed. The theory is off to a good start. …

Indeed.

MICKEY KAUS: Mario’s Double Secret Magic Amnesty Formula. “For a while now, Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has been boasting he’s arrived at some sort of Magic Secret Formula that will win the support of enough Republicans to get an immigration amnesty bill through the House. He tends to surface in the press every time the spirits of amnesty supporters need a boost. . . . If Diaz-Balart has such an enchanted formula, isn’t it about time he made it public–maybe in time for Republican voters to debate it and express their opinions in upcoming primaries? Shouldn’t good-government newspaper editorialists be demanding this?” They’d rather voters were bamboozled.

“NEOLIBERALISM WORKS:” Mickey Kaus reminds us that Welfare Reform succeeded.

AS MICKEY KAUS NOTES, I eagerly await the “Voxsplaining” on this bit of news: Health Care Spending’s Recent Surge Stirs Unease.

MICKEY KAUS: Obamacare’s Core Flaw?

Risk-filled sump, update: If everyone knew the risk pool on the Obamacare exchanges would be sicker-than-normal — as the last sentence of this NYT piece suggests — then why throw the hapless unsubsidized people (e.g. singles making $46,000) into that pool, where their policies will inevitably be more expensive, with more restrictions, than if they were in a more normal pool? Did Obamacare’s designers think they’d be happy about it? This seems like the programs’ core flaw, no? It’s why, despite all the seemingly impressive numbers, Obamacare leaves a bad taste. … $350,000 a year lawyers with fancy employer plans get care from the best doctors and check into Sloan Kettering if they need it, while even previously insured $46,000-a-year suckers can’t, and are told that’s just the price of insuring the uninsured.

ObamaCare: Of, by, and for the 1%!

WHY DO YOU THINK THE DEMOCRATS AREN’T RUNNING ANYONE AGAINST HIM? Mickey Kaus: Eric Cantor — The New “Mr. Amnesty”?

MICKEY KAUS: “I agree with WaPo‘s Greg Sargent that amnesty backers are increasingly realizing that it may be now or never for legislative action–-in part because the ‘comprehensivist’ coalition has begun to splinter, in part because it would be difficult for the GOP establishment to pass an amnesty bill in 2015 or 2016 without sinking the presidential candidacy of what may be their last, best horse in the race, Marco Rubio. But the desperation runs on both sides of the aisle–-affecting Democratic amnesty backers (including maybe Sargent) as well as GOP businessmen scared of tight labor markets, GOP strategists whose seemingly only strategy is to ‘get right’ with Latinos, and the GOP House leaders who love both groups.”

Related: Asians Derail Affirmative Action In California.

MICKEY KAUS: Jeb Bush’s Cunning Strategy. “He’s not running, but he’s making space for Marco Rubio. Look at it this way: The GOP establishment is desperate to suppress Tea Party conservatives and also obtain the immigration amnesty they believe will win Latinos and relieve them of the need to do too much rethinking in other areas. P.S.: The need to rehabilitate Rubio–-which means avoiding a big immigration fight, at least in 2015 and 2016–-would be one more reason the GOP establishment might feel it’s now-or-never for passing an immigration reform bill. That would help explain the increasingly desperate and sneaky (but possible successful) efforts to keep amnesty alive.”

Meanwhile, a different perspective here. But Kaus’s theory seems more likely, though what do I know?

UPDATE: More: “The problem is, Jeb Bush is another moderate like McCain and Romney, both of whom failed to deliver. There is no reason to think he’ll do any better.”

MICKEY KAUS: What’s Wrong With Web Journalism In One Sentence. See, I do the opposite — if everyone’s talking about Yellen, I try to see what else is worth talking about. But I suspect Dylan Byers doesn’t think I know what I’m doing, either.

MICKEY KAUS: 3 Predictions I Couldn’t Make If I Had An Editor!

INSTAVISION, NOW ON YOUTUBE: I talk with Mickey Kaus about Affirmative Action, Immigration Amnesty, and more.

MICKEY KAUS ON A DECEPTIVE KOCH CHART: “There’s almost always trouble with statistics from Robert Reich.”

I WAS TALKING TO MICKEY KAUS ABOUT THIS VERY TOPIC JUST THE OTHER DAY: Affirmative Action And Diversity Don’t Mix.

MICKEY KAUS: Will Asians Kill Race Preferences In California?

‘Coalition of the Ascendant’ Goes to War–With Itself; If you’re looking for moments when tectonic issue shifts seem to become visible–like the moment when Dems realized they had to give up on gun control, or the (coming) moment when there are enough charter school parents to defeat teachers’ unions–here’s one: the moment when California Democrats abandon a push to reinstate race preferences because of constituent-driven opposition from Asian Americans in their own ranks. . . .

Larger Meanings: 1) California is now more-or-less a one-party state, run by Democrats. If Dems can’t pass an affirmative action bill even when they are in full control, what does that say about the future of affirmative action? … 2) One-party government seems to sometimes make local Democrats more responsible. If there were a powerful Republican faction to be beaten, state legislators might choose to promote affirmative action if only to paint the GOPs as bigots. That is no longer necessary in California.

Painting Republicans as bigots is their chief strategy. Plus:

1) Do Republicans really need an Amnesty First immigration reform to appeal to the fast-growing Asian vote (which Mitt Romney lost by a bigger margin than he lost the Latino vote)? How about campaigning against race preferences? …. 2) The growing Asian vote is often lumped with the black vote and Latino vote in MSM descriptions of America’s “majority-minority” future. But if Asians can split with the new majority-minority coalition on preferences why can’t, say, blacks split with the coalition on immigration? … It’s every identity for itself!

Well, if that happens, the Dems will need a new strategy.

MICKEY KAUS ON VW’S PRO-UNION THREATS: “If management made that kind of threat to keep out a union, there’d be trouble with the feds. Can it be an ‘unfair labor practice’ for management to threaten retaliation if its workers don’t unionize?” Well, certainly not under this administration.

NO WONDER THEY WANTED CARD CHECK: Mickey Kaus: UAW Crushed — What Comes Next?

I remember, toward the end of the last Bush administration, whippersnappers all the confident young Dem policy warriors repeating labor’s talking points about the need to allow the secret ballot in union recognition elections to be replaced by “card check,” a system in which workers sign cards in the presence of union organizers. Without card check, management would “coerce” workers by pointing out the downside of unionization in mandatory propaganda meetings.

Wasn’t it possible that workers who turned down unions simply looked at what Wagner Act unionism had done, say, to Detroit, and decided for themselves that this wasn’t what they wanted to happen to their company? Nah.

Now we know different: At Vokswagen’s Chattanooga factory, the UAW was actually welcomed by the employer. No union-busting propaganda sessions. VW, which already has a powerful union back home in Europe, wanted to set up German-style “works councils,” where rank and file employees could have a say in production decisions. But, according to many U.S. labor lawyers, it needed a union partner — otherwise, under the Wagner Act the works councils would be considered an illegal “company union.” The UAW seemed ready to be that partner. UAW organizers were allowed in the plant to make their case. Management didn’t argue back. . . .

The most interesting part comes next: If Volkswagen now goes ahead and starts its works councils anyway, without the UAW, will organized labor sue to have them declared illegal? That would give the Roberts Court a precious opportunity to interpret the Wagner Act in a way that actually allows non-legalistic, non-adversarial forms of worker participation in management (despite the “company union” prohibition). In effect, the courts could help VW create what those on the left have been (correctly) demanding of the right: a reasonable alternative to traditional unionism, giving workers a “voice” without subjecting every management decision to a war of bargainers and lawyers and (ultimately) the formalized pitched battle of a strike.

Now that would be a threat to Big Labor. Which is why they might not sue.

Because they’re not about helping the workers.

MICKEY KAUS: Schumer’s Latest Immigration Scheme. “You have to watch that guy like a hawk. I don’t trust him either. Maybe we could postpone legalization until Sen. Schumer leaves office. I see common ground!”

MICKEY KAUS: Falling Through ObamaCare’s Floor? A Mess At The Bottom Of ObamaCare. “The President may decry the lack of economic mobility in America–but he better hope there’s not much mobility up and down around the $20,000-$25,000 level, or else lots of people will be discovering that they’ve been signed up for the wrong health care program. Obamacare’s designers seem to have assumed we really are a corporatist society, with different classes assigned to stable economic levels for life.” Well, that’s the dream.

MICKEY KAUS: Boehner’s Bad Date With Amnesty.

It sure looks like Speaker Boehner had a Bad Date with Amnesty on Thursday, according to Jonathan Strong’s reporting at Breitbart. (“[T]he dozens of GOP lawmakers who spoke were at least 80-20 against bringing a bill to the floor this year.”) But the WSJ is buying the claim of the GOP leadership and its aides that the immigration “principles” were “largely accepted.” … Do not disrupt the planned narrative! .. .

Meanwhile, Politico‘s Mike Allen is writing press releases for Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us. … Hope you get the ads, Mike! … Zuckerberg’s fake conservative front group, “Americans for a Conservative Direction,” says it has launched a $750,000 campaign to make it look like the House leadership’s legalization push is really tough, tough, tough. The Zuckerberg video implies, falsely, that the gist of the Boehner proposal is to legalize only “DREAMers” (“a chance at the American dream for those brought here as children”) as opposed to all the 11 million undocumented immigrants.** …

National Review ’s Eliana Johnson reports that mainstream GOP congressperson’s are mocking the GOP leadership legalization proposals in private emails. “[T]hese aren’t guys like Steve King but guys like (Raul) Labrador and (Tom) Cotton and (Mick) Mulvaney.”

Stay tuned.

MICKEY KAUS ON THE LATEST IMMIGRATION “REFORM” PROPOSAL: This is the best scam they can come up with? “So how were Boehner & Co going to sell “legal status first” plan as an ‘enforcement first plan?’ Now we know: By pretending that legal status isn’t legal status. That’s something that not even the famously deceptive Senate Gang of 8 tried. . . . Really, this is the best they could come up with? I’m beginning to worry about the lack of ingenuity among America’s skilled legislative con artists. Maybe we need to import some better ones from abroad — a sort of ‘guest lobbyist’ program. (H-1K visas.)”

UPDATE: A reader in the comments suggests that those unhappy with this should be supporting one of Boehner’s primary challengers.

MICKEY KAUS: Who Is The GOP’s Mystery Immigration Speaker?

MICKEY KAUS: The Coming GOP Amnesty Sellout Push.

The coming weeks will see the formal start of the GOP House leadership’s attempt to sneak an immigration amnesty through the Republican caucus and into law. We don’t know the exact details of the proposals, but we know enough. . . .

It takes some chutzpah for Boehner to make his amnesty push now, given the sour jobs news, falling measured support for amnesty, and the need for party unity in the coming midterm elections. You’d think the employment news alone–almost 3 unemployed Americans for every available job–would cause savvy lobbyists to postpone any attempt to push for a massive addition to the unskilled and skilled workforce. (The Senate’s bill would add about 6 million extra immigrant workers by 2023 – in addition to the current illegals who’d be legalized.) Maybe that could fly in a boom. But now?

Democrats used to push for tighter labor markets–they’re the best proven way to lower poverty, boost wages and curb income inequality. Today, the job of pointing that out has fallen to Republican Jeff Sessions, who has been fighting the battle Democras like Byron Dorgan and Barbara Jordan used to fight. Do we want to give less skilled Americans millions of new competitors, inevitably bidding down wages at the bottom? (“Did they repeal the law of supply and demand and not tell me about it?” asks Jim Cramer.) The groups most marginally connected to the labor market–e.g, teenage African Americans–would be the biggest losers. Democrats used to understand this.

It’s a sellout. That’s a term I don’t use lightly. Certainly there are plenty of idealistic, principled advocates of “comprehensive immigration reform” — including true believers in open borders, advocates of immigrants’ rights, and ethnic champions. Even the employers who are providing the financial muscle behind the amnesty push may sincerely think spoiled American workers just aren’t cutting it anymore, that the economy needs better, cheaper, hungrier immigrants — heaven forbid responsible corporatist roundtablers should have to actually train those spoiled Americans.

But why are the politicians abandoning the economic interests of the country’s basic laborers, and the strong anti-amnesty convictions of their own constituents (in the case of most Republicans), and doing it at such an objectively inauspicious time? It’s hard to deny that cash is doing much of the swaying here. “[A]ll the money is on the side of pushing it,” one pro-amnesty Democratic Congressman boasted–money in the form not only of direct campaign contributions, as promised by Mark Zuckerberg ($50 million) and the Chamber of Commerce, but also future consulting contracts and lobbying positions for those who echo the line that Republicans just have to do this to remain viable.

Actually, I don’t think they can remain viable if they do. It’s (another) big push in the direction of a massive base-walkaway from the GOP, and quite possibly the formation of a third party.

JAMES TARANTO: Just the Flacks: Wonkblog sells out.

Ezra Klein is back in line. The Journolist founder, who now runs Wonkblog for the Washington Post, took some flak from other left-liberal journalists last year when he acknowledged that the ObamaCare exchanges had serious technical flaws. But now, as we move into Phase 3 of the ObamaCare failure–the unraveling of its economic assumptions–Klein and his wonkblogger staff are full denial.

One result has been an entertaining and informative set of rebuttals from the heterodox liberal blogger Mickey Kaus. It began with a Dec. 17 post by Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff with the less-reassuring-than-intended title “Why Obamacare Won’t Spiral Into Fiery, Actuarial Doom.” She quoted a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation that claimed the age distribution of ObamaCare enrollees is not as important as people have been assuming: “Even if young people sign up at half the rate the administration hopes for, it would nudge premiums up only by a few percentage points, their report says.”

In his somewhat belated response (posted just this past Monday), Kaus cited the same study making a point this column has also been stressing: “that if the mix of young vs. old isn’t important”–a not-undisputed “if,” by the way–“the mix of healthy vs. sick might be.” . . .

And how’s that going? There’s no way to know for sure, because, as Kaus notes, “questions about health aren’t being asked of enrollees anymore.” Under ObamaCare, disease is the silent killer.

“If you’re going to call yourself ‘Wonkblog,’ ” Kaus asks, “shouldn’t you at least mention that the statistics you are so obsessively discussing aren’t the important ones?” In response, Wonkblog was silent. Why should they answer rhetorical questions?

In concept, a “wonk” is someone who cares so much about the details of policy, in an obsessive nerd-like fashion, that his/her obsession transcends partisan considerations. Such people are rare, but they do exist. Ezra Klein is not among them, nor has he ever been.

MICKEY KAUS: Out Of Whack. “Wonkblog‘s Sarah Kliff notes that health insurers, when speaking to investors, are much more positive about their prospects under Obamacare than you might think reading the policy complaints of their allies on the Web. But some of what they’re saying seems, on closer inspection, to be less than a ringing endorsement.”

THE ORIGINAL WONK BLOGGER, MICKEY KAUS, is staying on Ezra Klein’s case. “Wonking or cheerleading? You make the call!”

UPDATE: ObamaCare Still in ICU. Send in a Death Panel.

MICKEY KAUS: WonkBlog’s Red Herring.

So why did Wonkblog tell us Obamacare was in good shape when the study it cites suggests it might be in not-so-good shape if it fails to sign up enough healthy older customers? When people say Wonkblog is often an apologist for Obamacare–and they do!–this may be the sort of thing they mean. … On the other hand, the Post may simply be fixated on the young/old mix because those are the only statistics being released. Questions about health aren’t being asked of enrollees anymore. ”We’re not going to know about health mix anytime soon,” says Levitt. “Even insurers won’t know a lot when they have to set premiums for 2015.”

If you’re going to call yourself “Wonkblog,” though, shouldn’t you at least mention that the statistics you are so obsessively discussing aren’t the important ones?

One would think.

MICKEY KAUS: The GOP’s Grandfather Weapon:

I don’t quite understand the new, near-unanimous Dem line on Obamacare–which is that because it has signed up a few million people, many previously uninsured, it is now somehow invulnerable to repeal. . . .

It wouldn’t be hard for Republican repealers to write a law that got rid of Obamacare while somehow keeping those few million who’ve signed up on some form of similar insurance. “If you like your Obamacare you can keep your Obamacare.” Exchange policies could be converted to non-exchange policies in a special, no-new-enrollments program, for example. Over time, attrition would whittle this grandfathered class down to trivial size–a process with which you’d think Obamacare’s architects would be familiar.

You’d think.

MICKEY KAUS: GM Loses Market Share, Again?

The press won’t make it easy for you to discover–gets in the way of the pre-packaged “Detroit is back!” narrative–but it looks like General Motors lost market share again in 2013. According to Ward’s Auto, GM sales grew 7.3%–but the market as a whole grew 7.5%. … GM sales for December unexpectedly cratered, despite “high inventory levels … unseen since before the Great Recession.” … If this is a good year for GM, I wonder what a bad year will look like.

I dunno, but I’ll bet it’ll happen unexpectedly.

MICKEY KAUS: The Big Inequality Problem Isn’t Income, But Respect.

MICKEY KAUS: Welfare Queen Probed, Krugman Hardest Hit.

I put off reading Josh Levin’s piece about Linda Taylor, the famous Chicago “welfare queen” of the ’70s, in part because I feared it would be so engrossing and revealing I’d be consumed with professional jealousy. I’ve now read it. It’s engrossing and revealing and I’m jealous. (Also, Slate‘s new format mysteriously makes reading a long article easier. You should go there immediately.) But Dave Weigel’s idea that Levin’s piece somehow “vaporizes” Ronald Reagan’s use of the Taylor case in his campaigns is silly.

Levin doesn’t vaporize Reagan’s story. He confirms Reagan’s story.

Indeed.

NOW ON YOUTUBE, My InstaVision interview with Mickey Kaus: Obama’s Second-Term Disappointment: Reduced to Mafioso Behavior and Hipster Twitter Ads.

Related: Mickey Kaus on my Mark Levin imitation. Okay, I’m no Mark Levin, but I got a pretty good little mini-rant going.

INSTAVISION: I talk with Mickey Kaus about the state of ObamaCare. And deliver an uncharacteristically Mark Levin-like rant about right-wing legal outfits. Plus, what Republicans can learn from Mike Bloomberg’s failures.

hipster

MICKEY KAUS: Obamacare Escapes the Chains of Law.

HHS has pretty clearly escaped the rule of law and entered a world of corporatist haggling, where political leaders and a few big industry types sit around the table and work everything out. True, they have a mutual interest in doing so–Obama needs Obamacare to work, insurers are counting on it working well enough to make them money. The interests aren’t symmetrical though—at some point, long before Obamans give up on Obamacare, insurance companies could decide to cut their losses, bail, and go make money somewhere else. That gives HHS a motive to make sure they get enough money to keep them in the game: ‘Don’t worry, we’ll make it up to you later.’ This is a policy best announced at a small table in a noisy restaurant, not in the semi-judicial proceedings required for formal rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act.

It’s likely to end badly. I expect the Cruz Administration will vigorously pursue any lawbreakers.

MICKEY KAUS: “The Obama Administration continues to blaze new paths to corporatism (the cozy alliance of government with a few big businesses in each industry to the exclusion of smaller players).” All in the name of helping the little guy, of course. But wait, there’s a downside:

Obama’s second, FDA-style form of corporatism might ironically pose a serious threat to the Washington economy. After all, if all regulations are hashed out informally around a table between regulators, a few oligopolists and industry trade associations**-well, will we need so many lawyers to litigate rules in formal, quasi-judicial agency proceedings, and then to sue to get them overturned in court? Covington & Burling could lay off half its partners.

¡No Pasarán!

MICKEY KAUS NOT SO IMPRESSED WITH OBAMA’S INEQUALITY SQUIRREL:

You have to admire President Obama for choosing to give a speech declaring that the fight against “growing inequality”–specifically economic inequality–is “the defining challenge of our time” and the “focus” of “all our efforts”–given that:

a. Five years into his presidency he so far hasn’t done anything to stop growing income inequality–the problem has gotten worse on his watch.

b. He doesn’t have any proposals (“It’s time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act”) that come close to solving the problem as he defines it.

c. His one big previous initiative to reduce inequality–the Affordable Care Act–may now be hopelessly screwed up due to his own inattention and non-competence.

d. His remaining big domestic initiative–”comprehensive” immigration reform–would almost certainly make inequality worse by vastly increasing the number of unskilled workers bidding down wages at the bottom of the income scale, with the profits from the cheap labor going to business owners at the top.

Well, but remember, the main point of all of this was just to give the (friendly) press an excuse to talk about something other than the ObamaCare debacle. And to give the unfriendly press an easy pinata to whack at, so that they, too, will talk less about the ObamaCare debacle.

And on that note, here’s Stephen Green on “Moving At The Speed Of Government.”

TIM GEITHNER HAPPIEST! Mickey Kaus: Big Obamacare payoff for tax cheats? “The Obamacare cheating bonus–$5,328, in the above example–dwarfs either of those incentives, and almost doubles the payoff for understating your income. Save on income taxes and FICA and get near-free health insurance too!”

MICKEY KAUS: ObamaCare Needs A DooHickey.

You gotta have a gimmick.

MICKEY KAUS: Eddie Murphy in Reverse.

The ultimate extension of this principle is a sort of reversed image of the world Eddie Murphy memorably sketched on Saturday Night Live, in which white people don’t have to pay for newspapers or food etc. the way anyone else does. In this reverse-Murphy world, the affluent pay more for everything. Every individual good is means-tested.** They pay more for health care–why not also for auto licenses and parking violations and pet tags and meals and newspapers? They aren’t taxed–if they stay home and count their money, they’re safe. They’re just punished for their income classification every time they venture out into the community. Redistribution gets turned into a pervasive, day to day form of social inequality and disrespect–an effect multiplied by the apparent assumption by Democrats that the semi-affluent don’t really have a right to bitch about it. They’re supposed to be unseen and unheard–almost non-citizens.

What was it Obama said? You can come along, but you’ll have to ride in the back and shut up?

MICKEY KAUS? Why Did The Dems Go Nuclear Now? It’s About Jobs:

The D.C. Circuit, more than other circuits, is the central institution of America’s regulatory state, which is the basis for the booming economy of the entire National Capital area. Should this court become hostile to regulations, or capable of reviewing fewer of them, there might be correspondingly fewer reasons for corporations and other interests to hire connected D.C. lawyers to lobby government agencies to get the regulations they want, and to then defend those regulations when they’re challenged in court. And there’d be fewer reasons for young men and women to come to the capital to work in its agencies for a few years before moving into the private sector and becoming one of those lawyers corporations hire to manipulate the agencies they worked for.

Regulation is D.C.’s economic substructure, its mode of production, as Marx might say–even more so than legislation. Those big gleaming office buildings aren’t filled with Congressional lobbyists! They’re filled with administrative lawyers. Now, with a full 11 member court stacked to favor Democrats, there will be even more rules to litigate, more counsel to hire, more mansions to house them and restaurants to feed them. Whatever happens in the rest of America, the capital’s economic future is secure.

They should erect a statue of Harry Reid outside the Mazza Gallerie.

True enough.

MICKEY KAUS: I’d like to toe the party line on insurance cancellations, but it keeps changing! Hourly.

MICKEY KAUS: Panic Is An Option!


Too Big To Fail, Because We Might Need Their Help:
The Obama administration has pioneered a new path to corporatism**: Screw up a government initiative so much you have to call in the big boys from the industry to fix it. … You think the White House owes the large insurers now that they’ve dispatched their experts to save healthcare.gov? It’s easy to think of dozens of situations in the next three years–assuming Obamacare survives–where Obama’s regulators will have to choose between more competition and cozier big-firm oligopolies. The first benefits consumers. The second benefits insurance company profits. They now have a big reason to favor approach #2.

It’s cronyism all the way down.

MICKEY KAUS: Who you gonna believe, clever bloggers obsessed with exit polls or your own eyes? “Bloggers on the left–and some on the right–are trying really hard to deny the obvious: that the Obamacare rollout debacle hurt gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe down the stretch in a way that should (and will) terrify Democrats.”

MICKEY KAUS:

I admit that all the recent Obamacare troubles are … well, let’s face it, they’re huge fun.

It’s true, I supported Obamacare–I favor universal health care, and still think it’s a good idea to try to inject competition through the “three legged” mechanism** of the exchanges before resigning ourselves to some kind of Medicare-for-all scheme.

On the other hand, it’s hard not to witness the current Obamacalypse without getting more than a little spark of serotonin. Here’s the self-righteous, cocooning, progressive “coalition of the ascendant,” disdainful of triangulation, dismissive of all the 90s-era Charlie Peters neolibs with their worries about bureaucracies and perverse incentives and their focus on the mechanics of government, suddenly discovering that neglecting the mechanics of government can be a big, big mistake. The Education of Ezra Klein continues, at great expense to the nation. We might as well enjoy the spectacle.

Heh. Yes, it’s one of those “teachable moments” we’re always hearing about, usually from those who have a lot to learn.

MICKEY KAUS: Bring On The Wise Men — But Are There Any? “The Obama administration is this close to being the object of one of the most vicious forms of condescension in the MSM arsenal: the Call for Wise Men. . . . But are there any Wise Men left? I’m not so sure. The most obvious wise men are Gergen himself, who’s too cliched even for the MSM to propose with a straight face, and Bill Clinton, whose interests don’t coincide completely with Obama’s and who wouldn’t take the job anyway. Bruce Reed is in the White House already! Al Gore has gotten too weird. Jody Powell died. Even the old wise men have been partially discredited.” When you have the worst political class in American history . . . .

Plus, from the comments: “The man who thought himself wise enough to write an autobiography once he turned 30 will not be able to find anyone wiser than himself.”

MICKEY KAUS: What ObamaCare Pollyannas Miss. At this point, it takes a special person to be an ObamaCare Pollyanna.

MICKEY KAUS ON getting the Velvet Underground to play at his high school in 1968.

MICKEY KAUS: Rubio Bails On Amnesty. “Ann Coulter seems willing to forgive Rubio–a sound tactical position, given that if you oppose amnesty you want to give its supporters an incentive to jump ship. For the record, I agree. But just between us, I don’t. I will never forgive Rubio. First, it’s pretty obvious he’s only abandoning amnesty because he has to face the voters. Like John McCain, who goes into comprehensivist remission every 6 years, he’ll be back pushing it as soon as the voting’s over.”

MICKEY KAUS: “Perhaps we elected a President who isn’t interested in how the nuts and bolts of government work–as long as he worries about the big legislation, what goes on in the bureaucratic boxes is a second order problem, right? If that’s what Obama thinks, his health care rollout is, as they say, a teachable moment.”

MICKEY KAUS: FORGET THE SHUTDOWN THEATER. Obamacare is in Crisis Now. Right Now. “It’s time to panic. Now. Why? Because the exchanges are the way to sign up young, healthy people and prevent the fabled “death spiral,” in which only older, sicker people sign up for insurance, causing rates to rise and healthier people to drop out, causing rates to rise even more, etc. Young people won’t make the effort to look up insurance companies on their own when they don’t really care that much about getting insurance anyway. They won’t try 50 times to use a balky web site.”

Plus, the whole enterprise just seems lame.

MICKEY KAUS IS SKEPTICAL of claims that without the shutdown imbroglio, ObamaCare’s problems would have gotten more coverage:

In the non-alternative history–i.e. what actually happened–the press reported the Obamacare rollout debacle without guidance from an orchestrated crescendo of Republican press releases. That made the reports much more devastating. And because the MSM rightly thinks the story is its own, and not a hyped GOP narrative, it will keep reporting it. Even youthful Obamacare reassurer-in-chief Ezra Klein seems to have sunk his teeth into it. (He got wind of the impending disaster, he assures us, and really really “tried hard” to nail it down before the rollout! Whatever. He’s on the case now.)

When your enemy is in the process of destroying himself, the worst thing to do to is stop him. But the second worst may be to have Darrell Issa hold hearings.

I agree.

MICKEY KAUS: PELOSI LOVES GERRYMANDERING:

Finally: It sure seems as if a few years ago, when people in California tried to make an issue out of gerrymandering, the sophisticated position was to pooh-pooh the harm it causes. After all, nonpartisan line-drawing would only “make a few more legislative seats more competitive,” according to a 2005 NYT op-ed. People were sorting themselves out geographically and there was no way to force them into competitive districts. Give it up, goo-goos!

Could this attitude have had something to do with the support for gerrymandering from Nancy Pelosi and the California Democratic party, which benefitted from the party-manipulated lines in that huge state? Pelosi beat the anti-gerrymandering initiative in 2005, with the help of $4 million from Clinton buddy Steve Bing. Reformers came back with a modified anti-gerrymandering scheme for state offices in 2008. Pelosi fought that too, but it squeaked by with 50.8% of the vote. In 2010 big Democratic donors came out in force to try to prevent nonpartisan redistricting from being extending to Congressional races–even sponsoring a competing initiative designed to confuse the voters. Look at the list of contributors–Soros, Saban, AFSCME. the teachers’ union, they’re all there (except Bing).

Now, of course, gerrymandering (to produce safe seats) is Democrats’ favored villain when it comes to explaining why today’s Congressional Republicans are so wild and fearless about the consequences. . . . Democratic writers turn naturally to gerrymandering as the explanation because it suggests that the Republican House majority is somehow illegitimate, the product of illicit backroom skullduggery rather than elections. . . . But line-drawing is no more a factor in producing safe seats now than it was in 2005–probably less, since the decades-long process of voluntary sorting into blue and red areas has presumably continued apace. And if the problem is that Dems congregate in urban districts of their own volition, then the fearless Republican majority is only partly the result of partisan line drawing. Ezra Klein has a reasonable, nuanced discussion of the topic today on Wonkblog, though his site’s new, dumber doppelganger, KnowMore, just blames gerrymandering.

Dumber? Sheesh.

MICKEY KAUS: Mulally’s Legacy?

I just picked up the latest Consumer Reports auto ratings publication–useful mainly for its reliability survey. Has “the American auto industry … come roaring back,” as Pres. Obama says with some regularity? Chastened UAW workers worrying less about work rules and more about quality! GM and Chrysler, freed from legacy burdens, able to spend more on engineering and high-grade materials!

Um, not so much, according to CR. I counted only 3 Detroit-made cars with above average quality ratings (the Chevy Volt, the Chevy Equinox, and the Jeep Patriot). Meanwhile 21 products are below average. Toyota, by way of contrast, has 18 cars above average (out of 21 it sells) and none below average. Many highly-rated Toyota products, like the Camry and Venza, are assembled in the U.S.

But read on to see how Ford is doing.

MICKEY KAUS: World’s Dumbest Blog Item Ever of All Time! You’ll never guess who wrote it. Well, it might take you two tries.

MICKEY KAUS: Stop selling Obamacare with stars and pols! “I would never doubt the persuasive power of Michael Cera, or even Kathleen Sebelius, but let me suggest (as someone who wants Obamacare to succeed) that the administration is using the wrong spokespeople. Everyone knows Hollywood is insensibly in love with Obama and will promote whatever he tells them to. And nobody trusts politicians anymore about anything. Their exhortations are discounted accordingly. Instead, the administration should use … doctors. . . . This isn’t like urging folks to vote. Obamacare’s opponents–who have, after all, been winning the debate–have given people the impression that Obamacare will not just be costly–it will be a living nightmare, bureaucratically and medically. A non-trivial portion of the population even thinks it will be such a nightmare that it’s worth shutting down the government or defaulting on our debt over.”

THE LATEST IMMIGRATION NEWS, FROM MICKEY KAUS: “Without immigration reform to provide labor from abroad, things are so bad in the agriculture sector that some farmers are even training new workers.”