TCS Daily


The Gregg Factor

By Larry Kudlow - February 2, 2009 12:00 AM

So why would the estimable Sen. Judd Gregg (R., N.H.) quit his job to become commerce secretary in the Obama administration? Over the past year I've gotten to know Sen. Gregg through numerous interviews and a dinner with his wife in New York City last fall. He's a very smart fella. He's also a strong fiscal conservative — by that, I mean, he is perennially for lower tax rates, lower spending, lower deficits, and less debt. He's a free trader, too. And he has also become quite knowledgeable about the whole TARP financial mess. I'm always kidding him about being a flinty-eyed Granite State senator, and he has never raised any objections to that moniker. Gregg knows how to count. He even knows balance sheets and income statements.

So let me ask again: If Team Obama is pushing for higher spending, tax rates, deficits, and debt, how will Judd Gregg fit in?

The fact that Pres. Obama put Gregg in his cabinet speaks well of the president. Gregg is first-rate. And he might add some bipartisanship to the story, which is what Obama says he wants. Commerce secretary is generally regarded as a lesser post, but if Gregg is invited to the economic policy meetings, as I suspect he will be, then he will be a strong voice at the table — in part because of his own stature and in part because Obama has put him there.

So if the administration wants to go off on a class-warfare binge — jacking up taxes on successful earners and investors — you can bet Judd Gregg will argue strongly against it. In fact, you can bet Judd Gregg doesn't like the Pelosi-Reid stimulus package a bit, and that he will argue against it in various administration meetings.

It might be that Obama doesn't like the Pelosi-Reid bill either, and that the president will be sponsoring major changes in that bill. I have no idea if this is the case, but I am surmising that it could be the case simply because Obama has put Gregg in a visible spot.

And I assume that Sen. McConnell knows something about the politics of this transaction, namely that New Hampshire Democratic Gov. John Lynch will choose a Republican to finish out Sen. Gregg's term. Perhaps a moderate like Warren Rudman, who will almost surely vote against the stimulus package if he gets a shot on the Senate floor.

Judd Gregg is also someone who wants to reform the big entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare, which is something Pres. Obama also wants. Here, too, Gregg could be a go-between for bipartisanship.

Sen. Gregg would be the third Republican in Obama's cabinet, the others being defense secretary Robert Gates and new transportation secretary Ray LaHood. Fiscally, Gregg is much more conservative than LaHood. Of course, Team Obama knows all this. They know exactly what they would be getting with Judd Gregg as commerce secretary.

So maybe this awful stimulus bill will in fact be completely changed and delayed until we can figure out how much the next TARP bill is gonna cost. Until Team Obama can come up with a TARP plan and a TARP number for borrowing, the stimulus package should be shelved (and completely reworked).

Might Judd Gregg be the catalyst for all this? Let's wait and see.


This article first appeared on Kudlow's Money Politic$.
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43 Comments

For balance
LK argues "So let me ask again: If Team Obama is pushing for higher spending, tax rates, deficits, and debt, how will Judd Gregg fit in?"

To provide balance, of course. What's new about this administration is that it invites all POV's to be present at the table. And you wouldn't be likely to craft a well balanced policy with bringing in a sharp fiscal conservative.. especially one that isn't just shrill and doctrinaire.

Things used to be that way. Whenever a president wanted to appoint an advisory commission he'd make sure that every conceivable point of view was represented, so he could hear every case.. both for and against.

Except for only two, that I can think of. Nixon and Bush 43. And even Bush invited intellectual opponents to the table. He just didn't listen to them. With Bush they never got an invitation. Panels were always in total agreement, 12-0.

You should be happy that this one of three attending Republicans is being encouraged to add his voice to the discussion. Unless, like Rush, you're just hoping to see the administration fail.

I hope BHO fails to implement socialism.
If BHO really is not a socialist, then I hope he follows Gregg's advice and BHO may get limited conservative support.

Rush has the first bipartisan 'stimulus' plan.
If Gregg knows he will only be there for comic relief, I don't understand why he would accept.
If BHO wants an opposing view all he need do is listen to Rush or ask Thomas Sowell to advise him.

The BHO 'catch a tax cheater' plan: appoint him to his cabinet.

For the appearance of all those things Roy thinks this is about
Appearance, nothing more. At least, that is what the Obama side of all this just wants. Despite recent changes in Fox's line-up, every Hannity needs his Colmes. Obama needs as many 'token conservatives' as he can get a hold of, apparently.

If Gregg truly is the principled conservative as Kudlow expounds over and over on, then he'll figure out he's been hoodwinked by Obama's BS and then he'll quit.

It's either that or he's just another sell-out like most other Republican politicians these days. This is the more likely if he really is only half as smart as Kudlow says he is.

Maybe he's unbound by ideology
You can't see the obvious. Obama has been telling us since the middle of last summer that he doesn't want to follow any ideologies. He just wants to find bright, well qualified people wherever he can.

He'd never have chosen Gregg if the guy was a "principled conservative". That's code for a knee jerk in blinders. He wanted someone who could think outside those narrow categories, and who could add something that his field didn't have. That means a budget conservative whose priorities differ from the rest of the team.

Maybe Obama should just read Mallard Fillmore?
Listen to Rush? That's a good one. Nobody listens to Rush, not even George Bush. But since I don't, maybe you could spell out his "bipartisan stimulus plan" for me. I'll take a look at it.

Now Jon Stewart.. THAT guy has a good plan. It's the Trickle-Up Theory. He says all the money should be given to everyone who's hopelessly in debt, so they can pay off their debts. That way the bad loans get taken off the balance sheet and everyone gets paid. We can start out fresh.

Sowell's a little better than Rush. Here's one recent comment:

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell012709.php3

"Everyone is talking about how much money the government is spending, but very little attention is being paid to where they are spending it or what they are buying with it."

Maybe he could read the headlines. That's all they're talking about now.

"The government is putting money into banks, even when the banks don't want it, in hopes that the banks will put it into circulation. But the latest statistics shows that banks are lending even less money now than they were before the government dumped all that cash on them.

"Even if it had worked, putting cash into banks, in hopes that they would put it into circulation, seems a rather roundabout way of doing things, especially when the staggering sums of money involved are being justified as an "emergency" measure."

I couldn't agree more. Of course, that was the Bush government that just got replaced by an irate public so they could try something, ANYTHING else.

"Spending money for infrastructure is another time-consuming way of dealing with what is called an immediate crisis. Infrastructure takes forever to plan, debate, and go through all sorts of hearings and adjudications, before getting approval to build from all the regulatory agencies involved."

Maybe that's why Obama called for projects that were "shovel ready". Remember that?

"If you cut taxes tomorrow, people would have more money in their next paycheck, and it would probably be spent by the time they got that paycheck, through increased credit card purchases beforehand.

"If all this sound and fury in Washington was about getting an economic crisis behind us, tax cuts could do that a lot faster."

Maybe that's why Obama has been explaining to us since early in the campaign, that his plan cuts taxes harder for those making under $150K than McCain's plan.

Tax cuts for those who have to defer purchases due to low funds makes every bit of sense as a stimulant. The money not paid out in taxes will be spent on purchases. But over $150K, that's a different story. Those people are just going to put it under their mattress, since there are no more asset-based securities to buy.. and they already have everything they need.


Try the WSJ.
Rush proposes $460B in tax cuts.

Bright people pay their taxes don't they?

'Flexible' standards
First BHO state 'no lobbyists' then hires lobbyists.

He wants an era of responsibility and wants to hire tax cheats.

It's great not being bound by ideology or standards isn't it?

What other standards will BHO ignore?

Good lord!
"Try the WSJ. Rush proposes $460B in tax cuts."

So you're saying that Rush writes for the WSJ now?

Try to maintain a coherent thought. And if you have something to report, try offering a reference. How did Rush arrive at such an oddly precise figure? Give us something to work with.

For instance, if you wanted to do some worthwhile work you could contrast Rush's $406 billion with Obama's $300 billion tax cut. Give us something so we can evaluate the two proposals.

Find it yourself. google rush wsj
or look to to rushlimbaugh.com

It is easy to find.

More BHO brilliance: President Obama to water down 'Buy American' plan after EU trade war threat
"Under the “Buy American” clause passed by the US House of Representatives, American iron and steel must be used in construction projects that form part of the recovery plan. The US Senate wants to extend the scope of the clause before the Bill goes to the White House for approval. "

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5655115.ece

From the Horse's mouth, To the more patriotic than the King
In today's (Feb 3, 2009) interview with CNN, Obama said there are bound to be ideological differences with the previous administration.

There it is, the dreaded "I" word from your man Roy, about 8.30 minutes into the following video.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2009/02/03/intv.ac.barack.obama.cnn

Casting ideology aside
I see. For you this becomes just an exercse in seeing whether Obama has ever uttered the word "ideology". If he has, it follows that his style of governance is hopelessly ideological.

If you keep looking up instances where the words "obama" and "ideology" occur on the same page you'll find that at EVERY TURN (like the caps?) he has stated that he wants to go beyond ideology, gather ideas from many points of view and govern from the center. He knows enough about politics to understand that if he keeps to a narrow partisan base, his policies won't get anywhere.

Obama invites those who disagree with him to enter into dialog. That alone distinguishes him from the previous administration, who never took that approach. And that is what he was referring to when he said that "there are bound to be ideological differences with the previous administration".

Breaking with the Democrats
Obama has been cognizant of the fact that this is not a good time to start a trade war. And has said that he will not sign a bill that, in his opinion, crosses that line.

He's on solid ground. The main thing that turned the 1930s depression into a global catastrophe was protectionist trade barriers. Global business froze up solid.

In breaking with his own party on this, don't you think he was following his announced approach to transcend ideology, and to consider all points of view before resolving on a course of action? In other words, isn't this a GOOD thing?

He supported it before he was against it.
Very decisive!

Charting a middle course
Consistency is a virtue that can be over-zealously applied. Extreme protectionism is one misstep; total freedom to operate offshore is another misstep. This is an area where a certain amount of dancing in the middle would be indicated.

To do otherwise would be to show favoritism toward one group over another.. wouldn't it?

And as that's a BAD thing, it follows that by dancing between either extreme, Obama is doing a good thing. Or so it would seem to me.

I support free trade.
That's BHO's problem, since he has no principles, what does he stand for, today?

Trying listening to him
Your comment is mere chauvinism. Obama constantly talks about his principles, and what he hopes our principles as a nation should be. Your problem is only that they're not the same as your principles.

By your own words, I did see the obvious
"You can't see the obvious...He'd never have chosen Gregg if the guy was a "principled conservative"

Exactly: Which means Gregg is a lying sellout, as I said.

Responsibility is one of his principles, no?
But he still appoints irresponsible tax cheats to his cabinet and refuses to tell them to leave.

He throws his pastor and grandmother under a bus when they are political liabilities. What responsibility!

You can spin it all you want Roy. Go full steam ahead. But its’ a fact that Obama spoke of ideology
..

Roy & Tingly Feelings Up Your Leg
Roy, I don't mind that you are an incessant spewer of the most visceral and palpable forms of brainwashed crap. I don't even mind that you and the other Obamamaniacs get tinly feelings up their legs when you immerse yourselves in your own heroic metanarratives.

However when WE can feel the tingly feeling in your leg, its just creepy.

JS & JS Mill
Some of us understand that Jon Stewart is John Stuart Mill.

Correction
Some of us understand that Jon Stewart is NOT John Stuart Mill.

Contradiction Alert
Obama constantly talks about his principles, and what he hopes our principles as a nation should be.

First you tell us he's not bound by "ideology", then you tell us he constantly talkes about his principles. You really are mentally ill, somewhere between cognitive dissonance and multiple personality disorder...

It's looking more and more like it is just for the appearance of bipartisanship
...the Obamatons just stripped the new commerce sec of one of his traditional powers: oversight of the Census Bureau.

http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docid=news-000003024858

The Dems were worried he'd put a stop to their plans for census fraud.

Confusing ideology and principle
What's really telling is that you confuse ideology and principle.

Ideology is that narrow mindedness that believes prima facie that the other side can make no sense and do no good. And that one's beliefs are correct whether or not they are borne out by actual experience.

Principle is believing that doing what is best for the country is more important than which side "wins".

However you make the accusation that I'm exhibiting cognitive dissonance. Illustrate that, please.

Same thing with multiple personality disorder. Enumerate and define my various personalities.

War world
"Principled conservative" in these instances is code for "ideological zealot". In that sense, I offered that Gregg must not be one of them or he would not have been considered.

For you, the only other possible way to be would be "lying sellout". There's no third choice?

To feel this way about politics is to believe that it's necessarily a zero-sum war. And when politics is reduced to that level, the public is the real loser.

What I like about Obama;s approach is his constant appeal that everyone stop such directionless bS and realize that they're put there in Washington to solve a crisis. And that it would be best for the nation if they were to be able to do this together, as a unified deliberative body.

Toward that end, as we speak there is a bipartisan panel going over the proposed Senate bill line item by line item, removing each piece of pork they find, and discussing every item on which there is not yet a consensus.

I find that to be a better brand of politics than what we've seen in recent years. How about you?

Ideology?
Context would help. All you've given us is "Obama said there are bound to be ideological differences with the previous administration."

There's nothing there to indicate his aim is to zealously pursue an ideology. He's only calling attention to the obvious: that his team is going in an entirely different direction than did the Bush team.

And further, every other thing he says is that he's looking for bipartisan support. Does that sound like ideological rigidity?

Your attempt to turn everything, no matter how innocuous, into a negative for Obama, on the other hand, does look to me like it's partisan, short-sighted and chauvinist. No matter what he does or says, your immediate knee jerk is to twist it about until you can find something wrong with it.

That's not constructive. There are things that will certainly go wrong in the coming months. And if there has been a constructive attitude engendered on Capitol Hill, those things can surely be put right a lot faster than if everyone just likes to bicker and score imaginary points on some weird scoreboard.

That's my opinion and that appears to be Obama's opinion. If you want to call it our shared ideology, that consensus is a goal worth achieving, then that's fine with me. Use the word.

Trickle Up Theory
"On last night’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart’s guest, Gwen Ifil, host of PBS Washington Week was doubled over in laughter at Stewart’s economic stimulus plan. He called it a “trickle up theory of economics.” Stewart stated, “What if they take all the consumer debt, give us the money, but only for consumer debt and mortgages. We’ll pay it back to them. Make it clean. Hit the reset button…Give it to us, specifically for our consumer debt and we will put it in the bank. They will have their money and we will have no debt.”

"Ifill jokingly said she would pass it on. “You’re humoring me,” said Stewart. The idea of canceling consumer and mortgage debt was so foreign to the educated Ifil, she couldn’t conceive of it. Yet looking at the failed T.A.R.P. plan and lack of accountability by bailout banks, the most absurd action would be to give banks more money. Yet that is precisely what the Treasury has contemplated this week for Bank of America’s takeover of Merrill Lynch. Wasn’t a combined fifty billion enough for these two behemoths? Apparently not. How long do we keep paying for their endless mistakes?"

http://good-b.com/blog/?p=70

As i siad "You can spin it all you want Roy. But it's obvious that Obama has an ideology"
That is the ONLY meaning of the sentence "There are bound to be ideological differences with the previous administration".

The only question is WHAT his ideology is and how it affects his actions.

The 'liberal' view
"Liberals view the government as a force for good that should be used at every possible opportunity to reorder people's lives. This is an outgrowth of the liberal belief that most people are stupid and unable to ascertain what's in their own best interests without the intercession of their superiors (liberals) to show them what's best. That makes government extraordinarily handy to liberals because they can use the power of government to force people to give up their money, force people to do things they don't want to do, and to try to reshape society into the utopian vision they have of how the world should work. "

"conservatives view the government as a necessary evil that should generally be used as sparingly, judiciously, and reluctantly as possible. This is not because conservatives believe people are angels, but because we believe Adam Smith was correct when he said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

Furthermore, the conservative view says that the government is slow, inefficient, inordinately expensive, error-prone, and as likely as not to create problems worse than the ones it tries to solve with its bungling efforts. Hence Ronald Reagan's classic line, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" "

"A liberal loves the idea of forcing businesses to pay workers more than what they're worth through the minimum wage. Conservatives see the minimum wage as more meddling in the free market that will have negative consequences. If you force the business owner to overpay, he will surely change his behavior as a response. Maybe he'll hire less people. Maybe he'll have less money to spend on equipment. Maybe he won't be able to give out Christmas bonuses to his best performing employees. Whatever the case may be, assuming a politician in DC can micromanage the salaries of a business owner better than he can seems to be incredibly arrogant. "

"A liberal looks at a failing business, usually one that has given quite a bit of money to liberal politicians, and wants to play the hero by "bailing out" that company with taxpayer money. That politician is making a determination that he is wiser than the market and can better decide whether a particular business should remain open. A conservative looks at the same company and declines to bail it out on the grounds that if it were a viable business over the long-haul, some private company would have already loaned it the money it needs. Furthermore, when a company goes out of business, its more successful competitors can then swoop in, buy up its assets, and put those resources to better use."

"the best evidence for the "government is a necessary evil" school of thought is that almost every extremely serious problem our country has dealt with in the last 75 years has had at its root, actions taken by the government.

The Depression? It was an economic downturn turned into a lingering disaster by the government policies designed to fix it. Gas lines during the Carter years? That was caused by government price controls. Staggering out-of-wedlock birth rates? Welfare and no-fault divorce laws created that issue. A flood of illegal aliens? The government failed to secure the border and deliberately refused to enforce the laws. The mortgage crisis? The government forced businesses to give loans to bad risks. The deficit? The government spends too much year after year after year. It goes on and on, but you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, find government actions at trouble's core. "

http://townhall.com/columnists/JohnHawkins/2009/02/03/why_the_liberal_view_of_government_is_wrong?page=2

Government must prove itself everyday and so far, they cannot be trusted.

You got beat up a lot as a kid, right?
You are such an ASS

Argue with Random House

ideology /?a?di'?l?d?i, ??di-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ahy-dee-ol-uh-jee, id-ee-]
–noun, plural -gies. 1

1. the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.
2. such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.
3. Philosophy. a. the study of the nature and origin of ideas.
b. a system that derives ideas exclusively from sensation.

4. theorizing of a visionary or impractical nature.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Origin:
1790–1800; ideo- + -logy; cf. F idéologie

Bound by ideology
A set of core beliefs? Yes, if you apply that definition, Obama has an ideology.

"The only question is WHAT his ideology is and how it affects his actions."

Fortunately he talks about this all the time. His ideology is to seek consensus.. as opposed to governing with a heavy hand. Any problem with that?

I was using ideology in its more current sense, meaning a slavish and rote acceptance of some firmly held doctrine at a sharp variance with anything held by unbelievers; a rigid dogma, to be defended against all other dogmas. We've seen no evidence of that with Obama.

Furthermore it was apparent that that was my meaning, when I said above that he was "unbound" by ideology. Remember?

So tell us how he is BOUND by it. His dogma is one of broadmindedness and consideration of the views of others.

Roy accepts, after a fashion, that Obama has an ideology but insists he (Obama) has NO principles
Since ideology includes doctrine (see Superheater's post) and since doctrine means "a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government: Catholic doctrines; the Monroe Doctrine",

and since you keep insisting that Obama has no ideology (or not bound by ideology),

is it your position that Obama has NO principles?

I adhere to my original point
You never give up, do you?

I have no need to address your contortions beyond what I've already done. Obama's principles are on display on a daily basis as he is very verbal about them. You waste your time haggling when you can turn on the television and listen to them yourself.

As for ideology, no, he is anything but ideologically driven. However, if we admit the broadest possible definition of the term, any set of coherent beliefs amounts to an ideology. As in "An ideology is a set of aims and ideas, especially in politics. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things ..."

He is, as I state, "unbound by ideology" in that he willingly listens to and considers the ideas of others.. a trait I find refreshing. Certainly the last occupant of the White House never did that.

"Unbound by ideology" does not mean the same as "having no ideology".. as in "no coherent set of beliefs". It means that his beliefs are not set in concrete.

Which essentially means; you think that Obama is NOT Principled but is infinitely Malleable
..

BHO is a 'finger in the wind' guy. Just as you like.
I don't know why you want a president since you have stated your desire for a pure democracy.

You want every president to read the daily poll and vote that way regardless of any principles.

No wait! It is now because Gregg saw the total BS wool put over his eyes
OBAMA BURNED: GREGG WITHDRAWS AFTER POLICIES TOO MUCH TO STOMACH
Thu Feb 12 2009 16:18:14 ET

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, February 12, 2009

Senator Gregg Statement on His Withdrawal for Consideration of U.S. Commerce Secretary

Sen. Gregg stated, “I want to thank the President for nominating me to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Commerce. This was a great honor, and I had felt that I could bring some views and ideas that would assist him in governing during this difficult time. I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.

“However, it has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me. Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.

“Obviously the President requires a team that is fully supportive of all his initiatives.

“I greatly admire President Obama and know our country will benefit from his leadership, but at this time I must withdraw my name from consideration for this position.

“As we move forward, I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the President’s proposals. This will certainly be a goal of mine.

“Kathy and I also want to specifically thank Governor Lynch and Bonnie Newman for their friendship and assistance during this period. In addition we wish to thank all the people, especially in New Hampshire, who have been so kind and generous in their supportive comments.

“As a further matter of clarification, nothing about the vetting process played any role in this decision. I will continue to represent the people of New Hampshire in the United States Senate.”

Zyndryl Calls It Right!
OBAMA BURNED: GREGG WITHDRAWS AFTER POLICIES TOO MUCH TO STOMACH
Thu Feb 12 2009 16:18:14 ET

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, February 12, 2009

Senator Gregg Statement on His Withdrawal for Consideration of U.S. Commerce Secretary

Sen. Gregg stated, “I want to thank the President for nominating me to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Commerce. This was a great honor, and I had felt that I could bring some views and ideas that would assist him in governing during this difficult time. I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.

“However, it has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me. Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.

“Obviously the President requires a team that is fully supportive of all his initiatives.

“I greatly admire President Obama and know our country will benefit from his leadership, but at this time I must withdraw my name from consideration for this position.

“As we move forward, I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the President’s proposals. This will certainly be a goal of mine.

“Kathy and I also want to specifically thank Governor Lynch and Bonnie Newman for their friendship and assistance during this period. In addition we wish to thank all the people, especially in New Hampshire, who have been so kind and generous in their supportive comments.

“As a further matter of clarification, nothing about the vetting process played any role in this decision. I will continue to represent the people of New Hampshire in the United States Senate.”

Gregg bows out on matters of principle
Compared to democrats who bow out for ethical lapses.

Anyone surprised?

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