Saturday, December 6, 2014

Last Call For The "Taxes Killed Eric Garner" Argument

Over at Outside The Beltway, Steven Taylor makes this observation on the notion that New York's laws against selling loose cigarettes untaxed is what really killed chockhold victim Eric Garner, and not police brutality.

While I need to formulate (and am working on it, in fact) more well developed response to the discussion of the role played by the law on cigarettes in the death of Eric Garner, I do have a simple response I want to note (it is a thought that has occurred to me more than once as I have read and heard assertions about the situation)

Jonah Goldberg serves as most proximate inspiration:

But only unreasonable people can deny that those laws are partly to blame. Without laws making cigarettes more expensive, Eric Garner would be alive today, period

In reading this (and similar assertions–i.e., that more laws equal more chances for law enforcement to go array, ergo, have so many laws is part of the problem) I have to wonder if the libertarian/anti-government types are willing to recognize that this is exactly the argument that many make about guns after a mass shooting (i.e., if guns weren’t so easy to access that event X would not have happened–both are vested in a basic assertion about probability). And, further, that libertarian/anti-government types always reject those probability arguments in that context.

It's an important point.  Glibertarian types are always stressing "personal responsibility" over law (the most obvious example of this being the infamous "Guns don't kill people, people do" riff) but in the Garner case it wasn't the police officer's fault, it was cigarette taxes.  I've pointed out the idiocy of this when Sen. Rand Paul said it, but the point is that you can't say taxes were part of why Eric Garner died without also admitting that availability of guns is why so many thousands of Americans die each year in firearm homicides and accidents.

That admission won't be coming soon from these guys, either.

The Last Days Of Southern Democrats

Mary Landrieu is fighting for her political career in Louisiana today in the state's Senate runoff, but the reality is Senate Democrats are done in the South for quite some time, and unlike House races, you can't blame Senate losses on gerrymandering. FiveThirtyEight's Harry Enten sums up Landrieu's coming demise:

William Thompson of Kansas and Wesley Jones of Washington are former U.S. senators — you get a pass for not recognizing them, they’ve been dead for more than 80 years. But if you’ll be watching Saturday’s Senate runoff between Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Bill Cassidy in Louisiana, remember their names.

These senators sustained the greatest margin of defeat for an elected incumbent (not running on a third-party ticket after a primary defeat) since the direct election of senators began in the early 1900s. Thompson lost by 30 percentage points in 1918, and Jones by 28 points in 1932.

Landrieu probably won’t overtake Thompson and Jones, but she could be headed toward a top 10 historic defeat.

The FiveThirtyEight model projects her losing the runoff 99.8 percent of the time, and by a 57.8 percent to 42.2 percent margin. That’s mostly based on polling, which can be unreliable in a low-turnout runoff.

What else do we know? The early voters in the Louisiana runoff have been vastly more Republican-leaning than early voters in last month’s election. And while whites were only 65 percent of early voters in November, they have been 70 percent for the runoff. Registered Republicans were only 34 percent of early voters in November, but they’ve been 39 percent of early voters for the runoff.

If this change in voter makeup holds on Saturday, it’s obviously very bad news for Landrieu. Assuming she wins the same percentage of white voters as Democratic candidates did in November, she’ll lose the runoff by roughly 60 percent to 40 percent, or about what the model forecasts.

Landrieu's loss will leave Florida's Bill Nelson as the last remaining Democratic Senator from a Southern state, and Mark Warner if you count purple state Virginia.  Both these senators are conservative as well.

Warner survived, and Bill Nelson is good until 2018, but outside of that in 2016 it's going to be a lot harder than liberals are willing to believe to gain seats in the South.

And yes, Landrieu is toast.  Let's be honest here.  She sold the party out for Keystone XL and will lose by an even larger margin as a result.  No sympathy for her, but definite sadness for the Democrats.  We've got a lot of work to do if we ever want to win either chamber of Congress back.

Start That Shutdown Clock

The right smells surrender on immigration policy and it's panic time for the Tea Party.  The Daily Caller is howling:

House Speaker John Boehner’s top committee chairman says he wants an immigration bill that would allow millions of foreign migrants to stay and work jobs sought by Americans. 
“I’m going to use my assets and resources in the new year to work with this Congress… to have a well-understood agreement about what the law should be, and how we as communities, and farm communities, and tech communities, create circumstances where we can have people be in this country and work, and where not one person is quote ‘thrown out’ or ‘deported,’” Rep. Pete Sessions,the chairman of the powerful House rules committee, told a group of Democratic legislators. 
The committee has the power to kill or boost members’ bills because it decides how each bill will be considered in floor votes. 
Sessions’ promise of de-facto amnesty to Democrats was welcomed by Chicago Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who frequently describes unauthorized migrants as members of his community. 
“My heart was filled with a lot of joy when you said that people who are working here, who don’t present a danger, basically should be set aside, that those aren’t the people we should be going after,” said Gutierrez, four hours and 16 minutes into the hearing. 
The Dec. 3 hearing took place the evening before Boehner announced he would not even try to defund Obama’s Nov. 21 amnesty.

And so is Angry Angryson at Red State.

It is more and more obvious the only way the GOP will stop Obama is if House conservatives hold the line and oppose both the rule on the continuing resolution and the continuing resolution itself.

Start the shutdown clock for Friday the 12th, kids.  It's about to get ugly.  I've been predicting a GOP civil war now for 4 years, and it looks like it's finally about to arrive.
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