The new year of 2015 has seen an unusual, but apparently
discrete, quantity of political and economic news, domestic
and foreign. Much of this news might not be as disconnected
as a first glance indicates.....
A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS AT CENTER STAGE:
Following the landslide 2014 national mid-term elections
which expanded Republican control of the U.S. house, and
took back GOP control of the U.S. senate, the new session
has begun as GOP leaders begin to set the stage for their
inevitable confrontation with President Obama. Mr. Obama
has tried to be pre-emptive in this confrontation, taking
bolder steps to the left than previously, steps sure to
confront the opposition majorities directly. So far, Speaker
John Boehner and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have
been deliberate and careful, something which has upset
some on their right in the Congress, but more likely to be
successful in the long-run against the lame-duck president.
Mr. Obama’s popularity has predictably risen slightly, and
would have moved even higher had not he blundered at the
Paris world leaders memorial by basically ignoring it. He
has not failed in response to the death of the Saudi king,
and he has not backed off from taking some initiative with
the new regime in India, one of the world’s two largest
nations. This latter move should be applauded by all sides,
but his continued hostility to the nation’s long-standing ally,
Israel, has not gained him support from even his own party
in the Congress (which overwhelmingly disagrees with him
on this part of his foreign policy).
NEWT GINGRICH CONTINUES TO WARN ABOUT
THE GROWING WORLD THREAT:
In his remarks to the Citizens United Summit in Des Moines
a few days ago, former Speaker Newt Gingrich continued to
sound the alarm about the growing threat to the U.S. and the
world from Islamic terrorism. Some have noted that Gingrich,
as a senior statesman of his party, is acting as then-senior British
leader Winston Churchill did in the mid-1930’s when he warned
about the growing Nazi threat to Europe and the world.
(Churchill, then in his mid-60’s, was considered a has-been
conservative politician at that time.) Gingrich is not running
for president this cycle, but uses his podium eloquently to exhort
conservatives to wake up to the increased and unrelenting
terroristic activity against the West.
NEW REPUBLICANS ARRIVE IN WASHINGTON, DC
AND IN STATE CAPITALS:
This month has brought new members of Congress and new
senators to Washington, DC, as well as new governors and other
new leaders to state capitals. Some of the already-established
state figures are also beginning to emerge as national aspirants
in the upcoming 2016 presidential campaign. Most notable
recently was Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin who appears
to have made a positive impression at the Citizens United event.
Walking into the lion’s den, so to speak, at that same event, was
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (who is not considered to be
someone of the "further" right, but who is nevertheless a
conservative figure). On a more local note, new Illinois Governor
Bruce Rauner made a very bold choice in naming former Hawaii
Governor Linda Lingle as chief operating office of the midwestern
state. Lingle was a very popular and successful two-term
conservative chief executive in the 50th state, and this unorthodox
move could prove very interesting in the months ahead as Rauner
tries to get traction in this very blue state. In the U.S. senate, new
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst made a notable splash in her response to
President Obama’s state of the union speech, and new Obama
policies for oil exploration are likely to bring new Alaska Senator
Dan Sullivan into the limelight.
THE WEATHER CONTINUES TO CONFOUND GLOBAL
Global “warming” (now re-named global “climate change”)
activists continue to be confounded by contradictory events
and facts in the new year. An historic winter storm has begun
on the U.S. east coast, even as the midwestern U.S. winter has
become noticeably milder than previously. Melting icecaps
are freezing and unfreezing relatively abruptly, and weather
statistics cited by activists continue to be challenged as distorted,
erroneous and even deceptive.
FALLING OIL PRICES ARE HAVING A MAJOR IMPACT
ON NATIONAL ECONOMIES AROUND THE WORLD:
The recent and dramatic decline in the price of crude oil, and
its impact on gasoline and natural gas prices for consumers,
continues unabated. Its consequences on some individual
nations has been clear in the short-term, but its overall impact
on the world economy remains unspecified.
Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.