Hurricane Sandy has wreaked her vengeance on the Northeast. The storm was devastating, leaving thousands homeless and shivering. The fires at Breezy Point, NY, fanned on by Sandy's winds, tore through the middle class neighborhood leaving behind nothing but a few chimney stacks and the ghostly impression of post-WWII Europe. The devastation was widespread and heartbreaking. Even the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk didn't survive the power of the sea. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering, friends and family among them. But there's one thing I know about Northeasterners. They will get through this (granted, probably with a good deal of cursing), and they will come out of it stronger than before.
As usual, Al gore is out promoting global warming again, attempting to link Hurricane Sandy to the
church doctrine science he has been promoting for more than a decade. On a certain level, you really can't blame the guy for trying - if I stood to become a billionaire upon passage of certain climate change laws, I'd be pushing the theory every chance I got, too. But even so, the fact is people are hurting, and blowhards like Mr. Gore and Mayor Bloomberg expostulating on how we have brought this destruction down on our own heads somehow (and there's more - and worse - to come) does no good to the people who have lost everything and don't even know where their next hot meal is coming from.
The problem for Al is that, as bad as Sandy was, in the grand scheme she was really just par for the course, insofar as frequency and strengths of hurricanes striking the Northeast goes. That the damage is so severe is more a testament to an overpopulated coastline, our crumbling infrastructure, and an unfortunate tendency to brush off such approaching storms as non-events than to an excessively vengeful Mother Nature bent on extracting a pound of flesh.
In 1985, Hurricane Gloria bounced around the Atlantic basin for twelve days. It hit the coast of North Carolina first, but instead of moving inland, the storm was pushed back out into the Atlantic, whereupon it set it's sights on Long Island, NY. After cutting a devastating path across the island, it again made landfall for the third and final time in Connecticut. Eight people lost their lives, and the storm cost taxpayers about $2 billion in today's dollars.
In 1960. Hurricane Donna struck Marathon and Ft. Meyers, FL, coastal North Carolina and, finally, the eastern end of Long Island.
In 1954, New York was hit not once but twice. Hurricane Hazel tore through Battery Park with wind gusts up to 113 mph followed by Hurricane Carol, which struck eastern Long Island and produced gusts of 120 mph. The storm surge wiped out a portion of the Montaugh Highway, which cut off the eastern portion of the Island.
In 1944, the Great Atlantic Hurricane ripped through Long Island, killing six.
The New England Hurricane of 1938, also known as the "Long Island Express", caused massive property damage throughout New England and claimed more than six hundred lives.
The list goes on, back through time, all the way to the Great Storm of 1683, whose winds and storm surge created the Fire Island Cut.
And that's just New York. As for New Jersey, my home state has been relatively sheltered from major storms, but she, too has suffered the wrath of Mother Nature:
The Storm of October 1804 struck Atlantic City as a Category 2 hurricane.
The Great September Gale of 1815 did not technically make landfall in New Jersey, but still managed to wreak havoc as it made it's way up the coastline.
1821 brought the Norfolk and Long Island Hurricane that made landfall at Cape May, NJ. While the town was devastated by the winds and storm surge, the surrounding areas were, thankfully, sparsely populated, minimizing damage.
The Gale of 1878 caused eight deaths and significant damage to western New Jersey.
There is even geological evidence that a major storm struck the coastline as much as a hundred years before Europeans colonized the area in the 1500s.
My point being that the East Coast has long suffered hurricanes and tropical storms - predating even the Industrial Revolution. I was living on Long Island in 1985; Gloria's eye passed over my town. Power was out for weeks, but we were lucky because we hadn't lost water. In some areas along the eastern tip of the Island suffered without power and/or water for upwards of a month. It was a powerful storm. But it wasn't unusual.
As for global warming, recent studies have shown that there actually has been no warming since 1998.
When the Goracle and his acolytes point to warmer temperatures in the Atlantic Basin, he ignores the cooler temps in the Pacific, much like the Ross ice shelf's melting is constantly hyped by alarmists, but Arctic ice thickening is ignored.
Pointing to the high cost of disaster recovery as proof that storms are getting worse is fallacious. Did anyone really think a hurricane hitting some of the nation's largest city centers would be cheap? Did anyone really think few people would be impacted, when the region accounts for fully one-fifth of our population? Do those two things have anything at all to do with global warming?
Instead of rending garments over the unproved theory of global warming, perhaps our leaders would be better used by putting their energy into helping the people impacted by forces well beyond the control of mere mortals. The fact is, east coast hurricanes are not unheard of - in fact, we have quite a history of them - and we may well be entering a cycle that mirrors the very active 1950's.
The plight of those in New York and New Jersey and how they can be helped should be the only topic of discussion when it comes to this storm. Cheap attempts at furthering the global warming narrative give cold comfort to those who have lost loved ones and are suffering without shelter, clothing or food.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Hurricane Sandy has wreaked her vengeance on the Northeast. The storm was devastating, leaving thousands homeless and shivering. The fires at Breezy Point, NY, fanned on by Sandy's winds, tore through the middle class neighborhood leaving behind nothing but a few chimney stacks and the ghostly impression of post-WWII Europe. The devastation was widespread and heartbreaking. Even the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk didn't survive the power of the sea. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering, friends and family among them. But there's one thing I know about Northeasterners. They will get through this (granted, probably with a good deal of cursing), and they will come out of it stronger than before.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Well, it seems our President has been lying to us. Surprise, surprise. Apparently an al Qaeda splinter group called Ansar-al-Sharia claimed responsibility for the attack early on and this information was on secured diplomatic wires within two hours of the start of the raid. Including, according to Reuters, the White House Situation Room.
The most common argument coming from the left right now on the issue of whether or not President Obama knew the attack on our mission in Benghazi was a planned terrorist attack relies heavily on the reasoning that Obama didn't want to "shoot first and aim later", as he (incorrectly) accused Romney of doing regarding his critique of the US Embassy's statement on free speech and the Egyptian protests. The problem with that argument is that, while it is commendable to want to get all of the facts first, the reality is, he didn't. Apparently when he made that statement about the video on Sept. 12th, he didn't know that the White House also released a statement distancing themselves from the embassy's statement, mirroring Romney's 10pm release, at 11pm on Sept. 11th.
Perhaps he was concerned with not wanting to damage whatever progress he has made with the members of the Muslim Brotherhood that have been visiting the White House recently, so instead he made the executive decision to introduce a whipping boy to keep the heat off the real perpetrators. How else to explain his blaming events on a Coptic christian in California who made a stupid, obscure video instead of the very real terrorist threat ever rising in North Africa?
The excuse of "He didn't want to jump to conclusions" is specious, because he did, in reality, 'jump to conclusions'. Unfortunately, the conclusion he jumped to was that, as per usual with Mr. Obama, America is somehow to blame for everything. And this time, instead of a straw man for the usual speech denouncing whatever it is he wants to distance himself from, he had a real man on whom to pin the blame. The problem isn't the terrorists, you see, it's our pesky right to free speech.
By the way, why is it award-winning 'art' to fantasize about Jesus' sex life, but a crime to do the same with Mohammad?
That real man languishes even now - weeks after his arrest, and in solitary confinement - in prison on a parole violation.
Where is the outrage over this?
Yes, the fact that the President lied about the events in Libya are concerning, but no more so than the fact that he is okay with a US resident being thrown in jail and labeled a murderer by society so that he doesn't take a political hit on his campaign stump claim that al Qaeda is on the run. What is really mind-boggling is the fact that the media - the fourth estate, our vital watchdogs - are trying their best to sweep it all under the rug. Who would have thought that the American media wouldn't question a Nobel Peace Prize winner thinking it's okay to jail people for speaking their minds when his political life is on the line? Rush Limbaugh likened it to Woodward and Bernstein covering up Watergate for Nixon.
This isn't the only example of Obama's refusal to cop to terrorism being a major issue. Let's not forget the Ft. Hood shooting that claimed thirteen service members and injured dozens of others. The Obama administration to this day refuses to call it an act of terror, preferring instead to label it 'workplace violence'. Even though Hasan was mentored by Anwar al-Awlaki. Even though he shouted 'Allahu akbar!' as he murdered members of our military on home soil. Even though he had a history of support for jihad. Even though he continues to follow the al Qaeda playbook on working the judicial/military tribunal systems in the event of capture - right down to suddenly growing a beard and then refusing to shave it for religious reasons (in reality it is about flaunting army hygiene rules and quite effectively putting the brakes of postponement on his impending trial).
It's interesting how our president is so concerned about not wanting to have a knee-jerk response to terrorists, but is quite comfortable throwing American citizens and military personnel under the bus. Doesn't this speak to character? Is this really the best man to be in charge of our country and our military?
Isn't this just as important as who knew what, and when, in Benghazi?
It isn't just that the White House knew within two hours that Benghazi was a terrorist attack - although finding out our president has been baldly lying to us is never 'optimal' and deserves a high level of scrutiny to determine just how big the lie might be. It's that we now know that the White House, for more than two weeks (and in front of an international audience), blamed and demonized a private citizen for exercising his right to free speech when they knew damn well that, at best, that video was just a convenient excuse for al Qaeda to gin up cover for their actions.
Can you imagine the hue and cry if it had been a republican president who had sat quietly by as Nakoula was
taken escorted from his house at midnight and placed in custody for a parole violation and some friendly "quizzing" after spending weeks demonizing him in every forum available? It's not hard to envision the protesters now, camped out near both the prison where he awaits his fate and in front of the White House, signs in hand calling for impeachment or arrest for war crimes and maybe even a burning effigy or two. There would be a whole cottage industry of 'Free Nakoula!' t-shirts and bumper stickers, quite possibly with a picture of him pensively staring off into the distance, towel draped at a jaunty angle on his head. Celebrities would speak out against the dictatorship that had incarcerated this innocent man....oh, I'm sorry, the celebrities come out for homicidal maniacs and cop killers, not free speech. Silly me. You get the picture, though.
Have we really reached the point where, a mere eleven years out from 9/11, we are okay with assuming the terrorists are innocent and Americans guilty?
If the American president doesn't have the backs of American citizens and our most basic Constitutional rights, who does?
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I'm a big fan of action movies. The bigger the explosion, the better. Action movies are one of the few genres that I am willing to plunk down the money to see in the theater because they are just so much better on the big screen. My personal favorite is what I like to call the 'super explosion', where the detonation is so enormous that a visible shock wave rolls out from the center. The best ones have the earth rising and sinking back down like ripples on a pond - preferably in slo-mo.
I honestly wish I could have watched the presidential debate and the ensuing reportage in a movie theater because that was the biggest super explosion I have ever seen on screen. The shock waves are still resonating, nearly a week later.
The first ripple was the moderator himself. While Jim Lehrer did a decent job, it seemed like he was in a state of complete shock at the dismal, lackluster, information-free performance of the Most Gifted Orator of Our Generation™. What was most shocking was that this wasn't an issue of a few gaffes or an annoying tick, it was a 90-minute long fail of epic proportions on several levels - the long pauses, the blame game, the endless distortions regurgitated even in the face of Romney denials (and, later, media refutation), the constant downward gaze (did he have the answers written on his shoes or something? Maybe he hoped the podium would sprout a teleprompter). Expect the President to get more help from the moderators in future debates. Can't have another debacle like that messing up the narrative!
The second ripple fanned out to encompass the Twitterverse - which had it's biggest night in it's short history - and the FaceBook community where the fight over Big Bird really hit it's stride. Because after all, the most important thing going on right now isn't events in Libya and the Middle East; it isn't the failing economy; it isn't even about the importance and impact of Obamacare. No, the most important thing on social media - even almost a week later - is whether Big Bird, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, should stay on the government dole. Good to know the Twitterati are focused on the important issues!
Ripple number three was the media response, which seemed to be a combination of bewilderment and disbelief, with a dash of sarcasm and unfocused rage for flavor. The disappointment was palpable, like a thick, heavy wave creeping down the spines of the One's most fervent followers, finally nestling deep in the pit of their gut, cold and unrelenting. Six days later it lays there still, even though they have desperately tried to distract from it - even going so far as to use Big Bird for their political ends. Talk about desperate! Even worse, the folks at Sesame Workshop are not amused by the new Obama attack ad featuring their big, yellow money maker and are demanding it be taken down.
It seems like it finally broke through the media hive mind that their magic man might just have more in common with the bumbling guy behind the curtain after all. The epicenter of the blast seems to have been the MSNBC post-debate panel (even the Canadians were making fun of them). Shell shocked would be a good descriptor for the panelists. Chris Matthews had an on-camera nervous breakdown, Ed Schultz looked like he needed a scotch, a teddy bear, and a good cry (and not necessarily in that order), and Rachel Maddow was in deep, deep denial and grasping at any straw she could find. The disappointment wasn't just restricted to MSNBC - not even close. Most notably, Al Gore over at Current TV apparently suffered a little temporary insanity in his vain quest for the answer to the burning question in every progressive heart that night: Why?!?
The fourth, deepest, and most important ripple was the one that shook the electorate. As the great Dr. Charles Krauthammer said of Romney's performance:
"I think what he did last night is he dissolved $150 million of negative ads and turned them to dust."
Suddenly, the carefully crafted veil that Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) had been weaving for months was yanked away. Suddenly, an almost "bizzaro world" reality was revealed, where the world's most evil corporate raider was revealed as a compassionate, credible potential president, and the infallible, godlike creature so revered for deigning to step down to earth and grace us all with his omnipotence was exposed as a man whose soaring oratory that so swept them off their feet was apparently really almost entirely due to a TelePrompTer and lots of eye contact and prep time. Suddenly, people remembered how incredibly boring their college professors were - even the "cool" ones. Suddenly people realized Mitt Romney didn't have horns - but did have answers. Suddenly the post-modern Romney construct was replaced with reality for all to see.
The mystique has been ripped away. In it's place is a man whose inevitable reelection is now not quite as inevitable as it once was and another whose unsuitability is being thoroughly reconsidered. And I do mean thoroughly.
To say that President Obama was the only epicenter of the blast would do Governor Romney a great disservice. Most good explosions have several points of impact, and this was no exception. The man performed like a virtuoso. It really was a phenomenal performance for him. He was relaxed, assured, got his points across clearly and concisely, refused to allow lies to remain unchallenged and did what a true leader does - took command of the situation and ran the show with an ease, amiability and competence that was worthy of respect. In short, he looked - and acted - far more presidential than the actual president.
It wasn't just that Obama was a dismal (grim?) failure, it was that Romney was wildly successful. As he is with just about every other thing he has set his mind to.
The full effects of the debate have yet to be seen. The ripples are still resonating as the president and his surrogates desperately scramble for excuses and scapegoats. The president has been saying that the Mitt Romney at the debate wasn't the "real" Romney. What else would he say? That in reality he knows he looked like a frat boy who hasn't been showing up for classes what with all the partying, and had to cram hard to try to (unsuccessfully) pass finals? He seemed annoyed that he had to be there, and it was obvious he didn't have the nerve to brazenly trumpet the low, false attacks he so robustly parrots on the campaign trail when the object of his lies and distortions stands six feet away with a pleasant smile and direct gaze. The high pitch and hesitation in his voice the first time he trotted out the $5 trillion lie gave him away. Not so easy to sling that mud when you're looking the victim of your smears in the eye, huh?
Unfortunately for the president, the entire night seems to have been the highest rated, most followed political event in a very long time. Needless to say, not a good time to choke. No doubt Gov. Rick Perry feels his pain (and a great deal of relief for no longer being the poster boy for choking in a debate). As for the exposure Mitt Romney got from the debate, that has translated into cold, hard cash - more than $12 million in the first forty-eight hours after the debate - and a potent combination of increased enthusiasm and voter conversion (that sometimes stirs up controversy). The bump in the polls has far exceeded expectations, with the most stunning turn around coming from Pew Research's poll of likely voters, which had Obama up 51-43% pre-debate and Romney taking the lead, 49-45%, in the three days post-debate.
All in all, the debate was an explosion of epic proportions, complete with all of the shock and awe such a happening generates. The challenger strode forth from the blast crater with celebratory fireworks exploding behind him while the president staggered, burned and bloody, from the smoking ruin of his negative campaign.
Truly a debate for the ages.
On a side note, does it bother anyone else that the man who has been running the show (almost singlehandedly, if you believe the press) for the past three-plus years was so woefully devoid of facts? This goes beyond the debate, too. On Letterman, he couldn't seem to remember the current national debt of $16 trillion - after all, he's not worried about it. He was apparently also unaware of intelligence on the bloodbath in Libya, continuing to peddle the laughable line that some stupid video caused the "spontaneous" mob action more than ten days after the administration knew it was a planned terror attack. At what point do words like "incompetent", "negligent" or, perhaps more aptly, "cheap politicization sheerly for the retention of power" start to percolate up - and not to describe the republican in the race? Even fellow administration officials were uneasy about the plan to scapegoat the video in order to cover up the egregeous policy failures that resulted in the death of a US ambassador and three others. Hopefully Romney will mention all of this and more at the next debate, possibly setting off a second super explosion.
One other thing: Does this frighten anyone else? Do people really not know what a debate is anymore? God help us:
Friday, August 31, 2012
Last night brought a close to the RNC Nominating Convention. And what a close it was. The entire convention was well done, from the debt clock to the well-made video vignettes that played between speakers. The energy was high and the speakers were inspired.
If the only speeches you've seen are Ryan and Romney's you miss a lot. Mia Love gave a real barn burner and it was easy to see why she has garnered so much attention recently. It's unfortunate that after her speech, she was called an "Autie Tom" and her Wikipedia page was vandalized by racist bigots who seem to be a bit afraid of a black conservative woman. Susana Martinez was hilarious and is without doubt a rising star. In fact. there were so many fresh, young faces in the Grand Old Party that is was reassuring to see such a deep, diverse bench. It's also probably pretty unsettling to the other side. No wonder they are a little panicky.
The big buzz today isn't really Sen. Marco Rubio's wonderful speech, which should be getting plenty of positive airtime (and probably would be, if only there were a 'D' after his name, instead of an 'R'). The talk wasn't even about Mitt Romney's speech, which was very good. The part about his father giving his mother a rose every day of their married life was particularly touching, and he was quite clear on his vision for what he thinks America can be and firm in his belief that he can provide the answers that Barack Obama has failed to provide for the past four years. His was a vision of that shining city on a hill reborn. My favorite line was, "When the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American." Amen, brother!
No, the big buzz today is all about Clint Eastwood's speech last night. Apparently the political press was expecting an entertainer to do something other than, you know, entertain. Did they expect a policy speech from the guy? He's an actor! One of my favorite quotes of the night came from Eastwood - "We all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party. He's just kind of a grin with a body behind it." Priceless! I also liked, "Politicians are employees of ours. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go." Exactly. He certainly shook things up and his empty chair monologue most certainly wasn't a boring political speech. The fact that liberals found it to be an unhinged rant isn't surprising. After all, when isn't something coming out of a conservative's mouth an unhinged rant according to them? An actor, playing a scene to an imaginary character? Unheard of!!!1!1! He must be losing his mind!! But, then, that was a foregone conclusion anyway, when he signed up for the RNC instead of the DNC. After all, if you're a conservative, you're either old, crazy, stupid or evil, right?
The entire convention had such a hopeful, forward-thinking vibe to it. Sure, there were some shots at President Obama - this is, after all, a Republican convention. Not only is it acceptable to bash the other side, it's sort of expected. Which is why so many on the right were disappointed with Gov. Chris Christie's speech. They had hoped for an Obama-bashing, in-your-face, "Jersey-style" rhetorical beat-down, and instead were treated to a kinder, gentler Christie who wanted to set the tone for the convention - this is who we are, this is what we believe, and this is what we can be once more. His speech was excellent, just not what people were expecting. And we know how the media just hate it when things don't go as they plan. There is no doubt they were loaded for bear with him and ready to knock the "tone" of the convention. Sike!
What struck me the most, however, was the overarching story for many of the professional speakers. Many republican governors spoke over the course of the three days, and without fail, their stories chronicled their attempts to fix the mess their predecessors had left for them - some even having to work with opposition legislatures, much as President Obama has faced. But where the federal government has ground to a standstill because the democrats' idea of "compromise" is for republicans to simply rubber stamp whatever expensive scheme they concoct next, the republican governors have actually worked with their legislatures and turned their states around instead of demagoguing them for political advancement. It can be done. Mitt Romney did it in Massachusetts, and he can do it again on a federal level.
Romney's entire career seems to be a dress rehearsal for just this moment in history. Bain Capital was all about trying to turn businesses around. Sometimes they weren't successful, sometimes businesses had to close. But their success record far outweighs their failures, and their ethics have never been questioned. Well, until now, when it is politically expedient to try to demonize a decent, ethical businessman in an attempt to make the base politician he is running against look better by comparison.
There was a lot of controversy over Romney's departure from Bain, but little talk about the venture he left Bain to pursue. Once again, he averted sure disaster and saved a failing enterprise and turned it into a triumph. This time, the scandal-riddled disaster was the 2002 Utah Olympics. He waded in and turned it around.
That is what the man does. He turns things around. And if ever we needed someone to turn things around for us, it's now. Perhaps it's the post-convention buzz, perhaps not, but my reservations about Romney - whom I had planned to vote for, but with my nose firmly held - have been assuaged. I feel confident now, and my vote against Obama has become a vote, most enthusiastically, for Romney.
The spin from the convention has been brutally negative in the press. From MSNBC's "Whites Only"
policy to the constant attempts to find racism and sexism where none exists, the neo-pravda media have shamed themselves over and over and over (and that's just covering the convention!). No wonder no one takes them seriously anymore. Even so, we still have an uphill climb.
All in all, the convention was a success. There is already a modest bounce, which has brought Romney even with Obama. The next day or two might show more of a bump. The general election is in full swing now.
Let the games begin!
Saturday, August 11, 2012
The Romney campaign has announced that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is their choice for Vice President. Needless to say, Ryan will be demonized in the press lickety-split - in fact, the demonization has already begun. Prepare for those throwing grandma off the cliff videos to really ratchet up. The press is already talking about what a bad choice he is - pray tell, which candidate would be a good choice in their opinion? Before anyone takes their advice, let's remember that they hailed Joe Biden's nomination as a brilliant choice because of his "foreign policy expertise". What a joke.
I have to be honest. I was really hoping Ryan would be the pick. Those on the left (and some on the right) say that he will tie Romney to the Ryan plan, which they have been demonizing for more than a year now. Honestly, if you think they weren't planning on demonizing Romney for his support of the Ryan plan anyway, you just haven't been paying attention. So if he's going to be demonized anyway, why not have the architect of the plan out on the campaign trail explaining it and selling it? And when given a chance, he really can sell it:
If the Ryan plan is the basis for Romney's economic policy, why not own it? The man is great with Q&A - calm, collected, to the point, and always with a smile on his face and pleasant demeanor, so a series of town hall-style rallies with audience questions about the economy and jobs would play well against the absolute lack of interaction between President Obama and regular citizens as well as his arrogant, patronizing delivery. Ryan could have real interaction with the people on a one-on-one level - a genuine conversation about the things that really matter. Ryan's assumption that the American people are smart enough to understand the crises facing us and mature enough to tackle them is refreshing in comparison to Obama's approach that Americans are just not up to the task of either understanding his brilliance or making decisions on even the most personal or important of matters.
Many on the right have argued that Ryan is needed in the House, chairing the budget committee. I disagree. His plan has already passed the House. It is stuck in the Senate, collecting dust. As the President of the Senate, he would be able to work closely with the leadership of both parties to work some variation of his plan through to passage.
Ryan is the wonkiest economy wonk in Congress today. The man really knows his stuff (love the look on Obama's face as Ryan tears down the fraud that is Obamacare piece by scammy piece):
The tea partiers in my acquaintance are very happy with the pick, with many of them saying they now have a reason to vote for Romney. The energy and excitement today is palpable. The left are, predictably, saying his nomination just handed to the victory to Obama/Biden, namely because they presume this pick will alienate the crucial senior vote because of his alleged "gutting" of Medicare. The problem for them is that seniors have lots of time on their hands to check out the facts behind those 'throw grandma off the cliff' ads and as a result, his popularity among seniors is actually higher than the general population because they understand the changes won't affect them but will ensure the social safety net for generations to come. He is viewed favorably by a majority of seniors - 52%, while only 29% view him unfavorably. The remainder have no opinion of him as of yet. In the general population his favorable/unfavorable stands at 39/25, with 35% having no opinion.
There will be a race on over the next week to try to introduce him to those not yet familiar, and the question will be who has done a better job of it: Team Romney, who will paint him as a down-to-earth grassroots conservative who wants a return to founding principles or Team Obama, who will of course try to paint him as dangerous, evil, stupid and crazy, just like they do with every other conservative. Oh, and we can't forget extreme! Yawn. And, of course, the media will attempt to lampoon him by making him either Frodo Baggins or Eddie Munster in Saturday Night Live and the late night shows (unless his alleged six-pack abs win over the shallow set). My money's on Eddie, which actually isn't a bad thing. After all, wasn't he the smart, semi-normal one amongst the crazies of the house (well, aside from Marilyn)? Actually, there's a pretty good skit in there - Joe Biden is a natural as Herman Munster! As for Frodo, wasn't he the brave leader who rose to the challenge at a time of dire changes to his world?
Ryan may be a mild-mannered, happy warrior, but don't let that fool you. He can do far more damage with his cheerfully delivered, pro-America, pro-growth facts than Gov. Christie can do with his sharp tongue and in-your-face attitude. It's better to leave the sharp elbows to surrogates, freeing the candidates to focus on policy.
Kudos to team Romney for going bold and choosing the best person out there to help lay out the Romney path to prosperity! I'd say I can't wait to see him debate Biden, but it might be a bit painful to see a sitting VP so heavily outmatched. Honestly, I'd rather see him debate Obama himself. Now that would be fun!
Thursday, July 26, 2012
President Obama recently stated that:
Needless to say, right-wing blogs ran with this and the left pretty much ignored it. But it is an important quote, and something to keep in mind as we inch ever closer to November. Today I'm going to do something that I try very hard to avoid. I'm going to take a step into the realm of conspiracy theory (hey, if it's good enough for a former cabinet-level advisor, it's good enough for me!) I generally try to stay away from those rabbit holes of circular logic and half-truths. I guess I just don't have that much paranoia in me. But there are a few - a very few - theories that have some weight to them, some merit. Sometimes it is possible to prove or disprove these theories over time. One such theory which is in the process of being proved and which I became acquainted with during the 2008 presidential election, involved something called the "Cloward-Piven Strategy of Orchestrated Chaos".
This strategy, cooked up in the 1960's by Columbia University professors Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, is a plan to bring down our capitalist system by overwhelming it and causing it's collapse. What would they replace the capitalist system with? Why, a European-style cradle-to-grave nanny state, of course. A collapse would be the excuse needed to throw out the constitution and, as Obama himself said just days before his election, "fundamentally transform America".
Transition to socialism is usually achieved through revolution or war. We have neither on our shores, and the wars we fight half a world away don't cause the deprivations that triggered the socialization of Europe after the two world wars decimated that region. In the absence of those things, then, how is change brought about? By overwhelming our system in other ways.
Why is it important to talk about this theory now? Because, as President Obama says, he has implemented his plan, and it is working, right before our eyes:
- The payroll tax he instituted and demanded stay in place means taxpayers are contributing 2% less to the Social Security trust fund each week. Which is already overwhelmed and expected to collapse by 2035. Surely this "tax holiday" the president put in place has something to do with the fact that we are now looking at running out of cash in 2016.
- The senate has not done its constitutional duty in more than three years by refusing to pass - or even seriously consider - a budget. As a result, deficit spending has increased from a high under Bush of $410 billion to an average of $1.4 trillion under Obama. For the record, that's $1 trillion more per year than Bush the Profligate at his worst.
- There is a determined push to get people on government assistance and entitlements, resulting in an unprecedented - and unsustainable - increase in participation. In addition, the absolute refusal by this administration to consider the effects their policies are having on job creation means unemployment has not gone below 8% in 41 months. Keeping people reliant on government instead of themselves has a twofold benefit for the president. First, the more dependents, the more indebted voters. Second, increased dependent participation and reduced taxpayer income create an unsustainable burden, hastening collapse.
- The housing crisis was never really dealt with, aside from a few confusing, unpopular government programs that helped few and harmed many. But that isn't the problem with this issue. The real problem is that Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice is actually forcing banks to do the very same things that helped cause the crisis in the first place by bringing down the power of the DoJ against any banks that refuse to lend to unqualified buyers.
- One of the first things Pelosi and Obama did upon his rise to power was to revoke the main part of the Clinton-era welfare reform. The key to the reform - aside from the job training - was removing the incentive for states to add to their rolls. States are now being seduced by much-needed federal dollars to encourage citizens to jump on the dole.
- A month later, Obama's HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, dealt the final death blow to the wildly successful welfare reforms of the 1990's, wiping out the other key to the reform - the work requirements that had effectively ended generational welfare. This now adds potential welfare collapse to the toxic entitlement brew threatening to bubble over.
- The requirements for entitlements have been reduced so that more options are available to more people. In addition, active recruiting for candidates is going on, from the increased number and visibility of ads to parents being called by their children's schools to encourage them to apply for the lunch program. Selling foodstamps to seniors as if it was a great way to lose weight ("Margie looks amazing! What's her secret?") instead of a humiliating state of dependence in their golden years is particularly loathsome.
- Entitlement requirement reduction has resulted in an historic 45 million Americans receiving food stamps (aka SNAP). This has not resulted in hand-wringing and promises to get people off the program and into jobs. If fact, the president hasn't really addressed the issue at all.
- For two years, the democrats spent taxpayer money like it was their own private stash, doling out favors and riches to cronies and donors with very little check from republicans, who were so much in the minority that their input was neither requested nor desired.
- Through executive fiat, regulation, and legislation, this administration has managed to make government a direct "partner" with the energy, health care, automotive and banking industries. Other sectors of the country are so crippled by the excessive regulation and looming taxation that they are unable to make forward progress. The result has been a "recovery" that is worse than the original recession.
- At a time when we have been experiencing long-term unemployment and our workforce participation rate is at the lowest it's been in decades, the president just granted amnesty and offered our job market to upwards of a million new workers aged 18-35. Can't wait to see the impact that has on the job market.
- Obama's amnesty is a double whammy. Not only will it increase our stubbornly high unemployment with the added competition for jobs, it also allows those former illegals access to our social safety nets - most notably unemployment benefits.
- More people signed up for disability last month than got jobs, and the administration seems to be just fine with that, if their absolute radio silence on the issue indicates anything.
- Obamacare was designed to increase the cost health insurance for companies while simultaniously offering a cheap "penalty" to not offer insurance at all. This is what will make Obamacare what Pelosi and company promised it wouldn't be - single payer. And just who is that single payer? Why, government, of course. When businesses start dropping coverage in favor of the cheaper penalty, their employees will be shunted into health insurance "exchanges" that will basically put people into Medicare or Medicaid instead of private insurance. After all, these two fine agencies are well in the black and can easily accommodate more citizens on their rolls. One-sixth of the economy will be under complete control of the federal government if we go to single payer. And, considering how well all of our other entitlements are doing, it's just a matter of time until Obamacare is teetering on the brink of collapse, too.
- More than 20 million Americans out of work, and all we get from the administration is promises to "pivot" to the jobs issue. Eventually. Maybe in his second term?
- 46 million Americans living in poverty. Yet another historic first. Where's the outrage?
It's not possible to look at all of these things and not start to wonder about what exactly the "plan" is. The result of these policies and actions has been the dismal "recovery" we have been treated to, massive deficits and mind-boggling debt. They are combining to create an unsustainable welfare state that that is doomed to collapse. What Obama is offering Americans is welfare writ large. Everyone is on the dole. Remember, Barack Obama is a genius. He knows what he's doing. That's what they keep telling us. He's ivy-league educated. He's brilliant.
So what did he study at those ivy-league colleges? Who did he hang out with? What ideas did he pursue? By his own admission, he espoused radicalism, even taking Piven's classes in his time at Columbia. He was immersed in it as a child, and even taught it later in life. He admitted in Dreams of My Father to not just hanging out with radicals and communists, but actively seeking them out - they are the ones he identified with most. As for the ideas he pursued, his career after college has been a tribute to Cloward-Piven, from his time as a community organizer to his church of twenty years to his membership in the socialist New Party to the people he has chosen as his administrative inner circle and the policy decisions they have made.
When President Obama said the jobs numbers were "a step in the right direction", he wasn't misspeaking. When he claimed his plan was working, that wasn't a gaffe. In order for Cloward-Piven to work, this three-year sustained crisis is exactly the right direction and the plan is unfolding exactly as envisioned. An expansive welfare state funded by a shackled economy and scapegoat one-percenters And if it isn't, it means the president and everyone in his administration, as well as former Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid, are utterly incompetent.
Either way, they need to go.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
In Sarah McLachlan's wonderful, double-platinum 2003 album Afterglow, she has a song called "World on Fire". It is a paean to left wing ideology, with one really standout line:
"The fortunes of one man means less for some"
This is the melodious summation of the democratic argument for reelection in 2012. It is most often illustrated with the pie analogy the left uses ad nauseum about eeevil rich guys taking huge pieces of the economic pie and only leaving thin little slivers for the rest of the proletariat to squabble over. (by the way, how much is Ms. McLachlan worth again? More than her sound tech, I bet)
When most world history has dictated that those in power allocate resources, it tends to be an acceptable world view. In order to to rationalize the deprivation and need that system imposes due to its participants' inevitable gluttonous greed, the theory develops that there just aren't enough resources to give to everyone. It makes a certain amount of sense.
But here in America, we have a different mentality. Or at least, we used to. In America, each and every one of us has the freedom to go out there and...well, make pies of our own. It's not for us to wait for government to hand out the piddling little slice they deem worthy. All government can do here is try to limit the size of your pie by, say, demanding the addition of an ingredient that doesn't exist yet or by burdening you with so many taxes that it's just not worth it to try to make a big pie. Instead you make a smaller one or use cheaper ingredients or, maybe, have fewer assistants in the shop.
The problem is, the Baker-in-Chief loves pie, and simply cannot resist dipping his fingers into as many as he can, effectively cornering the pastry market by forcing bakers to give more than half of their wares to him. The cronies and donors get first crack at the best ingredients now and when they burn their pies, he's always there with a fresh one for them, courtesy of the neighborhood housewives.
I find it quite fitting that a symbol of America is apple pie. Here in America, we don't squabble over crumbs, we make our own damn pie, thankyouverymuch.
Or at least, we used to. At one time, Susie Jones cooling a prize-winning deep dish caramel apple streusel on her windowsill would have inspired Betsy Smith to make her own mouth-watering creation. Nowadays, Betsy would call the town council and have Susie's pie removed, citing scent allergies, an aversion to the overt oppression of the patriotic reference to which apple pies allude and a feeling of social injustice and victimization because her oven did not spontaneously produce a pie when she demanded one. After rigorous investigation on the local, state and federal levels, Susie and her family are finally left alone to enjoy the forty-seven percent of the pie they are generously allowed to keep (the other fifty-three percent being redistributed to Betsy and other, hopefully more worthy, recipients) and the oven industry has strict new standards for mandatory spontaneous pie manifestation technology within the next decade. Naturally, a stiff penalty will be incurred if said technology is not implemented within the allotted time.
The biggest problem seems to be that it's not just a matter of fighting over crumbs anymore. More than half of us are telling our government that it's okay to go ahead and help themselves an enormous chunk of someone else's pie so we don't have to be bothered taking the risk of jumping the flaming hoops required for making our own. We've gone from "I want what you have so I'm going to go out and get it for myself" to "I want what you have so I'm going to take yours". It's a violation along the lines of what happened to that poor, innocent apple pie in the 1999 movie "American Pie". It is a defiling of our system, and the inevitable outcome will be stagnation and riots a la Paris and Athens. When only one pie is allowed, deprivation is sure to follow.
Which brings us to Mitt Romney. He understands that every man is his own baker, and should be able to make whatever size - and flavor - pie he (lawfully) chooses. He knows that there should be a few rules about baking, such as banning endangered animal meat pies, or using quality ingredients in a clean, safe environment so the consumer and the baker aren't injured. Such common sense rules and regulations are part and parcel of a well-run workplace. But government intrusion into every aspect of the baking process is not.
We really need to get Chef Obama and his inexperienced sous staff out of the kitchen and let the real drivers of the economy - the neighborhood bakers like you and me - get to work. Here's a hint, Chef - the ingredients you were left with aren't the problem, it's the recipe you insist on following. That particular souffle will fall every time, as it has in countless state-run kitchens across the globe.
It's time for government to get out of the kitchen and let the bakers bake again.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
President Obama's campaign has rolled out yet another new campaign slogan on his new bus tour across the swing states of America. Nice touch, by the way, doing a tour to illustrate Obama's focus on American jobs (as opposed to Romney's illusory outsourcing) with a tour bus made in Canada. One can only imagine how hilarious that would be, if only it was George W. Bush at the wheel. Anyhoo, once again the President's brain stormers fall a bit short with the new campaign slogan:
"Betting on America".
Hmmmm....Is it really a good idea to encourage a mental link between the president, his agenda and gambling?
It is, of course, meant to give a sense of optimism; a feeling that ultimately America will live up to the president's vision The problem is, the American people are somewhat less than optimistic these days, and aren't necessarily interested in the America that is being envisioned for them.
The most glaring problem is that references to betting tend to bring to mind things like, say, the money gambled on Solyndra, Abound Solar, and many other "green" companies the Speculator-in-Chief bet taxpayer money on and lost. Instead of seeing the obvious - that the technology is not fully developed and (or should I say, because) the market isn't ready yet - he instead presses for further "investment" in green companies. After all, it's not like he's gambling with his own money, right? (and when he runs out of taxpayer chips, surely pit boss Hu will be happy to loan him another stack)
On a side note, that popular talking point about oil companies getting subsidies, so it's only "fair" (how I've come to hate that word) that green companies should too is complete bull. Oil companies do not receive taxpayer subsidies. They receive tax deductions, and that is a different animal entirely. The former requires the government to pay large (sometimes downright enormous) sums of taxpayer money to companies in order to fuel research and development. The latter allows companies to write off some of their costs, such as R&D, so they can retain more of their earnings to reinvest in the company and it's workforce, forking over less to Uncle Sam. Big difference.
References to placing bets may also make one think of the doubling down that has been done over the past few years by the gamblin' man with the keynesian plan. From the contraception "compromise" that is merely a one-year extension before the church must put aside their fundamental principles and join the collective to the repeated demands for more stimulus, it's been all about ignoring the critics, ignoring the people, ignoring the constitution, even ignoring common sense and sticking with his favorite theories. Freedom OF religion has become freedom FROM religion, so any infringement upon the church is now perversely perceived as a win for individual liberty. Granting a one-year waiver is not a compromise, it's a demand for compliance - just at a later date. As for the new calls for stimulus, he can call it a jobs bill all he wants, but it sure as heck sounds like a smaller version of Porkulus - the original "jobs" bill that has resulted in 8.2% unemployment two years after it was passed. And here we are again, with Mr. Bigstuff looking to buy friends and peddle influence with another hand-out to help profligate states pay for teachers, police and firefighters. But hey, we'll win next time, honest - our luck's just got to change! The problem isn't the policy, we just didn't bet enough!
That word, "Betting", might even bring to mind the shady numbers racket the media has been trying to swindle the American public with - from bogus polls to deceptive editing - in order to make the case for another term for the First Bookie. Speaking of working the numbers, did the president really think that the American public would buy that ridiculous, obscure left-wing blog post about Obama being the most frugal president since Eisenhower? Yeah, right. The largest deficit under Bush was $458 billion, the smallest under Obama has been $1.2 trillion. But he's frugal, whereas Bush was irresponsible and unpatriotic. Uh-huh.
It seems the overarching plea of the Obama campaign is for people to take a chance on him, once again. Let it ride, America, our luck will turn!
Perhaps on some deeper level, even Team Obama knows their failed and yet unaltered agenda is, at best, a crap shoot.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Operation Fast and Furious is not about politicization, as the left would have you believe. It is about gun control. The American people should be absolutely outraged by this operation, but instead it has been swept under the rug and ignored. The fact that hundreds of people have died is, apparently by ATF standards, nothing more than a further argument for more restrictive gun regulations.
If you have any doubts, a quick check of the facts will set you right. Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News, who has been doggedly following this story since February of 2011, has a great primer on the scandal. Here's how the operation worked, in a nutshell:
First, the ATF persuaded some of their informants to purchase large quantities of "long guns" - high caliber rifles. Then, when the gun shop owners contacted the ATF out of concern for the large numbers attempting to be purchased by rather shady buyers, the ATF encouraged the dealers to sell to the informants. Agents were specifically ordered to stop tracking the weapons and not interdict, virtually guaranteeing the weapons would cross the border and reach the cartels. ATF then planned to use the large number of guns sold as leverage to institute "Demand Letter 3", which would place strict regulations over the purchase of said long guns. According to emails, the fact that many of the guns made it over the border and were responsible for hundreds of deaths was seen as justification for their planned regulation. And now they're doing everything they can to cover it up.
The ATF forced gun dealers to sell enormous quantities of guns to extremely shady people and then wanted to use the fact that gun dealers sell enormous quantities of guns to extremely shady people in order to enact stricter regulations. That's like demanding Chevy remove the exhaust filters from all the new Corvettes, then instituting new EPA regulations outlawing or restricting new sports car sales due to the environmental impact of the exhaust system. And now they're wide-eyed and saying they've never heard of such a thing as a 'sports car' before. Quite a racket.
To put not too fine a point on it, our government knowingly and willingly sold guns to Mexican drug cartels, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people, in order to push for more gun control laws. And now they are doing everything they can to cover it up. Which is why Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of congress this week.
If stricter gun regulation wasn't the goal as democrats are arguing, then what was? It wasn't about tracking how guns get to, say, the Sinaloa drug cartel, because agents were told not to track the weapons. It obviously wasn't to help the Mexican government with their cartel problems, because if that were the case, wouldn't we have let them in on the operation? Perhaps rooting out drug lords on this side of the border was the goal, but unfortunately the drug lords in question were already in the employ of or under surveillence by the FBI and the DEA. So if not those reasons, then why?
As for the claim that this is being politicized, that's an absolute fact. Democrats and their supporters have made it political by refusing to see the facts in front of them in favor of blind party loyalty to a fellow democrat. They should be ashamed.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The mandate has survived. Except now, it's being called what it has always been but was not allowed to be named - a tax. Technically, since no one has been taxed yet, it stands - but that's not to say once the tax kicks in it won't be challeneged in the courts all over again. This is a big win for democrats in the short term, but long term, this decision might well end up favoring Mitt Romney even more.
The House of Representatives have announced a repeal vote for July 11th. A wasted effort that will not get to the floor of the Senate as long as Harry Reid is in charge, but the optics of continuing the fight should rally the base a bit. It will also remind them of the importance of the twenty-four democratic senate seats up for reelection in the fall. Obamacare has now officially become a major campaign issue.
First and foremost, Romney can now spend the next four months running on repealing Obamacare. After all, you can't get rid of Obamacare unless you get rid of Obama, right? Not only will this decision fire up the base enormously but, considering 54% of Americans want the law repealed, it's a good bet that more than the base will be voting on this issue. Obama has to hope the 39% who support the law are far more motivated to get to the ballot box than the 54% who oppose it.
While the ruling is a bit complicated, at least there is some much-needed clarification on one major question. It's finally official - the mandate is a tax, according to the Court. This is pretty big, because for the three years this has been an issue, democrats have been saying that the mandate is most definitely not a tax. After all, who wants to be known as the party that raised taxes in a recession (or depression, if you're talking to VP Biden)? Well, it's official - taxes they are, and up they're going. There are more than twenty new or increased taxes in Obamacare, and eight of them will be hitting those making under $250,000 per year. If Romney's team has their ducks in a row, they will hit this fact hard and often on the campaign trail.
This law raises taxes by more than $400 billion over the next ten years and guts Medicare by $500 billion. Everyone is getting taxed, including, insanely enough, the federal government. It has been now confirmed by the Court that the cost to businesses of hiring employees is going to go up substantially. The question now is, how long before these things start really affecting employment and the economy? Who better to talk about the impact of a 3.8% increase in the capital gains tax rate than a businessman who knows from his many years in the business sector the real effect that one tax alone will have on the economy and jobs?
In fact, making the taxes in Obamacare a centerpiece of his campaign is imperative. After all, hardly anyone has read the damn thing, so the public probably has no idea how many taxes there are or whom they will affect. There should be a page on his website dedicated to the tax increases, and he should be hammering the issue on the stump. .
For those on the right who are angry with Chief Justice John Roberts, here is a little nugget that might take some of the sting away. According to RedState's Erick Erickson, because Roberts has now deemed the mandate to be a tax, democrats will not be able to filibuster its repeal due to the sneaky reconciliation process used to pass it in the first place. Republicans only need to take four Senate seats from democrats to take the majority, and there are more than twenty up for grabs. With President Romney installed in the White House, Obamacare could conceivably be a thing of the past by February. Worst case scenario: even if Obama retains the White House, taxation is solely the purview of the House, and the Republican majority could take a page from Obama's book by just...refusing to enforce it. No revenue means no implimentation. Precedence can be a bitch sometimes, eh liberals?
Speaking of precedence, the main thought that has been running through my mind on this decision is the predecence that has now been set. Even if the law is repealed, the camel's nose is now firmly under the tent and Americans can now be taxed for not just what they consume, but also what they don't. The implications of this decision will be far reaching. What power doesn't Congress have over the people it's supposed to serve?
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Big fun today! The chaotic disarray of the democratic machine is quite a sight to see, isn't it? In case you've been living under a rock, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won his recall election last night. Handily. I'm not quite sure what's sweeter - the fact that he won, or that he won by a larger margin that when he was initially elected governor in 2010. Mmmm, sweet like candy!
It looks like the taxpayers finally have a seat at the bargaining table in Wisconsin. It's about time.
My favorite quote of the night comes courtesy of Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch:
Running a close second is Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal with this little gem:
“A lot of people thought it would be a late night in Wisconsin. I think it’s going to be a late night in Chicago.”
To quote the vernacular: Tru'dat!
How disconcerted are democrats? Well, David Axelrod had a rather puzzling tweet on the subject:
"Bad night in Boston....WI raises big questions for Mitt"
In case you're confused, he isn't talking about Walkers reelection, he's talking about exit polling that shows President Obama over Mitt Romney, 51-45%. A six-point lead is nice, right? Perhaps Mr. Axelrod missed this from the Chicago Tribune article he referenced in his tweet (emphasis mine):
Wisconsin voters in Tuesday’s recall election seem ideologically fairly similar to those in 2010 – more heavily conservative than in the 2008 presidential election, but inclined to reelect President Obama nonetheless, according to early, partial exit poll results.
It's that "more heavily conservative" bit that is the sticking point. Heavily, huh? Ouch. While a six-point lead sure is nifty, it isn't nearly as nice as the extra-spiffy fourteen point spread he enjoyed against McCain in 2008. An eight point drop isn't anything to brag about, Dave. Especially in ultra-blue Wisconsin. He might have missed that bit about 'more heavily conservative', though. It was waaaay down in the...first sentence of the article. I'd hazard a guess that the Romney camp was pretty happy with last night's outcome, and that his perfectly coiffed head slept soundly on its luxury 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, most likely dreaming up ways to make Wisconsin even more competitive in the future.
The defeat has hit union supporters hard, to say the least. Last night Mayor Barrett was meeting and greeting supporters after he had called Gov. Walker to concede and found out just how hard - literally - when he was soundly slapped by a distraught...er, supporter (via Mediaite):
Well, at least she asked first, right?
President Obama has piped in as well. He's sincerely hoping that Gov. Walker got the strong message the unions sent with the recall.
Hopefully President Obama will eventually get the strong messages the American taxpayers have been sending him for the past three years, starting with Scott Brown. The attempt at getting the message received really hit its stride with the historic 2010 democratic defeats - not to mention loss after democratic loss in Wisconsin alone over the past year of recall mania. And all of it (at least for now) culminating with Scott Walker's enthusiastic reconfirmation. I'm not going to hold my breath on a presidential epiphany. In fact, I'm rather hoping he won't have one until he receives one more message on Nov. 6th.
There will be a lot of moaning - crying, even - over the "stealing" of the election by the eeeevil corporations and their dirty, nasty millions. Perhaps the unions would have had more in their war chest if the DNC had had more faith in their cause and candidate and had actually given money instead of moral support to help the election as the RNC did.
On a side note, funny how blockbuster campaign contributions - including out of state money - are a sign of universal support when its for Obama and democrats, but a sign of the coming zombie apocalypse for anyone with an 'R' after their name.
The big question now is whether the bitterness can be shed and relationships repaired. As a parent, whenever I have to strongly rebuke one of my children, I know that sometimes there will be a certain amount of anger, resentment, and maybe even a temper tantrum or two. But I also know that eventually they will get over it and life returns to a well-behaved, amiable normal. Unfortunately some children are either not that bright, self destructive, or a combination of the two and fight on far longer than is wise, not caring that they are damaging themselves and others along the way. Let's hope the union hierarchy, whose fifteen month tantrum has cost the state of Wisconsin somewhere in the neighborhood of $16 million, will wise up soon. Continuing the bad behavior of the past year will only damage the image of the unions further. Considering they have already lost in excess of half their dues-paying membership since the reforms were put in place, they certainly can't afford to alienate anyone else.
It's time to concede and move on. I would counsel conservatives to not spike the ball on this too much (never mind that I've written a whole post that is pure ball spiking!), as we don't want to give cause to extend the epic pout we are in for over the next few days. But considering some of these people are fine with slapping their own candidates, I see no reason why we can't slap each other on the back a bit for a job well done (happy dances optional)!
Friday, April 13, 2012
As a stay at home mom, I have occasionally noticed a certain level of patronization and derision aimed my way by the more left-leaning, feminist career women sector. There seems to be a perception that stay at home moms are rich women who are not pulling their weight in society and have taken the easy way out or, even sillier, that those women are victims of male hegemony who have been brainwashed and, poor creatures, simply don't know any better. The reality is far different, but more on that in a minute.
Wednesday night Hilary Rosen, democrat strategist extraordinaire, came out with this little doozy:
The White House is scrambling to get some distance from her comments, not even waiting until morning to chastise her. The bus she went under was chock full of top administration officials, including the President and First Lady personally. Good for them.
Ann Romney has said that her chosen career was being a mother. I couldn't agree more. For women like us, raising our children is the most important job we can have. For me, being the subject of my daughter's essay on role models is better than any bonus. Seeing my children using the life lessons I have tried to instill in them to raise themselves up and strive for more is better than any promotion. And contrary to Ms. Rosen's bungled talking points, staying home isn't a 'luxury' for most women, it just makes sense. I take nothing from working moms - I was raised by two and used to be one myself. I have enormous respect for women who pursue a career and manage to juggle it all. But because our priorities are different from Ms. Rosen's doesn't make them any less legitimate
It's pretty obvious that what Rosen was trying to do was go after Romney for being rich. Thus the "never worked a day in her life" quip. The implication is that Romney spent her days eating bonbons and lounging around in a peignoir admiring her diamonds while her staff did all the work. Too bad democrat strategist extraordinaire Rosen screwed it up so spectacularly. Ultimately, she feels Romney shouldn't advise her husband because as a rich woman, she didn't have to deal with the financial struggles many women are dealing with today while raising her children and thus can't really identify with the 'common people'. Which, ironically, could have been a legit class warfare argument (if you go for that sort of thing), if only it hadn't been delivered by ol' Hamhands Rosen.
Non plussed by the negative blowback, Rosen doubled down:
Wow. Talk about respectful and sincere! Mind boggling, isn't it? There were several more "clarifications" in the same vein. Again, she is stretching to make the 'Mrs. Moneybags' argument and fails spectacularly. She apparently didn't realize that her statement sounds a lot more like sour grapes than reaching out a hand of reconciliation. She has since offered a more traditional apology - via public statement. I guess there's no phone call for Ann, either.
The really interesting part of all of this is that this wasn't just a case of momentary foot-in-mouthitis. This might well have been a trial balloon for a line of attack against the likable Mrs. Romney. We all know how necessary it is for Team Obama to shut down any threats quickly and thoroughly. Rosen's clumsy, tone deaf attempt at marginalizing Ann has been an unqualified disaster, without a doubt. But was it a fluke, or was it part of a greater plan?
With that thought in mind, I'd like to show you a little snippet of a speech President Obama made last week at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy that slipped under the radar (emphasis mine):
And once Michelle and I had our girls, she gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a career. And something that, could be very difficult on her, because I was gone a lot. Once I was in the state legislature, I was teaching, I was practicing law, I’d be traveling. And we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work. And I know when she was with the girls she’d feel guilty that she wasn’t giving enough time to her work, and when she was at work, she was feeling guilty she wasn’t giving enough time for the girls. And like many of you, we both wish there were machines that could let us be in two places at once.”
You decide. The setup for a line of attack against wealthy Ann Romney as an out of touch slacker lolling in the lap of luxury in contrast to hard working, guilt riddled working mom Michelle, or a simple attempt to appeal to middle class working women? Remember, it's not just about "getting a fair shot" it's also about doing your fair share. It's pretty safe to say that if this was a trial balloon, they probably won't follow up on it after the swift and damning reaction Rosen got, although they'll probably try coming at it from a different direction (do I see a Gloria Allred presser with a disgruntled nanny in our future?). They really can't drop it. "Hey, she's rich!" is about all they've got.
What I would really like to know is, who better than a stay at home mother would know about the economic impact of legislation and the economy on the family budget? Sure, Ann Romney had more in the kitty than many stay at homes, but I fail to see how that disqualifies her from the discussion.
One more thing: I love to find the silver linings in things, and I've found one in this: Ms. Rosen's day job happens to be democrat strategist with access to the top echelons of the Obama administration. Why is this a good thing, you ask? Well, if this is the caliber of strategist they have working for them, this election is a shoo-in.
UPDATE: Before I start the update, I have a little question I'd like to pose: If making a paycheck is as important as it seems to be to legitimizing who can have a say and who can't, why is volunteerism so revered on the left?
It seems Bill Maher might be having some money troubles, because he seems bound and determined to shame the Obama SuperPac into returning his million dollar donation.
Left-wing pundits tried to move on quickly from the whole thing, calling it a non-issue and a waste of time.
As I predicted, they keep (clumsily) trying the "Hey, she's rich" line of attack, but could someone explain to me how Princeton and Harvard educated, multi-millionaire Michelle Obama is a legit voice for financially strapped women but Ann Romney isn't? Officially, Mrs. Obama went back to work to pay off school loans, but what fails to get mentioned is her million-dollar house and expensive private schools for the kids - luxuries many stay at home moms either scarifice or never have a chance to achieve. At worst, they're both out of touch, but that doesn't mean they can't advise their husbands. Besides, I'm pretty sure that no matter how dead-on Ann Romney's advice might be, neither Hilary Rosen nor the president of NOW would ever support either her or her husband.
And in conclusion, here is some food for thought on the deeper reason for why the left disdains stay at home moms.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Now that the arguments both for and against ObamaCare have been made, it is in the Supreme Court's hands. Going into the fight, the law's supporters were cocky and arrogant. Coming out the other side, it's a different story, to say the least (actually, the term "panic" seems to be the go-to phrase). While we wait for the Court to make it's decision, I'd like to see some ideas from Republicans about what to replace the law with in the event it is struck down.
It is important to note that while oral arguments went badly for ObamaCare, oral arguments are only a small part of the overall process. It may seem that the law went down in flames, but we won't really know for sure until the Court's session ends in June and they issue their verdict. They vote today on the issue and will spend the next few months writing their opinions. Keep in mind, too, that their vote today might not be the final verdict we see this summer. Justices have been known to change their vote upon reading a particularly persuasive opposing argument. So we really won't know for sure until the published opinions are released over the summer. Anything released before then is mere speculation and should be regarded as such.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is taking the brunt of the blame from the left for the judicial beating the law took over the last few days. Poor guy. His inability to defend the mandate's alleged constitutionality wasn't due to incompetence, it was due to the indefensible unconstitutionality of the mandate. Simply dismissing talk of constitutionality out of hand as the left has consistently done is just not a convincing argument outside of the echo chamber. His stumbling over whether it was a tax or a penalty wasn't because he is too inept to figure out the difference, it's because he has been put in the difficult position of trying to, at times, make it not just both, but also neither. I'd say he did a pretty damn good job, considering.
The law, as conservatives have been saying for two years now, is fatally flawed. That has now been made quite clear by the probing questions of the Justices that cut through to the constitutionality (or lack thereof) at the heart of the matter. The question now is severability. How do you strike down the mandate without causing an insurance industry "death spiral"? How do they decide what stays and what goes (my favorite comment on it was Scalia's invocation of eighth amendment protections from cruel and unusual punishment in regards to having to read the bill)?
While we wait for the verdict of the court, due sometime this summer, Congressional Republicans need to take the opportunity to talk about their free market solutions in the event the law is struck down. Having a series of small bills that would implement those solutions at the ready would be a wise decision as well, particularly since the White House has decided to forgo a contingency plan, preferring to keep all of their eggs in the ObamaCare basket.
Any talk of a "comprehensive" republican approach should be shunned. If we didn't want a 2,700 page monstrosity from the left, why in heaven's name would we want the same from the right? Small, targeted bills that address health insurance issues point by point are the way to go, not colossal, byzantine laws that will require judicial intervention to interpret.
The "goodies" former Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised us have already been rolled out, and lots of people have felt the benefits of them, particularly those with pre-existing conditions (like myself). Many liberal pundits have argued in support of the law by talking about the pain that would be felt if it was struck down. But keeping the whole confusing, cumbersome, ever-more-expensive law because of a few perks is not a good idea.
What we need to keep in mind is that striking down the law in toto won't create a vacuum, it will return us to the pre-obamacare system. A system that was cheaper, and covered more people, by the way. This doesn't mean republicans shouldn't have a game plan ready, though, because while ObamaCare made things worse, they weren't that great to begin with. It should be obvious that among the solutions republicans need to offer is a continuation of the two most popular "goodies" - abolition of pre-existing conditions and an option for parents to keep their 26 year-old adult children on their insurance. The costs for these perks will be passed on to the consumers who opt for them, of course - but then, you're only fooling yourself if you thought they weren't going to under ObamaCare.
Republicans also need to start making the argument for severing the ties between health insurance and employment, as well as relaxing the regulations governing interstate commerce that keeps the more than one thousand insurance companies in this country from practicing in all fifty states. Toss in a little torte reform and and a few other free market ideas, and the disastrously lumbering behemoth that was ObamaCare can be replaced with a consumer-oriented free market that can be tailored to each individual customer according to their needs, not government diktat.
Isn't it amazing that Congress wasn't allowed to read the bill before they voted for it, the president didn't bother to read it before he signed it, and now some members of the Supreme Court are calling reading it an eighth amendment violation? Considering the way it was written, it seems even those who were tasked with writing it didn't bother read it. But we're all supposed to be overjoyed and filled with gratitude for having to living under it. Yeah, right.
For all we know, the Court could decide to uphold the law. God forbid. But in the meantime, doesn't it make sense to be prepared if they don't?
Oh, and that lame spin from the left about the law's repeal being good for democrats and bad for republicans? Wow. Proof positive of democratic over reach and the downfall of Obama's signature achievement due to it's being unconstitutional is going to be bad for republicans, eh? Boy, they really are freaking out over on the left, aren't they? They must be tied up in knots to come up with such ridiculously twisted logic. It's almost a little sad, isn't it?