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Mitt Romney: Mensch

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:44 pm - August 31, 2012.
Filed under: Noble Republicans

A Jew could pay fewer higher compliments to another individual than to call him a mensch, meaning that he embodies the highest, the best qualities of a human being.  The more we learn about Mitt Romney’s life since he married Ann the more we realize that the man is a mensch.

Just watch the testimonial the Oparowskis offered last night:

(H/t: The Corner.)

Mitt Romney does seem to be a man of great empathy.

No wonder Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker “would have preferred to see more testimonials from people talking about Romney” last night.

Was Eastwood’s sketch designed to bait media and spook Democrats?

My friends who watched Clint Eastwood’s speech last night revealed in its irreverence and thought it was great.  Some of my favorite pundits, however, wondered about the exercise, particularly scheduling it at a”vital” hour of the convention.

Sara Murray of the Wall Street Journal reports that Eastwood’s (use of the) chair surprised the Romney camp:  “Mitt Romney’s campaign staff did not realize that Clint Eastwoodwould be using that chair — at least not for something other than sitting.”  But, I wonder.

Perhaps, we would we wise to take heed of how the Romney campaign reacted:

Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn’t work. His ad-libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it.

(H/t Ed Morrissey.)  And “normal voters“, report the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke, “like the Eastwood performance that pundits panned”.

The crowd (and those “normal voters”) may have loved it — as did a number of my conservative friends who do not follow politics all that closely, but the Obama people really hated it.  Last night Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz singled out the “sketch” for scorn in lieu of commenting on Romney’s strong speech.

And it really seems to have gotten under Obama’s skin.  “This“, quipped law professor William A. Jacobson “Is Not The Tweet Of A Confident Man of a message the president sent showing himself in a cabinet meeting (via Instapundit).

And maybe that was the point, to, as Jacobson put it, get “under Obama’s skin.” Obama does not do well on defense, particularly when he feels others are attempting to mock — or tarnish — his image.  Maybe Republicans were trying to provoke a reaction that would make the Democrat look petty. (more…)

2016: Obama’s America or,
the legacy media’s disinterest in Obama’s intellectual upbringing

Up in the Santa Barbara area to hobnob with friends from my grad program in myth (and attend a myth conference).  This afternoon, we took a break to see the hit movie 2016: Obama’s America. Not sure I buy the thesis, but was impressed at the size of the crowd. It looked like over 150 people there for a 1 PM matinee on a Friday. And take a gander at the marquee at the theater where we caught the flick:

Seems an equal opportunity theater, going from showing a movie quite critical of Obama to hosting Obama apologists.

The flick did do one thing which all too many in our legacy media have failed to do, inquire into Obama’a intellectual background, finding the individuals who and considering the ideas which influenced the future president.

Folks in the media keep suggesting that we really don’t know much about Mitt Romney, but, well, we know a lot less about the incumbent President of the United States than we do about the man vying to replace him.  And we knew even less about Barack Obama in 2008 when he, like Mr. Romney this week, was first nominated by a major political party for the highest office in the land.

Watcher of Weasels Winners — 08.31.12 Edition

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:36 pm - August 31, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Council Winners

Leaving RNC & Tampa With A New Friend

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 1:00 pm - August 31, 2012.
Filed under: Republican National Convention

For those of you not in the Twitter world, you may have missed that I picked up a new companion on Wednesday in Tampa.

Kidney stone. Yeah, wonderful.

Well, I’m on pain meds now and being driven home by the awesome Breeanne, Ben & Caleb Howe.

I apologize to my readers for not being able to cover the RNC as planned.

I hope to do a BlogTalkRadio show from the DNC next week. It all depends on how my new friend behaves.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Contrasting his promise to do the job with Obama’s lofty rhetoric, Mitt Romney sets tone for fall campaign

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:08 am - August 31, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Sometimes when you don’t watch a speech, you can better learn how it played than when you do watch it. Of course you can’t reach your own conclusion about the address, but, in this case, the speech wasn’t going to sway me one way or the other in the presidential contest.

Tonight’s speaker, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is far superior to the failed incumbent. And I didn’t need a speech to remind me of his qualities.  So, I chose to dined with good friends who, like me, are in Carpinteria for a myth conference instead of breaking our plans and tuning in.

When I joined some other friends who had watched the speech, they instantly told me about its best lines, ones that nearly every commentator on FoxNews cited this:

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.


My promise is to help you and your family.

It was“, writes occasional Romney critic Philip Klein, “a great way to remind the audience of the grandiose promises that Obama made when he ran for president while also vowing to keep his eyes on the more important stuff if elected.”

Those lines resonated and Mitt Romney successfully turned his rhetorical disadvantage into a leadership advantage.  Unlike Obama, he won’t promise you the moon, he’ll get the job done.

When we switched over to CNN, we caught Piers Morgan interviewing Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wassterman Schultz, she chose not to challenge to the talk show host’s praise for the Republican nominee’s speech as “solid” (or did he say “strong”?), but instead to make fun of Clint Eastwood’s dialogue with a chair.  Seems a sign Democrats want to deflect attention away from the speech.

Later, when we turned back to FoxNews, where former Howard Dean’s former campaign chairman Joe Trippi praised the speech.  Seems it was a successful address.

And Mitt Romney may well have set the tone for the coming campaign with the contrasting promises he offered.  One man will offer lofty rhetoric, the other will roll up his sleeves and get to work. (more…)

Obama’s “charisma has worn”; his “failures are now his own”

In a nice reflection on Ryan’s speech, Roger Kimball considers the candidate’s critique of the incumbent president and concludes:

Last time around, Barack Obama campaigned on his own charisma and his opponents’ failures. He’s trying it again but the charisma has worn and the failures are now his own. Obama assumed office nearly four years, Paul Ryan observed. Isn’t it time he assumed responsibility?

Read the whole thing. (Via Instapundit.)

To find a “mistake” in Ryan’s speech, “factcheckers” ignore its content

Ryan’s Speech Must have been a success else AOL/HuffPo wouldn’t have slammed it:

As is to be expected, the mistakes they discerned weren’t mistakes. Fact-checking the “factcheckers,” Ed Morrissey reminds us what Paul Ryan actually said and what Barack Obama actually promised.

First, what Ryan said:

When [Obama] talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.

“Ryan”, the 2010 CPAC blogger of the year writes

. . .acknowledged that the plant had already been slated for shutdown in 2008.  That was his point.  People voted for him because they thought Obama represented hope to get the plant back in operation.   In fact, that had been known since at least February 2008, when Obama came to Janesville to speak, and specifically addressed the plant closure in his remarksdelivered at the plant itself — and promised to keep it and other plants like it open “for the next hundred years” (emphasis [Ed’s]) (more…)

Ryan’s Reaganesque Remarks Echo Nation’s Founding Principles

Last year, from a seat on bloggers’ row in the (metaphorical) rafters the Excel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, I watched the Republican vice presidential nominee deliver a speech that wowed us all.  “If this were baseball,” I wrote from those rafters, “the ball would be up here.  Or further.  She’s hitting this out of the park.”

You could feel the energy in the hall.  You could feel it as people left the auditorium, seemingly floating, not walking, back to our cars and busses.

“Leaving the hall” last night, reports the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, Republicans seem to have had similar feelings, offering “reviews of [this year vice presidential nominee Paul] Ryan’s speech that ranged from ‘fantastic’ to ‘awe-inspiring.’  If any were underwhelmed, they didn’t show it.”  Even non-Repubilcans liked it.   One 2008 Obama voter blogged that “Ryan did a brilliant job. It was much more than a fine speech and an excellent delivery. He embodied that speech. We saw a brilliant candidate.

Jim Geraghty called the speech “Reaganesque“.  Ryan skeptic Paul Mirengoff dubbed it “optimal“, his blogging colleague John Hinderaker called it “fantastic.”  The fetching Wisconsin Republican criticized, as Jennifer Rubin observed, “‘more in sadness than in anger’ with great expression of empathy for fellow citizens.

Glenn Reynolds listed his favorite lines, including the one about “fading Obama poster”.  Maybe everyone is buzzing about that one, but two other passages which struck me, the first, Ryan ribbing his running mate for his choice in music.  Can you imagine Joe Biden making fun of Barack Obama’s tastes in music (or anything else for that matter)?*

Perhaps, I should cite his conclusion where he harkened back to our nation’s “founding principles”, but it was this passage where he articulated one of those principles that really resonated with me:

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.

In the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson listed the British government’s “long train of abuses and usurpations” against the American people.  The Constitution placed strict limits on what the new federal government could do. (more…)

Yahoo! & the legacy media’s culture of racist assumptions

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:18 pm - August 29, 2012.
Filed under: Media Bias

Why does the behavior of two boorish participants at a political convention mention this kind of coverage?

Well, the story does fit the media narrative of a racist Republican Party. We don’t even know if the two people who engaged in what the convention organizers rightly called “deplorable behavior” were even Republicans.

Interesting that the source of the story is David Shuster a man with a reputation for anti-Republican bias.  (He now works for Al Gore’s CurrentTV.)

It appears,” report that staff at Twichy, that “Shuster didn’t actually witness the nut-throwing event. It’s also worth mentioning that Shuster, who was indefinitely suspended from MSNBC in 2010, has been a frequent topic here at Twitchy, known more for his deplorable behavior than for his veracity.”

What is more newsworthy that the juvenile antics of two unidentified convention participants if what one identified Yahoo! bureau chief did say:

Yahoo News has fired Washington bureau chief David Chalian after he was caught on a hot-mic during an online video broadcast saying that Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, had no problem with African Americans suffering as a result of Hurricane Isaac, a source familiar with the situation tells POLITICO.

“They’re not concerned at all. They’re happy to have a party with black people drowning,” (more…)

Chris Christie, like Paul Ryan, reminds us that the Republican is the party of real reform

Last night, after having dinner with a friend, we ended up, pursuant to part of our conversation, watching the first half of Excalibur, a flawed, but very (very, very) watchable movie.  As a result, I missed the two “big” speeches at the Republican National Convention last night.

When I did scan the web last night, I learned that conservative bloggers andpundits, while almost unanimous in loving Ann Romney’s speech, had mixed views on Chris Christie’s.  Byron York thought the New Jersey governor’s address did not succeed. Jonah Goldberg called it “a mild disappointment.

Jennifer Rubin and John Podhoretz liked the speech, with the latter citing the governor’s failure to attack the incumbent indicated instead a suggestion

. . . that the electorate in November would turn to the Republican ticket because it understands better than politicians the depth of the country’s problems — and that only the Republicans would speak honestly about them and the need to change course before it’s too late.

Perhaps, the reason Christie highlighted his own record was to show that understanding and that even thought Republican leaders in state houses across the country face incredible obstacles to reform, but are nonetheless pushing ahead with solutions to their jurisdictions’ problems.

Christie’s goal, in short, was to warm up the audience for Paul Ryan, showing that Republicans have solutions to the nation’s fiscal problems.

In the interview with the other Republican elected to replace a Democratic governor in 2009, the National Review’s Jim Geraghty asks a question which shows not just that Republican governors have championed reforms, but that reforms has helped improve the economic situation in their states: “Completely coincidental“, he quips “that all of Obama’s national policies are only working in those Republican states, huh?”  (I.e., states where Republican governors have enacted real reforms.)

“What Paul Ryan brings to the ticket”, adds that governor, Virginia’s Bob McDonnell,

 is a seriousness about the incredible challenges facing America. (more…)

Obama’s gaffes fall on deaf ears of legacy media

Would Barack Obama enjoy the adulation he does among veteran journalists and Democratic partisans if those journalists treated him like they have such Republicans as Todd Akin, Sarah Palin and former Vice President Dan Quayle?

Every time one of those individuals misspoke, our national news media highlighted the gaffe as if it were a defining moment in American public discourse.  And in so highlighting it, they often did make a defining moment in our media-saturated culture.

Reminding us how Quayle’s spelling error in 1992 “was carried on every news wire, every news program and in every late night TV monologue“, Michael Ramirez speculates that

Quayle’s mind must have been on other things. It wasn’t like he repeated the mistake in all 57 states, or more precisely in Beaverton, Ore., in May 2008; or while traveling on the “Intercontinental” railroad in Cincinnati on Sept. 23, 2011; or perhaps, while he was speaking to the “President” of Canada in Chicago on Aug. 7, 2007.

He might not have known how to say it in “Austrian” while in Strasbourg, France, on April 5, 2009; or perhaps he was thinking of “Polish Death Camps” at the White House on May 30, 2012; or thinking about when he met with world leaders in that splendid “Asian” city, Honolulu, on Nov. 16, 2011.

Read the whole thing.  (Via Powerline picks.)  “The mainstream media”, Ramirez adds, “didn’t seem to think these incidents were worthy of a media feeding frenzy, unlike those of poor Dan Quayle.”

It seems that if a Democratic politician makes repeated gaffes, those gaffes don’t make a sound to the legacy media.

Watcher of Weasels — Last Nominees of August 2012

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:36 pm - August 29, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Council Submissions

Americans remain unaware of Mitt Romney’s great empathy

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:34 am - August 29, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Given Barack Obama’s record in the White House, it seems odd that one of the few issues where he regularly leads his Republican rival is empathy.  Just yesterday, CBS News reported that their latest poll

. . . shows that half of registered voters think that Mitt Romney does not understand their problems, reflecting an empathy gap with President Obama as Romney prepares for his acceptance speech at the Republican nominating convention.

Only 41 percent of Americans said Romney understands their needs and problems, compared to 54 percent who feel Mr. Obama understands their needs and problems.

And this is not the only survey to show what CBS writers dubbed an “empathy gap.”  Perhaps, the reason is simply the stories the news networks tell.  The incumbent is cold, often aloof.  Mitt Romney while sometimes awkward in public has a long record of helping neighbors and friends in need.

It’s just that he doesn’t boast about it.

When I asked at the beginning of July if Obama had ever (personally) helped individuals in need, no reader could come up with a single example.  Maybe Obama did help out at one time or another, but the stories aren’t easy to track down.

The stories of Romney’s good deeds, however, are legion. “At every turn in his life,” his wife said last night, “this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others.”

Almost every personal detail about Romney“, writes Andrew Ferguson about reading the Republican nominee’s biography

 I found endearing. But my slowly softening opinion went instantly to goo when The Real Romney unfolded an account of his endless kindnesses—unbidden, unsung, and utterly gratuitous. “It seems that everyone who has known him has a tale of his altruism,” the authors write. (more…)

MSNBC sees only white Republicans

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:55 am - August 29, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Media Bias

“At the RNC there’s obviously no red America,” wrote a friend on Facebook, “no blue American, only white America. . . . ”

This individual must be getting her news from MSNBC as was apparently the Daily Caller’s Jeff Poor:

One of the left’s favorite attacks on the Republican Party is that it is the party of old white people, devoid of diversity and probably racist.

If you were watching MSNBC’s coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday night, you might believe those assertions, since missing from the coverage was nearly every ethnic minority that spoke during Tuesday’s festivities. (more…)

Hey, Harry, Where’s the Budget?

Found this on Facebook:

So, will our legacy media will ever get around to covering Reid’s do-nothing Democratic Senate?

Obama’s familiarity with economic notions that just “aren’t so”

Yesterday, Jennifer Rubin began her must-read post, Is the liberal echo chamber a trap?, quoting one of the Gipper’s favorite sayings, “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

“There is”, she observes,

. . . no better phrase than that to describe President Obama, hermetically sealed in leftist bubble to a greater extent than any Democratic president in history. He doesn’t imagine that there are facts or interpretations that lead his opponents to opposite conclusions. He therefore assumes they are dimwits or liars.

Liberals like Obama believe that a Keynesian “stimulus” must work because that’s what they’ve been taught in college and heard repeated by liberal politicians and policy wonks.  No matter that such stimuli, while working well on paper, tend to work as well in the real world.  (See, e.g,. our recent guest post.)

The liberal worldview notwithstanding, the New Deal did not lift the nation out of the Depression, indeed, FDR’s big-government agenda prolonged it.  Japan’s lost decade wasn’t lost because of spending cuts and regulatory relief.  And Obama’s “stimulus” may well have delayed our recovery from the most recent recession.

And then, there are things which liberals should know about the economy, but don’t — because it doesn’t fit their narrative.  The economy rebounded in the 1980s despite the Gipper’s failure to offer a government “stimulus” and continued to grow in the 1990s despite the successful Republican filibuster of Bill Clinton’s “stimulus.”

Obama refuses to confront these facts, repeating instead his nostrum about Mitt Romney wanting to return us to the failed policies of the past.  Given that Romney’s economic agenda more closely resembles Ronald Reagan’s than it does George W. Bush’s, it would be correct to say that the Republican nominee wants to return to the successful policies of the past. (more…)

The governor of New Jersey understands what ails California

Why can’t this guy be my governor?  Well, at least I didn’t vote for Jerry:

Via Washington Free Beacon via Michael Warren.

Focus group disappointed with Obama, “cautiously ambivalent” about Romney

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:45 am - August 28, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,We The People

Maybe a focus group reaction to this ad helps explains why Obama is not acting like a winning candidate:

Almost everyone in the group said they voted for Obama in 2008,” reports Scott Conroy of CBS NEWS, “but they were about evenly split between Obama and Mitt Romney in the 2012 race, with several still undecided.”

The group watched “more than a dozen negative TV ads funded by both presidential campaigns and outside groups”; a majority singled out the above spot “as the most effective ad of the current cycle.”  Via Mary Katharine Ham who notes that “only four of the 23 swing voters found ads from Obama and his allies more convincing than those from Romney and his allies.

The National Review’s Daniel Foster, who watched (what I believe was) this focus group in action, reported their reactions to the two major-party presidential candidates:

When asked to describe Romney in one word, they said things like “stiff,” “experienced,” “educated,” “accomplished,” “articulate,” “untrustworthy,” “a leader,” “successful,” “privileged,” “question-mark,” and “ethical.” A mixed bag, right? Sure, but look at what they call Obama: “narcissist,” “polarizing,” “trying,” “having hope,” “incapable,” “lost,” “polarizing,” “socialist” (!), and most damning of all, “disappointing.”

Starker still: Almost all of them voted for Obama in 2008. Almost none of them are committed to doing it again.

The Weekly Standaard’s Michael Warren, however, found that sentiment toward Romney was “cautiously ambivalent“: (more…)

Why do some Americans who favor “smaller government with fewer services” continue to back Democrats?

At least since George Stephanopolous’s question on contraception in the 2012 ABC/Yahoo!/WMUR New Hampshire GOP primary debate, Democrats have been eager to accent social issues, believing the contrast between their positions and those of their partisan rivals will show how out of touch the Republican Party is with 21st century voters, particularly in suburbs.

They want to highlight that contrast because if wavering voters cast their ballot on economic issues on their concerns about the growing size and scope of the federal government, they would overwhelmingly pull the lever for the GOP.  When it comes to their support of big government, Democrats are out of touch with the American people.

And yet, they still the votes of many socially liberal Americans who favor a more limited role for the government.

These Americans, especially entrepreneurs in blue enclaves like Hollywood, well aware of the burdens of federal, state and local regulation on their enterprises tend to define the GOP not by its economic agenda (which they largely share) but by their peers’ perception of the party as a bastion of intolerant social conservatives, unwilling to welcome minorities, particularly gay men and lesbians into their ranks.

Last year, when I spoke to the gay man who had hanged Sarah Palin in effigy in the course of the 2008 presidential campaign about his 2011 bid for West Hollywood City Council, I heard him level the same kinds of complaints against a meddlesome city government that Tea Party protesters level against government at all levels.  How do we get Americans, like Mito Aviles, aware of the burdens of big government, to support the GOP?

Mito is not alone.  Others know that, to borrow a great man’s expression, in the present economic crisis, government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.  “When asked about the best solution to the spurring economic growth,” Ed Morrissey reported last month, “21% of likely voters said they favor an increase in government spending, while three times as many, or 64%, believe the government should cut spending.”

Doesn’t sound like a populace favorable to yet another “stimulus”. (more…)