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The man without a plan won

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:36 pm - November 12, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Random Thoughts

Over the weekend, I was talking with a friend from my college alumni association who wondered at my support for Mitt Romney given that Republican’s failure, in her view, to flesh out the details of his plan.  “At least,” I countered in so many words, “he offered a plan; your candidate has offered little more than a pledge to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.”

It is fascinating how many Obama supporters criticized our candidate for his absence of specifics when the Democrat himself put forward no proposals to address some of the nation’s pressing problems.  Earlier today, I wrote about his resistance to real reform.

And now, I’m trying to puzzle out he could win without offering a plan for governance.  Perhaps it really was his personal appeal.

I keep going back to the last week of the campaign.  Mitt Romney made a great closing argument.  Obama talked about voting as “revenge.”  The Republican outlined what he would do should he win election.  The Democrat warned of the perils of electing a Republican.

One had an outline of a plan.  The other did not.  The man without a plan won.

Not a good sign for our republic.

Echoing Treebeard, Ace counsels conservatives not to be hasty

Grateful to Glenn who links and offers, “Remember, they want you to be depressed, and to respond stupidly and impulsively.

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Treebeard said that his motto was, “Dont’ be hasty.”

In the wake of last Tuesday’s debacle, Ace, aware that “the entire movement is depressed — almost suicidally” offers similar counsel because

. . . it’s never a good time to make important decisions with far-reaching consequences when you’re in such a state. I think we need to get some perspective on things before committing ourselves to wholesale changes. We need some data, and we need some thinking.

It strikes me that the public made a similar impulsive decision under emotional stress.

Maybe we shouldn’t be as hasty.

He’s right; we shouldn’t be hasty in deciding the way forward.  That said, we’re already beginning the process of considering the way forward.  Now is perhaps the time for consideration, to put ideas out there.  Later will come the time for action, choosing which ideas to adopt and determining the best ways to put them into practice.

UPDATE:  In  a similar vein, Peter Wehner believes . . .

. . . we should use this moment to encourage fresh thinking and not vilify those who engage in it. At the same time, it seems to me that trying to fully understand the consequences of this election and what it means for conservatism 72 hours or so after the vote is probably unwise. We have plenty of time to sort through the exit polling data and think things through in a prudent manner.


GayPatriot Steak Dinner in Los Angeles on MONDAY, 11/19
(in honor of City Council Declaration of Meatless Mondays)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:14 pm - November 12, 2012.
Filed under: LA Stories,Liberalism Run Amok

On Friday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a resolution “endorsing the ‘meatless Monday’ campaign and asking residents to make a personal pledge to ditch meat for one day a week.

In honor of that resolution, I believe we should gather for a steak dinner at a Los Angeles restaurant next Monday.  Please let me know if you’re interested so I can begin planning.

Of nasty campaigns & (the end of?) presidential election cycles

It seems that, since 1896, there have been four distinct presidential election cycles during each of which one party remained dominant.

In the nine elections from 1896 to 1928 (inclusive), Republicans won seven with Democrats winning only in 1912 and 1916, neither time with a popular vote majority.  In the nine elections from 1932 to 1964, Democrats won seven and Republicans won twice, both times with a war hero at the top of the ticket.

From 1968 to 1988, Republicans won five times, with Democrats winning only once — and then with a narrow majority.  From 1992 to 2012, Democrats won four times, Republicans twice, only once with a popular vote majority.

This notion of cycles came to mind in an e-mail exchange with a reader when we compared the most recent presidential campaign to that of 1964.  In both years, the Democratic incumbent ran a very negative campaign, effectively demonizing his Republican opponent.

Does that incumbent’s failure to run on ideas suggest that his party is intellectually exhausted — or that its leadership understands the party’s ideas are at odds with those of the American people?

There is a lot of intellectual ferment on the right; we see it even as conservatives begin reconsidering comprehensive immigration reforms. Save for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore), it seems the only elected officials in Washington putting forward real ideas for reform are Republicans.

Maybe Obama’s negative campaign of 2012 does indeed signify the end of an era. One can only hope.

The president’s resistance to real — & necessary — reform

The president,” wrote Jennifer Rubin yesterday, “who ran with no agenda and is now a lame duck, has not distinguished himself by tackling tough problems.” His reelection campaign made his, as his campaign manager put it, the party of “the micro stuff“.

(Perhaps Mitt Romney would have won last week had he been better at articulating the bigger picture.)

WIth such a small ball focus, Obama doesn’t seem willing to address the big challenges facing our country, notably the coming insolvency of entitlements, out-of-control federal spending and the increasing burdens of the regulatory state.

Last Thursday, Glenn linked a piece suggesting he has no interest in tackling these problems:

The sound and fury will be over big fights on taxes and spending. They will look like replays of the last four years and not end up accomplishing much. The big changes to our economy will be the metastatic expansion of regulation, let by ACA, Dodd-Frank, and EPA. There will be no change on our long run problems: entitlements, deficits or fundamental reform of our chaotic tax system. 4 more years, $4 trillion more debt.

Why? I think this follows inevitably from the situation: normal (AFU). Nothing has changed. The President is a Democrat, now lame duck. The congress is Republican. The Senate is asleep. Congressional Republicans think the President is a socialist. The President thinks Congressional Republicans are neanderthals. The President cannot compromise on the centerpieces of his campaign.

Result: we certainly are not going to see big legislation. Anything new will happen by executive order or by regulation.

Read the whole thing. And this is what is truly sad.  We need real reform right now, big changes to address fiscal problems looming beyond the cliff.  We have a debt problem.  And a regulatory problem.  And yet now we have an administration committed to moving us in the opposite direction, writing ever more regulations and increasing the costs of compliance to job creators. (more…)

California is now taxing my Amazon order

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 pm - November 12, 2012.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,California politics

First time I’ve seen that on my amazon receipt:

BTW, ordered it through Instapundit. (Does Glenn’s cut include a percentage of the tax?)

Obama’s deficits & the restraining influence of a Republican Congress

Looking at the recently released Congressional Budget Office tally on the FY 2012 budget, the editors of the Wall Street Journal find the feds the feds rolling up

. . . another $1.1 trillion deficit for the year that ended September 30, which was the biggest deficit since World War II, except for each of the previous three years. President Obama can now proudly claim the four largest deficits in modern history. As a share of GDP, the deficit fell to 7% last year, which was still above any single year of the Reagan Presidency, or any other year since Truman worked in the Oval Office.

Now take a gander at this chart they provide beginning with FY 2007, the last year that had a budget passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Republican president:
As point of reference, the federal budget deficit for the preceding fiscal year, 2006, was $248 billion.  In other words, while the divided Congress of then-President Bush’s first two years in office  ramped up spending, the more Republican 109th Congress exercised greater fiscal discipline.

Only with the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006, responsible for passing the FY 2008 budget, did spending start to increase and deficits burgeon.  As the chart shows, we wouldn’t see any decline in the deficit until FY 2012, the first year in which a Republican chamber of Congress had a hand since FY 2007.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  ILoveCapitalism says it’s

Worth repeating that FY2009 belongs to Obama because His signature is on it, not Bush’s. The Democrat Congress held it back from Bush’s signature, so that Obama could increase the spending, when He took office in early 2009.

Consider that notion repeated.

John Boehner’s Marker

It is not often that I strongly disagree with Bruce.  No, we should not give the Democrats what they want on the economy.  It’s going to be bad enough that they pretty much got what they wanted during Obama’s first two years in office.

And we’re only beginning to see the consequences of that legislation, with Obamacare causing businesses to restructure their workforces and Dodd-Frank threatening the survival of community banks.  And then there’s the additional burden of the numerous regulations the Obama administration has been pushing.

People will soon see the damage wrought by Democratic policies.  We don’t want to make it even more difficult for our friends out of work and struggling to survive.

What House Speaker Boehner needs to do is not give Obama what he wants, but instead lay down a marker to show where Republicans stand.  And not yield.  And we know tax increases only give Washington politicians excuses not to cut spending.

The Ohio Republican said on Wednesday that “the GOP won’t accept tax increases, though it will accept changes that eventually would increase revenue through a more efficient tax code.”  He must know that if he yields, some conservatives will clamor for new leadership.

When Boehner wins on this, he will give conservatives something to cheer about, to show that conservatives can stand up to the reelected president and remain a potent force even after the disappointing results of last week’s election.  The Democrat will know that the Republican Speaker is no push-over, keeping him on his toes.

Right now, Republicans should not give Democrats what they want in order to weaken the economy.  They should stand firm on principle in order to show their supporters than they mean to stand up to Obama’s job-killing policies. (more…)

Right-to-work states account for most of nation’s job growth

Seems laws President Obama opposes may have helped secure the Democrat’s reelection.  At his American Enterprise Institute blog, Carpe Diem, University of Michigan economics professor Mark J. Perry reminds us that the incumbent opposes right-to-work laws, legislation which “protect employees from being fired for refusal to pay union dues or fees”.

States which such laws on the books

were responsible for 72% of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.  If these states’ job increase had been no better than the 0.85% experienced by forced-unionism states as a group, the nationwide job increase would have been less than half as great.  And the President wouldn’t have been able even to pretend the economy was in recovery.

Aggregate household employment grew by 1.86 million jobs in the 22 states with right-to-work laws.  2.59 million jobs created in the nation during that period.  And that number is even more impressive when you consider that the states without right-to-work laws include some with the largest population like California, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. (more…)

Congressional Republicans should take a page from Democrats’ 2005 playbook

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:14 am - November 12, 2012.
Filed under: Congress (general)

Eight years ago, with the defeat of then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daeschle in South Dakota, Harry Reid took the helm as head of the Senate Democrats and soon became the obstructionist-in-chief even though his party held only 45 seats in the U.S. Senate.

Well, now he’s Majority Leader and perhaps expects the Senate to fall in line with the newly reelected U.S. President.  Given the similarities between the 2012 result and that in 2004 (save that this year the president’s party does not control the House), Paul Mirengoff contends that the

The 2012 results thus imply that the Republican tone towards President Obama should mirror the tone of congressional Democrats, including then-Senator Obama, towards President Bush after the 2004 election. They also imply that the deference of the opposition party to the president should be same. In other words, the default level of deference should be zero (which is not, of course, the same thing as always opposing the president and his positions).

But no president should be treated as nastily as congressional Democrats treated George W. Bush. Instead, Republicans should grant Obama zero deference but do so with a nicer tone.

And Senate Republicans can just say they’re following in Mr. Reid’s footsteps.

Do hope Senator McConnell’s staff have been busy collecting Senator Reid’s remarks from that year — and the various editorials (particularly from the New York Times) praising the Nevada Democrat for his intransigence.

They would serve to remind the Democrats of the merits of Republican “obstruction” (for that it was the Democrats will call a Republican adoption of their strategy).

No dearth of conservative leaders in 2012

Four years ago, appearing on PJTV the night of the election, I said that Rush Limbaugh had then become the interim leader of the conservative movement. Roger Simon, as I recall, disagreed.

In retrospective, I may have had a point. Rush did give a great speech at the following CPAC (2009) challenging the new president and articulating the conservative vision. But, that talker is more a cheerleader and a motivator, than an actual leader. To be sure, he helps us deliver our message and encourages us.

Perhaps Rush came to mind at the time because, in the first eight years of this century, the conservative movement had become increasingly moribund. The Tea Party was not yet born. Few outside Florida had ever heard of Marco Rubio. Bobby Jindal hadn’t even completed his first year as Governor of Louisiana.

Two years later, a whole host of articulate conservatives would rise to the fore, with Bob McDonnell elected Governor of Virginia the following year, then several thoughtful Republicans including Rubio elected to the U.S. Senate, including Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, Rob Portman from Ohio and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania.

Paul Ryan would soon take over the chairmanship of the House Budget Committee. The Tea Party would become even stronger. (more…)