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Another Obamalie, his mother’s medical insurance?

From Mona Charen’s new column:

Remember President Barack Obama’s mother? …The moving and infuriating story was a staple on the 2008 campaign trail. His mother had insurance, he explained, but when she came down with cancer, her insurance company claimed her disease was a “pre-existing condition” and refused to pay…In a debate with Sen. John McCain, Obama said: “For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.”

There would be, if it had been true. But when New York Times reporter Janny Scott researched the issue for her biography of the president’s mother, she discovered letters proving beyond doubt that Cigna never denied Stanley Ann Dunham coverage for her disease. The dispute was over a disability plan…

The White House did not deny Scott’s account, but shrugged it off…

The Dunham tale was meant to personify the hundreds of thousands — or millions — of Americans who were “dumped” by insurance companies when they became sick. This is an invented tale, and might have been rebutted by the insurance industry if they hadn’t gotten into bed with Obama in 2010 in return for millions of coerced new customers…

There’s more; RTWT.

Charen touches on a great point: The insurance companies are at fault, but not for the Left’s mythical reasons. The real fault is that Obamacare is based on coercion: forcing people to do business with the insurance companies, when people might choose not to. That is immoral. Obama was wrong to propose it, the Democrats were wrong to impose it, and the insurance companies were wrong to go along with it.

In 2008, we told you Obama wasn’t the man you (thought you) were voting for. . .

[E]ven among Obama voters,” writes Heather Long in Friday’s Guardian, reflecting on a variety of factors, including the number of scandals coming to light, “there should be genuine disappointment. This not the President Obama we voted for, not even close.”

She talks about the excitement and exhilaration people felt in 2008 when Obama was elected:

It was mostly young people marching – from varied backgrounds. Many of these parades ended up in front of the White House where chants of “goodbye Bush” (or some variation thereof) began. It was the same slogan heard as Barack Obama was sworn in as president in January 2009 and Bush flew away in a helicopter.

There was a belief, especially among voters in their 20s and 30s, that Obama was going to be different. That his promises to “change the culture in Washington” were real. That his administration wouldn’t be beholden to lobbyists and conduct executive power grabs.

Interesting how part of their celebration relates to the departure of the much (and usually wrongly) maligned immediate past President of the United States.

What evidence, beyond the candidate’s rhetoric, did they have that Barack Obama was an agent of change?

They were clearly not aware, as many conservatives reported in 2008, that the great Democratic hope had always been a loyal foot soldier in the Chicago Democratic machine.  In his twelve years as an elected official based in that city, Barack Obama failed to challenged its authority — as he failed to root out corrupt practices and cronyism that defined its government.

His record, as we have pointed out repeatedly, was at odds with his rhetoric.

We (that is, conservative and libertarian bloggers and pundits) told you that back in 2008.  We told you that you were voting for an image crafted by political consultants and projected onto a charismatic Chicago politician with a mellifluous speaking voice.   But, you were so eager to see George W. Bush replaced that you trusted the words of man who delighted in maligning that Republican, but about whom you knew very little.  And are only now seeing as he is today — and was back then.

Presidential Leadership On Entitlements


-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

2012 Elections show that 2008 was not an Inflection Point

Jim Geraghty began his post-election Morning Jolt with a tone of considerable despair, calling the Republicans’ 2012 defeat “a much, much, much tougher loss than 2008.”  He could more readily understand McCain’s loss given the near perfect storm environment four years ago, the Democratic victory made more sense.

And while I too was initially glum at the time Geraghty offered that assessment, the more I pore through election results and exit polls, the more I realize that, in terms of prospects for the GOP and conservative ideas, there are much more grounds for hope now than there was four years.

When, the course of the 2008 election, it became pretty evident that Barack Obama was going to win a strong majority, Michael Barone wonder if we were seeing another inflection point in American history, with Americans rejecting the smaller government consensus building from the 1970s through the 1990s:

The protracted and painful experiences of those decades changed basic public attitudes on the balance between government and markets, between regulation and enterprise, between government-aid programs and self-reliance The breadlines and depression of the 1930s moved Americans in one direction; the gas lines and stagflation of the 1970s moved them in the other.

Which raises the question of whether the financial ructions of 2007-08 (09?) will move them back again. One reason to believe this is possible is the passage of time. Americans in the 1980s and 1990s were ready to accept deregulation and tax cuts and welfare reform because so few of them had personal memories of the 1930s.

Indeed, exit polls in 2008 showed that over half of Americans surveyed “wanted government to do more to intervene while 43 percent said it was doing too many things better left to businesses.

This year, however, “those numbers have flipped.”  Four years ago, it could be said that the American people favored bigger government, but today, even in an electorate more Democratic than that in 2010, there is clearly a consensus for smaller government. (more…)

History suggests 2016 will be a bad year for Democrats

With the help of David Leip’s Atlas of Presidential Elections, I have compiled the popular vote and percentage of the total vote the presidential candidate of the party which would govern for each of nine electoral “cycles” going from 1912 through 2008.  (Available below the jump.)

By electoral cycle, I mean a series of the three elections starting with the one which caused a shift in partisan control of the White House, i.e., in 1912, the partisan control shifted from Republican (William Howard Taft) to Democratic (Woodrow Wilson).  Sometimes, in the third election in the cycle, partisan control would switch back as it did in 1920, 1960, 1968, 2000 & 2008.  Other times, the incumbent party would retain the White House as happened in 1928, 1940 and 1988.

In each case, a distinct pattern emerges.  The party which comes to power in the first election will gain votes and increase its percentage of the vote in the second, then see a decline, sometimes substantial, in the third.

There are, however, only two exceptions.

In the second election in the 1920s cycle, 1924, Calvin Coolidge won fewer votes (and a smaller percentage of the vote) than he did his erstwhile running mate Warren G. Harding four years previously.  Four years later, Herbert Hoover would get more votes than either of his two partisan predecessors, but a lower percentage than did Harding.  That said, the pattern holds if we begin the cycle in 1924 and end it in 1932.  Increase from 1924 to 1928, decline in 1932.

In the 1990s cycle, Al Gore got more votes in 2000 than Bill Clinton had in 1992 or 1996, but, in the first two elections in that cycle, there had been a major third party candidate, Ross Perot.  The pattern does hold when you calculate the dominant party’s percentage of the two-party vote.

One minor exception:  In 1920 (third election of the 1910s cycle), Democrat James Cox got more votes than did Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and 1916, but that’s because 1920 was the first election when women were allowed to vote.

So, why I am sharing all this with you?  To show that there is historical pattern here which suggests that  Republicans stand in good stead for 2016.  No president, until this week, has ever won reelection with fewer votes than he had in his initial election.  And save for 1928*, his party has always seen a drop-off (usually quite significant) from the second to third election in the cycle.

Obama didn’t get that popular vote bump that Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson (running as Kennedy’s successor), Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush got.  His party is likely to see a further decline in 2016, though the example of Herbert Hoover in 1928 does provide some hope that they might break the pattern. (more…)

Obama won fewer votes in 2012 than W did in 2004

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:46 pm - November 7, 2012.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Random Thoughts

Remember back in 2004, how all of the then-president’s critics were discounting his victory because it was the narrowest reelection victory of any president ever?

Wonder what those folks are saying today.

Obama’s current total of the popular vote is 60,382,105. In 2004, W 62,040,610 votes.

Something really turned people off to politics this year.

The task for Republicans now is to find something that people can vote for.

GOP Turnout down in 2012?

Many, many, many thing baffle me about last night’s results.  And I will try to address them in the coming days.

But, perhaps the most baffling is the turnout.  It is generally conceded that John McCain’s campaign did not inspire voters in 2008–a year when Republicans were generally dispirited.  So, we contended, GOP turnout was depressed.

This year, however, Republicans were fired up.  Mitt Romney’s campaign had a great Get-Out-the-Vote operation.  And yet right now, it looks like he won’t win as many votes as the 59,934,814 votes McCain did in ’08.

The latest tally has Romney just over 57 million.  Obama is at 59.6 million, with votes still to be counted.

The real problem with Obama’s 2008 race speech

Enter this one into the “delayed brainstorm” category.

Just over four years ago, when then-candidate Barack Obama decided to do damage control as the mean-spirited sermons of his pastor (of twenty years) became public, by delivering a speech on race, widely acclaimed by his supporters, but derided by many others — and now forgotten by almost everyone.

I had read the speech on-line and thought it was little more than cliches wrapped in bromides; I printed it out so I could offer a more thorough critique.  I never got around to reading that print-out nor writing that critique.

The other day, I suddenly realized what bothered me about the speech:  he had never mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who challenged the racial prejudices of his day with an appeal to America’s long-standing creed and its core ideals.  Dr. King changed America — and for the better.  Today, I again found the speech online and did a search for Dr. King.

It turns out I was only partially right.  Mr. Obama did mention Dr. King, but only once — and not to talk about what Dr. King had said — or accomplished, but, well, read it for yourself:

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

He only references Dr. King to tell a story about one of his own campaign workers, how that worker tells “her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign.”

He mentions one of the truly great men in American history only to talk about himself.

My apologies for taking so long to realize it — and blog about it.

Obama: “uncomfortable under pressure”

Earlier today, while tidying my apartment, I came across this print-out for 2008. Soon thereafter, I scribbled in the upper right-hand corner a note, “Relate to Ed Morrissey”.
This links a piece reposted here and directing us here (link not working) for the original, with this passage about how the then-candidate behave when the chips are down:

Obama has looked amazingly uncomfortable under the pressure that Palin has put him under. He relies on his cool – it is a core part of his appeal. So he looks bad when he loses it. During the Hillary contest he rarely came under any pressure from the media. When he did he reacted badly.

What struck me about the print-out was how it reminded me (as per my scribbling) of Ed Morrissey’s thoughts about President Obama’s discussion of “Romnesia”:

Those elementary-school attacks using people’s names are something one usually farms out to surrogates (and is pretty lame regardless).  That comes with the grasping of “binders,” literally grasping in Joe Biden’s case (and literally literally, not Bidenesque “literally”), as a major campaign theme. When the President himself starts using attacks like this, it speaks to his desperation more than his opponent’s positions. (more…)

Obama prefers governing from behind to campaigning from behind

Most people forget that back in the 2008 campaign, there was a period where the Obama campaign seems lost and the candidate himself confused. Right after the Republican convention, with the GOP (briefly) energized by Sarah Palin’s selection, the Democrat was forced to play defense and the wheels, as Hugh Hewitt blogged at the time, seemed to be coming off the Obama campaign bus.

This week, we’ve been seeing a similar thing with even Obama-friendly institutions like AOL/Huffington Post taking notice:
In an article I cited in my previous post, Noah Rothman observed that “President Barack Obama’s campaign has responded to the newfound adversity he faced after his debate loss with a stunning lack of competency.

At Commentary, Jonathan Tobin wonders if Obama “and his campaign are temperamentally unsuited to playing from behind“.  The record of 2008 — and this past week — does not provide much evidence that they are.

Maybe the campaign has changed in the intervening four years, but we haven’t seen much evidence suggesting that Obama knows how to play defense.  Seems he’d rather “lead from behind” in foreign affairs than campaign from behind come election time.

The increasing realization that Barack Obama is all hat, no cattle

“What”, I asked shortly after the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008, “Justifies the Left’s Enthusiasm for Obama?“:

  • What has he accomplished besides deliver some really powerful speeches? Has he, in his twelve years in public office, enacted any major reforms, been the driving force behind any bipartisan legislation?
  • What has he done to effect this new kind of politics he describes so readily?

They loved their nominee without any evidence to support their case that he was a new kind of politician able to transform the political landscape.  They could point to no speeches, identify no policies where he had both shown a keen understanding of issues and demonstrated the ability to turn an good idea into a workable legislative proposal  — and help shepherd that proposal through the legislature.

In the course of the 2008 presidential campaign, conservative bloggers, looking at the Democrat’s record, concluded that he was all hat, no cattle. So, in the wake of last week’s debate, when many liberal pundits were beginning to realize that they may have “overestimated” Mr. Obama’s qualities, Ace, with the words below, seems to speak for conservatives:

Let me suggest something that many conservatives realized after the debate: Obama did not do that badly. For Obama. He was the same listless, droning, exhausted-of-ideas scold we have seen for at least two years now (and maybe three).

He was Obama. This is what he is. He is not quick-witted. He is not, as I think I saw Mickey Kaus note, a wonk. He has never been a wonk, a detailed-policy guy. (more…)

Obama’s appeal remains his promise rather than his achievements

A few weeks ago,” wrote the National Review’s Jay Nordlinger,

I read the transcripts of the 2008 debates. I did this in order to write a piece for National Review. (Available here.) I was amazed, watching this first 2012 debate, at how much Obama repeated what he’d said four years ago. He used just the same lines.

He debated as though he hadn’t been president for four years

Maybe that explains why he continues to blame George W. Bush for his, er, the nation’s, problems.  Or why he has so much trouble talking about his record.  No wonder. “He had always run“, writes Richochet’s Paul Rahe

. . . for chairman of the Harvard Law Review, for the Illinois state senate, for the United States Senate, and for the Presidency — on promise. Now he was an executive running for re-election, and he was going to be held responsible for what he had done and for what he had failed to do.

This helps explain why he prefers to go on television talk shows and hold interviews with radio DJs than to face the questions of reporters who might dare to ask about his record.

UPDATE:  This morning, Jennifer Rubin cited this from her Washington Post colleague Dana Milbank, no conservative he:

No more hiding. “For the past four years, he has worked assiduously to avoid being questioned, maintaining a regal detachment from the media and other sources of dissent and skeptical inquiry. Obama has set a modern record for refusal to be quizzed by the media, taking questions from reporters far less often than Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and even George W. Bush.”

UP-UPDATE: Jim Geraghty quips, “the Barack Obama of 2008 didn’t know what he was in for.

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.

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.)

Who are you calling “unpatriotic”, Mr. President?

(Not to mention “irresponsible”.)

In his post on the looming $16 Trillion Debt, up from “$10.6 trillion on Inauguration Day” 2009, Jim Geraghty shares this video from the 2008 campaign:

On March 19 of this year, CBSNews reported:

The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.

The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.

Wonder if any reporters have asked Mr. Obama about that in recent days.

An Obama victory in 2012 would undermine Obama’s 2008 rationale for his election

In 2008,” wrote the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein soon after “Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., introduced himself to a national audience as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate“,

. . . the central component of Obama’s meteoric rise was that politics had become too cynical and small, and that it was important to have a more substantive debate on the pressing issues facing the nation.

Obama was going to be a new kind of politician who did not engage in the petty politics of the past, a leader who showed respect for opposing viewpoints, who treated his ideological adversaries with dignity.

In contrast to his rhetoric in 2008, Obama today is running for reelection by waging perhaps the “lowest, meanest most negative campaign in history“.  George Will delineates the striking contrast between the Democrats’ negative campaign today with Barack Obama’s lofty rhetoric of 2008:

He on whose behalf the Soptic ad[*] was made used to dispense bromides deploring “the smallness of our politics” and “our preference for scoring cheap political points.”

Obama is trying to win by going to gutter, by leveling shameful, dishonest attacks on his Republican rival.  And yet the crux of his 2008 appeal was that he would be a new kind of politician, elevating our political discourse.  If the Democrats wins this year, he wins by playing that old kind of attack politics.

So much for hope and change.

* (more…)

The Ryan/Obama contrast:
conservative competence contrasted with liberal rhetoric

Yesterday, I wrote a longish post contending that Paul Ryan is very much the “un-Obama.”  Because I fear my basic point was lost as I combined with another, I wish to make that point again here, but more succinctly.

Barack Obama became a hero to Democrats in the second half of the Bush Administration based not on the ideas he champion or the policies he proposed, but on the words he spoke and the image he projected.  His 2004 keynote address to the Democratic National Convention, which introduced him to the American people, was short on substance and long on rhetoric.

Paul Ryan, by contrast, has become a hero to Republicans on more substantive grounds.  Unlike Obama who skyrocketed to political rock star status with that one speech, Ryan has, over the past few years, gradually risen in esteem among the Republican rank and file.  And he earned our respect based on his ability to articulate conservative ideas — and to translate them into workable policy proposals.

FROM THE COMMENTS: In other words, quips  TnnsNE1, “Ryan built that. Obama didn’t”

More hype for Democratic Convention keynote speakers
(than accomplishment from them)

As I travel, now deep in the heart of Mormon America where, well, popular misconceptions not withstanding, some conservative members of the Church of the Latter-day Saints don’t have much of a problem with a gay Jew, I’ve been finding lots of nuggets in Jim Geraghty’s CampiagnSpot.  Earlier today, he asked an interesting question about San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, the Democrats’ 2012 Convention Keynote speaker:

Shouldn’t a political figure have to demonstrate some real changes for the better in his community before he gets all this hype?

You see, despite all the hype surrounding this young politician, he hasn’t really accomplished much, having made “very little measurable progress in addressing” the problems facing his city.  They honor the man for his potential as if it guarantees a great record — even if he has not yet achieved anything save to win election to high office.  Sound familiar?

Remind me again of what exactly the 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote speaker accomplished before he launched his 2008 White House bid.

NB:  Tweaked the title.

Democrats weren’t concerned about context of McCain’s economic commentary in 2008 campaign

Lately, the president, his campaign committee and his supporters have been attacking Republicans for supposedly taking the Democrat’s remarks out of context. “You didn’t build that“, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly A. Strassel reports

. . . is swelling to such heights that it has the president somewhere unprecedented: on defense. Mr. Obama has felt compelled—for the first time in this campaign—to cut an ad in which he directly responds to the criticisms of his now-infamous speech, complaining his opponents took his words “out of context.”

. . . .

The Republican National Committee’s response to that gripe was to run an ad that shows a full minute of Mr. Obama’s rant at the Roanoke, Va., campaign event on July 13. In addition to “you didn’t build that,” the president also put down those who think they are “smarter” or “work harder” than others. Witness the first president to demean the bedrock American beliefs in industriousness and exceptionalism. The “context” only makes it worse.

Now if you put into context remark that served to begin the sinking of the McCain campaign just shy of four years ago, it makes more sense  – and does not show a candidate indifferent to economic conditions.  Let’s look at how most some in the legacy media reported the comment.  Time has McCain saying, “The fundamentals of the economy are strong.” Note where the editors of that “news” magazine placed the period.

Let’s look at that in context:

Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times,” McCain said. “I promise you, we will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street.

Time’s editors divided up the sentence in order to make the “fundamentals” comment a complete thought rather that part of a larger message.  Aware of the controversy his comment caused, McCain, that very day, clarified “that his earlier comments had been intended as praise for the resilience of American workers”: (more…)

Is Obama advisor saying his guy “purchased” the 2008 election?

Plouffe: Romney backers are trying to “purchase” the election

Back in 2008, Barack Obama decided to forego federal financing so he could raise more money (than the feds offered) — and outspend Mr. McCain he did.  Guess by White House adviser David Plouffe’s reckoning, Barack Obama “purchased” the White House four years ago.

UPDATE: Commenting on a panicked fundraising e-mail he received from the Obama campaign, John Hindeaker reminds us that in 2008 Obama raised “far more money” than any presidential candidate in history . . .

. . . and became the first major-party nominee to forgo federal funding [since Congress adopted that program]. In the climactic weeks of the campaign, he outspent John McCain five to one. He boasted that this year, he would do even better, promising to raise $1 billion for his re-election campaign. However, now that he has met his match, Obama has the temerity to suggest that “massive spending” is a threat to democracy.