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Occupy Washington!

A few days ago, Kurt posted on this speech by Daniel Hannan. I agree that it’s brilliant, in how much it packs into a short space.

Kurt’s angle was, Who are our Hannans? But I would like to get into the substance of what Hannan said.

You may disagree, but I find that any of Hannan’s major points (summarized below) could be expanded into a worthy discussion.

  • The 2008-9 bailouts, and the money-printing which continues today (another form of bailout), are an ethical crime. In effect, they transfer wealth from the poor and middle class to the largest banks.
  • (more…)

Word Clouds

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:59 pm - January 23, 2013.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,HopeAndChange,Obama Arrogance

I admit the ‘word cloud’ technique is a pretty sketchy way to analyze a speech. Still, it can be fun. Zero Hedge gives us an example. From their analysis of a few speeches:

  • Reagan 1981 [inaugural speech]: – ‘believe’, ‘freedom’, and ‘government’
  • Schumer 2013: – ‘America’, ‘Today’, ‘Finished’, ‘People’
  • Obama 2013 [inaugural speech]: “America People Must Believe”

Got it, America? You must believe!

But the main point, for me, is simply the prevalence of “must” in Obama’s speech. As others have remarked: In his vision of the world, no one who opposes him ever does so in good faith. Whatever he believes is an imperative.

UPDATE: A cloud on Hillary’s Benghazi hearing. “People think know committee SEC”… Huh? It sounds like they spent much of that hearing on the question of what people knew or thought when, but why would the SEC pop into it?

Some Americans like the Idea of Barack Obama

LIke many conservatives — as well as good number of independents — who follow politics, I’ve struggled to understand how, after four years of near-constant failure, Barack Obama could have won re-election as President of the United States.  He didn’t put forward a plan to improve the economy or addressing the burgeoning debt.  He had not shown much willingness to work with his partisan adversaries in Congress.

In the ended it seems, low-information voters, together with those more concerned about matters other than the economy and our government’s shaky fiscal state, tipped the scales for the Democrat.

Michael Barone thinks that Obama “was helped by widespread feelings that it would be a good thing for Americans to elect a black president and a bad thing to reject him.

Calling Obama “born orator backed by a flawless machine, whose personal rise from a difficult childhood is a true inspiration, and whose achievement in breaking the ultimate color barrier is gift to us all“, Noemie Emery considers a notion we have addressed on this blog

People like the idea that Obama is president. As a politician and president, he has only one failing — he is the wrong man at the wrong time to be leading this country. He is out of sync with his age and its crises. There is more proof every day — here and abroad, in nation-states, states and even some cities — that his political theories will lead to disaster, and do so every time they are tried.

The Democrat may not have any ideas on how to fix the nation’s problems, but people do like the idea of Barack Obama, the post-partisan healer who can bring people together.

In his first four years in office, he governed in a manner quite different from his 2008 campaign rhetoric — and from the media-endorsed image of his character, but some people who don’t follow politics as closely as do we.  And in whatever little bit of time they pay attention to politics, they see a less tarnished version of that image than do those more familiar with current events. (more…)

Those who supported Obama’s election the most suffer the most from his policies

Although Barack Obama saw his support among twentysomethings decline from 2008 to 2012, he still won a solid majority of those voters.

Their support seems based more on a blind faith in the incumbent than in an appreciation for his accomplishments. “The overall unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds for November 2012 is 10.9 percent“, with one out of every eight young Hispanics out of work and nearly one in five young African-Americans out of work.

Obama did much better among young Hispanic- and African-Americans than he did among white Americans.

The study linked above showed that the unemployment rate for twentysomwethings “would rise to 16.4 percent” if nearly two million young voters hadn’t dropped out of the workforce:

The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.7 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.

That the Democrat’s support slipped among young voters suggests that at least some have woken up to the reality of Hope and Change™.

Youth vote could tip to Republicans as it tipped to the Gipper

In 1980, Jimmy Carter narrowly edged Ronald Reagan among voters under 30, with the Gipper scoring just 44% of the twentysomething vote. Four years later, the Gipper ]increased his share of the youth vote to nearly 60%.

And while Barack Obama did just as well among young voters last month as the Gipper did in 1984, his share of the young vote has declined since his initial election.  Young voters grew to appreciate Reagan for his accomplishments; they seem more enchanted with Mr. Obama’s image.

Some seem to think that that the Republican’s current poor showing among young voters suggests the party could lose an “entire generation”  to Democrats.  But, this notion assumes that voters party identification remains fixed.  And that is hardly the case.  How will these young voters feel about Mr. Obama and his Democratic policies when the job market for their generation continues as it has these past for years?  Come 2016 (even 2014), they could be quite open to a Republican message expressed in terms similar to those offered by Reagan in the 1980s.

That said, the GOP today doesn’t so much have a youth vote problem as it has an ethnic problem.  Ben Domenech reminds us that

Mitt Romney won white voters under 30, even winning white women under 30. The youth voter barrier to the Republican Party is really the same barrier as it is for all age demographics: an ethnic barrier which concedes black, Hispanic, and Asian voters to Democrats.

(Read the whole thing even as the piece’s focus is on a different issue than this piece.)  If Mitt Romney could have made, as Ronald Reagan did, a pitch to all Americans, he likely would have done much better among young voter of all backgrounds.

And that must be the task of future Republican contenders.

Mitch Daniels’s Election Post-Mortem: Mitt Misreads Dependency

In perhaps the best short critique of Mitt Romney’s “47%” comment, outgoing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels offers that Mr. Romney

. . . was right about the origin of his problem but wrong about its essence. Without doubt, we have a significant number of Americans for whom dependence and something for nothing have become a way of life. But they were far from 47% in number, and would have voted for the incumbent President under any circumstances.

. . . .

that Mr. Romney “was right about the origin of his problem but wrong about its essence. Without doubt, we have a significant number of Americans for whom dependence and something for nothing have become a way of life. But they were far from 47% in number, and would have voted for the incumbent President under any circumstances.”

(Via Powerline picks.)  Read the whole thing.  Now, Romney was right to address the dependency issue, but he did so in a manner at odds with the dominant strain today of conservative thought.

A real conservative would worry about the growing culture of dependency, but express his belief that most Americans would embrace free-market opportunities should they be made available.  A Republican needs to be able to talk, as Ronald Reagan did, as Jack Kemp did, how conservative policies increase those opportunities and so reduce dependency, but in terms which can really command the assent of people who do not devote much attention to politics, even if they are currently dependent on a federal check for their subsistence.

Presidential Leadership On Entitlements

*crickets*

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

Jeb Bush gets what Mitt Romney missed
(about conservatism and “economic mobility”)

Readers of this blog know that I have long been a fan of Jeb Bush, having favored the accomplished former Florida Governor as my candidate for 2012 at least since November 2010.

And while it is still too early to start planning for 2016, when you google that good man’s name, look at what comes up:

Our reader Kyle alerted me to an article that shows that Jeb understands an aspect of modern American conservatism that Mitt Romney failed to articulate.  ”Jeb Bush,” writes Mark Silva . . .

. . . the former Florida governor who based a political career on school reform, today called for a “restoration” of lost American values and economic mobility based on educational accountability.

With the gap between the impoverished and privileged in the U.S. widening, the solution lies in a regime of school and teacher evaluation, national standards and more “school choice” in alternatives such as charter schools, he said.

“We have these huge gaps in income,” Bush said at the start of a two-day Washington conference sponsored by his Foundation for Excellence in Education, “with people born into poverty who will stay in poverty.” He said: “This ideal of who we are as a nation — it’s going away, it’s leaving us,” adding: “There is one path that can change this course.”

Emphasis added.  Economic mobility, his belief that people born in poverty, reared in dependency, don’t have to stay in that condition and can rise about their circumstances.

It frustrated many Reagan-Kemp conservatives when, right after the Florida primary, Mitt Romney said because of the “safety net,” he wasn’t concerned about the very poor.

Reagan conservatives, however, have long been concerned about the poor because that safety net sometimes traps them in a cycle of dependency.   And we want to create the opportunities that will help them find the means to move up into a better economic situation. (more…)

How Rampant Was Election Fraud In The 2012 Presidential Race?

I’m not sure if any of you are following the completely maddening fraud being discovered in the election of US Rep. Allen West (R-FL) vs. Democrat Patrick Murphy.

Here’s a brief insight courtesy of John Fund at NRO’s The Corner.

Congressman Allen West, an outspoken tea-party favorite whose district was pushed into largely new territory by redistricting, is claiming that massive voter irregularities are robbing him of his seat.

Democrat Patrick Murphy, who leads West by some 2,000 votes, is trying to stop a full recount of controversial early ballots cast in St. Lucie County. His current victory margin is just large enough to avoid triggering an automatic recall of all precincts and all votes.

Then there is Gertrude Walker, the 32-year-veteran election supervisor of St. Lucie County, who has spent much of the last two weeks explaining why her office completely botched the count. She admitted that her office had acted in “haste” in issuing election results, and that “mistakes were made.” Among her mistakes was failing to count 40 of the 94 precincts under her jurisdiction on Election Night — and then counting the other 54 twice. Indeed. On Friday, her office announced it had “discovered” 304 additional early votes left in a box. None had been counted.

But Walker wasn’t available for comment. She has been hospitalized for unknown reasons.

The news was one reason that Florida’s secretary of state has dispatched a team of experts to audit St. Lucie’s procedures. The St. Lucie Election Canvassing Board voted to approve a complete recount of all the early ballots. It began the recount on Saturday but stopped it at 8 p.m. because the county building’s security system was set to be switched on later that night. Some people complained that the alarms have been switched off in the past to allow county business to continue after hours, but their complaints were ignored. The recount resumed on Sunday morning, but it missed the noon deadline to submit the county’s final returns to Florida’s secretary of state.

So, on Sunday, the previous results—the ones showing Democrat Murphy ahead—were sent to Florida’s secretary of state for certification.

Additionally, reports from St. Lucie County yesterday had 900 votes cast in a precinct of only 7 registered voters.  I am not sure how it is possible that there IS a precinct of 7 registered voters, but West’s attorney was the source of this report.

Remember, Democrats invent a storyline (pushed by the media) that Republicans are somehow “suppressing the vote” all across the United States.  There is never ever any evidence to support this — just wailing by the likes of Al Sharpton.  But when we have ACTUAL vote fraud, such as the kind being exposed in the West-Murphy case…. well, it just gets swept under the rug; deadlines run out; people vanish to the hospital.  And if you suggest voter ID as one solution — well look out!  You are a racist!

If this type of behavior happened in one county in a swing state — I think this calls for a larger look at all of the votes cast.  Many Americans of various political persuasions have lost confidence that every vote is counted, and every vote is equal to another.

If this scale of fraud could happen so blatantly in St. Lucie County, FL…. what about Philadelphia County, PA?  What about Cuyahoga County, Ohio? What about Dane County, WI?

This is sickening to think about.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Obama’s triumph of personality

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:45 pm - November 14, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

A blog posts and a Wall Street Journal op-ed remind us that last week’s election was as much a battle of personalities as it was one of ideas. Bookworm links (and builds upon) Abe Greenwald’s insight into “how conservatives misread the election outcome”:

Obama got reelected because he enjoys a degree of personal popularity disconnected from his record. No modern president has ever been returned to office with employment figures and right-track-wrong-track numbers as poor as those Obama has achieved. . . .

The president’s reelection is not evidence of a new liberal America, but rather of the illogical and confused experience that is infatuation. For multiple reasons, Americans continue to have a crush on Barack Obama even after his universally panned first term. No longer quite head over heels, they’re at the “I know he’s no good for me, but I can change him” phase.

Read both whole things.  Like Greenwald, Andrew Kohut also thinks we are misreading the election returns:

. . . most observers are overstating the gravity of the GOP’s problem. In particular, they are paying too little attention to how weak a candidate Mitt Romney was, and how much that hurt Republican prospects.

Here is what the exit poll found. Mr. Romney’s personal image took a hard hit during the primary campaign and remained weak on election day. Just 47% of exit-poll respondents viewed him favorably, compared with 53% for Mr. Obama. (more…)

Obama campaign tactics at odds with governing philosophy

Michael Barone frequently reminds us that the the “Millenial” generation, today’s twentysomethings is a generation where individuals relish the choices new technologies and new ways of interaction allow. This, he wrote in one of his election post-mortems, is a “generation that likes to create its own world is not in sync with policies that treat them as tiny cogs in giant machines.

The Obama campaign played into that through its micro-targeting campaign, offering different messages to different audiences.  The great irony is that Obama’s big government schemes favor a more one-size-fits-approach.

They have developed an individualized approach to campaign and it works.  They have developed a trickle-down version of government and, well, we’ll soon be seeing how well that works. . .

If Romney did better among Hispanics in Texas. . .

. . . , as this report suggests, than he did nationally, we need figure out why that is so and figure out a means to transfer that success to other states.

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.

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.

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…)

The Long Game

It is Sunday evening and I’ve had a very nice weekend away from the magnifying glass of politics. It has been a normal weekend: chores, laundry, dog walking & mindless television.

Sometime during the day, I started tweeting a series of ideas about where the Republican House of Representatives should go from here. My conclusion: Give Obama everything he wants.

Let’s pretend this is a parliamentary system. Let’s pretend the Democrats won and Obama was re-elected as Prime Minister. In that system, everything Obama wants would pass.

Let them have it. I’m not suggesting that Republicans of principle silence themselves and not warn about the consequences of Obama’s economic plans. Those Republicans would include Sens. Marco Rubio, Jim DeMint, Ted Cruz, Pat Toomey and Govs. Scott Walker, Susanna Martinez and Nikki Haley. Let them put their stakes of opposition forcefully and vocally in the ground.

But let the House GOP and the Senate GOP get out of the way and allow the Democrats what they want on the economy. No obstruction, perhaps a vote of “present”…. but no other sign of getting in the way.

We, as Conservatives, know that these economic policies are disaster. But Obama is right — Americans voted for higher taxes and more regulation — so let them have it.

We will win the long game. We should have allowed the economy to tank harder than it did in 2008 to begin with. And all that’s been happening since is kicking the can down the road.

So I’m in favor of a hard stop. Let the Democrats’ vision of economic “success” play itself out.

The result will be hardship the likes of which no American has faced since the 1930s. But so be it. Americans voted for it — let them have it.

Conservative policies will win in the long game.

-Bruce (@GayPatriot)

Americans may have reelected Obama, but they still want to repeal Obamacare

Poring over the details in Resurgent Republic’s 2012 post-election survey, I came across this telling tidbit:

Voters continue to support repealing and replacing the 2010 health care reform law.  By a 54 to 38 percent margin, with a nearly identical margin among Independents (55 to 38 percent), voters support repealing and replacing the President’s primary legislative achievement. Just a narrow majority of Democrats oppose repealing and replacing the law (51 percent, while 39 percent support repealing and replacing the law), while Republicans continue to support repealing and replacing it, now by a 70 to 24 percent margin.

Emphasis added (though headline was in bold in original).  The more we look underneath the topline of the Democrat’s narrow victory, the more we see just how hollow it was.  He won not so much because people share his ideas, his vision, but because they like the image his consultants had crafted.

Voters preferred Romney’s leadership qualities, Obama’s caring

This chart makes Tuesday’s loss even more bitter.

(Via David Steinberg.) No wonder Obama’s reelection just doesn’t feel right.

UPDATE:  Blogging at Ace, Baseball Crank offers:

Yes, the Oprahization of politics sucks but it’s a reality. Telling voters, “Hey idiots, you’re voting for the wrong reasons” is not going to carry the day.

As conservatives we deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. The challenge is to change this reality, not bitch about it.

He’s right.  Next Republican candidate has to show that he cares.  Sad thing that Mitt Romney spent his entire adult life showing that he cared about other people.  And apparently that didn’t get across to voters.

Remind me again, what specific things has Obama done to show that he cares?  Has he ever helped save boaters from drowning when their boat went under?  Spent time with a dying teen and helped him draft a will?  Brought Christmas gifts and offer to pay for college for two paralyzed young men?

A candidate’s visual image may not matter as much in the age of the iPhone

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:18 pm - November 9, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,New Media

When I listend to the audio version of Ronald C. White’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, I saw that learned that his successors in the 1930s and the 1980s, the first Republican president understood the impact of new media. He was aware of the growing influence of newspapers and did what he could to earn favorable coverage.

In the 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt used radio to get his message across. And erstwhile actor Ronald Reagan understood the importance of TV.

Now, a less capable executive than those three men has once again found electoral success using the new media of his day.

When on Monday, while doing cardio, I saw both presidential candidates on television, it was easy to tell which one was more presidential. Mitt Romney look confident and commanding, Obama insecure and angry.  Yet, the one who looked like a winner lost and the one who came across as a loser won.

Only as I read about how team Obama brilliantly used the internet and social networking to “micro-target” their supporters did I realize how much less significant were those televised.

Something else struck me as well; if it were not for the insane amount of cardio I do at the gym, I would get almost no news from television. Other people at gym are reading books on their Kindles or watching movies and surfing the web on their iPads. Perhaps, some are Facebook.  And perhaps like them, I get most of my news now from the Internet.

Seeing how Romney and Obama looked and acted, a good number of us thought that the Republican was headed to victory and the Democrat to defeat.  But, we underestimated that the impact of new media.  But, the Obama campaign did not; Democrats this year were far better at exploiting it to get their voters to the polls.

Unable to run on big issues, the Democrats, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina acknowledged they “had had to win this on the micro stuff“. (more…)

No, Americans did not vote for Socialism on Tuesday

Given the big government policies of the Obama administration, a number of conservatives are now concerned that we’ve passed a point of no return, that not only are well well along the road to serfdom, but most Americans, that is, the slight majority who voted for Obama, now favor socialism.

While I do agree that Obama’s policies push us further down the road about which Friedrich Hayek warned, I don’t believe Americans want to realize socialism in this land. Some people voted for Obama not because they liked his policies, but because they liked the idea of Obama.

Or because they bought into the Democratic notion of a Republican War on Women. They may not like Obama’s economic policies, but they didn’t want those evil Republican taking away their birth control.

Obama largely avoided campaigning on his big government policies because he knew they didn’t sell with the American people.  Even Obama is aware that the American people don’t really want big government.

They’re not, at least, a majority of Americans are just not yet willing to defy those politicians who want to lead us down this road to serfdom.  Only when they realize how far along we are, when they face the impact, say, of Obamacare, will they realize that they have been complicit in loss of our liberty.