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Post-shutdown, Obama approval continues downward trajectory

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:29 pm - October 17, 2013.
Filed under: We The People

The Republicans may have taken the biggest hit, but the Democratic president isn’t looking very good.

Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 11.21.55 AM

Does seem that since his initial election in 2008 the only way this guy knows how to get ahead is by denigrating the opposition.

Is the U.S. building the new ‘Berlin Wall’?

At Sovereign Man, Simon Black writes about the rising number of Americans who want to renounce citizenship – and the increasing roadblocks they face.

A massive 1,131 individuals renounced their US citizenship last quarter…Compared to the same quarter last year in which 188 people renounced their US citizenship, this year’s number is over SIX TIMES higher. Not to mention, it’s 66.5% higher than last quarter’s 679 renunciations…

While still embryonic, it’s difficult to ignore this trend– more and more people are starting to renounce their US citizenship…

So what’s driving it? Taxes…and the search for liberty…Particularly for people who spend most of their time outside of the United States and are constantly hamstrung by [U.S.] worldwide taxation and information disclosure[ rules], the burden for many of them has just become too much to bear.

The US government figured this out some years ago and began charging an exit tax…This applies to anyone whose average US tax liability over the last five years was about $150,000 (the equivalent of roughly $500,000 in taxable income in 2012 dollars), and/or has a net worth of at least $2 million on the date of expatriation.

More on the exit tax, here. But it’s not just for rich people; the U.S. government also holds back the poor:

Renunciation of U.S. citizenship was free until July 2010, at which time a fee of $450 was established.

Get it? If you marry your foreign boyfriend and move abroad and join with his people, it is going to cost you – even if you are both minimum wage earners. So decrees President Obama.

Past generations viewed renunciation as a human right. From Simon Black again (and quoted also in a U.S. government document, here):

…in the “[Expatriation] Act of July 27, 1868″, the United States Congress declared that “the right of expatriation is a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In other words: Even if renunciation might be a mistake and/or unpatriotic, they thought U.S. citizenship should be your choice. But the current U.S. government does not; in addition to the roadblocks described above, we even get the occasional rumor of people’s applications for renunciation being denied outright.

I remember President Reagan in 1987 saying “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” that had been built to keep East German citizens *in* that country. I also remember left-liberals in the 2004 election cycle, promising they’d leave America if Bush won. (Few of them did, or none.) I wonder what they’d say now?

Gallup: Majority of Americans Oppose Obamacare

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:08 pm - June 27, 2013.
Filed under: Obama Health Care Tax/Regulation,We The People

As the full implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act nears,” writes Elizabeth Mendes of Gallup,

Americans remain wary of the law and of what kind of impact it will have on their family’s healthcare situation and the nation’s overall healthcare situation. Those without health insurance — a group that most benefits from the new law — are slightly more likely to see it as having a positive effect, but even they are not ardent supporters.

52 percent of Americans disapprove of the “Affordable Care Act,” with solid pluralities (47-34 and 42-22, respectively) believing it will worsen both the healthcare situation in the U.S. as well as that of their own family.

No wonder the “White House is working to recruit Hollywood stars for efforts to promote the healthcare reform law“. Wonder if they will do a better job selling the bill than the president himself has done.

Despite the Democrat’s years of salesmanship, only a handful of polls have shown the health care overhaul enjoying a plurality of popular support, with many, like this Gallup survey as well as those from FoxNews and CNN showing majority opposition.

H/t RealClearPolitics where their poll average has consistently shown more people opposing than favoring the legislation:

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ADDENDUM:  Interesting to note how opposition to the policy has shot up in recent days.

Food for thought

Happy Memorial Day, er, weekend! And a big Thank You to GP commenter heliotrope for the following, which he posted as part of a longer comment, some ten days ago. I must warn that it’s not exactly cheery; but neither is the state of America these days.

In an environment of enabling corruption, these words are tested:

“Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”
― Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

“A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.”
― Edmund Burke

“Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.”
― George Bernard Shaw

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy.”
― Aristophanes, Plutus

“Might and wrong combined, like iron magnetized, are endowed with irresistible attraction.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables

“Why should he watch the hideous corruption of his soul?”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Obama, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder have made “not knowing” an art form. They learn of bad things by an occasional glance at the TV where the news is reporting it. That is the modus operandi of corruption. Unlike Ghandi, their minds are open to walking through by all manner of dirty feet, so long as there is no record kept or chain of evidence linking to them.

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.

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…)

Poll: majority believe Obama has changed country for the worse
Numbers show Unemployment Rate Drops in states with GOP gov

“A new poll for The Hill”, reports Sheldon Alberts in that journal, “found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership.

Meanwhile “every single one” of the 17 states elected new Republican governors in November 2010 . . .

. . . has seen its unemployment rate decline since January 2011. Three of them have had unemployment drop by more than 2% (Michigan, Florida, and Nevada). The average drop in the unemployment rate in these states was 1.35%. For a comparison, in January 2011 the U.S. national unemployment rate stood at 9.1%. It is currently 8.2%, meaning that the national unemployment rate has declined by just 0.9% since then. Based on these percentages, it can be said that the job market in states with new Republican governors is improving a full 50% faster than the job market nationally.

By contrast, the “average drop in the unemployment rate in” states which elected a new Democratic governor “0.95%, approximately the same as the drop seen nationally.”  (H/t Weasel Zippers via a formerly left-leaning lesbian reader’s Facebook page.)

Wonder how much many more jobs would have been created had the president, through his big-government policies, not changed the nation for the worse.  Mr. Romney would do well to highlight some of the Republican executives’ successful policies to better contrast them with the president’s failed agenda.

With just such a contrast, the presumptive Republican nominee can help make the elecction “a referendum on the incumbent” — and his policies.  If it is just such a referendum, as Ed Morrissey writes, looking at the Hill poll, “as re-election efforts almost always are — then Obama’s going to need to keep that champagne on ice permanently.

The emerging small government consensus?

Asking whether the ObamaCare decision would provide a redefining moment for federal power, Ed Morrissey cited and excerpted center-left Washington Post columnist Charles Lane’s thoughtful piece addressing the upcoming decision — as well as changing attitudes toward big government.

The essay is well worth your time. I read it twice, first when Ed referenced it, then later when my friend David Boaz linked it on Facebook:

In the 1930s, expanding federal power was innovative, promising. By blessing it, the court aligned itself with the wave of the future, in this country and globally. Ditto for the 1960s. Much of the legislation that resulted — from Social Security to the Voting Rights Act — was indeed progressive.

Today, however, there is nothing new about federal intervention — and much evidence from the past 70 years that big programs produce inefficiencies and unintended consequences.

The post-New Deal consensus about the scope of federal power has broken down amid national, and global, concern over the welfare state’s cost and intrusiveness — a sea change of which the tea party is but one manifestation. Obamacare itself, which has consistently polled badly, fueled that movement.

Today, however, there is nothing new about federal intervention — and much evidence from the past 70 years that big programs produce inefficiencies and unintended consequences.

When a center-left columnist for the liberal paper in our nation’s capital acknowledges, what Walter Russell Meade might call, the breakdown of the “blue model”, we sense that something really is afoot.

Not just that.   In the last paragraph I quoted from Lane’s piece, he suggests that Obama Democrats lack new ideas.  And he acknowledges the basic conservative critique of well-intentioned liberal programs:  ”inefficiencies and unintended consequences.”

Read the whole thing.

Legacy media may be increasingly anti-Israeli, but American people strongly support Jewish State

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:43 am - May 18, 2012.
Filed under: Media Bias,We The People

After summarizing a nearly forty-year-old Life magazine account of Israel “on the occasion of its 25th birthday in May 1973″, Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, asked Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Would a mainstream magazine depict the Jewish state like this today, during the week of its 64th birthday?

Unlikely. Rather, readers would learn about Israel’s overwhelming military might, brutal conduct in warfare and eroding democratic values—plus the Palestinians’ plight and Israeli intransigence. The photographs would show not cool students and cutting-edge artists but soldiers at checkpoints and religious radicals.

Why has Israel’s image deteriorated? After all, Israel today is more democratic and—despite all the threats it faces—even more committed to peace.

The media’s darker portrayals of Israel notwithstanding, the American public continue to hold the Jewish State in high regard, with a March Gallup poll finding that the “large majority of Americans continue to view Israel favorably, while far fewer say they view the Palestinian Authority or Iran very or mostly favorably“:

In addition, more than 60% of Americans “say their sympathies are more with the Israelis than with the Palestinians”, with 19% saying their sympathies are with the Palestinians and the same percentage with both sides or neither.

Considering the media bias against Israel, these numbers are particularly impressive. It is instructive to note that even as Republicans only manage to capture about one-fourth to one-third of the Jewish vote, 78% sympathize more with the Jewish State than with the Palestinian Arbs. Barely half (53%) of Democrats hold similar sympathies. (more…)

Increasing support for same-sex unions

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:45 pm - May 14, 2012.
Filed under: Gay Marriage,We The People

There are two new polls out which suggest that even as voters across the country reject state recognition of same-sex marriages, they are increasingly open to civil unions.  Given the care Gallup takes to survey a representative sample of the American population, we should have every confidence that theirs presents a pretty accurate portrait of American public opinion.

Their latest shows, as per their headline, U.S. Acceptance of Gay/Lesbian Relations Is the New Normal. Indeed.  Take a gander at this chart and look when the shift occurred:

During the Bush years, the 13-point advantage of those finding gay relations morally wrong was erased.

And this belief that gay/lesbian relations are morally acceptable accelerated in recent years. Another chart shows that more Americans find gay/lesbian relationships morally acceptable than believes same-sex marriages should be valid. Guess that means that all opponents of state recognized gay marriages are not haters — as goes the narrative.

By a 2-to-1 margin (63-31), Americans think gay and lesbian relationships between consenting adults should be legal. A CBS survey yields a similar result, showing that “62 percent – close to two thirds – of Americans believe that same-sex unions should be recognized by law.

With research from NYU political scientist Patrick Egan showing that “the share of voters in pre-election surveys saying that they will vote to ban same-sex marriage is typically seven percentage points lower than the actual vote on election day”, perhaps the better strategy toward improving the lot of gay people in relationships would be, in the present, to push for civil unions.

These numbers show just how greatly things are improving for gay people in America.  Attitudes are shifting.  Not all Americans may want to call our unions marriages, but increasingly, they respect their integrity and moral worth.  A good sign indeed.

Republicans really are more broad-minded (than Democrats)

Maybe it’s that because at least starting in college, we have to confront the biases of our professors, listening to, engaging with and responding to their arguments that we develop the appreciation of opposing arguments.

Yesterday, Bruce alerted me to a poll (which I had also noticed) showing how (compared to Democrats) broad-minded Republicans are:

Yet another new survey shows that Republican supporters know more about politics and political history than Democrats.

On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.”

The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.

. . . .

Pew’s new study echoes the results of many other reports and studies that show GOP supporters are better educated, more empathetic and more open to criticism than Democrats.

Emphasis added.  In addition, more than twice as many liberals as conservatives “deleted friends from their social networks after disagreeing with their politics.”

And yet the perception persists that conservatives are intolerant troglodytes, lacking the understanding of their arguments of their ideological adversaries or unwilling to associate with those holding views different from their own.  Wonder why that is.

Troubling Numbers for Obama in Poll Skewed Toward Democrats

Democrats are surely focusing on the headline numbers in the latest Washington Post/ABCNews poll, showing the president 8 points ahead of Mitt Romney, his likely Republican opponent this fall and with approval at 50%.

Now, to be sure, those numbers do look pretty good for the incumbent, but looking more deeply into the poll, particularly at its internals, a number of bloggers have teased out details which should undermine the recent overconfidence of the Obama campaign. Over at the Washington Examiner, Charlie Spiering has found three numbers which should cause heartburn at the White House, particularly given numbers which his colleague Conn Carroll and HotAIr’s Ed Morrissey highlight. Spiering notes that Romney leads Obama on the economy, deficit and energy by 47-43, 51-38 and 47-42 respectively.

Putting the Post poll in context, Carroll reports that it oversamples Democrats, “34 percent of those polled identified themselves as Democrats, 23 percent identified themselves as Republicans, and 34 percent identified themselves as Independents.” He goes on to compare that number to the “the turnout realities of the past four elections” and finds that even in the banner Democratic year of 2008, Democrats only enjoyed a 7-point advantage.

Image what Romney’s lead on those key issues which would like in a less skewed sample.

Surveyed the skewed  numbers and comparing it to the Post’s previous polls where Democrats only enjoyed a 4-point advantage (as opposed to 11 in the current survey), Ed Morrissey observes:

. . .  one should be seeing huge leads for Obama in the head-to-head matchups.  Instead, Obama lead Romney by only eight among general-population adults, 51/43, barely getting into majority territory, and Santorum by ten, 51/41.  Among registered voters, Obama leads Romney by seven, 51/44 — in both cases, smaller than the artificial sample advantage of the poll.  (more…)

Oil prices up, President Obama down

Linking the latest Washington Post/ABC News Poll, headlined, Gas prices sink Obama’s ratings on economy, bring parity to race for White House, Glenn Reynolds, quips, “This is why they want people talking about birth control.”  In his piece on the very same poll, Jim Geraghty challenges the conventional wisdom about Obama’s inevitability, ABC/WashPost Poll: Unstoppable Incumbent Now Trails Romney Again.

It seems,” Ed Morrissey writes looking at the poll . . .

. . . that Obama’s dismissive advice last week that gas prices are always “spiking up” this time of year didn’t do anything to set minds at ease.  Rapid gas price hikes and the resulting increase in food prices quickly erode buying power in working-class and middle-class households, which means that fewer people will have money for vacations and impulse spending in 2012.

And there we have (again) the specter of higher food prices, an increase felt more acutely by those who do the grocery shopping which, in heterosexual households, tends to be women.  No wonder the Obama campaign is making “an intensified effort this week to build support among women“.  Distraction, anyone?

UPDATE:  Have voters comes to expect incompetence from Obama?  Conflicting responses (which Geraghty noted) to the same question posed just shy of six years ago when George W. Bush was president offers a clue that they might: (more…)

A slightly suspect survey?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:32 pm - March 5, 2012.
Filed under: Random Thoughts,We The People

A couple times in the past few weeks, I thought that perhaps I had finally been contacted for a poll of national consequence. Now, to be sure, I had been surveyed on issues of local import, that is, West Hollywood ballot initiatives, but this morning I received a call from the 307-area code (i.e., from the Cowboy State), asking me to participate in a brief 30-second inquiry into my political opinions.

Cool, I thought for a second, I was going to participate in a poll.  Then, the female voice told me that if I did I’d be eligible for a two-day cruise.  Or did she tell me that if I did answer the questions, I’d get to go on said cruise?  I never found out; the offer of the cruise made the call seem suspect. I hung up.  As I did, I remembered receiving a similar offer a few weeks ago.  Exact same voice.  Exact same offer.

Perhaps, I should have stayed on the line to see what she was offering.

Or maybe this was a sincere survey?  Has anyone else received similar phone calls?

The libertarian moment for the GOP?

Looking at liberal blogger Ezra Klein’s “laundry list of Republican Party flip-flops”, the Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll finds a pattern:

In every policy area mentioned above, the Republican party has become more libertarian. Some Republicans used to like Keynesian stimulus, now they don’t. Libertarians never did. Some Republicans used to like individual mandates, now they don’t. Libertarians never did. Some Republicans used to like cap and trade, now they don’t. Libertarians never did. You get the idea. There is a reason Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has been speaking so highly of Ron Paul.

This shift, Carroll contends, corresponds with polling data showing that “Americas are just becoming more libertarian“, with “Republican leaders” merely “responding to those changing beliefs.”  The growing distrust of government solutions (to social and economic problems) has become particularly pronounced since Obama took office.

In a piece on former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s speech this past weekend to the California Republican Party Convention, Reason magazine’s Tim Cavanaugh contends the the Golden State GOP has floundered largely because its leaders have failed to embrace libertarian ideals:

The party is marginal and becoming more so, but the leadership is deathly afraid of the one proven source of Republican energy and enthusiasm – because that source is considered too marginal. If the California Republicans continue distancing themselves from the libertarian movement, they will continue to suffer, and so will everybody else who has to live in a state where one party has absolute power and the other refuses to compete.

He’s onto something.  Talk to small businessmen and -women here in Southern California, even to Democratic City Council candidates in West Hollywood, and you’ll hear these entrepreneurs grumbling about the amount of bureaucratic hoops they have to jump through before they can open up a new enterprise.  People across the political spectrum fault the state’s overspending and its overgenerous benefits to public employee unions.

In short, people here would welcome a government which scales back its intrusion into the marketplace — and reduces its expenditures.

To that end, we in California might more readily embrace a more libertarian Republican Party.   As would the nation as a whole.

A libertarian shift within the GOP, like those recent votes in Congress, would show Republican leaders embracing the emerging American consensus on the size of government.

NB:  Tweaked the post after its initial publication to make my point clearer.

Supermajority of Americans prefers spending cuts to tax hikes

Got an e-mail alert earlier today to a most interesting tidbit that the AP (yes, the AP!) caught in their recent poll.  They found that Americans’

fondness for limited government is significant in this election year because it shows voters prefer the Republican approach in the core partisan dispute over resolving the nation’s fiscal problems.

The AP-GfK poll found that 65 percent favor requiring that people earning $1 million or more annually pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes. Just 26 percent oppose.

Yet by 56 percent to 31 percent, people picked cutting government services over tax increases as the best way to reduce federal deficits.

They did also find, in line with Obama’s rhetoric, that asking millionaires “pay a significant share of their incomes in taxes is widely popular.”  SPending cuts remain a big issue to most Americans.  And Republicans need keep that in mind as the campaign heats up.

Trying to read into the president’s (inconsistent?) poll numbers

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:45 pm - February 19, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,We The People

Back before the New Year when the president’s approval rating languished in the low 40s, I always assumed that he might be in decent shape (for reelection) even if his approval rating didn’t quite reach 50%.  I based this assumption on conversations with liberals who grumble about his performance in office, yet rush to defend him when the subject of his reelection comes up.

They may not approve of his job performance, but come November, they’ll rally to his cause.

He would, I contended, poll better in match-ups against a Republican than he does in polls on his job performance.  So, I was stunned earlier this week to see a New York Times/CBS News poll, which tends to lean left, pegging the president’s “job rating at exactly 50 percent“, but showing him with a lesser tally when matched up against the various Republicans running against him.  Against Mitt Romney, he drew only 48% of the vote, one point higher when facing off against Rick Santorum.

One explanation for this phenomenon could be that, in the past seven weeks, with the media focus on the Republican contest, the president has been gradually winning back his base.  My liberal Facebook friends have expressed delight at his recess appointments and the contraception mandate, with several seeing such moves as evidence he’s finally fighting for the principles they share.

Even as the president’s current poll numbers nationally look better than they did last fall, with him running slightly ahead of the leading Republican contenders, some state polls show him in trouble.  A recent poll in Iowa, a state which George W. Bush lost narrowly in 2000, won narrowly in 2004 and which Obama won by nearly 10 points 4 years ago, shows Obama running between three of the four remaining Republican candidates, running ahead only of Newt Gingrich.

A recent survey of Washington State voters showed Obama with an approval rating of only 42 (with 47% disapproving).  Ed Morrissey reminds us that the Democrat won the state of Washington by seventeen points in 2008, and it is a bastion of Democratic strength and enthusiasm”: (more…)

Satisfaction with big government at all-time low

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:30 pm - January 20, 2012.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,We The People

Gallup releases yet another poll showing just how of touch is the incumbent President of the United States with the general tenor of the American people.  According to a Gallup poll released yesterday:

Americans’ satisfaction with the size and power of the federal government is at a record-low 29% and their satisfaction with the size and influence of major corporations remains near the all-time low at 30% — making both highly susceptible targets for politicians and presidential candidates in this election year.

Even Democrats are only barely satisfied with the size and power of the federal government, with 49% satisfied and 47% dissatisfied.

Given the dissatisfaction with big corporations, it is important for Republicans to stress that ours is the party of free enterprise not of big business — and that it is Democratic policies which most benefit big business. Reducing regulation decreases the cost of compliance with government mandates, making it easier for smaller firms to thrive in the marketplace — and requiring bigger companies to invest less in lobbying and more in innovation.

Free markets do not necessarily benefit big business.  And Republicans need make that clear on the campaign trail.

RELATED: Obama running as unabashed corporatist

Gallup: conservatism remains dominant American ideology

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:27 pm - January 12, 2012.
Filed under: We The People

Bruce just alerted me to this Gallup poll showing just stable Americans’ ideological preferences have been since just after Obama took office:

U.S. Political Ideology -- 1992-2011 Annual Averages

Interesting how the percentage identifying as liberals inched during the second half the George W. Bush administration as the percentage seeing themselves as conservative declined, only to quickly rebound once Obama took office.

Independents have also become increasingly conservative in recent years.  In 2008, 30% of independents identified as conservative.  Today that stands at 35%.  At the same time, the number calling themselves moderate fell from 46 to 41%.  Only one in five (20%) independents identify as liberal.

Mitt Romney gets one (big) thing right

In his interview with the editors of the Wall Street Journal, Mitt Romney showed that he understands the core issue facing conservative voters today:

So it is also notable that now Mr. Romney describes the core failure of Mr. Obama’s economic agenda as faith in “a wise group of governmental bureaucrats” rather than political and economic freedom. “It is a refrain that we have seen throughout history where smart people are convinced that smart people ought to be able to guide an economy better than hordes of individuals pursuing their self-interest,” Mr. Romney says, “the helter-skelter of free people choosing their course in life.”

The Republican presidential candidate says he never intended to run for office again after 2008 [, but] drawn back into public life amid Mr. Obama’s bid to “fundamentally transform” the country, to use the president’s own words, into “an entitlement society,” to use Mr. Romney’s.

“America can continue to lead the world from a values standpoint, from an economic standpoint, and from a military standpoint,” Mr. Romney avers. He says the coming election represents “a very simple choice” between Mr. Obama’s “European social democrat” vision and “a merit-based opportunity society—an American-style society—where people earn their rewards based upon their education, their work, their willingness to take risks and their dreams.”

Emphasis added.  Read the whole thing.  He gets that the major problem of the Obama administration (and even, to some extent, the Bush administration that preceded it) is to prefer the judgment of a handful of experts in Washington, D.C. (drawn from and at university campuses) to that of millions of Americans and the entrepreneurs among us acting independently in cities, suburbs, towns and hamlets across the country.

This is not to say I’m backing Romney, only to point out that he sees the stakes.  The article goes on to recount more episodes from the interview which makes Mr. Romney seem, at least in his approach to governing, more like Bill Clinton than anyone else.  He is wonkish, “highly analytical,” as he puts it, “driven by data”.

And like that Democrat, he does understand the tenor of the times and tapers his policies toward them.

From a small government point of view, that is not entirely a bad thing.