The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

Alexis de Toqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol Building

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention

The Continental Congress

The Continental Congress

George Washington at Valley Forge

George Washington at Valley Forge

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Buying Into Britain's Debacle

From The American Thinker:

July 31, 2010

Buying into Britain's Debacle

By Jeannie DeAngelis

At the Netroots Nation Convention in Las Vegas, by way of video communication, Barack Obama spoke reassuringly to a roomful of left wing ideologues. The President attempted to quell liberal frustration by agreeing with dissatisfied Progressives that in many areas, including health care reform, "change hasn't come fast enough."

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid then reiterated Obama's sentiments, assuring liberal activists that in due time "We're going to have a public option. It's just a question of when."

In Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's speech, the woman with the pearls the size of apricots claimed, "President Obama was happier on the evening health care reform finally passed out of Congress than on the night he won the presidential election."

Health care reform must hold a lot of clout for the left if it means more to liberals than being leader of the free world. If Great Britain's National Health Care System (NHS) portends what Barry, Harry and Nancy have in store for America, government will soon control life and death and mere mortals will be granted heady power reserved for God, not man.

The NHS started in the very way American health care reform was promoted by the left. More than sixty years ago, Britain's original plan was to provide universal care to the half of the population - mainly women, children and the elderly - who had no health coverage.

In the United States Obama has decided to exploit 10% of the uninsured as a means to coerce the other 90% to submit to a system the majority rejects. Barry, Harry and Nancy, the tyrannical trio, are in the process of imposing health care reform at a time when the world watches in horror as the British prototype falls apart.

Unable to sustain the high cost of "free" health care, Britain's NHS officially hit the rocks and its crumpled body is presently lying dead at the bottom of a socialist ravine. Yet, the President remains resolute in his desire to push America over a similar precipice, well aware that rationing is in America's future

To save money in an already abysmal health care system, Britain plans to implement further rationing. Unbeknownst to the British people, lines will be even longer for ill-fated patients destined to die of dehydration at the hands of "lazy" nurses in understaffed government run hospitals.

In the future, if traveling to England, tourists should also be prepared to see many more crippled, blind people with crooked teeth, because the NHS plans to judiciously mete out knee and hip replacements, cataract surgery, and orthodontic procedures. Yet, Obama presses on.

British patient advocate groups are calling the draconian NHS measures "astonishingly brutal." An overbite is nothing compared to what "free" health care, akin to the type Obama promises Americans, will be delivering to our friends across the pond, especially the elderly. Apparently, "widespread cuts ... have already been agreed to by senior health service officials," better known in America as "death panels."

Maybe one day when the world acknowledges the injustice of denying care to the elderly, there will be an exhibition similar to the shoe heap at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum, only the pile will be comprised of discarded walkers.

Besides disrespecting seniors and exercising governmental choice on those deemed a useless drain on the collective, the NHS anticipates big savings from cuts to budgets designated for the terminally ill. Britain plans to save money by instructing "dying cancer manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens [in the] evening or [on] weekends."

The [NHS] plan included more than £400,000 to be saved by "reducing length of stay" in hospital for the terminally ill.

As well as sending more patients home to die, the paper said the savings would be made by admitting fewer terminally ill cancer patients to hospital because they were struggling to cope with symptoms such as pain. Instead, more patients would be given advice on "self management" of their condition.

In other words, if you're writhing on the floor in pain from stomach cancer, grab a bottle of Pepto-Bismol®, vodka, or Draino®, whatever works.

In addition to contributing to excruciating pain and angst, the soon-to-be-coming to America, "free" British health care includes the closure of nursing homes for the aged. Incontinent Alzheimer's patients on feeding tubes will soon be living at home with family ill equipped to handle the challenges of aging parents.

Britain also promises a "reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments." So, when visiting Big Ben or touring Buckingham Palace if insane people with life-threatening wounds are lying around in the street, do step over and around, "free" health care is merely exercising cost-cutting measures.

Another innovative NHS cost cut: "thousands of job losses...including 500 to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages." Delaying breast cancer diagnosis ensures fewer people survive, which ultimately benefits Britain's bottom line.

Like most Americans, British victims remain unaware of lies ahead in the future. Much like the details of Obamacare, the NHS has hidden "details of hundreds of cuts buried in obscure appendices to lengthy policy and strategy documents."

Dr. Peter Carter, head of the Royal College of Nursing, said he is "incredibly worried about the disclosures." Carter claimed that Andrew Lansley, Britain's very own Kathleen Sebelius,

Keeps saying that the Government will protect the front line from cuts - but the reality appears to be quite the opposite. We are seeing trusts making job cuts even when they have already admitted to being short staffed. The statements he makes may be well intentioned - but we would implore him to get a grip on the reality, because these kinds of cuts are incredibly worrying.

Apparently, while putting metastasized breast cancer on hold Britain's Health Secretary manages to feign human compassion.

Obama's newly appointed, "well-intentioned" Medicare-Medicaid czar Dr. Donald Berwick, on the other hand, applauds the British National Health Service. Berwick would gladly shove America over the edge of the cliff, being of the opinion that the "decision is not whether or not we will ration care - the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly."

America should take heed as government-run Obamacare, like the NHS, will surely disadvantage the defenseless and weigh down the frail and dying with the burden of cutting costs. Barry, Harry and Nancy are an ideological, tyrannical trio committed to wresting control of life and death as they brazenly promise Progressive constituents, in the guise of fairness and compassion for the uninsured, a doomed system similar to Britain's NHS.

Author's content:

What Can't The U.S. Afford?

from The American Thinker:

July 31, 2010

What Can't the U.S. Afford?

By Jack Curtis

Most know that the country is broke, paying its bills with borrowed or magic money under an overhang of debt nobody's talking about repaying. The politicians who lead the country while repeating that this is somebody else's fault keep spending without mentioning what will have to be given up for a balanced budget. In fact, Congressional Democrats have so far refused to even provide a budget for this cycle, likely a response to the coming November elections. But 2010's plan is known and it's reasonable to expect 2011 to be similar.

Spending was budgeted to exceed income for a deficit of $1.17 trillion; reality now is $1.47 trillion per the Office of Management and Budget. That's what must stop to balance the budget. Here's the budgeted 2010 spending with percentages, in billions:

Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid

$1,447.7B 40.76%

Health, Veterans, Housing, Education, Community Svc. $226.5B 6.38%

Defense $663.7B 18.69%

Interest on National Debt $164.0B 4.62%

Transportation, Energy, Environment $109.3B 3.08%

State Department, Foreign Aid etc. $51.7B 1.46%

Homeland Security, Justice $66.6B 1.88%

Agriculture, Commerce, Labor $53.1B 1.49%

Corps of Engineers, Nat'l Infrastructure Bank, NASA $28.8B 0.81%

Science, Small Business $7.7B 0.22%

Interior, GSA, Disaster Costs $23.6B 0.66%

Treasury $13.3B 0.37%

Other Programs required by law $571.0B 16.08%

Other Discretionary $124.8B 3.51%

TOTAL SPENDING $3,551.9B 100%

The $1.47 trillion cutback needed to balance the budget is about 41 percent of the total; neither party's politicians want to talk details about cutting that much from federal programs that directly affect so many voters, especially approaching an election. But unless taxpayers are willing to pay a great deal more to government, the cutting must be accomplished before too much longer; a country can't overspend its income indefinitely just as individuals can't. In billions for easier comparison to the table, the needed spending reduction is: $1,470.0B.

Together, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Defense (Iraq, Afghanistan etc.) are almost 60% of the spending; everything else is insignificant by comparison. The 16% other category covers many smaller programs that shouldn't be considered as a lump.

The politicians of both parties have created the problem by promising more than the economy can provide as older users of promised benefits increase and new young, well-educated, employed workers to pay for the benefits decrease. The problem is complicated by the declining family earnings brought on by globalization (another government product) and by Democratic policies that add costly services like ObamaCare, raise living costs like green energy programs or increase existing benefits like endless (until after elections, anyway) unemployment insurance extensions.

The unmentionable (by either party) truth is, federal spending has to be cut by 41% to balance the budget and that ignores the equally needed cuts at state and local levels for similar reasons. Consider for a moment the effect on a family of four with a $150,000 mortgage, $9,000 credit card balances and typical car payments if their combined wages of $80,000 were suddenly permanently reduced to $47,200. Government, unlike the family, can't receive absolution and a new start from a bankruptcy court.

Combined federal, state and local government debt (owed by taxpayers) is nearly $150,000 per taxpayer and rising. To pay that off over 30 years at 5% would require payments of about $805 per month per taxpayer. For a two taxpayer family, it's $1,610. That 41% spending reduction doesn't provide for debt repayment so spending will have to shrink further. Then, there's the fact that both Social Security and Medicare taxes are no longer sufficient to support the costs of the programs. That isn't provided for either. The real spending cut needed to balance the budget is considerably more than 41%. That's what the politicians are looking at and refusing to face because after all, it's their programs and promises that have produced the situation, something they cannot admit.

The U.S. probably can't afford nearly half of what it's buying with borrowed and magic money; the income to pay for it isn't there. When the flow of fools' gold stops, the people directly and indirectly tied to that flow of fiat and borrowed money will be unemployed and those who depend on their spending will, too. That is a lot of unemployment to add; there will be no money for unemployment benefits on that scale. A balanced budget will not fund military superpower, let alone foreign wars and it will not fund retirement and medical care on the current scale, forget the additions from ObamaCare.

Great Britain has replaced its Labour Party with its Conservatives; they are shutting off spending and cutting back, the opposite of the U.S. Democrats. The Brits are decentralizing their struggling National Health Service while the U.S. adds ObamaCare.

The Democrats have run out of other peoples' money to fund their promises; the Republicans have run out of money to support superpowerism. When they admit that, much of their campaign funding will dry up along with the believability of their promises. So they will not admit it, just as they don't admit that unemployment is about 21% rather than the jiggered numbers they publish (See:

Every level of government is raising taxes, sucking more money from the only productive parts of the economy. The impact of the increases has yet to be felt; it will be severe. And the Democrats' leaders want much more of that, though some of their following is losing enthusiasm. What the Republicans want remains unsaid; something that, if one thinks about it, is scary. Their leadership and the Tea Parties have not accommodated but neither appears readier than Democrats to recognize the reality of a nearly 50% percent spending cut. No more do most citizens, but from the 2010 budget model, that's the price of living within the country's means. It's what the U.S. can afford. Continuing to ignore reality is what the U.S. can't afford.

The Illogical And Un-Realistic And Magical Thinking Of The Ruling Class In America

From The American Thinker:

July 31, 2010

The Illogic of the Ruling Class

By Frank Ryan

Star Trek's Dr. Spock must be so confused.

Do today's leaders think that just because they voted on something that it will work? To think that simply by passing a health care bill everyone will have health care is simply illogical.

Seeing the thought process of some of the politicians, business and labor leaders today causes most rational persons to question how these people think. Their thought processes are sometimes so distorted that it causes me to question whether our education systems have changed from teaching us how to think to one of teaching us what to think.

Many of us have heard the caution that we are all entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts. I wonder how many appreciate the wisdom of that comment.

True progress in our society will only take place when we replace impassioned invocations with reasoned discourse. Solutions know no political boundaries but true solutions solve problems rather than create new ones of even greater severity.

Education should help our children learn how to think. A scientific method, an inductive and deductive reasoning process may be taught but it is unwise to teach as "science" something based on what feels good to a current generation.

As an example, the unfunded liability of the state, local, and teachers' pensions is on everyone's mind. I am reminded by those receiving the pensions that these obligations have been approved by the legislatures and therefore must be paid.

The reality of this obligation though is that a non free-market legislature has granted a benefit that must be paid for by a free market society. You can legislate all you want but markets will determine the fairness and sustainability of the policies you enact as well as the ability to pay. State and local governments are not too big to fail.

It is illogical to think that just because something can be legislated means that it is earned or sustainable. Granting pensions without realizing the impact on those who pay them is purely illogical and irresponsible. There are two parties to every transaction.

Reasoning is apolitical. Logic is logic. Thought processes though do not have to be logical but they should be for public policy to be effective and long term.

During the last depression, Congress and our President responded by passing the Social Security bill to protect our citizens in their golden years. People paying into the social security system today who expect pensions in 20 years will be devastated to find out that their dreams have been destroyed by the very system that was set up to protect unprotected retirees in the 1930's.

The noble quest to protect the unprotected in the 1930's has in reality harmed the protected in 2020. What a paradox. The failure to understand how a system such as social security could be abused is an indication of a naïve political process and not a great one. Yet educators recently reaffirmed President Roosevelt as the greatest president of all times. Really? Ideology or Philosophy at work?

In a great society an education system should encourage intellectual freedom and not espouse a political philosophy.

Intellectual freedom is based upon freedoms of thought regardless of personal feelings. It is based upon reasoning and rational thought. It is based upon factual analysis and not one in which a conclusion is desired and facts are developed to support the conclusion.

An educational system supported by the state is one that may incentivize teachers to reinforce the goals of the state rather than the goals of intellectual freedom and the needs of the student. Educational systems that empower teachers as the customer rather than the students as the customer are doomed to be philosophically aligned to favor the wrong group. Teachers' wants will end up trumping the needs of the student and of society. In that case, all lose and we are left with a product of an educational system that is unable to think for itself.

If we are truly to rebuild America, we need to teach our students to think and not how to think. We need to ensure that our children question and not merely comply. A truly free society welcomes questioning. An enslaved society welcomes conformity and subordinates the needs of the individual to the needs of the state.

Allow school freedom of choice. Make schools compete for students. Make parents accountable for the education of their children. Give students the greatest gift possible - a freedom of thought and a victory of philosophy over ideology.

Frank Ryan, CPA specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He is on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at

The Ruling Class Tosses The Little People Overboard

from The American Thinker:

July 31, 2010

The Ruling Class Tosses Americans Overboard

By Geoffrey P. Hunt

The saga of Senator John Kerry's $ 7 million sailing yacht tied up on the Newport waterfront in the tax haven of Rhode Island proved again how adept Democrats are at spending other people's money. This time the $7 million was presumably spent from his wife's inherited fortune.

But the larger story here isn't about tax havens. And it isn't about hypocrisy. And it's far less about trophy wives with trust funds. It's not even about being a lifelong leech working in government jobs sucking the blood out of beleaguered taxpayers. It's about the increasing distance and disconnects between the governing class and everybody else. It's about abandoning American workers and deliberately staying out of touch with and out of reach from everyday people.

$7 million is a lot of dough. Easily more than twice what the vast majority of Americans will earn over their entire lifetimes. And those modest earning prospects are slipping away as two out of ten Americans of working age are now either unemployed or underemployed.

Pay no attention to Sen Kerry's hollow support of US job creation. I wonder why in May he co-sponsored the vacuous Senate bill "Honoring the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Small Business": . Maybe he was feeling guilty for having completely dismissed American boatyards and instead taken delivery three months earlier of the 72 foot Isabel, built in New Zealand.

I also wonder how his aiding and abetting outsourcing, shamelessly steering clear of American labor, is going down with his pals at the AFL-CIO who endorsed him for president in 2004. No doubt at least half of Isabel's $7 million price tag was labor requiring some 70,000 hours of mostly highly skilled work.. That translates into 35 to 50 boatbuilders, carpenters, mechanics, machinists, sailmakers, technicians, varnishers and riggers. Couldn't this work have been done at a premier custom boat builder in Maine, say Hinckley's in Southwest Harbor or Brooklin Boatyard?

Or if he was stuck on something more upscale, why not Hodgdon's Yachts in East Boothbay? Five generations of Hodgdons have built the finest luxury sailing yachts in the world as the cold molded 124 foot Antonisa and 98 foot Windcrest can attest. Hodgdon's has at least 35 of the finest boatbuilders to be found anywhere on the globe. But not good enough for John Kerry.

How about Goetz Boats in Bristol, Rhode Island, a mere 20 minute Cadillac Escalade SUV ride from Newport? Goetz has built nine Americas Cup boats. Goetz's most recent construction is the 83 foot Highland Fling a carbon fiber luxury racing jewel. Not good enough for John Kerry.

All too pedestrian for John Kerry. Anyone can get a boat built in Maine or Rhode Island. But none of that would have the glitter and cachet of built-in-New Zealand.

Look, John Kerry and his wife can spend their tax-free municipal bond income anywhere they please. But the prospect of a US Senator splurging on a $7 million personal pleasure craft built halfway around the globe while Americans suffer through the worst economic catastrophe since the 1930s is not just unseemly -- it's nauseating. Displays of this kind of elitist condescension and disdain for the everyday people were once upon a time reserved for the likes of the French aristocracy before 1789.

Equally obscene is the reported millions being spent on the Chelsea Clinton wedding. At least the Clintons had the good sense to have Chelsea tie the knot in the US. And caterers, wedding planners, dress makers, florists, chefs, wait staff and dishwashers, landscape workers and porta-potty contractors all along the NY State Hudson River estates will enjoy good fortune at least for a couple of days. Unlike the hopelessly out-of-work boat builders further Downeast who are now resorting to raking blueberries and taking short term stints as deckhands on clean-up barges in the Gulf of Mexico.

Of course it is entirely possible that Kerry had nothing to do with the yacht Isabel, except measuring chocks on the foredeck to store his windsurfing board.

And while the governing class arrogance and alienation from everyday Americans is worsening, the bastions of big government keep ever expanding. The Capitol district in Washington DC is a concrete berm and steel barrier enclave with few hotel vacancies and virtually full employment. Unsupervised staffers and unbridled regulators daily impose thousands of pages of rules on us. Even presumably free market stalwarts inside American companies are convinced that Washington is the center of the universe.

The American electorate has always been wary of decision makers beyond their existential line of sight. So were the founders declaring in the last amendment in the Bill of Rights, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

If the courts today won't reaffirm the Tenth Amendment, the voters will. And sooner or later, the John Kerrys of the governing class will be the ones cast adrift.

The New Secessionists

From Counter-Punch and Secession and Nullification--News and Information:

The New Secessionists

Wherein We Meet Genial Radicals by the Shores of Lake Champlain


This is an excerpt from Bill Kauffman’s new book Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels, and their Underdog Crusades to Redraw America’s Political Map (Chelsea Green)

The American Empire is dead. That gathering murmur you hear is not sobbing: Good riddance to the damn monster. Rather, the noise is the sweet hum of revolution, of subjects learning how to be citizens, of people shaking off (or flipping off) their Wall Street and Pentagon overlords and taking charge of their lives once more, whether as members of verdant countryside or the sodality of the city neighborhood.

Oh, the empire’s corpse may yet wander the desert sands, rattling chains in Marley-like clangor, but the thing itself, as a breathing and vascular entity with its own tomorrows, is dead. An expiry long past due, I might say. Senator J. William Fulbright, the only good Bill ever to exit Arkansas for the national political stage, said in the 1960s that “the price of empire is America’s soul and that price is too high.”1 He was right. The American Empire, that cold-eyed death machine that ground American boys into fodder to spit out into the frozen Chosin of Korea, the rice paddies of Southeast Asia, the dunes of Mesopotamia, has run out of money, out of even the fig leaf of moral justification, out of any international sanction save the specious pule of the coerced and the fraudulent. The empire—what Edmund Wilson called “a huge blundering power unit controlled more and more by bureaucracies whose rule is making it more and more difficult to carry on the tradition of American individualism”—always was the enemy of the true America, the America of Mark Twain and Levon Helm, Henry Thoreau and Zora Neale Hurston. The empire demanded that we pledge allegiance to the distant over the near, to the abstract over the real, to perpetual war over peace and harmony.

The Crash of 2008 and its salutary humbling of the hubristic was only the overture. The dissolution is yet to be played out, though the plot thickened and union thinned early in the first year of the presidency of Barack Obama, who continued the Bushian policy of socializing risk and privatizing reward in his series of bailouts of corporate entities that were, in the obscenely inverse phrase of the mass media, “too big to fail.” The phrase reeked of wishful thinking, though it conveyed with great effectiveness the mind-set of those who run the empire. Bigness is next to godliness, which is in turn a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs; smallness is mingy and negligible; and modesty is for losers. Ten thousand corner delis must die so that AIG can live. The political corollary is that Xenia, Ohio, and Fairbanks, Alaska, are nothings, fit only to send tribute in the form of taxes to Washington and future corpses to the war of the hour. The fifty stars of Old Glory are no more than smudge marks on a wet rag; what counts is the octopus in the District of Columbia whose tentacles curl out to smother and strangle and steal from the nether provinces.

As the empire accelerates through its welcome decline, real patriots of all shades and shapes will hold with renewed and redoubled fastness to the cherishable pieces of our lorn and lovely land: its little places, its accented regions, its history-echoing, blood-seeded grounds.

The times—the Times, too—push me to the rocks off Lake Ontario’s Point Breeze, where I sit licking an ice cream cone and pondering Brooklyn’s Good Gray Poet, for I love Old Whitman so, to borrow Allen Ginsberg’s line (via James Whitcomb Riley—how do you like that triple play?). Saith Walt as his America was rent asunder:

I listened to the Phantom by Ontario’s shore,

I heard the voice arising demanding bards

By them all native and grand, by them alone can these States be fused into the

compact organism of a Nation.

To hold men together by paper or seal or by compulsion is no account . . .

Paper, seal, compulsion: These are the ties that strangle, not bind. I love America deeply but the country I love is far too small to show up on a television screen. The idea of “citizenship” has been diluted from one of membership in an organic body in which each person matters and takes part in civic affairs to the current condition, in which you are a cog in a machine, just another brick in the wall. The role of an American citizen, as viewed by our rulers in Washington, DC, is to pay your taxes, cast a meaningless vote every four years, and shut the hell up.

The anti-Obama reaction of 2009 was like a controlled burn that blew past its carefully constructed boundaries. Republican operatives had hoped to exploit popular unhappiness over the new president’s (typical, even Bush-like) acts of aggrandizement and power grabbing to set up the GOP for a rebound in 2010. But the rubes wandered off the reservation, past the barbed-wire fences of Responsible (which is to say eunuchlike) Dissent and into the Forbidden Zone of revolution, refusal, even . . . secession.

By spring 2009 radicalism spiced the air. States from Michigan to New Hampshire were considering “state sovereignty” resolutions that audaciously reasserted the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Since both parties—two wings of a single bird of prey—and the corporate media that serve them regard anyone who quotes the Bill of Rights as a militiaman (occupying the same rung of the social ladder as a white-trash meth head), this seemingly innocuous act—declaring, in the face of all evidence, that the US Constitution is operative—had the flavor of sedition. And the sovereignty resolutions, once unpacked, left a great question hanging in the air: What if Washington tells the states to shove off? Don’t mind your own business, Montana and Oklahoma: Uncle Sam will mind it for you. What then? The choices, it would seem, are two: submission or secession. And given that choice, what man or woman of hale and hearty spirit would not choose secession?

Even dullard politicians caught the fever, or at least mimicked its symptoms. On Income Tax Day, April 15, 2009, that annual reminder of our serfdom, the empty-suited Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a man theretofore so unremarkable as to have languished in the shadow of his predecessor, George W. Bush, addressed a raucous crowd in Austin (many shouting “Secede!”) and later told reporters, “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Inarticulate, to be sure. And where was Perry when President Bush and Dick Cheney were shredding the Constitution for the previous eight years? But still: Something was abrew. Our birthword and birthgift—secession, which had been removed from our vocabulary when we were but a young country—was on the tongues of the unregulated, the unbossed, the unruly.

Perry was pilloried, naturally. No unapproved opinion may be expressed in the land of the free without earning the sayer thereof his time on the cross. Who should come to Perry’s defense but the most radical and honest presidential hopeful of the prior year, Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), the libertarian scourge of war, militarism, statism, and Big Brother? “Secession is an American tradition—it’s how we came into being,” said Paul, standing by Perry in the eye of the storm. “A free society means you can dissolve.” Conceding that the Civil War, er, complicated matters somewhat, Paul opined that had secession remained a vital principle in American life, “the federal government would have been restrained” throughout our history, as the threat of states breaking away would have acted as a brake on the runaway national juggernaut.

If secession today has a vaguely naughty, even disreputable sound, owing to that war which Gore Vidal called “the great single tragic event that continues to give resonance to our republic,” that only means we need to throw away our social studies textbooks and relearn, or learn for the first time, history as it is not dictated by the winners to the stenographers.

Talk of breaking up our increasingly fractious and unhappy union predated the presidency of Barack Obama. In fact, it gained voice largely due to the man who made possible the Ovalization of Mr. Obama: George W. Bush.

In the wake of the egregious Bush reelection in 2004, frustrated liberals talked secession back to within hailing distance of the margins of national debate—a place it had not occupied since 1861. With their praise of self-rule and the devolution of power, they sounded not unlike many conservatives had in the days before Bush & Cheney & Limbaugh welded the American Right to the American Empire. While certain proponents of the renascent secessionism were motivated by spite or pixilated by whimsy or driven by the simpleminded belief that these United States can be divided into blue and red—as though our beautiful land can be painted in only two hues!—others argued with cogency and passion for a disunionist position that bordered on the, well, seditious. Emphasizing both culture (“Now that slavery is taken care of, I’m for letting the South form its own nation,” said Democratic operative Bob Beckel) and economics (Democratic pundit Lawrence O’Donnell noted that “ninety percent of the red states are welfare clients of the federal government”), writing in forums of neoliberalism (Slate) and venerable liberalism (The Nation), liberals helped to disinter a body of thought that had been buried at Appomattox. And—surprise—the corpse has legs.

Secession is the next radical idea poised to enter mainstream discourse—or at least the realm of the conceivable. You can’t bloat a modest republic into a crapulent empire without sparking one hell of a centrifugal reaction. The prospect of breaking away from a union once consecrated to liberty and justice but now degenerating into imperial putrefaction will only grow in appeal as we go marching with our Patriot Acts and National Security Strategies through Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and all the frightful signposts on our road to nowhere. The liberals who considered secession while tossing and turning in the fever dreams of the Bush nightmare may back off, for the nonce, mollified by the honeyed cadences of the savior Obama. But he is no less a servitor of Wall Street and the American Empire than are the Republicans, and when President Obama dispatches troops to Georgia (the land of Joseph Stalin, not Ray Charles) or Somalia or bombs Iran, in fulfillment of John McCain’s campaign jingle, they may be jolted once more into a radical and clear-eyed wakefulness.

Some of the contemporary secessionists are puckish and playful; others are dead serious. Some seek to separate from the main body of a state and add a fifty-first star to the American flag, while others wish to leave the United States altogether. Some proposals are so sensible (the division of California into two or three states) that in a just world they would be inevitable. Others are so radical (the independent republic of Vermont) as to seem risibly implausible—until you meet the activists and theoreticians preparing these new declarations of independence.

For these movements are, in the main, hopeful and creative (if utopian) responses to the Current Mess engulfing our land. They are the political antidote to the disease of giantism. We are a nation born in secession, after all, and of rebellion against faraway rulers. Ruptures, crackups, and the splintering of overlarge states into polities of more manageable size, closer to the human scale, are as American as runaway slaves and tax protesters.

Bill Kauffman’s new book Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels, and their Underdog Crusades to Redraw America’s Political Map (Chelsea Green) is a look at contemporary secession movements.


Cap-And-Trade: It's Really All About Controlling Our Lives

from Right Side News and

It's Really About Controlling Our Lives .

Sunday, 18 July 2010 19:07 Paul Driessen ."Low carbon fuel standards" mean higher costs, few environmental benefits and less liberty

Within days, Majority Leader Harry Reid intends to bring sweeping energy and climate legislation to the Senate floor. He won't call it cap-and-trade or cap-tax-and-trade, and certainly not a carbon tax.

"Those words are not in my vocabulary," he says. "We're going to work on pollution."

Senator Reid's twenty-pound bill will be laden with lofty language about "clean energy," energy conservation, "green jobs," reducing "dangerous" power plant emissions, ending our "addiction" to oil, creating a renewable economy, and saving the planet from "imminent climate disaster."

Environmental euphemisms aside, however, the legislation is really about imposing national "low carbon fuel standards" (LCFS) and forcing dramatic reductions in the use of oil, natural gas and especially coal. It would expand on existing laws, regulations and decrees, like the Environmental Protection Agency's ruling that carbon dioxide somehow "endangers human health and welfare," EPA's June 30 invalidation of flexible air quality permits for Texas refineries, Interior Secretary Salazar's offshore drilling moratorium, multiple state and federal renewable energy standards and mandates, and various state and regional "greenhouse gas initiatives" that restrict emissions from power plants and industrial facilities.

The EPA, Energy Information Administration, White House and Mr. Reid insist that America can easily limit hydrocarbon use and switch to "eco-friendly" wind, solar and biofuel energy - at low cost and minimal harm to families, businesses and jobs. However, their self-serving, other-planet claims are flatly contradicted by a host of studies by reputable analysts with a solid history of integrity and accuracy.

The most recent is a June 17 report by Charles River Associates, examining the "Economic and Energy Impacts Resulting from a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard." Prepared for the Consumer Energy Alliance, the study looked only at transportation fuels. (Including coal for electricity generation and other uses would dramatically increase its cost estimates.) Nevertheless, the study found that national standards implemented in 2015 would:

* Increase average gasoline and diesel prices by up to 80% in five years, and 170% within ten years - sending regular gasoline prices soaring to nearly $5 per gallon by 2020 and $7.50 per gallon by 2025 (assuming other international price pressures remain unchanged);

* Spur sharp cost increases for petrochemicals in plastics, pharmaceuticals and other vital products;

* Reduce employment and consumer demand significantly, by increasing the cost of transporting people, equipment, supplies, raw materials, food and finished products - for work, school, healthcare, business, manufacturing, vacation and other purposes;

* Cut business investment by $200-320 billion annually, compared to the no-LCFS baseline;

* Slash gross domestic product by $410-750 billion annually by 2025;

* Cost 2.3 million to 4.5 million American jobs, including up to 1.5 million in manufacturing and 3.0 million in the service sector; and

* Force household purchasing power downward by $1,400 to $2,400 for a family of four by 2025 - impacting minority, elderly and other low and fixed income families worst of all.

None of this should be surprising. As President Obama himself has said, the very purpose of energy and climate policies like LCFS is to ensure that prices "necessarily skyrocket." It is to force people to use less fuel, compel companies to change power generation and use practices, drive coal companies and utilities out of business, and force the development of new fuels and technologies that may or may not work.

All on the premise that we waste energy and are causing a planetary meltdown. Climate change is real, and has been since the dawn of time. But there is no consensus and no evidence that carbon dioxide is the primary factor in global warming and cooling, or that humans are causing a climate disaster. Assertions, assumptions and computer models are not evidence, and cannot justify what Harry Reid is pushing.

Restricting, taxing, regulating and penalizing the hydrocarbon fuels that provide 85% of America's energy would severely hobble our free enterprise system and impact jobs, families, living standards, and basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Doubling the price of electricity in our industrial heartland - where coal provides 50-95% of all electrical power - would kill millions of jobs, and send millions of families into fuel poverty.

Renewable energy is intermittent, unreliable, land and raw materials intensive, and unsustainable without government mandates and constant infusions of "other people's money" in the form of subsidies. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus might be ecstatic that an F/A-18 fighter jet recently flew on biofuel av-gas. But brewing $65-per-gallon fuel from camelina is hardly sustainable, even for the Defense Department.

As to the great utopian vision of "green jobs," Spain's subsidy-driven wind turbine industry cost the country 2.2 jobs for every eco-job it created, according to studies by Dr. Gabriel Calzada. And when the global recession hit, the subsidies dried up, the turbine-making jobs disappeared, and hundreds of wind and solar companies were driven to the precipice of bankruptcy.

Wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars require "rare earth" metals. America's probable deposits are locked up in wilderness areas, which leaves China as the world's predominant producer. So the bulk of the green manufacturing jobs will be in China - while we will get the temp jobs hauling, assembling and installing components made in the Middle Kingdom and shipped to the United States.

Thus, China, India and Brazil will continue to surge forward on plentiful coal and metals, cheap labor, affordable electricity, a can-do attitude, laxer environmental standards, and a rational refusal to accept legally binding carbon dioxide reductions. Thus, even if the USA went cold turkey, and completely shut down all greenhouse-gas-spewing factories, homes and cars, these developing country emissions would overwhelm our sacrifices within a few months, and atmospheric CO2 levels would continue to rise.

And for what? Cars and power plants are already 90% cleaner than their 1970s era predecessors. Climate change is moderate and primarily natural. Mr. Reid's formula is all pain, for no environmental gain.

Even bright high school students understand this. US senators certainly ought to. But Harry Reid is hoping 60 do not. That's the magic number he needs to regulate not just one-sixth of our economy (the healthcare sector), but 100% - because nothing happens without abundant, reliable, affordable energy. And enacting any form of fuel rationing legislation will put Congress and bureaucrats firmly in charge of our lives, liberties, hopes, dreams and rights.

Either Mr. Reid's cadre doesn't understand these basic facts - or they are so blinded by power, ambition, ideology and desire to control that they willfully ignore them.

Climate change truly is a huge moral issue. What the Political-Activist-Industrial Complex is doing in the name of preventing climate change and creating a green economy is un-American and immoral. Applied to poor countries, to restrict their access to abundant, reliable energy, it becomes lethal and inhumane. It can no longer be tolerated.

Be alert. Speak out. And beware of energy and climate dictators and charlatans, and any lame duck session that may come after citizens vote to replace many of the control freaks on Capitol Hill.


Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.

We Have Met The Enemy, And It Is Us

From The Washington Times and Floyd Reports (Impeach Obama Campaign):

NUGENT: It is us

We're the ones who allowed anti-Americans to take over America

By Ted Nugent @$:Barack Hussein Obama did not sneak into power. An army of clueless, disconnected, ignorant Americans invited him to bring his Marxist, glaringly anti-American jihad into our lives. This - The Washington Times

5:55 p.m., Friday, July 30, 2010

Illustration: MAOBAMA by Greg Groesch for The Washington TimesPrintEmailView 51Comment(s)Enlarge Text
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Barack Hussein Obama did not sneak into power. An army of clueless, disconnected, ignorant Americans invited him to bring his Marxist, glaringly anti-American jihad into our lives. This president's overtly destructive, clear-and-present-danger agenda is surpassed in transparency only by his ultra-leftist public voting record and overall lifetime conduct of consorting with the enemy as a child and student of Marxism, socialist and racist community organizer, congregant of the blatant America-hating black-theology- and social-justice-spewing Rev. Jeremiah Wright and close personal friend of convicted communist terrorists like Bill Ayers, and by his unflinching appointment of an array of communist czars, including Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, Anita Dunne, et al. So let me get this straight: You claim your intentions were noble because you simply wanted to get your child a puppy but somehow didn't notice that it was foaming at the mouth, and now you're shocked that your child has rabies? I think not. That is not a mistake. It is negligence -- dangerous, life threatening and, I am convinced, downright criminal negligence.

And the price for such negligence is catastrophic, don't you know.

But it gets worse. For, you see, the blame doesn't fall just on the obvious stupidity of our friends and families who voted for this corrupt, death-wish government in whose stranglehold we find ourselves. Ultimately, it is our fault. It is the failure of those of us who know better but have failed miserably to educate our own. Living our lives with a captive audience of family, friends, co-workers, socialites, fellow worshippers at church and other parents at school -- everyone in our everyday walks of life -- far too many of us have allowed uneducated, history-devoid, denial-riddled, fantasy-driven, anti-gun and anti-hunting, anti-capitalism general ignoramuses to remain so and run amok, when by all thoughtful considerations, it was our duty to educate and upgrade everyone in our lives to truth, logic and the American way.

It is the terminal curse of apathy and disconnect that got us into this shameless mess we find America in today, and in all honesty, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

We all saw it coming, but political correctness caused most of us to clam up in the ridiculous mindset that it was more important to avoid hurting feelings than to stand up for what we knew in our hearts was being trampled underfoot. Sadly, America has become a nation of ultra-thin-skinned, whining little girls, afraid of our own shadows and so cowardly as to back away from the simple solution of speaking the truth when we know we are supposed to do so.

I have been damned as being a radical extremist my entire adult life for simply standing up and relentlessly promoting and celebrating self-evident truth, logic and common sense. The devil brigade acting upon the Saul Alinsky deception playbook has made its mark by lying, cheating and attacking with the very hate that it accuses everybody else of harboring. With an overall complicit media to bullhorn the brigade's agenda, a nation of sheep has taken the pill and swallowed it whole.

Welcome to the new fat, soft, cowardly nation of wimps with the perfectly corrupt president and pack of soulless hounds in government that they deserve.

Look at Harry Reid. Charlie Rangel. Listen to Nancy Pelosi. What kind of idiots do they represent? A huge army of idiots who wish to do nothing for their country, but whine for their government to do everything for them. Welcome to France, ladies and gentlemen, only worse.

There always have been bad, ignorant people in the world. But in the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave, the epicenter of rugged individualism founded on the premise of live free or die, where the powerful DNA of defiance got us where we are as the last, best place on Earth, the ultimate violation is that so many hardworking, truly entrepreneurial, independent Americans backed down and failed to stand up when we saw the wimps squawking about all the wrong stuff.

Everything from the New Deal and Great Society on has been a dismal and grossly counterproductive failure, yet we continue to allow corrupt bureaucrats to keep jamming more of the same down our throats with barely a whimper of resistance. How pathetic. How lame. How un-American.

Story Continues →

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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Obama Victory Reconsidered

From The American Thinker:

July 30, 2010

The Obama Victory Reconsidered

By Richard Baehr

The Obama Victory: How Media, Money and Message Shaped the 2008 Election by Kate Kenski, Bruce W. Hardy, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Oxford University Press, 2010

The Performance of Politics: Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power, by Jeffrey C. Alexander, Oxford University Press, 2010

Barack Obama's presidential election victory in 2008 represents the most successful new product introduction in American history. A U.S. senator who had served but two years in Washington, and never run any governmental office or agency, began his campaign for the presidency in February, 2007. He narrowly won his party's nomination, beating the prohibitive favorite, Senator Hillary Clinton. He then won a decisive victory in the general election contest over John McCain, winning 28 states (including nine that had been won by George Bush in 2004), receiving 53% of the popular vote (a 7.2% margin), 365 Electoral College votes, and nearly 70 million popular votes, a margin of more than 9.5 million votes over McCain.

Two new books from Oxford University Press take different approaches to try to explain the general election result. Regrettably, neither has much to say about the primary fight, which was very hard-fought, and over a much longer period. That contest produced the Democratic candidate in what was shaping up to be a Democratic year even before the financial crisis in mid-September 2008, the point at which most analysts believe Obama sealed his victory.

Both books have interesting things to say, and to a certain extent, they complement each other to provide a more complete answer to the question of why Obama won. The focus of both books is the period from June to November 2008. The Jamieson book focuses on the ad wars, the messages each campaign tried to sell, and how well they worked. Jamieson says that Obama's messaging during the campaign had several distinct themes -- most importantly that Obama represented change and that McCain was more of the same -- Bush's third term. Without directly attacking McCain as too old, the campaign instead portrayed him as erratic, angry, and out of touch, particularly on economic issues. Jamieson discusses how the major media "primed" the messages of each campaign, and not surprisingly, in a fashion that benefited Obama.

She divides the general election race into five distinct periods, in several of which McCain did well, and in others of which Obama triumphed. Alexander studies three phases of the campaign, but more from a perspective of how messages were used to create the "hero" the American people wanted to elect while navigating "the boundaries of the civil sphere" (e.g., race, gender, ethnicity, religion). He studies the attempt by McCain to tag Obama as a celebrity candidate, the comet-like trajectory of the Palin campaign, and how each candidate performed during the critical days when the TARP bill was being debated and voted on in Congress.

Jamieson and her co-authors conclude that the Obama campaign was much more consistent and relentless in its messaging (both positive and negative) than the McCain campaign, and that it used its enormous financial advantage to bury the McCain campaign in the crucial months of September and October. But Jamieson acknowledges in her book that virtually every political scientist who has studied prior elections concluded that the very low approval ratings for George Bush, and the sagging economy in the fall of 2008, all but guaranteed a Democratic win, regardless of other factors. So to some extent, her analysis is of how Obama skillfully played a very favorable playing field. To use a football metaphor, it is far easier to score after recovering a fumble by the other team in their territory than to have to move the ball down the field 80 yards.

By refusing to accept federal funding, Obama was free to raise an unlimited amount of money for the fall campaign, raising twice as much money in September alone (over $160 million) as McCain had to spend in the entire fall campaign.

In the run-up to early voting in many states, the Obama campaign owned the airwaves the week of October 6 to 12. That media onslaught, plus a superior and broad ground effort, produced an enormous lead for Obama in early voting -- as much as 16% according to some surveys. The idea that Americans vote on the first Tuesday after a Monday in November is now ancient history; 34% of Americans voted early in 2008. As Jamieson recounts, McCain had a modest rebound in the last two weeks of October, following one of Obama's few miscues during the campaign, the "spreading the wealth around" comment to Joe the Plumber in Ohio. But there could be no rebound among those who had already voted for the other guy.

In October 2008, I participated in a few debates on behalf of the McCain campaign in Florida. Flipping the TV channels at night produced an Obama ad on pretty much every station during every commercial break, some of them linking McCain to Bush and others attacking McCain's health care plan. Jamieson describes the health care ad as deceptive and highly misleading (by suggesting that McCain would start taxing health care benefits while providing nothing in return). The ad war, to put it mildly, was not a fair fight.

Obama's decision to opt out of the federal financing system got him a one-day scolding from the New York Times editorial board, but it also gave him the resources to build an organization to register new voters (particularly African-Americans, Latinos, and young voters), track them, and get them to vote (often in early voting), and to dominate the airwaves in all major media -- national and cable TV, radio, and print. Obama campaign head David Plouffe told the authors that the campaign had all the money it could use and had so much to play with that it was even able to place ads on evangelical radio stations to try to cut into McCain's big lead with this group of voters. Jamieson pays little attention to the organizational effort of the Obama campaign, which proved critical to Obama's narrow victory in several states. Alexander ignores the impact of Obama's financial advantage but does better on the organizational effort, providing a play-by-play of a Colorado Latino organizing weekend for Obama that had all the trappings of a cult revival/sensitivity group.

Jamieson and Alexander both agree that McCain scored with his celebrity ads, which were launched after Obama's trip to the Middle East and Europe. The ads, which linked Obama with Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson, took the glow off the trip, which had widened Obama's lead. Jamieson says McCain also connected in this period with his plan for a temporary holiday on gasoline taxes, a proposal scorned by economists, but which connected with motorists paying more than $4 a gallon for the first time. The impact of the celebrity ad campaign had worn off by the Democratic convention, during which time Obama's numbers moved up again.

McCain then drained Obama's post-convention momentum with his pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate. This surprise selection, coming the day after Obama's Invesco Field acceptance speech and followed by Palin's impressive speech at the GOP convention, catapulted the GOP ticket into the lead in early September. But it did not last long. Jamieson relies on survey numbers from 57,000 interviews during the campaign to show that the Palin pick turned out badly for McCain, hurting him with independents and weakening his advantage on the experience question.

Most Americans, by November, did not think Palin was qualified or ready to serve as president, and McCain was 73 years old, so succession was a real issue. The question of Palin's readiness might have also been applied to Obama, a man with fancy degrees but a very thin resume on the national scene, running for the top spot, not the second one on the ticket. Speech-making prowess is not the same as governing experience in terms of preparation and readiness for the job. But Obama's experience deficit never really became a major issue, and during the campaign -- particularly during the debates -- he passed the threshold test for acceptability as president.

Alexander does a good job describing Palin's meteoric rise, and then fall. Alexander is the first writer I have read to have noticed that during the first two weeks of September, Obama for the first time in the campaign seemed angry and off-stride. After being the "hot" candidate, the object of affection and hero-worship around the country and the world for nearly two years, all of a sudden, Palin was the newer, fresher face, even more dazzling. Obama seemed stressed to be out of the spotlight and not "the one."

Alexander is clearly a liberal, and one who was caught up in the Obama victory (this is apparent in the book's first pages describing the "magic" of Obama's election night victory as Alexander walked in Manhattan with his son). In detailing how the Palin selection gave McCain a jolt of momentum that wore off quickly, he describes the daily drip, drip, drip of stories from the mainstream media, obtained after each organization sent up small armies of reporters to dig for dirt on Palin in Alaska. As a surprise pick, there was plenty of interest in Palin, and there was nothing wrong with reporters trying to learn more about her. But if the Journolist saga of the last few weeks revealed anything significant about the mainstream liberal press, it is their behavior in two time periods in the 2008 campaign -- first looking to protect Obama after the Reverend Wright videos surfaced, and then trashing Palin after she arrived on the scene.

The Obama team believed that Palin did not have enough time and preparation to become an instant national candidate. They were right. This is not a knock on Palin. Obama had nearly two years as a national candidate to get ready for the general election. In addition, the McCain campaign's quickly constructed image of Palin as the reformer, earmark-opposer, and corruption fighter had holes. But Alexander never questions why the major media showed so much less interest in Obama's Chicago than they did in Palin's Alaska. Palin immediately came under attack for things said by speakers in her church in Wasilla. Obama had been a national candidate for over a year before Brian Ross produced video of Reverend Wright. These explosive videos were for sale at the church, had the media been interested. Would John McCain have gotten a pass had he attended a racist church for twenty years and sat through Reverend Wright-like sermons?

The major revelation in the Jamieson book is the explanation for why McCain refused to inject the Wright controversy into the fall campaign, even though McCain pollster Bill McInturff had concluded that doing so might result in a win in enough of the battleground states to win the Electoral College. McInturff argues that a win obtained in that fashion would have undermined McCain's presidency.

If John McCain's going to win, we're going to lose the popular vote by three million. There will be an enormous potential for urban violence. Imagine if we had done that and he'd been doing Reverend Wright and trying to actually serve as American President. It would have delegitimized his Presidency.

The comment is revealing in many ways. It acknowledges that the McCain campaign realized how tough the race would be. It also underscores why they went with a surprise pick like Sarah Palin -- winning a sizable share of Hillary Clinton voters seemed like the only path to victory. In 2000, George Bush was elected with just 271 Electoral College votes. Had Bush lost any of the thirty states he won, Gore would have won the presidency. In 2004, Bush won the popular vote by 3 million, but secured only 286 Electoral College votes. Had John Kerry won Ohio, or 18 Electoral College votes from Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, and Colorado, all states he lost by small margins, Kerry would have won.

In 2008, the battle was fought in Bush states, not Kerry states. McCain made a major effort in two blue states -- New Hampshire and Pennsylvania -- but lost both by 9%-10%. The Obama team early on identified easy targets: Iowa, for one, and also three southwestern states where Hispanic voter shares had grown -- Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado. They went after Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, and Indiana, winning all but Missouri. The money advantage allowed Obama to make a major effort in Georgia, Montana, and North Dakota, all states McCain won, but three more in which he had to play defense. To use another sports analogy, if all the action in a hockey game is on one side of the ice, that is where the goals will be scored.

The other part of the McInturff comment that is worth noting relates to the reaction by African-Americans had Obama, like Gore, won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. In 2004, Kerry won the black vote 88% to 11%, by a margin of just over 10 million votes (11% of the electorate). In 2008, Obama won the black vote 95% to 4%, securing a margin of about 15.5 million votes (13% of the electorate). Obama's effort to register Hispanics and gain their support for the ticket increased the Democratic margin by over 3 million among this group. As to fears that white racism would undo the Obama campaign -- it did not happen. Bush won the white vote by 17%, McCain by only 12%. Obama's approval rating among white voters has dropped in 2009-2010, but given their votes for him in 2008, the drop-off seems to reflect a judgment on his competency and management, not his race.

John McCain grew up in the military. His campaign for the presidency wanted to focus on international affairs, and in particular the threat to America and the free world from Islamic radicalism. But 2008 was an election year when domestic priorities trumped international concerns, and McCain was not playing his long suit. During the financial crisis in late September, Obama appeared calm and informed and came off more presidential than McCain, who looked impulsive, with his call for suspending the campaign and delaying the first debate. It was the final nail in the coffin, according to Alexander. Jamieson argues that Obama stumbled a bit in the polls after the Joe the Plumber comment, but that his final media push -- especially the half-hour program broadcast on many networks with Obama retelling his life story and his hopes and dreams -- reversed any damage that had been done to his standing.

Alexander argues that America wants to elect a hero. It might be better if we went for competence and governing experience next time around. The enormous drop-off in support for President Obama eighteen months into his presidency suggests that there is resistance from the majority of Americans to the goal of "spreading it around" rather than building the size of the total pie so that many more can prosper. So far, it is mainly the size of government, the level of federal spending, the regulatory meddling, and the number of jobless that have grown. It also looks like certain groups of Americans -- unions and trial lawyers among them -- are collecting the spoils of spreading it around, and certain big companies (GE, Google) are the beneficiaries of crony capitalism. But 15 million Americans are unemployed, many more are underemployed or foreclosed out of their homes, and the business climate, as far as new hiring goes, is still very poor. This is not the story the Obama campaign told -- no red states or blue states, but United States, all of us in this together, growing a new and better America. America fell for the sizzle, and now it wants something more.

Richard Baehr is chief political correspondent of American Thinker.

America's Unspeakable Truth

From The American Thinker:

July 30, 2010

America's Unspeakable Truth

Rob Cunningham

The children's fairytale, "The Emperor's New Clothes" powerfully reveals how societal groupthink and our natural human instincts combine to inhibit individuals from addressing uncomfortable topics. The moral of this children's fable is simple: Observing the obvious and then speaking the obvious, albeit simple in theory, oftentimes requires courage. Our default state of being is comfort or better yet, the avoidance of conflict.

In today's politically charged atmosphere, observing and speaking the obvious can be difficult and is often met with rage. Observations of truth are neither pro-Republican nor anti-Democrat. Truth is truth. No political party or politician is, has been or ever will be pure. America's national heritage and future greatness rests in truth, honesty, soundness of principles, and the recognition of inalienable, God given, individual liberties. These profound truths have and will define us like no other nation in history. Abandonment of these profound truths will lead to our demise.

Barrack Obama took office twenty months ago and today our country is raging. Youth unemployment is now 39%, home foreclosures, small businesses and personal bankruptcies rest at all time highs. Citizen hatred is being nationally stoked based on skin color, economic status, political ideology and religious beliefs. Government spending, political corruption, and unsustainable indebtedness are rising, and illegal immigrants are pouring into our society without restraint. Our Constitution is being perverted, twisted, gamed or ignored by those controlling the levers of federal power.

The very people responsible for speeding America to the brink of total collapse are proud, "on the record" America haters. They have published books, organized communities, overtaken mass media, infected classrooms, linked arms with international enemies of capitalism, bombed U.S. federal buildings, spewed hatred from church pulpits, funded terrorist flotillas and collectively plotted the overthrow of "Imperial America" in numerous published manuscripts. These very people are in our government today and actively advising President Obama. We are in the midst of the promised fundamental transformation. All societal ills are simply explained away as "failures of capitalism" and then exploited to rationalize the necessity to take further control over more personal freedoms.

To contrast America's Founding Fathers with Obama's Circle of Mentors could not possibly provide a more stark and frightening comparison of good vs. evil. Recognition of a loving God, individual liberty, personal freedom, limited government and self-determination on the one hand. Disdain for religion, collective rights, group identification, oppressive government rule and socialist redistribution of property based on victimhood status or "human rights" on the other hand. Even a young child can easily recognize the extreme differences between these ideologically opposite worldviews.

The elephant in America's living room can no longer be ignored. Neighbors must speak with neighbors. Pastors must speak with worshipers. Families must reunite. American history must be reintroduced to our society. We can no longer allow ourselves to be "re-educated," intimidated, belittled, threatened, deceived or divided by political elites, snobbish media activists or academic pinheads claiming their intellectual superiority trumps our God given common sense.

Our President represents a global movement that believes America is inherently racist, globally imperialistic, exploits workers, destroys Mother Earth and exists without enlightened rulers properly educated to micro-govern every detail of our society. Godless Marxists, atheists, socialists and global America haters defined and continue to influence our President's core beliefs and actions. These truths are without dispute. Rage if you must. Facts are facts.

Today's version of "The Emperor's New Clothes" is simple and frightening but most be spoken aloud.

Barrack Obama is aggressively destroying our country because he deeply hates America's founding principles.

Speaking the truth shall set us free.

Posted at 01:03 AM

Have The Republicans Learned their Lessons?

From The American Spectator:

Have the Republicans Learned Their Lesson?

By TAS Symposium Contributors from the July 2010 - August 2010 issue

W. James Antle III

Is the Republican party ready to regain power? Probably not -- we have seen that how Republicans behave in the minority, especially under a Democratic president, is no predictor of how they will act in the majority. As steadfast as they have been against President Obama, relatively few Republicans who voted for the TARP bailout, the Medicare prescription drug benefit, or our exercise in Mesopotamian nation-building have repented.

Yet it is a risk conservatives have no choice but to take. Hamstrung Democrats can paradoxically be better at stifling government growth than liberated Republicans, but ineffectual Democratic majorities are like dams: the odds of anything getting through are small, but the result of any breach is catastrophic. The Blue Dogs' sense of self-preservation failed them on the stimulus and health care, both of which cry out for repeal, with cap and trade lurking not far behind.

The Democrats have now done things only Republicans can undo. The question is whether the GOP will be up to the task. They'll have to strike quickly and decisively. Most of the good the last Republican majority did was in 1995-96. By 1998, they were into earmarks and trying to out-spend Bill Clinton, with another flurry of small-ball conservative reforms during the first two years of George W. Bush.

The most important thing is to improve the quality of Republicans in Washington. So far this project has been a mixed bag. On the positive side, there is Pat Toomey over Arlen Specter, Marco Rubio over Charlie Crist, and Rand Paul over Trey Grayson. But Mark Kirk and Michael Castle will give Senate Republicans a slight nudge to the left. Things look better in the House, where there is more new blood.

Politically, Republicans are probably better off winning enough seats to effectively check Obama without giving him a Gingrich figure to demonize in 2012. The GOP excels at this role. Unfortunately, the country needs more than gridlock -- it needs Republicans to make serious in-roads in the opposite direction. 

W. James Antle III is associate editor of  The American Spectator.

Dick Armey

The secret to victory in November for Republicans is simple: act like Republicans. When we act like ourselves, we win.

Republicans won control of Congress in 1994 because we had confidence in our principles and in the American people's willingness to understand and reward a national vision based on lower taxes, less government, and more freedom.

Along the way, however, Republicans lost sight of the reasons the American people put them in charge in the first place. They started acting like Democrats, with all the predictable consequences: explosive spending, Clinton-style "triangulation," and a destructive tendency to cater to interest groups rather than their constituencies. The result was equally predictable: in 2006 and 2008, the American public's patience ran out and it voted for the other party.

By the 2006 elections, Congress had stopped listening to the American people. They lost sight of our country's founding principles, which are Republican principles, and traded the liberty of their constituents for their own job security. Fiscal responsibility was lost in the fog of "compassionate" conservatism, a bureaucratic code word for political inconsistency and the enabling of Washington's spending addiction.

It is difficult to say whether Republican politicians have learned their lesson. It must be noted that congressional Republicans stood strong during the health care battle, calling attention to the problems within the Democrats' health care reform bill and proposing innovative plans of their own.

What is clear is that the American public isn't waiting on Republicans to get their act together. Insofar as the Tea Party movement is a conservative uprising, it is aimed at both parties equally -- as we most recently saw in the primary defeat of Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah. The message to Washington should be clear: having an "R" next to your name doesn't guarantee anything right now.

Never before have I seen such a strong public demand for small-government conservative leaders who are willing to lower taxes, rein in spending, and support private sector growth. Voters across the nation are joining the Tea Party movement to remind politicians of their oaths to defend the Constitution and serve constituents with honesty, integrity, and consistency.

Fortunately, a new generation of conservative leaders has emerged to answer this demand, promising to defeat the culture of corruption in Washington and to take America back in 2010. New Republican candidates like Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, Kentucky Senate nominee Rand Paul, and Utah Senate candidate Mike Lee are strong conservatives who have shown up for the fight and will provide a solid, fiscally responsible bloc of Senate votes. If Republican candidates continue to act boldly and renew our commitment to the principles of our Founding Fathers, we will take back the majority in November.

But we cannot forget that winning elections is just the beginning for the limited-government movement. Our job as citizens and taxpayers continues after the elections with our duty to hold legislators accountable for their actions on the local, state, and federal

At the end of the day, liberty will be preserved by those not only with the courage to enter the fight but also the endurance to sustain it. 

Dick Armey is former House majority leader, chairman of FreedomWorks, and recently co-author of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.

Fred Barnes

Republicans have done a good job in opposing the initiatives of President Obama. They've rarely won, but they've turned his supposed triumphs -- the stimulus, health care, spending bills -- into albatrosses around the necks of Democratic members of Congress. This is important. Obama's political clout in Washington consists of one thing: the whopping Democratic majorities in the Senate and House. Take them away and he'll be politically crippled. He can't rely on his own popularity. As measured by presidential job approval, it's set a record for the swiftness of its decline -- again.

Republicans have Democrats right where they want them. But there's something missing. We learned from the Republican defeat in the Pennsylvania special election in May that it's not enough to be anti-Obama or to diss Nancy Pelosi. Many Democratic candidates can deal with that by abandoning Obama and Pelosi, if only rhetorically. Hey, I'm conservative and pro-life and pro-gun, they'll say, and I don't like ObamaCare or cap and trade either. That worked for the Democrat who won the Pennsylvania special. Others will follow.

So Republicans need to go where Democrats can't. They need to put daylight between themselves and their opponents. They need to show how different they really are. How? By acting boldly and being specific. This is what Ronald Reagan and Republican candidates did in 1980. It's what Gingrich-led Republicans did in 1994.

In both cases, Democrats and the mainstream media thought Republicans were crazy to take strong but risky stands. In 1980, it was a 30 percent, across-the-board cut in individual income tax rates. Democrats and the press thought that was a huge loser for Republicans. But Reagan won in a landslide and Republicans captured the Senate. In 1994, Republicans listed in their Contract with America specific goals they wanted to achieve. Once more, Democrats and the media believed this was suicidal for Republicans. They won both houses of Congress.

Republicans have two great issues: health care and reform. They ought to go beyond advocating repeal of ObamaCare, tell voters what they'd replace it with, and explain the benefits. Representative Paul Ryan has created a Roadmap to reform everything Washington runs or touches: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the tax code, health care, and more. Major parts of it can be transformed into a serious (and popular) program. In Obama's America, people are fearful. Republicans shouldn't be. 

Fred Barnes is executive editor of the Weekly Standard.

Michael Barone

For the past year and a half, Americans have been faced, for the first time in almost a half century, with the prospect of a Democratic administration and Congress bent on vastly expanding the size and scope of government. The Obama Democrats have had significant policy successes. They have vastly increased the federal budget, have striven to establish government control or direction over important segments of the private sector -- gangster government, as I have called it -- and have passed significant health care legislation. They have succeeded in their goal of moving America some distance toward the welfare states of Western Europe.

But they have significantly failed to persuade most Americans that this is a good idea. Rather to the contrary: their assumption that economic distress would make Americans more amenable to big-government policies has proven to be unfounded. The Democratic Party is in worse shape with American voters than at any time in the 50 years in which I have been closely following American politics.

Republican officeholders, in Congress and in the states, have wisely opposed the Obama Democrats' policies with rare unanimity. They have had some significant policy successes. The unions' Card Check bill to effectively abolish the secret ballot in unionization elections is dead. Cap and trade legislation to address the supposed evil effects of supposedly inevitable global warming seems moribund. Republicans seem on the brink of substantial gains in the 2010 elections, with a realistic possibility of winning a majority in the House, a near-majority in the Senate, and substantial gains in state governments.

But these successes have not been solely the work of Republican incumbents. They have been the product as well of a spontaneous outpouring of opposition to the Obama Democrats' Europeanizing project symbolized by but not limited to the Tea Party movement. Ronald Reagan came to the presidency in 1980 in a nation determined to reduce taxes and to assert American power in the world. Republicans, if they succeed politically in 2010 and 2012, will do so because the nation is determined to reduce government spending and to fight the Islamist terrorists who seek to wreak maximum damage on America and all decent societies.

Republicans are not yet well prepared to advance policies to achieve these goals, despite some impressive initiatives by individual Republicans in Congress and in the states. They need to think hard about what they can achieve if they win control of the House and what they can do in the states. My instinct is that voters are demanding more radical cuts in spending and in rollbacks of Obama Democratic programs than professional politicians are inclined to believe. The British Conservatives faced something like this challenge and their hesitant response left them short of the majority that seemed within reach. A top adviser to Tony Blair told me that they should have been bolder. I think Republicans would be wise to listen to that advice. 

Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and co-author of  The Almanac of American Politics. He received  The American Spectator's Barbara Olson Award in 2006.


Ken Blackwell

Have the Republicans learned their lesson?

I'm tempted to give a flip answer: Just ask Sen. Bob Bennett. Seriously, I think they have learned their lesson. You can see it in the unanimous rejection of the unstimulating stimulus package. You can see it in the unanimous rejection of ObamaCare. This is tangible evidence of a change of direction by congressional Republicans. The conservatives are pressing hard now. The more President Obama lurches to the left, the more pushback he faces from the right.

My co-author, Ken Klukowski, and I have written The Blueprint. This book demonstrates calmly, deliberatively, how Obama is subverting the Constitution and bringing back the Imperial Presidency. You don't learn checks and balances at Harvard Law School or in the Daley machine in Chicago. He thinks he can ride roughshod over 230 years of constitutional governance in this "last best hope of earth." He doesn't believe in American exceptionalism. He's a UN-Firster. President Obama's principles draw upon Europe's failed experiments in democratic socialism.

The only way for Obama to win is for his opponents to fall to fighting among themselves. Dan Quayle was so right to say the Tea Party movement must not spark a Perot-style defection. Too much is at stake this year.

The Tea Party is bringing a refreshing measure of seriousness and principle to politics. Tea Party activists are certainly for lower taxes, limited government, and reduced spending. But they are not only for those good and worthy goals. They gave great rounds of hearty applause to my colleague Tom McClusky. That's when Tom was the only speaker at a Capitol Hill rally to cry out against mandatory taxpayer funding of abortion in ObamaCare.

The Republicans can succeed this year the way they have succeeded in the past -- by bringing together defense, economic, and social conservatives into a powerful coalition. That's the kind of coalition that fueled the Reagan Revolution and the Republican Resurgence of 1994. That year was the first time in American history that a majority of Catholics voted Republican for Congress. It was also the last time. If Republicans are given another chance by the American people, they need stop funding Planned Parenthood, especially its assault on minority communities in this country. Social issues are not "wedge" issues; they're "bridge" issues -- and they'll help strengthen the conservative coalition. Let's pull together to keep America from pulling apart. 

Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.

David Boaz

For decades Republican leaders told their supporters, "Just wait till we get control of the White House, control of Congress, control of the White House and Congress, and then you'll see some government-shrinking." And then in 2000 they got it all. And what did the rest of us get? Not just a failure to cut government, but rather a trillion dollars in new spending, the biggest entitlement expansion since LBJ, federal takeovers of education and marriage, new powers of seizure and surveillance, and two endless wars. No wonder the voters booted them out in 2006 and 2008.

Now it looks like the voters have turned against President Obama and the Democrats even faster, but they're still not exactly keen on the GOP. Even Republican congressmen ask privately, "Do you think we'll do it right this time if we take the House again?" Voters wonder, too.

Pundits talk about the Republicans moving "too far to the right." But that's old-fashioned, left-right, red-blue thinking. The issue is freedom and self-government versus Washington control, outsiders versus insiders. The voters punished the Republicans for being fiscally irresponsible, socially reactionary, and reckless abroad. So their best course is to simultaneously get back to limited government and fiscal restraint, show young voters and moderates that they're moving beyond the scary Schiavo and anti-gay stuff, and find a foreign policy that is both strong and sensible. If they could also remember how Ronald Reagan managed to seem sunny and inclusive while enunciating strong small-government principles, they'll be on the right track.

And then it will be up to the Tea Parties and the people to insist on better performance than we got after 1994 or after 2000. Support for smaller government has been surging since about February 2009, but it's got to be sustained over a long period, and it's got to be serious. You can't have smaller government -- or even fiscal responsibility -- if voters support all the big programs and just want to cut "waste, fraud, and abuse." Voters have to hold the Republicans' feet to the fire and demand real cuts in real programs. 

David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer.

Andrew Cline

The day after Scott Brown drove his green GMC Canyon into the history books, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the highest-ranking elected Republican in the nation, said Brown won because "Americans are electing good Republican candidates who they hope will reverse a yearlong Democrat trend of spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much." Six days later, McConnell released a list of seven "Suggestions for the State of the Union to Reduce Government Spending." Not one of the seven cut a dime from the federal budget. Twelve days after that, McConnell issued a press release attacking Democrats for cutting Medicare.

No wonder the Republican Party is undergoing an identity crisis. When Republicans attack Democrats for deficit spending and bailouts, Democrats respond, "Um, you guys did that, too!" Republicans are left complaining not that Democrats do these bad things, but that Democrats take them to 11. Voters don't know which party to trust.

Republican voters are especially disenchanted. They took one big lesson from the George W. Bush years: Republican politicians will act like Democrats if we let them. Republican primary can-didates are tapping into that better than the leadership is. Many are running as much against their own party's leadership as against the Democrats. It's a big reason why Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, and Rand Paul will be GOP nominees this year, and not Charlie Crist, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Trey Grayson.

Still, voters fleeing the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda this fall will wind up with the GOP by de-fault, not because the GOP has done anything to lure voters back. If the Democrats' overreach brings big GOP victories, it will confirm the Republican establishment view that as long as the Democrats are too radical for the American people, the Republicans can win by offering to spend, regulate, and tax just a little less than the Democrats do.

The GOP base realizes what the establishment doesn't: America's welfare state cannot sur-vive as is. Substantial change is needed, and the party that achieves it will be best positioned to maintain power for years. Thus, the fate of the GOP depends on who controls the party's agenda if Republicans win back some power this fall: the establishment or the reformers. The people don't want Obama's big government, but they do want change. A GOP that doesn't offer it will not stay in power for long. 

Andrew Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Jim DeMint

Before Republicans worry about beating Democrats, we must focus on defeating the appropriations system that has put our country in financial peril.

The appropriations committees in the House and Senate are tasked with spending taxpayers' money, and many of those powerful committee members believe it is the job of Congress to direct federal spending to parochial interests and pet projects.

Multiply that mentality by 535 members of Congress and the result is a $13 trillion national debt. That's why every politician bemoans Washington spending on the campaign trail, but actual spending bills are never defeated.

Senior appropriators, Republicans and Democrats, effectively control the House and the Senate using the power of the purse. They buy other members of Congress off with earmarks, which makes it difficult for anyone who accepts earmarks to cut overall spending. It would amount to biting the hand that feeds. Appropriators dominate leadership positions in both parties and are chairman and ranking members of major policy-making committees. They decide how money gets spent, who gets earmarks, how bills get written, and who gets shut out of the closed-door negotiations.

Most importantly, they work in harmony to drive up spending, borrowing, and debt, with no regard to their party label. Shrinking the federal largesse would diminish their power, so they have a built-in incentive to grow government.

That dynamic has caused too many politicians to lose sight of what the voters send them to Washington to do: uphold the Constitution that proscribes a limited federal government. Congress is supposed to focus on national priorities and leave state and local decisions to states and local governments.

Although President Obama's bailouts and takeovers have been useful in uniting Republicans against his liberal agenda, the GOP is still not united in its commitment to cut spending and debt. The appropriations system has too much control and it will take an earthquake election to break its grip over the party.

There's hope. Early tremors of that earthquake election have been heard in Pennsylvania and Utah. Voters in those states refused to nominate long-serving incumbents who supported the bank bailouts and government-run health care and embraced earmarks. It's happening in Kentucky and Florida as well. Primary voters in those states have rewarded candidates who are committed to reducing spending and debt.

An American Awakening is taking place, and voters are demanding a return to constitutional, limited government. They've realized politicians who promise to reduce the deficit while they're working to secure earmarks and pass new programs cannot be trusted.

Republicans should prove we are serious about ending the big spending system by fighting to limit the years someone can serve on the Appropriations Committee. Senators should not be permitted to hold chairmanship of both spending and authorizing committees. And Senate Republicans should follow the House Republicans to enact an earmark moratorium. Doing this would show a good-faith effort toward shutting down the congressional favor factory that's eating away our national treasure.

Voters may be running away from Democrats this election, but they're not yet running to Republicans. The big-spending appropriations system is in the way. To regain touch with Americans who are outraged at government greed Republicans must firmly and publicly oppose those who believe it's their congressional duty to bring home the bacon. Otherwise, the Republican Party will never be able to sincerely represent the conservative principles of fiscal responsibility. 

Jim DeMint is a U.S. senator from South Carolina.

Jim Geraghty

Have Republicans learned their lesson? Many have, or at least they grasp a change in the public's mood since autumn 2008 that the Democrats choose to ignore.

It's funny how controversial TARP was at the time it was enacted, and yet there was little or no immediate political consequence for it. (One could argue it persuaded independents to see if the Democrats could govern better than President Bush had.) Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and plenty of Democrats in Congress in both parties supported it, with little meaningful backlash from their base. A lot of Americans tentatively supported TARP, cautiously heeding the dire warnings of imminent economic Armageddon. Number-crunchers will insist TARP was necessary to stabilize the markets, but after the infamous AIG bonus payments, the record profits of banks once considered endangered, and the program's expansion to help out domestic automakers, many voters concluded TARP had been a giant con. About 20 months later, many Americans' IRAs and 401(k)s are still shrunken, unemployment is still close to 10 percent, and TARP was clearly not a one-time emergency fix, but a herald of a new era of colossal, 12-figure spending bills: the stimulus, health care, giant appropriations bills. The message from Washington is clear: when times are hard, we get to spend more; you get to spend less.

The response from many voters is probably unfit for this magazine's profanity standards. The message to Republican officeholders is pretty simple: stop spending so much money. Traditionally, deficit spending was the topic of a tut-tutting Robert Samuelson column involving a lot of numbers and far-off dates; Washington's movers and shakers furrowed their brows for a moment and then continued as normal. Sometime between 2008 and 2010, government spending became a moral issue; Tea Party protesters often talk about "borrowing from our children" or "stealing from the next generation" or some other criminal act to the adorable moppets they've brought to the rallies. The deficit is no longer abstract and numerical; it's now discussed as an act of economic filicide.

The Democratic Party, essentially a resource-extraction machine in most parts of the country, brought several large states to the brink of Greece-like financial ruin: New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts. They used their one-time stimulus funds to keep operating as before. A lot of millionaires have left the high cost-of-living, high-taxation blue states; a lot of working families with children preceded them. The Democratic model of governance isn't financially sustainable, and that hard fact gets harder to hide by the month.

As one strategist put it to me, "Whoever the Republicans nominate in 2012, he or she had better be good at firing government workers, because that's what the job is going to require starting in 2013." A lot of Republicans -- not all, but a lot -- get this. New Jersey's Chris Christie himself may not be the future of the GOP, but his arguments and his approach are. 

Jim Geraghty, a contributing editor at National Review, writes the Campaign Spot blog.


Quin Hillyer

If the question in a vacuum is whether the national Republican Party is ready again to be a congressional majority, or deserves to be one, the answer would be an emphatic "no." But politics is not conducted in a vacuum. When compared to the only real alternative, which is continued national Democratic control, the Republicans' fitness for office must be deemed rather strong. The national Democratic Party neither recognizes nor abides by any limits to government largesse, scope, or power. Its conception of "propriety" is whatever it can get away with that will serve its ideological or partisan ends. Its devotion to the Constitution is negligible. The congressional Democrats -- every single one of them, as long as they support the current party leadership in congressional organizing -- are anathema and abominations. And an American majority seems to be recognizing this, and willing to act upon it.

The problem is that the Republicans in the three main party committees and in the Senate seem incapable of earning, or deserving, full trust in wielding power. They horribly waste money, both from taxpayers and from political donors. They demonstrate a wholly unmerited arrogance, insisting that Washington knows better than the rubes in the hinterlands. They interfere in party primaries when they ought to stay the hell out. They accept "conventional wisdom" about what is politically feasible, at times handing liberals victories the left has not earned while at other times taking unnecessarily obstinate procedural stances to protect their own prerogatives divorced from real philosophical cause. And their ability to explain matters of principle is often hideously amateurish.

Nevertheless, the Republicans' lack of adequate skill, backbone, or philosophical understanding is far preferable to the national Democrats' determination to move in exactly the wrong directions. For a shipwrecked man struggling to stay afloat and alive, a weak tide toward shore is far better than a strong tide toward the open sea. Plus, it must be admitted that House Republicans at least seem to be becoming more willing to stand on principle, and more effective at doing so. And any gain in numbers, any at all, that might help block the radical Obama agenda is a gain well worth making. Conservatives should devoutly hope for Republican ascendancy this fall not because Republicans can deliver anything approaching nirvana, but because the alternative is intolerable.

Quin Hillyer is a senior editorial writer for the Washington Times and a senior editor for The American Spectator.

Philip Klein

During their time in the wilderness, Republicans have not convincingly demonstrated that they are serious about getting the federal budget under control. Sure, Republicans talk a big game about President Obama's expansion of government and the record deficits being accrued under his watch. But this is mostly political theater. The focus is typically either on opposing spending in vague terms or highlighting earmarks that, while certainly wasteful, do not compose a significant portion of the budget. The only way to get serious about spending is to confront the looming entitlement crisis, which represents $108 trillion in long-term debt, putting our nation on track for a Greek-style financial meltdown. Yet Republicans, despite portraying themselves as champions of limited government, have not demonstrated any more willingness to confront this problem than Democrats. And let us not forget that when Republicans were last in the majority, they used their power to ram through what was at the time the largest expansion of entitlements since the Great Society in the form of the Medicare prescription drug plan.

While Rep. Paul Ryan has unveiled a serious proposal to do something about the problem, the Republican leadership ran away from his Roadmap plan once it came under attack, scrambling to emphasize that it wasn't the official Republican budget. Whenever I've interviewed GOP candidates this election cycle who tell me about the need to get spending under control, I have pressed them on the issue of entitlements, and I have yet to get a satisfactory answer. If candidates are afraid to talk about entitlement reform to a conservative journalist when seeking a Republican nomination, then there's no reason to believe that they'll be willing to take on the issue if they find themselves in the majority. And while there may be some principled exceptions, it's difficult to imagine that they would approach the critical mass needed for real reform

Even worse, during the health care debate, Republicans established themselves as guardians of entitlements, focusing much of their criticism of the new national health care law on its cuts to Medicare. House Minority Leader John Boehner has vowed to restore those cuts if Republicans retake the majority, and many GOP congressional candidates have been using the issue to scare up senior citizen votes. While these tactics may result in short-term political gain for Republicans, they also perpetuate the third rail status of a program that desperately needs to be reformed if we're going to avoid a fiscal collapse. Entitlement spending will burden future generations with more debt, crushing tax rates, a stagnant economy, and runaway inflation.

The GOP has made the war on America's youth a bipartisan affair. The party is not ready to retake the majority. 

Philip Klein is The American Spectator's Washington correspondent.

Jeffrey Lord

"If I were a U.S. senator, I would vote for her [Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor] confirmation, because objective qualifications should matter more than ideology in the judicial confirmation process."

You're thinking Charlie Crist said this, right? Or maybe it was soon-to-be former senator Arlen Specter. Or Arnold. Or, well, others amongst the usual suspects. Sorry.

The writer of the August 4, 2009 op-ed appearing in the Philadelphia Inquirer was...Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Mr. I'm-Not-Arlen Specter. Mr. I'm-a-Conservative. Displaying a potentially revealing, not to mention surprising, RINO (Republican in Name Only) streak on the issue of judicial nominees, the man who drove Specter from the GOP and is now the party's nominee for the Senate has already abandoned -- before the votes are even counted -- the principle that principles count when approving judicial nominees. This is important if conservatives are thinking a Republican Senate would promptly put the brakes on the headlong leftward lurch the country has endured under President Obama.

Supreme Court nominees are more visible than lower court nominees, but if indeed Toomey sees no problem surrendering to statist judges -- then his prospective presence in the Senate is already a gain for Democrats. Presumably he would be a vote for such left-leaning Obama nominees as Goodwin Liu, the radical Berkeley professor opposed by even the moderate Lindsay Graham.

Like clockwork, Toomey's evolution began winning plaudits from the liberal media. "Toomey clearly has gotten the memo that he needs to moderate his positions," enthused a Politico columnist. Cooed the Washington Post: "It's...a recognition on Toomey's behalf that he must find ways to change the image of himself as an arch conservative."

Has the GOP learned its lesson? Or are we returning to Barry Goldwater's "dime store New Deal" -- liberalism on the cheap. The overwhelming GOP rejection of the stimulus and ObamaCare are hopeful signs. The addiction to earmarks and the apparent acquiescence to Elena Kagan, like that to Sotomayor -- decidedly not. Judging from Toomey's apparent attempt to "moderate," the answer is an unsettling maybe. 

Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director, writer and author. He lives in Pennsylvania.

Grover Norquist

Polling from Gallup, Rasmussen, and others suggest that it is increasingly likely that Republicans will recapture control of the House of Representatives in 2010, only four years after losing the Speakership to Nancy Pelosi in 2006.

Republicans are more enthusiastic and engaged. Independents, those non-aligned voters who began to swing against Bush in 2004 and then more strongly against Republicans in 2006 and 2008 largely over the protracted occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, have swung back to the Republicans in reaction to Obama's massive government spending spree.

Republican wins in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts and the massive turnouts at Tea Party rallies over the last year are another sign of building Republican strength.

And finally, we have word from a Democrat who was privy to the Democratic Party's own polling and plans for November. Having seen the battlefield from Obama, Reid, and Pelosi's war room, House Appropriations chairman David Obey decided to abandon ship. The grass does not look greener from the other side.

The question is not so much, will the Republicans win the House, but will they deserve to govern? Will they govern well? Will they govern as Reagan Republicans rather than Bush Republicans, who assume the federal government has a role in everything, that buying campaign contributions with earmarks is clever and that throwing money at a problem is good governance?

Have Republicans decided that federal spending is the problem, not a fundraising tool or a PR gimmick?

There are several reasons to believe that answer is yes.

Up until the last two years Republicans believed that too much spending was not a vote-moving issue. They knew from experience that gun owners, taxpayers, and pro-lifers were organized and would penalize a politician who attacked them. But who had lost an election because he did too many earmarks? Vice President Cheney announced that no one ever lost an election due to overspending. What powerful lobby on K Street punished overspending per se?

The Tea Party movement sprang up in response to Obama's spending. The tax hikes had not yet arrived. Arlen Specter collapsed in the polls not for his various liberal impulses over the years -- but right after he voted for the stimulus spending plan. He had to leave the party. Senate veteran Bob Bennett of Utah bragged of his earmarking prowess and ability to do things (read: steal stuff) for Utah. He lost.

There apparently is a "spend less" constituency and they have identified themselves and are visibly organized through the Tea Party movement.

Politicians, like most mammals, have endoskeletons, a skeletal system inside their bodies. You cannot see them or know their strength. It is not wise to assume that they can withstand the pressure of the spending interest lobbies in Washington or state capitals. The Tea Party movement is an exoskeleton, an external skeleton that clams and lobsters have. It provides protection against pressure.

Those freshmen elected in 2010 will have their first taste of politics in a year when the message to spend less is clear. Incumbents are already trimming their sails to the new wind-watching the slow learners getting crushed in the primaries does wonders pour encourager les autres.

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.