Date ►►► November 30, 2012
Whilst perusing the web as I am wont to do, I came across this interesting statistic:
Total U.S. retirement assets were $18.5 trillion as of June 30, 2012, down 2.0 percent from $18.9 trillion recorded on March 31, 2012. The decrease in retirement assets was driven by the drop in corporate equity values—for example, the S&P 500 Index fell by 2.8 percent in the second quarter. Retirement savings accounted for 36 percent of all household financial assets in the United States at the end of the second quarter of 2012.
So retirement issues were down a tick, but that $18.5 trillion is still a whopping amount of money. Now, consider this story just recently published in Time magazine:
Everything including the sacred mortgage deduction is on the table as lawmakers wrestle with the fiscal cliff, a year-end avalanche of scheduled spending cuts and tax increases. With a combined $10 trillion sitting in IRAs and 401(k) plans, retirement accounts make a juicy target. Some of this money has never been taxed, and under current law never will be.
To maintain this savings incentive the government “spends” $100 billion a year in the form of tax breaks to those who stash money in these kinds of accounts. Now, a new study suggests this tax incentive does little to change saving behavior. Some lawmakers, no doubt, are wondering: Why keep an expensive tax incentive that does not incent?
Finally, consider the amount of U.S. national debt. Best estimates put it somewhere around $16 trillion and getting bigger every day. So if we boil it all down to the basics, we have the following situation:
- $16 trillion debt.
- $18 trillion in privately held retirement accounts.
- Congress taking "another look" at the tax laws.
Anybody else getting that sick feeling?
Think about it: Washington could use that money to wipe out the debt in one fell swoop! Of course, it would entail them nationalizing the retirement industry, appropriating all those funds, and then replacing them with IOUs -- kind of like what Social Security does today. If you think that idea sounds far farfetched, you need only consider this: the federal government has already nationalized medical insurance through Obamacare, not to mention the trillion dollar student loan market. Why should retirement present a problem?
And talk about a double-bonus! Not only would the feds have total control over your retirement funding, if you kick off before you get a chance to burn through all the money the government would get to keep it (again, exactly like Social Security works today). And thanks to the Independent Patient Advisory Board set up by Obamacare, you can bet your booty that those death panels will have even more incentive to hustle people off to their eternal reward as quickly as possible. It's a win-win all around.
Welcome to Barack Obama's brave new world. I'm not saying it's gonna happen -- but with the way these guys work, I wouldn't be surprised.
A curious New York Times story suggests, without evidence, that Republican senators are "coalescing" around Sen. John Kerry (D-MA, 85%), of all people, to be nominated as Secretary of State instead of Susan Rice.
Given Kerry's unAmerican, treasonous activities as frontman for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War -- in congressional testimony, Kerry recklessly accused most of his American comrades of war crimes and atrocities -- sane Republicans shudder at the thought of such a man becoming the paramount cabinet secretary. (Sane Democrats would likewise shudder, could we but find any such rara ava.)
I'm very skeptical of the Times story. Note that the only GOP senators who are actually quoted as saying they would support Kerry are Lisa Murkowski (R-AK, 50%), Susan Collins (R-ME, 55%), Rob Portman (R-OH, 75%), and John Barrasso (R-WY, 89%); of these, the only real conservative is the last, Sen. "Embarrasso" -- who clearly is a personal friend of Kerry's and sits on the same committee. The others range from the borderline-moderate Portman to out-and-out RINOs Murkowski and Collins.
(Barrasso shouldn't support Kerry merely because they're buds; but the Senate has always been more "fraternal" than the bare-knuckle House, and they put on aristocratic airs of shared privilege at the drop of a powdered wig.)
John McCain (R-AZ, 80%) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC, 75%) are mentioned in the article, but only as giving Susan Rice a hard time in committee hearings; the Times story doesn't actually claim they have offered support for Kerry instead. Same with Rep. Jeff Flake (now senator-elect, R-AZ, 100%): He sounds like he's just being puckish, and he doesn't actually say he will support Kerry; hard to tell what he intends.
Finally, the Times quotes Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND, 80%) -- who suggests Joe Lieberman instead! Given that Obama is not going to name a Republican to the "top" cabinet position, I would wholeheartedly support Lieberman as Secretary of State, though I would definitely not support him as, say, economics czar: He's a military and foreign-policy conservative but an economic and social liberal.
So our "hug-a-Kerry" sample comprises only four GOP senators out of 45, or 9% -- mostly moderate to RINO. That hardly qualifies as the GOP "coalescing" around John Kerry for SoS.
They may yet do so; and if they do, they will have lost their minds. But at the moment, we only have the New York Times cherry-picking a few malcontents, who have never really been a good fit with the Republican Party, and coaxing them to push an American traitor Democrat as SoS instead of a sock-puppet Democrat. While it's disappointing that any Republicans at all would support John Kerry, it's hardly shocking that you can find a few.
(You can probably find a few Democrats who would support, say, disgraced former top spook David Petraeus as SoS under a GOP president, due to personal relationships or "historical amnesia" about his own ethical lapses, which have national-security implications. It's just the way people are.)
The GOP is going to put up staunch resistance to that useful idiot, Susan Rice, as
Toady Secretary of State; and if she is withdrawn and John Kerry nominated instead, I would be extremely surprised if 90% of the GOP don't put up just as much a fight to keep him out of the cabinet as well.
Some conservatives are already attacking the Senate Republican conference, but I think they're jumping the pop-gun. Let's wait and see what the conference actually does, rather than blast it with an artillery barrage and a bevy of Hellfire missles for what a fingerful of liberal Republicans merely say.
Date ►►► November 26, 2012
The Politics of Pallor
One of the more irritating bits of Conventional Wisdom to emerge from the 2012 election is the notion that the Republicans have become the party of "old white guys." I'm not talking about the demographic aspect of it; the statistics do indeed show that a huge base of support for Mitt Romney came from white males, whom he won handily over Barack Obama. No, what chaps my hide is the derisive way in which liberals and the mainstream media -- and who are we kidding here, they're one and the same -- deploy the term "old white guys," like it's a gypsy curse that requires spitting afterward.
Now I will grant you that there are things that old white guys don't do very well. For the most part, their dancing moves involve way too much overbite and getting stuck behind one in the grocery checkout line can be a less than pleasant experience. Their skills with a comb tend to be dubious at best, and that whole black-socks-with-sandals thing utterly confuses me (I think it's an AARP requirement). However, this whole business with casting old white guys -- and, by extension, middle-aged white guys like yours truly -- as the villains in modern politics is not only ugly and divisive, it's also old hat. Progressives have been using some variation of this silly theme for over a hundred years.
Part of it is the arrogance of the new: "We're the future and you're the past, so just shut up and get out of the way." In 2012, though, the Democrats are also using it to project an image of themselves as America's destiny -- one in which, apparently, older white guys don't matter. If true, that's a sad indication of where America is headed. Why? Because, quite frankly, just as the country has benefited from the increasing influence of women and minorities, it has been tremendously blessed by the contribution of -- drum roll, please -- older white guys!
To wit, the very concept of democracy and self-rule was the creation of old white guys (European white guys, no less). America's Founding Fathers, who secured for us the blessings of liberty through limited government, were old white guys. Thomas Edison, who seems to have invented half the stuff we take for granted today, was an old white guy. Henry Ford, who revolutionized manufacturing, was an old white guy (in addition to being a rather nasty character, but that's another story). Soldiers from the Greatest Generation who defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan? The surviving ones are mostly old white guys. The first man to break the sound barrier and the men who went to the moon are now old white guys. The list goes on and on, but you get the idea.
I know, I know -- some lefties out there are probably saying, "Well if America hadn't been such a bigoted nation all those years, the first man on the moon might have been a woman!" And while that's a plausible argument, it's thoroughly beside the point. The scope of human potential is unlimited. It's not as if diminishing old white guys is going to elevate the prospects of other groups. Not only that, but the very concept itself is immoral. You can only build someone up by tearing someone else down? Count me out of that world view.
This nation faces some serious challenges, folks, and we need all the talent we can muster to overcome them. That includes, among everyone else, old white guys. Whadya say instead of bashing them, we listen to what they have to say? We might actually learn something.
Date ►►► November 22, 2012
The Future Is Tense - Happy Thanksgiving!
Date ►►► November 17, 2012
PC AP DQs JS
According to Politico, here is the first tweet sent from the Associated Press anent a barrage of rockets:
Air raid sirens wail in Jerusalem, signaling a possible rocket attack aimed at Israel's capital.
And here is tweet 2, a half hour later:
Air raid sirens in Jerusalem signal a possible rocket attack aimed at Israel's self-declared capital. [Emphasis added. - DaH]
Now maybe it's just I, but -- isn't every capital a "self-declared capital?" Does any sovereign nation have a capital that was picked by some other country? What lunacy is this?
The lunacy comprises a combination of raw Jew hatred and politically-correct, line-toeing "presstitutes" who slavishly ape any position taken by the far Left. Here, the rule is that every country in the world can select its own capital city except the Jewish state, which must first get a seal of approval from all the antisemites at the Untied Nations. Jews are born guilty, you see, and have no rights, not even the right of sovereignty.
The AP, along with the rest of the Progressivist media, long ago bought into this cheery pronunciamento from the massmind. Hence, AP was appalled when one of its own paladins accidentally allowed as how the city that has been the legal capital of the state of Israel since its founding in 1948 and is still the legal capital today -- that is, Jerusalem -- should be called Israel's capital. They swiftly "corrected" their earlier "erroneous" tweet.
And judging from the first few comments, a vast, journalistic-industrial disinformation campaign has successfully convinced much of the country that the "legal" capital of Israel is Tel Aviv, which has never been true.
(Some left-liberal purists claim that, because Jerusalem was divided from the War of Independence in 1948 to the Six Day War in 1967, Tel Aviv was the capital. But as usual, the "purists" are wrong. Jerusalem has always been Israel's "self-declared capital," and no other was ever considered by any Israeli Jew. The confusion may have arisen because until 1967, East Jerusalem was controlled by Jordan. During some of that time, the Knesset met in Tel Aviv; but that was always a temporary, de facto expediency, not a de jure designation of a capital.)
Back to the appeasement mine. In fact, AP felt so strongly that Israel has no right to pick its own capital that it sent yet a third missive, this time an explanatory e-mail that is as insulting as it is snippy:
The air raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem after the start of the Jewish Sabbath in the holy city, claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians as a capital and located about 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Gaza. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the rocket landed in an open area southeast of the city.
Actually, the context in which Palestinians claim that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel is that they deny that any country named "Israel" exists at all! Instead, they routinely refer to it, when absolutely necessary to do so, as "the Zionist entity," as if the entire nation of Israel and all its eight million people are nothing but a terrorist cult... a description that far better fits the West Bank and Gaza strip.
The lunacy continues: AP either buys into the idea that there is no such place as Israel, or else they believe that Palastinians should get to take Israel's capital for their own instead, despite the fact that they have never controlled Jerusalem or any part of it. The only areas ever rulled by Palestinians are those Israel, Egypt, or Jordan gave them for refugee purposes, which do not include the city in question. (Jordan controlled East Jerusalem for a few years, but Palestinians do not control Jordan and never have.)
Here is the timeline of who has ruled Jerusalem over the last few millennia:
- Obviously, there weren't any "Palestinians" ca. 2600 BC, when some archeologists believe Jerusalem was founded; we skip two thousand years to Roman times.
- The Roman Empire held it until the split between West and East, in AD 285; after that, Jerusalem was controlled by the Eastern Roman Empire, which eventually became the Byzantine Empire.
- In AD 634, Persia (under Omar ibn Hattab) wrested it away from the declining Byzantium.
- The Christian knights of the First Crusade conquered Jerusalem and environs in 1099, founding the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem.
- Saladin -- a Kurd, which is ethnically Persian -- took it away from the Christians again in 1187; thus Jerusalem was controlled by Christians for 88 years.
- After a brief (1244-1250) interlude under the control of the Khwarezmian Tartars, Jerusalem was held by the Mamluks (none of them Arabic), who ruled Egypt until the 16th century.
- In 1517, the Turkish Ottoman Empire conquered Egypt and so also Jerusalem. The Ottomans remained in control until 1917.
- In that year, the British took control of the the Holy Land after demolishing the Ottoman Empire.
Notice the curious discovery: Until the 20th century, no Arab dynasty had ever ruled over any part of modern-day Israel.
The British Mandate was subsequently divided, via the League of Nations, into three parts: The Iraq Mandate, the Transjordan Mandate, and the Palestinian Mandate. (Despite the name, the Palestinian Mandate was not ruled by Palestinians, but by Brits.)
- In 1948, Great Britain withdrew from its Arab mandates, and Israel declared its independence. For the very first time in 1948, Jerusalem was partitioned between Jews and Arabs; specifically, between the new nation of Israel and the nation of Jordan, with Jordan controlling the eastern half of the city (which includes most of the holy sites, such as the Temple Mount).
- On December 13th, 1948, the Israeli Knesset proclaimed Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
- And of course, in the Six Day War of 1967, Israel captured East Jerusalem and all the territory up to the west bank of the Jordan River.
Conclusions: Despite many conquerings, western Jerusalem has never, in all human history, been ruled or controlled by any Arab country, nor by the Arab subgroup now called Palestinians. They were ruled by many Moslem empires -- Persian, Mamluk, and Turkish -- but never by Arabs (Palestinians are Arabs).
East Jerusalem was controlled by Arab Jordanians from 1948-9 to 1967, about 19 years; but Palestinians are a despised and powerless people in Jordan, though they make up much of the population. The three kings of Jordan during the only period in which Arabs controlled any part of Jerusalem -- Abdullah I, Talal, and Hussein -- were Hashemites originally from Mecca; in fact, Abdullah and Talal were both born there (Talal's son Hussein was born in Jordan in 1935).
In other words, Palestinians have no claim whatsoever on any part of Jerusalem, other than the radical argument that proceeds, "We want it, they have it, let's go get it!" Or in this case, "We want it, they have it, let's get the United Nations to go get it for us!" (Yep, they can't even manage their own looting.)
Finally, it makes not a whit of difference whether other countries choose to locate their embassies in Tel Aviv, rather than Jerusalem; none of that makes Tel Aviv the capital, because nothing done by San Salvadore or Saudi Arabia or even the United States is binding upon the location of Israel's own capital. Thus, there is no logical, legal, philosophical, moral, or religous argument that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, and "journalists" who pretend that there is some question about it are either lying in their teeth because they hate Jews, or they are kow-towing to the Arab League and other Moslems out of fear or bribery or trendy leftist cant.
For heaven's sake, American news media, put an end to this farce and stop making yourselves look foolish and antisemitic! Be a mensch. The Palestinians may "claim" Jerusalem; heck, in the mid-19th century in San Francisco, Joshua Norton proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States, Protector of Mexico, and King of the Jews. But calling a tail a king doesn't make it a king.
It's Alfred Jarry-esque to argue that Yemen or Belgium or Monaco gets to pick Israel's capital city, any more than Canada should get to pick Belgium's capital. You think? It always amazes me how fools of the press can tie their brains into Gordian Knots, just to support the Party line.
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and will remain so until either (a) Israel legally changes to a different city, or (b) Israel is conquered, or (c) destroyed. Since (a) will never happen, and (b, c) seem highly unlikely at this juncture, it's time for newspapers, TV and radio news, and internet services just accept that they cannot rewrite reality.
They can only behave like nitwits; that is the God-given freedom of the press.
Date ►►► November 16, 2012
We truly are now living in a parallel universe. Apparently because of her ethnicity and sex, Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice should be immune from questioning by duly elected Senators in Congress:
A dozen female members of the House staunchly defended U.N. ambassador Susan Rice against Republican criticism over her remarks on the deadly Sept. 11 Libya attack, suggesting the GOP lawmakers' comments were racist and sexist.
"It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they pick on women and minorities," Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, the next chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, told reporters Friday at a Capitol Hill news conference.
In case you missed it, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham expressed grave doubts about Rice's fitness to serve as Secretary of State, should Barack Obama nominate her to replace the outgoing Hillary Clinton. That's because Rice took to the airwaves to parrot the White House position that the Benghazi attacks weren't a terrorist act, even though the administration knew that was -- to use a Joe Bidenism -- a whole lot of malarkey.
That makes Susan Rice either a dupe or a liar, neither of which are qualities you look for in a Secretary of State.
What's really baffling about this is how these women of the House seem to think that Rice is this delicate, wilting flower in need of their protection. At the same time, they're suggesting that she's tough enough to represent America's interests against the various thugs, dictators and kleptocrats than run the rest of the world. In psychology, this is called cognitive dissonance. In layman's terms, I believe the expression is, "Huh?"
Here's what I suggest Republicans do: Bring the families of Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens up to Capitol Hill and have the defenders of Susan Rice explain to them in person how McCain's and Graham's questions are bigoted and racist.
A More Tangled Web
Oh, boy. Something is definitely afoot:
Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified in a closed-door hearing Friday morning that his agency determined immediately after the Sept. 11 Libya attack that "Al Qaeda involvement" was suspected -- but the line was taken out in the final version circulated to administration officials, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who spoke to reporters after Petraeus testified before the House Intelligence Committee, indicated he and other lawmakers still have plenty of questions about the aftermath of the attack.
"No one knows yet exactly who came up with the final version of the talking points," he said.
King went on to say that Patraeus answered no when asked if the CIA director's affair had anything to do with him changing his testimony from the original "The video did it" story floated by Susan Rice and the Obama administration. Yeah, and Jimmy Hoffa is still alive and well and getting a tan in Costa Rica.
Right now, one imagines the Obama crew is scrambling to find somebody in the chain of information to blame for them "not knowing" about the terrorist angle. If I worked at CIA or the Department of State, I'd be looking to cover my behind with some well-timed leaks. We may yet find out what actually happened in Benghazi that night.
Date ►►► November 15, 2012
If you thought it was only the food at Denny's that gave you heartburn, here comes another tale of woe caused by the "Affordable" Health Care Act:
Florida based restaurant boss John Metz, who runs approximately 40 Denny's and owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise has decided to offset that by adding a five percent surcharge to customers' bills and will reduce his employees' hours.
With Obamacare due to be fully implemented in January 2014, Metz has justified his move by claiming it is 'the only alternative. I've got to pass on the cost to the customer.'
Denny's certainly isn't the first restaurant chain to take such steps -- Darden Restaurants and Papa John's have also announced that they'll be cutting employee hours so they can keep their heads above water. And you'll probably see a lot of other low-margin businesses doing the same before Obamacare is fully implemented in January of 2014.
Now you see now how laws like this hit low-income workers the hardest. Like minimum wage laws, on the surface Obamacare seems compassionate; but in reality, it makes it that much harder for employers to meet payrolls without going bankrupt. The result? Higher unemployment and a big reduction in the number of entry-level jobs.
But Obama really cares, and that's what counts -- right?
A Tangled Web
Scandals have a way of metastasizing. They start off one way, then before you know it the thing has spread in ways you would have never expected. Watergate started off as a "third-rate" burglary. The Clinton-Lewinsky impeachment drama arose from a real estate fraud investigation. And now we have the Benghazi affair, which just left-turned into a full-blown sexcapade involving a four-star general, the director of the CIA, a lovesick biographer, and a social climber from Tampa who -- for reasons still difficult to fathom -- had unfettered access to the upper echelons of military power.
For those of you who need the lay of the land (pun fully intended), here's the story so far.
As Dark Helmet asked after a dense bit of exposition in Spaceballs, "Everybody got that?" I hope so, because the whole thing is giving me a headache.
So how does this screwball comedy fit into the September 11 attacks in Benghazi? That's where it gets interesting. On September 15th, Petraeus gave testimony to Congress that backed up the Obama administration's assertion that the attacks were a spontaneous reaction to that anti-Mohammed video on YouTube -- a story that we now know to be false. More than that, Petraeus knew that story to be false when he gave his testimony. So why did he do it?
Charles Krauthammer posits that the White House held the affair over the director's head so that he would toe the party line. If this is true, not only is it the dirtiest kind of politics, it also points to a coverup of massive proportions. More than that, however, it means that the Obama administration deliberately allowed Petraeus to keep his job for several months, knowing that he was a tremendous security risk.
But that still begs an even harder question: Why reveal the Petraeus affair at all? If there was a conspiracy to shut Petraeus up about what he knew, the White House should have been perfectly content keeping the story under wraps. What then caused them to demand Petraeus' resignation last week?
There are only two answers that make sense. One, somebody involved in this tawdry mess was getting ready to blow it open, so the secret would get out regardless. In that case, it would have been in the administration's interest to get out in front of the ensuing scandal as much as possible. The other answer? Petraeus decided he wasn't playing ball anymore. As a military man with a sterling career, having led troops into battle countless times, he understands the meaning of honor. And in spite of his failures with Paula Broadwell, one would like to think that Petraeus would eventually reach the point where he just couldn't stomach the lies anymore.
At any rate, it'll be interesting to hear what he has to say to Congress in his testimony this week.
Practical Controversialism 002 -- Take Me To the Fairness
It's vital that we recast core Republican principles in a way that makes them attractive and easy to understand for voters, while fitting them with our basic American impulses of fairness, decency, justice, and protecting what's ours.
This does not mean we should be intransigent, demanding "all or nothing." If Reagan is the model, then consider his "half a loaf" thesis (via Ted Cruz):
Reagan used to say, "if they offer you half a loaf, what do you do?" And his answer was, "you take half a loaf and then you come back for more."
But at the same time, Cruz understands that some compromises are more equal than others: "I’m willing to compromise and accept less than 100% if we are moving forward.... The problem is some of the Republicans in Washington compromise, moving backwards." Like a Victorian tart, Republicans seem to have round heels.
It's vital we stand up for our core principles, clearly and cleanly. But if we muddy them up with complicated exceptions and demurs, shackle them to unpopular and divisive side orders, or allow the Democrats to redefine them into absurdities or offensive assaults on the body politic, we'll lose votes rather than gain them.
Cases in point: Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin. With what principles were they identified on election day(s)? I don't mean (or care) what they meant to say; I'm interested in how they actually came across to the voters:
- Akin: Abortion is wrong and also God has a secret ejection seat for zygotes produced by rape.
- Mourdock: Abortion is wrong and also God's plan is for rapists to impregnate their victims.
Odds are pretty high that those "and alsos" gave away two Republican Senate seats for nothing, seats we should have won. Now this may seem an extreme position, but maybe they should have left off that second clause!
I agree with my favorite blogger on my favorite blog:
If questioned about abortion, conservative candidates should focus on the areas where liberal positions are extreme. Thus, for example, a candidate could say:
I have always been opposed to abortion on moral grounds. Frankly, however, my opinion isn’t very relevant since the Supreme Court has held that there is a constitutional right to abortion. But there are a few areas that are still open for discussion. One of them is infanticide. It seems to me that no matter how we feel about abortion, we ought to be able to agree that babies that are born alive shouldn’t be killed. And yet the Democrats haven’t been willing to join us in opposing infanticide. President Obama voted against a bill that would have outlawed infanticide when he was a state senator in Illinois, and most Democrats, including my opponent, are in favor of partial-birth abortion, which is nothing but infanticide under a different name. So I suggest you ask my opponent: is he willing to buck his party and come out against infanticide, including partial birth abortion?
But that's not what I'm here to talk about. Rather, let's talk taxes, growth, and Republican economics. President Barack "I didn't tax that -- yet!" Obama sees his narrow reelection as a "mandate" to raise taxes -- but only on "the rich" (anybody making $250,000 per year or more); while not raising them on the less successful. (And allowing a very large number of people who are not on military pensions and not on welfare nevertheless pay no income taxes whatsoever.)
I reckon there's a word for this, and we Republicans oughtn't shy away from it: "Unfairness." Here's how we baldly tie our Republican principles, unadorned and uncluttered, to the inherent human desire for economic fairness:
Democrats say they want successful people to pay their "fair share;" but when they say fair, they really mean separate and unequal.
It's simply unfair to single out our most productive citizens -- or any other group -- for punitive taxation just to divide Americans against each other for political gain. This punishment tax would raise only $20 billion per year, a droplet in this administration's firehose of deficit spending.
Real fairness is treating everybody the same under the law: If we need to raise taxes, it should be raised fairly across the board. But before raising taxes, let's first see how far we can get by cutting spending instead; because there aren't enough rich people to tax our way out of this bottomless hole.
(There's another apropos word we could use, likewise perfectly accurate, though it's somewhat harsher: "unAmerican." It's unAmerican to punish families just because they've managed to find the American dream. "UnAmerican" is a word that makes some uneasy; but when used with care and caution, I think it can also be deployed. After all, Democrats call Republicans "unAmerican" all the time!)
Voters have shown time and again that fairness -- the gut feeling, not the legal word-soup -- is a powerful golden thread in American national philosophy and electoral politics. Why should we cede the entire concept to the Progressivist Left? To requote Winston Churchill -- hey, I just read this in another Power Line post by Steven Hayward:
"All men are created equal," says the American Declaration of Independence. "All men shall be kept equal," say the British Socialist Party.
...And the American Democratic Party as well.
There's a possibility that cunning Democrats might taunt us that fairness, as we're defining it, should really mean having only a single tax rate, which everyone paid (which, come to think, is not a bad idea). Again, the comeback writes itself:
I agree with you a hundred percent, Mr. Democrat; ultimately, that should be our goal, because we're the party of true fairness -- equality of opportunity, but not equality of outcomes. And I'm glad to hear that you agree with us about making the tax system fairer for everyone.
But we're not the party of radical changes; that's your sour brand. So why don't you join us in a wonderful down payment on the tax fairness we all agree on: Let's return to Ronald Reagan's tax reform, which had only two brackets -- 15 and 28%; not the six brackets we have today -- 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, and 35%.
Two brackets is not ideal, but it's darn close; and we mustn't let "best" become the enemy of "better."
As actual legislation, it won't work; the Democrats in the Senate won't let us go back to the Reagan tax plan -- in part because it is the "Reagan" tax plan, and Democrats don't want to admit he even existed. But it's not intended to bowl over the Left; the point of applying generic fairness to our tax code is to draw a line of distinction between us and them; between Capitalism and liberal Fascism; between growing a bigger pie and slicing and dicing a shrinking pie into ever more, ever thinner pieces; between a bright future and a slough of despond.
Sadly, suspicion of Mitt Romney and a residual legacy of hope from four years ago torpedoed our chances this time. As Paul Mirengoff notes elsewhere, voters generally give each party in the White House at least eight years to make things better. Note that we're talking parties, not individuals: George H.W. Bush had only one term, but he was preceded by two Republican terms of Ronald Reagan; similarly, Herbert Hoover's one term was directly preceded by Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, both Republicans. The pattern holds with Carter as the lone post-Civil War exception.
In 1868, voters turned out impeached President Andrew Johnson after only one term in office; since then, it has happened only once more: Jimmy Carter, bracketed by Nixon/Ford before and Reagan after. So it's not surprising that voters gave Obama another four years; it would have been unusual had they not.
But from this point on, I believe Americans will blame Obama, not the fading memory of George W. Bush, for a continued lousy economy and for any future terrorist attacks on the United States. I believe that two years from now, voters will finally admit they were snookered (twice!) by glib words divorced from corresponding actions, and the electorate will shift into trash-removal mode. And there we'll be, with our clear principles and mature governance. That is, if we can speak with clarity, consistency, precision, and persistence, coupling broad premises like "fairness" and "justice" to our national creed of individual (not collective) liberty.
And if we can find a way to muzzle the tongue-twisted gorillas in our midst.
Date ►►► November 13, 2012
Based on my silence the last week, one might think that I ran into hiding after the election. To be honest, after I woke up at 4am last Wednesday morning and saw who won, running away seemed like a pretty damn good idea. After investing so much emotion and spilling so much digital ink on the subject, the idea that Mitt Romney wouldn't be president simply hadn't occurred to me -- not in any real sense, anyway. The polls were with us, the enthusiasm gap favored us, and the incumbent was determined to prove his presidency a slow-motion disaster in the making.
Then, as it is wont to do, reality asserted itself. The voters spoke. And, loud and clear, they looked at the last four years and said, "Yeah, I'll have some more of that."
I'm not going to delve into the how and the why -- forensic analysis of the election is already a cottage industry, and the Republican Party will be picking over the number for months to come, as they should. The best that I can do is tell you why the result isn't the end of the world, even though it might feel that way, and why I'm generally optimistic about the future:
2010. Back in 2008, when His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama was first elected, the pundit class -- which consists largely of toadies who did everything they could to get the guy crowned in the first place -- heralded the arrival of a new liberal age, during which conservative ideas about governing and spending would be cast into the wilderness for forty years or more. Then came the stimulus. And Obamacare. And an orgy of spending and regulation so repellent that it gave birth to the Tea Party movement. Millions of people who had never protested anything in their lives took to the streets peacefully to tell their government that enough was enough -- and they swept enough Republicans back into Congress to take over the House and deprive the Democrats of their Senate supermajority.
If that's what happened the last time Obama overreached, we can reasonably expect a similar result the next time he tries to pull the same thing -- and he will, now that he no longer has to worry about re-election. Assuming the Republicans hold firm in halting Obama's agenda and do a better job of taking their message to the voters, they can position themselves to make significant gains in 2014. Of course, this also means fielding candidates who can articulate the vision without falling into the social issue traps sure to be laid in front of them by the mainstream media. With any luck, we'll have learned the lessons of Richard Mourdock and Todd (Claude) Akin.
The facts of life are conservative. Not to get all Vulcan on everyone, but logic demands that there be a reckoning for Obama's reckless behavior. The only question is whether that comes sooner or later, and how bad it's going to get. We're already starting to see some of that now, with business initiating layoffs and assuming a defensive stance over the looming implementation of Obamacare. And as Obama gets farther into his second term, it's going to get harder and harder to blame George W. Bush for the ailing economy (although he will try). If we slide into a double-dip recession, he'll have to own it free and clear.
Ditto on the foreign policy situation. Second terms are generally known for being scandal ridden, and Obama's is off to a roaring start right out of the gate. With Fast & Furious and Benghazi already hanging over his head, now Obama has to deal with CIA and Afghanistan operations that are starting to look like a season-long story arc on Dawson's Creek. So far, the administration has taken its cue from Sgt. Schultz and claims to know nothing -- but even partisans like Dianne Feinstein are asking questions, and the whole sexy-sex angle means that even the Obamanated press won't be able to ignore it. In spite of their best efforts, those low-info voters who blithely sent Barack back to Washington might start paying attention.
- Ideas. Simply put, conservative ideas are better. They make sense. More than that, they actually work -- and there's gonna come a time, very soon, when things start falling apart rapidly, that the nation is going to be looking to the party of ideas for leadership. That's us, folks. When the nation finally admits it has a problem, we'll be the special forces team that goes in to rescue everyone.
So is that a rosy enough scenario for ya? Yeah, I know -- I've been wrong before (and in a spectacular way). But there is another reality at work here, and it's not one that will go away just because the majority of voters decide they don't want to think about it right now: We'll either get the spending under control in an orderly way, or it'll happen after total economic collapse.
Our job for 2014? Make sure the voters understand what it'll be like if they choose the latter.
Date ►►► November 11, 2012
Ach, der Nachtmare!
...My "Katzenjammer Kids" lingo for the following screamdream scenario:
- Senate Majority Leader (still?) Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 75%) rams through a new Senate rule barring filibusters in the case of federal appointees.
- Reupholstered President Barack "I win again!" Obama calls a press conference to inform the Senate and the American public that he has nominated two fellow travelers -- Susan Rice and Eric Holder, say -- to the Supreme Court, which would bring the total to eleven justices: five conservatives (one a bit squishy) and six doctrinaire, Progressivist lefties.
- Reid calls for an immediate vote in the Senate without troubling to allow questioning of the nominees; he declares the vote to be a "party" vote, meaning none of the Democrat senators is allowed to dissent.
- Absent the filibuster, each of the two nominees is confirmed by a vote of 55 to 45.
And wham, ma'am, thank you, Bam, he now has the Supreme Court up his sleeve.
Have a nice Veterans' Day...!
Date ►►► November 9, 2012
Practical Controversialism 001 (the new PC!)
Yesterday, I began writing a monumental treatise titled "How We Start Winning Again;" but I decided it was ridiculous. The piece was already over 5,000 words, and I was just getting started. So I've chosen a different route: Every now and again, I'll toss onto the table a short, strategic thought, a "practical controversialism" (P.C.) for two reasons:
- To start Republicans winning again
- And because it's just the right thing for us anti-liberals to do.
So here's the first P.C. I cast before you ~
This year, Hispanics chose Obama by some staggering amount; I think it was 70-30, a frightening number. If this becomes as permanent as the perennial 90% black vote, we may as well disband the party and create a new coalition.
So let's not let it become established law.
I do not believe that Hispanics voted en masse for Obama because he offered them "free stuff." I believe they stampeded leftwards because they have come to believe, rightly or wrongly (a little of both), that Republicans just don't like them. Because of the paucity of frequent contact between Hispanics (and other minority voters) and the GOP, many voters believed the calumnies hurled against us by liberal Democrats; they were afraid what would happen to them if Mitt Romney or any other Republican was elected.
Republicans tend to buddy up to Hispanic voters in the last few weeks of every election. Hispanics notice this sad fact. By contrast, Democrats work with Hispanic leaders, Hispanic organizations, Hispanic news media, Hispanic cultural icons every day of every week, year in and year out. Who are they more likely to believe on election day?
So my controversial suggestion is this: We should do just as much outreach to Hispanics, at every level, as the Democrats do (or maybe even more, to make up for lost time). Not the same content; we shouldn't try to bribe Hispanics for their votes, as Democrats do with identity-politics legislation. But we should have so much contact, so much two-way communication, that Hispanics really and truly understand that we welcome them as people, respect their culture, and have a great commonality not shared with liberals: religiosity, strong and large families, entrepreneurship, and some very conservative social values.
You can peel off a lot of that anti-conservative vote simply by demonstrating -- all the time, not just when an election looms -- that we really want to hear what American Hispanics need in order to feel like full citizens, and by persuading them, one by one, how Capitalism and individual liberty compliments and supplements their own strong sense of community. (I mean Hispanic citizens and lawful residents, not illegal aliens.)
For that matter, why not do the same communications outreach -- not "payoff" outreach -- with black and Asian voters? There must be many black business owners who would be willing at least to talk to officials of the Republican Party, or attend a dinner jointly sponsored by the RP and organizations that promote business ownership among black entrepreneurs. Similarly, quite a few Koreans and Vietnamese are Catholic (the French connection). Anything we can do to dispell the idea that "Republicanism = racism" cannot help but convert some portion of Hispanic, black, and Asian voters from knee-jerk Democrats to thoughtful Republicans.
It's assuredly true that some Republicans are racists; but I'm certain that a great many more liberals are racists -- believing that "people of color" must stay on the "plantation." And an even larger number on the Left are blatant anti-Catholic bigots: I reference those liberals who try to hang homosexual activity between a few priests and mostly adult males, along with a very small number of actual child molesters, around the neck of the entire Catholic faith like a Progressivist albatross.
Yes, socially and economically conservative blacks, along with Catholic Hispanics and Asians, naturally have a great deal more in common with Republican conservatives than with atheist liberals who hate entrepreneurs and believe "minorities" belong, not in the free market, but in the inner-city slums instead. And of course in the ballot booth every couple of years, to "earn" their liberal welfare checks.
In any event, how could it hurt just to keep the lines of communication open year round? Both the GOP and Progressively victimized minority voters really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Date ►►► November 7, 2012
All right, a bit over the top; America isn't dead yet, nor is it likely that Barack Obama can kill us... not in a scant four years, and with the House still firmly in the hands of Republicans. But he still can (and will!) do a lot more damage.
Time to put on our manly gowns, gird our loins, and pull up our socks. Now is the time to fight for what we believe, not retreat into recriminations and despair. (Isn't despair a mortal sin?)
Charles Krauthammer had the most profound explanation of last night's disaster (I'm paraphrasing): He doesn't think (and neither do I) that the message was to blame; exit polling still shows Americans prefer small government, and they associate it with the Republican Party. Rather, it was the messenger they found lacking.
I still believe, even in hindsight, that Mitt Romney was the best possible nominee among all the candidates who actually stepped up to run against Obama; nevertheless, Romney just wasn't strong enough.
- Marco Rubio might have had a better run, might even have defeated Obama, especially as he would have taken a significantly greater chunk of the Hispanic vote; this year, Obama took 69% (!) of it, actually increasing his advantage among that voting bloc.
- Jeb Bush might also have been a stronger advocate for the contemporary conservative position: smaller government, emphasis on small business, individual liberty, all without government picking winners and losers, whether in business (no more Solyndras!) or radical transformations of the United States into Something Else (Obamunism).
- Maybe Paul Ryan running for president could have been a more inspiring advocate.
- Somebody like Bobby Jindal could have become "the next new thing," capturing the novelty vote.
- Even Chris Christie might have done better; for one point, he would have gained the same stature during Hurricane Sandy as Obama did, nullifying the latter's advantage.
But none of those gentlemen ran for president in 2012.
Paul Mirengoff on Power Line said early on that ours was a very weak field of candidates; I disagreed then, but in hindsight, I think the Deacon was right. Mitt Romney was the best of a lackluster lot; I doubt that Pawlenty or Bachman or Perry could have done even as well as Romney did. But our best wasn't good enough.
Clearly, the Republican electorate simply did not accept Romney as the personification of small government, small business, and individual liberty. Prior to this election -- actually, the last part of this election -- when did Romney ever campaign on those themes? I don't recall him even mentioning much of this back in 2008; and in the interim, what did he do to champion the core beliefs of tea-partiers and mainline conservatives, whose economic beliefs happen to be shared by a strong majority of Americans?
He simply wasn't believable as the savior sought by traditional Americans. I believed in him, and I still do; I believe he would have been an excellent president, particularly with Paul Ryan nudzhing him along. But most GOP voters do not follow politics the way we in the
shattering glass chattering class do. From their point of view, Romney simply parachuted into the campaign for the first debate, performed brilliantly -- then settled back and did nothing else remarkable.
(Hurricane Sandy was perfectly timed for Obama's flagging campaign; somebody down there liked him. For four days just before the election, the Romney campaign was totally shut out of the conversation; and all voters saw were heroic pictures of Obama looking tall and presidential. Had the hurricane come along a couple of weeks earlier, Romney could have recovered; but he simply had no time.)
Too, Barack Obama has the disturbing facility to maintain his "likeability," even while being nakedly mean, vengeful, peevish, arrogant, blame-shifting, and whiny. Particularly likeable to women -- an abusive lover who mesmerizes his victims. Until the very end of the campaign, Romney struggled to appear likeable; and even in the last few days, he must still have seemed wooden enough to inspire little confidence that he could actually do what he said he could.
I suspect that when all the numbers are crunched, we'll find that Republicans simply didn't show up, not the way we expected them to. I doubt Obama made any great inroads into any of the groups he carried in 2008, nor picked up new supporters, nor galvanized more of them to vote than last time. Rather, GOP voters did the same thing they did when John McCain ran against Obama: They stayed home in droves.
It takes an awful lot to defeat an incumbent president: The Left failed to defeat Nixon (1972), Reagan (1984) or Bush-43 (2004); the Right couldn't vote out Clinton (1996) or Obama (2012). From the end of World War II, only two elected presidents tried and failed to be reelected: Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.
(Gerald Ford failed in his reelection bid, but he was never elected as either president or vice president in the first place... he's the exception that tests the rule.) During that same time, eight presidents, four of each, were reelected to a second term (Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush-43, and Obama).
Most of us thought we had enough, what with the lousy economy, catastrophic foreign policy, and general cluelessness. Alas, even that was insufficient. Evidently, voters need something in addition, something the media cannot or will not cover up: the Iranian hostage crisis in Carter's case; or for George H.W. Bush, a job approval that plummets from 89% in February 1991 to 34% in October 1992. In addition to general incompetence, voters demand a juicy scandal or a complete collapse of confidence; otherwise, the president will likely be reelected.
That said, Romney did much better than McCain. Obama's vote margin over McCain was more than 9.5 million, 7.4% of the vote (not counting third-party nominees). Obama took 365 electoral votes, compared to 173 for McCain.
This year, Obama's margin over Romney was less than two million, about 1.7%. We still don't know how Florida will fall; but if Obama gets it, the electoral-vote totals will be Obama 332, Romney 206; and if it goes to Romney, it will be Obama 303, Romney 235. (Romney flipped two states from Democrat to Republican, Indiana and North Carolina -- and possibly a third, in the unlikely event that Florida ends up in the GOP column.)
I looked at thirteen swing states, comparing the 2008 and 2012 results. The states were Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Every single one of these states was more Republican this time than last; the average movement was 5.4% towards the GOP side.
As a woulda-coulda-shoulda, Florida was almost dead even; Ohio was only 2 points away; Virginia was 3 points; and Colorado was 3 points distant. Shifting those four (or three, depending which way Florida goes) states would have flipped the election. By contrast, even if McCain had managed to win every state where Obama's margin was 9 points or less, Obama still would have won. McCain would have had to win either Colorado or Iowa, each of which went to Obama by 9.5%.
We almost won; it only seems like a horrible loss because so many of us, myself included, thought we were going to win for sure.
So I agree with Krauthammer that we don't need to "reinvent" the Republican Party or even change our message:
- In 2016, Obama won't be running, removing the fascination of the first black president.
- We won't have an incumbent president, with all the electoral advantage that entails.
- We'll likely have better candidates who will be better known, and better known as small-government, small-business conservatives.
- We might even have a Hispanic candidate (Rubio) or a candidate who is not Hispanic but nevertheless gets heavy Hispanic support (Jeb Bush).
- We probably won't have a perfectly timed, handy hurricane to make the incumbent look presidential (and the incumbent isn't running anyway).
- And almost certainly, the economic situation will have gotten even worse than it is now, making it brutally clear that Obamunism doesn't work.
So let's stick to our principles and focus instead on recruiting better candidates... candidates who can be more believable and inspiring than Mitt Romney (or any of his competitors this election) when making the case against big government and big corporate, and for entrepeneurism, individual liberty, a muscular, pro-America foreign policy, and fiscal sanity.
It's still a winning platform; it just didn't win in this exceptional case.
Date ►►► November 5, 2012
Why Romney Will Win
Let me start out by saying this is completely unscientific, largely anecdotal, and conceived under the influence of some St. Bernardus Christmas Ale -- but since it all still seems logically sound the next morning, I'm going to go out on a limb and tell you why I think that at the end of Tuesday night, Mitt Romney will emerge as president-elect of the United States.
- Polling. It isn't so much that I have a tremendous amount of faith in polling data; but given that most of the surveys done so far have oversampled Democrats anywhere from six to eleven points, it's astounding that Romney is tied or even ahead of Obama by a point or two. I don't, however, believe that the electorate favors Democrat turnout nearly that much, which means that the support Obama actually has is probably overstated by several points.
- Enthusiasm. The Romney campaign has been like one of those little sleeper movies that builds an audience by word of mouth, week after week until it finally turns into a box-office juggernaut. Ever since his stellar debate debut against Obama, the Republican base has been fired up about Romney in a way I haven't seen since -- well, probably since Reagan ran against Mondale in 1984. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious, as we've seen from the massive crowds that Romney has been drawing. When you've got 30,000 people in the audience -- and you're in Pennsylvania, for frak's sake -- you know that there are plenty of non-Republicans who have joined the party as well. There's just a general sense that this is Romney's moment, which will only attract even more voters as election day comes.
- The alienation factor. Barack Obama ran in 2008 as a centrist and then immediately made a sharp left turn after he got to the White House. In the process, he betrayed a lot of independents and moderate Republicans who bought into his Hope 'n Change shtick. Since then, he's tacked even harder to the left in order to shore up his base. A lot of Catholics who voted for Obama were outraged by his mandate that religious institutions provide insurance coverage for drugs and procedures that violate their faiths. Ditto black evangelicals over Obama coming out for gay marriage. These are not people who will vote for him again. And while all of them may not go out and vote for Mitt Romney, some may just decide to stay home. Either way, Obama gets a smaller portion of a shrinking voter pool.
- Common sense. Americans are a fair people. Obama came to them in 2008 with a paper-thin resume and no executive experience, but with a grand (if risible) vision of a post-partisan, post-racial nation that could do great things if everybody worked together. It sounded good, so voters gave him a chance. Since then, though, Obama has failed to deliver on almost every level. Rather than unite us, when things got tough he fell back on the old Saul Alinksy/community organizer playbook and tried to pit rich against poor, black against white, women against men. Rather than act as a responsible steward of the public's money, he spent wildly on a stimulus that left nothing to show in its ruinous wake. And rather than focus "like a laser" on jobs as he promised, he spent two years ramming through health care "reform" that nobody wanted, and that America could ill-afford. The country is more divided, more insecure and more broke than ever before. Americans believe rightly, fairly, that it's time to give someone else a chance.
So there you go. With any luck, we'll know early on Tuesday night if I'm right or not. Might not be a bad idea to stock up on some more beer, though.
Guide for the Nervous and Impatient Tomorrow Eve
What can we expect to see tomorrow night, that is, Tuesday the 6th of November, and succeeding days?
- The moment the polls close on the left coast, expect to see all the networks immediately "call" all of Barack Obama's states than can plausibly be called (New York, New Jersey, most of New England states, California, and so forth). But similarly situated Mitt Romney states will not be called at that time, regardless of how solid and insuperable seems his lead.
This will not be due to a mean-spirited or churlish refusal to announce the obvious, nor to a tendentious desire to trick voters into thinking Obama still has a chance; rather, it will be directly attributable to news organizations being utterly unable to believe that Romney could possibly win the election: "It can't be true, because it would be dreadful if it was true!" Election analysts will be too busy saying, "Really? No, really? Oh come on, not really!" to analyze the data and draw rational conclusions.
- As the night wears on, as networks are forced by fear of ridicule finally to begin calling the Romney states, their analysts will concoct byzantine scenarios by which Obama might still eke out a razor-thin win.
These scenarios will become increasingly divorced from reality -- e.g., "While it appears that Mr. Romney has won Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the president still has a path to victory: He must win all the remaining toss-up states, wrest Montana, Arizona, Indiana, and Nebraska's second district away from the governor, then hope for a pair of faithless electors to return Obama for a second term. This election is volatile, we still have a chance!"
- When enough states have been called (however reluctantly) for Romney to ensure victory, many "mainstream" commentators (that is, revisionist radicals) will speak nervously of "uncharted waters" and "marching into the unknown;" they will proclaim that "the people pitched a tantrum yesterday," and suggest that the electoral college is outmoded, outrageous, and outlandish, and we should switch to a nationwide popular vote (not mentioning that Romney will have beaten Obama by six points there, too).
Post-election analysis will prove beyond any shadow of doubt that Mitt Romney's ads were all lies and half-orcs; that money played "a big role" in Romney's win; that Obama was defeated because "he spoke truth to power," and he will forever after be dubbed "the People's President," amid copious (and ominous) rumblings about stolen elections, corrupted voting machines, "civil resistance," YouTube videos, golden tablets and unaussprechlichen Kulten.
- Finally, the Obama campaign will announce on Thursday that in every state Mitt Romney won by three points or less, they have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results and declare President Obama the winner instead.
Obama will of course fail in his brazen attempt to sue his way back into la Casa Blanca; but in the process of catering to his narcissism and hubris, the SLAPP-happy lawyers will completely destroy the Democratic Party -- all of whose members will either convert to the GOP or else call for abandoning of the DP and erecting a new leftist party, called something uncontroversial, such as the Arabian Wine Middle Class Free-Stuff Fellowship Party.
Well, that's my scenario; and I'm stickin' with it... at least until Friday!
Date ►►► November 2, 2012
Working for the Weekend
Well, we finally made it: the last weekend before the Election That Will Change Everything (or possibly give us More Of The Same, depending on which way Cthulhu, dark lord of the underworld and political campaigns, smiles). I've stocked up on some pretty good beer to get me thorugh the next few days of media angst and spin, which is likely to grow into a superstorm all its own, as the usual alphabet soup of suspects -- ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, et. al. -- pulls out all the stops to drag Barack Obama, peace be upon him, across the finish line for a second time.
The question is, do they have anything left of their wad to shoot? My guess is probably not much. From the looks of things, the media were hoping to turn the coverage of Sandy into an Obamapalooza, showcasing our president out there acting all presidential and stuff. And while New Jersey seems more than happy to cooperate, sadly the folks who run New York haven't been getting with the program. Between Nanny Bloomberg telling Obama to take a hike and a disaster response that seems to have lost all touch with reality, the optics haven't been too good over there. It also doesn't help to have the good folks of Staten Island telling Chuck Schumer that they're dying over there, or the evening news showing clips of New Yorkers dumpster diving to get food. To the media, it's all just too close to Katrina for comfort.
So what could have been an antidote to the steady drip of new Benghazi outrages has pretty much turned into a bust -- which means Obama will be going into the final days of his campaign essentially naked. Demonizing Mitt Romney hasn't worked, his attempted October surprise has fizzled, and now Barack Obama is facing the one thing he's never had to face in his entire political career: an honest, competitive race. No wonder David Axelrod and the rest of the gang back in Chicago are in full-on panic mode.
Now it's all a matter of turnout. Who wins will be decided by who generates more enthusiasm -- and so far, it seems as if Romney has the advantage. My own prediction, for what it's worth? Romney will win the nationwide vote by five points. Of course, that and a nickel won't even pay the parking meter, but that's why I blog under a pseudonymn.
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