Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Case for a Conservative President

As we end 2011 and enter the 2012 primary season, the open GOP field has become a bitter battleground in the much sought-after Republican presidential nomination, obviously between the candidates and their supporters, but with excessive acrimony among many in the Republican punditry. The concern for a truly principled candidate to fill the position of chief executive weighs heavily on the minds of conservatives. As such, I continue to reflect on a recent American Spectator piece by Jeffrey Lord that lays out the case for a conservative.

Focusing first on the National Review’s unfortunate divergence from Buckley’s publication towards an establishment slant, Lord uses their current affinity for Romney over the more conservative-equipped candidacies of Gengrich, Santorum, Bachmann or Perry to make the broader case:

Buckley never picked Rockefeller or Scranton over Goldwater, and he chose his great conservative friend Reagan over the GOP Establishment favorite George H.W. Bush and the Establishment rest in 1980. Buckley was first, last, and always making the case for conservatism.

If, as Newt Gingrich once said years ago, then-GOP Senate Finance Committee Chairman Bob Dole was nothing more than "the tax collector for the welfare state," Mitt Romney proposes to be the manager of the welfare state. NR clearly concurs in this concept, effectively abandoning the Reagan Revolution in which Buckley played such a significant role. There is, after all, not much distance between the reality of the Republican Establishment instincts playing the role of the tax collector for the welfare state and the idea of being the manager of the same.

Lord moves on to ponder, “As one by one the modern conservative greats -- the Buckleys, Goldwaters, Rushers, Reagans, Kemps and so on – go to their well-deserved rewards, what happens to the movement they built or energized and now have left behind?”

The answer, it would seem, is to rely on the old adage of Edmund Burke that what we are all about is a pact between the dead, the living, and the unborn. Which in terms of conservatives on the eve of the 2012 election means we should perhaps be viewing what's going on at National Review and in the campaign itself as the latest turn of the conservative page.

And since this forward movement has necessarily been somewhat querulous from the get-go, there's nothing to fear in realizing that the intellectual ferment passed through the generations from Burke to Buckley is what is really going on here.

So from this outpost at The American Spectator as 2012 looms and the arguments begin to fly, it would seem that in light of the NR assault on Newt Gingrich and the making of the case for Mitt Romney, it would be appropriate to make a different case altogether. A case many conservatives dead, living and unborn, to use Burke's formulation, would welcome.

That would be: The Case for a Conservative President.

Lord begins by first assessing the Establishment-style mocking and lampooning that such outfits as a Buckley-less National Review partake of, along with the inevitable results of what we know of the faux Republican do-nothing, edge-treaders experienced throughout the first decade of our new century.

Only in the world of the GOP Establishment -- producer of losing candidacies from Dewey to Dole to McCain -- is the timid Romney's flip-flopping seen as saleable. But saleable for what? Winning? Then what? Does anyone seriously doubt the entire object of the Establishment's warm glow for Romney is just so one of their own can manage America? Effectively wasting a presidency to leave the country as it was found? Dragging the country along in a seriously depleted condition caused by an endless static statism? Not changing anything, just tinkering around the edges? This is at bottom what Bush 41 meant when he scorned Gingrich as a "bomb thrower." It should be noted that in violating conservative principles on taxes, after saying read my lips, it was Bush 41 -- yes, a genuine hero and good man -- who nonetheless got clobbered by Bill Clinton. Romney's self-identification with the Bush-Ford wing of the GOP is exactly what is giving him problems.

To tie in the "world of Paulism", Lord says that’s it’s no wonder that this particular problem of Romney’s electrifies the "nutty half-left, sometimes right" libertarian-esque supporters, but asks similar questions of conservatives concerning that faction as well:

Does the conservative movement really want to have as its most prominent public face someone whose idea of national security is to blame America first while defending the likes of the Wikileaker Bradley Manning? Really? Unfortunately the more the Establishment succeeds the more it feeds this worldview Michele Bachmann correctly calls "bizarre" and that Rick Santorum never, ever fails to attack head on.

That bid should wilt under the infamous newsletters as well, but I digress…

Lord briefly mentions the “wonderful conservative credentials of both Bachmann and Santorum,” but cuts to the chase and informs readers that very fortunately, someone of great aptitude and merit has already made perhaps the most compelling case for a conservative president. Here’s a hint: he was a president himself, but made the case five years prior to his own election. You’ll undoubtedly know these words:

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.

Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people's earnings government can take without their consent.

Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform that will begin by simplifying the income tax so that workers can compute their obligation without having to employ legal help.

And let it provide indexing -- adjusting the brackets to the cost of living -- so that an increase in salary merely to keep pace with inflation does not move the taxpayer into a surtax bracket. Failure to provide this means an increase in government's share and would make the worker worse off than he was before he got the raise.

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.

Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government's coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.

Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding those who commit misdeeds personally accountable.

And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of "peace at any price."

We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.

Yes, Ronald Reagan, great friend and ally of National Review founder William F. Buckley, the gold standard for a conservative president, and I’d add ‘unarguably the greatest president in my lifetime’, profoundly extolled “the very basis of conservatism,” back in that famous 1975 CPAC speech. Lord says this is “the crystal clear definition of what a conservative president should be,” and furthermore points to the fact that the Establishment’s choice just can’t live up to it.

The mixed message Romney displays -- the "it's all in the data " approach of a Jimmy Carter or Herbert Hoover, the trouble with the "vision thing" (as Bush 41 called the same problem) are all on display…It is precisely the approach beloved of the GOP Establishment -- the dividing line between Reagan and Gerald Ford or both Bushes.

Deviating from the American Spectator piece for a moment, I’d add a few more inquiries into Romney’s record. First, from former California state assemblyman and current executive director of the Council for National Policy, Steve Baldwin (not to be confused with ‘Stephen’):

The reality is that Romney’s record may go down in history as one of the most liberal gubernatorial records compiled by any Governor of either party in modern history. Indeed, the evidence is strong that Romney can be said to be the father of gay marriage, of Cap and Trade, and of government-controlled health care. How can one have played such a key role in the promotion of three of the left’s most important issues and yet become the GOP frontrunner? That’s the million-dollar question we all should be asking ourselves.

And tell me you haven’t thought about this one, which would only add insult to injury after considering this year’s dreadful performance by Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell, both of whom conservatives would NOT have preferred to represent them in the capacity of GOP congressional leadership (and yet again, we weren’t listened to):

As long as the conservatives are split between 3-4 GOP candidates, Romney will remain the front-runner. The only hope is that at least two or three conservative candidates drop out of the race before the January primaries and unite behind one conservative, or else train-wreck Romney will be the GOP nominee.

Secondly, Thomas Sowell, who’s endorsed Newt Gengrich, has a few worthwhile questions of his own for voters:

Romney is a smooth talker, but what did he actually accomplish as governor of Massachusetts, compared with what Gingrich accomplished as speaker of the House? When you don’t accomplish much, you don’t ruffle many feathers. But is that what we want? Can you name one important positive thing that Romney accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? Can anyone? Does a candidate who represents the bland leading the bland increase the chances of victory in November 2012? A lot of candidates like that have lost, from Thomas E. Dewey to John McCain.

And the same contrasts could be drawn between Romney and Santorum/Bachmann/Perry…but then in some ways we circle right back around to Baldwin’s ‘conservative split’ theory, and quite honestly, that’s a catch-22 we don’t need! Perhaps it’s time for some resounding endorsements from the major conservative voices, the Rushes, Levins and Palins that we’ve anxiously awaited (the latter of the two have given support to the surging Santorum, but no ‘official’ endorsements as of yet)?

Returning to Lord’s piece, on the other hand, Reagan’s call for conservatism to return to a "new and revitalized second party", Lord accurately proclaims, “sends shivers up Republican Establishment backbones. It is a call that Ron Paul specifically rejected when he resigned from the GOP in 1988 and ran as the Libertarian -- not conservative -- candidate for president.”

All in all, there’s a lot of substance to take in from the American Spectator piece, which is probably why I’ve been thinking about it for the past few days! However, it’s very worthwhile and I’d say necessary thinking that conservatives must consider in the very near days to come. And Jeffrey Lord’s conclusion speaks to our final thoughts of 2011:

As conservatives come to grips with their own changing of the guard, at National Review, in the next Republican White House and for that matter at every conservative institution worthy of the name, it is perhaps worthwhile in that eternal ongoing Burkean dialogue between the living, the dead, and the unborn that someone somewhere always make the Case for a Conservative President.

Once upon a time Ronald Reagan did it.

And did it well.

Happy New Year.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Santorum surge? (UPDATES)

Only 5 days left until the Hawkeye Cauceye, and according to the polls, it appears for at least the time being (which we all know can change in an instant) that Romney’s campaign has effectively dampened Gengrich's top tier status by approximately 20 points in 20 days. However, while Romney remains perched at his 25% peak (thanks to an inexorable Republican Establishment & its lockstep supporters), a new surge among the more conservative ranks is beginning to emerge, and not a moment too soon.

According to a CNN/Time/ORC International Poll, one-time long shot candidate Rick Santorum has more than tripled his support since the beginning of the month…The new survey indicates that Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, is at 16% support, up 11 points from the beginning of the month…

Despite the much debated poll, it goes on to conclude that Santorum’s jump is primarily due to ‘Christian conservatives’, which in theory should be a somewhat redundant phrase when one observes the roots of conservatism, but these are the times we live in where the makeup of the Republican Party is perhaps more splintered than the statist-overrunning of its rival. Nonetheless, Rick Santorum would definitely provide a viable conservative option to the establishment’s choice or, God of Abraham forbid, that other unmentioned kook.

Top photo: courtesy of Team Santorum member Jeff Morgan

UPDATES: Robert Stacy McCain of the American Spectator writes that yet another poll indicates Santorum is on the rise in Iowa!

Here's more from Santorum via CNN:

Laffer, Sowell endorse Newt

Newsmax shares a noteworthy endorsement for Gengrich that’s absolutely worth sharing:

Arthur Laffer, the architect of Ronald Reagan’s economic plan, announced today that he is endorsing Newt Gingrich for president.

"Newt has the best plan for jobs and economic growth of any candidate in the field,” said Laffer, the renowned economist who is the father of The Laffer Curve and supply-side economics.

“Like Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and pro-growth policies, Newt’s low individual and corporate tax rates, deregulation, and strong dollar monetary policies will create a boom of new investment and economic growth leading to the creation of tens of millions of new jobs over the next decade,” Laffer declared. “Plus, Newt’s record of helping Ronald Reagan pass the Kemp Roth tax cuts and enacting the largest capital gains tax cut in history as speaker of the House shows he can get this plan passed and put it into action.”

Another endorsement for Newt, from yet another economist no less, came yesterday as well. I think you’ll recognize an earlier article in defense of the man, as well as the conservative commentator who read it on his program prior to Christmas…

Yes, that endorsement came from the revered Thomas Sowell:

The fact that each of the short-lived front-runners in the Republican field gained that position by presenting themselves as staunch conservatives suggests that Republican voters may have been trying to avoid having to accept Mitt Romney, whose record as governor of Massachusetts produced nothing that would be regarded as a serious conservative achievement.

Romney's own talking point that he has been a successful businessman is no reason to put him into a political office, however much it may be a reason for him to become a successful businessman again.

Much depends on whether you think the voting public is going to be more interested in Newt Gingrich's personal past than in the country's future. Most of the things for which Gingrich has been criticized are things he did either in his personal life or when he was out of office. But, if we are serious, we are more concerned with his ability to perform when in office.

There are no guarantees, no matter whom the Republicans vote for in the primaries. Why not vote for the candidate who has shown the best track record of accomplishments, both in office and in the debates? That is Newt Gingrich. With all his shortcomings, his record shows that he knows how to get the job done in Washington.

Two endorsements from two unquestionably conservative economists in two days…I’d say that’s a positive for Newt, despite his Iowan poll numbers and the Romney-led media attacks.

ADDENDUM: In addition to these endorsements, Peter Ferrara wrote a compelling piece for the American Spectator yesterday, entitled The Case for Newt Gengrich...check it out.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all...

Luke 2

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Substance being ignored for 'politics' in payroll tax debate (UPDATE)

"The entire political establishment is aligned against them, which means the entire political establishment is aligned against congressional conservatives. The Senate Republicans, the Wall Street Journal editorial, the Democrat establishment, the Democrats in the Senate, the Democrats in the House, they are all lined up, and over this one thing: Whether or not we're gonna have this payroll tax cut for two months or for a year."

Rush pretty much devoted the entirety of Wednesday's program to this hoax of a payroll tax holiday and the typical establishment reaction displayed among the pundits, with Republican operatives running to the Wall Street Journal and Politico alike, betraying any principle for the Washington political games that we've unfortunately become accustom to witnessing.  Yet, even when it's acknowledged that House Republicans are standing on principle above politics, The Hill's A.B. Stoddard piles on with the rest, surmising that principle is a loser and the people are too stupid to know what's going on or understand the difference between these two ideals for that matter.

Bad politics? People want their thousand dollars? Thanks, Bret, for pointing out that we're only talking about $166 over two-months that can't even logistically be implemented by businesses. Technically, put a sock in it, Stoddard.

With all of these establishment types, style trumps substance. This is the essence of that WSJ piece, which has surmised that we've already lost the tax debate to Obama simply over this payroll tax extension fiasco, so House Republicans should just cut their losses, submit and move on (to the next defeat, I guess in a couple of months). But while the establishment cowards are busy throwing their hands up and running in circles, what they, nor the media, nor nearly enough politicians involved in this, aren't telling you, are the real implications of this 2-month deal.

First and foremost, raiding the Social Security trust fund (if we're going to pretend that there is one) is NOT a tax cut! Cutting a percentage of the payroll taxes to promise citizens a tax holiday is only cutting contributions to their own Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid savings. Now, as I stated in the prior post, I'm not a proponent of the current systems, but until we enact something better, payroll taxes are the ONLY source to fund these institutions. So, who's really throwing granny off a cliff?

Secondly, why did Republicans submit to having the payroll tax holiday extension in the same bill as an unemployment extension in the first place? Daniel Horowitz wrote an interesting piece at RedState that, although buys into the preface of a the tax debate with Republicans taking the blame (pretty much the WSJ piece), makes an interesting point, particularly on the part of McConnell and Senate Republicans:

Last week, Republicans secured superior leverage by becoming the first body to actually pass an extension, while the Senate was unable to pass its own bill. However, Mitch McConnell launched a broadside on his party by agreeing to a lousy two month extension – one that is totally unworkable in the real world.

We need to stop forcing Republicans to face the grim choice between blocking a tax cut and fighting against more entitlement and deficit spending.

Horowitz calls on House Republicans to pass a clean 12-month extension without any strings attached, leaving the other provisions that conservatives want to leverage within a separate bill against the more undesirable Democrat entitlement spending, namely the unemployment extension.

The third and final point I'd like to make has perhaps been the most obscured part of the Senate's version: who is paying for the two-month extension of this payroll tax holiday? AP reported in a brief article over the weekend that "the cost is being dropped in the laps of most people who buy homes or refinance beginning next year."

The typical person who buys a $200,000 home or refinances that amount starting on Jan. 1 would have to pay roughly $17 more a month for their mortgage, thanks to a fee increase included in the payroll tax cut bill that the Senate passed Saturday.

See the shuffling around going on here, folks? Obama and Democrats want you to feel so gracious that they've given middle class families $19/week ($76/month) back, when they're likely adding at least $17/month of that back into some of those same middle class families' mortgages.  Also, if you take the difference, around $59/month, is that really worth mortaging away your retirement contributions?  And that's all on the assumption again that businesses will even be able to implement this sham over two months.

Furthermore, a two-month payroll tax holiday extension will do absolutely nothing for the economy, nor will it change the fight over tax & spend policies in a mere couple of months.  This is simply a political game pushing the debate into the 2012 election year, as Obama prefers it.  He needs anything to distract from his failed policies, and the media, including the Republican Establishment's own, seem all too willing to lend him a hand.  Now WE wonder who might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest, Wall Street Journal.

As Rush elaborated, we stand for principle over politics, and the establishment can't stand it.  That's what all the hullabaloo you're hearing today is about.

UPDATE: A day later and 'just in time for the holidays', the inevitable cave by the Republican leadership wraps up a year of surrendering to the optics of a Democrat-controlled Senate, presidency and media. So this is what we voted for last November? Hardly. But the current Speaker just hasn't figured out how to outflank the dementia-riddled leader of the Senate. That says a lot about the dire state of our leadership, doesn't it? Eh, least Dear Leader can now confidently head off to Hawaii for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mystery economists just don't get it

The 'you've-gotta-be-kidding' BS moment of the day comes from a CNN report that feigns doom if the payroll tax deadlock isn't resolved:

If Congress fails to pass an extension of the payroll tax holiday, it would put a serious dent into economic growth in 2012 and could even help tip the U.S. back into a recession, according to economists.

Are you freakin' kidding me? These mysterious economists are full of it! And I hate to break it to them, but for most Americans, the recession has been ongoing, despite the government's trumped up calculations. For giggles, which it is, let's just say that gracious $1000/person cut goes away. Anyone done the math on this? Divided by 365 days is slightly over an extra $2.73/day (or by 52 weeks is $19.23/week), which was supposed to be funding FICA contributions (Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid) in the first place. Institutions that are BANKRUPT! Not to mention how the Senate's 2-month extension wants to pay for the payroll tax cut: raising the fees on people who buy a house or refinance their mortgage starting in 2012! And I haven't even mentioned the unemployment extension that we simply can't afford. So while the House battles for something more meaningful, some Senate Republicans, like McCain and Brown, are cowering to Democrats and attacking their Republican counterparts.

I'm all for getting rid of payroll taxes altogether, but there must be a plan in place to provide another means of funding Social Security and Medicare as they exist, and perhaps a plan that includes alternative options to these institutions. For instance, the Chilean model, perhaps?

Yeah, not exactly that kind of model...

Lap(se) of Hawaiian Luxury

Guess he momentarily forgot about the class warfare against the rich for the holidays? Well, with 37 White House Christmas trees, who wouldn't get in the spirit? Taking a break from his unending campaign, Barry & the first family will partake of their annual Hawaiian vacation for Christmas. Hawaii Reporter divulges the magical tale ('magical' = taxpayer subsidized)...

Hawaii Reporter research shows the total cost for the President’s visit for taxpayers far exceeded $1.5 million in 2010 – but is even more costly this year because he extended his vacation by three days and the cost for Air Force One travel has jumped since last assessed in 2000. In addition, Hawaii Reporter was able to obtain more specifics about the executive expenditures.

The total cost (based on what is known) for the 17-day vacation roundtrip vacation to Hawaii for the President, his family and staff has climbed to more than $4 million.

Total travel costs for their Hawaiian vacation are $3,629,622! That includes Air Force One's round trip flight estimated at $3,271,611 & Michelle's advanced flight (because she can't wait) at as much as $100,000. And via The Blaze, "let’s not forget that a USAF C-17 cargo plane is also needed to bring Presidential limos, helicopters and other essentials along. This, too, comes at the tune of thousands of dollars. Plus, there’s security for the president and his family. A team of between four and six Marine Corps will travel along on a separate flight and require per diem and hotel, coming in at $258,000 (estimated)."

Other items include:
HOUSING: $151,200 (covers the costs for housing U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Seals in beach front and canal front homes in Kailua)
HOTEL: $72,216 (Obama’s staff and White House Press Corps stay at one of Hawaii’s oldest and most elegant hotels, the Moana Surfrider)
LOCAL TAXPAYER COSTS: $260,000 (local police overtime & 24/7 ambulance accompaniment)
UNKNOWN COSTS (the costs that the White House annually refuses to release, citing security (e.g., the usual rental of an entire office building floor in Kailua on the canal during Obama’s stay, security upgrades and additional phone lines, car rentals and fuel for White House staff, and additional travel costs for Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President).

The total cost (based on what is known) for a 17-day round trip vacation to Hawaii for the President and his family and staff and security is an estimated $4,113,038.

Let them eat cake...'cause it's nice to be king. This exorbitant lapse of judgment cannot go without recognition, can it?

Monday, December 19, 2011

North Korean bizarro

Ahh, what every brutal dictator hopes for upon his death: dependent masses.

Not to worry, peeps. Your dynastic dictatorship continues through his son, Kim Jong-un.

Dwindling approval for Obama (UPDATE)

Here's a few headlines that might have been missed on Friday.  For those concerned with whether or not we need a squishy, moderate candidate as our GOP presidential nominee to reign in those all-too-important independents, whom the establishment tell us certainly won't rally around a real conservative,'s some evidence that might point to a different trend...

For the first time a new Associated Press-GfK Poll finds a majority of American adults (52%) say the Democrat should be defeated come Nov. 6, while only 43% say he deserves a second term.

And that's just one of the outlined surveys that Investor's Business Daily documented, spelling disaster for Obama's incumbency.  Likewise...

A new Harvard University survey of more than 2,000 young voters, age 18 to 29, finds their support for Obama, so crucial to his 2008 victory, has dwindled.


The National Journal’s Ron Brownstein takes a look inside some new numbers and writes:
“There’s an ominous trend for President Obama in the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll: not only is his overall approval rating lagging, but he’s lost as much (or even more) ground among groups that favored him in 2008 as among those who resisted him last time.”

Yet with all of that, Obama somehow still manages to maintain slight leads over Romney and Gingrich, those purported most electable GOP candidates. How do ya figure that?

So before you give up on the other candidates, the more conservative candidates mind you, and decide to 'settle' for the soft and chewy, maybe you'll take a harder look at a candidate who will work tirelessly everyday to get America back to its constitutional roots...or maybe you'll stick with the candidate they tell you to go with.  It's our primary to lose, folks, and I can't say I enjoy watching the direction it seems to be heading...

ADDENDUM: Here's a few words that I had with a friend, that I though worth tying to this discussion...

Regaining and holding power is one thing...but why is Principle being relegated at a time when it should be uplifted?! If at a time when the destruction by statist Democrats is at its most visible for everyone to see, then when might be a better time to display a more divergent alternative, and a constitutionally principled one at that?! It's extremely telling when some so-called 'Republicans' at every branch of government, as well as the punditry, are displaying these traits. This is Rockefeller crap, it isn't Reaganism.

UPDATE: Isn't it funny how as soon as a compilation of surveys show Obama losing traction with voters, the usual media suspects (Washington Post/ABC News) come out with their own poll showing a rebound in Obama's job approval?  Coincidence?  Absolutely NOT!  It's all designed to weaken your resolve.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Geniuses? Hardly...

“I rise in strong support of this bill, and I urge my colleagues to support this piece of legislation. I urge my colleagues to support this piece of legislation. None of them have read it. Not one of us has read every page in this bill.” ~ Steny Hoyer

Then the House easily approved the $1 trillion omnibus, 296-121, sending the bill to a Senate for a likely weekend vote. Geniuses? Hardly...

The Hill reports, "Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who voted for the omnibus spending bill along with 146 other Republicans, called the measure a "crap sandwich" and said he wished it cut more."

“I have consistently said throughout my time in Washington that the American people deserve more from their government,” he said. “This bill is a crap sandwich! You definitely do not want to bite into it, you cannot stand the taste, but you know you have to eat it.”

Yeah, I wished the American people would wake up and cut about 500 of you from both Houses of Congress, because there's only about 35 that are worth having there!  Who's eating the 'crap sandwich', Mr. Gosar?  That's right, WE are, not YOU.  Grow a spine for Pete's sake.

Fox News Iowa GOP debate


Here’s what you needed to have heard going into last night’s final GOP debate before the Iowa Caucus votes begin…

Rush discussed the GOP elites dumping on Newt, as well as Mitt & Newt dumping on each other…then there’s Paul

…then in the evening, [from the Mark Levin Show website]…

On Thursday's Mark Levin Show: Mark begins by asking the audience, what do you look for in a President? What specifically do people want changed and what leadership qualities are they looking for? Mark also talks about National Review and other publications that are attacking Newt Gingrich while at the same time pushing Mitt Romney as a conservative and the only acceptable candidate. Mark says that there is a Republican establishment and there is an ongoing battle within it.

The segments where Mark takes NRO to task are definitely worth a listen, particularly the constrast from the Run, Newt, Run! Rich Lowry article in 2006 and the Winnowing the Field ‘editors’ article from Wednesday evening…

…as well as mentioning Bill Buckley’s nephew, Brent Bozell, firing back at National Review [from CNSNews]:

Brent Bozell, a nephew of conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr., who founded National Review magazine in 1955, and whose father, Leo Brent Bozell, collaborated with Buckley for many years at NR, today dismissed the magazine as having lost the identity forged for it by its founder.

“National Review's endorsement of Romney & Huntsman proves only that this is no longer the magazine of William F. Buckley Jr. My uncle would be appalled,” said Bozell in postings on Facebook and on Twitter.

You also heard both Limbaugh & Levin mention remarks from Rudy Giuliani, who likes Newt, Perry and Santorum, thinks Ron Paul is a distraction (ditto), and calls Romney out on his modus operandi (h/t the Right Scoop)…

Here’s an additional mentionable, or rather, a headline to think about…Gallup: Gingrich Leads Romney by 20 Points Among Conservatives; Romney Leads Gingrich by 10 Among Liberals, Moderates


NOW…with all this in mind, we can finally move to the debate highlights

Gengrich defended his ‘electability’, as well as his conservative credentials when challenged on both.

There were a couple of ‘classic’ Newt moments that really ignited the audience. First, Megan Kelly (e.g., lawyer) attempted to call Gengrich out on his plan for dealing with an activist judiciary. She didn’t stand a chance. Newt defended removing judges because of judicial overreach.

Then later, Gengrich blasted Obama’s pipeline veto threat (without appearing to be ‘zany’!)

A stellar moment for the former Speaker.

Through Chris Wallace’s failed attempts to ignite tension between Mitt and Newt, Romney went on to defend his business record.

However, he didn’t fare quite as smoothly as usual when Wallace challenged him on the flip-flops throughout the years.

Speaking of Wallace…oh how he’s so concerned with those precious ‘Independents’ or ‘moderates’ who just might vote for Obama over the GOP candidate (particularly when a new poll shows that the majority of Americans want Obama out!). Bachmann handed a strong answer back to Wallace, laying out her track record of trust and authenticity, as well as fighting Obama on every issue.

Bachmann was definitely on the offense last night. The first tense moment was the spar between Bachmann & Gengrich over influence peddling with regard to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, which honestly, I see both sides to that coin.

She later questioned Newt’s support for life based on actions he’d previously taken to not defund Planned Parenthood when he had the opportunity, as well as his stated willingness to campaign for Republicans who supported partial birth abortion. When Newt again accused her of not having her facts straight, Bachmann launched back at him, expressing her seriousness as a candidate and that her facts were absolutely correct. She was clearly insulted in this tense moment between the two.

And since we’re focused on a few confrontations, Santorum took Paul to task over his wacko foreign policy towards Iran.

Bachmann joined in the conversation as well, siding with Santorum, against Paul’s worldview. She’s on the freakin’ committee that would know, Mr. Paul! Just because you think there's no report, doesn’t make it so.

And Perry attempted to tie his campaign to some of the relevant popular cultural news out there by say that he wants to be the ‘Tim Tebow’ of the Iowa Caucuses.

On a more serious note, he later gave an excellent response concerning the Fast & Furious scandal: “If I were president, I’d have Holder resign immediately.”

Other mentionables were Santorum’s ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ plan.

And another one from Paul…defending earmarks?

There’s no mention of Huntsman here because, well, as Aaron Goldstein of the American Spectator said, “His debate performance was so much better on Saturday night.”


For the most part, it appeared that Newt stayed on top, with Romney not hurting himself any. Bachmann made some great comments and was definitely more assertive, but the question is will it help elevate her? Santorum really needed to break out, and gave some really good responses throughout the debate, but for some reason isn’t getting that boost (at least in the debates) that’s needed to compete with the two at the top. This was actually one of Perry’s best (and most comfortable) debates, but being the last one before the Iowa Caucus, will it be enough to elevate him? As for the remaining, Paul harmed himself among Republican voters solely with his non-Republican foreign policy, and Huntsman remained practically irrelevant.

Here’s a few links that I found interesting assessing the ‘winners/losers’ of last night’s debate:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rush goes 'On The Record'

Rush appeared on Greta Van Susteren's FNC program 'On The Record' last night to discuss the most important issue to conservative Americans heading into the 2012 election.

"Obama. Everything Obama. That's the most important issue to conservative Americans. I don't know how you separate Obama from his policies. Obama is his policies. Obama's the problem. Obama has a vision of this country that is not held by anywhere near a majority of people."

ADDENDUM: Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator described Rush's Greta appearance as, "The most cogent, spot on articulation of conservative concerns for 2012 to be found anywhere was on display last night in Rush Limbaugh's hour-long sit down with Greta Van Susteren for her On the Record show on Fox." Lord continued by wittily pushing the point, "Leading, wistfully, to the inevitable question in this season of conservative discontent. Why not Rush Limbaugh for president?"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Obama: "We didn't know how bad it was"

Obama's latest excuse: "We didn't know how bad it was," via Politico...

President Barack Obama said Tuesday he wishes he knew the full extent of the economic crisis when he took office, if only so he could have let Americans know just how tough the coming years would be.

"I think we understood that it was bad, but we didn’t know how bad it was,” Obama said in an interview with KIRO in Seattle. "I think I could have prepared the American people for how bad this was going to be, had we had a sense of that."

I'm calling BS on this one. With the constant reminder that 'this is the worst recession since the Great Depression', the Obama administration steamrolled ahead with their statist budget-busting (or budgetless, rather) agenda, and with little concern of how much more they'd drive up the debt. I'm not alone in this call...

Lonely Conservative says, "It appears that the president has a very short memory. He hadn’t even taken office when he was warning of disastrous consequences if a stimulus package wasn’t passed. He got everything he wanted and the economy got worse. Now he wants to do more of the same. If he gets his way, what do you think will happen?"

Here's Joseph Lawler's comments from the American Spectator:

"If the five million green jobs Obama promised had materialized, the economy wouldn't be as bad as it is today. If the stimulus -- including Cash for Clunkers and the homebuyer tax credit -- had worked, the economy wouldn't be as bad as it is today.

And so on. Obama is the one who claimed the technocratic ability to control economic outcomes, and now he is saying that those abilities were thwarted because the outcomes were worse than he thought they would be."

And here's Stephen Hayes comments at the Weekly Standard:

So was Barack Obama surprised by the seriousness of the economic problems in 2008, as he now claims? In a word: No.

On September 28, 2008, in the first head-to-head debate with John McCain, Obama said: “We are going through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.” He called it “a defining moment in our history.” A post on the Obama administration’s transition page said that the United States “faces its most serious economic crisis since the great depression.”

Why would Obama say something so easily refuted? Perhaps he’s simply hoping the media won’t call him on it – a reasonable expectation. Or maybe he’s hoping for the opposite – that the media will call him on his current mendacity and, as a consequence, remind voters just how bad the economy was when he came to office. Who knows?

Either way, the White House’s current claim that it was unaware of the depth of the economic problems is not true.

In other words, no one's buying your BS, Mr. President.  You absolutely knew how bad it was, but your agenda was more important than repairing the economy, the true health of the nation.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

House approves payroll tax extension with appropriate terms (UPDATE)

This evening, the House leveraged the passage of Obama's payroll tax extension with the necessary terms of appropriately paying for it, as well as expediting a positive decision on the Keystone pipeline.  And once again, it comes down to Reid and the Democrats in the Senate, as well as threats of a presidential veto from Obama, standing in the way of legislative progress and actual compromise, with of course Republicans typically cast as the media-villains who are obstructing the process.  When will this tired, old narrative ever end?

The latest battle involves the payroll tax extension converging with another damn omnibus spending bill, and again, because it's not exactly as the President prescribes, Senate Democrats are ready to hold it up, setting up another exhaustive scenario that thus far hasn't faired well for the Republican leadership: whether they'll stand their ground or roll over and cave to Democrat (and media) pressure.  The Hill reports (and keep in mind while reading, this is a compromise to Obama's payroll tax extension that instead of raiding Social Security and Medicare contributions attempts to pay for by rolling back exorbitant Obama policy spending, namely Obamacare):

House Republicans easily approved a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut over a presidential veto threat Tuesday, setting up a confrontation with the White House and Senate Democrats.

The 234-193 vote throws the GOP year-end package into the Senate’s lap, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed to reject it over a number of provisions that Democrats find unacceptable.

As the legislative calendar winds down its final days, a $1,000 tax bill for the average family, insurance benefits for the jobless and the operations of the federal government all hang in the balance.

Republican leaders used the House vote to pressure the Senate and Obama, denouncing the president for threatening a veto on a bill that includes two central elements of his jobs plan — the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.

The administration’s veto threat referenced provisions that Republicans use to pay for the bill, including the repeal of funding for the 2010 healthcare law and measures that, the White House said, broke a spending agreement hatched this summer during the debt-limit deal. Obama has previously threatened to reject the GOP bill over the inclusion of a measure forcing the administration to expedite a decision on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

Highlighting the confrontation with Obama over the Keystone pipeline, Boehner has been able to win over conservatives who were initially opposed to the president’s push to extend the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits. In addition to the Keystone provision, Republicans included measures delaying environmental regulations, limiting the duration of jobless benefits and restricting benefits for illegal immigrants, among other sweeteners. They proposed to offset the cost of the bill in part by extending a federal-worker pay freeze and reducing certain Medicare benefits for the wealthy.

As Mark Levin described tonight, "Here you have the House Republicans passing a bill that would give more money to the American people, create more American jobs involving an oil pipeline from Canada, and Harry Reid and Obama want to destroy the bill because it doesn't fit into their class warfare propaganda."

For the umpteenth time, it's so obvious that the Democrat political elite in Washington is truly uncompromising.  The sooner the Republican leadership wises up to that, the stronger they will be.  And they shouldn't allow another threat of a government shutdown to shake their resolve either, but we know how that's gone from earlier legislative battles this year as well.

UPDATE: Wow...might Obama actually be willing to cave on that veto threat over the Keystone pipeline provision?  So goes the rumor...but I'll believe it when I see it.

America: Obama’s stumbling block?

NewsBusters took note of the elevating liberal reactions to Obama’s 60 Minutes interview Sunday night:

Morning Joe remains the home of the overwhelming ratio of liberal to conservative guests. Even so, in recent weeks a narrative unflattering to Barack Obama has emerged around the table: Obama doesn't like his job. He doesn't particularly like people and is in the wrong line of work.

An even more damning appraisal was offered today: Obama doesn't think he has failed America. He thinks America has failed him. Or as Joe Scarborough encapsulated the concept, Obama believes our version of democracy is a "stumbling block to his greatness."

Mark Levin also touched on similar points that Rush earlier discussed yesterday with the fact that these guys are revealing Obama for the narcissist that he is either without even realizing that this is what they’re doing, OR because they’re simply never satisfied and always wanting more.

I’d give some credence to Jennifer Rubin’s assessment as well over at the Washington Post:

President Obama’s appearance last night on “60 Minutes” confirms how severely out of touch he is with political reality. He has become entirely predictable, and his insincerity is unrestrained. There is the phony familiarity, a strained attempt to bond with working-class voters he’s lost. … We passed self-aggrandizement a year or so ago and now have a fabulist in chief.

To add to the severe out-of-touch-ness and his greatness-block, Obama’s also hopeful that our memories have dulled. As Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit points out, Obama told “60 Minutes”, that he “always believed” fixing the economy was going to take “longer than one term.”

Yet, in February of 2009, he predicted quite a different story: that his presidency would be a “one-term proposition” if the economy did not recover in three years.

(h/t CNSNews for the comparison)

As Hoft surmises, “His three years will be up next month and in every major economic category the country is worse off today than it was when he took over," despite October's 'flawless' remarks that "all the choices we've made have been the right ones." Yet another admission that all of this is on purpose.

Real unemployment at 11%!

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post is finally catching up to what Jame Pethokoukis of Reuters wrote about back in July in understanding the real numbers of Obama’s unemployment reign:

Typically, I try to tie the beginning of Wonkbook to the news. But today, the most important sentence isn't a report on something that just happened, but a fresh look at something that's been happening for the last three years. In particular, it's this sentence by the Financial Times' Ed Luce, who writes, "According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent."

Remember that the unemployment rate is not "how many people don't have jobs?", but "how many people don't have jobs and are actively looking for them?" Let's say you've been looking fruitlessly for five months and realize you've exhausted every job listing in your area. Discouraged, you stop looking, at least for the moment. According to the government, you're no longer unemployed. Congratulations?

As Rush described yesterday, “This is one of the biggest apologists for Obama you will find. This is one of the biggest in-the-tank for Obama guys out there writing that the real unemployment rate's 11%, and Obama's out there now saying, by the way, "It's gonna be 8% by the time the election comes around." He said it's gonna be 8%. Of course it is. He runs the numbers! Of course it's gonna be 8%, but it won't really be 8%. We've been telling you for longer than a month, folks, that the universe of jobs has been shrinking, and this is the secret behind the unemployment rate dropping -- when it really, really isn't”

Monday, December 12, 2011

ABC/Yahoo GOP debate highlights

Reuters writes that Saturday night's ABC/Yahoo GOP debate "was the most-watched of the 2012 campaign as an average of 7.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the presidential candidates take on such hot topics as unemployment and immigration."  I barely had the tv on this weekend, much less anything news related, HA!  However, I did catch the replay last night, and once getting through it all, including Diane Sawyer's moderation, I had a few moments that stuck out the most.

After everyone's opening statements, fireworks inevitably began between Romney and Gengrich, with Mitt attempting to explain numerous differences between he and Newt, then the rebuttal began...

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But while those two sparred over their differences, Bachmann took the opportunity to point out the similarities in 'Mitt Romney' (also pointing out that she is the proven conservative)...

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(Here's a lengthier clip that includes the entire chronology, including my next point...)
The gaffe of the night goes to...Romney?! Yep, with that ridiculous wager...

As Ed Morrissey of HotAir described, "When Perry attacked Romney over statements in his book regarding health care, Romney tried to intimidate Perry by challenging him to bet $10,000 over the issue. If Romney wanted to make himself look rich, arrogant, and clueless, he could hardly have done a better job."

Another interesting moment with 'Mitt Romney' was the issue of Israel and an honest statement that Gengrich made concerning the history of the Palestinians (whether you like him or not, he had the guts to speak the truth on this matter)...

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Bachmann sided more with the frankness of Gengrich, while Santorum took the hesitant route with Romney.  While there were apparent differences over what Newt should or shouldn't have said, Perry set the debate back on the focus of Obama's foreign policy, "This President is the problem, not something Newt Gengrich said."

And I can't go without pointing out a particularly poignant position made by Santorum earlier in the debate.  He hit the nail on the head with his excellent accessment of Obama's payroll tax extension and the effects that is having on social security contributions, as I posted about with Levin's discussion last week.

I believe this topic alone speaks volumes as to whom the consistent conservatives are, as CNSNews pointed out, "Santorum, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry all oppose extending the payroll tax cut. The other three candidates taking part in Saturday night's debate on ABC – Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul -- support an extension of the payroll tax cut."

I'd also give kudos to Perry for his great accessment of his tax policy and the problems with Washington.

All in all, a fairly good debate as the race narrows towards the first primaries. Here's a link to the entire debate, if you missed it (like I initially did!).

ADDENDUM: Since I started with Reuters, let's end with a clip from them.  Here's the GOP debate 'in one minute' with the scorcher at the end.  Enjoy!