Free Markets, Free People

Barack Obama


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 13 May 12

This week, Bruce, Michael and Dale talk about the Mitt Romney “bullying” story, media bias, and how the level of journalism under which the country suffers is a disservice to the voting public.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


“All-of-the-above” energy policy doesn’t mean just adding “clean coal” to campaign energy web page

This guy is so obvious it amazes even me at times.

He loses 41% of the Democratic vote in the West Virginia primary to a Texas jailbird and suddenly he’s all for “clean coal.”  Does he really, honestly believe that now West Virginia will rally to his cause because he put “clean coal” on his campaign web site where it has been conspicuously absent prior to the primary?  This is “smartest guy in the room” stuff?

After coming under fire for its consistent hostility to the coal industry, the Obama campaign quietly adjusted its energy policy website to include “clean coal” among the president’s energy initiatives.

The energy policy page of BarackObama.com now includes a section for “clean coal,” claiming the stimulus package “invested substantially in carbon capture and sequestration research.”

But until recently, that page made no mention of coal. Its Google cache shows a section for “energy efficiency” where “clean coal” now appears.

The change comes mere days after Obama lost 41% of the vote in the Democratic primary in West Virginia – a state heavily reliant on the coal industry – to a convicted felon and current federal inmate.

The chairman of the WV Democratic Party blamed Obama’s poor showing on his stance on coal energy. “A lot of folks here have real frustration with this administration’s stance on coal and energy,” said state Democratic chairman Larry Puccio. “They are frustrated and they are upset, and they wanted to send Obama a message.”

Of course everyone who has followed how Obama operates knows very well he’ll say anything.  It is what he does (or doesn’t do) that matters.  Just like being “for” gay marriage.  That doesn’t mean he’ll do anything to make it happen. It is about how he calculates being “for” something will benefit him politically.  The same holds true for “clean coal”.

Should he win re-election, “clean coal” will be removed as quietly as it was inserted onto the campaign web page.

Forward.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Obama: Doubling down on economic ignorance

Ever have one of those days?  My DSL has been down for 2 days, and I’m currently sitting in a public library trying to get some work done and sending out this post. 

And I was actually going to concentrate on work until I saw this article about something Obama said about the Buffett Rule:

President Barack Obama argued Sunday that his calls for wealthier Americans to pay a greater share of taxes aren’t about sharing the wealth, but about getting the American economy on a path for solid growth.

“That is not an argument about redistribution. That is an argument about growth,” Obama said in response to a reporter’s question at a news conference in Colombia. “In the history of the United States, we grow best when our growth is broad based.”

Broad based growth is not driven by heavily taxing one income class, Mr. Obama.  Nor is broad based growth driven by government spending (i.e. “redistribution” or “sharing the wealth”).

Broad based growth is driven by private enterprises having confidence in the economy and finding incentives to invest in both business and hiring.ISSdriv_101206.png

The “Buffet Rule” doesn’t do anything to provide those incentives or inspire that confidence.  In fact, it seems to be mostly a tax of desperation.  The numbers just don’t support the supposition that it will drive anything but more government spending, and, frankly, not much of that.

This is class warfare plain and simple.  It is also an attempt to offer up the rich as a panacea to the revenue problem blamed as the reason we’ve seen government borrow multi-trillions of dollars. 

There is no revenue problem.  There is a spending problem.  And taxing billionaires won’t solve that problem.  In fact it will likely exacerbate it. 

More importantly, the words Obama has spoken speak to two things: a) a deep seated ignorance of economics and b) a deep seated belief that government is the answer to all ills.

Both are dangerous and promise even more economic woes in our future. 

We can’t afford that.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Quote of the Day: Obama’s new found love for the Keystone XL pipeline edition

And from none other than Mr. Etch-A-Sketch:

“Apparently, the slipping poll numbers have convinced him [Obama] to announce the lower half of that pipeline,” Romney said. “If we can get his poll numbers just a little lower, we may be able to get the other side, too. So let’s get that job done.”

A reminder, one more time with feeling – the portion that Obama is now for doesn’t need his permission or approval to be built.

Just to be clear.

This is a blatant and obvious political attempt to pretend he’s behind something that was going happen anyway.  But, of course, we knew that, didn’t we?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 18 Mar 12

This week, Michael, and Dale talk about the Dharun Ravi conviction and President Obama.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


How To Manipulate Women Voters: An Obama Campaign Primer

If it’s not painfully obvious by now, the Obama campaign is banking on women voters being the key to re-election. Running on “Hope and Change” isn’t going to work this time around, and the specter of George Bush will only get about as many miles as a Chevy Volt on a full charge. The usually reliable grievance groups, identity cohorts and college students are not as enthused this time around, and the Obama campaign is apparently worried about that $1,000,000,000 in cash won’t be enough to get it past the finish line. So, naturally, some voting bloc must be pandered to and manipulated in order to secure a second term.

Enter the Contraception Wars (a major battle of the General War on Women). Relying on the various Democratic identity politics to get your voter base out is tedious, time consuming, and requires a lot more vote-buying to pay off the different interest groups. Seeing as how they may not be a reliable base anyway, then why not go for the largest voting bloc out there: women!

In recent elections, voter turnout rates for women have equaled or exceeded voter turnout rates for men. Women, who constitute more than half the population, have cast between four and seven million more votes than men in recent elections. In every presidential election since 1980, the proportion [of] female adults who voted has exceeded the proportion of made adults who voted.

The one thing that all women have in common is that they alone have the necessary biological equipment for having babies. If they were made to feel that their equipment was under attack (“Republicans are coming to steal your ladyparts!“), and that only Obamamagne can defend their honor, then perhaps they will race to the polls in support of their hero. Of course, there will have to be some “free” stuff thrown in to sweeten the pot and make women feel as if they are losing something unless Obama is re-elected. Accordingly, what follows is the multi-step process for ensuring the women vote goes solidly for Obama in November:

1. Raise awareness: Subtly introduce the subject of contraception from out of left field at a Republican debate. This will get the tongues wagging and foreshadow who the villains are.

2. Free Stuff: Using your arrogated powers, mandate that all employers who provide insurance must include contraception (including abortifacients and sterilization) in their plans, regardless of conscientious objection, the First Amendment or, y’know, any of that freedom nonsense. By giving women “free” contraception, etc., you necessarily pit them against those who would deny them their grant. Executing this step is vitally important to framing the villains and carrying out Step 3.

3. Create the wedge issue: Because certain quarters will predictably howl at the intrusion upon their liberties, this Step is almost self-executing. Once the villainous voices are set to wailing, pretend to show concern for their plaints and then offer an “accommodation” that changes nothing but highlights your Solomonic wisdom (aided, of course, by a compliant media). The results of this Step are two-fold — (a) it politicizes the issue so that people will have to choose sides, and (b) it creates the illusion that you are fair and just, while your opponents are rigid and uncaring.

4. Flip the issue: Up to this point, the issue has been “I want to give you free stuff, but the greedy bastards don’t want to pay for it.” That may raise legitimate concerns among a sizable portion of the voting bloc you are courting. So, instead, change the narrative to “I want to protect your ability to get the free stuff, but they don’t want you to have it at all!” In flipping the issue from “don’t want to pay for” to “want to ban” you have neatly cleaved your intended voting bloc from your political enemies. Under this telling of the story, the villains are out to get women and only you will stand up to protect them.

5. Generate sound bytes: This Step is a bit tricky and must be followed carefully. The basis for any campaign is a good PR strategy. There will be plenty of older sound bytes out there already, but those will be generally stale and unhelpful. What you need to properly execute this Step is a current controversy. In order to do that you will need a public forum (such as Congressional hearing) in which to force the issue. Start by finding someone to represent your voting bloc and push her presence at the forum in a way that is sure to keep her from actually appearing. (As an added bonus, falsely claim that no representative of the voting bloc was allowed to appear.) Be sure that this speaker will be a sympathetic victim such as a lowly “college student” (regardless of whether she is or not). Now, and this part is very important, have your willing victim draw enemy fire by testifying about activities that perfectly fit the definition of “slut”, all but openly daring your opponents to use the word. Don’t worry about someone taking the bait — someone always rises to occasion.

6. Profit: Now that you have created a wedge issue, identified victim and villain, and staked out your claim to your voter bloc, all you have to do is pound the wedge home. Using your newly generated sound byte(s), you are firmly on the path to political nirvana. Your friends and allies will eagerly disseminate, distort and decry the outrageous outrageousness of your political opponents, firmly ensconcing your coveted voter bloc on your side. It will be the talk of the town for quite some time, ready to be refreshed at the right moments. In addition, it will provide a welcome distraction to your pathetic record, a flailing economy, and impending dangers that show you unequal to the task.

That is, of course, unless you’ve miscalculated. If your premise is wrong that women are all the same and will all vote the same way if given the proper motivation, then this plan could backfire.

Or maybe, just maybe, women aren’t as manipulable as you believe, and they actually care about their families, their jobs, their home budgets, and their liberties. If that’s the case, then you might just be screwed no matter what you do.


There are polls and then there are polls

As I’ve said repeatedly over the years, candidate vs. candidate polls are virtually useless this far out from an election (9 months).

There’s little reason to pay attention to them.  So when you see these:

Obama 49.0%
Romney 43.3%

Obama 50.0%
Santorum 42.5%

Obama 53.0%
Gingrich 39.1%

Obama 48.6 %
Paul 40.4%

Remember this:

[I]n January 1980, the Gallup Poll showed:

Carter 63%
Reagan 32%

And, of course, there are plenty of other examples of those sorts of polls to be found if you look.

That said, there are polls that are indicators because they provide a history that lends itself to identifying whether or not an incumbent is actually in trouble or not.  The candidate v. candidate polls above really don’t.  We’re still in the early stages of nominating a candidate for one party and the focus has yet to really turn on the incumbent.  Numbers will change, I suspect fairly dramatically, when that happens.  And, to this point, I’d suggest that most of the country isn’t yet engaged in the presidential race.  That will happen 6 months from now when you can begin to pay attention to those polls pitting candidate against candidate.

But to those polls that matter, or at least point to historical trends, etc.  Here’s one:

It’s February, nine months before a presidential election, and only 22 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going.  Voters haven’t been this unhappy with the country since George H.W. Bush’s presidency, when only 21 percent of Americans reported being happy with the country’s direction. And before that, the lowest approval rating was 19 percent during Jimmy Carter’s first term.

What do the two presidencies have in common? Neither of them won re-election. And, if the trends holds true, Obama looks to be in an equally precarious situation.

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research released its 2012 campaign outlook, and it’s clear Obama’s sitting in the same position George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter were in during the February before their election losses—voters don’t feel good about the country.

So when I hear Democratic strategists like James Carville saying things like this …

The only way the president will lose according to Carville is if some event takes place and changes things.  He maintained it wouldn’t be the result of the GOP nominee outshining Obama.

“Right now, things are starting to perk up a little bit,” he said. “Who knows? This is the — no Republican can beat Obama. Events can beat Obama. He’s not going to get beat by a Republican. Now events could come in and cause him to lose the election. But that’s it right now. That was not the case three months ago.”

… I laugh.  This is pure “whistling past the graveyard” and political spin.  Carville is engaged in psychological warfare here.  He wants everyone to believe the worm has turned and it is all sunlight and roses for his candidate.

If dissatisfaction can be called an “event”, then that’s the event which should put Obama exactly where he belongs in November  – planning for his presidential library in 2013.

Carville knows as well as anyone that at this point in the process, his choice for re-election has gone almost unscathed and his record mostly unscrutinized.   But that will change and it will change dramatically in a few months.  And about that time, the focus of the nation will begin to turn to national politics. 

The fact remains that the American public is not happy and when it is not happy it tends to not reelect its president.  That is the “event” this president faces.   And my guess is, when the GOP finally settles on its candidate, OMG (Obama Must Go) will be the driving “event” which determines the election.

Carville says “no Republican” can beat Obama?  I disagree.  In the end, any Republican can beat Obama.  Some by larger margins than others, certainly.  But that’s my prediction.  The Democrats really haven’t a clue about the level of dissatisfaction that exists with this president.

Even the president most demonized by the left had better numbers than Obama does.  At the January SOTU prior to his 2004 re-election run, George W. Bush enjoyed a 41% satisfaction rate (as did Ronald Regan and Bill Clinton).  As noted, Obama is at 22%, 3 points above the president almost universally identified as our worst modern president.

Let’s see if James Carville is still laughing after the “event” it November.  My guess would be “no”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 19 Feb 12

This week, Michael, and Dale talk about the controversy over the HHS contraception mandate.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 08 Jan 12

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale talk about the president’s recess appointments and the new US military strategy.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


Gingrich fatigue?

Probably not so much fatigue as getting to know Newt and finding out he’s not really the guy many in the GOP want as the presidential nominee.  In fact, no one seems to be really capturing the attention of likely GOP voters for more than a month or two without imploding or fading.  Gingrich seems to be doing a fade job as Gallup documents:

After enjoying 14- to 15-percentage-point leads over Mitt Romney in early December, Newt Gingrich is now statistically tied with Romney in national Republican preferences for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination: 26% for Gingrich vs. 24% for Romney. This follows a steady decline in support for Gingrich in the past 10 days.

My guess is “Getting To Know You” wouldn’t be Newt Gingrich’s favorite song, because the more you know about him and the more you hear him, the less you want this guy anywhere near the Oval Office.  And for the man who sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi to try to claim conservative credentials is, well, laughable.

So as the press actually vets a candidate (apparently they remembered how after Obama was elected) and voters get to hear more and more from him on issues such as the judiciary (and something about handcuffs) etc., not to mention the fact that he is the consummate and ultimate Washington DC insider, his star begins to twinkle less brightly in the political heavens.

Iowa will be upon us soon.  Rumor and a few polls have it that Ron Paul will win that.  As someone else mentioned, if he does, that will make Iowa pretty much a farce.  Paul cannot get beyond 10 to 11% nationally and winning Iowa won’t change that.  What it may do, it that happens, is cast even more doubt on Gingrich’s ability to win in the long run.  A Paul win in Iowa will simply make him the latest GOP shooting star.

Romney, however, will plod along and his organization will take Iowa in stride and continue on the long road to the nomination.  I’m not saying I want Romney by any stretch, just laying out the facts as I see them.   He has built the best organization and ground game.   Iowa will not stop or deter his pursuit of the nomination.  I won’t go as far as to say his nomination is inevitable.  It’s a long way to November.  I’m just saying that, barring the entry into the race of the prefect candidate, he probably has the best chance of being the compromise nominee when the convention rolls around.  Obviously the primaries will tell, but I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on Iowa.

Gingrich, on the other hand, is seeing what I would consider an expected pushback.  When you first see him and hear him you think, “ok, he’s articulate, he debates well, he could take on the incumbent easily and, well, he might not be so bad”.  Then you begin to pay attention and hear his ideas and thoughts.  And you decide he’s not at all what you’re looking for if you’re really a conservative.   He can talk the game, but if you really listen and pay attention to what he’s said in the past, you know he’s about as consistent as Mitt Romney – he just spins his flip-flops better.

That said, the GOP faithful are going to have to realize something – and before I say this, I want it understood it is not an endorsement of any of the above – they’re not going to get the perfect candidate.  At some point they’re going to have to pick among those running and back that candidate if they want Barack Obama to begin planning his library.  And it may entail holding their collective noses to do so … again.

If anything, that’s the problem with which the entire electorate should be concerned.  Look at the incumbent.  Look at the challengers.  How in the world did we ever get in the shape that they are the only one’s from which we have to pick?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO