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The Election of Scott Brown: Why did it happen? What are the implications?
Health Care Reform: What are the Democrats options? Will it pass? If so, in what form?
Obama’s 1st Year: What’s the verdict? Buyer’s remorse?
We have two examples today and they’re each interesting because of who they are.
The first is a self-identified independent – Jill Dorson. She voted twice for Bush, but, as she admits, fell hard for the hype Obama put out there. She was also put off by the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate.
I voted for hope and change and all the intangibles that Obama was peddling in the wake of the financial crisis, Sarah Palin, Sept. 11 and all the other ills that shook our country in the last decade. I wanted something new. Something different. What I got was, I suppose, exactly what I voted for – a spin doctor. And not a very good one at that.
She speaks of how quickly “hope” and “change” went by the boards. How she watched the same sort of policies she thought she had voted against continued. And the bailouts, huge spending programs and the like horrified her.
It was clear after just 90 days what a mistake I’d made. My taxes have gone up and my quality of life has gone down. Hope has given way to disgust and I see now that change is simply a euphemism for “big government.”
Like many others, my view is narrow. I vote for the candidate I think will be best for me. I often define myself as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. But above all, I want to feel safe and I don’t want to feel that I am being ripped off. I want a president who inspires me and cares about my contribution to the fabric of the country. I want a president with experience and savvy, a Commander in Chief who puts our country and its citizens first.
I only hope the Republicans can find him the next time around.
She nails three points – one, Obama’s a fraud and hasn’t even come close to living up to his promises; two, his “change” was to bigger and even more intrusive government; and three, none of that will matter in 2012 unless Republicans can find a good candidate that year (and, as you can tell, she’s made it clear that’s not Sarah Palin).
But the bottom line is, she’s open to another “change”,. In fact, she’s begging for it. And, I think, she’s indicative of the feelings of many independents (not necessarily for the same reasons) – this is not the change or the guy they thought he was.
Which brings us to the second example of buyer’s remorse – this one is scathing and it’s from a “progressive”. He entitles it “How to Squander the Presidency in One Year” and then David Michael Green spends at least a 1000 words describing how that has been accomplished in detail, calling Obama the Conan O’Brian of presidents. You may not agree with much of what he says, historically, but when he finally gets to Obama he doesn’t hold back.
One point he makes resonated with me as it is a point I’ve been making for a while, in fact, as recently as Friday:
* He does not lead. Americans, especially in times of crisis, want their daddy-president to pick a point on the horizon and lead them to it. Often – especially in the short term – they don’t even care that much which point it is. They will happily follow a president whose policies they oppose if he will but lead.
Everything after the first sentence is a load. But even Green has figured out that Obama isn’t a leader and has never demonstrated any leadership. And that has consequences. Green comes to the very same conclusions I voiced Friday:
* He has therefore let Congress ‘lead’ on nearly every issue, another surefire mistake. Instead of demanding that they pass real stimulus legislation – which would have really stimulated the economy, big-time, and right now – he let those d*ckheads on the Hill just load up a big pork party blivet of a bill with all the pet projects they could find, designed purely to benefit their personal standing with the voters at home, rather than to actually produce jobs for Americans. And on health care, his signature issue, he did the same thing. “You guys write it, and I’ll sign the check.” Could there possibly be a greater prescription for failure than allowing a bunch of the most venal people on the planet to cobble together a 2,000 page monstrosity that entirely serves their interests and those of the people whose campaign bribes put them in office?
Bingo. And Green goes on and on and on. Be sure to read it all. The point, of course, is he’s managed to alienate not only the voters who would be the determining factor in any election – the big middle – but his base, which held so much “hope” for his presidency and now realize they bought a pig in a poke and should have known better. What that translates into is an “enthusiasm gap” which is going to be hard to bridge if things don’t change. And, if nothing changes, Indies will vote for the other guy (assuming the Republicans have a worthwhile candidate lined up) and Democrats will stay home.
We’ve seen president’s change before. Bill Clinton was at one time declared to be “irrelevant” yet he managed to again make himself very relevant. And George Bush was counted out more times than any president I know of, yet managed to remain relevant through the majority of his 2 terms.
Obama has got a tough row to hoe – but it is one of his own making. Back to Jill Dorson. She made an interesting statement about the last election:
You see, I felt my choice was to risk McCain dropping dead and letting the world’s most well-known hockey mom run this country …
But instead she decided on risking a junior Senator with absolutely no experience because he was so attractive:
I am ashamed to say that I was blinded by charisma. Obama was so convincing that I stopped caring about what he knew and started getting caught up in the euphoria. Imagine having a president who came from a broken home, who had money troubles, who did grass-roots community service? A young father. The first black president. It pains me to admit I got caught up in the hoopla.
Once that admission is made – and I have a feeling, bolstered by the results in VA, NJ and MA, that it is being made a lot – there’s no going back. That’s where Dorsen finds herself now. And interestingly, so does Green. Those defections translate into votes for whomever opposed Obama and an “enthusiasm gap” among his supporters which may see them sitting home.
That doesn’t bode well for Obama in 2012 unless the Republicans again run some tired old war horse that is unable to excite the base or independents, as they managed to do last time. So while Obama certainly has his problems they’re not necessarily terminal, electorally speaking, just yet. However, I’d say if the Republicans can find an attractive candidate and run a grounded, issue oriented campaign (like Scott Brown in MA) that reflects their principles of less government, less spending and fewer taxes, they have a good shot in the next presidential election.
Why? Because history is what it is and resists attempts to rewrite it for political reasons.
A week or so ago, I pointed to an attempt by Ezra Klein to change the history of the Civil Rights bill of 1964 by claiming that the Democratic Senators in the South were a “third party” with which the real Democrats formed a coalition. Of course, as I pointed out, that’s pure nonsense.
Today we see an attempt to whitewash the same period in history. In an article in The Hill, J. Taylor Rushing discusses the latest attempt by the Senate majority (the Republicans talked about it when they were in the majority as well) to do away with the filibuster. Tom Harkin (D-IA) will introduce a bill to take away the minority’s power to filibuster. Of course, it takes 67 votes to change that rule, something highly unlikely to happen.
But within Rushing’s story where the history of the filibuster was being recounted, I noticed this sentence:
In the 20th century, Southern senators used it to block civil rights legislation supported by a majority of the Senate.
Here, let me fix that so it accurately reflects what happened:
In the 20th century, Southern Democratic senators used it to block civil rights legislation supported by a bi-partisan majority of the Senate.
Al Gore, Sr. Robert Byrd. Richard Russell. William Fullbright. Etc. All staunch Democrats – never anything else. All filibustered the Civil Rights act of 1964 as Democrats.
There is no chance that the Senate filibuster is going to be ended by Harkin’s bill. And there’s equally no chance that I’m going to let any attempts to whitewash this portion of history escape my attention. The conventional wisdom about which party is the friend of civil rights is a myth. And I intend to take every opportunity availed me to point to the actual history of that event, not the contrived one.
You may remember the post I did entitled “Haiti: Let The Conspiracy Theories Begin” where I jokingly cited a website which immediately blamed the initial Haiti earthquake on the US (supposedly it was aimed at Cuba and missed). The supposed instrument of this US attempt is its HAARP facility in the area. HAARP is an antenna array. The acronym stands for “High Frequency Active Aural Research Program”. It explains itself like this:
HAARP is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere, with particular emphasis on being able to understand and use it to enhance communications and surveillance systems for both civilian and defense purposes.
A antenna array aimed at the ionosphere is able to create earthquakes at will according to the black helicopter crowd.
However, they aren’t the only ones, apparently, who buy into this conspiracy theory. Of course you have to understand – believing in such nonsense isn’t particularly hard for someone who thinks authoritarian socialism is superior to freedom, capitalism and democracy. And Hugo is just such a believer:
Chavez is blaming the US for causing the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti as part of testing a “tectonic weapon” that can cause eco-type disasters, according to Russia Today. The Latin American leader added that the US should “stop playing God.”
Chavez said these “weapon earthquakes” would eventually be used against Iran and be taken over by the US military.
Chavez says these weapons can alter the climate and set off earthquakes and volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.
Although Chavez did not reveal his source, Press TV reports the Venezuelan media are reporting the earthquake may be associated with the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), which has been accused of generating violent and disastrous changes in climate.
So far the foreign policy initiative of reaching out to all of these little tin pot dictators who don’t like the US is paying off handsomely, I’d say.
Sometimes an anti-American whackadoodle is just that. And it is never in their best interest to mend fences since being anti-American is critical to their retention of power.
My blogging credentials (such as they are) run back to 2002, and I can remember when Charles Johnson’s Little Green Footballs site was just a blip on the blogospheric map. After Rathergate, of course, that blip turned into a giant shining beacon. As you might expect, that sort of attention led to plenty of caterwauling from the lefties, and some pretty unfair accusations. At one point, I brilliantly defended Johnson from completely unjustified attacks by none other than everyone’s favorite harlequin, GreenSox Glennwald (seriously, go read this one just for the comments where I get into it with everyone’s favorite sycophant Mona; good stuff). Johnson was the king of the anti-anti-war right at that time, and the left’s long knives were emblazoned with his name.
Since the election of Barack Obama, however, Johnson has had an … er, falling out with his former brethren. For whatever reason, he’s taken to sniping at his former comrades in arms and resorted to that favorite tactic of the left in calling everyone a racist who doesn’t agree with him.
Such is life. Coalitions rarely last for very long, and divorces are typically nasty affairs where rude epithets are common. That Charles no longer wants to associate with those whom he once treated as his band of blogo-brothers is sad, but not terribly important in the grand scheme of things. Strange bedfellows abound in times of perceived danger.
Nevertheless, there was a time (called the “Bush Presidency”) when Johnson was the posterchild for all that was deemed wrong with the political right, especially the left’s fervent fantasies about racism run amuck. To be fair, such accusations typically found their quarry ruminating around LGF’s prodigious comment sections, but that was enough for the lords of tolerance to tar all non-statists as racist, warmongering, dead-enders with no sense of compassion or grace. That is, until Johnson decided to part ways with his former comrades.
Considering LGF’s place amongst the pantheon of the left’s most hated sites on Earth, you can imagine my surprise upon reading a paean to Charles Johnson in, of all places, the New York Times:
Charles Johnson has been writing a blog for almost as long as the word “blog” has existed. A bearish, gentle-voiced, ponytailed man who for three decades enjoyed a successful career as a jazz guitarist accompanying the likes of Al Jarreau and Stanley Clarke, Johnson has always had a geek’s penchant for self-education, and in that spirit he cultivated a side interest, and ultimately an expertise, in writing computer code. His Web log, which he named “Little Green Footballs” (a private joke whose derivation he has always refused to divulge), was begun in February 2001 mostly as a way to share advice and information with fellow code jockeys — his approach was similar in outlook, if vastly larger in its reach, to the guiding spirit in the days of ham radio. His final post on Sept. 10, 2001, was titled “Placement of Web Page Elements.” It read, in its entirety: “Here’s a well-executed academic study of where users expect things to be on a typical Web page.” It linked to, well, exactly what it said. The post attracted one comment, which read, in its entirety, “Fantastic article.”
He’s cute! He’s cuddly! He’s just a code monkey who likes Tab and Mountain Dew! Nothing to fear here!
By virtue of his willingness to do and share research, his personal embrace of a hawkish, populist anger and his extraordinary Web savvy, Johnson quickly turned Little Green Footballs (or L.G.F., as it is commonly known) into one of the most popular personal sites on the Web, and himself — the very model of a Los Angeles bohemian — into an avatar of the American right wing. With a daily audience in the hundreds of thousands, the career sideman had moved to the center of the stage.
Now it is eight years later, and Johnson, who is 56, sits in the ashes of an epic flame war that has destroyed his relationships with nearly every one of his old right-wing allies. People who have pledged their lives to fighting Islamic extremism, when asked about Charles Johnson now, unsheathe a word they do not throw around lightly: “evil.” Glenn Beck has taken the time to denounce him on air and at length. Johnson himself (Mad King Charles is one of his most frequent, and most printable, Web nicknames) has used his technical know-how to block thousands of his former readers not just from commenting on his site but even, in many cases, from viewing its home page. He recently moved into a gated community, partly out of fear, he said, that the venom directed at him in cyberspace might jump its boundaries and lead someone to do him physical harm. He has turned forcefully against Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, nearly every conservative icon you can name. And answering the question of what, or who, got to Charles Johnson has itself become a kind of boom genre on the Internet.
“It’s just so illogical,” Geller told me heatedly not long ago. “I loved him. I respected him. But the way he went after people was like a mental illness. There’s an evil to that, a maliciousness. He’s a traitor, a turncoat, a plant. We may not know for years what actually happened. You think he changed his mind?”
Poor code monkey. So lonely and misunderstood. How awful those righties are for abandoning such a crafty, neo-hippie (who finally found his way back home to his “bohemian” roots). It really is a shame that the right is so horribly intolerant that they call Johnson bad names like “evil” and “traitor”. What’s wrong with those jerks anyway?
You can read the rest for yourself. Suffice it to say, the irony of that bastion of MSM groupthink called the New York Times writing a glowing 1,000+ word article in defense of Charles Johnson and LGF is so thick I could feed off it for weeks. Recall that LGF was one the prime agents in exposing the fraud of MSM-mainstay Dan Rather and you might just string that irony-stew out for a couple of months.[ad#Banner]
Brutal. And from the leftosphere to boot.
Wait, what …?
It’s still open?
But I thought …
Wasn’t this the day the Obama administration promised it would be closed?
And what else?
The Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trials nearly 50 detainees at the Guantánamo Bay military prison in Cuba because a high-level task force has concluded that they are too difficult to prosecute but too dangerous to release, an administration official said on Thursday.
So the Obama administration has essentially agreed with the Bush administration about holding certain detainees without a trial and the “symbol of American shame” remains open in order to do that?
Hope and change.
It is so obvious it frustrates me that others are too ideologically or politically blind to admit it. The reason the Democrats are in the shape they’re in today has to do with the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his obvious lack of leadership.
Let me give you the latest example found in a Politico article today. It is, in fact, all about why the legislative agenda is in trouble and Democrats are skittish.
Congressional Democrats — stunned out of silence by Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts — say they’re done swallowing their anger with President Barack Obama and ready to go public with their gripes.
If the sentiment isn’t quite heads-must-roll, it’s getting there.
Hill Democrats are demanding that Obama’s brain trust — especially senior adviser David Axelrod and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel — shelve their grand legislative ambitions to focus on the economic issues that will determine the fates of shaky Democratic majorities in both houses.
And they want the White House to step up — quickly — to help shape the party’s message and steer it through the wreckage of health care reform.
Shorter version: “Where’s the leadership from the President?”
It is the same question the Democrats have been asking all year. Left to their own devices, Congressional Democrats have made a hash out of this legislative year. But they’ve been given no choice. Other than a general agenda, Obama has mostly been AWOL when it came to the details of his policies and the direction Congressional Democrats should take. Consequently the process has been left to the very disparate Democratic caucus to formulate and attempt to pass legislation. No leadership on what the legislation should and shouldn’t contain, no attempt to win over those who may or may not agree, no direction and help in fashioning and passing the bills.
And now you have Democrats asking, out loud, for the sort of leadership they require to pass this president’s agenda. And they’re simply not getting it. In fact, the White House’s reaction is classic:
The problem, from the perspective of the White House, is that fractious Democrats provide all the political direction of a nine-needled compass — and often send contradictory messages about how they want him to proceed.
Good Lord! Leaders don’t wait for those they lead to tell him or her “how they want him to proceed”, followers do. What part of “you’re in charge” doesn’t Obama get? They’re sending “contradictory messages” because there’s a leadership vacuum and no one is stepping forward to fill it.
The so-called leader is waiting for those to whom he is supposed to give direction to give him direction. Leaders step forward and give direction. They don’t wait on it from those they’re supposed to lead.
And you wonder why this year has been a disaster for Democrats?
Don’t expect it to get any better – it appears Obama, or “the White House”, actually feel this is what leaders do.
The Democrats and the NY Times are howling about the SCOTUS decision which effectively rendered the anti-First Amendment McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law moot.
Essentially their argument boils down to “the public is too stupid to be able to separate the political wheat from the chaff and must be protected from political advertising by corporate entities with an agenda”.
Of course, advertising by politicians with an agenda is just peachy keen.
Reality: anyone or any group which advertised during a political campaign has an agenda. In America, per the 1st Amendment, they have the freedom to pursue it. Or should have that freedom, anyway. McCain-Feingold limited or prohibited that freedom and what SCOTUS did to overturn those prohibitions is long overdue.
Judge Andrew Napalitano gives us a good rundown of the ruling:
The Supreme Court today invalidated its own 20 year old ruling on group political contributions and it also invalidated a portion of the McCain-Feingold Campaign finance law. The 20 year old ruling had prohibited all political expenditures by groups such as corporations, labor unions, and advocacy groups (like the NRA and Planned Parenthood). Ruling that all persons, individually and in groups, have the same unfettered free speech rights, the Court blasted Congress for suppression of that speech. Thus, from today forward, all groups are free to spend their own money on their own political campaigns and to mention the names of the candidates.
The Court also threw out the portion of McCain-Feingold that had permitted persons to contribute to Political Action Committees (PACs), but barred those PACs from using those funds in the sixty day period preceding an election. Since that sixty day period preceding the election is the most vital in any campaign, the Court held that the prohibition on expenditures during that time was a violation of the free speech guaranteed to all persons, individually and in groups, by the First Amendment.
Thus, as a result of the ruling today, all groups may spend their own money as they wish on their own campaigns, but they still may not–as groups–contribute directly to political campaigns. The direct political contribution prohibition in McCain-Feingold was not challenged in this case, thus its constitutionality was not an issue before the Court. Groups will thus effectively be running and financing their own campaigns for candidates on their own.
That means the FEC no longer has a say in what is or isn’t appropriate or who can or can’t run what during an election season. Apparently, according to Napalitano, one of the questions asked by Justice Scalia which elicited an answer from the FEC infuriated most of the justices:
During the course of oral argument on this case in October in the Supreme Court, one of the FEC’s lawyers replied to a question from Justice Antonin Scalia to the effect that the FEC could ban books if they were paid for by corporations, labor unions, or advocacy groups. This highly un-American statement in the Supreme Court–that the federal government can ban books–infuriated a few of the justices.
Anyone reading this want to raise their hand and back book banning?
Democrats are concentrating their ire on the fact that the court found that a corporation has the same right to express itself as an individual. It is another battle in their long war against corporate America. It’s not an effective or particularly compelling argument. A PAC isn’t an individual but enjoyed the same advertising rights as an individual. Why shouldn’t a corporation enjoy them as well? So don’t get balled up in their nonsense argument. The fact remains that free speech doesn’t discriminate. It means free speech for all, regardless of what group or entity represented.
This is a long overdue dismantling of a anti-liberty law. Most people understand that fundamental truth. And most people also understand that government should not be in the business of deciding who can or can’t speak out during a political campaign. In fact, the fundamental purpose of the 1st Amendment was the protection of political speech. Congress seems to have lost sight of that.
Any argument for the reinstatement of this law or any law which resembles it is an argument to limit political speech. While you may not be happy with the fact that you’ll now see even more advertising than before, it is a fundamental victory for liberty and those that love liberty should applaud it.