It's fairly uncommon for high-profile media figures to make election predictions. Getting it wrong is obviously problematic--see Dick Morris. So when Karl Rove makes some bold predictions, it's noteworthy, particularly since he isn't the relentless self-promoter Dick Morris is. Nevertheless, in my opinion, he is sometimes overly cautious, and in some cases just plain wrong.
• Republicans will keep the U.S. House, albeit with their 25-seat majority slightly reduced. In the 10 presidential re-elections since 1936, the party in control of the White House has added House seats in seven contests and lost them in three. The average gain has been 12 seats. The largest pickup was 24 seats in 1944—but President Barack Obama is no FDR, despite what he said in his recent "60 Minutes" interview.
A safe and not particularly daring prediction. I would go out on a limb here and say that Republicans will actually gain seats. I base that conclusion on the problem any Democrat has in running with a President who has the kind of disapproval ratings Barack Obama does, as well the coat tail principle. In a change election like this one, it's unlikely that people will vote for a Republican president and a representative from the opposing party.
• Republicans will take the U.S. Senate. Of the 23 Democratic seats up in 2012, there are at least five vulnerable incumbents (Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania): The GOP takes two or three of these. With the announcement on Tuesday that Nebraska's Ben Nelson will retire, there are now seven open Democratic seats (Connecticut, Hawaii, North Dakota, New Mexico, Virginia, Wisconsin): The GOP takes three or four. Even if Republicans lose one of the 10 seats they have up, they will have a net pickup of four to six seats, for a majority of 51 to 53.
I think this is probably right, although as we saw in 2008, the normal election calculus tends to skew towards the 'change'. Democrats won all the close races in 2008. It is likely that Republicans would benefit from that dynamic this time around.
• Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid or both will leave the Democratic leadership by the end of 2012. Speaker John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell will continue directing the GOP in their respective chambers.
Rove does not elaborate, but the only way Pelosi and Reed, both ideological stalwarts and skilled congressional operators, are persuaded to leave is if the Democrat party basically concedes that the Progressive agenda is a loser. I just don't see that happening before the election, and possibly not at all. In an election loss, surviving Democrats are collectively going to be more left-wing, and more senior than previously. Left-wing extremism is likely to be even more influential in the party than it has been. There is no reason to believe that either Reed or Pelosi will find themselves ideologically out-of-step after the election. Pelosi in particular, survived the loss of the Democrat's majority in the House. She will leave when she feels like it, and not before. Considering that she had an opportunity to retire and didn't take it, I would assume she will feel the same way next year. Reed just beat back an extremely difficult reelection challenge, so it's hard to see him throwing in the towel either. Frankly, Reed is the buffer between some pretty big Senate egos, and I expect that the party will want to keep him in place just to avoid the bloodbath that would ensue should he retire too soon.
• This will be the fourth presidential election in a row in which turnout increases. This has happened just once since 1828, from 1928 through 1940.
• In 2008, voters told the Pew Poll that they got more election information from the Internet than from daily newspapers. Next year, that advantage will grow as the Internet closes in on television as America's principal source of campaign news.
These are gimmes.
• After failing to win the GOP presidential nomination, Ron Paul will not run as a third-party candidate because that would put his son, Rand Paul, in an untenable position: Does the Republican senator from Kentucky support his father and effectively re-elect Mr. Obama, or back his party and defeat him?
I'd agree with this, but for different reasons. Paul wins big even if he loses. A good showing in the primaries makes him a king-maker, while a third party run is just a terrible idea. Third party efforts usually require the kind of egomania that Paul simply does not have. Regardless of whether you agree with his foreign policy ideas, he is clearly an intelligent and principled man. He undoubtedly knows that a heterodox Republican president is better than an orthodox Democrat. I don't think he is motivated by dynastic considerations, however, a noble loss is of more benefit to Rand Paul's future, and thus to the principles Paul espouses and promotes.
• Mr. Obama's signature health-care overhaul, already deeply unpopular, will become even more so by Election Day. Women voters are particularly opposed to ObamaCare, feeling it threatens their family's health.
• Mr. Obama may propose tax reform, attempting to use it to appeal both to his liberal base (a question of fairness) and independents (a reform to spur economic growth). This will fail, but not before boosting Mr. Obama's poll numbers.
• The Obama campaign won't corral high-profile Republican endorsements—as it did in 2008 with former Secretary of State Colin Powell—with the unimportant possible exception of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel. It will also make a special effort to diminish the GOP's advantage among military families, veterans and evangelicals, with the last a special target if Republicans nominate Mitt Romney.
These are no-brainers as well.
• Despite an extraordinary amount of presidential time and involvement, Team Obama will fall as much as $200 million short of its $1 billion combined fund-raising target for the campaign and Democratic National Committee. Even so, Mr. Obama and Democrats will outspend the GOP nominee and Republicans. This won't necessarily translate into victory: John Kerry and Democrats outspent President George W. Bush and Republicans in 2004 by $124 million. Groups like American Crossroads (which I helped found) will narrow the Democratic money advantage.
A little self-promotion here ;-) Nevertheless, Rove is probably right. Of course, this is a party that can spend a trillion dollars and actually see the economy do worse than if they had done nothing. Total spending never tells the real story, which isn't how much a party spends, but how well. Frankly, if Mitt Romney wins the nomination, I would expect that his value for money spent will exceed that of Democrats by a factor of three or more.
• Scandals surrounding the now-bankrupt Solyndra, Fannie and Freddie, MF Global and administration insider deals still to emerge will metastasize, demolishing the president's image as a political outsider. By the election, the impression will harden that Mr. Obama is a modern Chicago-style patronage politician, using taxpayer dollars to reward political allies (like unions) and contributors (like Obama fund-raiser and Solyndra investor George Kaiser).
• To intimidate critics and provoke higher black turnout, Democrats will play the race card more than in any election since 1948. Witness Attorney General Eric Holder's recent charge that criticism of him and the president was "both due to the nature of our relationship and . . . the fact that we're both African-Americans."
• The economic recovery will continue to be anemic, leaving both unemployment and concerns about whether the president is up to the job high on Election Day. Because of this, Mr. Obama will lose as his margins drop among five groups essential to his 2008 victory—independents, women, Latinos, young people and Jews. While he will win a majority from at least three of these groups, he won't win them by as much as he did last time.
These aren't particularly difficult predictions to make. As far as the scandals go, the Republican establishment will have to make a significant effort to drive these stories into the mainstream, and only then will the Times, the Post and other bastions of Obama support, actually throw him under the bus to preserve what journalistic credibility they can.
I'm not sure the Obama reelection campaign has to play the race card particularly furiously. The simple fact that the President is black is probably all the race card they need to play. Blacks that are susceptible to race politics will have already inferred that anything short of acclamation is a KKK plot. If they do play it, it suggests that they've already lost black support that can't be recalled with race-baiting.
On the final prediction, I defer to Mr. Rove's superior access to polling data.
UPDATE: On the other hand...
During a telephone interview, Ms. Pelosi–speaking from a friend’s home in New York City–described her mother’s predicament:
She would retire right now, if the donors she has didn’t want her to stay so badly. They know she wants to leave, though. They think she’s destined for the wilderness. She has very few days left. She’s 71, she wants to have a life, she’s done. It’s obligation, that’s all I’m saying.
Pelosi’s revelation is significant, given that her mother pushed to serve as Minority Leader after the Democrats’ historic losses in the 2010 midterm elections, and that many Democrats–including President Barack Obama–are campaigning on the expectation that she will be restored as Speaker if they can retake the House in 2012.
The media is taking bets on who will be next to leave the Republican pack.
Will he be the next GOP campaign dropout? Santorum finished fourth at Ames, worse even than Pawlenty, who said he needed a strong showing to maintain sufficient donor interest. The Minnesotan didn't get it and pulled the plug the next day on his substantial Iowa ground operation.
But Santorum had much less invested in Iowa, other than miles and time. And fourth place for him seemed better than expected. So he postponed his return to Pennsylvania and went to the Waterloo dinner to continue his quiet guerrilla struggle for support as a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney in hopes that Perry and Bachmann somehow knock each other off.
Santorum pecks away at Bachmann much as Pawlenty did, for her alleged lack of congressional accomplishments, and at Perry for his seemingly diffident same-sex marriage stance.
Or what about Herman Cain, the pizza godfather? Probably not, not yet anyway.
I find it interesting to analyze the possible motivations for the second tier candidates to remain in the race. Abraham Lincoln ran for the first Republican nomination contest with the strategy of being everyone's second choice. He wasn't as well known as his rivals, but he figured correctly that the rabid supporters of one candidate were unlikely to throw in with another first tier candidate. By being second, he came out first.
The same strategy can't be replicated in the current contest because even the first tier candidates have relatively low core support in the teens. Nevertheless, there are some pretty obvious signs that Romney's strategy involves him keeping a low profile and focusing his criticism on the President rather than his rivals. It seems an eminently sound move. With the far-right of the party dividing their votes among many contenders, Romney can out-poll them even in a state hip deep in Evangelicals like Iowa.
Of course, that assumes that one of the more-nigh-to-Jesus-than-thou rivals doesn't break out to a solid lead.
Has that happened with Perry? Hard to say since little is known of the governor other than his resume. For those on the right, he is a significant stronger candidate than erstwhile darling Michelle Bachmann whose lack of experience is an objective fact. That might not have mattered to many who feel that ideological orthodoxy is more important than political and executive skills, but if you can have both--why not?
I'm not terribly impressed at this point for a few reasons. Strategically, he has very little need to emphasize his conservative credentials, so overheating the media with contentious and controversial comments is almost certainly a bad idea. Without having said a word, he polled at close to 30%. You protect a lead like that, you don't go out taking unnecessary risks. Perry has inherent weaknesses as well. The governorship of Texas is known to be a weak executive position, and Perry seems to have claimed too much credit for the Texas economy. He was also a Democrat until quite recently, which makes Romney's alleged flip-flopping look insignificant by comparison. His star will dim, but by how much?
The proximate effect though is to give Michelle Bachmann's campaign an anxiety attack. As the leading contender for the anti-Romney vote, she suddenly finds herself overshadowed by someone with all of her strengths and none of her weaknesses. Her "me too" statements on the Fed suggests that she will go after Perry with a vengeance. The Pawlenty-Bachmann show is over. Now we'll have the Perry-Bachmann show.
As the article suggests, Santorum and the other second tier candidates are waiting to pick the carcass of the loser. They'll be very careful not to alienate the supporters of either Bachmann or Perry, while touting their own qualifications. For them it's a question of time, meaning how much time do they have before the funding runs out or they catch a break? Apparently, a long time, since aside from Pawlenty and Bachmann, few other candidates have really invested all that much in Iowa.
So who leaves next?
I think Bachmann does, followed closely on her heels by Santorum and Cain. Iowa is where the conservative candidate is going to be anointed, and failing to achieve that, none of these rivals has any reason to continue.
Huntsman will continue because his raison d'etre is to be the second choice to Romney;and Perry--should he prevail in Iowa, isn't going to occupying that space. Gingrich goes on, because he wants Mike Huckabee's contract with Fox. I think he'd like to be President, but losing isn't a bad thing as far as he's concerned.
Ron Paul? Nobody cares.
After Iowa we get into a more interesting part of the nomination process. It's all about the far right now, but that's hardly the meaty part of the Republican party. In my opinion, this is where Romney organization makes the difference.
Look at me...I'm already thinking about New Hampshire.
The Ames straw poll results appear to have confirmed the general suspicion that the current slate of candidates constitute a 'weak field', but I think we are seeing something else here--a Republican party tired of the usual hacks and waiting for Ronald Reagan to magically appear on the horizon.
This week, Ronald came in the guise of Rick Perry, who frankly reminds me of a less genteel version of George W. Bush. Perry quickly jumped into a substantial lead, much the same way Donald Trump did with his abortive pass at the nomination.
Just as quickly, pundits from every political persuasion have been piling on, seeing not the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, but of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Politically, there is a huge difference between Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Parry (or other rumored late entries like Paul Ryan and Chris Christie). The former have built a core of support over a long period of time. Romney and Paul have been campaigning since 2006-2007. Bachmann, while not a candidate in the 2008 election, has been prominently courting the Evangelical Christian and Tea Party vote and remains popular with both groups.
Perhaps Reagan II will appear on the horizon, but until then, it seems that a long slog is the best way to have a serious chance at the nomination. I found the Rasmussen poll interest in that Romney and Bachmann appear to have a core of support that just doesn't abandon them every time a new pompadour pops up on a press conference somewhere.
Every other candidate is taking a flyer, with the possible exception of Huntsman, who probably had hopes of building a good enough campaign to continue his pursuit of the Presidency into a future election. He has some time, but frankly from his recent performances, I don't hold out much hope that he'll inspire the folks to rally to his side.
The irony here is that Reagan himself wasn't 'Reagan on the horizon'. Reagan swallowed a bitter loss to Gerald Ford and then saw his campaign floundering in the early stages. Bush Sr. kicked his butt in Iowa, and while winning big in New Hampshire, he lost half of his staff in the immediate aftermath.
It seems likely that we'll see a number of shooting stars come and go between now and the Iowa caucuses and ultimately we will get our new Reagan.
A slogger, patiently building support over time.
Americans don't have a lot of confidence in the administration's policies:
The poll found 73 percent of Americans believe the United States is "off on the wrong track," and just one in five, 21 percent, think the country is headed in the right direction.
The level of discontent is the highest since Reuters/Ipsos began polling American public opinion in February 2009.
One has to wonder what the hell is wrong with that 21 percent group.
You might think that the wrong track survey would also be reflected in President Obama's approval rating, but you'd be wrong.
President Obama's weekly job approval rating for July 25-31 is 42%, by one percentage point a new weekly low for his administration. Though his approval rating is down among all ideological groups in recent weeks, the broad pattern of the president's approval ratings across these groups remains similar to what it has been, with low support among conservatives, somewhat higher support among moderates, and high approval from liberals.
Liberals give Obama a whopping 83% approval rating, which is reflected in the massive public relations effort the administration has made within the Progressive community. This group is primed to accept excuses and blame directed at, well anybody except Obama. They correctly assess the crisis to be a direct assault on their ideology as well as the President, and with both linked, they must defend the President at all costs, or see both hanged.
On the other hand, the Rasmussen daily tracking poll presents a more accurate and detailed picture of the President's real support.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 21% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21.
Minus 21 is the lowest approval index Obama has ever received since taking office and the trend is unmistakeable. Down, down, down. The 'strongly approve number has ranged from a high of 29 near the beginning of his term, to a low of 21 most recently--surprising stability from the Progressive wing of the Democrat party, but a notable erosion just the same.
Even more stable than the President's support, is his opposition, which has fluctuated consistently between 39-42%. What is moving in all of this are moderates, who have swung from approval to disapproval an amazing 26 points.
For Obama, these numbers represent both hope and anxiety:
1. Hope: Obama's campaign team only needs to convert about a third of the moderately disappointed folks back to supporters, and he can do that by making the Republican alternative so unpalatable as to make himself seem like the only reasonable choice.
2. Change: These numbers are likely to worsen over the coming year as it has become clear that Obama has no policy moves that can reverse the decline.
3. Hope: Republicans could nominate a social conservative who alienates the independents.
4. Change: There are definite signs that the mainstream media, hitherto wildly supportive of the President, are changing their tone, if for no other reason but to salvage their professional credibility before it's too late. Jay Leno's current comfort with ridiculing the President and his policies is an ominous sign after so much kid-glove treatment over the past few years.
5. Change: While there is no short of apologetic coming from the administration and it's media supporters as to why things are bad, it's impossible to spin Obama's impotence. A Republican candidate with both credibility and a plan to succeed will be at a significant advantage, even if, as expected, the Obama campaign tries to frighten Americans with tales of evil outcomes.
At the moment, the situation may look salvageable for reelection, but the rocks are already rolling downhill. His numbers could be dismal in a matter of weeks.
Maureen Dowd; notoriously partisan and poison-tongued columnist for the New York Times, provides some insight into the emotional life of the professional left these days. Her characterization of Barack Obama would be entirely at home in the National Review.
Barack Obama must wonder sometimes if his luck has run out. Maybe he used it all up in 2008.
"Yes, we can!" has devolved into "Hey, we might."
"When I said, 'Change we can believe in,' I didn't say, 'Change we can believe in tomorrow,'" he told an audience at a Chicago fundraiser on Wednesday.
"Not, 'Change we can believe in next week.'We knew this was going to take time, because we've got this big, messy, tough democracy."
True enough, but not FDR-inspiring to a deflated and desperate nation that may face higher borrowing rates after the shock of the first credit downgrade in U.S. history.
Barack Obama blazed like Luke Skywalker in 2008, but he never learned to channel the Force. And now the Tea Party has run off with his light saber.
The dissonance of his promise and his reality is jarring.
When he had power, he didn't use it. He wanted to be a "transformational" president like Ronald Reagan, but failed to understand that Reagan's strategic shows of strength allowed him to keep the whip hand without raising his voice.
Dowd continues the piece in the mien of a mother explaining to the public that her fugitive son, having committed acts of unspeakable horror, is really a good boy, and that his problems are really the fault of the bad influence of his associates.
The president talks fondly of George Bush the elder, just as Bush the elder does of him. Obama thinks Bush is a poignant figure because he did the right thing, breaking his tax pledge to fix the deficit, even though he got punished for it with one term..
It is clear that the once cocky Obama is feeling that same poignancy about his own presidency. Left in a giant pickle by the hot-dogging Bush the younger, the president who gloriously made history is now stuck in Sisyphus mode.
He thinks he's doing the right things to crawl out of W.'s mudslide, but he ends up being castigated by the right as a socialist, by the left as a conservative, and by the middle as wobbly
Dowd's invoking of the "Bush's fault" mantra at this late date, isn't unique. It seems that every one of Obama's remaining supporters has grasped this same slender rhetorical reed. No one who has witnessed the trillions in new spending, and the remarkable reluctance to cut even a penny of the federal budget can seriously evaluate this crisis as a 'tax problem', but when every problem is a nail, every solution requires a hammer.
Dowd goes on to express hope that Hollywood's retelling of Seal Team 6's taking down of bin Laden will somehow reignite some of the 2008 Messiah magic, but in doing so, it becomes evident that her entire piece is just one slow-motion castration of the President. She confirms every public perception of the President's 'unmanliness' and fatal incompetence with pity, excuse-making and finally, the hope that a metaphorical stay at the Betty Ford clinic can somehow rehabilitate his public image.
The ultimate irony is that she has no idea how bad she just made Barack Obama look.
LBJ - Vietnam
Nixon - Watergate
Carter - fiasco in Iran
first black....America downgraded
New day, new crisis, new press conference of Democrat Congressional leaders calling Republicans 'hostage-takers'.
This time is over the Senate's inability to pass legislation extending the funding of the FAA. The fall-out is considerable. 4,000 employees furloughed and hundreds of construction projects in limbo. 30 million a day in ticket taxes going uncollected.
As the attached video attests to, Democrats are complaining that Republicans are extracting compromise by manufacturing crisis--a tactic the Democrats are quite familiar with. Wasn't I just listening to Barack Obama saying the social security checks wouldn't go out today if there wasn't a deal on the debt ceiling?
The irony here is that the there hasn't been long-term FAA funding since 2007, a year after Democrats took control of Congress. I don't know why this is the case, or why Democrats didn't pass a budget in 2010, but I'm sure they have their nefarious reasons.
So what are the Republicans asking for that is making the Democrats dig in their heels so hard and yell 'foul' at the top of their lungs?
"If we're having this fight over $16 million in subsidies, how are they going to get trillions (of dollars in cuts) from government? It's not a good start," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "This may be emblematic of what we face getting any cuts."
Democrats are holding up funding for a measly 16 million bucks?
One of those issues is the air service program, which was created after airlines were deregulated in 1978. It pays airlines to fly less profitable routes to remote communities. The entire program costs about $200 million a year, about the same as what the government is losing each week the FAA shutdown continues. Critics say some of the communities don't deserve aid because they are within a reasonable drive of a hub airport or because their subsidies are exorbitantly high â€” more than $1,000 per passenger.
Well, that just doesn't sound right; there must be more to it:
The more politically difficult issue is a GOP proposal to overturn a National Mediation Board rule approved last year that allows airline and railroad employees to form a union by a simple majority of those voting. Under the old rule, workers who didn't vote were treated as "no" votes.
Democrats and union officials say the change puts airline and railroad elections under the same democratic rules required for unionizing all other companies. But Republicans say the new rule reverses 75 years of precedent to favor labor unions.
Ah! That makes a lot more sense. Democrats, unable to get the infamous 'card check' through the front door, have been trying to do it through the back door. For those unfamiliar with 'card check' it refers to the method by which votes are counted to decide whether a workplace will be unionized or not. Unions, unable to intimidate workers under the old system, have pushed hard and thrown a lot of money at Democrat elected officials to tilt the table in their favor. Take the abstentions out of the picture entirely and then break the knee-caps of the 'no' voters.
Reversing the decline of union-membership and with it the fortunes of the Democrat party, are the real reason Reid, Schumer etal are willing to send FAA employees on extended, unpaid vacations. It's all for the good of the party---er-r-r, I mean 'country'.
Last month, in comments to the House Rules Committee and separately to reporters, Mica said the labor provision was the only issue standing in the way of the House and Senate reaching an agreement on a long-term FAA bill. He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has refused to negotiate with Republicans on the issue.
It seems to me that Republicans have the whip hand here. You should 'compromise' Harry. No one wants to be thought of as an 'obstructionist'.
While some conservatives are crying foul on the debt ceiling deal, some allegedly mainstream columnists in allegedly mainstream (meaning 'respectable') media outlets; were using some pretty extreme rhetoric to describe their disappointment with the 'compromise' the President signed today.
From the New York Times:
These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.
As someone reminded me today, these are the same people who had a conniption when Bush used the term 'crusade' relative to the war on terror. Liberal double-standard--nothing new right?
Yet as I read through the article, I was struck by something important. For years I always assumed that the liberal elite perpetrated fallacies, but did not in fact commit them. What I mean by that is that the knew what they were saying was simply 'spin', while privately aware of the reality and truth of the matter. Now it's pretty clear to me that no, they aren't spinning, they actually believe this stuff; deeply and wholeheartedly. We literally have a ruling elite that have a concept of fairness akin to that of a five year old. Republican elected officials, put there by people who have for generations believed the truism is that government is best when it governs least, were in fact perceived to be 'intransigent' because they would not give in to the tantrum of spoiled children long and fully discredited in the eyes of the American public. The implications for the scope of the Progressive belief system is breath-taking. All pretense of respect for the democratic process has been completely abandoned. They see this as a slave revolt--a grave threat to the natural order!
Like ideologues everywhere, they scorned compromise. When John Boehner, the House speaker, tried to cut a deal with President Obama that included some modest revenue increases, they humiliated him. After this latest agreement was finally struck on Sunday night — amounting to a near-complete capitulation by Obama — Tea Party members went on Fox News to complain that it only called for $2.4 trillion in cuts, instead of $4 trillion. It was head-spinning.
This is, once again, breath-taking. The ignorance of the process of negotiation is stunning, but then again, what would a journalist know about negotiation. Liberals DEMAND, from a sense of superiority, that those living in the land of low-sloping foreheads obey their whims.
Democrats desperately needed the credit limit raised to preserve their record of timely payments, so they can in fact borrow more money to finance an environmentally, morally and financially unsustainable life-style. Republicans were ambivalent about it the same way anyone who pays cash is ambivalent about what Experian thinks about their loan-to-value ratios. It's clear to most Americans, and certainly to me, that it's high time that the country learned to live within it's means, and for most people, that means cutting up the credit cards.
That relative disparity in anxiety put the Republicans in the cat bird seat, in fact, had they conceded much more, they would certainly have endowed themselves with some very serious political problems from an activist citizenry.
Ultimately, no one was intransigent. Democrats simply didn't have the cards to get any more out of the deal, and that is the real reason their hair is on fire. Democrats were able to gull many of their blue-dog brethren into believing that the country backed Obamacare, or would when it got rolling. The reality of the 2010 mid-term elections was explained away as a naturally-occurring phenomenon that happens to all Presidents, but this--this just can't be denied. The Democrat establishment caved because the wind is at the backs of the cut-cap-and-balance crowd. As my post yesterday pointed out; many highly-influential voices on the left recognized this for what it was--the end of socialism in American, for a generation, maybe longer.
Inflicting more pain on their countrymen doesn’t much bother the Tea Party Republicans, as they’ve repeatedly proved. What is astonishing is that both the president and House speaker are claiming that the deal will help the economy. Do they really expect us to buy that? We’ve all heard what happened in 1937 when Franklin Roosevelt, believing the Depression was over, tried to rein in federal spending. Cutting spending spiraled the country right back into the Great Depression, where it stayed until the arrival of the stimulus package known as World War II. That’s the path we’re now on. Our enemies could not have designed a better plan to weaken the American economy than this debt-ceiling deal.
It's hard to imagine anyone inflicting more pain on Americans than Democrats have. It is now inarguable that Democrat policies and corrupt office-holders and other hangers-on, were totally responsible for the Housing Crisis. Since 2006, when Democrats took control of Congress (and the purse strings), the national debt has gone from 8 trillion to 13.5 trillion and will almost certainly have doubled by 2013. TARP was supposed to restore the flow of credit. It didn't. The so-called stimulus was supposed to keep unemployment under 8 percent. It didn't. The first-time home-buyer tax credit was supposed to reinvigorate the housing industry. It didn't. Cash-for-clunkers was supposed to jump start the automotive sector. It didn't. Approximate 28% of the nation's households have one or more members unemployed and looking for work.
Keynesian economics, as applied by this administration, is a total bust, and everyone with a brain in their head knows it. You simply can't hide the outcomes. So, will cuts in government spending tip us into recession. Well, we have never been out of recession unless you actually belief the nonsense statistics the government puts out. What Democrats fail to understand is that there is a qualitative difference between private investment and government spending. Investing is hard, as anyone who has actually invested in a business knows all to well. Successful investors invest in success. One has to prove beyond any doubt that the business model works. Government simply throws money--usually at their friends, or at projects whose merit is entirely political. Cutting government spending works and for this reason: the business community and would-be entrepreneurs need two very important things to justify risk-taking with their capital--stability in the form of costs (including taxes and regulation) and some assurance that their return on investment is not going to disappear with some new tax. A deeply indebted government simply can't be trusted to guarantee this kind of stable environment. Lower taxes work for the economy for another simply reason--they make otherwise marginal investments attractive. This is why low interest rates serve as a stimulus as well. When the cost of borrowing is low, so is the cost of doing business in those industries that require relatively large, leveraged inventories.
It all amounts to more economic activity and more jobs, because, contrary to what your Democrat office-holder tells you, business doesn't exist to create a job for you, but creates a job for you because you contribute value to the business.
Of course, no one is completely wrong about everything, and Joe Nocera is right about this:
For now, the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests. But rest assured: They’ll have them on again soon enough. After all, they’ve gotten so much encouragement.
Yes we have Joe, but to give credit where credit is due--you Progressives made up the new rules. Hate the game, not the player.
I've refrained from commenting on the so-called 'Debt Ceiling Negotiations' because frankly, there was nothing to write about. The press conferences, tweets and gun-slinger spin was sound and fury signifying nothing because ultimately, only the final result matters. Only the final result tells us anything meaningful about the quantum state of American politics.
Now that the writing appears to be on the wall, some are calling it, and there isn't much debate about who holds the whip hand these days. The debate centers around 'why' it is so.
If the final debt deal is passed, it will look an awful lot like what the Tea Party wing of the GOP demanded. But that doesn't mean Tea Party members will be happy or even vote for itâ€”the final irony in a months-long drama that involved a game of chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States.
While much of Congress is upset at the prospect of downing such a bitter brew, the new political faction known as the Tea Party doesn't abide any compromise, no matter the stakes for the country.
Peter Beinart, writing for the newest incarnation of a cool venue for left-wing thought (the New Republic having passed into irrelevance...), grits his teeth and wrings his hand, grasping at the reasons the Left's 2008 triumph has dissolved into impotence and become an object of disdain and even ridicule (muted, fearful ridicule...).
Obama, like FDR, had a reasonably successful first two years: a stimulus package that while too small for the circumstances was still large by historical standards and a health care bill that while subpar in myriad ways still far exceeded the efforts of other recent Democratic presidents.
And then, unlike FDR, he ran into a grassroots movement of the right. Historians will long debate why the financial collapse of 2008 produced a right-wing populist movement and not a left-wing one. Perhaps itâ€™s because Obama didnâ€™t take on Wall Street, perhaps itâ€™s because with labor unions so weak thereâ€™s just not the organizational muscle to create such a movement, perhaps itâ€™s because trust in government is so low that pro-government populism is almost impossible.
One assumes that Beinart is addressing like-minded individuals, which suggests that his perspective on events, so recent that no one could fail to recall them, is widely shared by Progressives. Now it's fairly normal for conservatives and a good slice of the independents to ignore the news media. We've become inured to the liberal-left bias, and assume that everything being reported is what they want us to hear, read and see. What is clear from Beinart's piece is that the left is also ignoring the mainstream media, otherwise it's virtually impossible to have missed the coalescence of the Tea Party in the wake of the now famous rant by CNBC's Rick Santelli. 'Tea Parties' informally sprang into existence all over the country, spontaneously protesting government spending, borrowing and tax policies. Within a very short period of time, Tea Parties self-organized to take control of the state primary process all over the country. Ron Paul didn't create the Tea Party; Obama did.
Beinart marvels at the 'intransigence' of the Tea Party:
it was the emergence of the Tea Party as the most powerful grassroots pressure group in America that laid the groundwork for Sunday nightâ€™s deal. The fact that polling showed Obama getting the better of the debt ceiling debate barely mattered. The 2010 elections brought to Congress a group of Republicans theologically committed to cutting government. And they have proved more committed, or perhaps just more reckless, than anyone else in Washington.
Ironically, the 'theological commitment' is in fact, also a creation of Barack Obama. The kamikaze run to pass Obamacare ignored all the polls showing not just a majority, but a vast majority of Americans opposed it. The high-priests of the Progressive religion ignored the political consequences, assuring members of Congress that the country would embrace it shortly, and when soothing words failed, threats and bribes were used. Obama, having crossed the Rubicon, provided an epiphany to Conservatives and many Independents--the old rules no longer apply. The Democrats have upped the ante, as they have consistently over the past decade, first abandoning Senate rules that had been in place for a life-time, and moving on to demolish other icons of democracy in the name of power and ideology.
Obama, Pelosi and Reid made the new rules; they can hardly complain when their rivals play by them.
Ironically, while Beinart may wish to cast Progressives and the Democrat party as 'victims' in this sad tale, he is entirely correct about the consequences of the Progressive Anschluss of the American nation:
...The bad news is that it has also ended whatever hopes liberals once entertained that roughly 100 years after Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, roughly 75 years after the New Deal and roughly 50 years after the Great Society, we were living in another great age of progressive reform.
Given the era of fiscal scarcity weâ€™re now entering, those neocon and progressive dreams are now likely dead for many years to come. Meanwhile, the Tea Partyâ€™s dream of a government reduced to its pre-welfare state size becomes ever real.
It is my hope that Peter Beinart is at least right about this.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced June 23 that Tesla was one of three recipients — with Ford and Nissan — of $8 billion in advanced technology loan funds. Tesla will get $465 million to build a manufacturing plant for the new ultra-fast Model S sedan in Southern California, and a second battery plant in the Bay Area.
"Tesla has announced that their business model has failed. Their basic idea was to sell a boutique electric car to fund the development of a regular consumer electric car. With this announcement they are saying that they did not sell enough of the Roadster to make producing it profitable. If that is the case, it is only a matter of time until Tesla closes its doors.
By contrast, the initial development of the Linux operating system is estimated to have a value of $600 million. Of course, no one spent 600 million, software engineers simply donated their time and efforts for free. The current version of Linux has 280 million lines of source code and has an estimated value of 7.6 billion dollars. In 2008, the revenue generated by Linux-related applications was generating something close to 40 billion dollars.
It is of course, not like anyone told the Obama administration and the Democrat Congress that their rhetoric surrounding 'investment' in green technologies was a fantasy. Not only is government investment in new technology unnecessary, but it has became a sure sign that the enterprise is doomed.
Good business models have no trouble attracting private capital, and stem cell research is proof of that concept. While embryonic stem cell research did initially attract private capital, it's early results discouraged further investment. Meanwhile, adult stem cell research continued to present positive developments and a profitable horizon. The various investments by state and federal governments into embryonic research have proven to be, or so will prove to be, total losses.
There is no such thing as government 'investment'. It is merely a new slip cover for the same old political looting of the taypayer.
John Podhoretz thinks Twitter makes sex scandals unsurvivable.
No politician is going to survive a sex scandal any longer. No one. Not after Eliot Spitzer's 2008 humiliation was followed by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's extramarital "walk along the Appalachian Trail" in 2009, which was followed this year by the revelation of Arnold Schwarzenegger's love child, which was followed in turn by the indictment of 2004 vice-presidential candidate John Edwards.
Consider this: Weiner is the third married member of Congress to resign his seat this year due to behavior resulting from sexual peccadillo. He follows Rep. Chris Lee (who went trolling for exotic partners on Craigslist) and Sen. John Ensign of Nevada (who resigned before the Senate Ethics Committee could bring him up on charges of having bought the silence of the husband of a staffer with whom he'd had an affair).
Podhoretz gives his reasons:
Twitter is the reason. The citizenry's disgust with political misbehavior has an entirely new kind of populist outlet, one that is uniquely resistant to mainstream-media efforts to choke off the oxygen of a story.
We all know Weiner was undone by Twitter, the same social-media system he misused when he mistakenly exposed a soft-core-porn photo of himself intended for a college kid in Washington state to the entire Twitterverse.
But Twitter didn't destroy Weiner just because he'd done his dirty work on the site. It destroyed him because of what Twitter has become -- a kind of national town hall of a sort and on a scale we've never seen before
Podhoretz is just the latest in a long line of pundits to attribute a new communications technology with transformative powers, but this change has been with us since the internet became a public utility. I was participating in email forums as far back as 1993 and while the scale of modern 'connectedness' is orders of magnitude greater, Twitter still only reaches about 13% of U.S. adults, with no expectation that all of them will be sharing the same bit of news.
"If there have been more sex scandals lately, I think we have to look no further than the current state of political polarization and the industry it's created. We have millionaires and billionaires funding amenable communities of Progressives and Conservatives, each only too happy to receive and run with a 'tip' on some elected official's sexual peccadilloes. Wienergate wasn't a Twitter phenomenon, but rather the predictable result of a new media dynamic. It has now become common knowledge that the original source of the story first contacted MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, and Andrew Breitbart only secondarily. While there is no proof that Maddow deep-sixed the story, Breitbart's availability was the key factor in eventually bringing down the Congressman. Whether it's Breitbart of Mediamatters.org, there exists a willing media entity to exploit virtually any tip from any source.
Whether an elected official survives a sex scandal or not depends on the circumstances and the way things are handled, but the gaping maw of partisan media is going to insure that if anything is out there, it will in fact be exploited to the fullest extent. While it's tempting to invoke the technologies as a new paradigm, it's still the same old Homo Sapiens running afoul of their social conventions and relationships. Wiener tweeted, but ultimately it was people he couldn't and shouldn't have trusted to be discreet, that brought him down.
Seems like I'm in the mainstream....
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 36% of Likely GOP Primary Voters think it would be good for Republicans if Palin enters the race, but 45% believe it would be bad for the party. Just 11% say it would have no impact.
I suspect this is more a commentary on what is at stake in this election than any disaffection with Sarah Palin.
Republicans were aghast at the massive overreach by Democrats, who apparently thought they could transform the country overnight into a macabre facsimile of the French Republic. There is real fear of what a second term for Obama could mean for the country and like Democrats in 2004, Republicans are setting aside their normative preferences to emphasize 'electability'.
What the mainstream media really thinks -->
What I found remarkable this past week is the positive reception Michelle Bachmann got from the mainstream media. It stood in stark contrast to the universal contempt and aggression I've seen directed at her over the past couple of years in various interviews in the mainstream media. Media manipulation is nothing new--consider that ABC news knew about Tom Foley's antics with Congressional pages long before it actually released the information--notably the day after Foley's name went on the ballot, insuring that Democrats would win that seat. My guess is that Michelle Bachmann is going to experience the best press she's ever gotten--she is the nomination cycle's John McCain; a hand-picked opponent for the Obama machine to run against.
Watch and learn folks.
Any thoughts on who'll win the NH Republican primary?
In-law in NH:
I've been liking Romney. He's been sending out the type of message that resonates with the masses and that should work against Obama's weak points through the rest of his term. He's got the credentials, and Obama being in means he shouldn't get dinged because of his religion. Trouble lies in his issue vacillation and walking the tightrope on Romneycare, both of which I think he can tackle if played right.
Gingrich and Paul are the smartest, but totally unpresidential.
Pawlenty, Huntsman, Perry, and Johnson get props for having the governor experience, but only Pawlenty sticks out at the moment and the others will fade quickly if they don't do something immediately. I get the sense Pawlenty lacks the balls (or has too much midewestern grace) for a presidential fight, but might be seen on the Romney ticket in 2012 if a southerner isn't chosen. Pawlenty and Perry are more likely to get the conservative nod, though.
Santorum - meh.
I would have thought Bachmann too divisive, inexperienced, and Palinesque, but her performance here in NH was really good and now my list is down to two impediments. She may rise even more, but I don't see her as electable.
If Perry enters it could tip the balance a bit. If Palin enters - hahahahahaha.
At this time, I'm guessing Romney for NH, too early to tell for Iowa, and Pawlenty for South Carolina.
2. (was 1. when I started writing) Nearly agree....Romney.
Actually he's almost turning Romneycare into a slight plus as it's forced him into an expert refutaton of Obamacare and he's admitting it was far from perfect in Mass. The mandate element sucks, but at least it's not unconstitutional in a state.
(That point about federal unconstitutionality may soon be adjudicated against Obamacare by a liberal federal court).
Romney's endorsement of Anthropogenic Global Warming may turn out more of a policy problem.
1. Perry.....formidable. He's a multiple election winner and quite attractive to Hispanics. He has by far the best record in government and he brings the Tea Party, which is the most dynamic force in US politics. If 'it's the economy, stupid', then he should beat Romney because Mass is an insignificant flea-dropping and Texas is a gigantic cowboy hat. The line that Texas has created 38% of all new jobs over the last 2 years is an election winner at every level.
3. Pawlenty....boring wimp, cap and trade. Tried to knife Romney with 'Obamneycare' then lacked the balls to run with it face-to-face. He's calm and fluent on audio, but smiles wanly and swallows nervously under pressure. Bad optics + boring = nope.
4. Bachmann....surprised me. Her biggest negative for me is that she looks cross-eyed straight-on.
Her personal qualities are sterling, she embodies the Tea Party, she's excellent on economics, she's overtly intelligent. Her tax-lawyer background is entirely relevant. As for experience....5 children 23 foster children, run a small business, fought tough elections...I think she's experienced. House of Reps is far more where it's at than Senate these days.
5. The rest....nowhere, tho I like Cain and Ron Paul is right on everything domestically. I think history is moving in the direction of his ideas. Maybe Rand Paul will be President one day.
6. Palin....my favorite. Don't tell me she's stupid, she's not. Nor is she unelectable....she's now battle-hardened and the media's contempt plays to her advantage. The recent shenanigans with the emails show how afraid of her the left is. She's by far the most adept with social media and is such a fine contrast to Obama that any electorate that prefers optimism, fertility and patriotism would prefer her to him once she escapes the media's filter. That said if Perry's in and Bachmann's doing well, then it gets crowded on the right.
Obama ......looks tired and old and weak. There's noone who wouldn't beat him. Anthony Weiner would beat him. When a politician says he's ok with one-term, you know he's through. That's too bad because I've been looking forward to [left-wing nephew] paying for my medicare for the rest of his life.
Dear Congressman Weiner,
I loved the photo you sent... "Large. Cape. Tights." Phew! I loved the other photos too. Quite the acrobat. I'm so aroused right now that I want to confess. I am not in fact a mere nubile female. Get this: I'm a hairy-arsed, amply tattooed, amply endowed, amply qualified agent of The Axis of Evil. Iran, North Korea, Belgium…specifics don't matter.
Please explain to me how stupid I am because I don't understand why Americans worry that your interwebthing could be hacked and get you blackmailed. What is this 'hacking' hocuspocus ? I just enrolled on Twitter with a picture of Princess Carrie Fisher and fished for you. Capiche? No hacking, just fishing. So easy. My colleagues do the same with all your politicians. Some lasting friendships have occurred.
Anyhoot here's the thing. I need some information….
Charles Krauthammer is getting an enormous amount of flak for this comment:
"She is very smart and adept. Great political instincts and is a star. The problem with her, I think, is that she is not schooled. I don't mean she didn't go to the right schools. I mean when you get into policy, beyond instincts -- I like her political instincts, I like her political overall view of the world -- but when it comes to policy, she had two-and-a-half years to school herself and she hasn't and that's a problem," Charles Krauthammer told Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday. "It's not only the lack of schooling, it's the lack of effort to school herself and the lack of insight to see that she needs it."
I read something in the Christian Science Monitor back in 2008, that I was ambivalent about at the time, but that has since taken on a new importance.
On April 17, 2006, Palin and I participated in a debate at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks on agriculture issues. The next day, the Fairbanks Daily News Miner published this excerpt:
"Andrew Halcro, a declared independent candidate from Anchorage, came armed with statistics on agricultural productivity. Sarah Palin, a Republican from Wasilla, said the Matanuska Valley provides a positive example for other communities interested in agriculture to study."
On April 18, 2006, Palin and I sat together in a hotel coffee shop comparing campaign trail notes. As we talked about the debates, Palin made a comment that highlights the phenomenon that Biden is up against.
"Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers, and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures, and policies, and I'm amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, 'Does any of this really matter?' " Palin said.
While policy wonks such as Biden might cringe, it seemed to me that Palin was simply vocalizing her strength without realizing it. During the campaign, Palin's knowledge on public policy issues never matured – because it didn't have to. Her ability to fill the debate halls with her presence and her gift of the glittering generality made it possible for her to rely on populism instead of policy.
I frankly think Krauthammer is being kind. Her studied ignorance is a symptom of a much bigger problem--over confidence bordering on, and perhaps entering to the territory of arrogance. She has, on the strength of her gifts, gone very, very far, and so it's understandable that she believes that 'the rules' don't apply to her, but winning elections in Alaska on the basis of glittering generalities and personal charisma, does not prepare one for a national election, or worse--the possibility of winning and finding oneself totally out of one's depth like another charismatic personality who gave a killer speech at a national convention.
I might have conceded that this is all very subjective a week or two ago, but Palin is clearly going all-in on a strategy that is either very bold, or very stupid. Regardless how it turns out, it is in fact a clear indication that, as Karl Rove has stated, she believes 'the rules' do not apply to her.
We are now two and a half years into Barack Obama's administration, and he also thought the rules didn't apply to him. If it comes to a race between Obama and Palin, it will seem to me to be a choice between hanging and firing squad.
Rep Anthony Weiner is learning something important about the media.
It takes a certain type of woman to set his heart a-Twitter.
Rep. Anthony Weiner follows only a select 198 of his nearly 49,000 Twitter fans -- and a surprising number of them are total babes.
Yesterday, outside his DC office, the model-loving, married congressman testily refused to talk about the pretty women he's following.
His refusal has had the opposite effect that he imagined. Weinergate has jumped into the mainstream with the Today show picking it up this morning.
Meanwhile, across town, Sarah Palin demonstrates not just an understanding of the media, but skill in manipulating it to her ends. She can see revenge from her house...
There is nothing the U.S. media wants more than something it thinks it can't have. Hence the power of news leaks that manipulate the thrust of their initial presentation. Hard-to-get is a rigid rule of human behavior. Ask any teenage boy or girl.
And there are few things more sweet to Palin and her fervent supporters cheering their TV sets this week than the image of a hungry know-it-all "lamestream media" caravan of 15 or more vehicles traipsing along behind her red-white-and-blue bus enroute to they-know-not-where to do they-know-not-what.
To make it worse, each one of the frustrated, confused chasers knows that Fox News' Greta Van Susteren is....
...riding along with the not-yet-and-possibly-never Republican presidential candidate, filing exclusive conversations for her audience to gobble up that only enhance Palin's already million-dollar value to FNC. Can you hear the teeth grinding? While Palin smiles and waves away?
The day's best line came from a CBS News producer who tried to claim that the lack of information from Palin's lumbering bus was endangering the dozen competing media vehicles trailing behind, uninvited.
So when you run for public office, remember to stiff-arm them when you need them most, and embrace them when you like them least.
One more thing to know, although this will not be in your control--when you are in trouble and the media is hounding you, pray to the demon Gods that they will be distracted by some other scandal.
Barney Franks is cruising Boston right now, looking for a virgin he can sacrifice...
Just 38% of Republican voters now have a favorable opinion of him with 45% having an unfavorable one.
This isn't a case of a politician inadvisedly telling the truth, but one of being too clever by half. Gingrich's comment was certainly calculated to create some distance for himself and the Republican establishment, and apparently he succeeded brilliantly.
Sarah Palin On the Verge
The national media are pointing to the purchase of a house in Arizona by the Palin family as a sign that she is running, but I suspect this has more to do with the media's need to inject some drama into what is looking like snoozefest. With Huckabee out, no other candidate aside from the aforementioned Gingrich has national name recognition, and that doesn't make for a very good show. Who, but the most egregious political wonk would want to see a debate between Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman Jr.?
Similarly, Chris Christie is being watched very closely for any sign that he might change his mind about running.
I'd be shocked if Palin actually did decide to run for two reasons. The first is that for her personally, she has to win outright because a loss doesn't even get her any lovely parting gifts. She already has the handsome income, the national name recognition and a commentator slot on Fox News. The second, related to the first, is that a President's reelection campaign is always a referendum on presidential performance, and the way it looks now, that's not going to be a fun campaign for Mr. Obama. Palin's signal advantage--her name recognition and reputation, actually work against her and for Obama in this cycle, since if he can make her the issue, he has a better than average shot at winning. Palin is much better off in an election year where her conservative bona fides, personal charisma and high name recognition work in her favor, and since she will only get one shot at this, that would seem to lie in the future.
The Lincoln Strategy
Abraham Lincoln won the Republican nomination and subsequently the Presidency by being everyone's second choice. Republicans who pine for another Reagan need to be reminded that Reagan won not because he was a conservative, but in spite of it. The Carter campaign worked tirelessly to make him look like a dangerous extremist, but Reagan's sunny disposition and clear articulation of his policies simply upended the Carter strategy. In the end, Reagan won because he successfully presented himself as acceptable (i.e. 'not crazy').
Ironically, Barack Obama is praying that he can play the second choice role. He needs to be able to say, "things are bad, but they'll be even worse if your pick THAT guy..." He would love for Republicans to pick some rock-ribbed conservative, promising to get rid of all entitlements, deport all illegal aliens and go to war with China.
That does not look like it's going to happen. As Karl Rove mentioned yesterday, Palin has done none of the things that are necessary to mount a national campaign, which in his words, means she's either not running, or she doesn't believe that the rules apply to her.
The second choice strategy appears to be the favorite in the Republican primary as well, with both Pawlenty and Huntsman positioning themselves as viable second choices if Romney implodes at some point.
This is clearly not going to be an ideal field for your red-meat conservatives, but it should prove to be a field well-positioned to challenge the President and win the White House. Three former governors, a former House Speaker and a Congresswoman. Two with significant business experience, one with significant foreign policy experience.
With the exception of Newt Gingrich, all have been married to the same women for decades without even a whiff of a bimbo eruption.
Most notably, all have controversial religious affiliations and histories with the exception of Michelle Bachmann, whose Evangelical bona fides are top notch. It's rather amusing to consider that among the top tier candidates, only Mitt Romney could be said not to be a flip-flopper.
Jon Huntsman Jr. is a dynastic Mormon, but refuses to say whether he shares in the faith of his fathers. Tim Pawlenty was raised Catholic, but attends an interdenominational church with his Evangelical wife, Mary. Newt Gingrich was unchurched until he joined the Southern Baptists after graduate school and then later converted to Catholicism.
My predication is that unless Congresswomen Bachmann does much better than expected, religion just isn't going to be much of an issue this election cycle.
As I watch our so called government leaders push the spending peddle to the metal towards fiscal ruin, the possibilty for course correction seems to increasingly diminish. We have a Democrat controlled Senate that seems hellbent on preventing a budget before the 2012 election, much like the basketball team that holds the ball starting in the first quarter. At the same time the same Senate Democrats denounce as insane those who oppose giving the government a blank check in the form of an unconditional debt ceiling increase. Meanwhile, our Democrat controlled states spend as if they expect uncle sugar to pick up the tab. How do the rational deal with this? The word that comes to mind is irreconcilable. Mark Steyn:
Who will pay for Detroit, and California, New York and the rest? New Hampshire? Wyoming? Mitch Daniels can demand a "truce" from conservatives on social issues, and Democrats can demand a truce from Republicans on the welfare state, but the real fault-lines on which this nation will fracture are not half so clubbable. How many citizens of the remaining relatively solvent states are prepared to pick up the tab for Detroit's Allermuir chairs for the privilege of keeping 50 stars in the flag? The spendaholics are setting up conditions for serious secession movements.I think Steyn reads the conditions right. Secession is not where I want to go, but it probably is time for responsible states to start looking into what a plan B might require and prepare accordingly.
1. It's her duty.
2. There'll never be a better time. If Romney beats Obama, there'll be no more chance for 8 years. Otherwise the 2016 field may include Christie, Jeb, Perry, Rubio, Ryan and West which is much more formidable than Romney, Pawlenty, Cain and Bachmann. Of course Perry may jump in 2012 for the same reason.
3. Four more years of punditry won't add burnish.
4. She's a fighter. If she backs away from this fight then the MSM has won by default. They pronounced that she's stupid, a loser, a bad mother, a has-been, and they would have won and she would have lost. Fighters win or lose in the ring.
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serve