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Obama’s Redemption?


Conservatives love to despise Barack Obama.  The first reason is because he was a neophyte with little experience that rose to the top leadership position in the world, mostly riding his media status.  Second, because he is arrogant and espouses his moral superiority, even when being a hypocrite about it.  Third, because his own analysis of his leadership skills is woefully incorrect.

On most of the grand issues of the day, Mr. Obama has taken the wrong path. He could have built a stimulus program in early 2009 that actually promoted job growth.  He could have pushed Democrats to build a health care plan that reduced and restrained costs instead of increasing them.  And then for the last two years, he could have pushed tax reform and entitlement changes instead of reverting to the classic tax and spend mantra that has haunted liberals for decades.

But he has always taken a pass.

Last week proves hope springs eternal.  Mr. Obama invited a group of Republican Senators to dinner to talk about how to move forward in his final four years as an American President.  And according to reports, Obama was more open and honest than he has been in the past.

Despite liberal whining about how much Barack Obama has had to endure from Republicans, the reality is he has never faced an opponent greater than himself.  Obama’s primary problem through out his Presidency is the inability to tell everyone, including his own party, to ‘Go to hell’, and simply lead on an issue.

Leadership, true leadership, begets public support.  See Rand Paul’s crusade on civil rights and drones last week, ironically occurring the same time as Obama’s dinner round table with the GOP.  This wasn’t an issue that the media, Republicans or Democrats for the most part cared about.  But the public did care.  There is a growing unease of the every expanding power of the President when it comes to such things as drones.  Paul simply was willing to take a stand, even if he knew there was no path to victory in his endeavor.

Obama has never done that.  Can you think of a stand Obama took that was not cautious, thought out, and strategically positioned in such a way that Obama could either back down or blame someone else for its failure?

During his dinner with the GOP, Obama seemed reluctant to lead on the issues, again.  From Peggy Noonan, from an unnamed Senator at the meeting:

Senator No. 1: When pressed on the question, the president seemed to step back. “His idea of a process is, ‘You guys figure it out and work with my staff, and if you need me call me.’ But in the end, unless the president really gets engaged and forces meeting after meeting, I don’t see how you get past the logjam.”

…or this…

Senator No. 2: “At the end I mentioned, ‘Share [with us] how you see this going forward.’ ” Here the president “got hazy. . . . I told him this will never work without adult supervision from the White House. I don’t think he comprehends that this is part of getting something done.”

Senator No. 2 said he planned to “press” the president in coming days “to lead, to exert authority.”

Obama, at this moment, has a chance to lead.  What does he honestly have to lose?  He was a solid victory for re-election, is the undisputed leader of his party, with Democrats (even if they disagree with him) willing to go to the mat for him.  He will never face election again, and the only thing remaining in his future his his legacy, which at the moment, is mixed.

But is the President willing to use that political capital?  The above quotes lead you to believe the answer is ‘No’.  A report from the Politico states more than half of the Democrats in Congress oppose any changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which is fiscally insane.  Another quote from Noonan’s article:

At certain points in the conversation the president, according to the senator, said that even if he wanted to agree with the Republicans on certain specific questions there would be a rebellion in his own party: “He said that a few times. But that’s an abdication. You have to lead! You have to educate as only a president can with a bully pulpit, you have to bring your party along.”

Tuesday was the first time that I can remember that President Obama speaking to his liberal caucus, and telling them hard truths. Obama met with Senate Democrats, and was up front for the need for entitlement reform.  He stated his need to exchange entitlement cuts for more taxes.  We can debate the numbers and the actual specifics, but for Obama to tell liberals they will have fundamental changes to entitlement programs is some what of a breakthrough.

A tremendous amount of opposition to this kind of plan exists among the liberal base, and I am not sure that the President realizes what kind of fight he is in with his own party if he is honest about achieving these goals.  And of course, from our side, we conservatives have a huge trust deficit with this President, after 5 years of having the football pulled out from under us, Charlie Brown-style.  Mr. Obama will have to be forthright and honest through out the process to build enough respect and faith to get such a big deal done.

I have long said this is not an intellectual barrier for the President, but a psychological one.  Barack Obama has long been a cautious person, unwilling to take public stands that reflect poorly on his character or his public persona. Maybe this is what comes from being America’s greatest African American politician; maybe it is a reflection of African American society today to avoid risk.  I don’t know.  But I know that reality exists for this man.

So ultimately, Mr. Obama could lead.  He could get a grand bargain of tax reform, entitlement recalculation, and budgetary changes that could put the country on a long term path of fiscal sanity and economic prosperity.  It would mean he would have to compromise with the GOP and push back against liberals in his own party.  Ironically, I seem to believe the latter is much harder for this President than the former.

Cross posted at the Spitcracker Picayune


“All right, Mr. McCain, I’m ready for my close-up.”


Let us start by stating a fact:  John McCain is a true American hero.  His military service, and even much of his political career, is to be praised and appreciated. He has given his life to public service, and I truly respect that.

But Mr. McCain has officially jumped the shark.

Sen. McCain along with with comrade-at-arms Sen. Lindsey Graham seem to believe they live in an alternate universe, apart from the rest of America.  Their delusions of grandeur run rampant, as they proceed without any thought or care greater than their foreign policy vision.  And most definitely, separate from the Party they seem to still think they are members of.

Just hours after Sen. Rand Paul finished his much praised, much watched and much talked about 12 hour filibuster to (successfully) force the Obama administration to admit that drone strikes cannot be used on American soil except in situations of imminent threat, both Sens. McCain and Graham, without Democrat support no less, went to the floor of the Senate to attack, not Barack Obama or Eric Holder, but…Rand Paul.

Now, let us put aside the drone issue.  Clearly, I believe McCain and Graham are on the substance of the issue incorrect.  But that doesn’t even matter to the point at hand.

The point is, Misters McCain and Graham think of themselves as a Party of 2.  They are only Republicans when it serves their own personal interest.  The remainder of the time, they look at themselves as mavericks.  And being a maverick is great, except when it isn’t.

Right now, it isn’t.

No one is saying they had to agree with Sen. Paul.  Disagree all you like.  But even if you disagree, going to the floor of the Senate to basically insult someone who is, theoretically at least, on your own team is insanity.

Oblivious as these two are, they have no understanding for the optics of the situation.  While Sen. Paul was on the floor of the Senate, these two men were having dinner with…President Obama.  Then, less than a day later, they are on the floor of the Senate, attacking one of their own.  They could have held their fire, for one day.  They could have written an editorial over the weekend in the New York Times.  They could have made their opinions known in a respectable way.  They decided on another, less dignified path.

This was a pivotal moment for the GOP, a moment where they stood for what was right, in a bipartisan manner no less…and these guys didn’t like it.  Not one bit.  Even establishment Republicans like Saxby Chambliss joined.  Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to hold the vote until Rand Paul was satisfied with the administration’s legal answer on the drone attacks.  The GOP sent out instant messages, rallying the troops, asking other Senators to join the filibuster, and raising money on the issue.  The Republican party, for once, was unified.

Except for the party of 2.

In fact, this was probably the strongest bipartisan issue opposing Obama since he became President.  Liberals, progressives, libertarians and conservatives, to one degree or another, joined Sen. Paul in his cry for civil liberties.  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) promised to subpoena the Department of Justice to get the legal arguments for the drone strikes.  Sen. Ron Wyden (D) went so far to go to the Senate floor to applaud him.  People believed in the cause.

Except, of course, for the dynamic duo.

Both of these men have forgotten Reagan’s famous 11th commandment:  Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

I have often used this argument with my conservative brethren when it comes to talking about moderates in our party.  The likes of McCain and Graham have been the source of many fights on my end.  I defend them, saying that I don’t agree with them, but they are part of the team.  They are a member of the GOP.  Let Democrats do the attacking, we don’t need to be a circular firing squad.

At some point, when your allies keep stabbing you in the back, you have to shake your head, and walk away.  This may be that moment for me.

For John McCain, this has been a sad, slow descent into utter irrelevancy.  He and Graham are in a tiny and ever growing smaller caucus that believes in more power for the unitary Executive, more intervention overseas, and a bolder American foreign policy.  The third member of their three amigos, Joe Lieberman, has already been put out to pasture.

For reasons unknown to me, Barack Obama and other Democrats have followed these two down the primrose path, to one extent or another.  We have seen this in Libya, in Syria, and to some extent in places like Mali.  We have certainly seen it in issues like drones and the Patriot Act.  And if Sen. McCain and Sen Graham want to follow that path, more power to them.

But sooner rather than later, they are likely to notice there is no Party standing behind them.

This was crossposted at the Spitcracker Picayune.



Media’s Mendacity On The Sequester


There are many, many examples of the complete distortion and silliness among the mainstream media these days, but few have the clear evidence as the question of who was really responsible for the concept of the sequester.

The question arises because, as the sequester cuts are about to go into effect, liberals are trying to find any excuse imaginable not to lay the blame for this mess at the feet of the President.  The most recent attempt was a slide from a Powerpoint presentation by Speaker John Boehner, that mentioned the sequester on July 31, 2011.  Andrew Sullivan, the Nation, Mother Jones, TPM…even MSNBC all ran with this story.  And it is, in fact, true…Boehner did mention it at that time.

So, what is the real history on the sequester?  Well, the GOP put together a nice ad on the subject:

The problem with the progressive media’s time line is that Obama actually brought up the sequester in the Spring of 2011.  He raised it early in the debate, long before this Powerpoint presentation was made.

Don’t believe me, don’t believe the GOP ad?  Fair enough.  How about Bob Woodward, liberal icon?

CHRIS WALLACE, “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” HOST: Bob, as the man who literally wrote the book about the budget battle, put this to rest. Whose idea was the sequester, and did you ever think that we’d actually get to this point?

BOB WOODWARD: First, it was the White House. It was Obama and Jack Lew and Rob Nabors who went to the Democratic Leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, and said, ‘this is the solution.’ But everyone has their fingerprints on this. (FOX News Sunday, February 17, 2013)

Well, o.k..  Maybe you think Bob Woodward is untrustworthy.  Fair enough.

How about the Obama White House itself?  Here is Jay Carney, Communications Director, admitting that the sequester idea originated in the West Wing?  .

JAY CARNEY: What I will concede is that we were looking and the Republicans were looking for a trigger around which to build a mechanism to get us out of default possibility and the sequester was one of the idea put forward, yes by the president’s team. (Special Report, February 12, 2013)

Now, lets say you think Jay Carney is a liar.  Fine, that is reasonable.  But then, why did Mr. Obama, during the midst of last year’s election, promise to uphold the sequester cuts, and railed against Congress for thinking otherwise?

Obama was for the sequester cuts…before he was against it.

The media’s outright distortion and stupidity on this issue is quite staggering, even for the a left wing agenda that has been complicit in hiding truth after truth from the American people.

The most you can say about the sequester is that Obama didn’t want to solve anything when the debt ceiling was hit in 2011.  Fine, that is an honest assessment.  But the sequester, as a plan, was put forward by the President and his staff.  Republicans would have preferred straight forward cuts (as they, on several occasions, proposed, and the House of Representatives even passed on three different occasions).  To now blame the GOP for a plan they never passed before Obama suggested it is ludicrous.

The irony here is we have video evidence that the President was fighting to put the sequester cuts into place last fall.  We have his Communications director, not to mention a respected liberal reporter, both stating that the sequester plan originated in the White House.  And the media is still trying to blame the GOP for this mess.

Mendacity, indeed.



This was crossposted at the Spitcracker Picayune


Civil Disobedience: When Do We Choose The Path Less Traveled?



One of my most prized possessions is an autograph from Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi that my great uncle acquired on a visit by Gandhi to Bangalore, India in the 1930s.  It is not prized to me personally because of its monetary value, but because of the historical and philosophical significance of Gandhi in relation to India and in his greater influence on world history.

Gandhi’s main influence on the world, I believe, was his ability to put into practice the concepts of civil disobedience, first verbalized by the great American author Henry David Thoreau, in a way that effected massive change.  By combining the belief of non-violent mass protests along with Thoreau’s basic concepts of civil disobedience, Gandhi was able to force the English Empire to ultimately, and mostly peacefully, deliver independence to 1/7th of the world’s population.  It was something the world had never really seen before:  an empire coming apart because of the will of those that were ruled, without violence or bloodshed.

In this day and age, much of what Thoreau wrote sounds like a right wing conservative…or maybe a Tea Party member.  To show how far left the Democrats have moved the country, how many of these quotes, which were praised by the likes of Martin Luther King, would no be considered sacrilege by the mainstream American left?

I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe— “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

Or this…

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.


It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support.

The reality is, Gandi put into practice the basic concepts of individual freedom that Thoreau so artfully devised.  And from Gandhi came the likes of the nonviolent Civil Rights protests in the 1960s, and Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement against the Soviets in the 1980s.

The question that stands before us, however, is whether civil disobedience is meaningful in this day and age.

Civil disobedience is ultimately only effective and meaningful in a society that respects independent thought and freedom, even if it goes against the interests of the state.  In India, the British Empire could no longer defend their immoral rule over hundreds of millions of Indians without providing self determination.  In the U.S., segregationists and others fell to the wayside after a long fight that clearly demonstrated the utter illogical fallacy of living with the concept of ‘separate but equal’.  Even in Poland during Solidarity, the Soviets (never known to accept any such dissent) found it very difficult to deal with a peaceable movement; they could have thoroughly wiped them out, but at what cost?  Even the immoral Soviet machine knew that cost was too high.

The exception, of course, was Tienanmen Square in China, where the Chinese felt no distaste in wiping out the movement and putting thousands to death as the world watch.

So what kind of country is America today?

I am not one anyone would call a ‘rabble rouser’.  I eschewed protests of any kind when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan (well known for its protest movements).  Frankly, I thought they were silly and largely a waste of time, in lieu of actual political dialogue and debate.

So why do I now to accept these kind of movements and protests?  It is quite simple:  government has grown so invasive and contrary to many of the basic principles of individual freedom, we as a citizenry may have no other choice.

It began with Obamacare, forcing people into contracts for insurance, regardless of their will.  This has progressively moved on to other facets life, as liberals see more ways government can ‘aid’ the public.

But the most recent iteration was gun control.  As the gun control debate proceeds, I think the illogical and ill thought out plans of the liberals in Washington almost necessitates such civil disobedience.

The most recent proposal would consider some type of universal background check system, that would cover not just gun dealers, but gun shows, and supposedly, even private sellers (selling a gun from one individual or another, or even inheriting a gun through a family member).  The reality is that such a system is inconceivably hard to envision.  There is no way today for the government to track most of these weapons, and proving they were exchanged from one person to another, for cash or otherwise, is impossible…unless you forcibly register all guns in America, and right now that is not going to happen.

So what is the eventual result of such a law?  People will ignore it.  As stated most eloquently by Charles de Montesquieu’s adage: “Useless laws weaken necessary laws.”  Gun exchanges, except those going on in public, will go on as they always have.

There is a simple truth to governance…laws that cannot be enforced will be ignored.  There are numerous examples of this, both in the U.S. and around the world.  Think of laws against drugs, especially marijuana.  How is that working out?  Walk into any dorm of any college in America on a weekend, and you will see the utter failure of marijuana prohibition.  And this gun law would be no different.

And such laws are not just ignored by citizens, but by the machinery of the state as well.  How many state and local governments now ignore marijuana laws?  And how foolish do you have to believe that gun control that is unfeasible would be any different?

The larger societal problem is that such unenforceable, largely ignored laws further sow the seeds of distrust and skepticism within the public.  Such laws are first ridiculed as being ignorant of reality; they then are roundly ignored by citizens and government; and of course, ultimately fail in their goals.

What does this achieve?  Well, the obvious result is greater opposition to government actions.  This feeling of contempt of central government does not simply reside on the political right.  It is a basic tenet of most libertarian movements.  Many environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, are also calling for greater civil disobedience in blocking such proposals as the Keystone pipeline.  In places such as New York, which have passed unenforceable limits on the sizes of gun magazines, even Democrat gun owners plan to ignore the prohibitions.

What this slowly leads to is the progressive erosion of the legitimacy of government.  In a country where the majority of people see government as restricting their rights and liberties, instead of expanding them, more and more civil disobedience will become the norm.

Gandhi and Martin Luther King, as often is the case, state it best…

“An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. Now the law of nonviolence says that violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by nonviolence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and imprisonment.”
― Mahatma GandhiNon-violence in Peace and War 1942-49


“I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr.The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The simple truth is a government that expands continuously, out of the rate of its ability to enforce its own regulations and rules, will become moot.  All these great leaders of our past recognize it.  Sadly, our contemporary leaders are too clueless and short sighted to see the damage they do.


Rubio’s Immigration Tightrope


Senator Marco Rubio is playing a high risk game.

This past week, he came out in support of an immigration bill, whose contents were supported by a bipartisan group of Senators.  The much talked about plan would, generally, give a path to citizenship after placing those illegal aliens in the back of the line, and some theoretical, yet undetermined in specificity plan for border security.

The details of the above are immensely important, and we don’t know the details yet.  Both conservatives and liberals fret the outcome of the debate, and where the ultimate lines will be drawn.

However, the politics are fascinating.  Rubio has clearly emerged as one of the leading candidates to take the GOP helm in 2016.  There are a myriad of others, but Rubio is probably the best known and, at the current moment, best liked of the group.

And he picks this moment to confront, of all things, immigration.

It is a risky gambit, that has serious downside risk, and upside potential.  On the down side, if Rubio appears to be pandering to the left at all on securing the border (which is clearly job #1 for conservatives on the immigration issue), he loses almost all credibility as a conservative.  I believe that if you secure the border, the other issues could easily be dealt with.  However, is this plan which envisions a commission of border state governors necessitating authorization before a path to citizenship is available enough to convince the right that the border is secured?  I don’t think it goes far enough at all.  There is talk of expanding border patrol and drones, but the simple question is this:  will we deport all illegal aliens arrested after this deal is passed?  Anything short of that would not placate even moderate conservatives such as myself.

Rubio has been making the rounds this week.  On Sean Hannity on Monday, Rubio was defiant that this was the proper course for the country.  When pressed by Hannity on the idea that the 11 million (or more) people would be able to qualify for citizenship under the bill, which is by far the most controversial part of the proposed legislation, Rubio responded: “We’re not trying to punish anybody here. It’s not about that we’re angry at immigrants. It’s about the fact that we don’t want this to ever happen again and we don’t want to be unfair to the people that have done it in the right way.”

Rubio continued the conservative circuit, appearing on Rush Limbaugh’s show on Tuesday.  The audio is linked below.  Rush did seem at least open to Rubio’s proposals, if not enamoured by them.  It was certainly a strong showing for the Senator, as he again demonstrated why many conservatives believe he is the most eloquent voice in conservatism today. But will that last against a large conservative revolt, if it ultimately occurs?

As for the upside, I think it is much smaller than the the potential risks, frankly.  If Rubio does get passage of a reasonable immigration deal, does that give him more leeway among the mainstream media when 2016 arrives, ala John McCain?  I doubt it.  The media is the media, and should never be trusted.  As for the Hispanic vote, even with Rubio’s background and credentials, we know by polling analyses that Hispanics lean liberal.  What is the best case scenario for Rubio, getting 40% or so of the Hispanic vote?  And I am leery of even that estimate.

It is a high stakes gamble, with Rubio walking a tightrope that may be impossible to traverse.  If he fails to win the confidence of the Right, it may prematurely end his Presidential hopes.  On the other hand, if he is able to pull off some kind of victory, it will elevate him to the head of the class.  Political theater at its best.



A Positive Few Weeks For The GOP


It has been an inglorious few months for the Republican brand.  Everything that could go wrong has, and the momentum politically has been all in the direction of the President and his allies.

The past couple weeks however marked the first time since the election that is not the case.

It began, predictably, with gun control.  I predicted long ago that the gun control fight would be a political road bump that the Democrats would not pleased by.  Last week saw the first inkling of that reality.  Mr. Obama released his presidential orders (of which, all that can be said is they were of no real consequence, either to defenders of the 2nd amendment or prohibitionists).  He then followed with his legislative plan for Congress.  This week Senator Feinstein released her plan to the public as well.

And that was largely responded to with a big ‘thud’.

What is glorious about the gun control debate for Republicans is that this is a fight that will be fought completely on the Democrat side.  For the most part, Republicans will vote against any assault weapons ban.  They may be willing to look at background checks, the so-called ‘gun show loophole’, and other fringe items.  But the prohibitionist wing of the Democrat Party demand a Brady-like assault ban.

To have any chance of getting this through, they need to be able to get it through the Senate.  Even if somehow they can get around filibuster rules, it is uncertain whether they can get 51 votes needed to pass the measure.  At least 10 Democrats (including 7 from red states running for re-election in 2014) have signaled distaste for the ban.  And of course, they don’t want to be holding the bag if the House GOP vote against it.

Boehner, in a moment of great wisdom, refused to take a stand on the issue…thus leaving the onus on Senate Democrats.  That is precarious position for them.  First, they refused to overturn the filibuster rules, which means on top of having to take unpopular votes, they need several Republicans to side with them.  And with momentum in the media and in polls significantly slowing for gun control, time is running out.

The GOP had little to do with the gun control debate, but had to a lot to do with the shift in the debate on the debt ceiling and the sequester.  This week, they made public a plan to give a short term extension to the debt ceiling, but promised progress only if the Senate held up their legally bound duties and passed a budget.

Again, this is a situation where the GOP has now shifted the responsibility, to some extent, to Democrats. The fight over the artificial debt ceiling was a defensive posture for the GOP, and not they were ever going to win.  However, we see the first rays of light that this posture may pay dividends.  From the Washington Post‘s editorial board, lauding the move:

Mr. Obama must distinguish between the Republicans’ unreasonable positions and their reasonable ones. Refusing to consider tax increases and holding the debt ceiling hostage were examples of the former; both have now been significantly modified, if not abandoned.

Insisting on serious reforms to entitlement programs, however, was the GOP’s reasonable demand, one the Republicans have not abandoned. This presents Mr. Obama with a choice: He can continue driving a hard bargain, in both political and policy terms. That would presumably entail refusing to deal on entitlements until the Republicans capitulate with regard to the sequester and a partial government shutdown on March 27.

Or the president could act on his past promises to tackle entitlements and engage in good faith with Republicans now, so that they have no further reason to exploit the sequester or threaten a shutdown. In that regard, a reference Friday by the White House to purported GOP plans for “drastic cuts in Medicare” was not an encouraging development. There is still plenty of time for Mr. Obama and Mr. Reid to show that they are willing to treat the GOP’s change in position as an opportunity to address the country’s long-term fiscal needs, rather than their party’s short-term political ones.

This is the first times in months that I can remember a major liberal publication taking any GOP argument’s side in the debate.  Surely, others like the New York Times will pull a ‘Pelosi’, and argue that any discussion of a normally passed budget and proper appropriations process is, in her words, ‘ludicrous’. But most common sense people have been arguing for this for at least four years.  The budgetary system is broken.  Yes, Republicans played a part in it.  But now, the Republicans are willing to fix their mistakes; are the Democrats?  I think it is doubtful, but this places the responsibility for failure back on the shoulders of Harry Reid and Barack Obama, squarely where they belong.
The last shift may be the most important, in the long term.  Sen. Marco Rubio finally released major portions of his long awaited immigration plan.  Rubio’s plan would allow illegal aliens to get a pathway to a green card and citizenship, but unlike Obama, would not allow them to ‘jump the line’, as it were, and demand they enter the normal naturalization process with all those that have followed the law and applied for entry in the United States in the proper way.
Rubio’s position was quickly supported by Paul Ryan and others, and likely allows the GOP a workable way forward in the immigration debate.  Rubio’s position is actually much more logical and a stronger position than that of Obama, which would give preference to illegals over those that followed the law; a policy which I believe the public would find abhorrent.
Whether the far right would accept this, or would still call it ‘amnesty’ is up for debate, and also there still needs to be a discussion about how to shore up border security.  However, for the first time since President Bush suggested immigration reform in 2005, we are in a position of discussing policies, instead of simply playing a defensive posture going forward.
The path for the Republican Party is quite clear in these three examples.  We must first accept the reality that we do not, in any real way, control Washington. Second, although the above is the case, we must still provide policy solutions to the problems at hand, and more specifically, show why Democrats positions are either untenable or simply ludicrous.
There are of course many potholes on the way for the GOP.  And a comeback, politically speaking, is a long way off.  But the seeds of how to get the Republican party moving in the right direction is here…if we look hard enough and accept it.
This was cross posted at the Spitcracker Picayune

The Lie Liberals Tell Themselves


What is the lie liberals have been telling themselves for four years?

That Barack Obama is, or ever was, a moderate.

If there is one truth that came out of Mr. Obama’s inaugural address that was nonexistent in his first, it is this: he is a classical, pseudo-1960s liberal, in every sense of the word.

Now, most of us on the right, including most moderates, have long accepted this fact.  Obama was ranked as the most liberal senator before he ran for President, to the left of the likes of John Kerry.  Of course, that kind of analysis was not meaningful to the left, who argued it was skewed.

But Obama’s address this week was a progressives wet dream.  If you want to give it a title, the best one I can imagine is “The Era of Big Government is back!”.

Look no further than the promises Mr. Obama made in the speech.

Was there promise to confront the hard questions, like entitlements?  No.  In fact, Obama promised not to confront entitlements. “The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us,” Obama told the cheering crowd as he launched his second term. “They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

In other words…no real entitlement reform.

Compare this to his commentary in 2008:  “We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further,” Obama told The Washington Post editorial board. “We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.”

That Obama no longer exists.

This is not an Obama who believes in more fiscal sane government, that believes in lower taxation (as he ran on for the Senate in 2004).  This Obama believes in a smaller Defense Department, bigger social welfare state, higher taxes and more regulation.  That was his mission statement yesterday.

The only place where liberals even have the thinnest of arguments is on foreign affairs, but with Obama policy on Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and elsewhere starting to resemble classical liberal outlooks than conservative ones going forward, and with choices such as John Kerry and Chuck Hagel for Secretaries of State and Defense, I think even that argument is quickly going to fall flat on its face.

So, Obama is a liberal.  No surprise to 70% or more of Americans.  Of course, the extreme left woke up this morning, imagining that it was a new day, and their leader had made another evolution.  How quaint.


1460 Days


1460 Days.  That is what the remainder of Barack H. Obama’s political legacy entails.

As Mr. Obama is inaugurated for the second time, he confronts the boon and curse of being re-elected…and the reality that the clock is ticking.

And the 1460 days supposedly remaining?  The political truth is that his window is even narrower.  The reality is by this time next year, or at the latest the summer of 2014, much of the country will be focused on the midterm elections.  Once the midterm elections are over, then everyone is looking at the Presidential caucuses, and the 2016 election.  And unless Obama is able to work up a miracle and take over the House of Representatives in 2014, there is little change coming to Washington, D.C. after 2015 arrives.

Furthermore, Obama knows that 2nd terms are ticking time bombs.  There isn’t really a good example of a successful 2nd term.  Every second term in the modern era has been a pale comparison to the first term, and usually scandal plagued.   Obama does have the advantage of a press corps doing everything it can to hide scandals, but even they cannot ignore the stories forever.

So you are going to see a rush of policy initiatives by the Obama Administration in the next 6 months.  That is their window of opportunity.  How much they can accomplish will largely depend on Obama’s skills in convincing Republicans his policy is good for the country. And the success of those policies will largely label the Obama Presidency as a success of failure.

Yeah, I am pretty pessimistic also.

Oh, sure, there are sycophants on the left that think Obama’s greatness is already baked it.  That is a drug induced hysterical belief if I ever saw one.  Presidents are made great by a combination of economic growth at home and successes abroad.  As of right now, Obama has neither, and his signature achievement, Obamacare, may be more of an albatross than a jewel in his crown.

So, congratulations to Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden on their inauguration for a second term. I do, with every ounce of my being, really do hope that they have a better 2nd term than their 1st.  But history is against them…and the clock is ticking.




A Modest Proposal On The Debt Ceiling


There will continue to be a lot of talk about solutions to making sure the United States avoids the arbitrary debt ceiling, which is expected to be reached in February.  Barack Obama has said he refuses to negotiate on the matter, and Republicans have stated they are ready to shut down the government if no solution is reached.

Frankly, this is nonsense from all sides.

I spoke about why Obama must deal with Republicans on this issue in a recent blog post.  For all the talk on the left, Obama realizes he has four more years of having to deal with a House that most likely will be controlled by Republicans, and more than likely by John Boehner.  He cannot further alienate a Republican caucus that is already not likely to work with him on many issues, and hope for any significant legislative successes in his 2nd term.

As for the GOP, they simply don’t have as much leverage as they believe.  I don’t think shutting down the government, ironically, would hurt them that much.  It didn’t hurt them in 1995, despite conventional wisdom in the media (Clinton did win the White House in 1996 against a flaccid Bob Dole, but the GOP held Congress; so what damage did the shut down really do?).

What could cause the Republicans damage, however, is any further downgrade in America’s credit rating, and any collateral economic damage.  Obama could, with some credibility, say Republicans are sacrificing everything for their quest to reduce the debt ceiling.  The media would support him, and the obvious damage to the House Republicans would worsen their already weak position.

First, the GOP must accept that this President doesn’t give a damn about long term debt or fiscal sanity.  He can talk all he wants, but his actions and proposals show that his interests lie elsewhere.  Furthermore, because of this reality, the best conservatives can do is marginal cuts on the fringes of the budget, while restraining growth in spending as much as possible.  That is a gut punch for most of us that believe in fiscal responsibility, but that is the reality we must come to face.  Elections have consequences.

So the GOP this week came to the same reality I came to a few weeks ago…this is the wrong fight to have.  Instead, we should be focusing on spending, which means we must focus on the budget.  The debt ceiling is a canard, a fictional implement that may be useful as leverage, but in this scenario provides little of the latter.

Keith Hennessey has an excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal this week, which proposes numerous steps Republicans should take instead of fighting over the debt ceiling along.  He makes too excellent suggestions:

That brings us to step two, which is for congressional Republicans to offer Mr. Obama a choice. He can have a long-term debt-limit increase if he agrees to cut spending, or he can have repeated, short-term increases without spending cuts. If the president continues to dodge the country’s long-term spending problem, the solution is to force him to ask Congress every few months to give him the authority to borrow more while facing questions about why he refuses to restrain spending.

Step three is the critical lever for applying public pressure to Democrats to cut spending. Congressional Republicans would explain that they will support the first alternative—a long-term debt-limit increase coupled with spending cuts. They will allow short-term debt increases to occur—but they will not support them.

This means that if Mr. Obama agrees to cut spending, he will get his long-term debt-limit increase and most Republicans would vote for it. If, however, he refuses to cut spending and instead chooses repeated short-term increases, then he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would have to ensure that all 197 House Democrats vote aye. House Speaker John Boehner would commit to delivering only the 20 or so Republican votes that are needed to ensure the bill passed.

I like the concept of forcing Obama to make the choice, instead of Republicans.  However, I wonder if most of the public is interested enough in the nuances to understand the process as much as Hennessey would like.

I prefer a more straight forward approach, centering around the budget.  Congressional Republicans appear ready to extend the debt ceiling to April 15th, and then put the onus on the Senate to move forward with a budget.  The continuing resolutions funding the government expire on March 27th, and that would be the next stumbling block to fund the government.

But the key is the second part of the equation.  The GOP should require that the Senate pass a full, complete budget.  No more continuing resolutions.  The GOP should agree to raise the debt limit as necessary, but to make Democrats actually put a budget together, as required by law,  in order to move forward.

I believe tactically, this is a better position for conservatives.  The debt ceiling sounds like a great hill to fight and die on, but that is not really the case. The ceiling is meaningless in and of itself; what we are really fighting for is to decrease spending going forward, not to maintain some artificial limit we all know will eventually bypassed.

The House should be open to compromises on the budget with the Senate, as needed.  We will not get 100% of what we want.  However, if the Senate refuses to pass a budget, the House GOP should pass a full budget of their own…and go home.  They would be following the Constitution and the law as it stands.  If Democrats wish to continue their illegal incompetence and refuse to take responsibility for their ridiculous spending, then they and they alone hold the ownership over any government shutdown that occurs.

So let the debt ceiling be bypassed.  But let us force the Democrats to follow the law and follow the correct method in defining what spending the Government does.  The media may still support the President, but this is far harder case for liberals to make.   Will they argue that Congress should not be responsible and follow the law and pass a budget?  Let them defend that, if they will.

This was cross posted at the Spitcracker Picayune


Police In Every School? Not As Insane As You Might Think…


A politician, with the support of the National Rifle Association, fairly recently suggested that we spend hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants to place more police officers in schools and help even the youngest kids cope with their problems.

And liberals did not have a conniption fit.


Its true.  That was in 2000, by then President Bill Clinton, who on the one year anniversary of Columbine suggested that the country consider a national program to place more armed guards in schools to protect our children.  Clinton unveiled the $60-million fifth round of funding for “COPS in School,” a Justice Department program that helps pay the costs of placing police officers in schools to help make them safer for students and teachers. The money was to be used provide 452 officers in schools in more than 220 communities.  During its duration, the program placed almost 3,000 armed officers in a thousand schools nationwide.

The nerve of that gun-loving extremist.

The public, as usual, is far ahead of the media and liberal politicians on this issue.  Several polls show the public is solidly behind this idea as well.   In a Pew poll, 64% of Americans support having armed guards in schools.  However, 57% do oppose arming teachers and other staff.  A recent Rasmussen poll showed the following results:

Fifty-four percent (54%) of American adults would feel safer if their child’s school had an armed security guard. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 26% would feel safer if their child attended a school where no adults were allowed to have guns. Another 20% are undecided.

Among parents of school-aged children, support for armed guards is even higher. Sixty-two percent (62%) of such parents would feel safer with an armed security guard at the school, while 22% would feel safer if their child attended a gun-free school.

This issue is an issue where Democrats previously have had a lot of support for this idea.  Forget Bill Clinton, who now appears far to the right of the core of the Democrat Party.  Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were actually proponents of federal funding for more armed guards, especially after the Columbine incident.  Obama often talks about old ideas supported by both parties…well, this is a classic example. That is why after there was an immediate knee jerk reaction to NRA President Wayne LaPierre’s suggestion of more armed guards in schools, the Obama Administration is reconsidering the proposal.  The rumors are that Vice President Biden now supports a small scale program along the lines of Clinton’s earlier endeavor.

I personally oppose a federal program for this, however.  There is absolutely no reason for Federal funding to be involved, except to allow politicians to appear like they are doing something.  This should be a local issue, district by district, and frankly, school by school.  Even in a single district, I would prefer parents have a choice to send their kids to schools without armed guards, if they prefer, if it is possible within reason.  Furthermore, a third of all states (18, to be precise) allow teachers and others to carry guns with the appropriate permits, and all 50 states and the District of Columbia have measures supporting armed guards in schools if necessary.

One complaint I have heard is that it is not fiscally feasible.  I am not so sure.  Approximately 1/3 of all schools have armed guards already.  The nation has slightly less than 100,000 schools.  If you estimate the cost of placing guards in each school at $100,000 per school, the cost per year would be $10 billion.  That is probably a high end estimate as well, considering that many districts already place police at schools, and could shift already paid for policemen to school duty.  Furthermore, think of paying this on a local level.  If the average school has 500 students, the cost to pay for security for each student is $200.  In the scheme of all of our safety initiatives, this would be by far one of the most cost effective measures we could think of.  

This is one of many, many issues where it is clear how far left the Democrat Party has moved.  When their idol, Bill Clinton, fought for this cause during his presidency, and where a majority of Americans still support such common sense solutions, and yet liberals decry it as outlandish, and the media remains as clueless as ever.  But their views does not change the fact that of all the real world solutions provided for the safety of our children in school, this is the only one that may have prevented the recent tragedy in Connecticut.

Dr. Robert Bernat, in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, stated the problem most eloquently, despite being a supporter of more liberal gun control:

What happened at Sandy Hook was not the failure to plan; it was the failure of the plan. The teachers and administrative staff executed their school district’s plan heroically in trying to save lives, some at the loss of their own. Police departments changed their policies after Columbine and now rush to the source of an incident inside a school building at great risk to themselves. But a major flaw in such plans persists to this day—namely that it takes just a few unguarded minutes for a catastrophe to unfold.

Some criticize putting our children in an ‘environment of violence’.  I say to them they are living in an alternate reality.  In a world where 1st graders are being killed and our children see the evidence on the news; in an era when they play video games and watch movies with far more violence than anything they will witness in their school; what lies are we telling ourselves as parents to make us sleep easier at night?

No solution is perfect.  But from all the imperfect solutions so far suggested, by far the one that has the best chance of actually saving lives is this one.  Why there is such opposition from some quarters based on this reliable fact is beyond me.


This was cross posted at the Spitcracker Picayune

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