September 30, 2009

Math Wizards: Kerry & Boxer Do Cap & Trade

According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 were as follows:
  • 6,008.6 million metric tons of CO2
  • 26.6 million metric tons of methane
  • 1.2 million metric tons of nitrous oxide
And according to the Senate bill just released today (Senators Kerry's and Boxer's Cap and Trade bill) on page 11, lines 9 through 21 mandates the following;
  • 97% of those amounts by 2012
  • 80% of those amounts by 2020
  • 58% of those amounts by 2030
  • 17% of those amounts by 2050

Sounds scary already. Oh, but it gets better!  The U.S. population, according to the census bureau figures and projections, goes something like this;
  • 2005 - 295,560,549
  • 2012 - 335,805,000
  • 2020 - 363,584,000
  • 2030 - 341,946,000
  • 2050 - 419,854,000

Here's the quick math on this (scroll across for more years):


An 88% reduction per person in 41 years. A 30% reduction per person in 11 years. Without looking any further I have to ask - is it possible to cut it by the amounts in the box above? It doesn't seem like it. The bill the math wizards Kerry and Boxer have proposed seems to have set itself up for failure.

Which of course is an enabling factor for them to want to tax more because the U.S. isn't reaching it's targets. The vicious cycle is destined to continue. I so don't want to take the eye off the ball on health care, but this is just stupidity waiting to become law. Where did they derive these numbers from? Did they factor in population growth? Apparently not.

Okay, before I have a stroke, deep breaths...


Podcast Talking Health Care

Recently, actually a few weeks ago, I spoke with Laidoff Podcast and 2 Dumb Kids about the pitfalls of the health care in Canada.  While we covered a lot of ground, we certainly didn't do it justice.  There's a lot more to cover. Hopefully they will have me back for more at some point.

You can listen to the podcast (Episode #23) here, or here.

Oddly enough, the President, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and others would have you discuss health care specifics as little as possible.  That's the real problem. The details of Canadian health care or British health care have been glossed over with the "lipstick on a pig" approach and you aren't supposed to spend any time looking at them for what it really are.  They aren't exactly as pretty as some would lead you to believe.  Worse still, the various incarnations of the health care bill are literally voluminous and require even more diligent inspection.  But again, they don't want that level of inspection to occur.  That would only lead to irritants like concerns and questions.  We can't have THAT in America.  At least not in Obama's America.

The irony that strikes me more and more is the party of Democrats seems very undemocratic.  Those who call themselves progressives continually adopt positions that run counter to progress and are bordering on being Luddite in nature (think the entire Green movement, attempting to move America back to horse-drawn carriages and windmills).  The naming of these groups is in polar opposition to their true natures.

The point is that discussion, inspection, questioning, and debate need to occur. Vigorously.  Judging by the approach of the unDemocrats in Congress, those things need to happen in a big hurry.

Teachable Moments - Back At You Obama

The truth is I detest the term "teachable moment". But I do not hate it because of who uses the term (President Obama). I do not abhor the idea because it comes from a black man (for example Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas espouse some fantastic ideas). No, the reason I hate the phrase is because it is spoken with such condescension towards the audience. The President speaks it as if his listeners are all school children and he is going to teach them the correct notions related to the circumstance. He knows better than you and you are the one who needs to learn. It is pure arrogance and pure Obama. It's part of his M.O. He claimed to be above partisan politics and was touted by the MainStooge Media as the first post-partisan Candidate. He was above it all. He would bring Republicans and Democrats together and they would see the error of their ways.

Never mind that he has been the most partisan liberal President, possibly ever. Certainly Clinton who tried to govern from the left originally, learned his lesson after 1994 - out of necessity. The same fate awaits President Obama. That is, unless of course he realizes that this summer's Tea Parties and town hall bedlam were in reality, teachable moments for him. They were situations that could instruct him in the error of his ways.

Health care reform was only the straw that broke the camel's back. The cost was a concern. The government take-over was a concern. The arrogant disregard of others' opinions was a concern. And the reckless speed of under-debated, unconsidered action was a concern. They became concerns with the first stimulus bill. The concerns were repeated with the omnibus bill and then with the cap and trade bill. They were the same concerns each time.

The same concerns still exist, unabated. The President and the autocrats in the Congress and Senate have all but ensured that they will suffer the same fate as Bill Clinton and Democrats did in the 1994 mid-term elections - a blowout loss.

The President could however take this as a teachable moment for himself. He could learn from the moment that he needs to not just say he is post-partisan or working in a bi-partisan way, but he needs to actually do so. He needs to consider governing from the center in order to stave off the devastating losses to come.  He can either take that teachable moment now or he can wait until November 2010 and learn the lesson then. Of course, given his smarter-than-thou arrogance, I suspect though, that teachable moments are lost on him if he's not the one to do the teaching.

September 29, 2009

Shouldn't Israel Be Striking Iran?


At this point it seems almost inevitable that Israel will be forced to strike Iranian nuclear production facilities.  With Iran playing the classic tinpot dictatorship ploy of making the talks with the United States and others be about whether there will be talks, rather than about substantive issues like secret nuclear facilities, they hope to stall things. There is a clear time sensitivity with Iran trying to do the same thing Kim Jong Il did in running missile tests while talking about how talks should occur.  Unfortunately the Obama White House is falling hook line and sinker for the ploy.  Having showed their own hand by seeming desperate to have talks, they made the job easy for Ahmedinejad. 

At issue, is the fact that Iran, despite previously flawed American intelligence (saying they were either far away from, or not pursuing a nuclear weapons program), has been caught with a previously undisclosed nuclear facility and has been aggressively testing weapons systems.  The latest, mere days after President Obama decided to scrap the interceptor program based in Poland and the Czech Republic.  Clearly Iran perceives a weakness in Washington and they intend to exploit it.

The President initially appeared to have caved to Russian distate for the missile defense systems so close to its borders, in its former sphere of influence.  That may be the case.  But I have a fear that the problem is far worse.  With the recent disclosure about the second Iranian nuclear facility, Russia has suddenly gotten worried about the Iranians.  Was it in response to the fact that the missiles might be able to reach Moscow and now the missile shield America was going to put in place cannot be relied upon because it's well, gone?  Maybe.  And that would be a masterstroke of strategic leverage - the U.S. could offer to put them back in Eastern Europe if Russia helped foot the bill.  That would be ironic, and well, brilliant.  It's also likely beyond the notions of this White House crew.  The apology tours of the President don't lead down the road of getting your adversaries to pay your bills.  They don't think that way.

Furthermore, it really misses the point.  The Iranians don't care about hitting Russia.  They care about hitting Israel.  They care about wiping the country off the map.  They've said so.  Israel has ended up in the sad and unfortunate situation of knowing it can no longer rely on the United States.  Unthinkable two years ago, it's likely the dominant factor guiding strategic thinking in Israel right now.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia has apparently given permission to the Israeli Defense Force to use it's air space for the attack.  It's great to have another party (Iran) be the regional stooge/agitant/attractor of Western attention. But if Saudi Arabia is prepared to let Isreali they must be concerned about Iran as a regional threat or an adversary in terms of influence. Or perhaps, despite the Wahabi extremists they allow to exist in the Kingdom, they are pro-West or pro-customer at the highest level. It doesn't matter what their motivation is.  With Iraqi air space, controlled currently by the United States being the only other option and therefore implicating the U.S. as complicit in the attacks, the Saudi Arabian offer could not be better timed for Israel.  The U.S. under Obama would not have permitted an Iraq flyover.  The Saudi offer removes a barrier Iran might have seen as being in place to keep them behaved.  Just knowing that Israel has a way to act might keep Iran in line now.  Then again, it might not.  It probably won't.

With talks scheduled to start this week between Iran and the UN Security Council countries plus Germany, the stalling tactics on Iran's part will continue.  They need time and have been buying it with ease so far.  Why fix what isn't broken?

It's time to see if Russia's concern is window dressing - the U.S. should focus on whether Russia wants to impose sanctions, or develop a missile defense shield or ask America back into Eastern Europe to do the job.  None of that will happen, the Russians are happy Iran is a thorn in the side of the U.S.  Yes, they are likely concerned for themselves too, but they know they aren't #1 or even #2 on the hate list. They can deal with that problem later while continuing to enable Iran.

The President will hope to come out of the talks with Iran backing off (NOPE) or sanctions in place (NOPE).  Even the attempt will be portrayed at home as him playing hardball (an I-told-ya-so to the conservatives, even though it isn't true).  The problem for Israel is that whether the U.S. gets sanctions or not, it does nothing to help their situation.  Not initially - Iran is already somewhat of an international pariah and they seem to be doing okay as far as they are concerned.  What's a few more sanctions to them, even if they are 'tougher'?  By the time the sanctions begin to be felt, the missiles could have long ago flown towards Israel.

Israel will have to proactively remove the threat that President Obama doesn't have the stomach to do.  They only question really is, what will be the trigger? At this point I'm about 75% certain Israel will act and let the pieces fall where they may.  The international fallout will be nothing compared to the fallout from a Shahab 3 nuclear tipped rocket. Tense times indeed.

September 28, 2009

The Presidential Tracking Poll and Health Care

Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll has Obama's Approval Index back down to -9.  Just as I'd predicted, his address to the joint session of Congress provided a temporary approval ratings bump.  after the speech the Index had improved for the President to -3.  The poll also showed that the President's overall approval at 49% and disapproval at 51%, levelling out for now in the split range it has been in since roughly mid-July.

Don't expect the President to give up on those public appearances even though they seem to only provide temporary ratings bumps or perhaps forestall the popularity drops.  The reason he will keep doing those appearances is that they appear to be the only play in his playbook: If something goes wrong, get out there and speak.  If things are going well, get out there and speak.  Solutions a mile wide and an inch deep breed support of exactly the same caliber. Where are the teeming throngs of health care proponents?  Oh that's right - they're opponents.

November 3rd, 2009 - Virginia - Democrat Creigh Deeds loses the election for governor to a seemingly solid conservative, McDonnell.  How's that for a likely bellweather Mr. President?  Why the rush on health care?  To beat the date of the Deeds loss.  Virginia uncharacteristically went for Obama in 2008, a mistake not likely to be repeated.  If the President wants health care, it's something he's got to push through before the stack against him gets too big.  And it is getting big. Health Care Reform is just not getting any more popular.  In fact it's at all time Obama lows.

Unfortunately, trying to predict how Democrats manage this is like trying to read tea leaves.  But I have a sneaking suspicion that despite the trending anti-health-care sentiment, they might just try to force the reform through.  It would seem like political suicide, though I have heard some Democrats who truly believe that passing it will cause a massive, permanent bump in the polling fortunes of the President and of Democrats in general.  I'm not sure how they arrive at that conclusion.  I guess they are banking on the notion of 'free' overwhelming any other considerations.  But other considerations could swamp their rose-colored reality.  Things like having the organizational anti-panache of the cash for clunkers program might just overcome 'free'.  Free is no good if it comes with a side order of absolute chaos or strings attached.

Still, it might just be a forced legislation.  It might just be something the next administration has to reverse.  The next administration will be burdened with a worse set of headaches than Obama has had.  They will have to reverse some badly flawed decisions made between 2009 and 2012.  They will have to contend with the deficits in Social Security, and impending ones in Medicare and Medicaid.  They will be charged with undoing damage - old and new.  And it might not be a bad basis to campaign on.

The next President will have to do what I argued that no matter who won the 2008 election, the current President was going to have to do - cut spending radically.  Obama's loose spending has made a dire situation worse and not enough people seem to mind yet.  That's part of the reason the health care bill might be crammed down America's throat - the crisis is going to waste in Obama's eyes if this legislation fails.  I'm sure they won't let that happen, even if it means utter defeat in 2010 and 2012.

Gateway Pundit: Audio: Obama's "Safe Schools Czar" Admits Hiding Pedophilia From Officials

Uh...this IS worse than the Van Jones thing isn't it? He WILL resign or be terminated, won't he?
Gateway Pundit: Audio: Obama's "Safe Schools Czar" Admits Hiding Pedophilia From Officials

All I can say is sham, wow!

Capitalism Watch - September 28, 2009


I've decided to start a new, happier recurring feature on my blog.  I've got the depressing and often aggravating Dictator Watch. But there's been little good news features until now. Today is the first in a hopefully frequently recurring feature called Capitalism Watch.  I'll be posting snippets of good news items for the advancement of capitalism, with no apologies to Michael Moore, who just doesn't get it.

 It's been a good day for capitalism worldwide, moreso than at home in America.  From Europe there's the following news items.
Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’ll press ahead with tax cuts and labor-market deregulation after winning re-election with enough support to govern with the pro-business Free Democrats.


With Germany struggling to recover from the deepest economic slump since World War II, voters spurned plans by Merkel’s Social Democratic challenger to raise taxes on top earners. Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s SPD had its worst postwar result in what he called a “bitter day” after sharing power with Merkel for four years and governing for the previous seven.

“There’s a clear sentiment in favor of economic changes, especially on income taxes,” Tilman Mayer, head of the Bonn- based Institute for Political Science, said in an interview. “Voters have turned their back on grand coalition-style compromise politics.”
Germany apparently is interested in the mantle of the greatest economy on earth, currently attempting to be vacated from the United States by both China and the Democrats in America.

In England, with an election looming next year, Gordon Brown's Labour party trails the conservatives by 17 points.
London - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has won praise and prizes abroad for his handling of the global financial crisis - but at home his popularity is so low that he faces eviction from office next year.


As he picked up the world statesman of the year award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation in New York last week, Brown must have enjoyed the relief of a much-needed respite from his domestic woes.

Presenting the prize from the interfaith organisation which campaigns for human rights and religious freedom, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger hailed Brown's "vision and dedication".

Yet in Britain, with a general election looming by next June, just 28% of voters are satisfied with his personal performance, according to a MORI poll in August.
Equating conservatives with capitalism, is not always an easy leap to make, but the last time the conservatives were in power in Great Britain, while ostensibly lead by John Major, they were still the party of Margaret Thatcher.  You don't get much better bona fides than that. The conservatives are also the party of Daniel Hannan. That's pretty Thatcheresque.

Then there's France, where conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, faltering in the polls, has started the climb back, from a low of 32% last year, up to 43% by this past spring.  This despite the economic crisis and a series of pro-capitalism reforms that in labor-centric France seemed unfathomable a few years ago.  This despite an onslaught of an adversarial press at home and across Europe.

But i't not just Europe that gets it.  Here in North America, conservatism and an appreciation for business and capitalism is growing.  In Canada;
British Columbia is poised to push Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the cusp of a majority in the next federal election, provided that certain 2008 voting patterns continue.

Conservatives won 22 of B.C.'s 36 seats in the House of Commons in October of 2008. That was a gain of five seats over the 2006 election, and helped lift Harper to within 12 seats of a majority.

With Harper running well ahead in national polls and election rumours falling like maple leaves over Ottawa, Conservative political strategists are focusing their sights not on the seats Harper won in 2008, but on the five B.C. ridings in which his team racked up significant second-place finishes.
In Mexico, despite suffering setbacks in the recent setbacks in mid-term elections, conservative President Calderón has set out an ambitious agenda for the remainder of his six year term, bouyed perhaps by the the fact that a recent public opinion poll in mexico gave him an approval rating of 70%. He has even scrapped three government ministries, something seemingly unthinkabke in modern day America.
But his first battle will be over the 2010 budget. Tax revenues have plunged, jeopardising Mexico’s investment-grade credit rating. At the same time, recession has increased the demand for social spending. The draft budget announced this week involves a careful balance. It includes a temporary rise in income tax from 28% to 30% for the highest earners, a new 2% sales tax and a tax on telephones. Public spending will fall by 1.8% of GDP, with three ministries scrapped and other austerity measures.
That's just a few examples.  There have been others recently too.  Perhaps it takes decades for some of the obvious to sink in worldwide, but the effects of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are still rippling throughout the globe.  That's good news for capitalism, and good news for freedom.

September 26, 2009

Proven, Unproven and Disproven

It's too big for a Dictator Watch.  It's a banner headline.  If you look on Drudge Report right now, it looks like a Mexican   standoff between Obama and Ahmedinejad of Iran.  A nuclear standoff. As a side story, it appears, as I've mentioned before Chavez is trying to get Venezuela in on the act.

Meanwhile Brazil's Vice President is urging his country to pursue a nuclear weapons program.

You know what seems like a great idea right now? Fast tracking a missile defense shield for America and it's allies. Oh.  WaitWhat?

That last link is a real hoot.  The President during the campaign vowed to cut investments in unproven missile defense systems.  This from the same guy who wants to invest billions in unproven green technology / new health care systems and disproven cap and trade taxes.

Saturday Learning Series - In the Light of the Above

Episode 2 of The Day the Universe Changed below, is entitled "In the Light of the Above". This episode focuses on the Rule of Law and asks some interesting questions about it.

He makes a startling link between the fact that laws that govern our behavior and that these rules are pretty well followed by most, are the very thing that allows us as a civilization to continue to be a forward looking society (with respect to Western Civilization).

For more from this series or others, search Nonsensible Shoes for the term "Saturday Learning Series".

From the JamesBurkeWeb poster of the video series;


...This is explained as follows: if we can rely on the public to obey the rules blindly, then we can re-order it in such a way as to allow for "innovators" to be protected from would-be imitators by introducing rules that disallow imitation (time limited). So if someone invents something, they can be sure they will reap the initial benefits of it's production and sale. Else there would be no apparent reason to invent anything because there would be nothing to gain.
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Part 5:

September 25, 2009

Lawyers Lawyers Lawyers - In Power

Lawyers, lawyers everywhere and in power in government.  How many lawyers?

Republican attorneys in Congress and the Senate?

16 Senators (40% of the Republican Senators)
47 Representatives (26.5% of Republican Congressmen). 

63 Republican attorneys or 29% of Republican representatives.

Democrat attorneys in Congress and the Senate?

24 Senators (40% of Democrat Senators)
93 Representatives (36.3% of Democrat Congressman)

120 Democrat attorneys or 37.5% of Democrat representatives

Overall that's 183 out of 535 representatives (34.2%).

The overall percentage of the US population that are lawyers? In 2007 according to the American Bar Association there were 1.1 million lawyers.  That's about 0.4% of the population. 

Representative-wise the lawyers are over-represented in Congress and the Senate.  Throw the bums out?  There's a reason the Constitution was not 1100 pages.  I'm just saying.

Friday Musical Interlude - September 25, 2009

Friday Musical Interlude - September 25, 2009

Franz Ferdinand - No You Girls.

They're improving.


September 24, 2009

Report: NEA communications chief resigns

Good news - the 'kickbacks' at the NEA for artists to produce Obama inspired art appears to have been exposed for the corruption it was. Breitbart has the story.

Report: NEA communications chief resigns


The only question is where is the running MSM scandal count? Oh wait - this isn't Bush it's Obama.

Canadian PM Harper meets Israeli PM day after boycott of Iran speech.

Props to my Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.

Harper meets Israeli PM day after boycott of Iran speech.

Obama - watch a real leader in action.

What's Wrong With Liberals? (the short version)

Are you liberal?  Did you go to the right school and study journalism/law/liberal arts/political science/philosophy/English literature/art/music/urban planning?  Was it an elite school? 

Do you hate NASCAR/BBQs/rubes/hicks/rural folk/Christians/everyone who isn't as enlightened as you? Do you KNOW that you are smarter than them?  Shouldn't they just get out of the way instead of being angry/racist/homophobic/religious kook/anti-progress/moronic/fools?

If so, don't read the rest of this.  You are cured already.  It's those Neanderthals I need to smarten up.

*********************************************

Are they gone?  Good. 

What's wrong with liberals?  That self-affirming crowd who accuse you of being closed-minded and unintelligent don't really have it all figured out.  After all, if lawyers run the government you get regulation. Lots of it. If those educated on morality by a narrow-minded smarter-than-thou intelligencia dictate morality, you can be sure that your morality would cut the mustard with them.  In other words, your interests are going to be sublimated cast aside in favor theirs (Sorry, didn't mean to use a big liberal word there).  They are more enlightened.  They know better.  At least they think they do.

It's the same crowd who vale eloquence (Obama) over common sense (Palin/Jindal/Pawlenty/etc.).  They value partisanship over principles (Pelosi, Dodd, Frank, Murtha).

Where you are angry/bitter/partisan they were principled/civic minded/right.

So let's talk about them.  Seriously, what's wrong with them?

Actually, they aren't flawed.  They are a product of a world view thrust upon them by a snowballing effort of leftist Alinskyites.  Guess what - the radicals efforts have been working.  Too many people have a skewed view of the greatness of America.  They are rotting the country from the inside.  The good news is that by Obama winning last year and taking the fast track to socialism, it has awakened many of the people who would otherwise be lulled into the slow death of the slow march to socialism.

The question is how do you interact with a liberal doctrinaire? It would be great if you could wave a magic wand and undo the damage - reverse the curse.  That's not possible.  But what is possible is a reverse-Alinsky.  In other words the slow, eating away at the margins of liberal belief is the best way to reverse a slow tide of global warming hysteria/social decay/socialism/etc.

It has to be done in stages, and it has to be done by talking.  Calmly.  Just like the Tea Parties were an outpouring of anger in a measured and civil way (hmmm, any liberals still reading may have just keeled over).  In other words, we need more 9/12s.  We need more conservative voices, measured in their displeasure (not angry), but with force in their discourse.  Ooops - that might be a little to Jesse Jackson.  But hey, unlike Obama - the guy could speak.  Liberal, radical and wrong.  But more engaging than the President in his oration.

Liberals indoctrinated can be de-programmed.  Yes it's frustrating and angering.  But it's a battle of inches to make the miles.  The proof is Obama himself - he tried to throw a long bomb touchdown pass and look how well that's going for him...

This (Inept Obama) Beat Goes On

One of the earliest tests of the Obama Presidency was his list of choices for assignment to various cabinet posts. He failed. From Geithner's tax problems which managed to sail through approval to Richardson to Daschle and others who did not, there were glaring holes in his team's vetting processes.  The argument about lack of experience was on display for all to see.  Most people didn't care - it was the honeymoon period and many people in the nation and especially the media were still aglow with Obama fever.

You could argue that they were new, and they could overcome their initial inexperience given time.  Of course that would assume you were not one of those who assailed the Palin VP nomination based on inexperience.  Nevertheless, the point is moot, because 9 months into the Presidency, Team Obama is still making the same vetting mistakes.  It has gone from being attributable to inexperience to reasonably being attributable to incompetence.

Many of the vetting problems we are seeing now, are the appointed czars, who are not subjected to the normal Congressional vetting process.  Free from the shackles of having to answer to another body, the President has appointed some unsavory characters.  In succession, some have recently come to light.  From disgraced 9/11 conspiracy ascriber and green czar Van Jones, to the more recent pedophelia hiding of Safe Schools czar Kevin Jennings (talk about a fox guarding the hen house) to diversity czar Mark Lloyd who in the Obama-versus-executives school of business has asked white media executives to step down, and as an added bonus is apparently impressed by Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez.

Here's the lesson learned on this: The President and his team have NOT learned their lesson on vetting.  246 days later and the same mistakes are being exposed.  Earlier on it was by Congressional 'oversight'.  The lesson they learned was to appoint czars so the Congress had no say.  Wrong lesson. Did Team Obama not realize that peoples' developing mistrust would require that he appoint people that didn't have such glaring questionables in their past or present?  Apparently not.  But you can no longer call these things rookie mistakes.

Either the team is inept or driven by ideology rather than a sense of doing what's right.  Either answer is bad for America.

September 23, 2009

Obama: Legalize illegals to get them health care - Washington Times

Just a brief reminder about this issue.  President Obama changed his number of people without coverage to 30 million from 46 million.  That was before Joe Wilson accused him about lying that illegal immigrants would be covered by his proposal.  And then after the speech and the White House quietly admitting Joe Wilson was right, the President appears to want to include them in his coverage plan.  Obama: Legalize illegals to get them health care - Washington Times.

It makes no sense because with ACORN on the defensive, there's no way illegals will get registered to vote.  So why bribe them with free health care?  There's no personal payoff for the President.

Too harsh?  Too bitter? Too cynical? Overly sarcastic? Maybe.  But he sure doesn't make it easy to overlook the cynical views of his Presidency.

Ironic Thought For The Day

Those who argue most vocally for conservation in order to protect the environment, typically also argue most vocally for squander when it comes to government spending.

They do not see the economy as deserving the protection that the environment does.  Their sense of relative fragilities is skewed. To say the least.

September 22, 2009

Rasmussen's latest Presidential tracking poll

As of the latest Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll (2 minutes ago as of the start of the writing of this post), the President's job approval ratings bump from his speech to a joint session of Congress appears dead. 

The approval index, which had closed the gap to -3 (3% more strangly disapproved than strongly approved) has widened back to -8.  Rasmussen has indicated that it seems to serve as a leading indicator of overall approval.  While it's more likely intended to measure depth of support or opposition, it does seem to trend ahead of the overall job approval.  Looking at his graphing of the Index, it appears that since late July the President's numbers have levelled out at roughly 30% strong approval, and 40% strong disapproval.  I intend to test that theory with another theoretical tool very soon.

Turning to his overall job approval, it's again, down from the speech 2 weeks ago when it had climbed back above 50%.  Guess what it's back below - with 49% approval and 50% disapproval.  I'd like to look at these numbers again in the near future to see if the trend has stalled.  The trend looks less stalled than the Job Approval Index, and it's a different measure - but if the Index is the leading indicator then in the near future we might see a leveling out of those Approval numbers as well. 

While that may be disappointing news for conservatives, there is a silver lining.   Two silver linings in fact.  Firstly, the speechifying by the President seems to have lost it's momentum-changing or momentum-building effects it had in 2008.  Every speech provides a bump, and the seemingly temporary effect it now has means it cannot be a game changer in 2010.  The second silver lining is less tangible.  Just because the President's rating slide MIGHT stop or slow, that supposes that there are no new game changing events coming into play.  This is the real world though and it's been duly noted that Team Obama is full of not ready for prime time players.  There will be gaffes.  There will be bad decisions.  There will be unexpected crisis.  And there will be further deterioration of some of the economic indicators like the unemployment rate.

Indeed the current delay in the slide may end up being a high point of the President's job approval rating over his term.

September 21, 2009

Do you want real equality?

Recently I posted some thoughts about Democrats leveraging the failing education system to maintain their power base in the African-American and Hispanic communities. It triggered a notion that I've posted on before but wanted to reiterate with some more emphasis, and that is what does equality mean in America?  There are two opposing views to this fundamental question, which has hijacked the national political debate from the issue of liberty.  Freedom, or liberty in the Declaration of Independence is second only to life in terms of inalienable rights.  The issue of equality (all men are created equal) while important, is not paramount to the national discussion.  Yet there it is, on the front burner.

But let's take as a given that all citizens are free, despite the best efforts of the Democrats to implement health care reform, and card check and...you get the picture.  If all people in the United States are free, then the country can start to grapple with other issues like equality.  But here's the conundrum on equality - it all comes down to how you define it.  The President's definition is what is driving his agenda. The problem with that is that he seems to have a skewed definition of the word.

Milton Friedman postulated that there are two ways to define freedom - equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.  Where the Declaration of Independence states "all men are created equal", he notes that the interpretation of that phrase is with respect to their rights.  It does not mean their abilities.  I cannot dunk a basketball like LeBron James.  Similarly he cannot sing like Etta James.  But what we all have in common in terms of equality is our inalienable rights. 

The discussion turns then to what rights are we granted by our Creator?  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Notice that neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution have ever granted happiness - only the pursuit of it?  That is because no one - the government, a business - not even yourself can ensure you achieve happiness.  It very well could be unattainable for an entire lifetime.  And that's BIG.  Obama and many liberal Democrats, and socialists view equality as equality of outcome.  presumably, they believe that equality of outcome will result in equality of happiness.

What is equality of outcome?

Does that mean equal pay regardless of occupation? Should a doctor and a garbageman make the same amount, or even what they need?  If so why become a doctor?  Studying to be a garbageman is much less taxing.
Does it mean equal skills training for anyone in need, or even desire of a skill?  What if someone without the right abilities to do so, wants to learn piano? Who pays for that training? And why?
Does it mean equal grades on test scores for students?  Does it mean everyone gets a turn on the school football team?  Or an equal turn as CEO at Mobile Oil?
Equality of outcome, even theoretically, is a silly notion.

What does make sense is equality of opportunity.  Everyone should not be impeded by systems (especially governmental), or attitudes (such as racism) or anything else from trying to achieve their goals.  The single biggest impediment to that type of equality, is equality of education.  Equal education means equal rights.

Pumping money into bad schools and ineffective teachers is not the answer.  The Invisible Hand is the answer.  Open up education to the marketplace and see how much better students start doing. 

That does not mean charging people to attend school.  Come on, you already pay taxes for it!  It does not mean bussing students across town either.  It means giving every family school vouchers that they can use to select where their children attend school.  A voucher should be good for any school in the country.  The choice of families to send their children to better schools will weed out ones no one wants to attend.  Open up school districts and allow different public and private schools to compete for the children in the area (and thus a share of the voucher revenue, as the government pays out based on voucher volume).

As consumers, parents actively pursuing the best schools will be the first to enrol their children and those who miss out on #1 because they were late starting the hunt process can start looking at number #2.  But school #4, only half filled because students all went to the other three first, is now, out of survival, incented to improve it's rating.  In a free market it has to improve or close.

Watch how well the private schools do.  The remaining public schools will become a school of last resort when the better private schools unexpectedly fail or get filled beyond capacity.  The government would be free to mandate core cirriculum (math, English, science etc.) and require standard testing if it wished.  But the private schools could pad their cirriculum as they saw fit, rather than being forced to teach sex education, gender studies or anything specific.  If there's a demand for sex education, the private schools will end up teaching it, and fast.  And if there isn't an appetite for it, they will drop it just as quickly.

The only impediment to this approach would be to figure out a way to ensure a fair system of equal access by all. They could be impeded by poor planning, or racism or some other factors. But that's a minor problem - figuring out a mechanism to prevent fraud and unequal access is small compared to figuring out a way to solve everything.  Just leave the solution to the 50 Experiments Theorum.  What the free market system promotes here is an environment where those with talents will be able to avoid having them languish due to an inadequate school enviroment.  Skills will be developed.  Everyone will be better off.  The government will stop throwing money down an education sink hole.  In essence it will be outsourcing education to the private sector, where countless success stories exist, unlike government, which has to it's credit a great military, a moon landing, and the Hoover Dam.  Those things combined don't offset the inefficiency of the DMV.

September 20, 2009

Being anti-New York Times is clearly racist

I'm reading an article in the New York Times right now. It's hard to get through two sentences without finding liberal opinion or self-delusion masquerading as fact.

It doesn't even deserve a link to the article. Even my modest readership that might bump the page's hits by a few or even one, would be too much. In fact it's not even worth the effort to dissect and correct the article line by line. But it does merit a mention.

The main problem that I have with it is that while the titular point of the article is that not all anti-Obama sentiment is racist, it goes out of its way to ascribe it to just that root.

Liberals persist in this belief that any view not theirs is not just flawed, not just inferior but coming from some evil place. Luckily, readership for the NYT is faltering - badly. If that were not the case, the paper might not have a lesson available to them that journalism does not mean the same thing as advocacy.

They haven't learned so far, and they continue to try to figure out a new business model suited to electronic media as the cure-all to their suffering. I can save them the trouble. Readership means business, and readership of a newspaper requires continued trust. Earn trust by being factual and you get readership. Then different methods of content delivery can be addressed. Advocacy - open or undeclared and subtle does not achieve trust.

Is every lost reader due to the paper's support of Obama? And if so, by extension, is that not racist too?

Come on NYT, how far are you going to carry this foolish ploy? You are only hurting yourself. Like me, more and more people are starting to realize that reading the New York Times is like drinking spoiled milk.

Dictator Watch - September 20,2009

Joe Biden predicted this during the election campaign.  He said, refering to some imagined international crisis, that the President would be tested in his first six months in office.  There was a rigged election in Iran.  There was a North Korean ship floating around supposedly with nuclear material on board.  There was Chinese ships threatening American naval vessels.  And there was Russia growing increasingly belicose.  While he was off by the number of tests, Biden was right.

Biden also predicted that the President's response would not seem to be the right one but that byensuring Americans gave him their  support, he would be seen to be right in time. So far on that score, Biden seems only half right - the President's approach to these matters have seemed a little, well, off.  And things have gotten worse at an unnoticed but increasing pace.

The President this past week withdrew the missile defense shield planned installations from being situated in Poland and the Czech Republic.  Why? Ostensibly because they wanted to use the more mobile approach of naval vessels for the purpose of stopping potential Iranian ballistics aimed at Europe or Israel.  But who was the big complainer about the missiles? Russia.  And who felt betrayed in the unilateral retreat?  The former Soviet satellites Poland and the Czechs.   What does the President hope to gain by this?  Applause from Putin? He was credited by the dictator, who must be still be smirking over the unnecessary white flag.

That's Putin 1 - Obama 0.

Meanwhile, the President has capitulated on the talks with Kim Jong Il.  Retreating from the position that 6-way talks are mandatory, the President decided to give Jong Il, fresh from no doubt telling his prisoners citizens that he met with President Clinton (who knows, the people of North Korea may have been told Clinton was still President given the photo op for Jong Il), that fig leaf. He can now be elevated to direct talks with the President of the United States.

Obama had promised he would talk with enemies of the state (think Bill Ayers), so this change should come as no surprise.  Still, what was gained by the unilateral move?  On the U.S. side, nothing.  It's a propoganda coup for North Korea's crackpot dictator.

Jong Il 1 - Obama 0.

Meanwhile Chavez and Ahmedinejad are flirting with each other like giddy school children.  They are talking about shared nuclear technology, and likely ballistics too.  If Iran manages to get a long range ballistic nuclear program, it's bad.  If Chavez gets it, it's frightening.  It's way too close to home.  With Iran working with Russia and Venezuela working with Iran, we may only be a few years away from that reality.

With Obama in full retreat in international affairs, there are a lot of happy dictators free to roam about the planet imposing injustice and chaos - even Ghadafi got into the act with the release and Welcome Home party of the Lockerbie bomber Megrahi from a Scottish prison.  And Iran has proposed talks with the U.S. but on their terms and their topics.  Obama agreed.

In fact, let's call that Ahmedinejad 1 - Obama - 0.

It's starting to look like a losing streak in progress for the United States.  But all that said, the real threat Biden alluded to, is yet to come.  The unholy alliegance of Iran and Venezuela, and the potential for ICBMs pointed at the United States from Caracas is truly a foothold that enemies of the United States cannot afford to be given (and I use that word deliberately). That's Obama's real test.  So far his win-loss record, is making me feel like he's going to pass this test.  I'm not sure Mr. Biden, that retreat, abstention, or voting 'present' on any of these international issues is something that anyone can conceivably rally around. Nor does it seem like a winning strategy.  Biden may have been a prophet on international events, but as usual his assessment of the solution, as the President's track record, is lacking.

September 19, 2009

Saturday Learning Series - The Way We Are

From "The Day The Universe Changed", again from James Burke, another great series on how we got here. The series explores the evolution of Western scientific thought since the fall of Rome.

The implications run through more than just science, it involves politics, belief systems and so much more.

For more from this series or others, search Nonsensible Shoes for the term "Saturday Learning Series".

This episode is entitled "The Way We Are".

Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:



Part 4:



Part 5:

September 18, 2009

Obama going on my Dictator Watch?

I haven't provided a Dictator Watch update in quite some time. The truth is that it's been a very touchy subject for me since the President abdicated a meaningful position on the rigged election in Iran and the subsequent brutality of the Ahmedinejad/Khameni regime. But it's an area that needs attention, especially in light of events this last week and especially yesterday. More on that in my next Dictator Watch - my next post.

One important insight can be drawn from the Iranian election scenario. Specifically, if you notice the approach that the President chose to take, one of non-intervention and a weak pronouncement of displeasure, you can see the beginnings of an M.O. That modus operandi was evident in the situation in Honduras.

When the military overthrew the country's President Zelaya, and turned over authority to -------, they were doing so because of an attempt to circumvent the country's Constitution.
The ousted president, who was in office since 2006, had wanted to hold a referendum that could have led to an extension of his non-renewable four-year term in office.
Most conservative bloggers, rightly, focused on the fact that the President was being tougher on a country trying to keep it's democracy intact (albeit by non-democratic means) than he was on the brutal and evil Iranian regime. He called the coup illegal.


Overlooked though, was the fact that the President, busy taking the side of the socialists, provided two more clues to his behavior. Firstly, the condemnation and non-involvement approach was yet again on display. Secondly, and not surprisingly, he values the rule of law more than he values the right and freedoms of the people that those laws are imposed upon, who ostensibly, they are designed to protect.


That view is evident his approach to governance at home. While many parts of the legislation Democrats are attempting to enact seem Constitutionally questionable, if they can make it through and face the inevitable Supreme Court challenges then they are the rules. Similarly when the President spoke in the past about the Constitution being a bill of 'negative rights', he entirely misses the point of the Constitution.


Th Constitution does not grant rights to individuals, it takes as given inalienable rights and then sets about the task of trying to prevent them from being taken - by government. The point seems lost on a President who seeks a Supreme Court Justice with empathy. Isn't justice supposed to be blind? Color, gender, ethnicity, religion and the like are not supposed to matter. Neither is empathy.  What is supposed to matter is the facts in the case at hand, and what the laws say about those facts. That one party in a given case is poor and the other rich is not supposed to be a factor in the court's decision. If the poor person was in the wrong, he doesn't deserve special consideration beyond whatever facts are relevant to the case (e.g. the wrong done was clearly accidental versus deliberate).


Obama, a student and professor of the legal discipline, should know this. And he does. That is why he is furthering the march towards a re-write of the rules of the game in as large of incremental steps as he believes he can get away with. Will he attempt to alter the Constitution? Not likely. He just needs to change how people interpret it. That's less invasive and can accomplish the same task with less pain to him and his cause.


Does that make President Obama a dictator? No it doesn't. It does make him dangerous, and not in a good I'm-going-to-fix-a-bad-system way. It does make him a force for negative change - subtly removing pillars of American democracy in the name of one specific vision of social justice. And it makes him antithetical to real liberty and equality (that's a post for another day). But it does not make him a dictator.

He is using his time in office to push the country as far left as he can as fast as he can without derailing his own train. While he can come off as arrogant and dictatorial there are many appropriate words for the President. Dictator is not one of them.

Friday Musical Interlude - September 18, 2009

Friday Musical Interlude - September 18, 2009

Frank Sinatra - That's Life

Indeed.

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September 17, 2009

Democrats have a circular solution

To every problem there is a solution. Where it gets tricky is when you want to look like you have a solution but really, you want the problem to continue to exist. The Democrats have come up with a brilliant, albeit underhanded solution to the educational portion of the cycle of dependency. Underhanded because it behooves them to maintain that cycle in order to maintain the political power and clout Democrats wield.

Follow the path and you see the circular series of events and actions.

A system of unequal and often poor education exists for many in the United States. It is particularly bad in lower income neighborhoods. Bad education ensures bad graduation rates and often an unqualified graduate where graduation even exists. This means that the graduates and non-graduates in these situations will remain pretty much unemployable and efforts at higher education are pre-empted by bad grades or bad school reputations. Unemployable populations ensure a population of dependants. That population will be forever in a cycle of dependence because there are no alternatives available.

This is all bad, but this is where it goes from bad to sinister. The downtrodden class is bound to call for improvement to their circumstance. Capitalizing on the image as the party of the downtrodden the Democrats are empowered to represent this group in government. Calls to fix the problem ensures calls for more money for schools, for special programs and anything else that can be regarded as an attempt to address the situation. That leads to new programs and in addition to additional national debt, a section of the electorate beholden to those that called for more on their behalf i.e. the Democrats.

But ultimately the Democrats are better off if this neglected class does not succeed. The reason is that it gives the undereducated group reason to need another solution, or preferably, more of the same solution. And the latter is the goal the Democrats have set for themselves in this circumstance. They can repeat the entire cycle basically endlessly because they can argue that they were never given enough. They can also rely on the fact that eventually a new class of undereducated voters will fall for the same tricks that their parents fell for 20 years ago. It’s a vote generating machine, provided the cycle doesn’t get disrupted.

The worst thing possible would be for someone to come along and offer an alternative like school vouchers. Imagine a child in Harlem being given the opportunity to compete for a spot fairly in a private school academy somewhere in Connecticut? How would that look as an alternative? And what would be worse for the Democrats is if that child succeeded.

It breaks the cycle of political dependence. Then those who are dependent on the scheme to maintain their political power are required to compete in the realm of real solutions. But that hasn’t happened yet. Democrats still hold unrivalled sway over the African American community and have a strong hold on the Hispanic community as well. It allows them also to distort the talking points of the discussion.

Without overtly saying so, Democrats have swung the image of equality away from equality of opportunity to equality of outcome. That’s not true equality. What it is rather, is a recipe for national mediocrity. And that in turn is a recipe for a national disaster – a mediocre country with an ever growing dependant class is, to borrow the President’s favorite word, unsustainable.

Are We Punishing the Immobile Among Us?

There are those who favor nationalized health care.  There are those who favor national standard testing for students in the realm of education.  These are but two examples in the drive towards nationalization that are often espoused by liberals, and in some instances even conservatives.  Those who promote a levelling of the playing field across the country (nationalization) argue that by not doing so, we are punishing the immobile among us. In other words, they argue that those unable to move to where better health care exists (for example), are stuck with the ersatz local health care they can reach.  They argue that nationalizing things ensures that everyone will have access to the best. But they are wrong. Indeed they are not just wrong but catastrophically wrong, for three reasons.

September 16, 2009

Unexpectedly conservative

Unexpectedly conservative or unexpectedly Republican;

African American conservative.



Hispanic and conservative.




Young African American conservatives.




Hollywood Republicans.

September 15, 2009

Joe Wilson's poignant self defence



Joe Wilson's poignant self defence.

Obama - Losing Ugly

In football or any other sport, you want to win.  But you don't want to win because of a fluke injury to a key player on the other team.  Not only does it consist of benefiting from the misfortune of others, but it also tarnishes the victory - you didn't beat their best, you beat a diminished team.  Maybe you couldn't have really beaten them.  Using the analogy of politics as sport, President Obama might be that injured opponent, and the Republicans appear to be capitalizing on that.  But there's a couple of problems with the analogy.  Firstly, politics is a lot uglier than sports and sportsmanship doesn't win you any trophies in politics.  Secondly, and more importantly, President Obama doesn't fit the injured opponent as much as he fits the image of the opponent not knowing what plays to call and throwing a lot of interceptions for the GOP to capitalize on. The President, after a great opening drive, has started losing, and losing ugly. At this point the GOP would probably be happy with any sort of win.  But Obama isn't losing because of an injury, he's just losing due to poor performance.  In other words, he's losing ugly.
Can you tell I'm happy football season is under way?
In Politico today, Jeremy Lott makes the case that President Obama is likely going to lose on his three big agenda items so far; Cap & Trade, the Employee Free Choice Act, and health care reform. After winning on the stimulus bill and the omnibus bill early on, the 'game looked like a lopsided victory was underway for the Democrats.  They had a deeper bench (the 77 seat majority in the House and th filibuster-proof majority in the Senate).  The managed to take the football and score an opening drive touchdown.
The Republicans, still on defence nearly stalled the Cap & Trade drive, and now in field goal range, the plan seems stalled in the Senate.  They might not even be able to settle for the field goal.  But it has been the other big drive, health care is where the interceptions have started to occur.  That might be something that affects everything else, like the Employee Free Choice Act.  And that's where we might see two different aspects to Obama losing ugly.
Think of 2010 as halftime, and consider that the game clock is really running down.  It's going to be ugly for teh Democrats if those three drives fail.  That will represent a full scale failure in the eyes of Democrats and the eyes of President Obama himself.  But the other aspect is that you might start to see President Obama start getting ugly in his behavior.  If the Republicans have become accustomed to Obama decrying demagogary and being a demogogue about it now, imagine how bitter he could become and how ugly it could get if he doesn't score.  He seems to take these failures poorly already.
But losing ugly could turn into losing REALLY ugly, if a double dip recession materializes.  That's just what many people see happening. According to the Financial Times of London, there is good reason to be, if not pessimistic, at least realistic about the possibility;
“Are we going into a W[-shaped recession]? Almost certainly. Are we going into an L? I would not be in the slightest bit surprised,” he said, referring to the risks of a so-called double-dip recession or a protracted stagnation like Japan suffered in the 1990s.


“The only thing that would really surprise me is a rapid and sustainable recovery from the position we’re in.”

The comments from Mr White, who ran the economic department at the central banks’ bank from 1995 to 2008, carry weight because he was one of the few senior figures to predict the financial crisis in the years before it struck.
On Monday Mr White questioned how sustainable the signs of life in the global economy would prove to be once governments and central banks started to withdraw their unprecedented stimulus measures. “The green shoots are certainly out there – the question is what kind of fertiliser is being used on them,” he said.
Indeed, losing ugly for President Obama if that double dip hits, could very well mean a 50-70 seat swing in the Congress at halftime (2010), and a few seats in the Senate to boot.  If that' how the game progresses, there's a very real probability that Obama loses the complete game in 2012.

September 14, 2009

Health care speech - bump or not?

President Obama's highly anticipated health care speech last week was supposed to give him a bump in approval of the plan trying to work through the House and Senate. He was supposed to have stopped the slide in support for the plan and in fact turn that slide back into a climb. Did it work? That depends on who you ask.
According to the latest Rasmussen numbers not only did it give him a bump for the plan, his own job approval jumped.

Rasmussen's health care polling is summarized by this paragraph;


Fifty-one percent (51%) of all voters nationwide now favor the plan while 46% are opposed. In June, as the public debate was just beginning, 50% favored the plan and 45% were opposed.

Support for the plan fell over the summer and reached a point where 53% of voters opposed it. However, in the days following the president’s speech, support for the plan has been moving up on a fairly consistent basis.

And take a look at these two graphs.
Clearly there's been a change in direction. As much as I'd love to jump ship on Rasmussen because I don't like the numbers, I have faith in what Rasmussen says. He consistently polls in a robust manner and his results should be viewed with respect.

In fact, while the numbers are downright terrible looking, they may be more closely aligned with the truth than the conservatives care to admit. (Stay with me though, there's a very definite pair of silver linings to this).

Firstly, while Rasmussen's results are pretty dependable, outside of the polling and political junkie universes, they won't be as well read as within.

Even if MSNBC were to pick it up and run with it, it would only serve to emboldened the government option crowd and do more harm than good.

That thought is supported by another poll recently released that is likely to get much more press. And as we all know, perception is reality. On the other hand there is Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, who is reporting on some other numbers that show the President's speech did very little. Excerpting from the Washington Post/ABC News poll,

"Bottom line: right now, voters are almost exactly where they were before the speech.

Big question: will praise of Obama’s speech from moderate Dems (Ben Nelson called it a “game-changer” and President’s meeting with 17 Blue Dogs had a positive vibe)
begin to impact public, or will more poll results like this shake the confidence of the Congressional centrists Obama needs?

Big question II: is dropping the public option the game-changer? Olympia Snowe says it’s the only way to get a bill through the Senate, and our poll shows a significant shift in support: from 46-48 to 50-42."
Why would a poll touted by conservatives show movement towards Obama and one run by liberal sources show no change? Methodologies. The WaPo/ABC poll overstates the liberal side of the sample;
"Unfortunately, even with a ridiculous 11-point spread between Democrats and Republicans in the latest poll sample, Obama still can’t get to 50% support on health care leadership..."
Since the poll over sampled Democrats, who are likely more in tune with Obama's agenda, any movement on the issue is going to be smaller because a smaller portion of the survey sample was opposed to his health care plan to begin with. You'd expect to see less movement. If they sampled 80 pro health care Democrats and 2 anti-health care Republicans the speech would be a matter of 4/5ths preaching to the converted. This is a less blatant version of the same thing. It's harder to move the opposed and because you oversampled the in favor crowd, the numbers won't change as much.

But the numbers still haven't reached 50%. That means that moderates and Democratic leaning voters are still unconvinced. On the other hand, Rasmussen numbers are likely more accurate because they try to limit the oversampling. And Rasmussen is showing a shift. According to the Rasmussen numbers the president stopped the health care slide, he stopped the Obama slide and he actually managed a gain. That's the bad news.

I mentioned another silver lining. I watched the speech and I saw tired lines, I saw frustration and I saw some desperation. Why the likely bump? Rasmussen put it best;

Nationally televised appearances by the president have typically provided a bounce in the polls that last for a week or two. In all cases but one, the bounce has been positive for the president.
Bounces by their very nature are temporary. Look at the Obama graphs. You see dips and spikes followed by a return to the normal trend. Did the President affect a bounce? Yes. Was it significant? No. Not unless the vote comes this week, because the trend lines will revert to their normal course.
The real question is whether those normal courses for the approval index and the total approval are slowing down or not. The President has done a lot of damage to his popularity already but the rate of change to his approval is more than likely going to slow down. So if the President thinks he has forestalled the slide for long enough to get something done fast, the speech may have been enough. Fast though, doesn't seem to be a viable reality. Just picture President Obama, a week after giving an "open door" speech cut off debate and demanded a vote. Those gains would evaporate in short order.
Ed Morrissey is right - the speech was not a game changer. But I do think the President afforded himself another quick, but brief bounce. These days however, that isn't going to be enough.

Michael Steele is facing the wrong way

What has Michael Steele been up to since his win as Chairman of the RNC? Apparently too much of the wrong things. AP News has a story about trouble brewing for House Democrats in 2010 (welcome to reality AP, late as usual). There's no reason to lend any credence to the article, especially since it truly tries to spin the reality. After explaining some of the challenges the Democrats face, it parrots Democrat spin ("But Van Hollen said voters will make their choices on the strength of the national economy and will reward Democrats for working aggressively to improve it.") and is even written seemingly as if it were a Democrat political planning document ("At least one Republican is considered extremely vulnerable: Joseph Cao of Louisiana").

The real story for conservatives is buried in the middle of the page, and while it doesn't mention Steele directly, there are some important factors to consider. Throwing out all of the spin, there's some meat to what the article says - starting with this;

Democrats have gotten off to a much faster start than Republicans in fundraising for 2010. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had $10.2 million in the bank at the end of July, with debts of $5.3 million. The National Republican Congressional Committee had just $4 million in cash and owed $2.75 million.

With all of the Tea Party momentum, there's been a goldmine of opportunity for Republicans. In an environment where conservatives have actually started to protest, perhaps for the first time in recorded history, there has been ample opportunity to start raising cash. Being so far out of power, it should have been at LEAST an even money race, and that's without the lightning rods of discontent in Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Dodd and Frank. There's still time to recover, but a lot of time has now been squandered. I honestly couldn't tell you what Steele has been up to on a day to day basis, but I know this - winning costs money. Money is there if you position the GOP alignment with discontent. Instead of going on the talk show circuit or arguing with Rush Limbaugh, Steele should have been focusing on raising cash. Steele is facing the wrong way.

The formula is pretty simple:

(1) raise cash early so you don't need to while you are fighting the election war
(2) recruit and vet quality candidates early on
(3) align the message
(4) practice, practice, practice
(5) start the voter outreach process and run hard
(6) January 1, 2010 arrives.

Steele looks as if he left at least step 1 alone for too long. That will have a cascade effect on the election. This is a golden opportunity not only for cash but for the GOP to win back control of at least the House. They need about 40 seats to do so. Failure to act on step 1 will have a ripple effect on everything else. Where were the quality candidates (Step 2) speaking about better government (Step 3) at the 9/12 rallies (Step 5)?
The article points out some of the opportunity being missed;

Democrats must defend as many as 60 marginal seats next year, as opposed to about 40 for Republicans. Among those, about 27 Democratic and just 13 Republican seats are seen as especially ripe for a party switch.

...most of the closest races involve Democrats who rode the Obama tide in 2008.

Indeed, the "cap and trade" bill that narrowly passed the House last spring is creating headaches for several Democrats. The legislation, which would cap carbon emissions and tax industries that exceed the cap as a way to reduce global warming, is largely unpopular in areas of the country where jobs rely on oil, gas or coal production.

One Democrat most affected is New Mexico Democrat Harry Teague. His district, which McCain carried last year, is one of the largest oil and gas producing areas in the country, and Teague has faced angry crowds back home ever since voting yes.
Teague will face Republican Steve Pearce, who held the seat for three terms before giving it up to run unsuccessfully for the Senate last year.

Without Obama on the ticket, a lower predicted black turnout in 2010 could also affect Democrats in several tight races in the South. These include Reps. Bobby Bright and Parker Griffith of Alabama, Travis Childers of Mississippi, and Tom Perriello of Virginia, who won by just 745 votes last year in a district that is 24 percent black.

Talk about squandering opportunity!!! I have no personal quarrel with Michael Steele. He seemed like a reasonable candidate, but it's turning out that he doesn't seem to be nearly proactive or aggressive enough, or at the very least, his priorities with respect to his role are way off base.

The GOP is meant to be the conservative voice of America. Steele has seemingly had the RNC sitting on the sidelines during all of this resistance to the health care bill and cap & trade bill. Maybe there's been a bunch of behind the scenes action that no one outside the RNC sees. But if the money is any indication things could be problematic.

It would certainly be interesting if the grassroots conservatives decided to start raising their own money and doling it out as 527 operations, running advertisements in support of the right candidates. It might bring the grassroots views directly to the candidates, cutting out the middlemen. It might just create a more responsive political class.

September 13, 2009

9-12 WOW!

Even MSNBC got into the reporting and were reasonable in their coverage. It must have been Olbermann's day off.

video

Estimates range from the "10's of thousands" to hundreds of thousands to 2 million. The actual number is hard to say but hundreds of thousands at least is fair to say.

This cannot be the end point of the effort. As Mark Steyn points out in National Review,

My sense from Wednesday’s speech is that the president’s gonna shove this through in some form or other. It may cause a little temporary pain in Blue Dog districts in 2010, but the long-term gains will be transformative and irreversible.

That's a devastatingly bad vision for America. And that's why it cannot be allowed to pass. I disagree fundamentally with words like irreversible or impossible on principle. But transformative, for sure. Damaging indeed. Preventable? Not likely in Congress. Possibly in the streets.

One thing I hope is not lost on Republicans - you have to stand up for this movement. You have to be conservative in deed not just in word. This is your last chance for a long, long time to prove yourself to be conservative, to be the inheritors of the Constitution. Olympia Snowes will not suffice. The only thing that will restore the confidence of the American people is your adherence to the ideals of Reagan, of Goldwater and of the Contract With America. Do not let this opportunity pass you by.

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