January 31, 2010

Sunday Morning Roundup

Here's a Sunday morning roundup of some political discussion around the web.

The Hill reports;
The $700 billion bailout program for the financial industry has so far done little to boost bank lending, aid small businesses or reduce home foreclosures, a top government watchdog said in a report.

Also from The Hill, Dick Armey gets it;
Armey (R-Texas) explained in an interview that “in 1994 all we had to say to America was trust us, we aren’t them, and nobody ever remembered being disappointed in us in the majority. Now we have to say, ‘trust us, we’re not them and we’re not the guys that broke your hearts a few years ago.’ So they have a bigger task. But that’s not an insurmountable task.”

From Roll Call, it turns out that 8 of the 10 richest people in Congress are Democrats - the same party that brought you class warfare. By the way, Democrat Charlie Rangel spent over $500,000 in legal fees - in the last quarter.

Politico has two reports about health care - one claiming Democrats believe the health care ball is on the 5 yeard line, perhaps because the other indicates that Olympia Snowe has been talking with the Democrats about it.

The Washington Post continues to try to force the wedge between the GOP and the grass roots Tea Parties. the left's agenda is not to siphon off votes from the GOP to the Democrats, but rather to dampen the grass roots and independents expected turnout in November - something that will help protect incumbents, particularly Democrats.

Gallup has Obama's approval even - appproval/disapproval 47/47 and Rasmussen meanwhile saw a huge spike in his strong approval ratings, leaving him a mere 7 points underwater versus strong disapproval, and his overall approval/disapproval also back to even at 50/50.

January 30, 2010

SOTU 3: Arms Reduction Redux

This is almost too easy. My third piece on President Obama's State of The Union address, revisits his reference to nucleasr disarmament.

During the State of the Union, a mere 5 days ago the President had this important, 70's hippy flashback moment.
Even as we prosecute two wars, we are also confronting perhaps the greatest danger to the American people – the threat of nuclear weapons. I have embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan through a strategy that reverses the spread of these weapons, and seeks a world without them. To reduce our stockpiles and launchers, while ensuring our deterrent, the United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades. And at April’s Nuclear Security Summit, we will bring forty-four nations together behind a clear goal: securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists.

Disarmament. At least he was not espousing unilateral disarmament, as I half expected him to do. Arms reduction isn't really a hot button issue these days the way say, terrorism is, but there it was. The President in full on 1970's peacenik mode.

In yesterday's U.K. Daily Mail the following was reported;
President Obama is planning to increase spending on America's nuclear weapons stockpile just days after pledging to try to rid the world of them.

In his budget to be announced on Monday, Mr Obama has allocated £4.3billion to maintain the U.S. arsenal - £370million more than George Bush spent on nuclear weapons in his final year.

The Obama administration also plans to spend a further £3.1billion over the next five years on nuclear security.

The announcement comes despite the American President declaring nuclear weapons were the ‘greatest danger’ to U.S. people during in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.
And it flies in the face of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to him in October for ‘his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples’.

Oh, well then. Never mind all that peacenik commentary. I'm sure the President has managed to yet again befuddle the collective braintrust at the Daily Kos.

Saturday Learning Series - The Story of English (2)

Last Saturday was the first episode of The Story of English - a history of the language we share. This weekend, the story continues with episode 2.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

January 29, 2010

Obama Meets With GOP - Hilarity Ensues

Presdent Obama met with Congressional Republicans today in order to try to find some common ground on...anything.

As the ABC report points out, it turned into more of a mutual airing of grievances and not a step towards common ground. Not that the door wasn't left open to the possibility, but given that it's an election year, it's hard to believe that any bi-partisanship from either side is going to be forthcoming. The President cannot expect that he can demonize Republicans in one sentence and then call for bi-partisanship in the next.

Nevertheless, he did agree to meet with his political opponents, so he deserves some credit. The first, and only other President to do that (twice), as Bill O'Reilly pointed out today, was George W. Bush. Of course he never got credit for it.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the hilarity - it's the premise. This is nothing more than theater for the President and it's funny to think that anyone believes anything could come out of it. Sorry - that's it. Okay it's not hilarious, what do you want -it's late and I'm tired. I found it funny.

Oliver Stone - helping steer your votes

Wall Street 2, Gordon Gecko and "Greed Is Good" all courtesy of one Oliver Stone, are just about ready to hit theaters. Did this movie really need a sequel? Despite it's mediocrity (it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great that's for sure), apparently Oliver Stone felt the need to do a follow up. Considering the near total absolute, irreversible and catastrophic banking collapse that almost nearly just about destroyed America and the world, perhaps a sequel is timely.

Take a look at the trailer...

But really, this movie is more timely than it's following of the banking crisis. Liberal director Oliver Stone's release, which like it's predecessor will no doubt vilify bankers and Wall Street fat cats, certainly seems well positioned to dovetail with Obama's 2010 electioneering for Congressional Democrats. The President has chosen those exact same groups - bankers and Wall Street fat cats - to vilify in order to take the focus off of the Democrat super majorities and their foibles over 2009 and 2010. In essence, he's trying to shift the focus from bad government to bad banking. Ironically, it's the most transparent thing the government seems to have done during his tenure at the White House.

Still, it's a concern. Just as the media helped build up Obama in 2008, they and the likes of Stone, are likely to do the same repeatedly, over the course of this year. Expect A LOT of shouting and memes about the evil banks. The real culprits are the banks. We need to get a better handle on the banks. That's a lot of shouting for the GOP to overcome - they've got to keep the focus on the failed policies and bad ideas of the administration and not allow the public to fall for the misdirection.

What's worse, I can see this taking a specific and unwelcome turn over the summer against the GOP if the meme sticks. In July expect to see this argument;

The evil banks need better oversight. The Congress has enacted legislation to better regulate these companies. BUT either the GOP opposed it and clearly are still the party of corruption OR if the GOP supports it; we have listened, we've become post-partisan and the GOP agrees with our ideas - so we are fit to rule, therefore we deserve re-election.

That's a tough needle to thread for the GOP if they let the blame-the-banks rhetoric take hold this winter and spring. There has to be a concerted effort to keep the focus on the disastrous legislative year the Democrats had, and their foolish insistence on pressing ahead on a smarter-than-thou health care agenda the public does not support.

Another tool in keeping the focus on government is to point out that the Democrats have been vilifying other industries for the past year. Insurance companies were the scapegoats during health care reform. Now the attention is here. According to President Obama, you either work with him, or you are a special interest. That's the same as saying let's work together in one sentence and blaming Bush in the next one.

There are strategic implications to all of this for the GOP. That leads to my last point, and my next post - What does the GOP have as a strategy for 2010?

SOTU 2: Insulting the Supreme Court Justices

There really is a lot of fodder for posting on President Obama's State of the Union address. In a one hour speech that bounced around almost as if it was written in Random Word Generator Plus, the critiques could go on for months. Sadly, there will not be time for that as the focus of the nation moves on to more meaningful things as if actions speak louder than words. That's only fair because speaking about job creation is silly if you don't really resolve the 10% unemployment problem. But right now I want to focus on the President's petulant response to the Supreme Court decision to stand up for free speech. As a liberal he not only disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling, he couldn't resist insulting the Supreme Court Justices. He used an inappropriate forum to disagree, he handled the situation poorly, he opposed a proper decision, and he acted like a spoiled child who had his PSP taken away from him. Ever the class act, at least the President did it with his characteristic, superficial, chin held high, I'm better than you and I know it look*.

The Inappropriate Forum, Poor Handling

A President who is using the platform of the State of the Union to cast aspersions upon a separate but no less equal branch of government is using the forum for personal purposes instead of using it to inform Congress on the actual, you know, state of the union. The attack was political, and the purpose of the State of the Union, as outlined in the Constitution, is not politics;

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
Nevertheless, groups like Media Matters have leapt to the President's defense, claiming his attacks were not unprecedented. But compare Reagan's mention of the Supreme Court to President Obama's. [President Bush meanwhile, commented on activist judges, but not the Supreme Court specifically.]

President Reagan:
So many of our greatest statesmen have reminded us that spiritual values alone are essential to our nation's health and vigor. The Congress opens its proceedings each day, as does the Supreme Court, with an acknowledgment of the Supreme Being. Yet we are denied the right to set aside in our schools a moment each day for those who wish to pray. I believe Congress should pass our school prayer amendment.
He speaks of a denied right being corrected by the passing of a new Constitutional Amendment.

President Obama:
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporation, to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems.
He speaks of not a denied right, but a proffered right that had previously been removed. More importantly, he speaks of a specific act of the Supreme Court as 'problems'. It's more forceful, it was distasteful and it also contained some factual errors. In my opinion, if he disagreed with the ruling he should have mentioned the specific problem that needed to be addressed, not the Supreme Court. And when he mentioned passing a bill, he should have offered a specific change he would like to see, not "a bill". But that's the Congressional Democrats' headache to resolve.

A few other observations on the accuracy of the President's statement - foreign corporations are not allowed to bankroll anything. The President, a former law 'professor' should know this. He is either unaware of the legalities which speaks to his skill as a former professor and therefore his credibility as skill as a President, or he is deliberately misleading the viewing public. In either case, qualities unbecoming of a President were on shameful display.

A Proper Decision

The Supreme Court Decision was a proper one. Free speech cannot be restricted to people and and 'special interests' of the President's choosing. If unions, community organizations, churches and political action committees can spend money on elections, then is it fair to exclude corporations? 

George Will provides a masterful summary of why the decision was the correct one. I really encourage you to read it.
Extending the logic of a 1976 decision, the court has now held that the dissemination of political speech requires money, so restricting money restricts speech. Bringing law into conformity with this 1976 precedent, the court has struck down only federal and state laws that forbid independent expenditures (those not made directly to, or coordinated with, candidates' campaigns) by corporations and labor unions. Under the censorship regime the court has overturned, corporations were even forbidden to send political communications to all of their employees.

The New York Times calls the court's decision, which enables political advocacy by (other) corporations, a "blow to democracy." The Times, a corporate entity, can engage in political advocacy because Congress has granted "media corporations" an exemption from limits.

The Washington Post, also exempt, says the court's decision, which overturned a previous ruling upholding restrictions on spending for political speech, shows insufficient "respect for precedent." Does The Post think the court incorrectly overturned precedents that upheld racial segregation and warrantless wiretaps?
Because the President disagrees with the decision does not make him right and the Supreme Court wrong. As a law professor, he spoke merely in populist terms. I have no issue with this approach in general, but he complained of a specific item and did not back it up with specific legal arguments. Special interests, an Obama favorite boogeyman, was the only reproach he offered.

Let me offer a correction to his speech to represent his true concern with the Supreme Court Ruling;
With a mere mention of due deference to separation of powers so I can now blast them, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law upheld a 1976 ruling that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests that don't specifically meet my approval , including foreign corporation, to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems for Democrats in future election cycles.

Better - or at least, more open and honest.

*As a quick aside, that Obama gaze is supposed to, I guess, represent Barack Obama staring at the middle distant horizon as if he were seeing the future - a future that only he can see because he's you know, God-like.

Friday Musical Interlude - January 29, 2010

Another oldie - KC & the Sunshine Band - Keep It Coming Love.

I'm not sure why:

January 28, 2010

SOTU I: Hey, let's build a high speed rail system

July 2, 2009. CNN Reports Obama's pushing for a high speed rail investment. Is the State of the Union a rehashing of old ideas and rhetoric? You be the judge.

From CNN,
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- President Obama is pouring $13 billion into an ambitious high-speed rail project. Some say it will never make money. Some say it will. And still others say profit is not even the point.

Obama's plan is "to jump-start a potential world-class passenger rail" in 10 major corridors, linking cities within the Northeast, California, Florida and other regions with "bullet trains" that exceed 110 miles per hour. State governments are in the process of applying for the federal funds.

Sam Staley, director of urban growth and land-use policy at the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think-tank, said the project is risky, and that forecasts used to promote high-speed rail are "notoriously unreliable" because they "overestimate ridership and underestimate cost."
But the recycling speech ideas, not an Obama first last night, is not the worst of it. As the article goes on to point out, these expensive projects have NO history of profit.
It is a fact that no nationwide passenger rail system anywhere in the world is considered profitable when all costs -- including capital -- are accounted for," wrote Cole, in an e-mail to CNNMoney.com. "Like all national rail systems worldwide, Amtrak requires annual funding to support both its capital and operational needs."

High-speed rail backers, including the White House, look overseas for success stories. But Amtrak released a study in April to demonstrate that Europe's system is heavily subsidized. Germany's high-speed rail network, the most expensive in Europe, required average annual subsidies of $11.6 billion during the 10-year span that ended in 2006, according to the Amtrak study.

Japan's system is often cited as the most financially successful high-speed rail in the world, according to Ron Utt, but "that's because in the 1980s they wrote down all the debt to zero," he noted. "We're talking about several hundred billion dollars in debt."
That sucking noise is the money being vacuumed out of the real economy.

Bernanke back(ed)

What does the re-appointment of Ben Bernanke, by a 70-30 Senate vote, say about the Senate?

I'm not sure it says too much of anything at this point, and unless you are an economic policy wonk, it won't make a whit of difference, unlike the anemic State of the Union address last night, which will have an impact on voters (more to come on that). But it's interesting to note that Bernanke is backed by the likes of outgoing Senator Chris Dodd, while the quoted critiques seem to be coming from Republicans;

Critics assailed him for his record ahead of the crisis, from bank supervision to mortgage regulation to the financial rescue. "Bernanke fiddled while our markets burned," said Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. "I believe that it is the duty of this body to hold accountable those regulators whose poor oversight of our financial institutions and markets helped produce the greatest economic crisis this country has experienced in eighty years."

Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, one of Mr. Bernanke's fiercest critics, said "a vote for Ben Bernanke is a vote for bailouts," and added, "If you want to put an end to bailouts and send a message to Wall Street, this vote is your chance," he said.

That aside, tying Bernanke to the the problem, or exonerating him, does little politically for either party at this point. More analysis of the of the cause(s) of the meltdown will eventually come to light and then there could be major implications for those tied to the collapse.

In the short term it might serve Democrats to exonerate Bernanke to keep the Obama-the-populist push having the focus of people's anger re-directed towards evil bankers and Wall Street 'fat cats' but that just might come down to who can scream about it longer and louder - Republicans or Democrats.

Coming Soon: An Obama Agenda

I've had time to digest the Obama State of the Union, unfortunately not enough time to organize my notes an put together a detailed analysis. That's coming soon, although I think the title really encapsulates the State of the Union address, which seemed a lot like a rudderless ship.

A few other possible titles I'm mulling over for my analysis;

-Stand Pat and Don't Deliver
-Obama Repacked, Not Rebranded
-Not New, Not Improved - Same Old Obama
-Not A Pivot As Much As A Shotgun Approach
-All Over The Map? Obama Doesn't Need No Stinkin' Map!

Do you have any title preferences or suggestions? How about a theme for the post? Post them in the comments section. There's a lot of material to work with. So changing the slant of the post should be simple enough.

For example as I noted last night on Twitter, when President Obama mentioned America must lead the clean energy future;

America will lead with windmills. Way to go Don Quixote.

As I said, The analysis will be coming soon. I haven't had a chance to work on it today - thankfully, I have a job - so the post might be a bit late. And for the record Mr. President - you didn't save my job, and no it's not your place to do so. Just stay out of the way and I'll take care of it myself, along with my employer.

January 27, 2010

Now THAT'S a State of the Union Address!!

This speaks for itself.

Reagan's 1981 State of the Union Address - it'll give you shivers.  Listen to what he says about the size of $1 trillion.

Wake up (or shut up)

Going into tonight's State of The Union address by President Obama, one thing seems to be clear - he's going to try to portray himself as a fiscal hawk, and he will tout two things; action on jobs (to date and planned) and how this economic downturn is not his fault. Those of you still enthralled by style over substance might be prepared to swallow the Obama story whole, but my advice to you is wake up. And if you are unable or unwilling to rouse yourself from the blissful slumber that is Obama dreamland, then do the rest of us another favor instead. Rather than parroting the left's talking points, at least listen to a few facts before spouting dogmatic rhetoric. You don't really have to shut up, but just listen to a few things before you ramp up the memes again. Please.

There are two areas of contention that should be focused on at tonight's SOTU address. I'm going to put aside any reference to health care for now, because although I'm pretty sure he will mention it, discuss it or at least allude to it, I don't think it will be more than 10% of his address. I could be wrong, but I'll save that part of the analysis for the post game coverage.

The President is going to focus on two things - he's going to talk about an amalgam of the following points;

- he inherited the recession [True]
- he stopped it from being worse [False]
- he is going to focus on jobs [The question is how]
- he is going to focus on the deficit [This is outright deception]

With regard to the first point, the recession was well under way when Obama was inaugurated.  It does not reflect on him that there was a recession.  The argument that it was Democrat policies on the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that caused the recession are even superfluous to an assessment of President Obama.  Those were not his decisions (whether he would have supported them or not).  The real concern here is not whether the recession was not his fault, but how did he deal with the crisis.  In that regard his response has not served the country well.

As supporters of the administration like to point out, the TARP program was started by President Bush, which is true.  What is also true is that (a) conservatives in large measure opposed both Bush and the GOP on the TARP issue prior to opposing Obama on it (b) President Obama upped the ante with the ARRA expenditures (his stimulus bill), the omnibus bill and tried to layer health care on top of it for another trillion dollars (c) In Bush's worst year for which figures are avaliable the total debt measured an outlandish 70% of GDP.  For fiscal 2009, for much of which the expenditures were compounded by Obama on top of the TARP issue, the figure is projected to be 90%.  For fiscal 2010 - all Obama now - it's projected to come it at 98%.  It's projected to peak at 101% before easing back to 100.6 for the 2012 election.  (d) Democrats also plan on taking the returned TARP money and plowing it back into the new jobs bill the President will proclaim tonight.

Did the President stop the unemployment rate at 8%? No, it's at 10% now and stuck in that neighborhood for the forseeable future.  The President's phoney 2 million thousands and thousands 1.5 million jobs created or saved doesn't stack up well against the 4 million new confirmed unemployed in 2009.  It's like saying never mind the car accident, if I hadn't acted we would have been mauled by a werewolf.  How do you disprove something so preposterous and yet not disprovable by any logical counter other than "I know you are but what am I?"

But there are other considerations about how President Obama fared in the face of the crisis.  He did refuse the banks repayment of TARP money.  He did then count it as debt reduction and he does plan to respend it.  That's only a little bit confusing.  But from an economic standpoint I'd have to say, foolish, misleading and then wrong-headed.  So he's got that going for him.

And then there's the fallout from his decision-making.  This is where I really take issue with the President.  Fiscal conservatism is my thing. Apparently, it's a lot of people's thing, and it's something the Tea Partiers and the reformed Republicans can agree upon.  That's where the President hopes to drive a wedge - GOP versus Tea Partiers. The speech is going to be pure political calculation.  So here's where I see the President taking his address tonight.  He's going to argue that he's got a new jobs program.  The GOP, the party of 'no', has no such thing (wait for the Republican pushed-well-out-of-prime-time reply to see that's a canard).  He's going to argue that his $15 billion spending freeze proves he heard America's message about spending over the summer and the last few months. For the math-challenged, $15 billion is 1% of the $1.5 trillion deficit for 2009.  The other thing to not is the freeze comes after artifical spending increases as part of the stimulus - so the freeze is at an artifically high level.  Charles Krauthammer explains here.

This does nothing to impact the debt-toGDP numbers below.  It's a farce.  It's a slap in the face and it's arrogant to think that people won't care or notice the fraud involved.

The purple bars show the mega-leap under the Democrat President, Congress and super majority Senate, based on legislation passed to date.  What is interesting is when the recessions are superimposed on the graph (excuse the "artwork"), you don't see the same type of recovery deficit-ballooning spending the way you do in the current recession.  Arguably the recovery would occur naturally, without the government over-reach.  But you'd never know that with all the hyperbole thrown at the recession by the White House and the media as cover for the President.  Worst recession since the great depression.  Is that so?  Highest unemployment?  Nope - that would be 1981-1982 at 10.8%.  Obama's peak was 10.2% so far.  Bigggest GDP drop? Nope 1945 was 12.7% (as a result of the government war spending coming to an end).  At 3.9% it certainly is high.  But 1973-1975 was 3.2% and 1958 was 3.1%. So certainly bad, but not Depresiion era - 26.7% worthy.  Duration? Now you're talking.  At 2 years (which is still not confirmed as the real number - that will take time), it is longer than the double dip recession of 1980 and 1981-1982.  Combined that was just under 2 years.

What's the point of the graph above?  Government spending does not correlate directly to recovery.  There are recessions that occur while government spending is dropping and ones that occur while spending is climbing.  Guess what, the government DOESN'T matter.  If they get out of the way they will allow recovery to occur. The Law of Unintended Consequences means that when the government tries to get involved, it distorts the economy, typically for the worse.  We see that here - more spending, more involvement, less freedom (Via CarpeDiem), and to show for it - more debt, and more unemployment.  That is just bad calculus by the Democrats:  Reality be damned - the agenda's the thing.

The President is going to blame Bush tonight  - Obama inherited the debt problem but he will fix it.  He's going to villify the banks, just like he did the GOP, Bush, the insurance companies, oil companies, mythical special interests, and countless others.  He figures blaming the banks and therefore taxing them to solve the debt problem, will play well in populist America.  He figures he can regain the popularity that has bled away from him by promising jobs, just like he and other did back in early 2009:

The American people have been "jobbed" alright. Obama will get away with this misdirection, if people don't pay close attention. Many people won't. For those of us who do pay attention, it's incumbent upon us to point out the hypocrisy and deceit on display. We need to shout about the truth. And we need to start doing it right away.

And for those of you who don't want to wake up, and don't want to listen either, you'll only have yourself to blame for your outcome.  Then again, as conservatives, we would have told you that anyway...

January 26, 2010

Evan Thomas' Dishonest God

Beware the worship of false idols. Evan Thomas of Newsweek, clearly a liberal, has come a long way in terms of Obama worship since last year.

Having called Obama not a god, but God;

Thomas seems to now have a slightly diminished view of his savior.

If it needs to be said, only God is God. Fixed it for you Evan, now you don't have to worry about any sort of worshipper's remorse.

Democrats REALLY Don't Get It.

How do you know Democrats are confused on health care? They don't understand their own terminology.

"I don't think it was about health care, it was because change didn't happen fast enough -- that's the frustration," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), one of the group's leaders. "I believe that if we had pursued the populist, progressive agenda, such as a public option, we could have energized our base."

The progressive agenda is for Single Payer, not a Public Option. Do we need to tell you everything?

The other thing that this type of comment tells you is that there is still a disconnect from reality among Democrats. They really believe that a harder push would have saved them or will save them. Not to worry Democrats your disconnect from reality will soon be joined by a disconnect from office.

Obama Would Rather Have Good One-Term Than Mediocre Two-Terms

According to Fox News President Obama would rather have good one-term than a mediocre two-terms. If that's correct, it perhaps presages the State of the Union address tomorrow. The President's staff have mentioned a pivot to jobs (a year late) but clearly the President is full steam ahead on health care.

Passed or not, it's a political suicide mission. The President's very actions may turn his words into a self-fulfilling prophecy. If he plows ahead in the belief that he is doing right, even though most people are against it he is doomed to a single term.

It also brings up an interesting question if the President is doing what he believes is for the best of the people of America, even though they disagree, does that make him a visionary or a dictator or delusional? I'm sure everyone has their own theories.

January 25, 2010

Is The Senate Also In Play?

Is The Senate Also In Play? According to Sean Trende - almost.

Stay focused - it's early and things can change for the better or for worse.

Ellie Light - From Obama Turfer To Messing With The Right

Over the course of the last few days, someone named Ellie Light has been brought to, um, light, as an astroturfer from some inside political Obama machine, out to pump up the President's sagging approval ratings. If it's an inside job, it's intriguing and potentially politically damaging.

Everyone from Hot Air, to Little Miss Attila are busy commenting on it. No doubt it makes for scintillating reading and doesn't hurt page hits. Everyone wants to track down who this mysterious Ellie Light might be. IP addresses apparently are coming in as far away as Thailand.

Here's my problem with this issue: whatever or whomever was behind Ellie Light, is long ago not the sole Ellie Light on the Internet. There are doubtless 1500 imposters by this time looking to grab a piece of the 15 minutes to feel good or to promote their new XBox hack site. Following the rabbit hole is pointless. There are bound to be an entire rabbit warren of false leads. Every time something interesting happens, people have to go and Watership Down. Nobody is going to pull a rabbit out of their hat and find this Ellie Light. She or he doesn't exist. Finding the real Ellie Light will be impossible. If I were a lefty operative right now, I would post replies everywhere under the name Ellie Light to drive my opponents crazy and keep them tangled up in a story of little real relevance.

And that makes it worse. It's a diversion from the real issues with the Obama administration. I'd love to find out who Ellie Light is as much as the next guy or girl. But this real-life unsolvable puzzle, like TV's Lost, is at best an entertaining diversion. At worst, it's a diversion of serious analysis away from the President and his own continually mysterious calculus on what is good for the American economy and the American people. To me the real mystery is why his decisions are nearly uniformly wrong.

Countering Obama's Populist Rhetoric on Banks


The one area that President Obama can still safely bash and shift blame to without criticism is the banks. People don't like banks, they don't trust the banks, they despise the audacity of big bonuses in light of bailout money. It's an easy target, and believe me for Democrats it looks like a possible lifeline for the 2010 mid-term elections. This Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, are likely to try and fail at missing the lifeline, but that doesn't mean that conservatives should have a ready counter-measure because it's going to be a lot more effective a Democrat argument than the 'Blame Bush' meme. And what better way to do it then tweaking their standard class warfare playbook to focus on occupational warfare? Get people angry at Wall Street and the banks. It takes the focus off of the supremely lousy job coming out of Democrat Washington.

Don't forget this is the same President who has blamed Bush, insurance companies, nefarious yet undefined "special interests", conservatives, trucks, big oil, and countless others for the bevy of problems facing the country ON HIS WATCH. Remember, Bush has been gone for a year, a lame duck for two years and it's been four years since the Republicans controlled Congress. Why not go all the way back and blame Ronald Reagan for everything? You know you want to.

"Anybody but me." The theme for 2010.

No doubt the Democrats, in an attempt to thwart a November electoral drubbing, will throw everything at the 2010 electorate;

- blame Bush
- re-doubling their efforts on health care reform (in some way yet to be determined)
- blaming the banks
- blaming special intrests
- blaming insurance companies
- blaming wall street.

Point the finger at someone else - James Carville is all for it. What a strategy! Whether they realize it or not, they are effectively pointing their middle finger at the people of the United States in the process. Learn the blame game Mr. Carville? Democrats invented it, and live and breath it!

On a related point, the flip side of the blame game the Democrats are going to play this year, is the hypocrisy associated with it. I'd love to catch President Obama with a quick - "Please name one special interest Mr. President." Whatever he answers the likely retort would be, "How about one you haven't co-opted yet?" AARP? Pharmaceutical companies? Soros' oil drilling operations off the shores of Brazil? But I digress.

populism noun
/ˈpɒp.jʊ.lɪ.zəm//ˈpɑː.pjə-/ n [U] mainly disapproving

political ideas and activities that are intended to represent ordinary people's needs and wishes

The blame game is the basest form of populism.  Democrat populism is rooted in class warfare, and the idea that it's the other guy's fault.  It's based on selfishness, sloth, and a supposed empathy for the plight of an individual or group. Current Republican populism varies from this in one critical respect - the blame is focused on those responsible for the plight of the country - politicians.

How dare a President, who once declared that the abortion issue was above his pay grade, abdicate responsibility?  President Obama is the leader of the most powerful nation in the world.  The buck stops at your desk.  Whether you believe current conditions are your fault or not, it is your responsibility to fix it.  It serves no puprose other than self-interest, to point out scapegoats for the problems.  Your predecessor, for all his flaws, had the deceny to not engage in these self-serving tactics.

The good news is that those tactics are not serving you all that well these days.  The American public is seeing through you, with slowly changing degrees of job approval.  Time is not on your side Mr. President.  You might set a record for lame-duckiness little more than a year into your Presidency. 

How Do Conservatives Counter The Next Obama Steps?

The Supreme Court recently gave the First Amendment a shot in the arm with it's ruling on corporatations being allowed the same rights as unions to spend money to get political messages out.  That's one for the good guys.  The same liberals who think unions deserve that right do not feel corporations should have that right.  Hypocrisy.

President Obama who is apparently still trying to force through his health care debacle, is not on the side of the people he claims to be on.  Hypocrisy.

The President wants cheap, domestic energy sources, but was willing to see coal prices and oil prices skyrocket and bankrupt current domestic producers.  Hypocrisy.

The President promised open debate on health care (or anything) and yet did not force Democrats to have their reconciliation discussions on CSPAN. Hypocrisy.

The President who promised to be post-partisan, immediately went with "I won", and denied that Republicans had any counter ideas while they certainly offered up plenty of ideas.  Hypocrisy.

The President blames Bush for everything up to and including the Scott Brown Republican win in Massachusetts. Hypocrisy. (And perhaps a touch delusional).

The Democrats, who derisively dismissed the Tea Partiers as Tea baggers, and who ignored and deliberately diminshed their numbers as insignificant, are now going to try to portray themselves as being 'of the people, by the people and for the people'? Hypocrisy.

The President and Democrats who used the financial crisis as nothing more than an "opportunity" to springboard pet projects and pork barrel spending and then ignored it for 10 months are now going to suddenly turn their attention to jobs because they care about a 10% unemployment rate?  Hypocrisy.

How do conservatives and Republicans counter such (ironically) transparent dishonesty?  It seems pretty self evident.  But in case I need to point out the obvious - point out the hypocrisy of everything the Democrats and the Obama administration ave done since 2006.  It's not the entire answer because you need to have a formula for solving problems and it needs to be 3/4 of the GOP message - here are our fixes, and if you really are falling for the Democrats' talking points, remember, they are all born of hypocrisy and with that, comes deceit.

*I'd love to give proper credit for the picture, but I can't seem to identify the source.  Whoever created it though, wonderful image.

January 23, 2010

Conservatives Beware - It's A Trick

I mentioned recently I've become a bit jaded and suspicious of viewing things for what they seem on the surface rather than discovering what really lies beneath. Such is the case with the seeming chaos on the left since the Brown win in the Massachusetts special election for the U.S. Senate.

While it's true that they could be thrown off balance by the 'surprise' win by the GOP. They could be in disarray and at each others' throats over the loss and over what to do next. It certainly seems that way.

Then again, it could be a crafty ploy. Okay, it's probably not. But when in history have you seen Keith Olbermann taken to task by Jon Stewart? Or Howard Dean by Chris Matthews? Or other examples, with such frequency? When did Nancy Pelosi start saying she hasn't got the votes? It's suspicious.

Maybe they've got their plans for next steps drawn up already. Surely they had a plan B for health care and are getting it ready to spring it on us? Alright, that does sound paranoid. But there is something to be said for conservatives staying engaged and ready. November is still over 9 months away. It's easy to become complacent and to end up caught off guard. Just ask the Democrats. The real lesson for conservatives to be taken from the fallout of the Massachusetts election is to keep the momentum going, and to keep the effort up. In football terms we just got a first down, but the end zone is still November.

Even if it isn't a trick, we needn't start fooling ourselves the way the liberal Democrats did. For that same reason, I'm not buying the fact that they haven't learned some sort of lesson from their defeat last Tuesday.

Just as the summer and fall of 2009 were the battle of health care, so too will the spring and summer of 2010 shift to a new battle ground. Be ready. The next big battle will be about jobs, and economic solutions.  It will last throughout 2010.  The Democrats' approach; populism. The White House has remembered there's a bigger villain than themselves in the public's eyes - the banks. Prepare to see them villified. It puts the GOP in a tough position. Obama is going to try very hard to be a populist and get the focus on the big bad banks instead of Democrat shortcomings. The GOP can fight it and look like they're defending the bad guys, or hop on board and let Obama suddenly look post-partisan and able to get things done by reaching across the aisle. Think of that win - we've learned, so now you can trust us now. You still can't trust Republicans. But, oh yeah, we can work with them.

How does the GOP counter that? By not joining and not fighting either. They've got to agree that there is a problem. They've got to say the real reason for the problem is not regulation or de-regulation, the problem is the type of rules that have governed the banks and more particularly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They've got to put forward, vocally, continuously and simply, their own positions and their own solutions, and make sure the focus stays on the root cause of the bad legislation. This is a problem caused by liberal policies. Those policies still need to be changed.

Saturday Learning Series - The Story of English

More history this weekend. Don't think of learning as a chore, but rather a joy, and a useful one at that. Today, the first part of the BBC series on the history of the English language and it's development. The Story of English episode one, - "An English Speaking World".

Never forget, history is a tool to build the future upon.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Thanks Again Obama - Elite Lobbying Firms Had A Banner 2009

It's hard to believe that President Obama could have a worse political week than last week, but I'm willing to do my part to help out pointing out more hypocrisy and phony or blown promises. Maybe this meme can catch fire...

Remember this? Pay particular attention to the content between 2:53 to 4:30.

Well, not so much. The critical analysis of this speech could go on for days. The number of broken promises number...more than one.  I didn't count.  But in order to stay focused on lob bying, I'll leave the rest alone for now.  Did the President keep his word on lobbyists?  It's hard to say for sure - there's been some missing transparency that hinders a proper assessment.  But clearly, it was a good year for lobbyists in 2009.  That doesn't make it seem like there has been a crackdown on lobbyists since that speech.  Roll Call has the story:
K Street’s top 25 firms cashed in on the aggressive legislative agenda unleashed by the new president and bigger Democratic majorities in Congress in 2009 to post double-digit growth of about 10 percent over the previous year.

Despite economic uncertainty and the promise by the Obama administration to clamp down on the influence industry, the majority of top lobbying firms posted higher numbers in 2009, with 11 firms showing dramatic growth.
Thanks for another broken promise Mr. President. Maybe you could put the lobbyists on C-SPAN too. Wait, what?

January 22, 2010

Obama Not Quite Right

Saying President Obama is not quite right, from the perspective of the political spectrum, is akin to saying President Reagan is not quite communist. In other words, it is redundant and self-evident. But President Obama is also not quite right in his latest town hall address to an audience in Elyria Ohio.

He said:

"The long process of getting things done runs headlong into the special interests, their armies of lobbyists and partisan politics aimed at exploiting fears instead of getting things done."

He's not quite right. As usual the President is saying those who disagree with him are special interest, lobbyists for the aforementioned no-goodnicks, or crafty evil partisans. Because that's what America expects to hear from it's first post-racial, post-partisan leader. Recrimination and acrimony.

As I said - he's not quite right. In case it's not clear to whom the President is referring, it's us. Conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party activists. And here's why we are the bad guys according to him: we are exploiting fears instead of getting things done.

There's two important mistakes in that. (1) we are not exploiting fears we are EXPERIENCING them. In the face of massive spending and over reach, it's the right thing to feel. Left alone, this will run its liberal course and end badly for the country. (2) Instead of saying getting things done, he should have said getting HIS things done. It's because we don't want them. When you see things happening you don't like, you either look away or stand in the way. Main Street America has done the former too long and has finally been pushed too far. It's over Johnny. We've decided to stand in the way. We actually are getting things done - we're putting a stop to a travesty.

When that work is done, then we'll focus on getting the right things done. Until then get used to disappointment Mr. President.

Liberal cultural imperialism

This morning I was reading on the Fox News website (via Hot Air), about the slow disappearance of the the native New Yawk accent.  My reaction was not one of surprise. I've never been to New York, but I could have guessed that the accent was being 'cleansed', and I think I know why. It's liberal cultural imperialism.
As a point of reference, let me remind you, I'm from Canada, eh? No, we don't really talk like that much any more, and we don't say A-boot instead of about. Perhaps in very rural areas you still see that. But it is something that has changed over time. 30 years ago, when I was a young teenager, my father had done quite a bit of work for the company he worked for, in various parts of the world, including spending a lot of time in the United States.

When he came back from a recent extend stint in North Carolina, he started pointing out to my younger brother and I how often we would end a sentence with 'eh'. We started noticing it in ourselves and more in others around us. It was everywhere, and it sounded well, annoying. Possibly it was just because my father noticed it upon his return and pointed it out to us, so it was irritating because we were noticing it.

But having been exposed to that annoyance, and being constantly corrected for a number of months by our father, we had a pretty good grasp on the use of the ubiquitous 'eh'. And over the subsequent decades, the use of the word has fallen dramatically. It may seem anecdotal, but I've been exposed to no doubt, hundreds of thousands of conversations over that time. It's not being used like it used to be. The same is true with other Canadian linguistic distinctions.
And the same, is clearly true for New York. I bet it's true for Boston and many parts of the south as well. Accents are disappearing. Why?

Television. I recall a conversation I had a over a decade ago (I don't recall with whom, - it may have been myself because there were no 'eh's in it) and I was saying that within a hundred years everyone in North America would have the same accent. A Hollywood accent. A television accent. Television is omnipresent. It exerts a greater influence on people than anyone realizes on a daily basis, from an individual perspective.

Disappearing accents are the canary in the coal mine. Think about everything else television feeds the public - political correctness, fashion, thinking on global warming, the idea that conservatives are bad, the military is bad (see Avatar), the FBI is bad, the CIA is bad, liberals are righteous crusaders for truth and justice. It's no wonder that so many people are liberal zombies - they are being spoon fed everything from liberal dogma, to how to talk, by television. Ubiquitous indeed.

How about another big word - homogeneous. Everyone will be talking the same, thinking the same, and dressing the same in 30 years, never mind 100. And that thinking will come from the mind of liberal writers in Hollywood. The biggest danger of homogenizing the population is the limits will impose on individual thinking, critical thinking and innovation. You are dooming the future of an innovative society by herding thought like it were cattle.

The good news is that conservatives, who might seem more skeptical and less wiling to believe in the irrefutable evidence of global warming, don't get their news from television (at least solely). They read, they use the internet, they listen to talk radio. We're less brainwashed than the left.

I'm not some radical, throw-away-your-TV kook though. I love television, and I don't think it's all bad by any stretch. It can offer a lot - from the History Channel to ESPN. Keith Olbermann broadcasting an NFL game I'm fine with. Him telling me Bush was a war criminal - that I don't need. I can self filter. The point I'm trying to make is that there is the outright Keith Olbermann type indoctrination, and then there's the soft indoctrination of shows that range from The Family Guy to Big Brother to Oprah  to CSI have influences on how you think of things.  You don't have to stop watching them - just be aware of the possibility that they are trying intentionally or unintentionally to shape your thinking.  Free speech is a right in America, more critical is free thinking.  There's no Bill of Rights protection from someone trying to change your thinking without you even realizing it.  What good is free speech if everyone thinks the same way?

And another conservative network or two wouldn't hurt either.

Friday Musical Interlude - January 22, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - January 21, 2010.

There Ain't No Rest for the Wicked, by Cage the Elephant

Who might that be?

January 21, 2010

Obama Report Card - Year 1

  • Gitmo closed down? Check.
  • Cap and Trade law? Check.
  • Health care reform passed? Check.
  • Terror attacks not happening? Okay.
  • Chicago Olympic Bid? Bingo.
  • Deficit? Ballooning.
  • Virginia Governor? Republican.
  • New Jersey Governor? Republican.
  • Massachusetts Senator? Republican.
  • Approval Rating? Dropping.
  • Iraq? Still there.
  • Afghanistan? Ramping up.
  • Iran nuclear program? Full gear.
  • Russia, China? Not friendlier.

You know, I have to say from a domestic agenda perspective at least, he's done a great job for conservatives. His big ticket items all have been failures. And his only successes have been unbridled spending which has turned the public against him. Good news for conservatives - his lack of success has been good for the country.

Can anybody say "I want him to fail"?

Next up his foreign policy. Sadly, he has been a great success in implementing his ideas like the apology tour and projecting weakness. But the results were just as predicted by those of us on the right - it did not achieve his intended goal to get America loved. America has simply become a patsy. Not a good position to be in.

Conservatives are seeing the benefits of his weakness in foreign affairs, people are feeling less safe. That's not a benefit conservatives want. Personally, I'd rather feel safe and give Obama a few points of public approval. That's going to erode anyway.

Obama year one report card? Abysmal. To quote Rush again, See I Told You So.

The Brown Fallout - Part 2 (Obama's move)

Yesterday I postulated that there were a number of possible outcomes for 2010 as a result of the Brown win in Massachusetts. Other than discussion of my poor diagram-building computer skills, the post needs a revisit. Principally the revisit is needed because what I thought would take some time to start shaking out, is already underway.
The first steps are visible already. What is the President's course of action? Blame Bush and plow ahead. Never mind that it's been his economy for a year, or the voter backlash against his health care efforts. It's Bush's fault Brown won, let's just accept that as fact and move on.

Blame. There it is. And the continued effort? Courtesy of Gateway Pundit, via Drudge:

U.S. President Barack Obama will stick to his policy agenda despite his Democratic Party’s loss of a key Senate seat in a Massachusetts special election, a top White House aide said on Wednesday.

“We’ll have to think through this next year from the standpoint of tactics but in substance the mission can’t change,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters.
Alright, so we know that we are the health care double down path. What's also clear, at least assuming that the Democrats are not being deceitful (a big premise to be sure, just ask people who believed Ben Nelson or Joe Lieberman that they would not support the legislation), then the Congress is not about to accept the Senate bill as is. And according to Obama (again, he's broken promises many times before) letting Senator Kirk vote in place of Brown is not an option either.

So we are going down the most likely path - Obama continues to push for reform and the Congress fights back. What does it mean for the country? Here are my predictions, and they are not all good.

Health care will not get done by November 2010. It's dead for now. That's good. This will allow President Obama an out on his promise and an excuse to turn his attention to the issue of unemployment. That's bad. It's bad because his solution will be another stimulus package, requiring more taxes and more spending and more debt. On top of which it won't solve anything short term - the previous stimulus was supposed to create government jobs. That's bad for Americans out of work. Luckily it's also bad for the Democrats, who will soon be out of work.

But another reason that's bad is because part of the Obama and Democrats' solution will be to re-approach the topic of green jobs. That idea right now is a sinkhole for money. It's not a smart investment in terms of payback or quick resolution of the energy problem or the job problem - it's just more dogma.

The President and the Democrats are in for a real shellacking if the economy doesn't turn around in spite of their feeble and misguided best efforts. If it doesn't, Congress will be Republican. If it does, there is a chance, combined with the cover that Brown offers the President with his base for not getting health care through in 2010, that Democrats might have their base fired up too and might be able to mitigate the losses the are bound to suffer.

Thee's a big difference between a 20 vote Republican takeover of 20 seats and 50 seats. The former is a nuisance to Democrats, the latter is a loss of domination and control. That layer of the tree diagram though is still far enough away that I'm not ready to make any predictions about the outcome.

January 20, 2010

The Brown Fallout - Where to now?

A Republican Senate win in Massachusetts has big implications. What happens next is anybody's guess, but judging by the post-Brown fallout there's two possible courses of action for the President and the Democrats to follow - either drift back to the center, or double down on the health care push.

Here's my top of the head "decision tree". This is too simplistic but I think the President is leaning towards jamming the Senate bill through the Congress, bypassing Brown.

I don't see the President doing what Bill Clinton did - drifting to the center out of necessity. Not before next November. The President will push hard on two memes now - the problems in the economy are Bush's fault, not mine and the other one is that the Republicans are the party of 'no', even though there is tangible evidence to the contrary. He's going to rely on the press to keep his back.

Congressional and Senate Democrats, aside from the leadership, will likely reject that message out of fear for their own political careers. Will it matter for November? Yes, some will simply decide to retire, others may save their seats and others still will be too far gone. If the President does double down, it might just serve to keep Republican and Independent voters energized through the mid-term elections. I still see 35 to 40 seats gained in Congress and 4 to 5 in the Senate for Republicans.

The other big factor in mid-term elections is the economy. Expect the jobless rate to stay above 9.5%, and likely above 10%. That combined with another spending-spree stimulus will drive Democrat popularit even further down.

It's too early to tell, but I think a Democrat collapse is still the mostly likely outcome in November. There's more, a lot more to consider and a lot more to happen between now and then. The President's words are potentially spin, or truly believed by him. When over the next few weeks, especially at the State of the Union Address, things become more clear, the branches of the tree diagram will start to fall away and it will be easier to re-cast 2010.

It's going to be a very interesting year.

Brown wins Blue State. How?

Republican Scott Brown woke up this morning as the yet-to-be-certified, Senator-elect for the very liberal state of Massachusetts (or MassachusettEs if you are in the Coakley campaign). How did this happen?

It's not really rocket science trying to figure this one out. There were a number of important factors:
  • Likability
  • A stale fish opponent
  • A gaffe-prone opponent
  • An opponent with an air of entitlement
  • Anti-Obama sentiment
  • Anti-Washington sentiment 
  • Anti-one-party-rule sentiment 
  • Unrelenting hard work by Brown
  • High unemployment
  • High government debt
  • Brown's promise to be the 41st vote against yet more government spending and intrusion
The list could go on.  But even all that combined did not represent a perfect storm.  It was not enough to accomplish a Republican victory in very liberal Massachusetts. This is a Madonna state - True Blue. (Sorry). There had to be something else.  What were the other factors that drove this?  It's actually not rocket science either.  There are two factors that always, ALWAYS play an important part in politics - money and enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm can be attributed to the factors above.  It's pretty easy to see why the Republican base, a paltry 13% of the electorate in the state, were fired up.  But given the 3 to 1 margin of Democrat registered voters over Republicans, that's not enough.  Independents voted for Brown by a 3 to 1 margin.  They were clearly fired up too.  Even 20% of Democrats broke for Brown.  That's astonishing.  I haven't yet seen the final turnout numbers but for a special election I'm sure the turnout percentage is going to be quite high.  The enthusiasm clearly grew as Brown's late surge kicked in.  Momentum clearly played a key role in the current political and economic environment.

Enthusiam also existed outside of the state.  Conservatives across the nation and even outside of the country volunteered to help.  I personally made GOTV (get out the vote) calls for Scott Brown.  And that enthusiasm helped in the microcosm of Massachusetts.  It doesn't take just money or just hard work it takes both.  This campaign proved that a concentrated effort by grassroots volunteers can perform miracles.  It's something the left has always known and conservatives are just beginning to learn.

The other factor tied into enthusiasm is money.  The moneybomb for Scott Brown leading up to the election raised over one million dollars in one day. That doesn't come without enthusiasm.  But more importantly, when Coakley started going negative, Brown didn't panic, he didn't go negative back.  he stuck to his game plan and he had funds to do things like continue with GOTV and I'm sure other phone bank messages.  not only that, having a financial stockpile helped his advertising and his ground game in the final days fend off the negative push by Coakley.  You can't win without money.

The money came from everywhere across the nation.  I personally couldn't contribute as I'm Canadian - I could only volunteer my time. (Any liberals reading that, I assume you also want the U.S. relief effort in Haiti to stop, on principle).  There's two important lessons to be taken from that that hopefully Republicans notice and Democrats miss (which I suspect they will).

(1)  Republicans have taken their value of rugged individualism communal.  That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it really isn't.  It simply means that they now better understand that to protect individual liberty, the fight has to be fought as a group.  co-ordination is not the enemy of conservatism.  Political activism is not the enemy of conservatism.  Both are tools - both a means to an end.  The good news is that Republicans seem to get that.

(2)  Whether it's money or effort, it's clear that Republicans are not in the midst of a purge of moderates as the mainstream media would have you believe.  I'm sure if Brown were running in Texas, he could very well be on the Democratic side of the aisle.  Conservatives of all stripes have understood the common conservative good and reacted accordingly.  Conservatives do exist across a spectrum just like liberal Democrats and conservative Democrats exist across a spectrum.  To think otherwise, liberals are deluding themselves.  Yet while conservatives can be flexible as needed, they are not so flexible as to be forgiving of the likes of an Olympia Snowe who cannot bring themselves to a position of party solidarity because of their own electorate.  Conservatives needn't fall on their swords for a greater party good, but that communal effort is not a one way street.  Liberal Republicans need to toe the party line at certain times just as often as conservative Republicans have bent in the past.  It's especially true now, given Brown's win in a blue state.

Repblicans appear to have learned at least one lesson (if they even ever didn't understand it in the first place).  Democrats on the other hand may be deluding themselves into a rose-colored glasses view of 2010.  That suits conservatives just fine.  The interesting thing will be how the Democrats are going to react to this turn of events.  I'll save that for a subsequent post.

PARTING SHOT: I didn't see much of Mitt Romney during the campaign - I assumed it was to take the focus off of Romneycare and Brown's support of it, given his distinct position of opposing Obamacare.  I found it surprising that Romney was prominent on the eve of Brown's victory, and specifically thanked in Brown's gracious acceptance speech.  Is it possible that Romney was deeply involved in Brown's campaign in an advisory role?  That would prove to be a big positive for him in a 2012 Presidential run - the ability to help design a win against seemingly impossible odds.  Regardless of the economic and political climate in 2012, a miracle win season under his belt in 2010 is a card in Romney's hand during the GOP primaries.  If on the other hand it turns out that Romney was doing a bit of bandwagon jumping, it could easily be turned against him.  That part of the Brown victory, like the future Obamacare, has yet to play out.
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