November 29, 2010

Waylayed along the way to the blog

Face palm.
I haven't posted since Friday.  The reason for that is that I've been waylayed at work and it's taken me quite off my blogging game.  So waylayed in fact, that I have been way laid off.  Consequently my blogging will be  hampered a bit.  Certainly posting political and economic thoughts has been taken off the top of my mind.  It will have to take a back seat to feeding the family for the next little while.  But I am in good spirits and do not intend to disappear from blog space.  It just might be less intense than it has been in the past.  For those of you who read this blog regularly, that might not seem like much of a difference since I had been so busy at work the last couple of months that I wasn't as er, robust on this blog as I had been in the past anyway.

But there's a reason to be optimistic about the blog and my own circumstance. Being laid off gives me a chance to practice what I preach about the government backing off and letting the private sector, as much as possible, handle it's own affairs.  That's going to be especially tough in a stagnant economy with higher than normal unemployment. But hey, I'm now my own little experiment.  And I have faith - in God, in myself, in the free market. I'm quite sure I'll be fine.

I'll keep you posted.

November 26, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - Soak It Up

Today's mellow Friday Musical Interlude is Soak It Up by Houses.

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving America.  In a time of economic uncertainty and hardship for so many, in a time of ongoing wars and threats of terror, it would seem like a hard time to be thankful for anything.  But at times like these it is even more important to count our blessings and remember what good things we have in our lives; friends, family, freedom, those who willingly defend it for us, opportunity, God (for those of us so inclined), football, turkey, water, the Constitution, the American dream, the lessons of history, living in a bountiful nation and so many more things.

Thanksgiving is not just a day off, it is a time to reflect on things that can carry you through the hard times if you are experiencing them, or that are shielding you from those hardships if you aren't experiencing them.

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 24, 2010

China and Russia Abandon the Dollar

China and Russia are looking at avoiding the dollar.  In an interesting development the two countries announced an agreement regarding currencies used for bi-lateral trade. China Daily reports,
St. Petersburg, Russia - China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday....

Pang Zhongying, who specializes in international politics at Renmin University of China, said the proposal is not challenging the dollar, but aimed at avoiding the risks the dollar represents.

The political power of profiling

It will be interesting to see if the National Opt Out Day today has some sort of impact on the TSA's use of screening machines and pat downs. It will also be interesting to see how many people opt in to opting out. Once again though, it seems an unpopular decision will be left to the people to bring about an end. There are other interesting aspects of airport screening that haven't been dealt with at length. The discussion about profiling so far it seems, hasn't touched on one important aspect of the implications of profiling. Everyone has heard the argument that profiling is bad. Many people have argued that it is simply logical that a 20 year old Muslim man is much more likely to be a threat than an 86 year old Jamaican woman. It doesn't mean he is guilty, just that he requires more scrutiny. So what's the harm?

November 23, 2010

Korean War II?

Click to enlarge.
I haven't had a Dictator Watch posting in quite some time, but I probably should have been a little more attentive.  The threat of international pariahs like Kim Jong Il do not just go away because the United States and other Western economies have turned a blind eye.  Being busy with a faltering economy and being preoccupied with a midterm election does not stop foreign despots from busying themselves with suppressing their own people or aggressively attacking nearby nations.

No.  In fact it encourages them to do so.

November 22, 2010

Important lessons for conservatives from Obama - Part 2

Obama, on the left side of the post.
Just under two weeks ago I posted the first of what I thought were some important lessons for conservatives from President Obama - not just lessons in what to do but also in what not to do. Today I'm going to take a look at a DO item - being responsive. This lesson obviously applies specifically to governing conservatives in the upcoming Congress, and the reinforcing lesson from President Obama is just another piece of the lesson that the Republicans should have learned from their drubbings in the 2006, and 2008 elections.  Let's hope with the lesson being pounded home by the President's actions over the last two years, the Republicans, or most of them at least,  get it.  Being responsive is important to electoral success.  With the electorate seemingly better understanding the nature of the fiscal mess the government is in than the government itself understands, right now it's critical for the country's success as well.  Importantly,  being responsive is also a DON'T item in some respects, and there's a reason why.

November 21, 2010

The TSA and the Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
~Fourth Amendment to the Constitution

I haven't commented on the latest TSA versus the Fourth Amendment illegal search and seizure issue that has been raging since the invasive airport scanning machines and invasive groping searches that involve agents touching people's "junk" has hit the headlines. There's a reason for that - it's a complex issue and I've been reserving judgement on it.  While liberty and safety are at odds in this case, I'd prefer to see the government err on the side of liberty.  Better still, I'd prefer to see the government come up with a different solution than the one they have.  I'm still not sure what the best solution might be, but there are some interesting observations to be made.

“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

~Benjamin Franklin

November 18, 2010

The rubber hasn't met the road on defunding NPR

The rubber hasn't really met the road on the defunding of NPR. As Fox News is reporting, the GOP effort to defund the NPR by congressional vote has failed;
House Democrats on Thursday rejected a GOP proposal to cut federal funding to National Public Radio, which has been under fire ever since it sacked Juan Williams last month. 
The proposal, which was the winning entry this week in YouCut -- an anti-government spending program started by House Republicans earlier this year -- failed by a vote of 239-171.
You can't possibly imagine that wasn't the expected result. While the congress may be in lame duck mode, the Democrats are still in control. They don't want NPR defunded. The real question is whether the GOP want it defunded. After all, if this vote meant something to them, just like the earmark debate, they would wait until they controlled the chamber before bringing the matter to a vote.

November 17, 2010

Privatizing Water

The campaign against bottled water, brought to you by the eco-fascist green folks of Al Gore's ilk, continues unabated. This morning on the subway I saw one of those backpacks that students wear, where it is festooned with buttons. I see these all the time. If you live or commute near an institute of higher learning you probably do too. The typical stuff was on display, education is a right, drop fees - end poverty, unlearn sexism. All are standard fare for the backpack. But so is the green agenda - sustainability, climate change and "unbottle it - keep water public". 

I'm not sure these students are fully aware of the consequences of their positions. Some perhaps are, but others just absorb what the environment provides. But the campaign to keep water public, based on the idea that plastic bottles are a danger to the earth misses the mark on so many levels.

November 16, 2010

Murkowski - leading but not a leader

Murkowski was on with Katie Couric and as expected, she trashed Sarah Palin as not profound and a deep enough a  thinker to be President. Specifically it was Palin's lack of "intellectual curiosity" she was concerned about. Palin backed Miller in the Alaska senate race, so you'd expect there to be some bad blood there. But while the Alaska results aren't in yet, the voting and campaigning is over. The rule of not bad mouthing other Republicans or conservatives, is smart. If ever there was a time for it, it would be now. 

But as if that weren't enough of a violation of Reagan's first rule, Murkowski went on to commit a number of other conservative faux pas that clearly show why she lost the primary and why she probably will beat Miller by sucking in Democrat votes.  She's just a bit liberal. 

Earmark reform

This morning, mere moments ago, I was listening to Michelle Bachmann on POTUS Politics on Sirius/XM. She was talking about a number of issues including Medicare. What struck me though, as an important albeit brief point that she made about earmarks. She mentioned capping them.

That's an interesting take. I haven't heard her talking about them in detail before so I'm not sure if she has expounded on that thought, but I'd like to do so.

While the Tea Party candidates expect to hold firm on the elimination of earmarks, others have argued that by the Congress banning them, they are de facto ceding their allocation to the executive branch. By banning earmarks, those allocations would then fall to government agencies, ergo the President, who can direct those agencies.

Well that's not good.

But then again merely capping them is not good either. It is like using penicillin for too short a duration - it only kills the weak virus and allows the remaining germs to get stronger. What is to be done?

How about Cap and Kill?

By that I mean instead of trying to ban them in Congress, budget them out of existence. Don't just ban them in Congress, find where those allocations exist and remove them from the budget. That's the kill, what about the cap? Keep the allocation in Congress and cap the amount to be allocated for earmarks to $0. Then charge the various agencies with the task of enforcing the law that earmarks are not to be attempted or spent. Make the government agencies responsible for better accounting for their spending.

Getting rid of spending is a really tough effort but it has to be done. More importantly it needs to be done intelligently.

November 15, 2010

The President wants a tax cuts deal. But so what?

The President really wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. But not for what he calls the rich. At least not permanently. Should the GOP bite? In a word, no.

Let's have 50 or 60 presidential primary debates

Starting in the spring (2011) the Republicans are having their first candidates debate at the behest of Nancy Reagan's invite. That's a full 18+ months prior to the next presidential election, and that's an awfully long lead time. Beyond being unnecessary, even to political junkies, how meaningful could this actually be?

Busy Little Lame Ducks

Congress is a lame duck.  According to Phrase Finder, that means "A person or thing that isn't properly able to function, especially one that was previously proficient."  Pretty self explanatory.  For Congress that means they aren't supposed to accomplish anything over the remainder of their session.  But this Congress isn't like that.  At all.  In fact they are busy little lame ducks.

November 12, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - Sweet Touch of Love

Sweet Touch of Love. Allen Toussaint.

This might sound familiar...

...from here;

Do you applaud the entrepreneurial spirit or just shake your head?

November 11, 2010

First thoughts on the Deficit Commission report

Not my thoughts, I haven't had a chance to read the report yet, but I will.  Rather, here's some responses that you might find interesting. First a few from the far left.  WARNING:  try not to choke while reading this.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it was “simply unacceptable.”

“Any final proposal from the commission should do what is right for our children and grandchildren’s economic security as well as for our nation’s fiscal security, and it must do what is right for our seniors, who are counting on the bedrock promises of Social Security and Medicare,” she said in a statement.
“The Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan is extremely disappointing and something that should be vigorously opposed by the American people,” Sanders said in a statement. “The huge increase in the national debt in recent years was caused by two unpaid wars, tax breaks for the wealthy, a Medicare prescription drug bill written by the pharmaceutical industry, and the Wall Street bailout. Unlike Social Security, none of these proposals were paid for.”
Mike Lux at Huffington Post;
I wrote my initial post in such a hot rage over the proposal to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits that I didn't take the time to edit my blog post (sorry about those strange sentence structures), or take the time to look at the details of the proposal. So now that I have calmly taken some time to do that, I have to admit that I was wrong: this thing is even worse than I originally thought, and I way understated the problems with it. The co-chairs and staff found every conceivable way to screw the middle class in ways big (very big) and small, but barely nicked the bankers who caused the meltdown of the economy, or the wealthy whose massive tax cuts ended the big budget surpluses as far as the eye could see coming out of the Clinton years.
The upshot - liberals hate it. It involves spending cuts and for them that is anathema. After such simple wrongness, how about a palate cleanser? First off, keep in mind everywhere you hear the words bi-partisan in relation to this commission, keep the following numbers in mind - 12 Democrats, 6 Republicans.

Now, for a conservative take on it, from National Review;
We are both pleasantly surprised and modestly encouraged by the program outlined by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairmen of the president’s deficit-reduction task force. There’s no VAT in sight, nor is there unrealistic happy-talk about balancing the budget through a federal Taylorism campaign or symbolic assaults on the unholy trinity of waste, fraud, and abuse. Instead, there is a serious series of concrete proposals for constraining entitlement costs, simplifying the tax code, and putting a leash on future federal expenditures. Whereas the Obama-Reid-Pelosi triumvirate had put the country on the road toward a national debt topping 200 percent of GDP — with $1 trillion a year in interest payments alone — the Bowles-Simpson program would stabilize the debt and begin reducing it. The program would keep the debt to 40 percent of GDP in 2037 and would bring annual deficits down to a more manageable 2.2 percent of GDP by 2015, and 1 percent in the following years.

The plan has serious defects, the main one being that it establishes a historically high level of federal claims on the economy — with government revenue equal to 21 percent of GDP — as the new normal. But it is a good start, and it represents the sort of bipartisan starting point that even the most Tea Party–steeped Republican insurgents could begin with while remaining true to their core conservative values. That is not something we’d expected to write about a proposal produced by a go-along-get-along Republican retiree and Bill Clinton’s old chief of staff.
Truly bizarro world - liberals mad at the Democrat commission and conservatives not warm to it, but agreeable that it's a good starting point. Where it leads at this point is unclear but it will prove to be an interesting road to travel.

Bi-polar government

The United States government has really lost touch with reality. That is not to say that people with bi-polar disorder have lost touch with reality. I mean bi-polar in an entirely different context. The quantitative easing (QE2) being undertaken by the Fed (not really the government but kinda, sorta the government) is about to pump $600 billion into the money supply, effectively printing money. It would seem in effect they are trying to inflate the economy out of a recessionary or at least stagnant funk. Newtonian physics apply - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - deflation, in this case in the value of the dollar. But that's not even where the bi-polar nature of the government begins.

While all of this is going on, the Deficit Commission has released its recommendations on how to trim trillions off the national debt. Surely a good thing, although the specifics of their recommendations require more scrutiny since there is undoubtedly a lot to consider. Regardless of whether the specifics are the best ideas or not, at least the recommendations give life to the notion that this is a critical problem that must be addressed and it merits painful decisions and has major consequences. That's a different discussion.

What strikes me as bi-polar is the fact that the use of quantitative easing is tantamount to the government avoiding its deficit and debt problems.  As James Woods points out in an excellent article at Seeking Alpha,
Politically, doing Quantitative Easing will remove pressure from the issue of solving the budget deficits problem. A year delay in dealing with the deficits problem because of Quantitative Easing means over another trillion dollars added to the deficits, making the deficit problem even greater for the US. The US deficits will eventually increase the borrowing costs of the US government.
So you've got government saying we need drastic cuts to stop deficit spending, and you've got the Fed making it easier for the government to continue to borrow with impunity (at least in the short term). That strikes me as bi-polar in terms of direction.

November 10, 2010

Nuclear launches and failing engines.

Not much time to post today, but I do have a quick question (or two).

What in the world?  An apparent ballistic missile gets launched just off the coast of California and the DoD (Department of Defense) knows nothing about it.  An electrical fire on a test flight of the new Boeing 787.  What's next, an oil spill of epic proportions?

November 9, 2010

Digesting the latest GOP 2012 primary poll

Public Policy Polling already has a poll out on the GOP primaries for President in 2012. POTUS '12 season has started. Not a moment too soon - Alaska is almost, nearly close to completing it's Senate vote tabulation. All of the 2010 races are almost resolved. What would we have done without the first 2012 poll?
All sarcasm aside, there's some interesting results in the poll. Here's the link;

It seems it's all a story of momentum. Mitt Romney appears to lead in the north east and California while Huckabee leads in the midwest. Geography aside, Romney leads with moderates who swung heavily in favor of the GOP this year. I'm not sold on Romney at all but at this point he would seem to be the most electable candidate for Republicans. For now.

But here's why I think it's all about momentum. The poll brings to mind the following questions:

(1) Is the independent voter swing to the GOP from this cycle going to continue swinging right (momentum) or was the swing merely back to the center? If it is back to the center that does not help Palin or other more conservative candidates.
(2) Is the Tea Party momentum over, or is the country becoming more conservative since its exposure to failed, radical progressive liberalism? In other words Tea Party momentum ending means the GOP swing to the right may also be ending.
(3) If Romney wins the early state of New Hampshire does he gain momentum or does his sizable lead allow other candidates to focus on other states instead to stop any momentum?
(4) Does any momentum for Romney right now scare any contenders out of the race entirely?
(5) Is electability enough to carry Romney through the primaries?
(6) Is the GOP brain trust (i.e. elite) going to continue to shift right in response to the Tea Party movement or just shift back to center? This might impact endorsements but that is arguably a minor factor.

Those questions and others will play into the primaries and help shape people's opinions of their voting preferences if not the candidates themselves.

I'm really not sold on Mitt Romney - his positions and his candidacy remind me of the positions of convenience akin to a Charlie Crist. In other words his positions seem to follow the momentum of where the popularity is. Certainly he is preferential to the current administration, especially with a conservative Congress. But I'm not sold yet. The same is true for Huckabee - I like him but I don't know if I like him enough to want him as a President. The good news is that it's early. Polls change. Preferences change. Just ask Harry Reid.

You want ignorant?

Take a look at the disgraceful, hateful signage at the Jon Stewart rally to 'restore sanity'.  I want no part of that sort of 'sanity'.

I'm sure Glenn Beck doesn't care too much about himself being vilified, but the point is that these supposedly more sophisticated and intellectual advocates of a greater society are ignorant in their treatment of Beck, and ignorant in their arguments. Hypocritical too. Granted it's hard to fit a detailed argument on a sign. But it's not hard to avoid the devil horns and Hitler mustaches.

Side Note: It's frustrating but not surprising to see interviews with people who think Jon Stewart tells the whole truth and is fair. It's especially galling to hear it from people who haven't taken the time to watch an episode or two of Beck and rely on 'excerpts' to form an opinion.

Important lessons for conservatives from Obama - Part 1

As a conservative, I’m loath to admit that there are things to learn from President Obama. But he does provide us with a number of examples of what to do and what not to do as a movement. Coming out of  the 2010 midterm election cycle, the lessons are worth noting. Of course a number of people have pointed out the electoral lessons and there is much to be said about how to win elections. Most of it has already been said - repeatedly. But there's value in focusing on how to govern. Thinking we know enough to not make the same mistakes as President Obama, or past Republican Congresses will likely lead to a similar fate for conservatives that the President has suffered in his approval ratings slide. How can conservatism benefit from what Obama has done while governing?

November 8, 2010

Reflections on blogging - year two.

On Halloween night I completed my second unofficial year of blogging.  I  say unofficial because my first real post happened on November 6th, not November 1st. Although to be honest, I'd been emailing friends about the 2008 election for a few months and some of my thoughts ended up in my first few posts.  Come to think of it, I did start working on the layout etc. earlier than my first post.  Probably around the 1st of November. Anyway, it's an easy day to remember and close enough to exact.

Upon reviewing things I've noticed some interesting year over year comparisons.  My second year appears to have suffered from the sophomore jinx, or else it really just was a year of crummy posts.  While the number of posts dropped to 87.9% in year two versus what it was in year one, the amount of visits to my blog dropped to 69.8% of what it had achieved in my first year.  After 3 months of blogging I thought that blogs just took off naturally.  My first real visitors started showing up in very late November but by March 26th, 2009 I had gotten up to over 400 visitors in one day.  That was an apex, not to mention a delusional impression on my part.

Along the way I've exchanged an email or two with someone you might recognize from RealClearPolitics and a couple of someones from HotAir.  Oh, and also Kevin Jackson from the Black Sphere.  I've exchanged tweets with Kelsey Grammar, and been retweeted by Jim Geraghty from National Review. I've also been contacted briefly on Twitter by a couple of conservative Congressional candidates.  In fact I've noticed that some of my posts were visited from a server in the U.S. Congress building. Seriously.  I've made it onto a podcast from LaidoffPodcast / 2 Dumb Kids.  I also volunteered and did some Get Out The Vote calling for Scott Brown when it looked like he was THE filibuster guy on health care reform.  And in the true spirit of American entrepreneurialism I've managed to make all of about $60 from Google.

Not bad for a Canadian middle-aged guy with no journalism training, just  a passion for America and conservative politics.  Some day I'd love to be an American, and some day I'd love to blog as a full time job.  They say a blog takes three years to become a success or a failure.  I don't see it that way - if I'm not a world famous uber-rich blogger by next year I won't quit.  It's too much fun.  I get to share my opinions and read opinions of other bloggers whom I respect and admire, and I get an occasional hint of almost recognition. The fact that I have to squeeze in posting between work and my home life isn't really that big of a deal.  Yeah, it can be a pain and at times difficult to get to for a day or two, but it's not a chore  99.9% of the time.  In the end the greatest reward is getting someone to look at things in a different way, and perhaps influence their point of view or at least consider things from a different perspective.

Having said all that, a donation or a click on an add or two wouldn't hurt...  Just kidding.  But not really...  ;-)

Tea Party - Jan 3, 2011

As far as I know, there aren't any Tea Parties on the immediate horizon. I hope I'm wrong about that. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places. What I do know is that there are a few reasons that the Tea Parties need to continue. Just because the Republicans won, doesn't mean the need for Tea Parties has stopped. Consider the following points;
  • The Republicans need to remember they are on borrowed time to prove themselves. They needn't be worried about being held responsible for blockage coming from Democrats or the President. They need to be held accountable for their new majority in congress.
  • As many are pointing out, the campaign for President in 2012 started on November 3rd. The Tea Parties didn't win as big a victory in the Senate as in Congress. The Executive branch is an even bigger prize, which means it will require even more work. That means Tea Parties need an earlier start than in the previous cycle.
  • Keeping Tea Parties in the public eye will stop it from becoming yesterday's news or a forgotten movement. Having nothing on the horizon does not look good.
  • When the new Congress is sworn in a Tea Party rally would prove to those in Washington that the movement is not to be ignored now that the election is over. That means, in contrast to the note above about Republicans, that Democrats should take notice too.
  • It also helps destroy the myth that the Tea Party movement is not just a re-branding of conservative Republican voters but that the purpose of the movement is to put everyone in Washington on notice that the voters are not just Republicans but rather concerned citizens of all stripes.
There's ample reason to do this, not the least of which is the reason it started in the first place - government debt, government intrusion and government  over-reach.  So, disparate Tea Party organizers, next rally, DC, Jan 3rd, 2011? What do you say?

Obama's 10 Point Scale of Blame

President Obama, not recalcitrant in his refusal to accept the meaning of the results of the 2010 midterm elections, has a barrage of reasons handy for the Republican landslide. Whether he gets the meaning of the election or not in the context of political calculation is irrelevant. The political calculation seems to be that he cannot come across as either chastened or as not on target with his agenda. To do so would be to admit defeat or failure of his core beliefs or the wrong vision to begin with. He can't afford that. Maybe he doesn't truly see it, but that is less important than his resulting actions.

November 6, 2010

Current Events Saturday Morning Roundup

No time to do much posting this weekend but here's a roundup of some good reading on current events from some great blogs and some mainstream news sources.

On the Keith Olbermann saga coming to an end.  Glenn Beck's take.

On the Pelosi saga not coming to an end. An Ol' Broad is miffed that Pelosi won't just go away.  But there's definitely a political benefit to the Democrats keeping her around.  With Reid, Obama and Pelosi still in D.C. power circles (albeit Pelosi weakened), the narrative doesn't have to change from the GOP.  That fact hasn't gone unnoticed by some. Pelosi's departure would be a mixed blessing for the GOP.  She, along with Reid and Obama are the foil for Republicans, not the other way around.

On the Republican 'in fighting'? Over at the Strata-Sphere, centrist leaning (if there is such a thing) AJ Strata argues that the Republicans are already over-reaching just like Obama did. He argues voters merely gave the GOP the opportunity to participate rather than dictate.  Missing the point I think that President Obama pretended to give them a chance to participate and locked them out anyway.  Voters were angry about spending.  Voters were angry about the economy and the non-response of the Democrats before, during and after they focused on health care.  Meanwhile John Hawkins at Right Wing News argues the point that conservatives are the right tonic for what has ailed the GOP since 2006. In general I think the in fighting prospects are overblown.

On President Obama still doesn't get it. AllahPundit at HotAir lays it out perfectly. The debt, is too damn high! Unemployment is too damn high! It's not about selling yourself Mr. President.  It's really not.

On the debt ceiling. Bankruptcy is a national certainty. The Republicans can't stick to window dressing moves.

That's it for now.  Perhaps I can provide some more later on today.  Happy surfing.

November 5, 2010

Friday Musical Interlude - Revolution

Fitting an electoral upheaval, while liberals might be looking to come together, right now (over Slurpees), the feeling on the conservative side of the aisle/country are thinking more along the lines of a Revolution.

That's a good thing. While being reasonable might be a good thing, coming together over on the left is a bad idea.

November 4, 2010

Tea Party at my House!

Tea Party at my House! Or rather The House, on January 3rd, 2011. I went off on a bit of a tangent leaving a comment over at Mean Ol' Meany's blog.  It got me thinking about what's next for fiscal restraint in America. Here's the relevant part of what I wrote (emphasis added);
Consider it a free market system of votes. If the public doesn't buy what the GOP are selling because they liken it to a Chevy Volt, they won't buy it. So the GOP will continually have to strive to do more for the next two years...

For the GOP to go back to business as usual and pick up from 2006 is political suicide... But we have to keep in mind that the INCREDIBLE MESS the country is in is bigger than Obamacare (for any liberals reading, it's not all Bush's fault either). The problem took 70 years to get to this critical mass. It's going to take 20 years to fix and probably 100 years to pay it all off. But that doesn't mean that you don't take that first step because it's only a yard instead of a mile...

The next Tea Party should be held on the very first day of the next Congress. Tea Parties must not stop. The Mainstream media might even cover them with a bit of fairness and vigor as they'll see it as targeting the GOP now. So what? The message is the important thing - fix the spending and fix the debt. After that, the important thing will be who listens.
You can read my whole comment here.

Why is it so important to keep the Tea Parties going?

(1) To prove this is bigger than the Democrats or the GOP.
(2) To prove that the Tea Parties mean business and are a force, not just over.
(3) To keep the GOP's feet to the fire.
(4) To make clear where the real resistance to real change (fiscal sanity) lies. could be the GOP, but it's probably the President and the liberal remaining Senators and Congressman.

A great place to start would be at the start of the new Congress. Somebody just has to organize it.  Sadly for me I'm not only Canadian, I'm relatively broke and relatively busy, otherwise I'd do it.  Also, my house isn't big enough.

Intra-Party Fights? Not really. Maybe.

Just a quick observation as I'm mired in my day job.  The meme going on throughout the mainstream media is that the GOP is risking tearing itself apart or at least wasting time and energy in intra-party squabbles - Tea Party versus establishment - instead of focusing on governing.  The thought is that Republicans are of two minds and that they are destined for trouble.

November 3, 2010

What's next for liberals?

If you need a further jolt of enthusiasm after yesterday (I know I did, glass half full type that I am of late) take a look at some liberal opinions on how things went down. Surf, troll, enjoy.  In doing so I came across on opinion piece from Michael Kieschnick at Huffington Post.  It's his 10 point plan to for liberals re-group after the loss.  THIS, is what's next for liberals. By the way, it's wonderful in it's self-reinforcing construct.

Here are the main points (partially verbatim, partially paraphrased, full version here):

1. Commit to Taking Down FOX News
2. Tell the Senate to pass the DISCLOSE Act during the lame duck session to force disclosure of corporate contributions 'brings the enemy out in the open'.
3. Keep fighting to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
4. Sign up for the fight for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision.
5. Tell the FCC to use its existing authority to establish and defend net neutrality.
6. Demand that the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service investigate the political organizations set up by Karl Rove to launder millions of dollars in secret cash to change the outcome of elections.
7. Defend the EPA from castration by pro-coal interests in Congress.
8. Convince the Obama administration to stop appealing progressive court rulings on matters like the Defense of Marriage Act, Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the state secrets defense against torture and wiretapping.
9. Urge Democratic senators to do away with lifetime tenure for committee chairs and open up all chair positions to majority vote elections.
10. Demand that the Department of Justice enforce the provisions of the national voter registration law that require state governments to offer to register all voters at departments of public welfare and motor vehicles.

You know what, forget what I said before. BRILLIANT!!!!

If that's how the left wants to focus their energies, I say go for it.  That will surely defeat the GOP in 2012 and beyond and it will definitely ensure President Obama outperforms his 2008 campaign.

The Republican conservative tsunami - what went wrong?

Alright, this was a good night for Republicans and conservatives in general.  There's no need for Monday Morning Wednesday afternoon quarterbacking. But some things did not break as they had been expected to break.  Prior to the election I predicted for the GOP a gain of 61seats in Congress, a total of 34 governors (a gain of 9) and a gain of 9 seats in the Senate.  According to the latest USA Today numbers, it looks like this; The GOP picked up 60 seats in Congress (with 11 seats pending), 5 Senate seats with two still not projected  and 4 governorships (for a total of 29) with 4 seats pending (although no matter how it turns out at least Alaska will end up as some form of Republican).

November 2, 2010

Why Lieberman will stay put with Democrats.

The Hill is reporting that John Cornyn is inviting Joe Lieberman to caucus with the GOP. That's a tactic the Democrats used with Arlen Specter and it did him not a lick of good. But that aside, there is a bigger reason that Lieberman would continue to hang with the Democrats; the Tea Party.

On the surface it might make some political sense for Lieberman to switch sides. He would keep any seniority in committees and in a blue state, he has enough of a track record to maintain his liberal bona fides and win again. But that's where the story ends. Lieberman doesn't need to switch parties in the next election cycle to hope to survive a GOP Wave II in 2012. He's still a liberal leaning Senator in a liberal leaning state.

But even more important than the Specter example, the mostly leftward bent of his home state, is the state of the GOP. The Tea Party narrative will dominate the GOP agenda the next two years and perhaps beyond. That's too right leaning for Lieberman and it also leaves him out of any real power in his would-be new caucus. He'd be left standing on the sidelines or stepping into a major power struggle within the GOP. Why would he accept that? What would be his incentive? Would he accept a role as a new RINO in a grass roots conservative driven team? It makes no sense.

And why would Cornyn be saying any of this before the polls close? Is that not an admission that the GOP is going to come up short in the Senate? Could that not suppress the conservative turnout in today's close Senate races? Bad tactical move Senator. Bad tactical move.

On a personal level, does that not set up Cornyn as a possible Republican foil to the likes of Jim DeMint and the Tea Party? It looks like he's trying to counterbalance conservatives with another moderate/liberal. It looks like he buys the media hype about a Republican Civil War. Is that where he or anyone in the GOP elite need to be right now - being seen as fighting those who gave them another chance?

Try it tomorrow if you have 1 Senator short of a majority. Then you look like a hero if you pull it off and or as a cagey tactician for trying if you don't. Try it now and it looks desperate for whatever reason. That in itself is one more reason Lieberman is likely to turn up his nose to the offer and stay put.

This is only gonna work if you VOTE.

This is useless without casting a ballot when it counts - vote today.  This is your only real shot at putting the brakes on this administration for the next two years. EVERY single VOTE makes the Tea Party statement that much louder.

Your vote against runaway spending, your vote against increased taxation in a time of economic weakness, your vote against government takeovers, and Obamacare and unintended consequences and socialism and 'cap and trade' is meaningful.  It is necessary.  It doesn't matter if your candidate is tied, down 20 point or up 20 points in the polls.  It matters right now that you make a statement. Your vote is your voice - use it. 

November 1, 2010

Helping Out Patrick Meehan in PA-7

Republican Patrick Meehan is running for Congress in PA-7. He needs your vote and any other help you can provide. If you can volunteer to help, it still might not be too late.

Please spread the word to anyone you know in Pennsylvania!  He's worth your vote. Here's his closing argument.

Here he is proving that he is non-partisan when it comes to stopping corruption.

Quick Election Prediction Time

It looks like it's about time to go on record with predictions about the election tomorrow.  Given the volume of campaign information, it's impossible to go through and analyze each race individually, unless your Larry Sabato, Charlie Cook or Jim Geraghty.  Unfortunately,  I'm a data mining guy and would love to do those deep analyses, full time if I could.  But I digress.

Here are my prognostications for the GOP pickups this cycle.  THE GOP is going to be picking up 9 seats in the Senate, with a faint chance still, of making up 10 and getting control of the Senate.  As much as I want to say 10, Manchin's numbers have climbed over the latter part of the race in West Virginia, and there's no counter-burst of  advertising from Raese.  At least nothing that seems to have made an impact.  Hopefully there's a Raese blitz going on today.  To me that's the race to watch.  If it swings for Raese, it's possible that Washington and perhaps even California are still winnable.

GOP Winners from the on-the-bubble Senate races - Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Mark Kirk in Colorado (if he doesn't get Frankened afterwards), Ken Buck in Colorado, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Dino Rossi in Washington. That still leaves Raese as the swing.  There are also some really dark horse challenges from Fiorina in California and McMahon in Connecticut, but that requires more wave than likely exists.  Still, I'm hopeful.

In the House I'm predicting a gain of 61 seats.  My inclination is to go higher but I don't want to get caught up in any false optimism.  People like Cook and Sabato are predicting in the mid-50's.  That's a pretty big wave. Jim Geraghty is suggesting a net gain of 70 seats, and he names names. I hope he's right.  But I am trying to stay cautious in light of the lower numbers out there.

For governorships RealClearPolitics is predicting a GOP pickup of 6. Rasmussen's polling is here. I'm leaning towards 9 again.  This is an important cycle for those races and a big pick-up will be a big boost for the GOP.

Remember to vote tomorrow.  Every vote counts - or at least it should.

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