Weekly Musing 8-25-13
Stay OUT of Syria: Obama’s foreign policy failure of his worthless “red line” should NOT be a green light to go into Syria. The United States should stay out of this losing battle. There are NO good options, NO friendly, rationale, non-radical forces to defend. You can only fund and arm more extrememists. Stay out!
Purging our Party: If we purge the “wackos” and the RINO’s, some conservatives and other libertarians, then toss out the moderates and Tea Party folks…who’s left? We are and should remain a “center-right” coalition and start fighting for what unites us rather than concentrating on that which divides us.
Step out of the circular firing squad!!!
Empty Nesters: This week our youngest, Marius, starts Michigan State University. Our oldest Matas graduated from Michigan State. Tadas enters his senior year at Davenport University and Vytis starts his junior year at Central Michigan University! Time flies almost as fast as tuition rates!!!
…but Obama is going to take care of that-:)
6 Things Losing Candidates Say
It’s August of an odd-numbered year, but the 2014 cycle is heating up. That means dozens of candidates are visiting us at The Rothenberg Political Report and Roll Call in anticipation of the midterm elections.
Some of them will win, but most will lose. So we’ve started taking notes on some sure-fire ways that candidates end up in the latter camp. Here’s a working set of six buzz phrases that almost always guarantee that the candidates uttering them are headed toward defeat.
Welfare vs. work: Government’s perversion.
There’s no incentive for government’s dependents to work when today’s patchwork of state and federal welfare programs provides more money — sometimes, considerably more — than entry-level jobs, according to a new report by the Cato Institute.
“The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013,” which follows up on a similar Cato report from 1995, shows that despite so-called welfare “reform” in 1996, the slide toward dependency has grown worse in recent years.
Hotline’s Inaugural 2014 Senate Rankings Republicans have the majority in their sights, but they haven’t expanded the playing field.
The battle for the Senate is primed to go down to the wire. Democrats can lose up to five seats while retaining the majority—assuming Cory Booker wins October’s special election in New Jersey—but the party is threatened by members facing tough races in the Deep South and other conservative states. Already, races for three Democratic-held open seats (Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia) are favoring Republicans, and Sen. Mark Pryor is looking in tenuous shape in Arkansas.
But as strong a cycle as this is looking for Republicans, that’s as attributable to the very conservative bent of the “playing field” as it is to the environment or strong recruitment. Democratic Sens. Al Franken, Mark Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, and Mark Warner look like solid favorites to win second terms, without facing formidable opposition (yet). Republicans have struggled with recruitment in Iowa with a muddled field of candidates, and in Michigan, where the party isn’t thrilled with its likely nominee, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.
Obama’s Economy — We’ve Fallen And Can’t Get Up
Sentier’s monthly data, derived from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, show that incomes fell more in the year after the recovery started than it did during the recession itself. And household incomes have basically flat-lined ever since.
“As the unemployment rate and the duration of unemployment remained high,” the authors note, “median annual household income continued its decline.”
The picture gets even grimmer the deeper you dive into the data. The most vulnerable groups — blacks, Hispanics, female-headed families and the young — have fared far worse under Obama than everyone else…
We keep hearing economists say the economy is “firming up” and it’s poised for growth soon. What we see instead is an economy that, thanks to this administration’s misguided policies, has fallen and can’t get up.
“I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and Liberals at bay. And the nation free.”
A battle-tested Buckley would say later, “Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.”
Can a Republican Win 270 Electoral Votes in 2016…or Ever
The Republican Party leadership, well aware of this depressing math, is now making an attempt to change the rules of the game by supporting an effort whereby states would proportionally award their electoral votes to the popular vote winner in each congressional district.
It is obvious that discarding the current “winner take all” system would vastly improve the prospects of electing a Republican president. But first, this initiative must pass state legislatures before reaching a governor’s desk, where it may or may not be signed into law.
There is some precedent here—the states of Nebraska and Maine are already using this method. However, it is unlikely that more states will follow Nebraska and Maine because this drastic change is politically “too hot to handle” for most governors, even Republican ones.
The Past’s Future Republican
LET Rand Paul have his epic filibuster and Ted Cruz his scowling threats to shut down the government. Let Chris Christie thunder to a second term as the governor of New Jersey, his hubris flowering as his ultimate designs on the White House take shape.
Jeb Bush, lying low in the subtropics of Florida, has something they don’t: the unalloyed affection of many of the Republican Party’s most influential moneymen, who are waiting for word on what he’ll do, hoping that he’ll seek the 2016 presidential nomination and noting with amusement how far he has drifted off fickle pundits’ radar, at least for the moment.
Time for GOP to purge the ‘wackos’ – Keep Purging & who will be Left???
A group of far-right instigators who have embarrassed the party have been labeled “malcontents,” “loud-mouthed holier-than-thous,” and “low-level thugs.” But the GOP leadership has not taken a stand.
These are the tangled webs woven within today’s divided GOP. It’s time for the Republican leaders to apply some political pesticide.
So here is my question: If we purge the “wacko” and the RINO’s, some conservatives and other libertarians, then toss out the moderates and Tea Party folks…who’s left? We are and should remain a “center-right” coalition and start fighting for what unites us rather than concentrating on that which divides us.
Step out of the circular firing squad!!!
Targeting the Wealthy Kills Jobs
Does anybody really believe that moving investment decisions from Silicon Valley to Washington by raising taxes on venture capitalists and their investors would make Silicon Valley more productive? Consider the Solyndra debacle: It was obvious to most of us here that the solar-energy company had zero chance of survival. That’s why the company had to be government-funded near the end; no real investors were willing to step up.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama insulted America’s entrepreneurs by telling them: “You didn’t build that.”
Progressive taxation is just another tool used by government to take over an ever-larger part of the U.S. economy. The horrible irony is that the government keeps telling the very people whose jobs it destroys that if we only tax the rich more, everything will be better.
Hillary’s Racial Politics
The disconnect between these facts and Mrs. Clinton’s assertions suggests that she is the one playing racial politics. The current narrow Democratic majority is largely a coalition based on gender and racial identity. It requires big turnout among single women and non-whites. As the Obama era winds down, the fear among Democrats is that these voters won’t have the same enthusiasm.
Mrs. Clinton can play the “first woman President” card, but she also needs large minority turnout. If she can’t motivate that turnout based on rising economic optimism or opportunity, which is hard given the Obama economic record, she and Democrats will play to racial fears to drive it. She wants a racially polarized electorate.
This is a tragedy for the country, and Republicans like Mitt Romney share the blame for doing so little to attract minority votes. But this strategy and Mrs. Clinton’s speech don’t bode well for a less polarized politics as Democrats try to extend their electoral dominance.
Mrs. Clinton billed her speech last week as the first of a series addressing what she called “eroding public trust” in government. Government could use the help, though note the irony that Mrs. Clinton’s party has been running the government even as its reputation sinks. In any case, stoking racial fears based on imaginary government racism won’t make Americans feel better about politics or government.
The Clinton dramas: Here we go again
Tabloid headlines. Personal dramas. Organizational disarray. Score-settling between rival factions documented in news accounts like a soap opera.
Does this have a familiar ring?
No one — or mostly no one — truly believes the swirl of headlines surrounding Bill and Hillary Clinton in the summer of 2013 should lead to a grand conclusion about whether another iteration of a Clinton campaign can be run effectively, free of the internecine warfare and incessant drama that marked her 2008 bid.
But if Clinton and her supporters were hoping to allay those doubts well ahead of a possible 2016 run, the past few months have not been helpful.
DEVASTATING! How President Obama is flouting Obamacare
Tweaks? Obama isn’t making tweaks. He’s trying to circumvent major flaws that began flaring when the law was enacted. Hence the many carve-outs, delays and special deals that have been piling up since he added his signature to Obamacare on March 23, 2010.
The president crusaded for this law and has embraced its nickname. But he did not write the law. Congress did. Major changes are necessary — he has stipulated by his actions that this law as constituted cannot work — and Congress should legislate them for his review.
Bottom line: Let’s delay and rewrite this ill-conceived law. Congress need not start from scratch. Lawmakers can build on what all of us have learned from three years of painful trial and error. Three years of attempting, but failing, to make this clumsy monstrosity work for the American people.
‘The Health Care Act And You — ‘An Eye On The Future’ Special On ‘Obamacare’
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama as the law of the land in 2010 is about to descend into your home, your business, your community.
The ACA (or ‘Obamacare’ as it is sometimes called) is intended to make healthcare more affordable and available to many including those who have never had it.
It’s generated its share of headlines with fans and critics lining up.
How will the ACA impact you?
For Democrats, Turnout Trumps Honesty
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the national discussion on voting law is the lack of consistent principled support for the most basic protections of electoral honesty, such as having to show a photo ID to vote. This should not be a partisan issue; the fact that it is says far more about Democrats’ intentions than about Republican “voter suppression.” That so many Democrats, including Hillary “Testing the waters, and they seem fine” Clinton, get away with calling Voter ID laws bigoted is sad evidence of persistent Republican fear of standing up for what is obviously right in the face of obviously baseless cries of “racism!”
Americans should be grateful that we don’t live in a nation like Australia, where voting is compulsory and a cash penalty imposed for non-participation. (With candidates even less inspiring than ours, I suppose they must impose this system in order to get double-digit voter turnout.) Still, one shouldn’t be surprised to hear liberals, including Peter Orszag, former head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, propose this very thing for our ever-less-free citizenry.
Mandatory voting is going nowhere fast in the USA. But in the meantime, when states like Colorado are pushed into prioritizing voter turnout over honest elections, the foundation of our electoral system — which is to say the foundation of a nation that prides itself on non-violent transfers of power between officeholders — is corroded, leaving a shaky voting edifice standing over citizens’ heads.
Scandals costing us American exceptionalism
“Who can you trust?” That’s the title of a pretty good album, but it’s also the question for our age. One of the underpinnings of successful representative government is that voters feel they can trust their representatives, and those in the bureaucracy to whom power is delegated, to follow the law. That trust in government officials’ willingness to follow the law is the foundation for a sense that the law is legitimate, so that citizens feel a duty to follow the law as well.
Why get off welfare?
Contrary to stereotypes, there is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy. Indeed, surveys of welfare recipients consistently show their desire for a job. But there is also evidence that many are reluctant to accept available employment opportunities. Despite work requirements included in the 1996 welfare reform, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says less than 42% of adult welfare recipients participate in work activities nationwide. Why the contradiction?
Perhaps it’s because, while poor people are not lazy, they are not stupid either. If you pay people more not to work than they can earn at a job, many won’t work.
A new study by the Cato Institute found that in many states, it does indeed pay better to be on welfare than it does to work.
Analysis: Egypt crackdown may not crush Brotherhood
Until Monday night, Farid Ismail was one of the few Muslim Brotherhood leaders who still answered his phone, even when many of his associates had been arrested or gone underground.
By Tuesday morning Ismail was nowhere to be found after the authorities seized the group’s chief, Mohamed Badie, overnight.
The army seems determined to decapitate the Middle East’s oldest and arguably most resilient Islamist movement, to prevent it from preparing a political comeback after President Mohamed Mursi, one of its senior leaders, was ousted on July 3.
The army is trying to capitalize on the public mood, and while security measures may keep the Brotherhood on the defensive, the strategy may ultimately backfire.
Without calls for restraint coming from senior leaders like Badie, a younger Brotherhood generation may be tempted to seek revenge as the army and security forces keep pushing.
China Takes Aim at Western Ideas
Communist Party cadres have filled meeting halls around China to hear a somber, secretive warning issued by senior leaders. Power could escape their grip, they have been told, unless the party eradicates seven subversive currents coursing through Chinese society.
These seven perils were enumerated in a memo, referred to as Document No. 9, that bears the unmistakable imprimatur of Xi Jinping, China’s new top leader. The first was “Western constitutional democracy”; others included promoting “universal values” of human rights, Western-inspired notions of media independence and civic participation, ardently pro-market “neo-liberalism,” and “nihilist” criticisms of the party’s traumatic past.
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