The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, April 02, 2012

The best case against Obama in 2012

Yesterday, in a posting on “The Daily Beast,” Michael Medved suggested that one of the reasons that Barack Obama may be vulnerable in this year's election is that he was elected on a “pledge to unify the nation and put aside petty, partisan differences.” Medved begins his post:

In the last 100 years, every U.S. president who lost his bid for a second term did so because he abandoned his principal promise to the American people. If Republicans can persuade the public that Barack Obama similarly shattered the pledge at the very core of his presidency, they will succeed in denying him the new lease on the White House he insists he deserves.

Four elected chief executives in the past century failed in their reelection campaigns—and each of them flopped by landslide margins. For William Howard Taft in 1912, Herbert Hoover in 1932, Jimmy Carter in 1980, and George H.W. Bush in 1992, broken promises doomed their chances for another four-year term.

He goes into some detail, which you can read on his post but which I am deleting for brevity, but the most important point he makes is:

If Republicans want to see history repeat itself in 2012, with a once-popular incumbent turned out of office by a deeply disillusioned electorate, they must persuade the public that Barack Obama has continued the big-loser pattern of broken promises. That means reminding voters of the most important theme associated with his rise to power: the pledge to unify the nation and put aside petty, partisan differences. Whatever happens with the unemployment rate or gas prices, the president’s failure to live up to these assurances remains both painful and apparent.

In the speech that made him a national figure overnight, Illinois Senator Barack Obama gave the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. “Alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga. A belief that we are connected as one people,” he intoned. “The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

In his Inaugural Address four-and-a-half years later, the newly elected president sounded strikingly similar themes. “On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

Can even the most devoted Obama admirer plausibly claim that this new day of harmony and cooperation actually dawned in Washington?

Low approval ratings for all federal officials suggest that Americans recognize that the “conflict and discord” have become more bitter than ever before and that the president, despite his soaring rhetoric, plays a prominent part in the squabbling. He may attempt to blame conservatives exclusively for the small-minded gamesmanship, but he’s compiled his own long record of below-the-belt, straw-man attacks, sliming his opponents as greedy and corrupt, claiming that they place plutocrats and corporate power above the public welfare.

Instead of the fresh era of “unity of purpose,” President Obama must acknowledge that his signature legislative achievement, health-care reform, passed both houses of Congress without a single Republican vote, and led elected officials in the majority of states to challenge its constitutionality before the Supreme Court.

And furthermore, Medved reminds us:

When challenging Barack Obama’s claim on a second term, the Republicans should remind the American people why we entrusted him with the presidency in the first place. Beyond any specific expectations about jobs, taxes, and health care, the public welcomed the prospect of an end to the bickering with a new politics of common-sense reform.

The GOP candidate can expose the president’s spoiled promise by renewing the same pledge more credibly, and demonstrating in the campaign itself the coalition-building, pragmatism, and bipartisanship the people expected from the incumbent. Reinvigorated hope for unity and cooperation provides the best chance to highlight this president’s most fatal failure and to add his name to the melancholy list of discredited one-termers who broke faith with the American people.

No better reason to turn Barack Obama out on his ear in 2012. And there is an obvious choice as to who should replace him. Mitt Romney was a productive Governor in a State where the legislature was overwhelmingly under the control of the opposite party. And they were not conservative Texas Democrats, such as served in the legislature that George W. Bush had to work with. (He thought he could be “a uniter, not a divider,” but he'd never had to deal with Democrats luike Nancy Pelosi as Texas Governor.) These were liberal Massachusetts Democrats. And yet he found a way to work with them. Mitt Romney can be the force for harmony that Barack Obama said he could be.

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