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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The left still doesn't get it!

Michael Tomasky writes for The Daily Beast, and his egregiously pro-Obama point of view is about as extreme as they come. And a column he wrote dated Monday entitled “Get It Done, Mr. President!” (also appearing in Newsweek really shows how deceived the pro-Obama left really is. They formed an image of Mitt Romney that they just can't shake, despite the fact that the American people have seen that the image they have been trying to put over on us is simply wrong. For example, in speaking of the Denver debate that Obama blew so gloriously, Tomasky refers to Romney as “reversing many key positions without Obama ever calling him on it.” But in fact, Romney was not reversing his key positions — what was the case is that Obama had tried to make us believe Romney had taken certain positions, against the truth. This business of the “$5 trillion tax cut,” for example, just was never a Romney proposal, but in fact a Democratic think tank's take on Romney's proposed tax policy, assuming a part of it went through but not the whole. So when Obama tried to make the claim that Romney had proposed such a plan, Romney truly and accurately said he never had done so, yet Obama repeated this claim three more times after Romney corrected him the first time — and Romney had to correct him again and again! So the one time that Obama tried to “call him on” a supposed “reversal,” he failed because it was not really a reversal at all! So much for “reversing many key positions without Obama ever calling him on it.”

The thing that amazes me is that these people actually believe that Romney has called for the things they accuse him of calling for. If they ever read what Romney has said, rather than their own interpretations of what he said, perhaps they might figure out the truth.

But then, I want them to fall for their own self-deceptions. That way, they will not be able to make a believable case to the American people, who ever since that Denver debate have come to see Romney as what he is: an honest and honorable man, far more of both than the President is, and more worthy of the Presidency than the man who has that position now. And when Barack Obama skulks back home to Chicago on January 20th, the country will be in the hands, for the first time in years, of a capable man in the White House.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Probably the best reason to support Romney

Much of the reason I've been supporting Mitt Romney for the Presidency is a negative one — that the alternative is Barack Obama, who is one of the worst presidents this country has seen. Only Jimmy Carter, of those presidents whose terms of office have been within my lifetime, has been worse, I believe. But the best reason to support Romney is a positive one. He can unite people of both parties to forge a consensus.

George W. Bush said he was “a uniter, not a divider,” but as Governor of Texas, the Democrats he had worked with were conservative enough that he was unprepared to find, when he came to Washington, that the Democrats there were of such a different stripe that he was not able to find common ground with them. President Obama used different words, but in his 2004 keynote at the Democratic convention, when he said “I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America,” he seemed to offer to many the promise of uniting us. However, as President he has not governed in a way consistent with this rhetoric. He has pushed through a healthcare bill with no support from a single Republican Senator, and only one Republican vote in the House of Representatives. He has made “recess appointments” when the Senate has just broken for a weekend, so he would not get them rejected in the Senate. He has done exactly the opposite of what a unifying, consensus-building President would be expected to do.

By contrast, we have the record of Mitt Romney as Governor of Massachusetts — a state which, unlike George W. Bush's Texas, has Democrats who are as liberal as any in the country, and yet where, facing an 87% Democratic legislature, he managed to get substantial parts of his program enacted. The Des Moines Register, which has endorsed Democrats in most recent elections (in fact, has endorsed only one Republican from 1964 to 2008) and endorsed Obama in 2008, endorsed Mitt Romney, saying: “Romney succeeded as governor in Massachusetts where he faced Democratic majorities in the legislature. If elected, he would have an opportunity to renew the effort.” As Emily Miller of The Washington Times points out,

President Obama has burned bridges by ramming through legislation like the stimulus and Obamacare without bothering to consult Republicans. That’s not how Mr. Romney would operate. “I know there are good Democrats who love America just like we do,” he told supporters in Celina, Ohio, Sunday. “I want to reach across the aisle to them, work together, put the interests of the people ahead of the politicians.”

He noted that as a GOP governor of a deep blue state, he worked with a legislature that was 87 percent Democrat. He still managed to decrease spending and cut taxes 19 times. “We were able to balance our budget. The $3 billion budget gap in our first year became a $2 billion rainy day fund,” Mr. Romney explained to cheering crowds. “We did that together, Republicans and Democrats. And we’ve got to do that in Washington.”

The Obama campaign is trying its best to deny this bipartisan record. “The American people can’t trust a word Mitt Romney says, especially when he claims he’d work across the aisle as president,” said campaign spokesman Danny Kanner. “As governor, he refused to work with Democrats in the legislature.”

Not so, according to the Bay State’s former Democratic House majority leader. “The governor did work with the legislature,” James Vallee told The Washington Times in an interview Monday. “There were issues of difference, but I had a very productive relationship with the Romney administration. They reached out to legislatures and did an effective job working with us.”

Mr. Vallee, who left the legislature in June and is now a lawyer at Nixon, Peabody, believes Mr. Romney would be most effective with a bipartisan cabinet and team. “If he says he’s going to reach across the aisle, I think he will,” he said.

That's the best reason to support Mitt Romney for the Presidency this year.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"You can't have your own facts"

In the first of the three debates between Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, Romney said at one point, “Mr. President, you're entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts.” A good riposte to some of Obama's fabrications, yet there were, as I mentioned in a posting dated October 7, other blogs and comments that seemed to characterize Romney as creating his own facts! It really perplexes me, because to me the facts are clear, Mitt Romney is only telling the unvarnished truth, and whenever Barack Obama and he differ, Obama is clearly at variance with the facts. For example, there is that business about the “$5 trillion tax cut.” It was never what Romney proposed, yet Obama repeats it incessantly. And there is that “47%” quote. Somehow, a statement that Gov. Romney made to say that he cannot expect to get the votes of people who have a stake in the present policies is turned into a lack of compassion — in a man whose charitable giving is one of the greatest in this country!

And the left-leaning bloggers and columnists still accuse Romney of being the one who is lying, and support Obama's claims! Somehow, they “have their own facts.” And they can't, as Romney said. It's gotten to be that anything the Obama campaign team says has to be considered about as reliable as a story in the National Enquirer, and read with the same number of grains of salt!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What happened to President Obama once he had to debate Mitt Romney?

Yesterday, I saw a column by Peggy Noonan, on the Wall Street Journal's site, entitled: “When Americans Saw the Real Obama.” It's a really interesting column, and while I had a lot of suspicions that some of what it said were true, I was interested to see those suspicions confirmed. Dropping a few paragraphs at the beginning, it first got to the meat with the following:

Why was the first debate so toxic for the president? Because the one thing he couldn't do if he was going to win the election is let all the pent-up resentment toward him erupt. Americans had gotten used to him as The President. Whatever his policy choices, whatever general direction he seemed to put in place he was The President, a man who had gotten there through natural gifts and what all politicians need, good fortune.

What he couldn't do was present himself, when everyone was looking, as smaller than you thought. Petulant, put upon, above it all, full of himself. He couldn't afford to make himself look less impressive than the challenger in terms of command, grasp of facts, size.

But that's what he did.

And in some utterly new way the president was revealed, exposed. All the people whose job it is to surround and explain him, to act as his buffers and protectors — they weren't there. It was him on the stage, alone with a competitor. He didn't have a teleprompter, and so his failure seemed to underscore the cliché that the prompter is a kind of umbilical cord for him, something that provides nourishment, the thing he needs to sound good. He is not by any means a stupid man but he has become a boring one; he drones, he is predictable, it's never new. The teleprompter adds substance, or at least safety.

One might wonder why President Obama let himself in for such a fall, given his past success as a campaigner. And Noonan wonders too:

A great and assumed question, the one that's still floating out there, is what exactly happened when Mr. Obama did himself in? What led to it?

Was it the catastrophic execution of an arguably sound strategy? Perhaps the idea was to show the president was so unimpressed by his challenger that he could coolly keep him at bay by not engaging. Maybe Mr. Obama's handlers advised: "The American people aren't impressed by this flip-flopping, outsourcing plutocrat, and you will deepen your bond with the American people, Mr. President, by expressing in your bearing, through your manner and language, how unimpressed you are, too." So he sat back and let Mr. Romney come forward. Mr. But Romney was poised, knowledgable, presidential. It was a mistake to let that come forward!

Was it the catastrophic execution of a truly bad strategy? Maybe they assumed the election was already pretty much in the bag, don't sweat it, just be your glitteringly brilliant self and let Duncan the Wonder Horse go out there and turn people off. But nothing was in the bag. The sheer number of people who watched—a historic 70 million—suggests a lot of voters were still making up their minds.

Maybe the president himself didn't think he could possibly be beaten because he's so beloved. Presidents are always given good news, to keep their spirits up. The poll numbers he'd been seeing, the get-out-the-vote reports, the extraordinary Internet effort to connect with every lonely person in America, which is a lot of persons—maybe everything he was hearing left him thinking his position was impregnable.

After throwing out those questions, however, Noonan changes her tune, and here is where the picture of Obama resembles my suspicions — especially after I read excerpts of Bob Woodward's recent book, “The Price of Politics,” to which Noonan refers:

But maybe these questions are all off. Maybe what happened isn't a mystery at all.

That, anyway, is the view expressed this week by a member of the U.S. Senate who served there with Mr. Obama and has met with him in the White House. People back home, he said, sometimes wonder what happened with the president in the debate. The senator said, I paraphrase: I sort of have to tell them that it wasn't a miscalculation or a weird moment. I tell them: I know him, and that was him. That guy on the stage, that's the real Obama.

Which gets us to Bob Woodward's “The Price of Politics,” published last month. The portrait it contains of Mr. Obama — of a president who is at once over his head, out of his depth and wholly unaware of the fact — hasn't received the attention it deserves. Throughout the book, which is a journalistic history of the president's key economic negotiations with Capitol Hill, Mr. Obama is portrayed as having the appearance and presentation of an academic or intellectual while being strangely clueless in his reading of political situations and dynamics. He is bad at negotiating — in fact doesn't know how. His confidence is consistently greater than his acumen, his arrogance greater than his grasp.

He misread his Republican opponents from day one. If he had been large-spirited and conciliatory he would have effectively undercut them, and kept them from uniting. (If he'd been large-spirited with Mr. Romney, he would have undercut him, too.) Instead he was toughly partisan, he shut them out, and positions hardened. In time Republicans came to think he doesn't really listen, doesn't really hear. So did some Democrats. Business leaders and mighty CEOs felt patronized: After inviting them to meet with him, the president read from a teleprompter and included the press. They felt like “window dressing.” One spoke of Obama's surface polish and essential remoteness. In negotiation he did not cajole, seduce, muscle or win sympathy. He instructed. He claimed deep understanding of his adversaries and their motives but was often incorrect. He told staffers that John Boehner, one of 11 children of a small-town bar owner, was a “country club Republican.” He was often patronizing, which in the old and accomplished is irritating but in the young and inexperienced is infuriating. “Boehner said he hated going down to the White House to listen to what amounted to presidential lectures,” Mr. Woodward writes.

Mr. Obama's was a White House that had — and showed — no respect for Republicans trying to negotiate with Republicans. Through it all he was confident — “Eric, don't call my bluff” — because he believed, as did his staff, that his talents would save the day.

They saved nothing. Washington became immobilized.

And Woodward is, apparently not the first to call attention to Obama's weaknesses:

Mr. Woodward's portrait of the president is not precisely new — it has been drawn in other ways in other accounts, and has been a staple of D.C. gossip for three years now — but it is vivid and believable. And there's probably a direct line between that portrait and the Obama seen in the first debate. Maybe that's what made it so indelible, and such an arc-changer.

People saw for the first time an Obama they may have heard about on radio or in a newspaper but had never seen.

They didn't see some odd version of the president. They saw the president.

And they didn't like what they saw, and that would linger.

I liked this column. And that is why I repeat it here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Jay Leno on Obama's economy

Most of the media is firmly in Barack Obama's corner. I was not aware that Jay Leno was of a different stripe. But here is a quote that deserves spreading about.

One of President Obama's winning points last night was about how sanctions against Iran are crippling their economy. And believe me, if anyone knows how to cripple an economy it's President Obama.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Unintended consequences?

There is an old saying, “Be careful what you wish for; you might get it.” The point of this saying is that there are often unintended consequences, which nullify the desirability of something. And perhaps this is the best characterization of “Obamacare.” The goal was to get everyone to have health insurance. (At least, that was the goal of those who enacted it; I think a better goal would have been to get everyone who wanted it to have health insurance.) And, I assume to be certain that the insurance people got was real, it provided for the setting of minimum standards. This seemed reasonable, as you don't want people to be tricked into buying insurance that didn't meet their needs.

The problem is: These minimum standards were not set by determining what would meet the minimum needs of people; they were set up by bureaucrats who simply decided what they would consider adequate. This has had a number of results.

For one, it has led to the contraception impasse. Between people who feel that contraception is so important that it must be available to all and Catholics (and perhaps some others) who consider it immoral, there is no middle ground. Pres. Obama has put through a “compromise” that is no compromise in fact. In theory, insurance companies will provide the contraception coverage free, separately from what employers are paying for. In fact, the insurance companies are not charities; they are profit-making businesses, so the premiums will be adjusted to account for the added costs, so those employers will in fact be paying for it, if one compares the premium with what it would have been without the contraception mandate.

But “Obamacare” has other unintended consequences, too. For example, the mandated coverage is such that many present policies would not qualify. Pres. Obama's promise prior to his election that “if you like your present coverage, you can keep it” is simply not true; people will not be able to keep their present coverage because insurance companies will not be able to offer those plans that fall short of what the bureaucrats have decided to consider minimal. And the costs of insurance will go up because more has to be covered.

The third consequence I want to mention is that the mandate that all full-time workers be covered means that employers are encouraged not to hire full-time workers. If they can hire a lot of part-timers, the cost of training more people will be balanced by the savings in insurance they do not have to provide. And if they can get away with fewer employees in total (not even hiring part-timers) it may be a better deal. This is being anticipated by prospective employers. While the mandate has not yet affected them, they see it in the future, and this is why unemployment, and underemployment, are so high.

These are among the reasons “Obamacare” needs to be replaced by a better plan, and why Mitt Romney needs to be elected Present.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Two more egregious lies out of Barack Obama's mouth

President Barack Obama knows he cannot make a case for re-election on his record — which marks him as the worst President, except for Jimmy Carter, since the early part of the Twentieth Century. He is forced to do two things: engage in mudslinging and lie.

In the debate Monday night, he said:

First of all, the sequester is not something that I proposed. It’s something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen. The budget that we’re talking about is not reducing our military spending. It’s maintaining it.

Well, this is directly contradicted by Bob Woodward, in his recent book “The Price of Politics,” which says:

At 2:30 p.m. [White House Office of Management Director Jack] Lew and [White House Director of legislative affairs Rob] Nabors went to the Senate to meet with [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and his chief of staff, David Krone.

“We have an idea for the trigger,” Lew said.

“What’s the idea?” Reid asked skeptically.


Reid bent down and put his head between his knees, almost as if he were going to throw up or was having a heart attack. he sat back up and looked at the ceiling. “A couple of weeks ago,” he said, “my staff said to me that there is one more possible” enforcement mechanism: sequestration. He said he told them, “get the hell out of here. That’s insane. The White House surely will come up with a plan that will save the day. And you come to me with sequestration?”

Well it could work, Lew and Nabors explained.

What would the impact be?

They would design it so that half the threatened cuts would be from the Defense Department.…

Lew, Nabors, [White House National Economic Council Director Gene] Sperling, and Bruce Reed, Biden’s chief of staff, had finally decided to propose using language from the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law as the model for the trigger. It seemed tough enough to apply to the current situation. It would require a sequester with half the cuts from Defense, and the other half from domestic programs. There would be no chance the Republicans would want to pull the trigger and allow the sequester to force massive cuts to Defense.

This is clearly in contradiction to Obama's “the sequester is not something that I proposed. It’s something that Congress has proposed.” So we have him in lie #1. Another lie from the debate came in the very next paragraph, from Obama's cutesy attempt to paint Romney as ignorant about military matters, or perhaps about modern technology:

But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You — you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.

But of course, while “horses” may be obsolete, “bayonets” are still quite useful to the modern military, so perhaps it is President Obama who “maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.” To quote A. W. R. Hawkins on

While the Army discontinued traditional bayonet training in 2010, the USMC still trains Marines with bayonets and issues them as standard equipment. The Army has also begun training soldiers in a different style of bayonet use — not affixed to the end of a rifle but as a secondary melee weapon.

To make bayonet training relevant again, the Army got rid of the bayonet assault course, in which soldiers fixed a bayonet to the end of a rifle, ran towards a target while yelling and then rammed the bayonet into the target center. Instead, soldiers learn in combatives training how to use a knife or bayonet if someone grabs their primary weapon.

Some users on Twitter have claimed that, by virtue of the USMC still using bayonets, there actually are more bayonets in use than 1916, when the army had between 100,000 and 140,000 enlisted members. As of 2010, the Corps boasted 203,000 active duty members and 40,000 reserve marines.

That's two lies in two paragraphs — even more than Obama's usual!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Last night's debate

Last night, in Boca Raton, Florida, President Obama and Governor Romney had the last of the series of three debates. And while a CNN poll seems to have given the edge to the President in the debate, it was close, 48-40 (and in fact, on the question “Who did the debate make you more likely to vote for?” it favored Romney, 25-24, with half the people saying “neither”), and looking at such commentators as Charles Krauthammer and Erick Erickson, it would seem that who won depends on who you support; most people seem to have given the edge to whoever they wanted to win in the first place. There were also commentators like Toby Harnden of the British newspaper, The Daily Mail, who said that “Obama may have won the Boca debate battle but he knows he is losing the election war to Romney.”

Indeed, all of the pro-Romney commentators remarked that Romney looked more like a president and Obama like a challenger. Erickson wrote:

The whole time during the last Presidential debate, Mitt Romney looked like the incumbent and Barack Obama looked like a challenger trying to keep it together. More specifically, Barack Obama, when he made eye contact, looked like he was seeing and invisible hand writing “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin” on the wall behind Bob Schieffer. This was a man who knows the gig is almost up.

Throughout the debate, Mitt Romney smiled, agreed, and avoided fights. Barack Obama did everything he could to get into fights. That’s not what incumbents in a comfortable lead do.

And Harnden wrote:

If you had been on an extended vacation for the past four years, you would have been forgiven for watching this debate and thinking you were viewing a President Mitt Romney being challenged by a pretender called Barack Obama.

I looked at the transcript, and sometimes President Obama looked absolutely silly. He said things like:

You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.

Gee. As if Governor Romney never heard of aircraft carriers and nuclear subs. But he said this in response to a statement by Romney:

[O]ur Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now at under 285. We’re headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me.

I'm sure that the admirals who “said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission” allowed for the existence of aircraft carriers and nuclear subs — and so President Obama's comments are pretty laughable.

When Bob Schieffer asked about Iran, President Obama responded:

[A]s long as I’m president of the United States Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. I made that clear when I came into office.…[A] nuclear Iran is a threat to our national security, and it is a threat to Israel’s national security. We cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world.

Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. And for them to be able to provide nuclear technology to non-state actors, that’s unacceptable. And they have said that they want to see Israel wiped off the map.

Brave words, for someone who has done so little to deter Iran. It has gotten so bad that Prime Minister Netanyahu had pleaded at the UN for help in dealing with the Iranian threat to his country's existence, and yet the President refused even to meet with him when the two were both in New York. Obama says what we want to hear, but his actions show he is unwilling to take any steps to defuse the Iranian threat.

And Romney's point was well taken when he said:

You look at the record of the last four years and say is Iran closer to a bomb? Yes. Is the Middle East in tumult? Yes. Is — is Al Qaeda on the run, on its heels? No. Is — are Israel and the Palestinians closer to reaching a peace agreement?

No, they haven’t had talks in two years. We have not seen the progress we need to have, and I’m convinced that with strong leadership and an effort to build a strategy based upon helping these nations reject extremism, we can see the kind of peace and prosperity the world demands.

Because the record of the past nearly 4 years is the real issue in this election. As I said, it looks to me that who won depends on who you were supporting in the first place. To me, Romney had the stronger case. But all along, to me, Romney seems to be making sense, and Obama nonsense. So I admit I'm very far from being impartial in judging this debate.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

More on "Likable" President Obama

I have long wondered why people considered Barack Obama as “more likable” than Mitt Romney. Obama's past includes the nasty business with Alice Palmer, as well as about every sort of nastiness one can imagine a Chicago machine politician to be capable of. Romney, by contrast, is a generous man who would close down his business to help an employee search for his daughter. So why anyone would consider Obama as the more likable of the two puzzled me. But this likability differential seems to be going away. Earlier today I read a post, dated Friday, by Matthew Continetti on a site called The Washington Free Beacon, entitled “The Jerk Store Called — Column: They’re running out of Obama-Biden.” It begins:

Remember when President Barack Obama was likable? Once upon a time the public viewed the incumbent more favorably than his challenger by large margins. These days Obama’s favorable and unfavorable ratings are similar to Mitt Romney’s. The televised debates have unveiled the current administration as alternately listless, manic, angry, soporific, rude, bullying, aloof, and thin-skinned. Americans who have just begun to tune into the election are seeing the president unmediated. They no longer are looking at him through the scrim of fawning press, majestic settings, and roaring crowds. And they are discovering that Obama is not so likable at all. He is actually something of a jerk.

Those who read coverage of the Obama administration closely will have known this for a long time: The president is cold, abstract, prickly, and insular. His brand of cerebral partisanship is better suited for liberal blogging than for leading the free world. He doesn’t enjoy interacting with strangers or even with associates outside his immediate clique. He has few close friends. He relies on about half a dozen senior advisers. His impromptu speech is given to cutting, sarcastic remarks.

Put him in front of an adoring and obsequious audience and he will be charming and suave. But the real Obama is revealed the second you remove the klieg lights. This isn’t a guy who will spend his post-presidency more or less running the Democratic Party, a la President Bill Clinton. Obama will spend his retirement as a solitary member of the irritable left, receiving honorary degrees, appearing on MSNBC, and scribbling for Salon.

After this overview, Continetti gets down to some specifics, writing:

The president’s unsociability is one of those obvious facts that are conveniently overlooked. Earlier this week Neera Tanden, the president of the liberal Center for American Progress, caused a mini-controversy when New York magazine quoted her saying, “Obama doesn’t call anyone, and he’s not close to almost anyone. It’s stunning that he’s in politics, because he really doesn’t like people.” Tanden, who has worked for Obama, later “clarified” her remarks. What she meant to say, she tweeted, was that Obama “is a private person.” Note, however, that one can be a private person and still not “like people.” Tanden did not really take back her words. Nor should she. Her initial comments were factual and honest.

In some of his quotes, the source is only described, not named:

A “Democrat deeply familiar” with the Clinton-Obama relationship said pretty much the same thing to Ryan Lizza a few months ago: “Obama doesn’t really like very many people.” A Chicago Democratic donor told Jane Mayer this summer, “He’s not the kind of guy I would go out and have a beer with.” “One United States diplomat” told Helene Cooper of the New York Times in September that Obama is “not good with personal relationships; that’s not what interests him.”

And speaking of the New York Times,

That paper’s story on Valerie Jarrett, the president’s closest aide, describes Obama as “introverted” and his social circle as “small.” Michael Lewis’s profile of Obama shows a loner who broods over his decisions, spends time reading and writing and playing basketball with a tightly knit group, and says his biggest difficulty as president is “faking emotion.” His media puppets admit that the president is an emotionless “Spock.”

As a result, Continetti continues:

This combination of arrogance and detachment has been a political problem. Obama has paid a price whenever his unlikable personality has emerged in unscripted moments. There was his promise to meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea in the first year of his presidency. There was the time when he told Hillary Clinton that she was “likable enough.” There was his stubborn insistence to raise taxes on capital gains and dividends even though it would raise less revenue. There was his explanation that the white working class didn’t like him because “they cling to their guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

There was his remark that the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” when they arrested a Harvard professor. There was his attack on Scott Brown for driving a pickup truck; his snide retort to John McCain that “the election’s over”; and his jibe that “shovel ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected” (which provoked laughter from his “jobs council”). This year we’ve heard Obama say “the private sector is doing fine,” that he’s “always struck by people who think, it must be because I was just so smart” that they’ve been successful, and that the attacks on our embassies across the Great Middle East were “bumps in the road” to Arab democracy. When Obama says what’s on his mind, his political team runs for the hills.

But it's only recently that Obama and Romney have had to get on a stage together in debate. And these debates seem to have finally called the people's attention to Obama's nasty streak, and even turned over some of his supporters:

The debates have made the president’s dilemma worse. Obama has not masked his prideful contempt for Romney. He “told friends that he respected Mr. Romney’s intellect,” the Times reported, “but had come to view his rival as a less formidable adversary as he learned more about him from reading research books and watching his campaign.” He went into the first debate in Denver thinking he would end the race on October 3.

But a huge audience watched as Romney dissected the last four years and Obama responded with a mix of condescension and apathy. The president seemed always to be smirking and looking down at his notes. He barely could mount a defense of his record. He returned again and again to his vision of a fair America. But this was not enough even for his most slavish supporters. Andrew Sullivan called him “effete.” Michael Tomasky asked, “Does Obama even want to win the election?”

Continetti continues, noting that not only Obama but Vice-President Biden is displaying that nasty streak:

The first debate inaugurated a shift in the race toward Romney that hasn’t abated. And the left drew exactly the wrong lesson from it. The left believed Obama had failed because he was insufficiently rude, and the Obama campaign seems to have agreed with them. But that meant Obama was trapped. He had to be more combative, but he also had to retain his likability. Doing both was not an option. Obama chose combat, in keeping with his long-run campaign strategy of maximizing turnout among Democratic Party client groups.

So we got a Joe Biden who spoke under his breath, interrupted Paul Ryan at every turn, raised his voice, gesticulated grandly, cackled during discussions of the Iranian nuclear program, and grinned so wildly that he looked like he was channeling Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker. We got an Obama who was more engaged but also came across as angry and heated and ready to challenge Romney to a duel. We got a Democratic ticket that, per Chris Matthews’s suggestion, looks like it is auditioning to replace the Cycle on MSNBC.

And Continetti concludes, as a result the election will turn on this loss of likability by the President:

Obama’s anti-Romney spirit may make for a more disagreeable and somewhat more interesting debate. Television ratings benefit. But how does it solve the weak economic recovery? How does it reassure voters looking for solutions on jobs, health care, the deficit, and energy? How does it improve the president’s image, or restore his poll numbers?

The cliché is that the more likable candidate usually wins the election. Morris Fiorina, one of my favorite political scientists, says that isn’t actually the case. Maybe. What we know for sure is what Washington has known all along: Obama doesn’t like people.

And increasingly, people don’t like him.

None of these characterizations of President Obama surprise me; it's just that it's taking so long for people to realize that Obama is what he clearly showed he was many years ago.

Friday, October 19, 2012

At least one media outlet has left Obama

The New York Observer endorsed Barack Obama in 2008. Their endorsement that year is still to be found online. So it is big news to read the editorial that just came out, where this paper strongly endorsed Mitt Romney. In part, it says:

The crisis of leadership in American government is easily explained: thanks to a flawed presidential primary system that rewards strident rhetoric and hyper-partisanship, candidates tailor their messages to fringe elements in small, unrepresentative states. The result? A nasty, shallow and expensive process that rewards sound bites rather than solutions and gamesmanship instead of ideas. This year, however, we have witnessed a rare phenomenon in American politics. A candidate has emerged from the rough and tumble of the primaries with his dignity intact. The system has produced not a demagogue but a manager, a candidate whose experience is rooted in the pragmatism of the business world rather than the ideology of partisan politics.

That candidate is Mitt Romney.

Gov. Romney won the Republican Party’s nomination precisely because he is not an ideologue—and that is no small achievement. He persuaded enough Republican primary voters that the time has come to put aside dogma and inflexibility in favor of real-world solutions to the array of problems America faces at home and abroad.

Over the last few weeks, Mr. Romney has shown that he is a moderate to his core—he is a manager, and a listener, who believes he can restore the balance between the private and public sectors that has been a hallmark of the American economy.

The Observer endorses Mr. Romney’s candidacy and urges readers to support him.

The paper acknowledges its support of Obama four years ago, and says:

Four years ago, Barack Obama captured the imagination of many Americans with his thrilling message of change. Given the challenges confronting the president—two raging wars and an unprecedented global economic collapse—the desire for a quick fix was unrealistic.

America supported that candidate (as did this newspaper), but his presidency, so filled with promise and potential, has failed to deliver the change America needs.

I will not repeat the rest of ths editorial; you can follow this link to read it. But it is nice to see that some of Obama's erstwhile supporters have left his camp, even among the media.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An egregious gerrymander

Peter V. R. Franchot is the Comptroller of rhe State of Maryland. He is also a very loyal and partisan Democrat. So I was very surprised that he has come out against the weird gerrymander of Maryland's Congressional districts that was proposed by Governor Martin O'Malley, and urges voters to vote against Question 5 on this year's ballot.

The Third District is particularly fantastic, and has been termed the third worst gerrymandered district in the country by a study. But some of the others are still pretty bad, even if not that bad. (My county, Montgomery, is divided among the Sixth and Eighth districts as well as that weird Third. The Sixth District does not look too bad, except that it is a deliberate attempt to end the Congressional career of Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett by putting just enough Democrats into the district to make it elect a Democrat. As a result, the Eighth, the district I'm in, runs from the Washington suburbs to the Pennsylvania line, with some narrow threads of land tying it together. The study actually ranked the Sixth as worse than the Eighth, though the Eighth looks a lot worse to my eyes.)

I plan to vote against Question 5. But I'm sure that even if the gerrymander is overturned, Gov. O'Malley will resubmit almost the same plan.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Last night's debate

As I've done in the last two debates, rather than stay up late for last night's debate, I slept, and this morning read the transcript and some of the outside comments. Most people consider it a draw; a CNN poll showed a slight advantage for President Obama, but small enough to be within the statistical margin of error.

It would have been nice to have this debate turn out like the first, with Romney crushing Obama so badly that Obama's supporters, like Andrew Sullivan, said “you know how much I love the guy, … and I can see the logic of some of Obama's meandering, weak, professorial arguments. But this was a disaster for the president for the key people he needs to reach….” But this time the president worked a little harder. And he brought up that phony “47%” business — taken completely out of context — at the last minute so that Gov. Romney had no chance to set the record straight. Obviously, reading the transcript, I thought Romney had the better of it. But I knew the truth — and some people, who may not, might be fooled by such claims as Obama's that he created 5 million jobs — actually, as Romney pointed out, every one of those jobs was balanced out by a job that was lost.

Each candidate had an agenda. Mitt Romney wanted to point out that Obama's record for the past four years was dreadful, and I think he succeeded. Clint Eastwood's empty chair would, of course, have done a better job with the economy than Barack Obama did. So the Obama agenda was to raise fears among the people about what Mitt Romney would do as President — which has been, all along, the tactic of his campaign. With no defensible record, he can only sling mud. And whether he succeeded among those who knew no better, only time will tell. As Stanley Kurtz, one of the few who reported Romney as having the edge in this debate, said, “The core of Obama’s strategy was to distract attention from his record by rendering Romney unacceptable. That strategy has failed. In its absence, all Obama has is the hope of that his base is now large enough to hand him a narrow victory.”

All Presidential elections where an incumbent is seeking re-election are, primarily, a referendum on that incumbent. Barack Obama is trying to avoid this. He can't defend his dismal record, so he is trying to make it a referendum on Mitt Romney, but not the real Mitt Romney — rather, a caricature who doesn't care about 47% of the American people, who outsourced jobs to China, and such. It is to be hoped that on November 6, the American people see through this sham, and send President Obama back to Chicago, where he can ruminate and perhaps write more books about himself, while Mitt Romney goes about fixing this country's problems.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tonight's "town hall" style debate

I noticed Tom Bowler's “Libertarian Leanings” blog has a prediction about tonight's debate. He predicts that Candy Crowley, as moderator, will do a “fair and balanced” job — with a generous dose of sarcasm in that term. He expects very strong pro-Obama slants to Crowley's questioning of both candidates.

Perhaps. But let's give her a chance. If it is as partisan as Bowler thinks, I think the audience will spot that, and it would immensely help Gov. Romney. I suspect that if in fact, Crowley goes into this with an agenda intended to help Pres. Obama, she'll have to be a lot more subtle than the lines of questioning that Bowler suggests. And perhaps she might not be as partisan as Bowler thinks.

I'll wait until the actual debate, and then comment on that, rather than predict how the participants (including Crowley) will behave.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Arlen J. Specter (1930-2012)

Yesterday, it was reported that former Senator Arlen J. Specter of Pennsylvania passed away. I have rather mixed feelings about Specter: for many years he was one of the politicians I most admired, but three years ago he made, I believe, a serious mistake which lessened my esteem for him.

I first heard of Arlen Specter, probably, many years before most of the readers of this blog. In 1965 I took a new job in Philadelphia, and I heard of this new district attorney who was fighting corruption in the Philadelphia city government. This was Arlen Specter, and I was impressed by him from this point. As it happened, that was the year he left the Democratic Party to join the Republican, and for the next 44 years, Arlen Specter represented the kind of Republicanism that I too tended to favor. In fact, when he sought the Presidency in 1996, I supported him, but he dropped out very early in the race.

Arlen Specter was born in Kansas (not a place with a lot of Jews, but that was where his family settled!) but made his political career in the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania. Though I was never a Pennsylvania voter, I often felt that he was “my Senator,” since he tended to vote my way — until near the end of his career. In 2009, he concluded that the Republican Party was coming under the control of far-right conservatives, and, saying that “I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party,” he became a Democrat again. To me, this was his biggest mistake, because although he probably did this under the idea that he could not win a Republican primary in 2010, as events showed subsequently, he was not able to win a Democratic primary either that year. What he did not realize, probably, is that just as right-wing extremists were consolidating their influence in the Republican Party, left-wing extremists were consolidating their influence in the Democratic Party, and he was no more a typical Democrat than a typical Republican. But following this, of course, he moved leftward himself, voting for “Obamacare” and other extremist-inspired Obama administration legislation.

But it is not the 2009-2010 Arlen Specter that I think of when I remember him — rather, the Arlen Specter that served with distinction from 1980 to 2009, the voice of the sort of moderate Republicanism that I too favor. And it is to that Arlen Specter that I say, farewell.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The vice-presidential debate last night

As I stated with reference to last week's first Presidential debate, rather than stay up to watch the debates in real time, my practice this year is to read the transcripts, and people's comments on the debates, the following morning. Apparently Vice-President Biden's greater experience showed, in that unlike President Obama, he prepared properly for this debate, and most people judged this debate a draw — one network called it a win for Paul Ryan, one called it a win for Biden, but in neither case the big blowout that Mitt Romney scored over the President last week.

At least one blogger was worried about unfairness, because the moderator, Martha Raddatz, is a very close friend of the Obamas: Obama actually attended her wedding. (Raddatz' former husband has since divorced her, and each has remarried; he is still close enough to Obama that he was appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission by the President.)

But most people do think she moderated the debate creditably. And she seemed to have a balanced approach, as I read the transcript.

Of course, at one point the Vice-President tried to channel Lloyd Bentsen, with his “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy” comment. But that's minor. He did repeat Obama's discredited “$5 trillion” figure, which I guess Obama and Biden will keep trying to foist on the American public.

I have to admit that on one issue (abortion), Vice-President Biden's statement was closer to my position than was Ryan's:

MS. RADDATZ: I want to move on, and I want to return home for these last few questions. This debate is indeed historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time on a stage such as this, and I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that. And please, this is such an emotional issue for so many —

REP. RYAN: Sure.

MS. RADDATZ: — people in this country. Please talk personally about this if you could. Congressman Ryan.

REP. RYAN: I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, about how to make sure that people have a chance in life.

Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course, but it’s also because of reason and science. You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born for our seven-week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. Our little baby was in the shape of a bean, and to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child, Liza, “Bean.” (Chuckles.)

Now, I believe that life begins at conception.

That’s why — those are the reasons why I’m pro-life.

Now, I understand this is a difficult issue. And I respect people who don’t agree with me on this. But the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they’re doing through “Obamacare” with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals. Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious — religious liberties.

And with respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they want it to be safe, legal and rare. Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding, taxpayer funding in “Obamacare,” taxpayer funding with foreign aid. The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized or wouldn’t second- guess their one-child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. That, to me, is pretty extreme.

MS. RADDATZ: Vice President Biden.

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And it has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help.

With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call de fide (doctrine ?). Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.

I — I do not believe that — that we have a right to tell other people that women, they — they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court — I’m not going to interfere with that.

(I emphasized one part because I think that this is the place Biden was really right. But then he followed up those words with:

With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy — any hospital — none has to either refer contraception. None has to pay for contraception. None has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.

And that is total nonsense. The Obamacare requirement that contraception be provided in any health insurance policy does extend to those religious institutions, except that it is covered up — in theory the institution is not paying for the coverage, but in fact the insurance companies would adjust their premiums, because they certainly are not providing insurance free!

Both sides, clearly, continue to maintain their positions. But I think that Romney/Ryan have an agenda that is better for the country. Obama/Biden have been in power for nearly 4 years, and they have made a mess of the economy. We need to retire them!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Who is the liar?

In last week's debate, Mitt Romney called Barack Obama on his lies. He made the pointed remark: “Mr. President, you're entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts.” But the President keeps maning the same pathetic charges that Romney called him on in that debate. And his people are charging Romney with lying!

A detailed treatment of a couple of those issues was made by Rich Lowry on the New York Post site:

Credit President Obama’s aides with discernment. Even before the first presidential debate was over, they knew they needed to come up with an excuse, and fast. They settled on one they haven’t stopped repeating: Mitt Romney lied his way to victory.

The president would’ve rebutted Romney’s gross deceptions, except he was too focused on answering questions about the country’s future and too taken aback by Romney’s brazenness to answer in real time. Although once he had a day or two and his witty rejoinders were cued up in a teleprompter, he was absolute hell on Romney.

The case that Romney lied so brazenly that it undid the president rests, first, on the idea that the Republican misrepresented his own tax-reform plan. Obama said that Romney proposes to cut taxes by $5 trillion over 10 years. Romney denied it. The president’s team responded, with its customary civility and nuance: “Liar!”

But this isn’t even a close call. Romney wants to cut income-tax rates 20 percent across the board and make up the revenue by closing loopholes and deductions. This isn’t a tax cut; it’s a wash. It’s been Romney’s plan ever since he proposed it during the primaries. It’s such a simple concept that only willful obtuseness keeps the president or his team from understanding it.

If Romney proposed a 1 percent across-the-board cut on rates and the elimination of all loopholes and deductions, surely Obama would accuse him of wanting to raise taxes, because people would be paying more in taxes despite lower rates.

In fact, this is the approach of the president’s own Simpson-Bowles debt commission: It suggested lower rates and fewer deductions such that the federal government would garner more revenue.

True, Romney hasn’t specified which deductions he’d cut, leaving that for a future negotiation with Congress. The Obama team takes this as license to accuse Romney of proposing to raise taxes on the middle class, a pure fabrication. When Obama made this charge in Denver, Romney proved — pace David Axelrod — that it’s possible to reply to falsehoods one-on-one during a live debate. Romney firmly said he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class and patiently explained why not.

Romney’s other whopping deception allegedly was his contention that his health-care plan covers people with pre-existing conditions. On this, too, he was on solid ground. To simplify, he wants to extend the current legal protection that exists in the employer-based insurance market to the individual market, and make it easier for people to buy insurance in that individual market. Again, this is nothing new, but has been an element in his health-care policy from the start.

When Obama aides say that the real Romney didn’t show up in Denver, what they really mean is that he failed to live down to their rank caricature of him, broadcast far and wide by the Obama campaign.

As he showed during an hour and a half of high-pressure TV, Romney is a capable and intelligent man who is ready to be president and has a substantial reform agenda. The Obama campaign’s response to his debate victory basically was, “Don’t believe your lying eyes — believe our super PAC ads.”

Democrats have convinced themselves that all the president needs to do to come roaring back in the next debate is rebut Romney’s dishonesties, which will expose his indefensible agenda and shallow reinvention. The president’s team evidently underestimated Romney once already. If it believes this “lying liar” interpretation of the debate — rather than pushing it in the media for lack of anything else to say — it will underestimate him yet again.

Mitt Romney bested President Obama on the merits in Denver. Anyone insisting otherwise simply can’t handle the truth.

In fact, there are a few points that I think Lowry should have expanded, though I will stay with one. As Lowry said, “Romney hasn’t specified which deductions he’d cut, leaving that for a future negotiation with Congress.” In fact, this kind of leaving things open to negotiation with Congress is something a President should consider important. A President does not always get his own way in total, nor should he. President Obama had the luxury in most of his first two years of a Congress that was willing to “roll over and play dead.” Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were willing to be his accomplices in ramming through a health care bill that most Americans opposed, as well as other bills that were contrary to the nation's best interests. After the 2010 elections, with a Republican House and a more balanced Senate, the President found himself facing a Congress that was more eager to exercise its Constitutional prerogatives, and Obama wailed about “Republican obstructionism.” It is the President's duty to work with the Congress. Mitt Romney somehow found it possible, as Governor of Massachusetts, to work with an 87% Democratic legislature. Even in the Democrats' most favorable scenario, Congress will not be so dominated by their party. But I am sure that if Mitt Romney is President, he'll find a way to work with them and produce a tax code that Democrats and Republicans both — at least some of them — in Congress will vote for.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The FULL quote, in context, with that 47%

Looking over the net I found a story about Mitt Romney, to which, as a comment, the full exchange involving that 47% quote was posted:

Question: “For the past three years, all everybody’s been told is, “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of you.” How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections to convince everybody, you’ve got to take care of yourself?”

Romney reply: “Uh, well there are 47% of the people who will VOTE for the President no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon the government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will VOTE for this President no matter what. And the, the President starts off with 48, 49, 4--, he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our MESSAGE of low taxes doesn’t connect. He’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every, every 4 years. And, uh, so my job is not to worry about those few. I’ll never CONVINCE them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is to CONVINCE the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at VOTING one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not…...”

Some comments I will repeat by Dan Maloy, who presented this material on that other blog recently:

FACT #1 - This was at a fundraiser for a Presidential election. To win an election requires votes. In this quote Romney used the words “vote” (twice), “message” (once), “convince” (twice) and “voting” (once). What are the odds that a guy running for President attending a fundraiser to help win that election might talk about votes and what he needs to do during the campaign to win those votes? I know, shocking, right?

LOGICAL DEDUCTION: It’s not that Romney doesn’t “care” about that 47% as human beings, he was talking about the likelihood of winning their votes.

FACT #2 – Despite not putting the 47% comment from Romney in any way, shape or form of the true context, liberals insist that Romney is simply a greedy, uncaring person. So let’s look at the kinds of things Romney has done with his life, shall we? Hard core liberals won’t believe it so you guys might as well just respond with hate right now. Independents and those who are not lemmings will look at this objectively and come to the irrefutable conclusion: Romney cares about people and has proven it through a life time of service to his fellow man.


- Gave away his inheritance in 1998 to start / help fund the “George W. Romney Institute of Public Management” at BYU (his father, George Romney, died in 1995).

- Donated his entire Olympics salary and severance package ($1.4M) to charity.

- While governor of Massachusetts, at HIS request, served the people of MA at the salary of $1/year (that’s right, ONE DOLLAR).

- Voluntarily served, without pay or re-compensation of funds, as a Mormon missionary for 30 months in his late teens/early twenties (you may not agree with what he taught but the fact is he did it on a volunteer basis with the belief that he was helping to bring people closer to Jesus).

- Volunteer service to community as a church head pastor for 13 years all with ZERO pay (that's right, none); 5 years as a “bishop” and 8 years as a “stake president”.

- Would give ALL his Presidential salary ($1.6 Million total) back to the American taxpayers if elected (yes, he's on record as committing to this).

- Based on a net worth of $200-250M and his constant activity/involvement in his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the ‘Mormons’), has given at least $20-25 MILLION to his church. (LDS church members pay tithing; one-tenth of what a person earns. The LDS church uses tithing donations to build and maintain churches and temples, print literature about Jesus Christ, etc. Can anyone dispute this is not “charitable” giving?) BTW, that is NOT including other charitable contributions to the LDS church in the form of “fast offerings”. Go look it up.

- He also chose to NOT receive any Social Security payments upon turning 65 because, again, he knows he can take care of himself and therefore should not rely on our tax dollars to help fund his daily living. (BTW, that’s HIS money that he’s leaving in government accounts.)

- Shut down most of his company, Bain Capital, and, at Romney’s expense, moved most of his employees to New York City to help find an employee’s missing daughter; set up a base of operations in a hotel room, posted thousands of flyers, talked to hundreds of shop owners, talked to thousands of people on the street, coordinated efforts with the police, worked with the media to air their search on TV. And…..when they finally did find her, a doctor said she was in such poor condition from a drug overdose she may not have survived another day. (see pg 2)

- Built a neighborhood playground & later did maintenance / upkeep on it for 5 years

- Loaned money for someone to buy a home

- Helped write a will for a terminally ill teenager at the teenaged boy’s request

- Cares about his fellow man: gave $3,000,000 to charity in 2010 and $4,000,000 to charity in 2011; that’s $7 MILLION in just 2 years. Would you have done that? Romney did.

FACT #3 – If you need a check from the government to survive from month to month, you ARE dependent upon the government. You might be old, you might be young, you might be smart, you may have been an All-State football player or homecoming queen in high school, but if you need a check from the government to survive, you are indeed dependent upon the government. The O-N-L-Y exception to this is if the check the government gives you is YOUR Social Security check. THAT money came from you and belongs to YOU.

Thanks, Mr. Maloy. I never thought I'd get the full context. I'm glad you found it somewhere and posted it.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Let's look at the facts

There are Democratic-leaning blogs and sites that are claiming that it was Romney that was lying in Wednesday's debate, and specifically about that “$5 trillion tax cut.” President Obama used that figure on four occasions during that debate. As can be seen here, what is really the case is that Romney's plan cuts taxes by about that (actually a bit less, $4.8 trillion) over a 10-year period, but in addition eliminates a number of deductions and loopholes, which would make up for those cuts. And while Romney has failed to be specific about these, the whole point is that a President has to negotiate with Congress. Mitt Romney, I am certain, understands this, and expects to talk to Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, John Boehner, and Nancy Pelosi about these details, to find out what can pass Congress. He is not Barack Obama, who figures that Congress will accept whatever he proposes.

And even the Obama campaign concedes that this “$5 trillion tax cut” charge is not true. Yet, I've seen a number of blogs that charge Romney with having chutzpah for his comment: “Mr. President, you're entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts.” But the facts are there, as I've just stated. So who is lying, and who is displaying chutzpah, there?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Blame John Kerry!

A lot of people are dissecting Wednesday night's Romney-Obama debate, and trying to account for how thoroughly (even in the eyes of Democratic loyalists!) Barack Obama was beaten by Mitt Romney. Pres. Obama has said that when he reached the debate stage:

I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney,… the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that.

Of course, Mitt Romney has never said what Obama claimed he's been saying for the last year. He has favored tax cuts, yes. But the assessment that he “promis[ed] $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy” came from a Democratic think tank, analyzing Romney's proposals in the most unfavorable way.

But what I suspect is that John Kerry, who has been filling in for Romney in Obama's practice debates, has defended the kind of tax proposals that Obama projects as Romney's plan, rather than Romney's actual proposals.

After all, it was John Kerry who said, eight years ago, “I can't believe I'm losing to this idiot.” Kerry considers George W. Bush an “idiot.” The same Bush whose grades at Yale were, if anything, slightly higher than Kerry's. But of course, Kerry is steeped in liberal orthodoxy. Anyone who doesn't see things that way is an “idiot.” It is simply obvious to Kerry that everything liberals say about economic (and other) matters is true, and everything conservatives say about these things is so patently false that only an idiot could believe it! And thus, when Kerry primed Obama for the debate, he gave Obama such a false picture of what Romney believes and how he thinks that Obama was absolutely shocked to face the real Mitt Romney.

Let's just hope Obama never wakes up to the real Mitt Romney before he has turned off so many voters that this election turns out a carbon copy of 1980.

Note added on Oct. 7, 2012: It looks like many people on Obama's team agree!

Friday, October 05, 2012

The best line in the debate?

Many people are giving quotes from Wednesday night's Romney-Obama debate. Some are picking out key quotes. For example, Tom Bowler's blog, “Libertarian Leanings,” picks this one:

But you’ve been — but you’ve been president four years. You’ve been president four years. You said you’d cut the deficit in half. It’s now four years later. We still have trillion-dollar deficits.

Well, that's a good one. But my choice was this one:

Mr. President, you're entitled as the president to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts.

President Obama has expected us to believe a pack of lies for nearly four years. It's certainly time to retire him.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Last night's debate

I don't have a television in my room. And I really didn't want to stay up till 10:30 anyway (I could watch a stream on my computer) — I'm not a late-night person. So my plan was to get up today, look at a transcript (the New York Times, as is typical, provided one), and also at some of the comments, because I knew that, as a strong Romney supporter, I personally would be more impressed by his ideas than the president's, but it's important to see how others saw the debate. And I'm thrilled.

Romney did what he had to — point out that Obama was continually lying about Romney's plans, and remind the audience that we have not done very well in the nearly 4 years that Barack Obama has been president. He said one thing that I think is one of the major reasons to elect him: in Massachusetts, he faced a legislature 87% controlled by the opposition party, yet he managed to work with them, while Barack Obama forced bills through that not a single Republican could support. And even after the people of Massachusetts (yes, Massachusetts!) elected a new Republican Senator specifically on the basis of his opposition to “Obamacare,” the Obama/Reid/Pelosi machine forced it upon the American people.

But as I said, I wanted to see what others thought. And, for example, Andrew Sullivan (probably as great a cheerleader for Obama as there is at the moment outside the Obama family!) said:

Look: you know how much I love the guy, and you know how much of a high information viewer I am, and I can see the logic of some of Obama's meandering, weak, professorial arguments. But this was a disaster for the president for the key people he needs to reach, and his effete, wonkish lectures may have jolted a lot of independents into giving Romney a second look.

Obama looked tired, even bored; he kept looking down; he had no crisp statements of passion or argument; he wasn't there. He was entirely defensive, which may have been the strategy. But it was the wrong strategy. At the wrong moment.

If Andrew Sullivan, who admits he “love[s] the guy,” thought the debate was “a disaster for the president,” that “Obama looked tired, even bored; he kept looking down; he had no crisp statements of passion or argument; he wasn't there,” the debate was a success in the way I would mean: it showed up the President for what he is, and spotlighted Mitt Romney as what he will be if elected.

I admit I'm a cheerleader for Mitt Romney in this election. So I really needed to see how the debate affected people like Andrew Sullivan. As I said, I'm thrilled!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

My endorsements/votes

Tomorrow there will, I expect, be a post commenting on the Romney/Obama debate scheduled for tonight. But until then, I'm going ti use this blog to present my positions on the various candidates and questions that I will be voting on in a month.

Unfortunately, living in Maryland, my vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan whll probably have no effect. Because of the electoral college, my vote will be submerged by a huge Obama-Biden majority. But Romney and Ryan get my vote and my endorsement, and I'm hoping that enough people in the states where it does matter will vote that way.

Likewise, my candidates for both houses of Congress have little chance of winning, and my vote will be largely symbolic. Dan Bongino would be a major improvement over the incumbent, Ben Cardin, and I wish he had a real chance to win the Senate seat. (There is also an independent, Rob Sobhani, who used to be a Republican, and has some merit; unfortunately, since we don't have a system of approval voting, all Sobhani can hope to do is steal a few votes from Bongino and help Cardin win big.) For the House of Representatives, I am still in the 8th District, and though the recent gerrymandering of the Maryland House Districts has made it less solidly Democratic than it used to — Gov. O'Malley has attempted to force Roscoe Bartlett out of his 6th District seat by moving some Democratic areas into it from the 8th — I am certain that Ken Timmerman has no chance to beat Chris Van Hollen — no matter how much I'd love to see Van Hollen kicked out of the House.

There are also elections for school board positions, but as I have said, I don't vote in those, and there will be Nazi-style elections for judicial seats (Back in New York, of course, all the parties would co-endorse the same candidate, so you often had no choice, but in Maryland there aren't even the fictions of elections with an apparent choice for judicial elections.)

Now we get to the ballot questions.There are seven of them that will be voted on statewide, though it is laughable that we get to vote on the first two. Apparently the qualifications for Orphan's Court judges in each county are set in the State Constitution, so when they are to be changed in one county, everyone in the State gets to vote on the question. Question 1 (regarding Prince George's County) and Question 2 (regarding Baltimore County) will be on the ballot this year; I can't see why people in the other twenty-plus counties even get to vote on these questions, and I intend to abstain on both, as I did in a similar case two years ago.

Question 3 is also a State Constitutional amendment, though one that makes more sense than the first two: It apparently responds to a recent case in the county next door where a County Council member convicted of a crime stayed on the council for a while, because Maryland law permitted her to do so until the actual sentence was laid down. Under Question 3, as soon as an official would be found guilty, they would be removed from office. I don't have strong feelings about this, but I will probably vote for Question 3.

Then there are the questions that will really get people's attention. Question 4 is Maryland's version of the DREAM Act, giving illegals in-state rates on tuition at public colleges. As I have said before, I will vote — and urge others to vote — against Question 4. Similarly, I have indicated that my intention is to vote against Question 5, which implements the particularly egregious gerrymander I mentioned a few paragraphs earlier, whose main purpose is to ensure a 7-1 Democratic majority in the Maryland delegation to the House of Representatives. But Question 6, to allow same-sex marriage, is one I support. I will vote — and urge others to vote — for Question 6, and in addition, for Question 7, about which I have said little so far.

Question 7 expands the law to allow an additional casino in Maryland. It is being supported by commercial interests that hope to own such a casino, and opposed by those who already own casinos — or plan to — that would lose traffic to a new one. My own position is that having the State collect a share of gambling money is preferable to raising taxes on everyone — you can avoid this siphoning of money out of your pocket simply by not gambling! Some people point to compulsive gamblers being put at risk, but just because there are alcoholics we do not ban liquor sales! (We tried once — it didn't work!)

In short, my endorsements:

President and Vice-President: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

United States Senate from Maryland: Dan Bongino.

United States House of Representatives from the 8th District of Maryland: Ken Timmerman.

Questions 1 and 2: ABSTAIN.

Questions 3, 6, and 7: FOR.

Questions 4 and 5: AGAINST.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Tomorrow's debate

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will meet each other in debate tomorrow night. And since the polls show Obama with a small lead, the debate will be critical. (There will be three altogether, but it has been this country's experience that the first one sets the tone that the others cannot reverse.)

Jimmy Carter was leading Ronald Reagan by eight points, more than twice Obama's current lead, before their debate in 1980. Yet Reagan pulled it out on the basis of proving, at the debate, that he had what it took to be President. Clearly, this will be an opportunity for Romney, and I will be hoping that he can do to Obama what Reagan did to Carter. This is very similar to 1980 — an incumbent President who seems, to many people, “likeable,” but who has made a serious botch of his nearly four years in the White House, challenged by an opponent who is having trouble winning people to his side. There are differences — nobody doubts Romney's competence as many did Reagan's, and Obama has been the exact opposite of Carter's micro-managing type of executive. And Carter's ”like-ability” seems a lot more justified than Obama's, to the point that I am seriously puzzled as to why people characterize this man — one of the most nasty machine-type politicians in recent history — as likeable. But it is similar enough that I am seriously rooting for Romney to find a way to capture the public's favor.