Saturday, December 31, 2011
But to the gist of this post. In typical anti-climatic fashion, the Des Moines Register GOP Caucus poll was released a day before the Des Moines Register is to be sold in gas stations/stores and delivered to the homes of countless Iowans tomorrow. This poll will likely be one of the last "decent" polls til the actual Iowa Caucus on Tuesday, January 3rd. Why is this poll more "decent" than others? Because instead of just asking Iowa GOPers who they would like to see win the Caucus vote, the Register asked Likely Caucus "goers" who they planted to vote for thus making the poll more accurate than the countless other polls released recently.
The results are as follows (also showing the point rise from last month's poll):
Mitt Romney- 24%, +8
Ron Paul- 22%, +4
Rick Santorum- 15%, +9
Newt Gingrich- 12%, -13
Rick Perry- 11%, +5
Michelle Bachmann- 7%, -1
Sadly, I am not a "trained" or experience analyzing polls. I do feature them often in my posts but I largely only comment on the facts directly mentioned in such polls. For a proper and detailed analysis of this poll and several other recent ones pertaining to the upcoming Iowa Caucus, I give you Nate Silver of the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog:
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
As reported today by POLITICO, source within Iowa are claiming Bob Vander Plaats (a conservative politician here in Iowa) called Michelle Bachmann this past Saturday and called on her to end her presidential run and instead endorse Rick Santorum as Mr. Plaats did publicly today. (1) While such attempts to get candidates to quit the race and endorse others is hardly uncommon, the source of this call is what bothers me.
For those who don't know, Bob Vander Plaats is an Iowan businessman who has a less than stellar political career here in the great state of Iowa. Actually, that's being a little too generous. He is by all definitions a political loser who has tried not once, not twice, but three times to get the Republican nomination for Governor here in Iowa..and failed every time. So why would any of the GOP candidates care about what Vander Plaats has to say? It's because where Bob has been somewhat successful at is exhorting his influence on Iowa's conservatives. On two occasions Bob has met with some success. First, in 2008 he threw his support behind Mike Huckabee and with his victory in the subsequent Caucus, Huckabee made Bob the State Chair for his presidential campaign (which ultimately failed).
His second political victory here in Iowa was his effort to oust 3 of Iowa's Supreme Court justices during their retention election in 2010. Why did Vander Plaats want these justices dismissed? Because of a now semi-famous Iowa Supreme Court decision: Varnum v. Brien. In this decision, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled unanimously against a state law that only permitted heterosexual couples to apply for marriage licenses, de facto allowing same-sex couples here in Iowa to marry legally. Even though the court rule unanimously (shocking considering the justices were appointed by Republican and Democratic governors), it was rejected by conservatives across the state and Vander Plaats saw an opportunity to get his name back in the news and became the "white knight" for a movement to dismiss three of the justices up for retention in 2010 because he their decision exceeded the bounds of authority of the courts (which I personally believe is ridiculous) and were out of step with Iowa's values. Regardless of the merits, he and his supporters succeeded in dismissing the justices. This feat was shocking because it is the first time it has been done since 1962. (2) Sadly for Bob, it was a bit of a mixed night since it was Terry Brandstad who carried the GOP back to the governor's mansion instead of him but hey, a win's a win right?
Regardless of the merits of the court's decision (I have my own opinion but I don't want to wander), Vander Plaats high profile support for the justices' dismissal propelled him to be something of a leader among Iowa's social conservatives and as such he likely believed he was entitled to some respect for the GOP Presidential candidates when it came to matters in Iowa. As such, he and The Family Leader group (which he helped found) published a marriage pledge for the GOP candidates to sign that would ensure that only those who agree gay marriage should be illegal could possibly get his group's endorsement. However, this time Bob got a bit carried away. The group's pledge was immediately controversial because a section of it's language that claimed the following:
"Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.” (3)
Needless to say, this idiotic section of the pledge drew fire from many of the major candidates, lead by Mitt Romney, that thankfully forced the group to remove that section from their pledge. However, even with that section removed the pledge remained controversial amongst even Iowa Republicans (including Iowa House member Jeff Kaufmann and former gubernatorial candidate Doug Gross), who claimed such a pledge did more harm than good. Mr. Kaufmann's criticism was particularly striking since he personally sponsored a bill in Iowa's legislature to create a constitutional amendment to overturn the Varnum v. Brein decision. (4) Regardless, the first two candidates who agreed to sign the pledge (both of which did so before the slavery section was removed) were Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann.
And that's where the story out today from POLITICO is particularly annoying to me. Even though Michelle Bachmann was the first to sign his group's idiotic pledge, won the Ames Straw Poll, and has consistently polled higher than Rick Santorum (though that's not a difficult feat, even John Huntsman can do that for pete's sake), and has run a better campaign here in Iowa, Vander Plaats thinks Bachmann should be the one to pull out of the race..Say what?
Thankfully, Ms. Bachmann pointed out the later of those points to Bob when she turned down his idea of stepping down and for that I give her credit. When presented with a idiotic proposal, she had enough sense to tell Bob off and move on with her campaign.
The real question is..What was Vander Plaats thinking? Why endorse Santorum over Bachmann? The two candidates are virtually interchangeable on issues that concern social conservatives most here in Iowa and further The Family Leader hasn't endorsed any candidate so far..So why did Vander Plaats throw his weight behind Santorum? I personally can think of only one "logical" reason..But I'll keep that to myself and leave that question for my readers to answer for themselves.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Why is that? Because none other than Ron Paul has just climbed to the top of the political ladder here in the great state of Iowa. The current GOP breakdown via PPPolling is as followings: Ron Paul 23%, Mitt Romney 20%, Newt Gingrich 14%, Rick Perry 10%, Rick Santorum 10%, Michelle Bachmann 10%, John Huntsman 4%, and 2% for Gary Johnson. (1)
Now if you had suggested such a thing several months ago, it might have shocked many (except Ron Paul supporters of course) but to those of us leaving here in Iowa, his current raise in Iowa polls is not only unsurprising, it seemed to have taken longer than many (including myself) expected. Now to be honest, I have personally discounted Ron Paul as having a real chance at the overall nomination and was even skeptical about how well he would do in Iowa. But one thing I did know was if Ron Paul was going to win anywhere, it would be here in Iowa. Why is that?
Well for one, I still remember the many Ron Paul fans/supporters here in Iowa from his 2008 campaign and few if any of them have ever lost faith in Mr. Paul's chances of winning. Not only that, but I was often surprised how many of my fellow Political Science majors in college like Ron Paul especially considering many were of VERY differing political views. There can be no doubt, Ron Paul is something of a political "rock star" with young voters like myself. Personally I chalk a lot of that support the fact that young voters are traditionally not only more cynical of politics but are also paradoxically idealistic in general and the "radical" message Ron Paul presents can be very appealing.
Another element of Ron Paul's success is his largely non-existent "flip-flops" in his political positions. In other words, the positions he holds on the major issues today haven't really changed for DECADES, and that kind of political morality is also very appealing to folks used to lying, thieving, and cheating politicians...ESPECIALLY here in Iowa where from a pretty young age I was taught that most if not all politicians are "slimy" and one normally has to choose between the lesser of two evils come election day. For a Presidential contender to come to Iowa with such a consistent message as Ron Paul is going to win him popularity regardless of his specific views on the issues of the day.
Further, some of Ron Paul views (especially about smaller government and deficit control) are issues that many Iowans are very supportive of and have been mobilized for thanks in part to the Tea Party movement (hence why Paul stylizes himself the "godfather" of the Tea Party movement) that gives me a solid base of support with not just Republicans but also with independents.
However, there has always been something of a ceiling for Ron Paul's support, both nationally and in Iowa. Part of this stems from the fact that Ron Paul is not exactly what you would call a social conservative, a group that holds a fair amount of sway in Iowa politics lately (much to my personally disgust) and as such will likely never really win them over. On a side note, keep an eye on Rick Perry come caucus day, I have a feeling these folks will flock to him when finally pushed to make a choice..
Reinforcing these points is some of the other results from the new poll. For example, when asked who Iowa Republicans thinks has run the best campaign here in Iowa, Ron Paul scores at 22% compared to just 8% and 5% for Gingrich and Romney respectively. Only Bachmann scores close to Paul at 19% (and as many times as she calls my folks that's no big shock). So clearly, more Iowans think Paul has done a better job of campaigning here in Iowa than any of his rivals, and MUCH better than the other two "front runners". And that brings me to Paul's campaigning here in Iowa.(1)
For the first time that I can remember, Ron Paul has actually invested A LOT in television ads, certainly much higher than any previous election. His first ads were somewhat dark and gloomy and didn't exactly catch most folks attention. However that changed with his more recent ads which are much more..Eye-catching. This includes a setup that really reminds me of a Ford truck ad, which is telling since truck commercials are like political ads in that they are trying to embarrass and one-up their competitors. It also includes a comical comparison of how politicians often talk a big talk in the election season but after the election they get kinda quite (using dogs no less). Overall, its a pretty unusual political ad and because of that it has likely caught a lot of folks' attention and this seems to have translated in this new poll (and several others that have come out over the last 3 days). And when you take these new tactics into account with the rather blatant absence of the other two front runners in Iowa over the last few weeks, its no shock their numbers have either yo-yo'ed or remained unchanged.
And that is the second big story of this poll: the fall of Newt Gingrich. Newt got a big boost when Herman Cain finally imploded (long over due) and soared to the top of polls across the nation even though his campaign has been largely non-existent (especially here in Iowa). This was likely partially thanks to his existing name recognition and the fact that he was just the latest of the "Not-Romney" candidates to rise and now seemingly fall. Now for the record, Newt's fall isn't just limited to here in Iowa. While he remains on top of most state polls as of late, his lead in these states is beginning to erode and his national numbers have fallen as well. For example, Gallup's tracking has Gingrich's national support falling from 37% in the 1st week of December now down to 28%, a nine point drop in less than two weeks. (2) Now whether Newt's lead will completely collapse as his predecessors to the "Not-Romney" position did is unclear. I think he has some real staying power but his massive lead is likely to disappear between now and the Iowa Caucus, which will actually make the race a bit more exciting.
But here is the difference between Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich's rise here in Iowa. Newt's was based on his simply NOT being Mitt Romney and did so without even really campaigning here. Paul's rise is based on the fact he isn't Romney OR Newt in that he has been politically consistent over his career not a flip-flopper. Further, he has actually campaigned heavily in Iowa and has a dedicated corps of supporters that are determined to get his name out there (including by placing signs in seemingly EVERY corn/bean field between my home and Des Moines). Long story short, Ron Paul's numbers are based a real foundation where as Newt's is based on..little more than hot air.
So at least for the moment, Iowa is starting to look like Ron Paul country, and if so, good for Mr. Paul. However, as Mike Huckabee will testify, simply winning here in Iowa will not guarantee victory, it's translating this small victory into real momentum and in his cause proving the nation his not just some crazy guy from Texas (as opposed to the other Texan who is not so much crazy and just.."not sharp") and can really win the highest office in the land. He isn't really the candidate for me, but I will give credit where it is due, and Mr. Paul has earned this new poll. I just hope he doesn't squander it.
And in today's installment of "What ignorant thing did Bachmann say now?", we turn to the issue of Iran and its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons. In the most recent GOP debate this past week, this issue came to a head when a rather heated exchange between Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul occurred. Specifically, Bachmann repeated a whooper of a claim she has made before in her campaign, that if Iran acquired nuclear weapons they wouldn't hesitate to use them against Israel and United States and even claims that Iran's president actually specifically threatened to use such weapons against the United States. Ron Paul, for all his faults, rightfully corrected Bachmann by referring to her claims as exaggerations and outright inaccurate. Bachmann however has refused to admit her error (or more accurately, her LIE) and has continued her attack on Ron Paul by accusing his views on the issue as "dangerous" (1).
For clarity, here is the issue. Whether Iran is pursuing the technology for building nuclear weapons was not the issue at the debate, the GOP candidates are pretty resolute in that position. The issue is what would Iran possibly do IF they did acquire nuclear weapons. Now in general it is a valid one but Bachmann took the issue to a whole new area by blatantly fibbing on her claims. She specifically claims, "Because they have stated unequivocally, once they gain a nuclear weapon, they will use that weapon to wipe Israel off of the map and they will use it against the United States."(1) Here's the thing, the Iranian government has never said such a thing.
For one, technically speaking, Iran's REAL ruler, Ayatollah Khameni has actually issue a fatwa (or religious ruling) AGAINST the building of nuclear weapons. Now how reliable such a fatwa is from such a man is definitely debatable but that is the information we have. Secondly, Iran's President on has never threatened the issue of nuclear weapons against Israel or the US. Never, not once, not occasionally, NEVER. Why? Because the Iranian government is not that stupid. Contrary to right-wing claims, Iran's government has never shown itself to be suicidal or deeply irrational (both of which would be required to actually contemplate using nuclear weapons against Israel or the US). In fact the regime's entire history tells one real lesson about their real motives: Survival. In other words, the government of Iran's main purpose is to survive and remain in control and to launch nuclear weapons against a nuclear power such as the US or Israel would surely be the fastest way for them to be REMOVED from power (and existence for that matter). So it's no wonder Iran's leaders have never been foolish enough to threaten the US and Israel in such a way. (2)
So for Michelle Bachmann to continuously beat this LIE to death and try and make Ron Paul look like a quack on this very real foreign policy issue is not only pathetic, it's downright disgraceful. What's worse, she tried to claim at the last debate that the "factcheckers" at PolitiFact.com said everything she said was true, which was another blatant LIE. (3) I'll say it once, and I fear I'll have to say it again, but Bachmann shouldn't be treated like a serious candidate for the simple fact that she ISN'T one. Her only accomplishment in her political career is that she wouldn't know the truth if it was standing in front of her holding a sign.
Actually, I take that back. She has accomplished something else in her attempt at winning the highest office in all the land. As prescribed by the Constitution, any natural-born American citizen of a certain age can run for President of the United States..And if Michelle Bachmann is the best the GOP can come up with, then maybe any "average Joe/Jane" really can run for President and no matter who that average Joe/Jane is, they would be a damn sight better than Michelle Bachmann.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Now normally I don't get too excited about political TV ads because they are always full of exaggerations and because after one watches them you often find yourself asking, "do they really think we are that stupid to buy this crap?" As such they should be treated like infomercials and muted when they come on the television. But occasionally, one or two ads will annoy me enough to call them out for the steaming crap that they are and it just so happens that one of Rick Perry's ads is the aim of my fury today.
Which ad I am talking about you ask?
In this video, Perry discusses his faith and at the same time attacks President Obama for supposedly launching a "war against religion" in America. He does so with phrases like "I'm not ashamed to admit I am a Christian", and "“But you don’t have to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion, and I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.”(1)....Where do I even start?
Firstly, President Obama for his many faults has NEVER been ashamed of his Christian faith. He has made frequent statements about his Christian faith during his tenure as President and has never shown any signs of being ashamed to admit it. Does the President wear his religion on his sleeve like Rick Perry does? No and there's nothing wrong with that. Since when did it become a crime for the President not to mention God every time he opens his mouth like Rick Perry does? Oh that's right, the US Constitution actually FORBIDS religious tests for those wishing the office of President of the United States. Strike one for Mr. Perry's ad.
Perry's second point in his video is even more mystifying. What exactly is the correlation between having openly gay Americans serving this nation in our armed forces and kids supposedly not being allowed to pray in school? One has NOTHING to do with the other. The President's decision (and the Congress' support) to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" had nothing to do with religion. It had to do with removing the final barrier of discrimination in the US military that forbade gay Americans from serving their nation without having to hide who they really are. Strike two for Mr. Perry's ad.
Further, contrary to Rick Perry's claim, students in schools CAN pray openly if they so wish. Students are fully allowed to pray openly in schools, their teachers simply can't lead them in such prayers because as employees of the state such as action would be arguably an endorsement of a certain faith which goes against the Separation of Church and State legal standard. Nor has the President done anything to change that in his tenure as President. Current policy on prayer in public schools has been set not by the President or Congress but by the US Supreme Court. So if Rick Perry has a beef with that policy he can take it up with the United States Supreme Court who has set those policy and boundaries in place.
But arguably the worst part about Rick Perry's ad is the massive hypocrisy that involve his supposed Christian faith. For a unabashed Christian man, Mr. Perry certainly has a funny way of showing it, by de facto stating that the US military should have the right to discriminate who can and can not serve their nation simply because of a sexual preference/lifestyle choice. The faith preached by Jesus Christ taught above all else tolerance and love towards our fellow man/woman and his and others' hatred towards those different from themselves is a disgrace to the Christian faith (cough Rick Santorum cough) they claim to be such strong followers of.
Instead of President Obama's supposed "war on religion", perhaps Rick Perry should worry more about his war on common sense..Does he really think we are that stupid?
Strike three, and your out Mr. Perry.
And may we never forget the millions of American men and women who volunteered to serve in the aftermath of that terrible day, whether it be in the factories or on the frontlines, they put their lives on hold to do their part in defense of this nation. This is the reason we call them the "greatest generation", and that spirit of sacrifice and duty lives on today in the hearts of every serviceman/servicewomen of our armed forces.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The American Spectator: Occupiers "only one or two steps away from becoming the Brown Shirts of our era."
As the title of my pieces suggests, this author writing for "The American Spectator" has attempted rather stupidly to compare the Occupy Wall Street protesters to Sturmabteilung or SA of the Nazi Party that arose in the 1920's. The SA or "Brown Shirts" as they were called (for their brown uniforms, and in reference to their Italian counterparts the "Black shirts"), were formed by the early Nazi Party (at the time called the DAP or German Worker's Party) to act as "hall defenders" for the party members. In other words, when Adolf Hitler or other major party members were giving speeches it was their job to remove any hecklers or dissenters in the audience. They also served as bodyguards against the DAP/Nazi party's political enemies, the Social Democrats and Communists. They were by all definitions of the word, thugs who kept political dissenters at a distance from the Nazi Party leadership. They were by modern terms a paramilitary organization (an organisation with military-like characteristics but not active members of the armed forces).
So why exactly does the author think there are parallels to the Brown Shirts and the Occupiers?
He/she believes the Occupiers clashes with police (and occasionally clashing with the media in the case of Occupy Oakland) is equivalent to the actions of the Brown Shirts during those early years of the DAP/Nazi party. He/she also seems to think there are parallels between the message of the Occupy Wall street movement and that of the Brown Shirts.
Now as a graduate of history in college, I was appalled and greatly irritated by the author's rather pathetic and moronic attempt to compare the Occupy movement with the fascist brown shirts of Germany in the 1920's. Sadly, comparing one's political opponents of being Nazis is hardly new in American politics, but it's something that truly makes my blood boil. Such petty and pathetic tactics are reserved solely for small-minded individuals. Of course the author is welcomed to his opinion but that doesn't entitle him/her to distort facts.
The main point of comparison the author seems to make is in reference to the Occupy Iowa protesters claiming they plan to "occupy" the Iowa Caucus. Not quite. The hacker group Anonymous did sent out a video calling on Iowa protesters to occupy the Caucus but the Occupy Iowa movement denounced the video and stated that while they will be protesting that day of the caucus, they have no intention of disrupting those taking part. Based on this erroneous belief, the author is attempting to compare the intimidation tactics of the Brown shirts to people protesting outside Caucus sites here in Iowa. Now even IF the Occupiers here in Iowa decided to more actively protest the Caucus (such as blocking the entrances or conducting a sit-in), such tactics are NOTHING compared to the tactics of the Brown shirts in the 1920's. In addition to keeping political dissenters away from the party leadership, the Brown shirts also harassed and routinely attacked their political rivals with deaths often the result. They also would provoke clashes with their political rivals in hope of either having them arrested and therefore removing them from the streets allowing the Brown shirts to move about more freely.
So what exactly is the author trying to get at? The main point the author seems to be trying to make is the Occupy Wall Street movement preference for "occupying" city parks and other public areas instead of "occupying" politicians offices in D.C. is similar to the actions of the many political factions of post-WWI Germany who took to the streets with their political messages instead of solely relying on the political structure that existed at the time. However his error is the specific reference to the Brown shirts. The Brown shirts were the storm troopers of the Nazi party whose job was keeping dissenters away from the Nazi leadership and attacking its political rivals and no comparison can be made between their tactics and current tactics of the Occupy movement. While both movements choose to operate outside the traditional political system, the Occupy movement has remained large non-violent while the Brown shirt's very start was rooted in violently shutting up those who heckled Adolf Hitler.
So I would strongly suggest the anonymous author this piece to actually pick up and OPEN a history book next time he/she tries to make a historical comparison between political groups because not doing so makes it rather hard to take the article as whole seriously and not just the work of some partisan hack.
First, as reported on POLITICO last night, a new accuser has come out against Herman Cain in which she claims to have had a 13 year long affair with the GOP hopeful. She broke this story with a local Atlanta, Georgia TV station who were shown cell phone records that showed a number that she claimed was Cain's private phone number. When the reporter texted this number, Herman Cain personally called right back.(1)
Now I have largely remained quiet about Herman Cain's "problems" because I didn't consider worth my time since the whole issue has nothing to do with the man's politics (which is all I am concerned about). I only detail this most recent "problem" because it may be the tipping point for Cain's campaign.
As reported by POLITICO (2), this latest incident has Herman Cain seriously considering pulling out of the race depending on how he call sell this latest "problem" as no different than the rest. Cain's departure, while foreseen by many, will nevertheless have a major impact on the GOP race for the White House. This is because Cain still polls well in many states and his supporters will have to find someone else to throw their weight behind. The question is..Who is that candidate?
As I talked about in my last piece, polls seem to so Newt Gingrich is the candidate to gain the most if Herman Cain finally implodes and by a pretty wide margin. This was reinforced today by a report released by the Public Policy Polling. This report compiled the results of 6 recent GOP polls and found that on average 37% polled would pick Newt Gingrich as their second choice if Herman Cain pulls out of the race while only 13% would pick the other "front runner" Mitt Romney. (3)
Strangely though, Mitt Romney's campaign to date has shown no interest in these polls and is instead focusing on attacking the President as if he was the nominee.(4) Now such a strategy does have benefits since it keeps Romney from attacking his fellow GOPers and giving him a "cleaner" image than earlier in the campaign when he and Rick Perry would constantly clashing. However it also risks making him look out of touch with the GOP voters who aren't so sure the GOP race is all over.
But a new poll out today may make that disconnect look even more apparent..Mainly because of where it taken: New Hampshire. Rasmussen reported today that in a new poll taken in the 1st in the nation primary that Romney's seemingly invincible lead is being wore away at an alarming rate. The breakdown of the poll was as such: Romney 34%, Gingrich 24%, Paul 14%, Huntsman 11%. (5) Now the biggest surprise of this poll isn't Gingrich's rising numbers, it's John Huntsman numbers that are surprising. At 11%, this is Huntsman's best showing yet in any state poll and while he may only be polling 4th, with every gained number he is further chipping away at Romney's lead with a little over a month until the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary.
So indeed, the last 24 hours has been quite exciting for political wonks. I have a sneaking suspension that the next 24 hours will be just as interesting..Stay tuned.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Great article detailing many of the leading GOP candidates' bizarre, idiotic, and down right unconstitutional ideas of changing the Judicial Branch of government..Our founding fathers would be rolling in their graves if ANY of these people followed through with these ideas. Shame on them!
Monday, November 21, 2011
While I generally dislike cuts to the Defense Budget..This is one program I would have no problem cutting. Good to know the old Cold War policy of putting lipstick on dictators is not just alive and well, it's funded by we the taxpayers.
Now don't get me wrong, I understand WHY we are kissing Uzbekistan's butt (mainly we have a major airbase there and apparently can find no where else to put one). I fully understand that sometimes you have to make strange bedfellows to achieve a strategic goal. The problem I have is, it seems we are ALWAYS making such horrible alliances of convenience and at some point we are going to have to ask ourselves, when are we going to draw the line as to how far are willing to bend over to these people and betray our own ideals? Where does it end?
I honestly have no easy answer...And I don't fault those asked to carry out such policies as this propaganda website mentioned in the article because they are simply doing what the policy-makers in D.C. ask them to do. But one of these days I fear this "deal with the devil" will come back to haunt us..As they often do.
For one, there are few if any prominent enough Democrats to even pose a real threat to the President in the first place (making such a primary challenge a real waste of time) whose only real accomplishment could be to force the President to make new promises to his liberal base...Promises he can easily break after his re-election since he will no longer need their votes (as all 'good' politicians do). So what would be the point? And what would it accomplish?
So after arguing with several people on Twitter about this (who rather rudely called me an "Obamapoligist"), I figured any talk of "dumping" President Obama was just a crazy idea cooked up by some grumpy liberals...But it appears these folks may have the last laugh after all.
Because today, not one but TWO articles were published that called for the same thing: President Obama to NOT run for re-election and put Hillary Clinton in play or at least replace Biden for Clinton on the VP ticket.
The two articles in question are "The Hillary Moment" by Democratic pollsters Patrick Caddell & Douglas E. Schoen for the Wall Street Journal (1), and "The "Dump Obama' movement has begun; Guess who'd replace him?" by Andrew Malcom (2). Mr. Malcom's piece was written in response to Caddell and Schoen's so I will focus on the points they made and only note that Mr. Malcom seems to have enjoyed writing his response a little too much..
In "The Hillary Moment", the authors make a pretty fair argument for President Obama deciding not to run for re-election and instead have his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton run in his place:
1. Precedent- IF Obama decided to step aside, it would hardly be the first time. Harry Truman (one of my personal favorites Presidents mind you) knew that even though he managed to win his own term in 1948, he did so just barely and come 1952 he was not likely to be able to full off that trick twice (though one does wonder if he hadn't stepped aside if Ike would have run against his former boss). LBJ too realised that his actions in the Vietnam War would make it very difficult to win another term and decided it would be best for his party if he chose instead to not run again.
2. Ready Replacement- UNLIKE Truman and LBJ, President Obama has a strong possible replacement on the Democratic ticket who has enough political experience to have a good chance of defeating the eventual GOP candidate (cough Romney cough) on her own right.
3. Clean Slate- In theory, since Clinton has been busy running the State Department (quite well according to most polls of Americans), she won't have to deal with President Obama's failures as president (especially his economic ones since she had no say in such decisions/policies), making for a "nicer" presidential campaign than the overly negative one most political wonks currently predict.
4. Doing the Honorable Thing- In theory, if President Obama decides not to run for re-election, that could give him more leverage in negotiating with Republicans over fiscal matters since his job is not longer in 'danger' and perhaps his decision could inspire Republicans to play ball.
I however have a lot of problems with this seemingly logic reasons for President Obama stepping aside for 2012.
1. While Obama wouldn't be the first to choose this path of political suicide, there is one other glaring similarity with Truman and LBJ's decisions: Their stepping aside didn't stop the GOP from coming out on top in the Presidential rat race. So is it best for the nation? Maybe, but history certainly doesn't invoke confidence if the Democrats want to win.
2. I actually have no problem with the idea that Hillary Clinton would be the ideal replacement for President Obama on the Democratic ticket, because no one else could even remotely pull off such a huge gamble.
3. I think the guys at WSJ are a bit delusional if they think the GOP won't dump all of President Obama's political baggage on Clinton's head should she decide to run in Obama's place. She may have had a good record working on the State Department but as far as the GOP is concerned, Clinton and Obama could be interchangeable (and that's exactly what they will tell prospective voters come election time).
4. Doing the honorable thing is nice and very refreshing in politics and I have no problems with that.
Personally, if President Obama decided not to run for re-election today or early next year (hint hint), I would be among the first to applaud him since overall it would probably result is at least some healing in politics. And I agree with the authors that to win, President Obama will either need a miracle, or have to run a rather nasty campaign. The later will only deepen the political divide that currently exists in Washington and while such a divide will never fully disappear..The last thing we need right now is that gridlock to get any worse (as the Super Committee's admission of failure proves). Do I think Clinton running will end that gridlock? Probably not, but I think it's possible it could be moved in the right direction regardless of who wins in the end.
So what sounded like a crazy idea to me a few weeks is starting to make some sense..I'll admit it. But will this movement to 'Dump Obama' really catch on? Only time will tell..
My thanks to Gallup for putting together a short & sweet report on American's views toward the "Occupy" movement.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Admittedly, I wrote off Newt's campaign some time ago like many political observers because of various reasons (money being the key one in my opinion, and Newt's lack of it). And in the end, Newt's recent rise may be for not, but I have to give credit where credit is due.
Ever since Herman Cain's "misfortunes" started, many waited very little before speculating which of the GOPers would benefit most from Herman's fall. Most of more, unoriginal thinkers, predicted that Mitt Romney would be the greatest beneficiary not because Cain's supporters liked him best but because his supporters would flock to multiple candidates, leaving Romney right where he is. However that belief seems to have been short-sighted. On the contrary, it has been the candidate everyone wrote off that has benefited the most from Herman's fall: Newt Gingrich.
What has astonished me the most is the shear distance Newt's poll numbers have covered in a very short amount of time, rising from single digits to leading in many new polls out this week. This is largely remarkable in that such rises normally only occur after a new candidate enters the race (see Rick Perry's entry into the rat race), not to a candidate that has been in it from the start.
But thanks to a poll released yesterday by the Public Policy Polling group, we can see both where Newt's new found support comes from and that his rise may not yet be complete. When supporters of Herman Cain were asked how favorable they were towards the "other three" top GOP contenders, the results were quite interesting. 73% of Cain supporters hold a favorable opinion of the Newt while his closest competitors (Perry and Romney) only garner some 30 or percent from Cain's supporters. Take in account that Cain has yet to drop out of the race and therefore should he decide to before the Iowa Caucus (or do so soon afterwards) it's quite possible Newt could see a further bump in the polls. For note, this same poll already has Newt in the lead with 28% and Herman Cain at 25% and Romney pulling in just 18%. (1)
And that is hardly the only poll showing Newt's miracle rise. According to POLITICO, Newt manages to pull in second to Romney in a new CNN/ORC poll at 22% and at 19% in the McClatchy-Marist poll released last Friday. (2) Further, in the CNN/ORC poll, Newt leads the field when it comes to support among the Tea Party movement with 29% of TP folks preferring Mr. Gingrich, and increase of 19 points from the last CNN poll in October. Further, Newt's rise amongst Tea Partiers is matched by Herman Cain's fall, which Cain falling from 39% support from the TP to now just 22%. (3)
However, with all fast rises, there is always a risk of burning out. And many are wondering what kind of staying power Newt has and whether his recently talked about ties to Freddie Mac will sabotage his rise in the polls just as the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary are just around the corner. (4)
Personally, I am not sure how long Newt's lead in the polls will last, but at the very least I have to give Newt credit for running an underdog campaign, often ridiculed by many from both parties as wasting our time and should just drop out. Whether it be dumb luck or political smarts, Newt has finally gotten the respect he probably deserves...But will it last?
As such, I am now working on a two-part piece on the possible rise of two GOP contenders hoping to benefit from Cain's "problems": Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry.
Since Rick Perry's not infamous blunder a few weeks ago at a GOP debate (in which he couldn't seem to remember the third of three federal agencies he wanted to eliminate as President), most politician commentators have officially written off Mr. Perry's chances of winning the GOP nomination. To a degree they are quite justified in this belief when one looks at any major presidential poll taken in the last few weeks in which Perry has been unable to achieve double-digit numbers. This has partially been because of the rise (and now slow fall) of Herman Cain.
Unlike Newt, Mr. Perry has yet to show any real gain from Cain's fall but that doesn't mean he will quit trying. Since his debate "oops", Perry has been doing everything to laugh off the moment and make the best of the situation (something I think was quite smart to do). And, starting today here in Iowa, Perry is hoping to relaunch his campaign with a bold new strategy.
His strategy? To propose major government reform on a scale not talked about for some time, even more rarely by a major candidate for the White House. What exactly does Rick Perry propose?
1. Judicial Terms- Rick Perry calls for the ending of life-appointments for federal court judges (though he makes no reference to the Supreme Court). This is likely meant to stir up social conservatives who often rant about so-called "activist" judges ruining our nation.
2. Taxes- Calls for a 2/3 majority threshold for raising taxes by Congress.
3. Congressional/Presidential Pay- First, he calls from Congress' and President's pay to be slashed in half.
4. Balanced Budget- Should the Congress be unable (or unwilling) to achieve a balanced budget, he calls for a further cutting of Congress/Presidential pay by half. Therefore, under his plan, it's possible Congressional and Presidential pay could be cut by 3/4. (1)
Now to be fair, Perry's proposals are definitely pretty bold and far greater than anything any other GOP contender has proposed. And for many who believe the federal government needs major reform (including myself), such a proposal sounds VERY interesting..However there is one huge problem: Congress. For ALL of these proposals the power lies not with the President but with Congress. Having a threshold for raising taxes is actually being seriously discussed in Washington as we speak so it's possible that provision could come true, but it would be the only one.
Cutting Congressional pay is something of a can of worms in Washington these days, very much in the same class as term limits for Congress in that they cause political realists and cynics (such as myself) to roll their eyes because believing Congress would actually give themselves a pay cut is about as likely as the CEO of Goldman Sachs cut his pay..It's not going to happen anytime soon. And there's nothing a president Rick Perry could do about it.
So the real question is, is Rick Perry serious with these proposals or is he just saying these things to try and win back the Tea Party's support that has recently shifted to Herman Cain? If the goal is to scoop up Herman Cain supporters, he already seems to have an uphill battle. Yesterday a poll released by the Public Policy Polling that showed only 32% of Herman Cain's supporters have a favorable opinion of Rick Perry.
Personally, it doesn't matter much to me since the reasons for his proposal are largely irrelevant since they will be DOA if they ever reach Congress. I do however believe that is a bold gamble for Perry. Should he succeed in passing the word about his proposals and convince enough folks that he honestly thinks he can achieve these reforms then it could be just the thing to buoy Perry back into the double-digits and make him a serious candidate again. However, should his proposal not be taken seriously and simply be laughed off as a poorly veiled attempt at pandering to the Tea Party, this will likely be Perry's final breath in this presidential marathon. And with less than 2 months til the Iowa Caucus, Perry's gamble maybe too little, too late...Time will tell.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The legislation in question, which was part of President Obama's proposed Jobs bill, passing by a 94-1 vote gives tax credits to companies/employers who hire unemployed and/or disabled American veterans (1). The legislation is meant to stem the employment crisis that far too many veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have to deal with everyday. According to a recent government report, the unemployment among veterans of the Afghan/Iraqi wars is 11.5% for the year 2010 compared to 9.4% for the nation as a whole. Even worse, some 25% of so-called "Gulf War II-era" veterans have a service-related disability which further hurts their chances at finding employment after serving their country (2).
So again, I congratulate the Senate for this rare moment of bipartisanship and common sense that will no doubt benefit countless American veterans who have served their nation proudly and deserve only the best from their nation in return...And all a day before Veterans Day no less!
I also want to wish all veterans a happy (and slightly early) Veterans Day, I plan to post a dedicated post to that subject tomorrow. And of course, I wish all Marines out there a Happy Marine Corps Birthday.
Monday, October 24, 2011
For the third installment of my report on potential voter support for the Occupy movement, I first have to thank the good people at the Pew Research Center for this poll just released today online. Specifically, Pew conducted a survey of 1,009 adults in America between October 20th and the 23rd. The poll specifically asked about support for not just the Occupy Wall Street movement but also the Tea Party movement. The poll went a little further to specifically ask how much opposition there was with the public for both movements (instead of just asking how many support them and being left to assume the remaining percentage dislike them).
So what did those surveyed say about these two seemingly opposing movements? (1)
Also, 20% of those surveyed weren't sure how they felt about either movements.
But wait, there's more! The good people at Pew also broke down the support for each movement down by political affiliation.
For the OWS movement, their ideological support is as follows:
For the Tea Party Movement, the breakdown is:
So what does all this mean? Well firstly, the numbers for the Tea Party as a whole did surprise me. Now there has been a lot of talk lately about the Tea Party's support eroding since the 2010 mid-term elections, including a recent New York Times/CBS poll that showed that just 20% of Americans supported the Tea Party movement, with 40% opposing it. (2) Gallup released a poll conducted during August this year that showed 25% of adults polled supported the Tea Party movement, 28% opposing the movement, and 42% who claimed to be neither supporters or opponents of the movement. Further, according to Gallup's tracking of the Tea Party's support, their highest support in their polls was 32% in November 2010. (3) So as you can see, the support for the Tea Party movement is not exactly easy to pin down. Gallup and the NYT's polls show a decline in Tea Party support since last November while this Pew poll found the numbers of supporters to be quite similar to those high numbers from last fall. Gallup's option of being "neither" a supporter or an opponents is much higher than the other two polls and would seem to explain the gap between theirs and NYT's poll. Regardless, I believe the reason the Tea Party's support MAY have fallen since last fall is simply because their level of exposure has certainly gone down since last fall. I suspect their numbers will go up a bit the closer we get to the 2012 election but we'll have to wait and see..
What this does show is that polls are fickle things and depending on who conducts the poll the results can be rather unpredictable and uneven. The same is bound to be true of any polls involving the Occupy Wall Street.
However, the fact that the new Pew poll and the AP-GfK show similar support for the OWS does give their numbers some good strength in the accuracy department since it's rare for two polls conducted by two different organizations to have such similar numbers. The only major difference in the two polls is the breakdown of support for the OWS. In the AP-GfK poll, 60% of Democrats support the OWS compared to 52% in this new poll.
So what do I think of the numbers for the OWS to date? Personally, the amount of support in the polls today is fairly strong considering how young the movement is. In theory anyway, their numbers are high enough that if this was an election year the movement could have a major political impact. The key words there however are "in theory". The OWS is using much different tactics than the Tea Party did to cause change and as such it's hard for me personally to gauge how successful they will be.
Special thanks to the Pew Research Center for the release of this new poll, lets hope there will be more similar polls to come!
Friday, October 21, 2011
The results of the poll are that 37% of those polled said they support the Occupy Wall Street movement, which I think is a pretty fair number considering the relatively young age of this movement (just 5 weeks or so old). More importantly, the poll also gave us a ideological breakdown of the supporters of this movement.
Not surprisingly, (to me anyway), 64% of the OWS supporters identified themselves as Democrats, 22% identified themselves as Independents, and 14% identified themselves as Republicans. While the numbers for Democrats and Independents didn't surprise me much, the number of identified Republicans in the poll did.
Some other useful date from this poll includes the following:
1. 68% of respondents agreed that former President Bush deserves "almost all" or "a lot but not all" the blame for the current economic downturn.
2. 15% of respondents agreed that President Obama deserves the blame for the current economic downturn.
3. Nearly 6 in 10 respondents blame Congressional Republicans for the current economic downturn.
4. 60% of respondents Democrats more than Republicans to create jobs
NOTE: the numbers above are a breakdown of those who DO support the OWS, not the total number of respondents.
As suggested by the above note, this poll didn't focus on the OWS alone and covered A LOT of ground, too much for me to discuss in full in this post so I decided to focus just on the OWS relevant numbers.
Now while these numbers are the first good glimpse of what kind of support the OWS has to date, as always this is just ONE poll, and one poll does not make a trend. We will need more polls in the near future to be able to safely gauge what kind of support this movement really has with the average American, but my thanks to the AP and GfK for providing us with some initial numbers.
Here are the two main links for this article. One is discussing the OWS aspect of the poll, the other about the full and entire poll done by the AP-GfK:
Thursday, October 20, 2011
This person, who I refuse to mention by name because they don't deserve the space on this post, has actually written a pledge for business owners to sign that in it's final line calls for said business owners to not hire a single person as long as they perceive President Obama's policies to be both anti-business and anti-American...
So this ignorant waste of oxygen thinks American business owners should punish the millions of unemployed Americans by not hiring them all because of the President's policies? I honestly can't wrap my head around this..
You can denounce the President's policies, call him a socialist/fascist, and even call him Un-American..But to call on businesses to not hire ANYONE because of the President's policies crosses the line in my mind..And that is the line between political discourse and outright Un-American.
And don't get me wrong, I am all for political discourse. I love a good political debate (except the ones on TV) and can tolerate pretty extreme ideas when it comes to how people feel about the government and the President. I myself don't agree with a LOT of his policies and as long as people keep it civil (as in, no racist comments or any of that birther nonsense), I don't get upset about much of anything people say about the President. And when it comes to the Tea Party, I fully expect them to say rather negative things about the President since he is a liberal and they most definitely are not. But this goes too far. Calling on American businesses to send their money to Obama's potential political opponents is fine (whether in donation form or in forming a SuperPAC), but calling for businesses to punish the average American worker simply because you disagree with his policies is just plain Un-American and the person that posted that on the Tea Party Nation website should be ashamed of themselves.
Originally I was going to condemn the Tea Party Nation group as a whole for this Un-American pledge posted on their site, but I decided against it because it isn't right to hold an entire group accountable for the posting of one member of their website. Even for something as stupid as this. However I do hope that somebody from the TPN does denounce this idiotic boycott...
The views and opinions expressed in this work are solely those of the author's and not that of the Modern Whig Party or any other political organization.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
I am continuing my previous post's theme on the Occupy (insert city/street name) movement, this time focusing on it's merits, actions, and possible support among the American people as a whole.
Firstly, I want to talk about the merits of this movement to date. For those who don't know, the group that first organized the Occupy Wall Street protest stated the main goal of the protest was to stop the influence of major corporations in the federal government (in the form of legal lobbying and outright corruption), and in turn making the federal government less representative of the American people. Now in itself, that is a good and noble goal in my mind. The problem I have is two-fold: 1) You will never stop major corporations from influencing politics, only limit their influence to some degree, and 2) Since their start they seem to have lost control over the message.
My first problem is to me a realistic one. I don't believe I or anyone else will ever see the day when corporations don't have major influence in the federal government simply because they have always had an influence and I see no reason for that ever change. To be truth, to some degree they deserve to have some influence, just as all Americans do. The sticking issue is HOW much influence should they have? I don't think there is much doubt in most Americans' minds that major corporations and "wall street" have too much influence in our government today and in turn are part of the problem in our federal government. So in that sense, this movement had a good start in terms of what kind of goal they are looking for, I think they are just a bit too naive about how much success they could possibly achieve.
The second problem I think is the most critical to the movement. While they had a good starting goal, since then it has been muddled a bit by a mass of other left-of-the political spectrum causes. This ranges from environmental activists, labor union members, and those decrying the "rich" of America or the "1%" as many of the protesters for effectively screwing over the "99%" of Americans. They have also been joined by a plethora of political commentators including Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore. And while many of these may be just causes, having so many with no clear consensus or order to it will only fuel the argument that this movement has no real direction.
Another area of interest I have for this movement is how much support they could potentially get from the American voter.
At first, I admit I figured this movement would likely only get support from liberals in America and since they only constitute 21% of Americans compared to the 41% of Americans whom the Tea Party movement gains much of its support from, that this movement has little chance of gaining as much support as the Tea Party let alone surpassing it.(August 2011, Gallup)
However as first impressions goes, this one may be a little premature. Gallup's poll is a handy indicator but it's a limited one too because it is only asking those surveyed a pretty general ideological question. However thanks to the good people at the Pew Research Center, we have a better look at where this movement could gain some support from.
In a rather in depth ideological survey conducted earlier this year, they asked registered voters surveyed which of the following groups they most closely identified with:
1. Staunchly Conservative- 11%
2. Main Street Republicans- 14%
3. Libertarians- 10%
4. Disaffected- 11%
5. Post-Moderns- 14%
6. New Coalition Democrats- 9%
7. Hard-Pressed Democrats- 15%
8. Solid-Liberals- 16%
Now, I know what you're thinking. This poll seems to contradict the one published by Gallup a few months ago but take a closer look. While it would seem that Liberals have a larger base of support in America, one has to remember that Liberal doesn't always equal Democrat, nor does Conservative always equal Republican. There is always a bit of overlap.
And when trying to figure out if this Occupy movement has the potential to gain strong support from the American people, the Pew Research Center did us something of a favor by asking a question that goes right to the origin goal set by this movement. When given the statement of "Business/Corporations make a fair profit", only 39% of all respondents agreed with that statement. Furthermore, the survey also found that 47% of respondents believe "Wall Street" hurts the economy more than it help while only 38% believed it helped the economy more. (PewResearch, 2011)
So, after all it would seem my first impressions about how much support this movement could gain from the average American were a bit off. A significant number of Americans, spanning the political spectrum, have a good deal of distrust of major corporations and "Wall Street". But here's the snag..If the Occupy movement continues to loss their direction and not focus on their original goal of curtailing Wall Street/Corporations influence on American politics, they won't get the chance to tap into that potential support and will instead be written off as just another disorganized "liberal" movement. Only IF they can hone their message and better organize do I believe they can gain the kind of support to change the political game as the Tea Party has.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
In a recent piece for Townhall.com, a conservative website, Ms. Coulter challenged the perception being spread across the net and media that the wave of "Occupy Wall Street" protests (and the many Occupy "insert city name/street name" protests spawned from it) is similar in function (though obviously not idea-wise) to the early Tea Party protests. She also discounts many of the protesters assertions that their protests are just like the Boston Tea Party of over 200 years ago (in that, breaking the law for a good cause is OK and should be celebrated).
Firstly, she makes a good point about the difference in tactics between the "Occupying" protesters and the Tea Party protests of years ago. For one, the Tea Party protests always had permits and there were never any major conflicts with police/law enforcement agencies that ended in arrests (none that I know of actually).
Secondly, when one watches videos of interviews with the Occupying protesters that they do give off a "hippie-like" attitude. Now I personally don't have much problem with that but you didn't really ever get that "vibe" from the early Tea Party protests/rallies. So while she may be right about how "hippie" these protests look, I don't see how relevant that is to how meaningful these protests are.
Thirdly, while the Tea Party has never really had a truly unified leadership and therefore is a bit fractured, they do have a general set of beliefs and complaints: Federal government is too big and is spending too much of our money. The same can not yet be said by the "Occupying" protests. For one, they have been going on at some level for more than two weeks and they still have no general beliefs. The only belief that everybody there seems to agree on is that the rich are screwing everybody over and is too influential in the government.
Another big problem with the "Occupying" protests is they were original started by a Canadian activist group Adbusters. And while Canada isn't exactly a far-away land, the fact that a foreign organisation started this protest movement doesn't sit that well with many, including myself. Not that I don't trust our polite neighbors to the North, just prefer they keep their politics to themselves and let us set up our own protest movements thank you very much!
And then there's the comparison made by some interviewed that their protests (and their now rather constant clashes with police) are no different than the actual Boston Tea Party. The problem is, as Ms. Coulter points out, that event was not as celebrated in its day as it is today in America. At the time, the event was seen as going too far by many of Americans, including several Founding Fathers. So in that way I supposed the two events are similar, they were both controversial in their day but whether these "Occupying" protests will be as celebrated decades from now is hardly certain.
Now as you might have expected, I didn't agree with everything in Ms. Coulter's recent article.
For one, the title of her piece, "This is What a Mob looks like" is I think a pretty misleading one. Oddly enough, there is apparently no real conclusive definition of a "mob". Most just state it as a crowd of people, and nothing more. To me, a mob is a group of people who menace others in an attempt to advance some kind of purpose. A mob doesn't necessarily have to violent (at which they are more like a riot). However the biggest reason I don't see these people as being a "mob" is a mob generally has the support of the majority, hence the phrase "mob-rule" in which the majority are pushing their beliefs strongly against those who disagree with them. In fact the term Ochlocracy (Greek phrase of mob rule) is described as being the "rule of the general public" and differs from true democracy (rule of the people) in that ideology is heavily injected in it's actions. Technically, the "Occupying" protests don't see to have a majority of Americans supporting them and instead are something of a minority movement so far.
Ms. Coulter went further when she was on FoxNews during the last few days in which she stated that these protests were much like the marches that proceeded previously revolutions such as the Nazis rise to power, Fascists rise in Italy, and Anti-Czarist forces at the beginning of the Russian Revolution and can only lead to one thing: totalitarianism. She does have a point that when Fascists rose to power in Germany and Italy, they were a minority element in their respective countries. However to compare these protesters to fascists in Europe in the 20's and 30's I think is not only far-fetched, it's downright hateful. Criticize these people all you want, but until they start preaching for racial purity and start carrying arms to intimidate their opponents, no such comparison is warranted and is just shows Coulter's hatred of the left-side of the political spectrum which ironically enough makes her just as bad as any protester denouncing Conservatives for being "evil" and "corrupt". More importantly, permits or not, these people are within their constitutional right to speak out against what they see as "evil" in America, in this case corporations.
And in that sense, these protests and the Tea Party do have something in common. Both movements are speaking out for something they believe in, and are well within their rights to do so. The differences are the Tea Party has a more coherent message and rarely if ever clashed with local law enforcement.
So at the end of the day, Ann Coulter does make some good points about the incoherent message of the "Occupying" protests and about how different this movement is compared to the Tea Party. However she takes this criticism too far when she compares her fellow American citizens to Nazis and Fascists of the 20's and 30's and proves to be as hypocritical as the people she is criticizing.
I will soon post my own response to the Occupying Wall Street movement ..Stay tuned!
Monday, October 3, 2011
And to be fair, there has been a lot of talk about Chris Christie possibly running for President for some time now, and up until last week Mr. Christie has told reporters and pundits alike that he isn't going to run...But now that seems to be changing.
Not that I could blame Christie for reconsidering his future. Many, including Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard, have stated that while Christie doesn't necessarily have the same amount of experience as many of the other major GOP contenders, now is the arguably the perfect and possibly only time he will have to run and possibly win. Destiny is a tricky thing though..
For one, Christie has the simple problem that by the time of the Presidential election (assuming he wins the nomination of course), he wouldn't have even served a full term as Governor of New Jersey which to some makes him look a bit too opportunistic and lacking in political experience (not that that has stopped Presidential hopefuls before).
Secondly, Christie has the problem that while he does have a pretty strong "fan base", it is not certain that he can win over the majority of the GOP. While very popular for his tough attitude and no non-sense approach to politics, his specific positions on certain issues aren't usually popular with the more conservative branch of the GOP.
Now personally, I'm a little conflicted about Governor Chris Christie. While I don't completely agree with all his political positions, I do like his attitude towards politics and think he would make a good President. The problem I have is I am not sure he can actually win the nomination. I have a distinct feeling that IF he does decide to run, some of his opponents will attempt to label him as "too moderate" for the GOP just as they've done with others. However at this point of political chaos in the GOP field (with no figure getting much more than 25% in recent polls) that it's possible Christie's entry could shake up the field enough for him to win over enough Republicans to win the nomination.
Coincidentally, a poll was just released tonight by the Washington Post/ABC of both Republican-leaning persons and registered Republicans giving a pretty detailed look at the GOP field as of now. For example, it asked people who they would vote for in Chris Christie decided to run AND who they would vote for if he decided not to run. They did the same with Sarah Palin as they are the only two talked about possible GOP contenders who haven't made a final decision to run.
When registered voters were asked if Sarah Palin and Chris Christie were in the GOP "horse race", who they would vote for, Christie received 10% of the vote, coming in fourth behind Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry (in that order). When Sarah Palin is removed from the equation, Christie grabbed 11% of the vote.
However, as Rick Perry showed when he first entered the race, a new contender can significantly boost his/her numbers at least in the short term (also demonstrated by Rick Perry whose numbers have fallen out in the last week or so). Considering Christie has more of a fan-base than Rick Perry did before he ran (at least in my opinion), I think he could potentially hold on that likely bump in the polls and bump off the most recent "fad" candidate to get a jump in the polls, Herman Cain (who I sincerely hope is a fad/fluke since the man is a near complete idiot). How well he could do from there is anyone guess. Of course, this is only IF Christie decides to run..
And that ladies and gentlemen, is the million dollar question..Should he run or should he not? Only Chris Christie knows, but either way, he needs to decide soon.
Many thanks to Jay Cost for inspiring me to write this piece after my brief hiatus.
Morning Jay: Christie Should Follow Woodrow Wilson—And Run The Weekly Standard
Washington Post/ABC Poll:
In recent weeks there has been alot of talk in Iowa about the need for major education reform for the state. Not too long ago, Iowa was not only a leader in the nation in education (in terms of student performance(, but also a leader in the world. However over the years this education edge has been dulled, and so the state's government has moved to do something about it.
In that effort, Republican governor Terry Brandstad has released his education reform "Blueprint". I personally have read the entire document and it seems to be a good overall plan on paper and I thank Mr. Brandstad for proposing this plan to get the debate going.
Education reform is something that has moved to the back-burner for politics today largely thanks to our struggling economy, but it should not be forgotten. Education reform is something the whole nation needs desperately, not just my home state of Iowa. I encourage my readers to read the plan for themselves and regardless of where you leave in the US, spout off to your local congressman/congresswoman about they are doing to reform our dysfunctional education system in America.
Here is the "Blueprint", courtesy the Des Moines Register:
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Earlier today I posted about the GOP Presidential contenders attacks on President Obama for his supposed anti-Israeli policies and how ridiculous such claims are to anyone with half a brain..
I didn't mention any particular GOP contender simply because most of the field use the same general attack on Obama in this regard. However Rick Perry was the latest to chime in to this idiotic exercise today when he claimed Obama's policies towards Israel amounted to appeasement to Palestinian terrorist groups. Rick Perry made this statement in a speech in which he was surrounded by several well known Jewish political thinkers (which to me a shameful attempt at trying to appeal to the Jewish vote in 2012).
Then today on the FoxNews show, "The Five", the majority of the contributors also concluded that President Obama attitude towards Israel has been negative (apparently unaware of the $7 billion in FREE military aid and equipment President Obama has requested for Israel just in the last year).
Needless to say, this blatant lie (or just plain ignorance) drove me a bit up the wall and further enforce the statements I made in my previous post on the subject earlier.
So you will imagine my feeling when I watched the interview of current Israeli Defense Secretary Ehud Barak on Piers Morgan's show tonight. In that interview, the Def. Minister made clear he believed President Obama "is friendly to Israel, especially in security-related issues." He went further to refute the claim Rick Perry made this morning about Obama's supposed appeasement to the Palestinians by stating, "I don't think appeasement is an accurate description of the policy of this administration,".
So from that exchange, one can only conclude one of two things. Either Rick Perry knows something the Defense Minister doesn't about Obama's policies towards Israel, or Rick Perry doesn't have a clue what he is talking about and that he was practicing a rather shameful form of political pandering this morning. I wonder which conclusion holds true...
But here is what drives me nuts about all this..Why is the GOP wasting perfectly good oxygen and our time on such bogus attacks on President Obama when there are plenty of legitimate grievances against him? So please, for the love of God, quit wasting our time on this bogus "Israeli Problem" Obama has and get back to issues that matter to 99% of all Americans..THE ECONOMY!