It’s NOT About the Economy, Stupid

Republicans are preparing to come to a rugby game in their best golf pants.

The world is different than it was in 2008 when we were caught with a war candidate going into an election that was all about the economy.  This time we have the best business man money can buy and we are about to go into an election that is all about the constitution, social issues, personal freedom, and the size of government.

Yes, I know.  Today the economy still sucks.  However, with the expanded power of the Fed and the Presidency, we are going to see just how much the President actually can affect it in the short term.  For example, leading into the 2010 election, the Fed had over $2 trillion in stock securities on their balance sheet and Wall Street was inflated.  Mainstream Media and administration spokespeople called that Obama’s summer of recovery.  Obama also ramped up federal spending and provided tons of government jobs.  Unemployment, as it is in our current “recovery”, remained mostly unmoved.  Despite all the tax hikes hidden in Obamacare, Obama said he was a tax cutter.

So why did we win big in 2010?  Social conservatives, lead by the TEA Party, made the election about deficit spending, constitutional rights, social issues, and personal freedom.

I keep hearing that only Romney can win because only Romney is focusing on the economy.  But Romney’s solutions on the economy include a redistributive tax policy that hits up the top 1% and a plan to increase the minimum wage and price low skilled labor out of the work force.  So why is Romney the economic guru who can save us?  Because he is a successful businessman.  But that won’t get voters to the polls in 2012, especially when Obama sinks another trillion dollars in imaginary money into the economy this summer to make the election about what Americans really care about: social issues.

Think about it this way.  How much more would you pay in extra taxes if it meant abortion would be made illegal?  Or legal, if that is your preference.  Democrats are willing to pay a great deal to force everyone to cover birth control and abortion pills.  I don’t think most Democrats have realized yet just how much Obamacare is going to cost them in higher insurance premiums.  The only Democrats who don’t know that Obamacare is all about social issues and government usurpation of personal freedom are still waiting for insurance rates to magically fall.  I have bad news for them.

Obama and his energy secretary have openly admitted that they want to let oil prices keep going up so that Americans will stop using oil.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t put wind, solar, coal, nuclear, ethanol, or algae in my gas tank.  And I’ve already inflated my tires.  That’s ok though because it’s not about the economy, stupid.  It’s about social issues.  It’s about greenhouse gasses and global warming and Obama is going to win on that because Romney is focusing on the economy.  Instead of fighting Obama on the social issue of whether the government should steal our freedom to protect us from made up scientific threats, Romney will be talking about how he is the best guy to grow the economy.

When the economy is artificially inflated this fall and “I’m the best candidate to grow the economy” rings hollow, what will we have left?  Don’t be fooled, Obama is already running on social issues.  Obama and his party are fighting for big government that will take care of and coddle every poor voter they can get their hands on.  What will we have?  Someone who will promise those poor coddled voters that he will provide them with the opportunity to work hard and be successful?  That’ll get the moderates to the polls.

In general, Americans oppose taxpayer funded abortion.  They oppose federally mandated gay marriage.  They oppose federally mandated funding for abortion.  They oppose big government and big deficits.  They oppose the current size of government.  They oppose the President stealing their rights in the name of coddling them.  These are TEA party issues, not establishment issues.

2012 isn’t about the economy.  At least it won’t be.  We’re about to run the wrong candidate, again, based on January issues for a November election.  What will get people to the polls in November is whether we want a President who will prevent taxpayer funded abortion, or a President who once voted to let doctors perform abortions after the baby is born.  Where do you stand?

The worst possible scenario for Republicans in 2012 will be a race where a significant percentage of Americans don’t care who wins or think the candidates aren’t that far apart.  We saw that in 2008.  The only way Republicans will win in 2012 is if we run a distinctly conservative candidate who gives Americans a clear choice.  Vote for the radical Liberal or the radical Conservative.   The more moderate a candidate we run, the more moderate Obama will look in comparison.

If the moderates stay home in 2012 and the 40% of conservatives beat the 20% of liberals in the country, I’m ok with that.  The strategy of getting the moderate vote and praying the 40% of conservatives will hold their nose and show up is a sure loser.

Rush Hits Newt Again

Six months ago, I wrote an article about Newt Gingrich’s attempt to clarify his views on healthcare.  Newt had gotten himself in trouble when it came out that in 1993 Newt agreed with the Heritage Foundation on an insurance mandate.  At the time, Newt said that he felt there should be a law that made it so that people would need to either buy health insurance, or post a bond when they receive medical care as a guarantee that they will in fact pay for that care.

At the time, I warned Newt that this would cause problems.  Of course, we didn’t have as large a readership back then, so I’m sure he didn’t get my warning.  Shortly before that, Newt was secretly my number one pick to eventually win it all.

With great influence comes great responsibility

Sure enough, right about that time Newt called in to Rush Limbaugh’s show and tried to explain exactly what I said in the first paragraph here.  Rush didn’t buy it, and the godfather of Social Conservatism cast doubt on his blessing of Newt’s candidacy.  Listen to the interview here.  The result was that a couple weeks later I was writing about the rubble of Newt 2012.  In that article, I said that it would take a miracle to revive Newt, that miracle being upward movement in the polls.  Hallelujah, we now know the political gods did not forsake us after 2008.

Today, Rush once again expressed his reservations about Newt.  In what he framed as analysis of Newt’s rise to the top, Rush once again mentioned Newt’s baggage including his support of a mandate in 1993.  While doing his best not to appear against Newt, Rush laid out everything Conservatives should be careful about with Newt.  To be fair though, he did the same for Mitt Romney at the same time.

In the end, Rush chalked up Newt’s rise to the top as two things.  Newt doesn’t defend his mistakes (like Romney does with Romneycare), and he does go after the media for their bias.

It’s a little bit more than that.  Newt has a proven fiscal conservative track record.  He balanced the budget for four years in a row.  The Federal budget, not just one of the 50 states.  That doesn’t even seem in the realm of reality these days.  It would be like saying he walked on water in the context of today’s deficit.  But speaking of walking on water, Newt has the social conservative credentials as well.

In a speech in Jacksonville, Florida yesterday (that yours truly had the privilege of attending), Newt said that under his education reforms, teachers who could not adequately explain what it meant to be endowed by your Creator with certain inalienable rights would be asked to resign.  This was in response to a question from the audience regarding a neighboring county where the government was putting pressure on a pastor there to stop school flagpole prayer meetings.  Newt said that he would seek to end funding for Planned Parenthood and use that money to help promote adoption.  He is pro-school choice.  He has well rounded conservative credentials and unlike Romney, conservatives trust Newt when he says things like supporting a mandate and sharing a couch with Pelosi were stupid.

Frank Luntz on Sean Hannity’s show this afternoon said that everyone was shocked about Newt’s resurgence.  It wasn’t a surprise for me.  I predicted that as the Cain-Gingrich debate received acknowledgment and replay, Newt would rise.  On November 3rd, I said that people were taking a fresh look at Newt Gingrich.  But even better than that, on October 13th, I laid out the path to victory for Newt Gingrich going through South Carolina and Florida.  In a blog titled “Yes He Can”, I analyzed how Cain was preparing to fall on his 9-9-9 plan and how Newt would take early states Iowa and South Carolina, leading to a showdown in Florida between Newt/Mitt.  So no, it wasn’t a shock.  If you’ve been reading this blog, it wasn’t a shock to you either.

In that same article, I said that Newt’s dirty laundry has been airing out for a long time.  It doesn’t smell as “fresh” as Cain’s or Perry’s.  The same is true for Mitt, although Newt knows when to admit to a mistake.  Therefore, in this up and down race where nothing is certain and things change every minute, I am sticking to what I said over a month ago.  Newt/Mitt, for the championship, the second to last GOP debate in Florida in Jacksonville.  Newt will be carrying South Carolina and maybe Iowa to the table, Mitt will have New Hampshire under his belt.  Then the two smartest, most articulate, and strongest leaders will have one last significant chance to make their case.

Rush, Coulter, and any other big-time rightwing players who still think Bachmann, Cain, or Santorum could come back and win, keep dreaming.  It’s more likely that Tebow would win the Superbowl.

PS, I have absolutely nothing against Tebow.  In fact, after Thursday’s game against Rex Ryan and the Jets, Tebow is my second favorite quarterback.

Where is America’s Fighting Spirit? Ending the Malaise Presidency

These days it seems Captain America has been overpowered by MalaiseMan. President Obama is MalaiseMan. He told a fundraiser on Tuesday, October 25 that America is in decline, which is the central theme of his presidency. People are buying it too, which is what the Occupy Wall Street movement and Tea Party is a symptom of; they are two sides of a coin that says America is in decline.

More MalaiseMan than Captain America

This takes us back to the evening of July 15, 1979. Gas prices had skyrocketed, there were severe shortages and the endless economic decline seemed much longer than the lineups at gas stations. Carter preached, “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns.”

We have heard similar malaise from President Obama. In fact, where Carter spent hours and days at Camp David in what Reagan biographer Steven Hayward tagged “the most remarkable exercise in presidential navel-gazing in American history” and delivered his message in minutes, President Obama decided in minutes and is spending days and hours preaching malaise.

It is being believed on the streets. The Hill newspaper reports that over two-thirds of voters say the United States is declining, and the next generation will be worse off, with 83 percent of voters worried about the future of the nation. Their results conclude that Americans don’t view the country’s current economic and political troubles as temporary; they see this decline as stretching out for years.

President Obama’s policies tap into the malaise, which is why he has managed an economy of decline, failing on jobs, the deficit, healthcare, home foreclosures and rising gas prices.

However, there are signs of improvement. Economic growth in America picked up in the last quarter, showing signs of some recovery as the nation’s total output of goods and services grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent from July to September, almost double the 1.3 percent rate in the previous quarter.

This is because the economy has its own laws of gravity: what goes down will get back up again. The economy does this, not the government. We have become so risk averse we want the nanny state to kiss us better every time the economy hurts us. The President Obama re-election campaign is one of kissing everyone better, what is the Republican message?

Ronald Reagan defeated Carter by offering Americans a vision that was so optimistic it cancelled out Carter’s pessimism. The economy will improve, and a Republican needs to get the message across that America will return to full strength with a gleam of defiance in its eye, not a tear of pity. Which candidate can do this? Which candidate can bring on Captain America to defeat MalaiseMan?

An easy message

Is this race about to get dirtier?  The more crazy moves Obama makes, the greater the temptation will be for Republican candidates to start slinging mud at each other.  I’ve said since the start of this primary that Republicans need to focus on Obama, but so far Newt Gingrich is the only one who has been able to accomplish this.  The result is that he continues to post poor showings in the polls as few Americans are paying attention to anything he is saying.

So why are Republicans getting more comfortable attacking each other?  The right is getting more and more confident of a 2012 victory with every misstep this President makes.  I still maintain though that Republicans need to make this election about defeating Obama.  Already, Romneycare, Perry’s HPV order, and Bachmann’s gaffes are going to make it that much harder for the GOP nominee to win in 2012.  Obama has done plenty of things to run against, and I give credit to Newt Gingrich who has been pointing them out in his weekly newsletters.

I thought I would provide a refresher course to the Republican candidates to help them stay focused. For example, do they want to focus on jobs?  President Obama is the President whose policies have driven unemployment up to 9.1% while running annual deficits over a trillion dollars a year.

In the meantime, he is also the President who is blocking the opening of a US manufacturing plant in South Carolina because it is not a union factory.

He is the President whose federal agents performed an armed raid on a US manufacturing plant because they were buying materials overseas and manufacturing them here in the US instead of manufacturing them in India.  Yes, you read that right.

He is the President who took a public US corporation away from the company’s bondholders, sold the company overseas to an Italian company and gave the proceeds to the United Auto Workers union.

He is the President who unilaterally shut down US oil drilling in key areas of the Gulf of Mexico.  When a judge said his moratorium was unconstitutional and tossed it, Obama simply wrote another one.  In the meantime, he heavily invested US tax dollars into drilling operations in Brazil and promised the US would be one of their best customers.

He is the President who today proposed $1.5 trillion in cuts in private investment and consumer spending through higher taxes, after proposing $400 billion in tax hikes just a week and a half ago.  That’s $1.9 trillion in proposed tax hikes over a two week period when he was promising new policies to create jobs.  By the way, these are the same tax hikes his own party wouldn’t pass in 2009 or 2010.  All this and he is the one proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in Medicare and Medicaid.

How about government waste?

He is the President who after taking $850 billion in stimulus dollars and funneling it to unions and pet projects such as duck ponds and skate parks is now asking for another $450 billion to fix the 152 bridges he neglected with the first stimulus.

Speaking of the first stimulus, Obama is the President who invested billions of our tax dollars into various “green energy” projects that have now gone bankrupt.  And it gets worse:

He is the President who gave a $529 million taxpayer loan to a company owned by one of his biggest supporters, multi-billionare George Kaiser, despite knowing that the company was failing.  Then he restructured that loan so that when the company went under Kaiser would get paid first and taxpayers would get what was left over.

Barack Obama says we need to cut private investment and consumer spending through higher taxes because the rich need to pay “their fair share”.  But when it came to Solyndra, Obama specifically made sure that the rich got their millions of dollars back at the taxpayer’s expense.

How about in Afghanistan?

As Obama slowly draws down forces and quickly pulls out of combat roles, he also keeps fighting for cuts in military spending.  He seems uncommittedly committed to the war in Afghanistan.  Could that have any correlation to there being nearly twice as many US deaths in Afghanistan in Obama’s three years in office as there were during the entire Bush Presidency?

What about Obama’s management of the Justice Department?

While letting the black panthers off the hook for voter intimidation when they showed up in military garb with clubs at the voting booths, Eric Holder took pro-lifer’s to civil court and sued them over standing too close to abortion clinic driveways.

And of course, Fast and Furious.  This was the operation where this President’s Justice Department sold guns to violent Mexican druglords.  Those same guns were used to kill border patrol agents.  Meanwhile, Obama has sued Arizona for trying to enforce immigration laws on their own.

All that, and I didn’t even mention Obama’s disastrous healthcare legislation.

If 2012 Republican candidates feel the urge to take a swing at a political opponent, might I suggest that Obama makes for an easy target?

Oh, and one last thing.  Report@whitehouse.gov might be a thing of the past, but if you disagree with what I wrote you can always report me to Obama’s new citizen watch website, http://www.attackwatch.com.

Romney Inspires Open Wallets

The April-June quarter numbers are in for the Romney, Huntsman, Cain and Pawlenty camps, and if donation figures are any indication, it is clear why Romney is still the front runner.  Romney has raised nearly twice as much as the other three combined.

Romney fundraising solidifies his front runner status

Romney has raised about $18 million.  Huntsman and Pawlenty have each raised about $4 million and Cain comes in with $2.5 million.  Romney is also conserving his funds, having more left in the bank at the end of the quarter than the other three have raised at about $12 million.  Things are looking good for the Romney camp.

Huntsman joined the campaign late, but AP speculates that half the money he has raised came from his own funds.

Bachmann, who has not released her figures yet, saw a big spike in May.  Her April-June contributions may confirm her current runner up status.

 

Update: Ron Paul beat out Pawlenty and Huntsman by raising $4.5 million in the second quarter, while Newt Gingrich raised a measly $2 million and is reportedly deep in debt.  Bachmann and Obama have yet to release their numbers.

Why Doesn’t Rush Like Daniels?

Rush Limbaugh has had his finger on the pulse of mainstream conservatism and mainstream media for decades. When the media said only McCain could beat Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, Rush was sounding the alarm. So why is Rush now sounding the alarm on Mitch Daniels?

Daniels has received some pretty glowing endorsements, or as glowing as a Republican can get, from the Washington Post and others. He has been described as the candidate in 2012 who has a serious shot at beating Obama. No doubt, Rush is hearing echos of the media love McCain received right up until the end of the 2012 primary.

Best hope of the Right? Or the Left?

In many ways, Daniels has brought this on himself. Instead of going to CPAC and announcing that if a bill cutting off all abortion funding came across his desk he’d sign it, Daniels appealed to fiscal conservatives across the country calling on a truce on social issues so that we could solve our debt crisis. When he did sign the bill banning funding even for Planned Parenthood in Indiana, for the most part it was ignored by the media. When Obama was being praised for killing Osama Bin Laden and Daniels was taking questions on Obama’s foreign policy, Daniels admitted he wasn’t ready to debate Obama on foreign policy.

Remember when McCain said the economy was not his strong suit? Trust me, if Obama has his way the economy will not be a debate topic in 2012. Foreign policy will be. By continuing Bush’s foreign policies, Obama has found something he can campaign successfully on. By wavering on foreign policy, Daniels is certainly not setting himself up as the candidate who can beat Obama.

On the other hand, Daniels has been slowly and methodically implementing his very conservative (both socially and fiscally) agenda in Indiana. After cooling off a showdown with unions in Indiana when Democrats walked out, Daniels has quietly passed many of the same provisions including limiting teacher’s union negotiating to wages and wage related benefits. Compared to the messy protests in Scott Walker’s state over the issues, Daniels is enjoying anonymity in his war on public unions. Indiana has been one of the few fiscally sound states under Mitch Daniels.

Perhaps Daniels would be a great conservative President. It’s difficult to tell at this point if he is a silent leader who could change our country for the better, or if he represents everything that was wrong with McCain, Thompson, Guiliani and the rest of the 2008 Republican class.

The Ten Point Rule

It’s time to do an experiment. You are a politically savvy person. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading a blog about a primary election that is almost a year away. Some might even call you passionate about politics. Chances are, you have friends who ask you for advice on November 1st about who to vote for.

Here is the experiment. Invite your ten closest friends over and engage them in a discussion of current events and their political impact on our lives. If you don’t have ten friends, invite some acquaintances. I am willing to bet that unless you and your ten closest friends all work for the same political thinktank, at least one of them has absolutely no clue about current events or politics, but they will be voting in 2012.

I call this the Ten Point Rule. In any given election, one out of ten voters votes based on the candidate’s looks, age, gender, race, name recognition, name, recommendation from a friend, or the last political sign they saw walking into the polling place.

This is great for the Democrat party. Both parties have grass roots, but the DNC has a bus.

In 2008, as I was filling out my ballot, an elderly black man came to the booth next to me. I could tell it was his first time voting. He called the poll worker over and asked her to help him find “the one with the ‘O’ in his name”. After filling out his vote for Barack Obama, he asked the poll worker what the rest of the ballot was for.

This was a very educational experience for me, and somewhat disheartening. My young civic mind that believed that our democracy was chosen by the informed will of a sovereign people was replaced by an understanding that at a very minimum, one in ten voters couldn’t tell the difference between Sarah Palin and Tina Fey. Actually, in that case it was more than 8 in 10 for Obama voters.

The last President to win an election by more than 10 percentage points was Richard Nixon with 67% compared to George McGovern’s 37%.

The lesson of the Ten Point Rule is that voter turnout really does matter. And voter education is empowerment. Republicans must come face to face with the fact that the most effective strategy for the left in the 2008 primary is now being employed in full force in the 2012 season. In 2008, amidst all the potential in Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Guiliani, the candidate who was sent to face the embodiment of young hope and change was John McCain. McCain won partially because the one in ten were told that only McCain could win a national election against whoever the Democrat candidate ended up being. I apologize to McCain fans, but an elderly career Senator who supported both wars and was part of the 2006 Republican Senate, who said business was not his strong suit and who alienated his own party through his bi-partisanship and immigration ideas, was not the candidate to defeat the fresh young Barack Obama. Obama was a political outsider who promised no new taxes on the poor and middle class, fiscal responsibility, to bring our troops home, to close Gitmo, to do all the things the left wanted while being all the things the one in ten wanted.

Now we are being told point blank which candidates cannot defeat Barack Obama in 2012 and exactly why. I highlighted an AP piece about a week or two ago that pointed out every flaw in every major Republican contender. Already they have their polls going showing which candidates cannot beat Obama. If we could educate that one in ten on what is going on right now in our country, the shocker would be discovering a candidate who Obama could beat.

When you think about your one friend in the room who is driving our country with his or her uninformed swing vote, think about this: he or she probably agrees with you on most issues already. In 2008, Obama won California (no big surprise) and swing-state Florida. However in both states voters decided to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

The majority of Americans are pro-life. This was not the case 15 years ago. Demographics have shifted, and according to a recent Fox News poll even the majority of independents are pro-life.

These are the divisive issues that the national media and DC GOP instruct Republicans not to run on and not to talk about. This doesn’t even touch deficits, freedom, and shrinking the government; issues that swept the GOP into power in 2010.

If Republicans want to win in 2012, they must put forward the best candidate and must get out the vote. That means you need to identify that friend who knows nothing about politics, and teach them which candidate agrees with them.

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