Everything is fine, time to put your feet up Mr President!

The private sector is doing fine apparently. This is at least according to President Barack Obama. I guess the 23 million Americans who are either unemployed, underemployed or have given up searching for work are suitably reassured. Not to worry, four more years! Yes folks, four more years out of work if this administration gets another victory in November.

Of course, President Obama later clarified things for reporters, and the rest of us stupid people, “the economy is not doing fine.” Then White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters they should know better than to miss the broader point Obama was making. Oh what stupid people, why did they not realize the president intended that public sector job cuts are hurting the economy.

Carney crowed “You all ought to do your jobs and report on context…We’re for truthful, factual, accurate reporting done in context.” Oh, yeah, right.

Perhaps the president and Mr. Carney can explain why the Federal Reserve felt compelled to report the median net worth of families plummeted by 39 percent in the three years of the Obama Era of Salvation. Well, they didn’t say that exactly. They said the numbers, I added the editorial gloss. The figures speak for themselves though: a fall from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. That puts Americans back where they were in 1992.

Even the president’s current day Rasputin, Paul Krugman, the mystical Nobel Prize-winning economist, admitted “That was an unfortunate line…The president bungled the line.” In a sentence more articulated than a truck driven by a Commerce Secretary, Krugman’s apologia for a president states “The truth is the private sector is doing better than the public sector, which is not well enough…The real story of this economy is that cutbacks at the public sector are what’s hurting the recovery.”

Mitt Romney’s take on this is “Last Friday, the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent and 300,000 more people joined the long-term unemployed. One week later, President Obama said the private sector is doing fine. Only a president that presides over forty months of unemployment over 8 percent would think that the last jobs report is “doing fine.” These comments show that President Obama is completely out of touch with the middle class.”

The Heritage Foundation notes “While the President’s comment is astoundingly out of touch with the public—and economic reality—perhaps even more distressing is that this wasn’t a passing verbal gaffe. This is actually a consistent talking point of the President and Democratic leadership that goes largely unchallenged by the media.” http://blog.heritage.org/2012/06/11/morning-bell-the-private-sector-is-not-doing-fine/

A famous Philosophy discussion on observation and knowledge of reality centers on the question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I believe the same can be asked of the relationship between Obama’s errors and the liberal media…the noise is definitely made but they don’t seem to be around to hear it.

The only thing that will be fine is a change in the White House. Of course, Barack Obama will not be made unemployed, he has a new career trajectory to follow of more books, speaking tours and all the perks of being ex-president.

This election is about the economy, and we’re not the stupid ones.

Romney needs to call Obama’s Bluffet….

 

We know that the Bluffet, sorry Buffet, rule is a motif for President’s class warfare, and more warning shots will be fired when Congress returns today from a two-week recess to a test vote on the rule, which would impose a minimum 30 percent tax rate on income over $1 million. The Bluffett tax targets wealthier Americans’ investments rather than salaries.

Today is the day when this issue of class warfare kicks off for November in earnest, now that we know it will be Romney for the GOP and Congress gets to have a say on the matter.

President Obama, who pays less tax than HIS secretary (he filed tax returns showing he paid an effective tax rate of 20.5 percent on income of about $800,000 in 2011) says the government needs the revenue from the Bluffett rule, estimated at $47 billion over 10 years, to cover “a broad range of goals.” He also says “This is not just about fairness.” Well, he got that right, it is very unfair, but not in the simplistic moralistic way he is peddling.

He says “This is also about growth. It’s about being able to make the investments we need to strengthen our economy and create jobs. And it’s about whether we as a country are willing to pay for those investments.” In other words, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Fact is, do we really need government to do the investing, and where does the investment go? Into government black holes and deep pockets, rather than into businesses which create wealth. The Bluffet tax would not create wealth, it would merely enhance dependency. We would see a better rate of return on the $47 billion in business investment by the wealthy than we would from government. That is an awful lot of liquidity to take out of the markets, and I don’t see too many secretaries taking up the slack.

Of course, keeper of the Treasury keys Tim Geithner was out pushing the rule on Sunday, “Just because Republicans oppose this does not mean it’s not the right thing to do and not the right thing to push for,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. Double negatives aside, we can say that just because Democrats think it is the right thing to do doesn’t mean it even begins to make sense.

If we look at the paying side of this, we see the rich targeted for this end up paying more. Simple. But for what are they paying? Increased revenue means increased expenditure, and so the things for government to spend on expands to meet the expanded revenue. More programs, more dependency and less reward for effort. What does the payer get in return? They get little benefit, and the wealthier they are the less they need what they are paying for.

Which means the sole purpose of the Bluffet rule is twofold, increased state powers and redistribution of wealth. Conservatives who attack Romney or the rich for their wealth are playing with the same deck as Obama.

Obama says, “If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do… Most Americans support this idea. We just need some Republican politicians to get on board with where the country is.” Of course, Obama doesn’t have to worry too much about his investments, because after leaving office, which cannot come soon enough, he will make a ton of cash for the remainder of his days. He doesn’t have too much to worry about…The rest of us do.

Santorum’s Campaign Against Himself

Bookmark and ShareBeing a political junkie I do spend time checking out the campaigns of any and all candidates I can manage to follow in local, state and federal races. It’s not necessarily the politics I enjoy as much as the campaigns themselves. I enjoy strategizing and predicting where, why and what candidates do or will do in their campaigns. I even follow those from the “D” word persuasion. As they say, know thy enemy.

There are moves that baffle pundits and followers alike in each and every campaign. No candidate is above or beyond making a move or even a gaffe now and then that leave some scratching their heads in disbelief. As the 2012 GOP candidates rumble through what has been a very tough primary process so far there is one candidate that has stood out to me, at least the past couple of weeks, as being stuck in a perpetual ‘WTF?’ moment. That man is former PA Senator Rick Santorum.

The first issue the Senator got caught up in is what I like to refer to as the social issue wheel of doom. If it was intentional on the part of the Obama administration and the Democrats is up in the air (as a campaign junkie I would like to believe it was intentional) but Santorum took the bait hook, line and sinker. Don’t get me wrong, social issues are important to the Republican base. They are especially important to the evangelical portion of that base to which the Senator appears to be the favored candidate. A base that is well aware of the Senator’s stances on all of the social issues they hold dear. It is because of that that I am baffled as to why a candidate with the experience of Rick Santorum would let himself get caught in the social issue whirlpool? He doesn’t have to convince the part of the GOP base that is concerned with social issues that he is their man. There may be a few Newt supporters out there that he can try and turn but if social issues were number one with them they probably have already moved to the Senator’s camp. The only thing getting into a discussion about Rick Santorum’s stance on social issues can do is turn off the independent voter that any nominee will need to beat the President in November.

Again, I state that social issues are important in any GOP primary. But doesn’t the Senator already have that vote locked in? Wouldn’t he be better served to go after the moderate republicans who are more concerned with fiscal issues and the size of government than to be preaching to the choir who has already named him choir leader? Recent Rassmussen polling has him behind Obama by 2 points nationally while rivals Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, yes Ron Paul, were polling up on Obama.

Although I disagree on many things with the Senator he does have some ideas that would 100% be better than the solutions, or lack thereof, being offered by the current Democrat administration. Every candidate in the GOP field would be light years better than what we have now. What I want in the GOP nominee is someone who can go head to head with the machine that will be the Obama campaign come November. In all fairness the Senator has stated that simply because he holds a personal belief, does not mean he will force that belief on the American people if elected President. I believe him. However in the soundbite world in which we live that information will not be stated or considered by the general electorate and most certainly not by his opponent. In an era of bumper sticker campaigns it is probably not a good idea, fair or not, to allow bumper stickers to hold your personal belief on the case of rape and abortion. The “JFK’s separation of church and state speech made Rick Santorum throw up” t-shirt will probably be a good seller at the Democrat convention.

The social issue wheel of doom aside what seemed to get the ire of even the social base Republicans was his Michigan robo calls for the Democrat vote. In watching the Senator’s Facebook pages and posts today he has been catching the normal flack from the Romney, Paul and Gingrich supporters but what surprised me was the blowback that was there from those that seemed to be supporters (or former as some pointed out) of the Senator. Now I am aware that I said he needs to reach out to the moderates to win in November. However, in reaching out to the Democrats he handed Mitt Romney the steering wheel of his campaign. I mean in all honesty when Michael Moore comes out and says he is going to vote for you so Romney doesn’t win…..you just kicked yourself in the proverbial junk. Romney’s people are already printing posters which point out that the Democrats are scared of him. Scared enough to vote for Rick Santorum who they feel will be an easy win for Barack Obama.

And after the social issue wheel of doom I fear they will be right. And Rick Santorum has no one to blame but his campaign against himself.

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Politics IS a Contact Sport

Newt hopes to land knock-out punch with attack ads, but is Mitt's mitt bigger and stronger?

So, Newt has launched an attack ad on Mitt, and no doubt the Democrats are watching with glee.  There are no doubt worries that attack ads damage the Republican Party, just as many worry that American politics is too divisive. Does all the “infighting” damage Republican chances?

Well, no.

Attack ads are part of politics. Politics is divisive. This is because folks disagree, and they rightly disagree on important points of principle and policy. Of course the candidates attack each other, and why not? The prize is big; these are passionate people who feel they deserve a run at the number 1 job on the planet. Otherwise, they might as well play paper and scissors for the right to run.

Cast your mind back to 2008, and the exchange of “shame” accusations by candidates Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton.

You can see her attack here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pPV1yd7sQg&feature=share and Obama’s response here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkR9kw81Cx8&feature=share. You can also see the Obama attack ad, comparing Hilary Clinton to Big Brother in Orwell’s 1984 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h3G-lMZxjo, which is quite a laugh given that Democrats are the Orwellian nightmare party!

Both parties share the tactics of attack, and it goes a long way back. Hilary’s barb that Obama was following Karl Rove’s playbook was foolishness; it doesn’t take a village to work out that attacking the candidate, or in soccer parlance playing the man rather than the ball, goes back a lot further than Rove.

In fact, the earliest example of attack ads was launched by Lyndon B Johnson in 1964, in his attack on Barry Goldwater. Known as the “Daisy Spot”, it showed an innocent girl picking daisies followed by a countdown to nuclear catastrophe, which shocked audiences at the time. The idea was that Goldwater’s aggressive stance on the Cold War would lead to nuclear destruction. [You can view the ad here: http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/media/daisyspot/]This will be the same Johnson who thought escalating Vietnam was a good idea.

Hilary and Obama attacked each other without pulling their punches. She lost, Obama won, and despite all the punches Hilary laid on Obama he won the White House. Like Hilary’s husband said in 2008, “This is a contact sport, politics. You can’t complain about being attacked. It’s like Yao Ming complaining about being fouled playing basketball.”

The narrative that the attack by candidates is damaging is simply a way of attacking the Republicans, while President Obama as incumbent and the official nominee come September can stand serenely above the action and appear, well, presidential. That is, until his Republican opponent is selected and can turn his attention to attacking Obama’s record 100%.

For this reason ending the attacks is important, we need to see the main bout start. The chief result of Newt’s attacks on Mitt is to bring Mitt onto the canvas ready to land his punches. Newt’s attack ads are the last attempts to land some body blows on Mitt, but Mitt’s mitt appears to be the bigger and stronger of the two. Once the attacks are done, the choice is made, the Republican nominee can step onto the canvas and win the prize fight that will take him to the White House.

Bill Clinton was right, this is a contact sport. He was wrong to compare it to basketball though. This is a fight, and it is a fight to the end. Unlike Johnson’s Daisy ad the countdown is not to nuclear destruction, but losing to Obama will see more destruction of the American economy and the nation.

Chris Christie Shoring Up His Value as a Vice Presidential Running Mate

Bookmark and Share    In advance of the delivery of his second State of the State address, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie’s team has released a new web ad that credits him for having begun to turn the Garden State around.

It’s the type of stuff, that fits in well with any campaign’s desire to tap in to a similar theme for the nation and its economy, which much like New Jersey, is in desperate need of a comeback.  This is not to say that the ad is meant to establish the groundwork for a Chris Christie vice presidency.  Afterall, regardless of national politics, Chris Christie does need to make sure that his image in New Jersey remains one that will be worthy of reelection come 2013.

Either way, the web ad helps promote an image of Christie that can’t hurt either his chances for being picked as a vice presidential running mate or for eventually being reelected Governor.

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Final Republican Presidential Debate Before Iowa Sees Many Homeruns and Few Strikes

Bookmark and Share    The final debate before the Iowa Republican Caucuses proved to be a mature, substantive exchange of views that allowed voters to get a good sense of each candidate’s political instincts.  Each one executed strong, solid performances, which validated their place on the stage and in this race.

Of course some performed stronger than others and from my vantage point, the strongest was Newt Gingrich, who at times found himself in the hot seat.

During the second twenty minute segment of the debate, Newt drew a great deal of criticism for his having made $1.6 million in consulting fees from FreddieMac.  On this issue, Rep. Michele Bachmann repeatedly condemned Gingrich’s business transaction with FreddieMac as an ultimate example of influence peddling.  To this Newt charged that Bachmann simply did not have her facts straight and reiterated the fact that he did not participate in any lobbying activities that could be construed as examples of improper influence and conduct.  While Gingrich’s need to defend his consulting for FreddieMac did account for his most uncomfortable moment, the rest of the night was his.

Newt’s finest moment came when he lambasted President Obama in an eloquent and stinging rebuff of the President’s opposition to the Keystone pipeline project.  On that issue Newt pulled off a successful triple play as he ingeniously tied Obama to a failed domestic energy, jobs , and national security policy.   Newt began his response to the Keystone XL oil pipeline project question in a most amusing , selfdeprecating manner while simultaneously mocking his closest rival in the nomination contest, Mitt Romney.

He began his answer by stating that since he has often been accused of  speaking too bluntly, he was “watching his words” and “editing” himself before answering that question.  He then added:

“I’m very concerned about not appearing to be zany,”

The phrase refered to remarks made by Mitt Romney who had earlier in the week refered to Newt as “zany”.

From there, Newt proceeded to hit several home runs during the night with proposals designed to restrain extraneous power of the judiciary,  and continued with strong  calls to put an end to  immigration lawsuits against Alabama, Arizona, and South Carolina and  and a particularly rousing call to cut off federal funds to sanctuary cities.

With a mix of Humility, humor, and history,  Newt produced what was probably his strongest performance yet and at the very least, helped stem any recent fall in the polls he has seen since last week.

Also pulling off a strong debate performance was Mitt Romney.

Mitt scored some high points with creative characterizations of Obama policies such as his “pretty please” foreign policy and references to Obama’s record job creation as something which suffers because the President has not lived in the real world and how “to create a job it helps to have created a job” .

Romney had his own share of discomfort when Chris Wallace pressed him on his changing positions on abortion and gay marriage.  But Romney responded by admitting that while his position on abortion had evolved to that of a pro-life belief he argued that  he has alweays been a supporter of the sancticy of marriage to be that of a union between a man and a woman, and that as a Governor he has done nothing but work to preserve both the sanctity of marriage and life.

Beyond that brief exchange that had Mitt on the defensive, the rest of the night saw him deliver one of debate appearances of the season.

While Gingrich and Romney stood out, the rest of the field was strong but unspectacular and did not achieve the type of results they needed to catapult them in to any kind of game changing position.

Rick Santorum was smooth and professional but unremarkable.

Rick Perry overcame his image as an incompetent debater and had some scripted but well delivered funny and memorable lines including one comparing himself to Tim Tebow, the second year NFL quarterback who draws criticism for his strong Christian faith and praise for his strong come from behind string of victories on the field.

Jon Huntsman was again, just there.  While nothing he said was counterproductive,  he seems to remain stuck in neutral.

Michele Bachmann was on her game but she essentially came out of this debate as the negative candidate.  Her relentless attacks on Gingrich, particular when she tried to claim that Newt was an enemy of the unborn, seemed to at times be overboard, and a display of far fetched examples of political stretches of the truth.  While she held her own and demonstrated herself to be a consistent conservative, she probably hurt herself more by  coming across as overly aggressively in a contest where voters are beginning to believe that the most important thing is to beat Barack Obama, not necessarily another Republican.

Place goes to Ron Paul.

Paul had a consistent positive pitch when it came to his sincere faith in fiscal conservatism and purity.  However he lost the bulk of Republican primary voters when he was pressed on his dangerously ignorant foreign policy and national security views.  This was especially the case when Ron Paul basically denied the dangers of Iran and of their potential capacity for the utilization of nuclear weaponry.  It was here that  Rick Santorum, once again,  unleashed a powerful rebuttal to Paul’s incompetence in the area of the federal government’s primary constitutional responsibility.

Overall, the debate was probably more entertaining than informative but it did give voters a glimpse at the potential strengths and weaknesses of each candidate in these final few days leading up to the Iowa Caucus.

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Tonight’s Republican Presidential Debate: What Each Candidate Needs to Do to Seal the Deal

Bookmark and Share   Tonight’s Fox News Republican presidential debate in Iowa is going to be the most watched of all the debates that have been held up to this point in the 2012 election cycle.  With its timing making it the last debate before the  voting in Iowa begins, and the tightening of polls in the first caucus state, it could prove to be a pivotal lasting impression that will significantly influence many Iowa voter’s final decision.

So what do the candidates have to achieve in order to make this debate count?

First, they must avoid any gaffes.  There can be no forgetting of their domestic priorities or any carefree gambling away of tens of thousands of dollars.   Such embarrassing missteps and lapses in judgement must be avoided as best as possible.  While the candidates may only be human, voters hold their political candidates up to a standard that most mere mortals can not withstand.  American voters may forgive an American Idol contestant for hitting a wrong note and call in to vote for them twice to make sure they appear on the next episode, but when a politician hits a sour note, there is little if any mercy shown.  And a misstep in this debate will be rebroadcast between now and New Hampshire more times than the 1983 classic, A Christmas Story is re-aired between now and the new year.

Beyond that each of the candidates need to achieve different things in this debate:

Mitt Romney:

Romney needs to convince voters that he is conservative, gets things done, and in addition to proving that he is the most electable candidate to run against Barack Obama, he must also provide that special moment which gives Republicans good reason to want him to be the most electable candidate.  And he must do so in a way that is believable and seemingly natural.  Romney needs his Reagan moment.  The type of moment that had people saying “Go get ’em”, when in a 1980 debate, a moderator asked that Ronald Reagan’s microphone be turned off, and with a terse turn of his head and a glaring look of disgust in his eyes, Reagan stared directly at the moderator and angrily declared “I am paying for this microphone” .  Romney needs to pay someone ten grand to have someone set up a moment like that for him.

Newt Gingrich:

Newt must win people over with his ability to not only demonstrate that he knows how to apply conservative principles to government, he must again show that in addition to being  better at articulating the conservative cause and message than any other candidate on the stage, he is also far more electable than anyone expected he could be. Newt needs to publicly point out to his rivals, that despite the darts and arrows they have been throwing at him, he is still standing and that is in part due to his strategy to run a campaign of substance, on the issues, not on the flaws of his opponents.  Newt needs to stand up and say, “I have taken the fire you have all thrown at me and I will withstand the fire that President Obama will throw at me because I will continue to run a campaign on issues, ideas, and solutions, and the people will not fall for President Obama’s tactics of political distraction and personal destruction”. 

Ron Paul:

Ron Paul may not need to do anything much differently than he already has.  An apparently divided Republican base is giving him the chance to actually win Iowa, something which is now very possible.  But such a win may not help Ron Paul very much beyond Iowa.  Look at where it got Mike Huckabee in 2008.  But if Ron Paul wants to try to win Iowa and become a viable candidate beyond the Hawkeye State, he needs to appear, sound, and act presidential.  I am not suggesting that he drop his hadrcore conviction to isolationist policies and lack of drive for a decent national defense.  However I am suggesting that many voters may take him more seriously, even as a candidate to cast a protest vote for, if he acted more like a President than the crazy old man throwing stones at the neighbor’s cat to chase it away from his tomato plants.

Rick Perry:

This is a tough one.  At this point, Perry needs to build himself up and knock down Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich all at the same time.  He must also shine in a way that makes people believe he can hold his own against Barack Obama.  The best way for him to do that is to be as natural and confident as he is in numerous, scripted, 30 second ads and eloquently contrast the conservative failings of the two frontrunners with his record in Texas. “You guys want to talk about creating jobs?  Then let’s do that.  How many Americans lost their jobs when you and your investors got filthy rich while hurting ordinary workers by buying companies, jacking up their profits at the expense of workers and then reselling them, Mitt?  And Newt, how many jobs were created when your government shutdowns in the 90’s as Speaker of the House cost Americans over $1.6 trillion?  I am the only one on this stage who has actually shaped a government environment that has allowed businesses to flourish and for the free market to create jobs.  I am the only one on this stage who has actually limited government’s involvement in people’s lives and that’s a message that I can take to the American people as they compare my record to President Obama’s record”.  Statements similar to that in nature, may not make Perry the winner of the Iowa caucuses but they will help keep him in the race and give him the chance to reshape his image as the long campaign continues.

Michele Bachmann & Rick Santorum:

While all the candidates are trying to speak to the large evangelical vote in Iowa, these two need to aim their words far more directly at them than all their rivals.  If they intend to see their campaigns survive past New Hampshire, both Bachmann and Santorum need to surprise the political world with a Huckabee-like finish in the caucuses that is hammered together by a coalescing of evangelical voters behind them. Both of them must convincingly argue that they are consistent in their beliefs and their politics and that they are both reform minded conservatives who can defeat President Obama.  The problem is that Santorum and Bachmann are seemingly cancelling one another out.  So one of them must try to somehow land a knockout punch on the other.  The one who can take the other out in this debate, will make themselves quite competitive in the remaining weeks of the Iowa caucus campaign and will have the best shot of seeing their campaign last until at least South Carolina.  Consider Bachmann and Santorum as having to use this as a debate within a debate to win the caucus within the caucus.

Jon Huntsman:

Huntsman has written off every early primary state except for New Hampshire.  While Giuliani pinned his presidential hopes on Florida in 2008, in 2012, Huntsman is pinning all his on New Hampshire.  More specifically, he is pinning his hopes on beating Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.  Given that strategy, Huntsman is the only candidate on the stage who can afford to ignore Iowa voters and instead address New Hampshire voters.  That means Huntsman has to paint himself as a John McCain type of maverick, who is willing to go against the grain of his own Party and be the consistent conservative that mainstream Republican politicians are not.  Like Rick Perry, Huntsman must try to give answers that all lead back to his conservative management of Utah when he was Governor.  All of that is going to be a hard sell, but that is the only way he can go now that his campaign bought a one way ticket to New Hampshire.

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The  debate will be held at the Sioux City Convention Center Today, Thursday, December 15th from 9:00-11:00 PM/ET, in conjunction with the Iowa Republican Party.

It will be moderated by Special Report anchor Bret Baier on FOX News Channel (FNC) and live-streamed on YouTube.com/FOXNews, in addition to FOX News Radio, FOX News Mobile, and FOXNews.com.

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