“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Vigilant Opposition

One thing- perhaps the only thing- that is positive about Democrats controlling both Houses and the Oval Office is that, already, it is proving both enjoyable and easier to constructively criticize the incumbents and about-to-be-incumbents, then defend the imperfect GOP officials.

Fact is, no government is ever perfect. For the past eight years, one particular liberal Democratic acquaintance has picked on some detail each week, with which to attempt to bully and intimidate me regarding the Bush administration.

When the party with which I more closely identify, even if I refuse to consider myself a full-fledged Republican, is criticized, my natural reaction is to first decide whether or not it's a relevant, significant issue.

However, being in opposition now affords me the ability to be equally critical- all the time!

How satisfying to see the Illinois rookie already making gaffes within a week of his election! Like this one, here.

And this is only the first of many, many more to come. Especially given the Messianic fervor which which so many have invested magical powers in the unaccomplished, inexperienced President-elect.

Think of the staffing mistakes. The lack of proper administrative oversight and governance by someone who's never run so much as a lemonade stand in his life.

Yes, this is going to be a target-rich two- and four-year stint for us conservatives.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Truth About The Election's Voter Turnout, Behaviors & 'Realignment'

This week has seen a number of thoughtful analyses of last week's voter behaviors by people such as Karl Rove, Dick Morris, and Jennifer Marsico. The first two are well known. Ms. Marsico wrote a succinct, brilliant piece in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal.

Key passages from her article, "This Election Has Not 'Realigned' the Country," include,

"With Barack Obama's victory and Democratic gains in Congress, more than a few commentators are talking about that "r" word so important in presidential politics -- "realignment." Was 2008 a realigning election? I don't think so.

The academic discussion of realignment began with V.O. Key's seminal 1955 essay "A Theory of Critical Elections." Key wrote that critical or realigning elections exhibit high voter interest and realigning voter turnout, as well as a shift in the dominant political ideology. Most often cited is FDR's victory over Hoover in 1932, which started a decades-long period of Democratic dominance. Americans tended to support government intervention in their lives to a greater degree than before the Great Depression. Hence, there had been a fundamental ideological shift.

Today, our elections are more candidate- than policy-centered, and detecting a seismic policy shift has become more difficult.

But there's another similarity that disqualifies both contests from constituting a realigning election: The elections turned on their predecessors. Reagan's sound bite "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" encapsulated what his campaign was about. The election was a referendum on Jimmy Carter's performance, and voters rejected it.

Even more to the point, the congressional election results also cast doubt on the thesis that this year's election, or that of 1980, signals a political realignment. Republicans picked up 33 seats in the House and control of the Senate in 1980. But two years later, Democrats picked up 26 seats in the House and regained control of the Senate in 1986.

In 2008, Democrats picked up 19 House seats (with a few races still too close to call), but this represented the continuation of a trend from 2006, a year in which Democrats picked up a more impressive 31 seats. It is too early to conclude that 2008 marked the start of an enduring period of one-party domination or the continuation of short-term voter dissatisfaction with the GOP.

Put another way, Mr. Obama got about 40,000 fewer votes in Ohio than John Kerry got four years ago. Mr. Obama carried the state when Mr. Kerry did not because Republicans stayed home. Nationally, the anticipated record turnout didn't materialize. About the same percentage of registered voters came out this year as in 2004. And was that a realignment year?

In the same way that 1980 did not yield a generation-long period of Republican dominance, those on the right can take heart that 2008 does not represent the beginning of an era of Democratic supremacy."

Add to Ms. Marsico's insights Dick Morris' observation that, despite what he referred to as the erroneous 'truths' now being fabricated, voter turnout this year was actually about the same as 2004, i.e., some 130MM. For all the alleged new young voters registered, there wasn't a corresponding increase in their rate of voting.

Karl Rove has noted similar statistics, joining Morris and Marsico in cautioning anyone to interpret this election as 'realigning' or any other sort of radical seismic shift in American voter preferences.

Rather, for a candidate with 96% of 13% of the electorate in his pocket to begin with, the Illinois rookie won by a shockingly narrow margin over McCain. And most of this was attributable to the former's painting McCain as 'four more years of George Bush,' while the latter wasn't as articulate and able a campaigner as his younger foe.

This election was about relative choices between two men, not larger choices for the long term between two competing views of how to (re)fashion our society.

If the Democrats, as is their usual practice, can't help themselves from attempting a wholesale push of American government to the left, you'll see a resurgent GOP House in two years, and the White House back in GOP hands in four.

Paradoxically, if the Democrats don't attempt this socialization of American government, their own far-left attack dogs will turn on them.

Either way, with a fresh, energized set of young Republican Governors and Representatives, look for a dramatic turnabout in two and four years' time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good News For The GOP!

Only a week after McCain's defeat, the GOP already has good news for the upcoming election cycle.

Michael Steele, the prominent, articulate conservative former lieutenant governor of Maryland, has filed to run for chairman of the GOP. Rather than fight Newt Gingrich, who was also rumored to want the post, Steele has the former's explicit backing for the job.

Oh, yes. Besides being very good in front of cameras- he has often subbed for Sean Hannity on his Fox channel program- Steele happens to be black.

If race is what sells now in America, the GOP has an oar in that water, too.

Meanwhile, Gingrich's name is appearing as a possible 2012 Presidential contender. While there are some negatives about Gingrich, he is a very smart, sharp guy who has spent years in the wilderness reshaping and reforming his image. I've watched him countless times on Hannity & Colmes and O'Reilly. The man has something intelligent and informed to say on each and every major national issue.

If Newt can curb his lust for power, which got him into trouble as Speaker, lose some weight, and recruit a crack manager and staff, he'll be good to go for 2012. With Steele as his party chief, they could well be unbeatable.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is Change You Can Believe In? Democratic Bailout of GM

It's official. The Democratic Congress and its new partner, the inexperienced President-elect from Illinois, are going to ram a GM rescue bill through Congress ASAP.

In an unsurprising turnabout from his campaign, the Illinois freshman Senator has suddenly found corporate welfare he can believe in.

At least, when it goes to a blue state with an all-Democratic lineup of Senators and governor. And happens to be home to the UAW.

Maybe his logic is this. Why hike taxes on some corporations, when it's easier just to own them outright?

Humor aside, this is the President-elect's first, and very expensive, gift to his far-left supporters from the UAW.

As I wrote in this post on my companion business blog recently,

"If Ingrassia's (and my) recommendation was followed, the union which supports the current Congressional majority party and the President-elect would, as Paul notes, be forced, in bankruptcy, to see their existing contracts and benefits vanish. The UAW gets a much better deal by feeding off a government-subsidized, barely-living GM corpse than it does in bankruptcy court. Any chance this explains the Congressional insistence on last month's multi-billion dollar loan to the auto makers? And their further desire to shovel more aid without demanding bankruptcy?"

So we see that, even before his inauguration, our next President is returning to past 'failed economic policies' against which he railed in his campaign.

After all, doesn't it make more sense to make the UAW suffer along with everyone else for whom inflated economic promises have been shown to be fraudulent? I'd rather see our government directly deal with former GM workers simply as citizens, rather than indirectly, as union members, through a nearly-lifeless corpse of a company.

This may be a record for the shortest time period in which a newly-elected President ran away from his most prominent campaign promises and morphed into someone else entirely.

Look for the independents who helped elect him to turn on this guy sooner, rather than later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Wrong Way To Elect The First Minority US President

In my opinion, there's a right way, and a wrong way, to elect minorities to the office of President of the United States. I believe Americans went about electing the nation's first black, or mixed-race candidate last week in the wrong way.

The right way, to my way of thinking, was expressed in this post almost exactly one year ago. I wrote, in part,

"What is surprising is how the media continues to behave as if gender or race is the only reason people wouldn't vote for Hillary or Obama.

I won't vote for Hillary because she's a largely inexperienced, power-hungry socialist.

It has nothing to do with her gender. To not vote for Hillary is not to reject women candidates for President. Merely that woman candidate.

The same is true for Obama. Again, the Journal article made it seem as if a vote against, or not for, Obama, is a racist vote. But that's not true. It totally overlooks Obama's nearly-total absence of any legitimate experience which would prepare him to lead this country.

As with Hillary, I'm not against Obama because he's black. I don't think he's a qualified person to be President. To reject Obama is not to reject minority candidates. Only that minority candidate.

What really bothers me is how easily the media turns these two candidates' campaigns into litmus tests on gender and race, thus obscuring their relative inexperience and lack of qualifications for the high office they seek.

This is the sort of coverage that results in false impressions that America isn't ready for a woman or minority President.

Of course we are. We just need to see some women or minorities who are actually capable of executing the office of the President effectively."

I expressed this line of thought to a naturalized citizen/friend recently, and was horrified to discover that this was a new concept for him. He felt that my rejection of the President-elect constituted racism, as did Geraldine Ferraro's fair observation last year that if the Illinois rookie Senator wasn't black, none of this would have happened to/for him.

Of course, Ferraro is correct. My friend's view notwithstanding.

When I asked my friend what the Democratic candidate had done to merit being elected, much less running for President, he murmured something about the Senator having 'done something in Illinois.'

No such luck. Well, no matter.

My friend proudly stated that it was a wonderful thing that America had its first black President. Period. Nevermind, he implied, the winner's (lack of) qualifications. Now, my friend would he unashamed to travel the globe and identify with his adopted country.

To me, this is truly awful. Suffice to say, he and I disagree on the importance of whether foreigners like the American President, or what we do globally.

I remain mystified that so many Americans are gushing so shamelessly about this wonderful thing of electing a non-Caucasian President.

Who cares? The Office of President of the United States is not some equal opportunity program reward. It's hopefully where we send a qualified, competent American to lead our Federal government for the next four years, while also faithfully executing his oath of office.

Thomas Sowell wrote some years ago that any job or position which is seen as having been filled due to racial or other quotas or preferences immediately becomes viewed as a lesser position. No longer a job earned by merit.

Let's hope we haven't just done that to our office of President of the US.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Usual Hacks...er.....Suspects

Last week, the Illinois rookie Senator gathered an assemblage of mostly old, hacked-up, political oldies in Chicago to advise him prior to his first press conference as President-elect.

The Democrat had little to say of substance, and absolutely nothing resembling 'change you can believe in.'

No, thanks to his council of 'the usual suspects,' he instead babbled on about new stimulus packages 'sooner, rather than later,' and bailing out auto makers. Again. Even more expensively.

Nothing remotely creative, such as allowing the shareholders and senior managers of the auto makers to die, but giving the rank and file workers living stipends, educational vouchers for training, and bare-bones, government-paid health insurance for a year or two. Perhaps even extending such to whichever middle managers wanted to live on such allowances, too.

Instead, the newly-elected liberal regime seemed to be behaving remarkably like Bush and McCain, aiding corporate failures at the taxpayers' expense.

Isn't this just what the new Messiah accused McCain of- four more years of 'Bush's failed economic policies?'

My, my.

It seems it will be four more years of Obamanomics which looks just like what he ran against.

After scanning the NY Times picture which my partner described as 'the last supper,' which also appeared in the Wall Street Journal and on the live feeds, I saw no particularly comforting faces save, perhaps, Paul Volcker. Just tired has-beens like the ever-popular Democratic economc gnome, Bob Reich, the unremarkable Laura Tyson, and various other liberal economic dunderheads.

In case anyone hasn't noticed, Warren Buffett and Dick Parsons are hardly known as economic mavens. The former has actually stumbled outside of raw financial asset allocation, while the latter has screwed up Time Warner royally.

If all this group of political and business hacks can dream up is more aid to the failing US auto makers GM, Ford and Chrysler, you have to wonder in just what form, and when, all this celebrated change will be arriving, don't you?

'Cause it ain't happening yet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

No Mandate- Just Good Ol' Fashioned Racism

I wrote this post last week about McCain's campaign mistakes. In it, I mentioned,

"Given that, in the words of one pundit this morning, a switch in results from only 40 counties across the US would have made McCain President-elect this morning, the latter's campaign mistakes are really what caused his loss.

In the end, McCain just seemed unable to mount a vigorous, clear, vibrant and coherent message to give voters something to be for, rather than merely be against reasonable fears of Democrat hegemony."

What is even more remarkable is how close McCain came in a Presidential election featuring such total racist voting patterns.

I'm referring, of course, to the Illinois rookie garnering something approaching 96% of the black vote. If, instead, the usual split in Presidential elections had obtained, Sarah Palin would be handing her job to her lieutenant governor, and Arizona would have a newly-appointed Senator in a few months.

And, of course, if the media had reported a white voter preference for McCain in the same proportion as that of the blacks for his opponent, charges of racism would have flown thick and fast Tuesday night, and ever since.

Several pundits, among them the eminent Karl Rove, noted that the Illinois freshman Senator won by no more of a margin than Clinton.

Hardly a mandate.

Remember that when you begin to hear of the wholesale socialism the newly-elected President and his Congressional cronies want to inflict on America.