Change? Obama Worse than Bush

The verdict is in, and Barack Obama did not produce the change he promised.  In fact, as he blames all his ills on the last 8 years, it is interesting to compare the Bush years to the Obama years.  Consider the following:

Average Annual Increase in Public Debt (in millions):

Bush: $543,818        Obama: $1,497,601

Total Increase in Public Debt (in millions):

Bush (8 years): $4,217,261   Obama (4 years): $5,990,407

Average Annual Unemployment (Also see here):

Bush: 5.26%                    Obama: 9.2%

Median Household Incomes:

January, 2009: $55,198       August, 2012: $50,678

The Average Annual Price of Gas (not even including 2012):

Bush: $2.14                     Obama: $2.89

Cost of Higher Education (adj. for inflation, not even including 2012):

Bush 2008: $16,661     Obama 2011: $18,497

But isn’t health insurance cheaper now with Obamacare?  No.  In 2012 the amount a family with employer provided coverage pays in annual premiums has increased to about $16,000.  For families with private individual plans, the amount is up to $5,615.  And before you ask why families don’t all just switch to private individual plans, remember that Obamacare taxes medium-large businesses up to $3,000 per employee that they don’t cover.

But we know Obama has handled the economy terribly.  The other thing people elected Obama for was to end the wars.  Obama promised to close Gitmo, which didn’t happen, and to end the war in Iraq.  He ended the war in Iraq by sticking to Bush’s timeline, but that wasn’t the whole story.  Obama intended to continue the war and leave troops in Iraq, but Biden could not negotiate simple immunity for our troops.  Don’t look now, but the Afghanistan war isn’t ending in 2014.  The administration is already negotiating to keep up to 25,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

Let’s look at war by the numbers.

Involvement in Major Foreign Conflicts:

Bush: 2 countries           Obama: 3 countries

Military Spending as % of GDP:

Bush, 2008: 4.4%          Obama, 2011: 4.7%

Average Annual War Spending:

Bush: $99.3 Billion       Obama: $155.1 Billion

Obama boasts of ending the war in Iraq, but how is the peace President doing in Afghanistan?

Average Annual Troop Deaths:

Bush: 606                        Obama: 445

Iraq:  528                         66

Afghanistan: 78              379

But what about Bush’s handling of Katrina?  Surely Obama has done better than that, right?  Former NYC Mayor Guiliani says no.

What about taxes?  Obama boasts about cutting people’s taxes, but most of the tax hikes he passed don’t go into effect until next year.  Obamacare has 20 different tax hikes in it, and many of those affect the poor and the sick.

But Obama saved the auto industry, right?  Actually, the only Detroit major that survived was Ford.  Ford didn’t take Obama’s bailout.  Chrysler did, and is now owned by an Italian company called Fiat.  GM took Obama’s bailout and is now owned by the taxpayers.  This was after Obama spent billions to bailout the unions before letting the two companies go through bankruptcy.  If that’s Obama saving the auto industry, I hope he doesn’t do me any favors.

Add these factors to Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the Black Panther polling case, Solyndra, and the other various scandals and overreaches of the Obama administration, and there is no reason to re-elect Obama.  Except of course if you got an Obama phone and are afraid of losing it.

How Obama Could Still Win:

Several states in play are ties or tossups in the latest polls.  In some, Obama is leading by 3-5%, but 3-5% are either undecided or going third party.  Obama can still win, even with his horrible statistics, if people vote third party or stay home.

I know many out there are voting third party or not voting to protest Romney.  I, like you, am a very libertarian leaning constitutionalist.  I’d love to see us out of the Middle East.  I’d love to see government spending cut in half.  I’d love to see us hold to our 10th amendment.  But Mitt Romney is NOT Barack Obama.

If anything, Mitt Romney is far closer to Reagan.  Despite being hailed as a conservative hero, Reagan is not as conservative as I would have preferred.  In fact, many Ron Paul and Gary Johnson voters would probably not vote for Reagan either.  But Mitt Romney is not the candidate you should be protesting.  You should be protesting Barack Obama.

Consider your goals and which candidate will get us there:

Less involvement in the Middle East: Mitt Romney has a comprehensive energy plan that gets America using its own resources to lower our dependence on OPEC.  Obama spent billions of your tax dollars on green energy companies that went bankrupt, and we are no closer to independence from foreign oil.

Simpler, fairer tax system: Romney’s plan reduces rates in order to remove loopholes and deductions based on the government’s definition of what a good citizen looks like without raising taxes.  Obama’s plan is higher taxes, more redistribution and a more complex tax system designed to pick winners and losers.

Foreign wars: Obama has proven himself to be an interventionalist.  He is not the peace President people hoped for.  He hasn’t closed Gitmo.  He only left Iraq because he was too incompetent to negotiate a way to stay there.  But he is already negotiating to keep 25,000 troops in Afghanistan.  Romney’s approach is to show the kind of strength Reagan did.  What major war did we fight when Reagan was President?  The Cold War, where we sat across the ocean from each other and didn’t pull the trigger for eight years.  Finally, the Soviet Union collapsed under their economic system.

More personal freedom and responsibility: Nothing took us backwards further as a nation than Obamacare.  Obamacare mandates that every American buy private health insurance or pay a tax.  Obamacare takes deciding power away from doctors and patients and gives it to the government.  If you protest Romney, Obamacare is here to stay.  If you vote to protest Obama, we have a shot at repealing this monstrous tax on the sick and the poor.

Does My Vote Count?

If you are thinking of voting third party or not voting because Romney is not as conservative as you’d like, you could be part of the margin that gives Obama four more years to take us down the path towards socialism at hyperspeed.  So where does Romney need your vote the most:

Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico, Arizona.

But believe it or not, he also needs you in Oregon, Minnesota, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maine. If nothing else, vote to tell the liberals in your state that they do not have a mandate.  The country is changing and is leaning to the right.  You will never get the conservative, limited government you want if you let the country fall off the socialist cliff because the most conservative candidate who can win is not conservative enough for you.

When you walk into the voting booth, consider what you want America to look like in 2016.  Do you want to move forward the way Obama does?  Do you really want four more years of this?

Ronald Reagan vs George W. Bush

Obama screwed up.  Instead of portraying Romney as George W. Bush, which has been a major campaign goal of the left, he instead tied Romney to Ronald Reagan.  Oh, Obama was so clever.  “The 80s called, they want their foreign policy back”.  The modified version of the old high school punchline is backfiring.

The problem with tying Romney to 1980s foreign policy is that we didn’t fight any major wars during Reagan’s Presidency.  Instead, our greatest enemy sat across the ocean with thousands of nuclear warheads pointed at us, not daring to attack out of fear of mutual destruction, until eventually they just collapsed under the weight of their own oppressive economic system.  That’s a foreign policy I could live with.

Biden Smiling

The real reason we are out of Iraq

Contrast that with Obama, who defended the Bush doctrine with his surge in Afghanistan and his own foreign policy which came across as a comedy of errors.  Obama praised himself for getting us out of Iraq.  The truth is, he barely managed to keep to Bush’s timeline.  Then Obama tried to negotiate to keep some of our intelligence troops in Iraq, but he sent “Chuckles” Biden to secure the terms and we ended up getting kicked out of the country.  After all the work, and blood, we have little influence over the direction of Iraq and we share their friendship with Iran.  Great job, Mr. President.

Romney was no cowboy in the debate.  He was calm, collected, and unfortunately even pulled his punches.  But I would feel much more comfortable with Romney sitting across the table from our foreign leaders than Obama.  Obama’s cowboyish attacks and disrespect showed the greatest evidence for why his foreign policy is a trail of failure and disaster.  We can only pray that his meetings with foreign leaders didn’t follow the same tone.

And of course we saw arrogant Obama in the debate last night too.  When he talked about killingsmiling obama Bin Laden and having Bin Laden in his sites, I had to laugh.  I’m picturing Obama with a sniper rifle.  I wonder if it was just a Freudian slip when Bob Scheiffer accidentally said “Obama’s Bin Laden”.

Commentators can say what they want about Obama’s new found aggressiveness and ability to attack Romney with zingers, truth be damned.  But I think most American families watched last night and saw a clear choice between which candidate they would like to see sitting down with Assad’s replacement to discuss the future relationship between our country and Syria, or which candidate they would like to see negotiating how we end our involvement in Afghanistan.  Or perhaps which candidate they would like to see negotiating trade with China.  I think we would prefer Reagan-esque Romney to arrogant Obama and “Chuckles” Biden.  The 21st century called, and we could use a little 80s foreign policy.

Debunking Obama’s First Ad

With Obama’s first campaign ad of 2012, he has made one thing clear.  He cannot win by being honest about his record.  In his new ad, Obama makes four dubious claims that can easily be debunked.  The ad makes Obama sound like some sort of super President who has changed the country for the better, but it accomplishes this with misrepresentations and outright lies.

Here is the ad:

Go

The first claim that Obama makes is that “some said our best days were behind us”.  This is an easy and unverifiable claim to make.  Who said that?  “Some”.  Actually, no one has said that.  Obama’s deceitful ad shows a picture of the TEA Party, but offers no sources.  Why?  Because there are none.  Obama could have said “Some say blacks are inferior” and showed a picture of the TEA Party and it would be just as dishonest as what he has portrayed here.  This lie is an unfair, intentional smear against his perceived enemies.  The President of the United States is treating an American political group as his enemies.  Frankly, it is the sort of thing one would expect from a Central American dictator, not the President of the United States.

“Today the auto industry is back”.  If by back he means relocated to Italy, that would explain his positive portrayal of what he did with Chrysler.  If by back he means that the taxpayer investment into GM and Chrysler has somehow been paid back, then this too is pure dishonesty.  Yes, the heavily subsidized industry may be pumping out vehicles again, but what about the amount of debt it took to get them there?  This claim is political massage of the facts at best.

“Our troops are home from Iraq”.  If by home he means Afghanistan, then yes this is accurate.  While Obama drew down troops in Iraq, he turned around and surged in Afghanistan.  Obama is correct about our troops being out of Iraq, but even that wasn’t by design.  Obama had planned to keep 3,000-5,000 troops in Iraq until 2013, but could not negotiate a simple immunity agreement to keep Iraqi police from arresting our troops.  This bit of political pandering to the anti-war crowd is dishonest.  It is one more example of Obama taking credit for something beyond his control and contrary to his intention.

“Instead of losing jobs, we are creating them”.  Mix this with Obama’s chart of 4.2 million jobs created and this is the biggest whopper in the ad.  Obama has not created 4.2 million jobs.  His net job growth is negative 2.5 million.  That is a 6.7 million job gap between his claim and the truth.  Contrast Obama’s job performance with Bush, who actually netted a positive 1 million jobs.  In fact, Bush’s most significant job losses were after Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over congress.

Sandwiched between platitudes, Obama filled his ad with outright lies and misrepresentations.  Surely Obama knows that these ads will be fact checked and easily debunked.  Unfortunately, this ad demonstrates his opinion of the American voter.  Yes the ad is full of lies.  But in his opinion the majority of Americans will fall for the platitudes and never check the facts.

Then again, he’s already fooled us once.

Obama’s Red Badge of Courage

From listening to the tale retold, you would think that not only was Obama on Seal Team 6, but that the choice to pull the trigger was as a more difficult decision then say giving military the order to shoot down civilian planes, as one President did ten and a half years ago.

Don’t get me wrong.  Obama deserves as much credit for giving the kill order as Bush does for letting the CIA waterboard the terrorists who eventually gave Bin Laden up through actionable intelligence.    In fact, the one thing the Bin Laden anniversary should do is bring the country together.  Instead, Obama has made a political blunder by seeking to use the Bin Laden killing for divisive political gain.

Obama has released an ad suggesting that the decision he made to allow Seal Team 6 to take out Bin Laden is a decision Mitt Romney would not have made.

The only word I could think of to describe this crazy political  attack is disgusting.  The next word that comes to mind is ridiculously unbelievable, which is a reputation that Obama cannot afford.  Obama won 2008 based on a fraudulent image of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin which was promulgated by an overzealous media and semi-unbelievable overselling of hope and change.  Now that 2012 is here and Obama’s hope and change have not materialized, he is in desperate need of credibility.  This idea that he is the hero of the Bin Laden raid and Romney would have flinched destroys Obama’s credibility even with the most ardent leftists.

But this blunder also highlights a bit of Obama hypocrisy that can only hurt his chances in 2012.  When things go bad, Obama finds a scape goat.  Three and a half years later, he is still blaming the last eight years.  When things go good, even if he simply gave the go on a plan that started with an invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, included waterboarding, and was only possible because of the intelligence community and strong military who he has sought to minimize and defund, Obama suddenly is riding a metaphorical victory chariot in full military garb through the cities.  Ironically, Obama campaigned on shutting down Gitmo and ending the wars.  I’m sure those are two promises Obama is pretty happy he failed to keep.

The two days of the Obama administration that we haven’t felt the full contempt of the left towards the military were the day Obama gave the order to take out Bin Laden, and the one year anniversary.  In fact, the Democrats used the military as a pawn in budget talks when Obama had spent us out of house and home.

Whether they approve or disapprove of military spending or war,  I would have to think that at some point news outlets would have their own reputations to think about.  Obama has skipped through this Presidency like a comic character in a movie, surrounded by straightmen who clean up after him.  The media has happily turned their heads as though the only reality is the one they report.  But moves like this that display unbelievability and hypocrisy will change American minds.

For those who continue to either blindly follow Obama, or put up with his gaffes for the “greater good”, I hope they at least pause for a moment and think: It would have been nice if the President used today to unite the country.  It would have been nice if he allowed liberals and conservatives to raise their glasses together and toast the death of one of the most infamous war criminals in American history.  Instead, Obama tried to make today all about his re-election.

The Myth of the Obama Recovery

Depending on how you read the jobs report, you might think we are well on our way to economic recovery.  At least if you read the headlines.  Well, we should be.  In three short years, this President has increased the debt more than any President in the history of our country combined.

What do we have to show for it?

Think about it.  Think of all that we have accomplished with the last $6.3 trillion in debt.  We won two world wars, at various times brought unemployment down to 4.4% (most recently under the economic policies that supposedly got us into this mess), fought five other major wars, four major undeclared conflicts, and assisted in several other wars, gave hundreds of billions back in tax cuts, sent a man to the moon, maintained a shuttle program, bought over half the land in the country, rebuilt after a civil war, implemented civil rights, built socialistic retirement, healthcare and welfare systems, helped produce 5% and higher GDP growth, built every crumbling and non crumbling bridge in the United States today, and created a massive bureaucratic infrastructure covering roads, education, homeland security, and our entire regulatory system.

So what has Obama done with $6.5 trillion in debt?  He has brought 5.7% unemployment down to 8.3%.  Oops, I meant up to 10% and then down to 8.3%.  We have managed to get GDP just over 2% for a fleeting couple quarters.  We did continue two major conflicts which accounts for almost a trillion of Obama’s $6.5 trillion in debt.  But he didn’t do anything to stop the conflicts, and in fact started another one in Libya.

A lot of that money went in to funding failed green energy projects, such as Solyndra, which were owned by Obama’s supporters.  A lot of money went towards bailing out Wall Street and making the United States a shareholder in failed companies like Citigroup, GM and Chrysler.

One of Obama’s large debt contributions was in the form of extended unemployment benefits to make the victims of his economic policies comfortable enough to not complain.  This year when he runs on a platform of how he cut taxes, be assured that no member of the media will ask him about the taxes he has forced states to collect to fund their own broke unemployment compensation funds, and pay interest on federal loans of unemployment funds, all of which has been passed on to business owners of every size.

The amazing thing is that in his term so far, Obama has spent the equivalent of more than one full year of United States private sector GDP.  Nearly half of that has been in the form of debt.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  And yet, with more debt than every other President combined, Obama is ecstatic with an 8.3% unemployment rate?  There is something seriously wrong with this.

But it gets worse.  There is unemployment and real unemployment.  What’s the difference?  The 8.3% represents only people who are still looking for a job.  If you counted the same number of people who were looking for a job in 2007, the unemployment rate would be at 10.3% and that hasn’t changed  since 2009.

Ezra Klein at the Washington Post notes this disturbing trend which seems to show little variance in the unemployment rate when you consider people who have stopped working.  That means that with $6.5 trillion in new debt, more than all other Presidents combined, Obama hasn’t managed to increase job growth, he has just managed to increase the number of discouraged workers who are willing to settle for his extended unemployment welfare program.

In fact, although Obama will be running on the myth of jobs saved and created, in actuality there are 2.4 million fewer people working today than there were when Obama signed the stimulus in 2009. The number of people who have jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is down to 139 million from 141 million in 2009.

For those keeping score, it was 127 million in 2001.  Do the math.

Foreign Policy Reveals Different Strengths

Whether or not you think the GOP has a strong field, one thing is for sure.  Any of these candidates would be better than Obama when it comes to foreign policy.  That came across clearly from more moderate voices like Jon Huntsman in addition to the two front runners.  Overall it was a great performance by all the candidates.  The contrast between the GOP field, including Ron Paul, and Barack Obama was clear.  So, here are the winners and losers:

Mitt Romney won the debate because of his smooth ability to introduce ambiguity on some issues to give all Conservatives a cushion of comfort.  See Newt’s performance below.  Mitt also took on Ron Paul and I think Mitt won that debate.  It seems pretty clear that Al Qaida terrorists and Timothy McVeigh do not represent the same sort of threat.  In fact, I would argue that lumping McVeigh, a disgruntled anti-American government citizen attacking the system, in with the 9/11 hijackers, foreign terrorists attacking and targeting United States civilians, is a very dangerous way of looking at foreign and domestic terrorism.  I sure hope we would treat a foreign terrorist crossing our border illegally differently than a citizen radical trying to build a bomb in their basement because the IRS just sent them another tax notice.

Jon Huntsman demonstrated his firm control of foreign policy issues.  I think he overcame some fears when he affirmed our strong relationship with Israel.  Huntsman also expressed sentiments on Afghanistan that have been felt by many Conservatives who were mislabeled as “neo-cons” over the last decade.  Many Conservatives supported both wars, but do not support something for nothing nation building in nations that don’t respect us and don’t appreciate the sacrifices we have made.  Huntsman turned again and again to the economy and the failures of Obama and Congress to solve the problem.  Huntsman’s point on how we leave North Korea alone because they have a nuke, but invaded Libya after they gave up their nuclear ambitions is a great diagnosis of the inconsistency in America’s position towards nuclear ambitious countries.

Newt had a great, issue free performance.  Here is the problem.  Newt comes across hawkish, and he is far too honest.  In the end, Mitt agreed with him on long-time illegal immigrants, but Mitt said it in such a way that will be taken better by anti-illegal alien Conservatives.  Newt also hurt himself by endorsing and calling for an expansion of the Patriot act.  This could help guarantee that Ron Paulites stay home and let Obama get re-elected in 2012.  What Newt should have said was that he supported the Patriot Act, but recommends examining it for things that could be eliminated or added.  I think Newt is too straight forward on a subject that honestly Americans would prefer some ambiguity on.  Same with covert operations.  His answer regarding opening our oil resources is not new, but continues to be a very strong point for him.

Ron Paul continued to solidify his base and add some fringe Conservatives who are weary enough of the wars to want to radically change America’s relationship with the world.  For these people, Paul’s angry old man persona, scoffing and reacting to opponents’ answers, and idea that if we leave terrorists alone, they will realize the error of their ways and leave us alone, will not affect his support.  Still, Paul would make a better foreign policy President than Obama.  At least his disengagement would be total, not mixed with war hawkishness like Obama’s.

Rick Perry’s substance earned him a higher spot after this debate.  I still think his idea of zero based budgeting for foreign aid resonates with Americans.  His refusal to dabble in hypotheticals about illegals who have been here more than a quarter century is going to help him as people weed out Romney and Gingrich’s immigration comments and discover the softness there.

Herman Cain did well not to hurt himself in this debate.  He has come across as unknowledgeable on foreign policy.  In this debate he showed he has a recognizable set of foreign policy principles, although he kept things pretty vague.  He didn’t hurt himself and that is a victory for him on foreign policy.

Rick Santorum comes across as a neo-con.   This debate didn’t really change that, and only a change in that perception would cause his status to change as a result of this debate.  No mistakes, but also no movement for him after this debate.  He continues to maintain that we should be paying Pakistan for friendship.

Michele Bachmann is either a career politician or has issues with comprehension.  On multiple occasions she seemed to not be able to grasp her opponent’s position.  A glaring example was when she interpreted Newt’s soft approach to long-time established illegals as some sort of call for general amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens.  She played the same role in Rick Perry’s demise, but now it seems more like a desperate cry for relevance.  Rising and falling as the Social Conservative choice at this point will require superiority on the issues, not loud misunderstanding of opponents, even though that usually produces success with the general electorate.

No matter who the nominee is, what is clear from last night is that we cannot afford four more years of Obama’s foreign policy.

Cain Not Catering to Sissies

It has been a busy news day for Herman Cain.  First, he said he’s been to 57 states so far, then it came out he’s been in a church with a racist pastor for 20 years, then he gave a speech and kept confusing Iraq and Afghani….oops, sorry, that was all Obama.

Cain screwed up on his Libya answer.  It took Cain more time to think of if he agreed with Obama’s decision to invade our Libyan allies than it took Obama to think about doing it in the first place.  I’m sure you’ve seen the video by now, and it’s pretty painful.  Not quite Perry painful, but still painful.  You can see the video here.

Darn it!  That was Obama again.  My bad.

Cain is in trouble though for something pretty legitimate.  Something that will cost him the Liberal female vegan vote.  Apparently, Cain said he likes a lot of meat on his pizza.  Of course, with his recent sex scandals, we all know what he really meant.

Do you think I’m joking?  Apparently Donna Brazille, Democrat strategist, read into Cain saying he wanted more toppings on his pizza in light of his “woman troubles”.

If disrespecting women by saying he likes more toppings on his pizza wasn’t bad enough, Cain made it even worse by insinuating that “manly men” like more meaty toppings on their pizza and that wanting vegetables on your pizza makes you a “sissy”.  We have not received the official response from PETA yet.

If the left thinks that loving meat on his pizza is going to make Republicans decide to not support Cain, they have another thing coming.  If they think attacking Cain for saying veggie pizza is for sissies is going to do anything other than infuriate Republicans who are sick and tired of obvious media bias, they really haven’t been paying attention.

On a personal note: I don’t like Cain’s 9-9-9 plan and I do think he lacks foreign policy smarts (not quite as bad as Obama, but pretty close).  But if the media keeps attacking him for stupid stuff like this, I’m gonna have to support him purely out of spite.

And that’s time

In a short hour and a half, made up of minute responses and thirty second followups, the GOP candidates once again took the stage to answer questions from semi-respectful moderators.  In a debate most looked forward to by Ron Paul fans, Paul received very little time. We have seen pretty much all there is to be seen about candidate style, and many of these questions were repeats.  So here are the winners and losers:

The Good

Mitt Romney won this debate.  His answers were calming, yet clear and determined.  He portrayed the very stature Americans are looking for in a Commander in Chief, and he highlighted American Exceptionalism.  This area is a strong suit for Mitt, and one that does not involve any sort of past flip flops or policy changes.  His answers should give him a bump among social conservatives who are inspired by terms like American Exceptionalism.

Newt at one point had to school the moderators on war versus criminal law.  In some ways this debate seemed frustrating for Newt, but that is an aspect of him his followers often like to see.  Newt brings the fight to the moderators and to the left and usually wins.  Many of his answers were right on, but others were somewhat vague.  One thing that Newt will lose points for is how loosely he called for covert operations in countries like Iran and Syria.  This is something Newt has brought up as a policy in debates and speeches in the past, but is something better left unsaid.

Jon Huntsman did well in the debate.  The question on a tradewar with China is a favorite of most media moderators because it gives them a chance to toss Huntsman an easy softball.    Foreign policy hits many of Huntsman’s strong points without touching many of the issues that conservatives hate him for.  It won’t matter though, Huntsman is done.

The Bad

Santorum did pretty well.  He has the unfortunate bad luck of being a candidate on the back end of two long wars and sharing a policy that sounds eerily like Bush’s.  On the other hand, Santorum seemed to be saying that we need to keep funding Pakistan and being their friend because they have a Nuke.  True or not, Santorum is not going to win American hearts saying implying that we must borrow from China to pay off Pakistan to be our friend.

I have a feeling that media moderators purposefully cut Paul’s debate time short on debates like this to get his supporters riled up.  Get ready, we are going to hear about that for the next week or so.  Paul didn’t do bad for most of the debate, but some of his stances are really not correct.  The idea that the United States must capture a citizen who has declared war on the United States and bring them in to face civilian court, or that non-uniformed terrorists have any sort of rights under US law is wrong and violates precedent.  Gingrich and Perry were absolutely right on those counts.  Paul’s supporters were being their typical selves in the debate as well, to the point where the mods had to admonish them to be respectful.  They are another liability of Paul’s with the overall GOP.

Herman Cain reminded me a lot of Rick Perry in recent debates.  Without 9-9-9 to fall back on, Cain was slow in responses, vague, and seemed as though he would happily defer to a future self, surrounded by knowledgeable generals and advisers.  That’s great, but that is not leadership.  In that respect, Huntsman showed up Cain, and even Gingrich, when he said if a nuke was loose in Pakistan he would secure it.  Cain really did not give a performance that screamed “I am a leader”.  Instead, each response sounded like “How can I answer this without ruining my campaign”.

The Ugly

Michele Bachmann continues to be unimpressive and unmemorable.  She scored some points rebutting Ron Paul, but seemed to spend most of the night trying to get the moderators to let her respond to other candidates.  She also seemed to get less time.  However, I will give her a great deal of credit for her answers on ways to trim military spending without hurting the military.

Rick Perry still doesn’t debate well.  And once again he found himself as the butt of several jokes, made both by the moderators, himself, and Senator Graham.  Perry’s idea of zero based budgeting for foreign aide is a great idea, but the only reason it’s his is because he got to say it first.  Gingrich and Romeny both articulated it better when Perry was done.

But allow me a Newt Gingrich moment to say this.  The real loser was Barack Obama.  The candidates made it clear, once again, that every single one of them would run foreign policy better than Obama.  Several drove home the point that Obama had a range of good choices and bad choices and made all the bad ones and none of the good ones.  The only ambivalent candidate who actually seemed to end up on Obama’s side for some things was Ron Paul.  This is one of the aspects of Newt Gingrich’s leadership because he has focused these debates on defeating Barack Obama, and when Newt sets the tone the other candidates usually follow.

Is Cain Trying in Iowa?

No, if you believe his now former Iowa director Tina Goff and Kevin Hall who was in charge of coordinating for the Iowa straw poll in just over a month.  Jim Zeiler has also left the Iowa staff and Cain lost his New Hampshire director earlier this week.  When it comes to managing a campaign, things are not looking good for Cain.

On the other hand, Cain is looking good in the Iowa polls.  Most recently he came in second only to perpetual front runner Mitt Romney and remade Michelle Bachmann.

Will the Guiliani gamble work for Cain?

The problem is that Cain has not done or said anything to differentiate himself from Michelle Bachmann.  Going into this race he had perhaps set himself apart as a more “serious” candidate, and certainly took on early momentum from the TEA Party.  But Bachmann easily out-shined him in the debate and continues to make the right steps even in the face of extreme character assassination.  Bachmann’s successes have made her detractors appear to be less “serious”.

In the meantime, Cain is reducing himself to soundbite worthy quips and small government platitudes while his substance seems to be a foggy mirror of the clarity Bachmann has produced.  The result is that Cain is quietly slipping into the shadows where other candidate copies, like Gary Johnson (generic brand Ron Paul) and Jon Huntsman (Mitt Romney clone only the media is excited about) reside.  Bachmann is quickly taking the TEA Party energy.

In some ways, Cain brought this on himself.  His radio host style speeches leave little substance to hang one’s hat on and his brief handling of gay marriage in the debate has alienated him from the religious section of the TEA Party.  In addition, at times he has seemed clueless on some of the more detailed issues such as right of return for a Palestinian state.  This still puts him miles ahead in knowledge from someone like Joe Biden who wanted a three state solution for Iraq.

Cain does have one demographic that still turns out strongly in support of him, and that is the African American conservatives, moderates, and independents.  Many of these who helped turn Florida blue for Barack Obama and are now disenchanted with his policies are indicating strong support for Cain.  Whereas Iowa is turning out to be a fiscal versus social conservative battle between Romney and Bachmann, all important Florida may end up being a fiscal versus social conservative battle between Romney and Cain. Real Clear Politics shows Cain in second place to Romney in Florida out of current candidates, but large percentages going to Huckabee and Palin.  It will be interesting to see how those Palin and Huckabee supporters break by the time we reach Florida.  It won’t be for Mitt Romney.

If Cain can survive until Florida and then capitalize on it, losing Iowa might not be that big a deal.  Then again, perhaps he should talk to Rudy Guiliani about that strategy.

Gary Johnson Shoots the Moon in NH

Gary Johnson is in. He announced Thursday morning outside the New Hampshire statehouse that he intends to run on a platform of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, cutting defense, Medicaid and Medicare by 43% each, raising the retirement age for Social Security, and legalizing marijuana.

Johnson stated that he has never supported the Iraq war, and while he once supported the war in Afghanistan, now believes that it is time to bring the troops home. AP reports that Johnson made the official announcement to about a dozen supporters.

Johnson is a relatively obscure candidate who served as governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003. He received a mix reception at CPAC earlier this year and is generally viewed as outside of the Republican mainstream. However, he is sure to turn some independent heads. In addition to calling for a repeal of Obamacare, Johnson also called for a repeal of the Republican passed Medicare Part D prescription drug subsidy.

Johnson is not considered by most to be a contender, but he hopes to change that with a strong showing in libertarian leaning

Gary Johnson puts it all on the line in New Hampshire

New Hampshire. Johnson feels that New Hampshire can rocket him “…from obscurity to prominence overnight with a good showing in New Hampshire.”

AP Gets Early Start on Nov 2nd, 2012 Headlines

A Perfect GOP Candidate Is Hard To Find. Yes, that is the unbiased AP headline of a story published today by AP writer Phillip Elliot. Elliot then presents us with an expose on exactly why every potential Republican candidate in the 2012 primary season is unworthy of Republican votes.

John Huntsman worked as an ambassador for Obama. Mitt Romney implemented Romneycare in Massachusetts. Newt Gingrich had two affairs and two failed marriages. Sarah Palin has had “countless impolitical moments”.

An infamous premature headline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For every potential candidate, Elliot has a reason why they should lose.

Santorum is no good, he lost a Senate election in 2006. I wonder if Elliot knows that Abraham Lincoln lost the 1858 Senate race to Stephen Douglas, before defeating that same Stephen Douglas two years later in the Presidential race.

Tim Pawlenty apparently is too much into green energy. And of course, Haley Barbour is a racist, southern hick.

Of course, no freshman Republican is even considered in this article. After all, anyone can tell you that two years as a Senator does not give someone enough experience to run for President. Not if you are a Republican, that is.

I don’t remember the article about finding the perfect Democrat candidate in 2012. If Barbour has to defend his statements on segregation, should Obama defend his anti-white statements in his books? What about Obama’s church affiliation? How about his many “impolitical moments”?

Beyond mere gaffs and embarrassing associations, Obama brought us the failed stimulus plan that increased our debt over a trillion dollars with nothing to show for it. He gave us the unconstitutional Obamacare law and is currently in contempt of court for his executive order banning oil drilling in parts of the gulf. Obama’s attorney general has refused to follow through with voter intimidation prosecutions, refused to uphold more than one federal law on the books, and has betrayed his own racist leanings. Obama has now plunged us into a conflict with Libya where no one seems to know what the goals or end game is and where the only objective seems to be to blow stuff up but ensure that we are not responsible for winning.

But it’s not just Republicans who have reasons to not re-elect Obama. After promising to walk the picket lines wherever union rights are being denied, Obama was absent in the union showdown of our generation in Wisconsin. Obama has reversed his promise to close Guantanamo Bay, and continues to push back the date to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Obama’s legacy in Afghanistan is a surge strategy headed up by General David Petreaus. While Republicans are frustrated by the incompetent handling of the attacks on Libya, Democrats (if they are consistent) should be upset that we are getting involved at all. Obama is turning out to be more of a war hawk than his predecessor. He went back on his campaign promise to avoid an insurance mandate, skipped single payer, and extended the Bush tax cuts.

Where is the AP story about how hard it is to find a perfect Democrat candidate for 2012? The story of the 2012 election is not written yet. That is up to the voters. Do we want four more years of President Barack Obama?

Can the Libyan No-Fly Zone Tear the G.O.P. Apart?

Bookmark and Share The recent decision by President Obama to have the United States intervene in the civil war taking place in Libya has the potential to unleash a bruising and divisive debate within the G.O.P. that may very well play itself out in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. For many Republicans, nearly a decade of simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have begun to divide the Party almost as much as they divided the nation years after they began. The question of America’s role in the world has always inspired sharp opinions. In 2000 it was Governor and presidential candidate George W. Bush who himself famously stated his desire to make sure that the United States was not in the business of nation building. But then, after 9/11, it was President George W. Bush who created a Bush Doctrine that settled on a policy of preemption.

The circumstances that surrounded Afghanistan and Iraq were unique and there was no question that the leaderless wasteland of Afghanistan was a breeding ground for the terrorist attacks that brought the United States in to a dangerous new reality. Iraq was more complicated. While Saddam Hussein did not directly have any fingerprints on 9/11, whether you want to discount it or not, evidence demonstrated indirect involvement through Hussein’s support of terrorism and the entry in and out of Iraq by known Al Qaeda operatives. Furthermore, despite the lack of a discovery of a hard discovery of WMD’s in Iraq, evidence did in fact make it clear that Saddam had used, was developing and did at least at one point have WMD’s and was willing to use them. There is even evidence that before Operation Iraqi Freedom hit the ground and after a devastating earthquake in neighboring Syria, Saddam shipped his WMD’s out of Iraq under the auspices of shipments of humanitarian aid to Syria. Imagine that..Saddam Hussein and humanitarian assistance.

But no matter where you personally stand on the merits of our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the two wars have given rise to a level of war weariness that transcends Party affiliation. Within the G.O.P. itself, many Republicans have been attracted to Congressman Ron Paul, who touts what is essentially an isolationist position that would have the United States close its eyes and place its hands over ears while yelling “Im not hearing you.” To a degree Ron Paul is right. But only to a degree. 9/11 should have proved to us that the United States cannot ignore events that take place elsewhere. Today’s world is far too small to think that a ripple someone else will not eventually find its way to our own shores. But over overreaction can be just as bad as too little action.

And that is where the debate within the Republican Party begins.

We are already beginning to see the emerging field of Republican presidential candidates go to their respective corners of the political boxing ring on the issue. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, John Bolton and Rick Santorum have jumped on the President for too much inaction in Libya. After the French took the lead in support of rebels opposing Moammar Gadaffi, Mitt Romney has attacked President Obama for relinquishing America’s leadership role in the world to the French. Romnney also recently said I support military action in Libya. I support out troops there in the mission they’ve been given. But let me also note that thus far the President has been unable to construct a foreign policy, any foreign policy,” . Romne added “He [President Obama] calls for the removal of Moammar Gadaffi but then conditions our action on the directions we get from the Arab League and the United Nations.”

But Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, has seemingly broken ranks with his potential Republican opponents. On the involvement of the United States in military action to create and enforce a no-fly zone over the skies of Libya, Barbour said “I think we need to be cautious about being quick on the trigger,”. But Barbour has gone even further by suggesting that we must reevaluate our commitment in Afghanistan. According to him “What is our mission? … Is that a 100,000-man army mission?”.

Barbour connects his lack of interest in military intervention to fiscal responsibility, an argument that will have plenty of legs with a national electorate that has come to realize that our national debt is itself becoming a major risk to our national security. But while Barbour is framing American military and foreign policy on economic grounds, potential candidates like Sarah Palin suggests that we have a responsibility to promote freedom and the benefits that come to all from it, when she poignantly tells “We should not be afraid of freedom.”

At the moment, most of the developing G.O.P. presidential field is content with supporting the United States involvement in the creation of a Libyan no-fly zone, and to criticize the President for both, not acting on it quicker and not having a clearly defined end goal after its creation. But as Haley Barbour shows, that view is not unanimous and as Americans become increasingly weary of deficit spending, “nation building”, and policing the world, Barbour’s unwillingness to get on the no-fly zone bandwagon may distinguish himself from a field of potential candidates whom the electorate may see as leading us into foreign entanglements that cost more than they are worth.

The debate has the potential to divide the G.O.P’s predominantly fiscal conservative base into unbridgeable factions of neo-cons and libertarian Republicans. Such a division already exists, with one side led by Ron Paul and the other largely led by the Republican establishment. But should this emotional divide grow further apart, it could mean the difference between winning and losing the presidency in 2012. Haley Barbour could be positioning himself as the catalyst for compromise that could at least temporarily unite the two sides. And such a compromise over this existing division will be necessary. And not just for the political victory of the Party, but for the strength and security of the United States.

The future of freedom and our nation relies on our nation’s ability to effect positive change in the world that we live in instead of it being effected by the negative influences of the forces opposed to freedom. But as President Benjamin Harrison said; “We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.” While those words are quite true, can we take them to the extremes that Ron Paul does? Ron Paul believes we caused 9/11 and brought it upon ourselves. Such thinking cost him more votes than it got him and it suggests that America has no role to play in defending freedom or even the allies of freedom.

But is it possible for a Republican to rise to the occasion of true leadership by carefully articulating when it is necessary for American use of force in the world?

Until such time as such a Republican rises, the debate that was largely marked by the 2008 exchange between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani that is seen below, has the ability toput the Party asunder.

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And while we are on the topic be sure to click here and take this week’s White House 2012 which asks whether it is wise or not for a potential Republican candidate to support American involvment in the creation of a No-Fly Zone over Libya

The Neapolitan Party

Early on in this race, we are starting to see a clear breakdown in the Republican party into three distinct flavors. The question will be whether one candidate can unite the party once the others have melted away.

Can Republicans compromise on one flavor?

The social conservatives are known for their stances on family values, morality, and for some, Christianity. They are the candidates that the Family Research Counsel and American Family Association would love to see win. They are openly supportive of the TEA Party movement and are popular among talk radio listeners and Glenn Beck fans. They are big on national security, small government, and spending cuts, but these stances are drowned out by their social values. They are often controversial and pull no punches in attacking the Left. This flavor includes Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Jim DeMint, Herman Cain, Haley Barbour, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.

Then you have the fiscal conservatives. They are proven businessmen. They have cut costs in government, they have balanced budgets, they have produced growth, and many of them have large personal fortunes. They have made the tough, controversial decisions having to do with the size of government, and they have produced incredible results. However, even though many of them are pro-life, pro-family, and generally socially conservative, this does not come out strongly in their campaigns. They are willing to work across the aisle, and sometimes alienate their own party by doing it. Social conservatives don’t trust them, but they enjoy a closet relationship with the TEA Party movement. They are strong on national security and foreign policy. These candidates include Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump.

Finally, there are the libertarians. Although they may live socially conservative lives and oppose things like abortion on a personal and state level, they will die by the principle that such things are beyond the scope of the Federal Government’s regulations. They oppose foreign wars and take a very cynical approach to free trade, the UN, and other foreign entanglements. They oppose the war on drugs and would take a chainsaw to the Federal Government’s authority without hesitation. Secretly, many conservatives love them, but most would not actually vote for them. These include Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

And then there is Newt Gingrich. Newt can be credited with helping bring about one of our nation’s most prosperous times as he worked both across the aisle and strongly against a Clinton administration to balance the budget.

Newt can win the general. Can he win the primary?

Newt also is a dedicated social conservative, who despite his own personal family issues from a decade ago is a strong advocate for socially conservative issues. Newt also advocates for limited government, but certainly not anywhere to the extent that Ron Paul does. Gingrich is smart on foreign policy and thinks outside of the box.

His American Solutions website and conservative crusade starting from when he was considering a presidential run in 2007 have helped to codify and establish the conservative brand going into 2012. He has been a strong TEA Party ally without appearing to be a one dimensional TEA Party candidate.

Could Newt be the candidate who can unite enough of the Republican Neapolitan breakdown to win in 2012? He could certainly defeat Obama in a debate and would have a strong showing in a general election. The question is if he can get enough of the social conservative, fiscal conservative and libertarian Republicans to abandon their favorite in order to unite behind him in the primary.

Dark Horse Potential?

From George Washington to Teddy Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower, the US has a long tradition of the “war hero” President.  In most cases, this has been beneficial for the US.

So why not have a candidate who has stayed out of the political rancor of the last three elections, has a blank political slate, has served both President Bush and Obama, and has succeeded once already in a war that was pronounced unwinnable?  It should also help that he has a Masters of Public Administration and Ph.D. in International Relations from Princeton.

I am speaking about the highly decorated four star general, Gen. David Petraeus.  Even the Moveon.org attack ad in the New York Times from a few years ago has done nothing but bolster Gen. Petraeus’ popularity among most in America.  After the last few White House occupants, Petraeus seems to carry an air of honor and earned respect that seems almost unworthy of this highest post.

General David Petraeus

Gen. Petraeus is certainly qualified.  So why isn’t he showing up in any media chatter or straw polls?  Probably because among all the candidates who have claimed they have no interest in running, his claim sounds the most sincere.  When asked about it in a 2007 Foxnews interview, Petraeus offered what he called a “Shermanesque” response.  Sherman was the popular Civil War general, who when asked if he would run for office responded by saying “I will not accept if nominated, and I will not serve if elected”.

Was Petraeus simply participating in the time honored tradition of denying Presidential ambitions until the time is right?  I tend to feel that was sincere, but only time will tell.

Rand Paul – Sweet Spot or Easy Target?

Bookmark and Share    In 2008 we were introduced to the Ron Paul Revolution.  Everyone from right-wing libertarians to hardcore liberals were donning Revolution shirts.  Ron Paul, a staunch pro-lifer and limited government candidate, gained support from right-wingers who were tired of bailouts, debt and big government.  As an anti-war candidate, he drew in many Bush hating moderates and liberals whose biggest beef was the Iraq war.

Despite stocking conventions and straw polls with loud, rambunctious supporters, Ron Paul remained a second tier candidate throughout the primary and eventually refused a third party run.  The biggest hit Ron Paul took was from establishment Republicans and supporters of the war on terror.  Many of us viewed his protectionist ideas as nice on paper, but naive after 9/11.

2010 Kentucky Senate Candidate Rand Paul

Enter Rand Paul in 2010.  Dr. Rand Paul is running for the Kentucky Senate seat previously held by Jim Bunning.  Paul is running against state attorney general Jack Conway.  So is he a viable 2012 candidate simply because he shares the family name?

Rand’s family name will certainly help usher him into the spotlight and could attract many of the libertarians, independents and moderates who who loved his father,  however the very thing that made his father so popular with those groups will make Rand popular with his own party.  Rand is not as protectionist like his father.  Rand’s views on war and national defense may not match up with the so-called Neocon view of spreading freedom or the Bush doctrine, but he does understand the importance of winning the wars we are in.  He also supports a strong national defense as the number one constitutional job of the federal government.

Rand Paul’s doctrine is one of Conservative Constitutionalism.  With an eye on returning to the Constitution, staunch pro-life stance, and fiscal conservatism, Rand Paul will be a darling of the Right.  At the same time, his message of limited government, relegating social issues to the states, desire to shed light on the Federal Reserve, and anti-UN stance will continue to attract Libertarians.  Finally, just like his father, his genuineness and political prowess may capture the hearts of many non-political, average Americans.

So is Rand Paul a potential sweet spot candidate for the Republican party?  He must be doing something right because of the attacks he has already faced on a national level.  For example, Rand Paul believes in constitutional limits on the Federal government.  For him, that means the government cannot legislate racial equality in people’s minds and should not force private individuals with private businesses to serve people they don’t want to.  In the minds of his opponents, it means that Rand Paul is a racist who believes blacks should drink at different fountains, and they have been very effective at leveling this attack.

Rand Paul also opposes abortion, even in the case of rape and incest.  However, he supports use of the morning after pill.  These two views are enough to give everyone on every side of the abortion debate enough ammo to gun him down.  On the other hand, the average American who opposes abortion, taxpayer funded abortion, and especially taxpayer funding of overseas abortion still elected President Obama, and Obama supports all three.

It is too early to tell if this Conservative Constitutionalist will be a 2012 contender.  At this point he has less political experience than our current President.  My guess is that he will make an attractive Vice President pick.  Paul’s political future has two speed bumps before we can get a clearer picture.  The big one is winning his 2010 Senate campaign.  The second is Steve Beshear’s 2011 governor’s race.  If Democrat Beshear wins a second term, Rand Paul may not be willing to sacrifice his seat in a tightly controlled Senate.  In Kentucky, the governor fills Senate vacancies.

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