Wednesday, November 7, 2012


President Obama won election to a second term over challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday by a convincing 300+ electoral vote landslide, promising more of the same partisan gridlock in Washington as the voters also reelected a Republican Majority in the House of Representatives.

Much to the dismay of some conservative pollsters and analysts who had placed unbounding confidence in continued momentum by Mitt Romney, (see our article hinting at just such concerns following Chris Christie's unprecedented pandering to the President in attempts to secure federal "disaster aid" following the admittedly brutal effects of Hurricane Sandy on the State of New Jersey, contrast with the overly optimistic projections of conservative pundits Dick Morris and Karl Rove), President Obama held Romney at bay in all but one "battleground" swing state (N. Carolina), to hold on to his lead and secure his re-election.

Aided by a superior "get out the vote effort" (aka GOTV) and targeted appeals to the President's base and narrow demographics such as young women with appeals such as the Administration's "War on Women" meme, exit polls suggest that this strategy, along with President Obama's early "framing" of his challenger with negative ads were effective in states such as Ohio, (where Obama squeaked out a victory notwithstanding less young voters supported him than in the watershed year of 2008 due to a depressed turnout among more conservative members of the electorate resulting in younger- and more liberal- voters constituting a larger share of the electorate on a percentage basis). 

Moreover, the raw numbers indicate that less Republicans in general voted in 2012 than in 2008, i.e., large numbers of the electorate which voted for John McCain in 2008 found apparently less reason to vote and stayed home this time around, raising questions about why and and much head scratching and consternation of party insiders attempting to determine just what went wrong for the Romney campaign and the consequences for the Republican party going forward.  

Moreover, the Romney campaign seemed beset by organizational and campaign gaffs, some of which were pointed out by this party, which combined to eventually doom the Romney campaign, among them an inordinate reliance on a disfunctional and digitally-based "get out the vote" effort dubbed "Orca" which by all accounts was a spectacular failure.

The effort, which attempted to channel the efforts of over 30,000 volunteers through the internet and dedicated call-in lines into "real time" GOTV and poll watching updates, suffered from ill-defined and unforeseen technical errors which saw the system down for as much as six-eight hours at a time in various critical areas, with no "back up" plan to monitor problems at the polls or get sufficient numbers of supporters to them in time to vote.

Specifically, many who attempted to long on to or otherwise utilize the "Orca" system found that pre-distributed "passwords" didn't work with no ability to effectively reset them, with eventual complete crashing of the system.

Compared to the Obama campaign's superior ground game which actually focused on using real and often paid campaign staff to move people to the polls and make sure their base got out to vote, the Romney campaign was clearly bested by the President's superior organization.

Combined with an overwhelming advantage among women, minorities, and the youth vote, which turned out in equally impressive numbers for the President as they did in 2008, there really was no contest from the beginning of the vote tabulations, with most networks declaring Obama the winner at a relatively early (and unexpected) 11:10pm time shortly after calling the pivotal state of Ohio for the President.

A spark of hope for conservatives evidenced by Karl Rove on Fox news arguing with the call for Ohio on live T.V. was soon doomed as it became clear that Romney would not carry the equally crucial states of Virginia or Wisconsin, and would not pick up any purple "swing" states except North Carolina, which the President's campaign had earlier all but ceded to Romney.

In early returns it appeared that the GOP also would, rather than pick up seats in the Congress, would actually lose seats in both the House and the upper chamber, though by how much was uncertain.

As might be expected, the mood was somber at one in the morning EST when Romney gave what by all accounts was an especially gracious and magnanimous concession speech from Boston, with tears seen in the eyes of more than a few supporters.

 The crowd in Chicago, which had erupted almost three hours earlier when the race had been called for Obama and had been partying ever since, was a stark contrast to the Romney camp.

 At 1:39am when the President finally came to the podium for his victory lap it was a nearly raucus celebration, Obama sealing the deal with a rousing and uplifting speech reminiscent of his 2008 campaign, (emphasizing bi-partisanship, never mind he hasn't governed that way his first four years). 

  And although it wasn't near the partisan screed that liberal firebrand Chris Matthew's of MSNBC hoped it would be, the President's speech tracked Romney's and an American tradition of magnanimity in victory, at times seeming to even echo themes Romney had tried to utilize in his bid to unseat Obama to (apparently) no avail in his bid for the presidency, praising the American spirit of initiative and hard work and promising that, for the nation, "the best was yet to come."

 While we will have more analysis in coming days, and why our own (optimistic?) electoral projections were so starkly off the final numbers, right now one thing is clear.

 The nation has spoken, and we applaud the American people on their involvement in their most sacred civic duty, their right to vote and participate in the political process.

 What the result means to the continued viability of the Republican party long term, at least at the national level, as well as our nation's ability to resolve the pressing fiscal and other problems facing it, will undoubtedly be a matter of extended debate, (particularly within the Republican party), over the next two years.   

 While such matters are still to be determined, judging from the initial numbers and exit polling overall, they don't, at least initially, look positive to us at this point, (particularly with regard to the youth vote, more on this in a future post).   

 It now seems likely the Republicans will be forced to compromise with the President on his "soak the rich" agenda, (regardless of the facts that taxing the only group able to create jobs for the rest of us will likely hurt, not help, job creation).  Likewise the President's more liberal social agenda for things such as gay rights, permanent inclusion of tax-payer funded abortion in Obamacare, and a likely push for legalization of marijuana use at the federal level before the end of his second term or in the least abandonment of enforcement of federal drug laws in states that have approved medicinal or recreational use of the gateway drug) looms large.

  More importantly, without the cooperation of an even-more-Democratic-Senate thanks to the offensive and easy-to-frame "abortion comments" of far right Senate candidates Todd Akin from MO and Rick Murdoch from Indiana, Republicans will face an even tougher uphill climb politically in efforts to address the nation's crippling deficit and spending spree of the Democratic party led by the newly elected President. 

  But all was not lost, with Republicans holding onto their majority in the U.S. House, the branch of the federal government responsible for initiating tax changes, (albeit by slightly smaller margins).

  To what extent it actually means the American people have willfully chosen a governmental paradigm based more on the European "social democracy" model instead of just the results of a superior campaign and slick marketing, one thing's for sure: The model of American free enterprise as one based on the rugged individuality and self initiative on which our nation was founded, and on which the modern West has traditionally and universally acknowledged as the world's greatest and shining example of freedom and self government, is almost certain to face challenges the likes of which we have never seen.

May God bless and guide our republic's leaders with wisdom in the days ahead. Jp

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Making a difference- Freedom's Demand, Our Obligation to Future Generations!

As I do what I can to help in this most critical election of our lifetimes, just a quick note to our friends to remind you to get out and vote (and bring a few friends along with you!) this Tuesday, or, better yet, vote early if u can! (Especially if ur in critical Ohio or one of the "swing" states!)

Folks, THIS REALLY IS A CRITICAL ELECTION beyond what words can express. But the choice is really quite simple. Will we contunue as a mostly free nation which has resulted in prosperity beyond what most of the world's citizens can imagine or will we give up our freedom for vague assurances from the government to "provide all we need" in the name of "fairness"?

Will we continue as an independent people whose free and independent decisions form the backbone of our free enterprise system which has created untold wealth and opportunity for ALL our citizens or will we give up the opportunity to be free to chart our own economic destinies in favor of the "European model" which assures trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see and a crushing national debt that will sap the vitality of our country and ultimately enslave future generations?

Yes, undoubtedly there are those who believe the promises of certain government leaders that if we simply "trust them" (regardless of whether they have a history of actual success or not!), if we just give up our freedoms and independence in exchange for a government check, that all will be well with us, and that such policies will even lead to better prosperity for our country and its citizen!
To paraphrase Republican presidential candidate Mitt romney at a recent rally, "Folks, don't you believe it!"

As Ben Franklin once astutely noted, "those who trade liberty for security, will receive neither!"

So folks, get out and vote for a REAL change, or, as some have noted, a change from the change, and don't give up, for "in due time, if we sow, we shall also reap! " AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!Jp

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Has Hurricane Sandy Stopped Mitt's Momentum?

  First of all, let me say on behalf of the aclp and all our our supporters and followers that our hearts and prayers go out to those who have lost their homes, livelihood, or loved ones from Hurricane Sandy which hit the East Coast, particularly the New Jersey Shoreline and New York City Monday and Tuesday of this week with devastating force.

  Words alone cannot serve to import the extent of utter devastation wreaked upon the residents of those locales by Sandy, as the storm flooded Lower Manhattan and other coastal areas with a "storm surge" of, on average, 12+ feet causing widespread flooding.

  We're talking about urban and suburban areas which have been completely destroyed, whole houses swept away by the deluge with only their foundations, (if that!) left behind, and leaving piles of rubble more akin to what has been seen in the devasating Southern tornadoes in the last couple years rather than a "mere" hurricane.

  The disaster has ground almost all commerce to a standstill, causing that most hardy institutions of our free enterprise system, the New York Stock Exchange, to close on a non-holiday for the first time since the 9/11 terrorist attacks eleven years ago, and leaving rescue crews and the American Red Cross, along with First Responders, attempting to assist burgeoning numbers of suddenly homeless people in gaining basic shelter, food and water, but the situation is desperate. (you can donate to the red cross or Salvation army here).

  Businesses, including most grocery stores, as well as most transportation, including trains and subways, are closed indefinitely, as looting fears abound, although so far, at least, the vast majority of those caught up in this disaster have, from all accounts, handled themselves admirably in incredibly difficult circumstances.  (And just for the record, we are not faulting public authorities at all for the lack of transportation; kinda hard to safely take a train when the train tracks are just ripped out of their moorings from a flood that would Noah a run for his money!)  

  Indeed, to even attempt train travel in this environment, (assuming one could get waterlogged engines and electricity flowing to the subways), would be akin to suicide given that electricity and water don't mix and the almost certain instability of water deluged track!) I could go on, (as I'm sure any of my regular readers would attest, lol), but words alone can't possibly do justice to the sheer scale of this national tragedy... so here are a few pictures culled from the internet just so those of you in the Midwest (like yours truly) or out West can get an idea what we are talking about here... brace yourself, some of it is hard to look at... But for the bold of heart click here, here, or here.

  In sum, and all told we're talking, conservatively, MILLIONS of people losing their homes, jobs, and livelihoods.  Moreover, the storm has resulted in a loss of power for up to six million people, just think, about that, SIX MILLION PEOPLE without the power that so many of us take for granted in our modern industrial nation each and every day, with uncertain prospects for restoration.  Utility company spokesman plan on setting out a plan for restoration of power to millions on Friday, which means, in all likelihood, that the effects of Sandy, including loss of power, will be felt for days, (if not weeks to come!), with months until things can get back to anything resembling "normal."

  Accordingly, this fateful event seems destined to last through the Nov. 6 elections and disrupt the end of what had been a frenetic pace of campaigning for the (still) most powerful office on the face of the earth, the United States Presidency, with both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama taking a few days off from the campaign trail to raise money and goods for those in NY and NJ who have been hit hardest.

  For his part, Mitt Romney didn't hesitate to donate his campaign bus to distributing goods to those in need even prior to the disaster and turned several of his scheduled campaign events post Sandy into events to gather donations of food, clothing, and bottled water to be distributed to those in need.  

  Which brings us to the main point of this post, in the aftermath of Sandy's aftermath; namely, what is the political aftermath of Sandy on the mood (and voting preferences?) of the United States electorate?  More specifically, will Sandy sidetrack Mitt Romney's chances at becoming President, which until now, had seemed more and more likely possible, if not probable? (see our prior post on the electoral college).

  Indeed, so horrific had been the devastation that I don't think, barring a nuclear attack from terrorists in Times Square, (or a rogue nation state, can anyone say "Iran?"), that the damage could have been any worse.  Just think, no food, no water, no sanitation, and no subways or public transportation in a megapolis of millions. (Correction, I have just heard that some busses are now running in NYC again, or at least the ones that can get fuel).  Oh yes, and did I mention no fuel? (excepting the gas stations lucky enough to have electricity to run the pumps, click here to see people lined up as far as the eye can see just to get a few gallons of overpriced gas!).

  But it does seem as if there has been a sudden slowing of momentum of Romney that has revealed itself in polls, which heretofore had been trending Romney's direction following his debate performances but which now, at least according to a clear plurality of pundits, seems to have suddenly leveled off and/or actually reversed in the President's favor, (and this notwithstanding that some pundits such as Karl Rove or Dick Morris are still forecasting rosy scenarios for Romney).

  Indeed, and somewhat as an aside, and depending on one's political perspective, such a natural disaster has raised fears among some that Barack Obama might use just such an event as this natural disaster to postpone, or even, (unconstitutionally I may add), CANCEL the U.S. elections indefinitely.

   While we are not near so paranoid as to really think that will, in fact, happen, (at least at this point), such an extreme outcome need not occur in order for such a crisis to, in the words of the President's former Chief of Staff Rhaam Emanuel, not "go to waste."

  And for his part, whether out of sincerity or sheer political necessity, the President was quick to oblige, spending Tuesday and Wednesday being found in innumerable "photo ops" surveying the damage and looking "presidential" in a way which seemed to elude him in the election debates, (most notably in hard-hit New Jersey with former critic Governor Chris Christie in tow singing the President's praises about how "responsive" and "caring" he has been towards the needs of his state post-Sandy's trauma).  Which leads us to the penultimate question.

   Will all the extra "free" publicity and endless praise by a popular Republican Governor, one of the President's prior most ardent critics, act as a "turning point" in the President's campaign that will aid a more favorable narrative that Obama can, or at least is willing, to be "bi-partisan" and move to the political center in the same way as that which revived Clinton's presidency after the mid-term drubbing he experienced in 1994 when the GOP took over the house for the first time in 40 years and passed Newt Gingrich's publicly popular and well publicized "contract with America?"

   In this regard, it matters not that all available evidence we have indicates that Obama is clearly far more ideological than Bill Clinton, and lacks the same sort of pragmatist streak that, in the final analysis, appears to have been a core part of who Clinton was as a politician; rather, the losses the Democrat party experienced at the hands of tea party forces in 2010 has seemed to only cause President Obama to "double down" in his liberal policies (including many which have gutted popular Clinton signed reforms such as Don't ask Don't tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, and mandatory Welfare work requirements recently eliminated by Executive directive much to the chagrin of conservatives like me).

  "But," you may protest, "surely the people won't be fooled by a momentary appearance of competence and caring on the part of the President in the wake of a still struggling economy and his well documented failure to have instituted policies to turn things around in the past four years in spite of his 2008 promises to do just that?"  Perhaps.

   But, as any master of stagecraft will tell you, what is is not near so important as what appears to be.  And in our national ADD memory in the multimedia age of 30-second-sound-bites we are not at all sure of the overall health, (mental and otherwise) of the American body politic.

   Indeed, as has elsewhere been effectively proven, (including by an unfortunately frank video of Romney pointing out this fact), nearly HALF of the American public now owes its existence and livelihood to government programs that have sapped the initiative and independence of those who now look first to the government than their families, friends and churches to help them in times of great need.

  As such, we are starting to wonder if an overt appeal to individual initiative and free enterprise, core staples of Romney's appeal, can now carry the day, at least after a national disaster that is likely to have rather poignantly reminded folks, "What if that was me and I was reduced to having nothing in a matter of hours?  How would I survive, really?  Maybe I do want a strong government 'safety net' in the mold of European socialist democracies to save me and provide my every need!"

   Of course, such are cruel fantasies which only end in annointed "cream of the crop" political leaders-- no reference to any current leaders ;)--  "skimming the top" of everything, (just like in the old Soviet Union where the party "elite" had access to separate stores and untold luxuries like caviar while the populace starved to death); indeed, history has proven that all such promises of a powerful central authority solving all your problems can only end in upheaval worse than what we see in N.J. and New York right now in the aftermath of Sandy; But alas, uninformed (and hungry!) people have little time for political philosophy and forget such truths all too quickly.

   All of which leads us to muse out loud whether Obama can somehow channel all the photo ops and free publicity as an attentive "problem solver" in the wake of Sandy in a way that could spell real trouble for a challenger that in the best of times-- and until relatively recently and just the last month or so in fact-- has struggled with the President's caricature of him as an elitist hopelessly "out of touch" with the average American voter?

   Combined with the "bite" taken out of a media, which, at least until the Benghazi Libya attacks on the U.S. embassy a couple months ago, had been more recognizable as the President's personal lapdog than the highly esteemed "fourth estate" of government exposing corruption that the American founders envisioned, we are, to put it mildly, concerned.

   Indeed, the disaster coverage that now dominates the evening news undoubtedly has the potential to once again put the ball back in the President's court, in a way ominous for Romney's chances.

  Thus we find ourselves, only five days out from our national election, forced to reassess an electoral map which only a week or so ago we strongly felt favored Mitt Romney.

  Only time will tell if, in fact, our more recent fears have any basis in reality. We hope and pray, that they don't.  JP

please donate here to redcross

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Electoral College now favors Romney- Our analysis of the numbers

Well, it's no surprise that former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney has been on an electoral upswing since his stellar first debate performance a couple weeks ago, (and the President's equally poor one).   In fact, unless you've had your head stuck in the political sand so to speak, you probably watched that historic debate yourself and no doubt know why.   And this is so regardless of the President's somewhat "comeback" in the second debate this past week.  So with an eye towards the third and final debate scheduled for tomorrow night we thought we'd take stock of the electoral map and re-assess our predictions for election night. 

Of course, it goes without saying that things in national politics can change quickly. But barring some bombshell "October surprise" (a time hallowed tradition of Presidential politics, especially from the left)), which could successfully wrest attention of the American people away from the state of the economy and America's place in the world under the present Administration, (a scenario we kind of doubt at this point, this is how we see the 2012 Presidential election shaping up.

Though they won't say so explicitly, it appears that the Obama camp has all but given up on winning once "swing" states of Florida and North Carolina, (for its part the Romney camp is pulling staff from N. Carolina, which means both campaigns see the Carolina's as comfortably on Romney's side of the political ledger).

This essentially means that while the Obama camp was desperately hoping to tamp down the pro-Romney brush fire that started after the first debate so as to keep down the number of "swing" states in play or even pull away from Romney in the majority of them by now, that hasn't exactly worked as they planned. 

Instead, Romney has been the one who has closed the gap or pulled away, and the number of "swing" states, if anything, has broadened, complicating the President's reelection bid exponentially.

So it is that we see the lea Obama previously enjoyed shrinking and in some polls disappearing entirely— in critical states like Ohio and Virginia, as well as expected "Democratic" states like Colorado and Nevada, (which Obama carried in 2008 and needs to again in 2012 in order to have a realistic shot at winning re-election).

Indeed, the Real Clear politics electoral map clearly shows that whereas Obama had a commanding lead just a few short weeks ago in the national polls (and correspondingly the electoral college), he no longer necessarily does heading into the final 2 weeks before the election, (as we shall see!)

This realization must be the cause of the seeming gloom that has descended on the political pundits of the left and the increasingly muted responses of Obama advisers re: their political playbook; indeed, the meme of "many different paths" to victory for the President that was once commonplace has been replaced with a "hold several key states" strategy that belies internal polling that must show an increasing uphill climb for Obama. Not that it still can't be done. It's just much harder for the President now, (much to the delight of conservative organizations like ours!). So just, why, exactly, is this?

Well, for starters, as above alluded to, Romney has seen a strong resurgence in the Midwest as well as all important Florida. When added to his already strong showing in the deep South and heartland of America, it leaves Obama with much less "wiggle room" than he previously had, (and this is so even after assuming the inevitable win for Democrats in most Northeast states like New York as well as the West Coast, most prominently California, the single largest electoral prize with 55 votes towards the 270 needed to win the Presidency).

Ohio, a state without which no Republican has ever won the Presidency without, had tightened in at least one poll to within 1 point, with a slight Obama lead overall, (but read below about how Romney could make history by winning without Ohio, an opinion that is not by any means only this author's, see here).

In Midwest states like Wisconsin, Romney is within the margin of error or even leads in some polls, with the national race dead even or favoring Romney among likely voters according to most polls.

Further, more than a few polls show Obama's support eroding even in Democratic bastions such as Minnesota, Michigan, and, astounding as it is to veteran political analysts, in Pennsylvania as well, where Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by almost a million votes (and at least one poll actually shows Romney up by as much as four points!) On election night watch especially these last two states closely, because if either of them goes for Romney, (especially PA.) it bodes extremely ill for Obama's bid for reelection.

Equally if not more important, the President's poll numbers have seen a precipitous swing in the swing state of Virginia, with most polls now showing a slight edge or within the margin of error for governor Romney.

Same goes for Colorado, (which, as mentioned above, was heavily counted on by the Obama team to keep in his column in their reelection strategy).

Driving the pro-Romney trend is a disaffected youth and Catholic vote, who Obama carried by large margins in 2008, the former of which have been stung by no jobs, and the latter of which have been casualties of Obama's all but announced war on the "conscience rights" of people of faith who seem increasingly likely to have their tax dollars used to fund abortion or contraception under the President's signature domestic achievement, Obamacare, (which in a shocker to many, including this organization, the Supreme Court upheld last June with Chief Justice Roberts surprise— and politically shrewd?— fifth vote).

Indeed, as we surmised it would in posts on this blog, in addition to the ability of Romney to shatter the stereotypes of his candidacy by his strong first debate performance that the Obama campaign had been able to paint successfully through early election season negative ads, the counter-intuitive boost to conservatives' political fortunes expected from a defeat in the high court has played out even more starkly than we expected, as middle America is faced with the realization that absent defeat of Obama this freedom-grabbing, job-sapping law will likely be fully implemented in 2014, (although that's far from assured, see this article on Liberty University's petition for "rehearing" before the Supreme Court on the basis of the court's previous ruling).

So, getting to the numbers, assuming North Carolina, (double digit wins for Bush 43 both times and barely won for Obama in 2008), and Florida, (Bush 43 two times, albeit very narrowly in 2000, a dynamic we don't expect again in this year's race in this fairly conservative anti-tax state with a popular Republican Governor and many Obamacare-wary seniors) go for Romney in 2012, which seems highly likely to us— and leaving New Hampshire, Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia as "toss ups" for now and PA as an Obama win— that gives Romney a base of 235 electoral votes to 253 for Obama.  But hold on.

If Romney can wrest just Colorado, (RCP average gives a narrow lead for Romney in this Western— read pro gun— state which went for Bush 43 twice), New Hampshire, (Bush by 1.3% in 2000 and Romney as "Gov next door" as well as owns a home there), along with Wisconsin (successful and fairly popular Republican Governor who just won recall election) away from Obama it would give Romney 258 to Obama's 243 electoral votes, a striking reversal of the President's political fortunes and a mere 12 electoral votes from the "magic" number of 270 needed to win the White House and the role of most powerful leader of the free world.

Take away Iowa, a state that went for Bush 43 in 2004 and in which Obama has lost significant support with his focus on health care and liberal social causes in a state with a large contingent of conservative evangelical voters and Nevada— which went for Bush 43 not once but twice and has been hit very hard by the recession with the nation's highest unemployment rate at 11.8 %from the Obama column and Romney will be President, (although admittedly the tie scenarios abound, more on this another time).

What's that you say? You're still not convinced? You say that since Iowa is one of the few states in the union which haven't been hit as hard from the recession you think it could be convinced to again go for Obama? Or perhaps you think Iowa with all its evangelical voters will never back Romney, a mormon, for the nation's highest office? Perhaps. 

 But all indications are, in the face of a withering onslaught of governmental controls and regulations from not just Obamacare but banking, energy policy, taxation, and federal land management, most evangelicals are fully on board with the Romney campaign, as are most Independents, including tea party elements. (Indeed, this author leans tea party "evangelical" and has no problem supporting Romney. We are, after all, electing a President, not an elder, pastor, or Pope for that matter; I think the nation has had enough of the top-down-rule-by-Executive-decree paradigm). Rather, it is our considered opinion that the more conservative Romney/Ryan ticket naturally appeals to Iowa's largely rural, and likewise conservative— if relatively small population and electoral vote— state which Bush lost by a razor thin 03% to Gore in 2000 and won by twice that in 2004.  We therefore believe Iowa will, in the final analysis, be found in the Romney column, (though the ride may not be a smooth one!)

However, even if you don't give Iowa (or, alternately, Nevada, both having 6 electoral votes) to Romney, assuming as we do above that the Romney/ Ryan ticket could at least pull out a win in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin, Romney would need only 6 more electoral votes to hit the magic 270, which Romney could do by winning any one of either Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Virginia.

Let the naysayers scoff all they want, but it doesn't seem remotely probable to us that— provided the media doesn't regale us with tales of devil worship at the mormon temple in Utah or any last minute revelations of alleged affairs of Romney's or some scandalous last minute story of sexual "harassment" of women by Romney while at Bain or the Massachusett's Governor's mansion that gets mysteriously "leaked" by the media one week before the election a la Herman Cain style— that Romney could fail to win at least one of these closely fought states.

Indeed, when one considers that two out of four of these states (Ohio and Virginia), both voted fairly convincingly for Bush in both 2004 and 2008, (Virginia by almost double digits!), and Obama's national favorability numbers have been stuck in the mid forties and have never exceeded 50% at any point in this election— a level of support without which no incumbent has ever achieved reelection with, or any challenger has possessed and then went on to lose it seems fairly obvious, at least to us, that Romney's chances of beating Obama for the Presidency are looking quite good.

Moreover, if Romney should happen to carry Wisconsin and Ohio, and pick up either Virginia or Michigan in the process, he would win by a convincing mandate of 295 or 298 electoral votes to Obama's 243 or 240 respectively, (which however you slice it, surely seems like a good ol' fashioned butt whipping to us!)

For the slightly less optimistic among us, and to put it another way, even if Ohio is lost to Romney— a scenario the media constantly reminds us almost assures Obama's victory— as long as Ryan can pull Wisconsin for the ticket, which it seems to us no reason he cannot (with, we may add, his wonkish dedication to tackling the budget deficit and youthful exuberance playing Led Zeppelin on his ipod attracting a significant share of the "youth" vote), as long as Romney can pull either of these two states, (Michigan or Virginia), he would still win the Presidency with room to spare in the above scenario, (in the case of Michigan, with 10 electoral votes for a total of 280, and in the case of Virginia, seven).

With odds like this it's no wonder the website, (which allows folks to literally "put their money where their vote is" by betting on who the winner will ultimately be), shows Romney's stock rising, (as of this writing he was at a 39.1% chance of winning, still low but higher than he has been on Intrade's system).

Of course, none of these Romney victory scenarios will happen unless conservatives who dare not condemn our great country to another four years like the last four put aside any still lingering doubts and divisions and actually turn out at the polls to vote, a variable which is impossible to know beforehand.

But it is comforting to know that the so called "enthusiasm gap" seems to favor Republicans this time around.

And that's something conservatives should all be able to cheer about. 

Update 10/28:  P.S. For extra fun, and to consider Romney "blowout" scenarios, assuming the Romney/Ryan ticket can pull both Wisconsin as well as the state where Romney's dad rose to prominence as President of American Motors, (and, of course, Governor), then add back in Ohio or Pennsylvania, (a state in which, as mentioned above, at least one internal poll gives Romney a four point lead in, and conservative tea party favorite Pat Toomey won a state-wide race in two years ago), which gives you a whopping 311 or 313 electoral vote win for Mitt Romney (compared to 225 or 227 for Obama!) Add both states to Romney's column and you get 331 electoral votes for Romney! At such levels one starts to feel a little embarrassment for President Obama, (relief, perhaps, but embarrassment nonetheless!) Indeed, at least one study crunching the data indeed forecasts just such a blow out, (see here).

To put such totals into their proper perspective such a victory has rarely been achieved by a challenger to the Presidency; Just by way of comparison to an era of economic malaise many have compared to the Carter years of the late '70s, Ronald Reagan's 1980 win was by a electoral total of 489 compared to Carter's mere 49.

But given all the data we have before us, and again, and barring earth shaking and unforeseen political events, (which are always fluid), we are fairly confident that Romney will be the next President of the United States, (indeed, no challenger who has ever led in national polls by as much as Romney does presently has gone on to lose the general election).

Furthermore, we estimate a better-than-even chance, 52% in fact, that Romney will win by an electoral total of more than 300.

Whether Romney's margin of victory in the end, is, in fact, high enough to win in true "blowout" fashion, we are fairly certain that, all things considered, Romney will win the election with between 285 to 295 electoral votes, and likely at or very close to 292 electoral votes. Let's do all we can to insure that happens! jp

 11/1:  As of today, it appears Sandy's impact on the election is going to effect Romney.  (See today's post). Folks, we need to redouble our efforts and do all we can!  This election is that important to our country's future! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Romney Must Do to Win Tonight's Debate (and the election!)

 In perhaps one of the most critical campaigns in modern Presidential politics, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama go head to head in a townhall style meeting at Hofstra University where they will answer undecided voters' direct questions.

The President intends to use the 90 minute "debate" as an opportunity to aggressively attack Romney and reassure nervous supporters and members of the general electorate that he is not near so "professorial" and out of touch as he appeared in his last debate, a flat performance largely credited with reviving the up-till-then moribound campaign of challenger Mitt Romney.

 For his part, the goal of former Governor of Massachusetts and "turnaround king" of private equity firm Bain Capital and the 2000 Winter Olympics is to continue "looking" presidential on the same stage as the President while attacking his economic policies that many blame for the continuing weak U.S. economy following the 2007 housing collapse.

  Many conservatives, mollified from their previous dissatisfaction with the ex Governor's prior unsteady performance have been buoyed by a renewed sense of vigor and focus by Romney heading into the final stretch of an historic political campaign amidst a rise in the polls stemming from his stellar first debate performance, and hoping for a "one-two" punch to deliver a total knockout of Obama. While the townhall format doesn't easily lend itself to the likelihood of this outcome, it is not impossible, but for Romney to be able to accomplish such a decisive win in this debate, (and overall election), he must at least do the following. 

1) Don't allow himself to be tarred with a "favor the rich" brush.

 While many of Romney's closest advisors, including his V.P. pick Paul Ryan at the Vice Presidential debate last Thursday, seem intent on "reassuring" the public that Republicans will insure any economic burdens of new fiscal or tax policies in a Romney Administration will fall only on the "richest" among us, we would suggest a different course.

 Instead of co-opting the President's class warfare approach, (albeit in a "kinder and gentler" way), why not directly refute it with something along the lines of Reagan's famous, "there you go again" response to Jimmy Carter in the 1980's?

 By responding with, "There you go again deflecting attention from your failed policies with the same tired class warfare rhetoric which pits Americans against Americans Mr. President," or, better yet, "What's wrong with working hard and becoming rich? My goal as President will be to institute policies that allow every American to reach their economic goals and become more wealthy," or, "With all due respect Mr. President, I know you've spent most of your life in the public sector as a politician and "community organizer," but I've had extensive business experience, and I'm here to tell you, I never got a job from a poor man!" or perhaps, "The fact of the matter Mr. President is that only the "rich" have the resources to open new factories and start the businesses so desperately needed for to create middle class jobs in our economy; if you penalize the so called "rich" with higher taxes what you are really doing is closing opportunities for the middle class to get much needed jobs that will help their own financial circumstances."

 Or Romney could even point out the well proven fact, (from the IRS' own figures!) that the top 10% of income earners in our society already pay almost 70% of all income taxes, perhaps followed by a quote from the President himself acknowledging that the last thing you want to do in a weak economy is to increase taxes on those who hold the key to job creation, those private entrepreneurs and investors who have been scared into inaction by the spectre of Obamacare, which the Supreme Court has ruled is, in fact, a tax on the middle class, rather than grow government as his administration has done, (a government by the way which can only waste and eat up jobs and wealth, not create them!)

 In short, instead of trying to blunt the Dems class warfare attacks by co-opting their premise, attack them directly at the root with a broad philosophical defense of the free enterprise system contrasted with the President's failed policies of socialism and Crony Capitalism, (Solyndra anyone?)

 In this regard it wouldn't be a bad idea to preempt the inevitable repetition of a line repeated incessantly by Joe Biden in the VP debate either, that Republicans want to "favor the Rich" by keeping the "Bush tax cuts," by pointing out it is the Democrats who want to raise taxes on everybody by blocking any straight up or down votes on these critical and impending tax increases in the new year absent plans that would drastically raise rates on "the rich" at a time when we need them to invest in the economy more than ever. I think you get the idea.

2) Don't allow the moderator to "frame" the debate against you without challenge.

 On this issue, Romney could take a page from Newt Gingrich's playbook. Even some on the left get annoyed at moderators who obstruct the candidates answers or have an obvious agenda, instead of letting the candidates speak for themselves. Does it mean they sometimes won't answer the question, or answer it exactly in the way some may want? Of course, but then that's left to the voters to determine if the candidate's answers pass muster or not, not the "moderator."

 It is interesting to note in this regard that the Presidential Debate Commission has received complaints from both campaigns that moderator Candy Crowley has seemingly revealed her intention to violate the format of the debate, intended in the town hall tradidition to be candidate and citizen directed, rather than a "from above" set of talking points dictated by a moderator. After the V.P. debate, and both prior debate moderators giving the Democratic candidate more time overall, this is a critical issue. Romney can neutralize any bias right off the bat by not allowing any grandstanding or unfair treatment to go unchallenged, or at least by refusing to be silenced when a rebuttal is needed. At times this may require interruption or stubbornly holding one's ground, and while certainly having some risks, if done right can be incredibly effective. Besides the media not being incredibly popular with the American people anyway, who intrinsically don't trust/like reporters, people want a leader they can believe in, and leaders don't allow themselves to get short shrift or unfairly "framed up" on an issue without responding to unfair characterizations of them or their position. (Romney did this excellently in the first debate, but moderator Crowley's comments this time around raise real cause for concern, so he needs to be prepared in this regard). If he can simply do this one thing he will exponentially raise his chances of winning.

3) While incredibly important to many, (including this author!) Romney needs to avoid getting bogged down in social issues or the "war on women" meme so strongly pushed by the White House, but again, don't shy away from a clear, forceful defense of traditional values. If attacked for being "pro-life" and/or Obama unfairly attempts to "tie" Congressmen Todd Akin's unfortunate comments about "legitimate rape," rebut such "guilt by association" attempts and point out that scare tactics regarding "rape and incest" or "life of the mother" are a complete canard by pointing out that such "exceptions" to the GOP opposition to abortion, while valid, make up only 2% of all abortions and that studies have shown that abortions for "life of the mother" are, with today's modern medicine, hardly ever medically necessary; If Obama tries to trumpet his radical homosexualization of the military or attack you as "intolerant" point out that the Administration's antagonism for traditional marriage was clearly pandering to Hollywood's liberal democratic donors and, more saliently, starkly contradictory to the President's own "pro traditional marriage" views in 2008.  Furthermore, regardless of one's position on "gay rights" in civil unions, it is the role of tyrants, not President's, to willfully refuse to enforce legitimately passed laws like the Clinton signed Defense of Marriage Act, and that such huge societal shifts of core values should not come at the expense of a "social experiment" on our armed forces and the freedom of conscience of millions of Americans of faith.

   It might also be helpful for Romney to have at the ready to counter the broad "anti women" brush the fact that as Governor Romney employed more women in key posts in the Massachusetts Governor's mansion than Obama has employed in his four years in the White House! (Or that Obama's economic policies have inordinately fallen on women, who have lost the most economically in Obama's economy).

4) Last but not least, Romney needs to have a ready answer for the expected "it's Bush's fault" on the economy, and point out that, while he may have inheritied difficulties, they were not as a result of Republican policies of "deregulation," but rather Democratic ones represented in such things as the Community Re-Investment Act which pushed the idea of home ownership for many in the inner cities and on the economic margins who simply couldn't afford to "own their own home," which caused the housing "bubble" to collapse.

   More to the point, if Obama becomes particularly obnoxious in his partisan attacks on the GOP on this issue, Romney shouldn't hesitate to point out that as an attorney Obama himself formerly represented clients who sued to force BOA and other big banks to in fact make such risky loans which played such a prominent role in contributing to the housing decline which led to the recession.

   Likewise Democratic talking points regarding the alleged notorious 47% video, (to which Romney should point out Obama's videos bragging about his desire to "redistribute" the wealth). Is it wishful thinking that Romney could point out that Obama's failed promises of "shovel ready jobs" which added almost a trillion dollars of "stimulus" debt to our children's children, were, even in his own admission, "not so shovel ready," or that the "too big to fail" premise of Dodd Frank actually guarantee more government bailouts in the future to the detriment of America's way of life and credit rating? (downgraded for the first time in history on Obama's watch!) Perhaps.

  Time would fail to go over every other possible issue, (from a strong defense to environmental policy, to domestic energy, which Romney seems to be doing well in of late), or to delineate how Romney can effectively respond to the most inevitable attacks on Republicans in general, and his personal character in particular, that Obama has so effectively "framed" him with in negative ads and will very likely repeat tonight. Nor is addressing every issue necessary for Romney to win. Indeed, if Romney can just effectively address the above issues, it should be sufficient to reveal Obama in his desperate bid to do or say anything to retain power in an election that, if the polls are to be believed, is slipping away from him. But Romney must not be afraid to provide a philosophical defense of GOP policies sufficient to rebut the inevitable and well worn attacks he knows are coming from Obama, (at least if he is going to make a persuasive case for change from the failed policies of the last four years). In short, he must go large and not be afraid to directly rebut Obama's premises.

If he doesn't, he will give Obama an unnecessary chance to get back in the game. If he does, I don't think anything, short of the Governor's complete meltdown at the last debate or other unforeseen circumstances in the final three weeks, will be able to stop Romney's roll to victory.

One thing's for sure; it will be interesting to watch! jp

Friday, June 22, 2012

Obama Asserts Executive Privilege to Deny Fast and Furious Documents to Investigators

The Obama Administration Claims “Executive Privilege” to Protect Attorney General Eric Holder from turning over Records in Congressional Investigation of 'Fast and Furious' Mexican Gunrunning Scheme

On the eve of a vote by the House Oversight Committee to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his stonewalling of Congressional investigators looking into the controversial 'Fast and Furious' scheme executed by the BATF which resulted in the death of at least two federal agents from illegally- exported American weapons, (including CBP agent Brian Terry), President Obama extended protection to Attorney General Holder's refusal to comply with a Congressional Subpoena aimed at forcing disclosure of who knew what when in the White House about the deadly program.

While technically within the rights of the President to assert such a privilege, (but see below), such conduct was immediately denounced by committee Chairman Darryl Issa as a “last minute” ruse to delay justice for murdered agent Brian Terry and drew charges of hypocrisy across the right of the political spectrum due to then-candidate Barack Obama's criticism of the Bush Administration for invoking “Executive Privilege” to deny access to records by Congress during eight years of the Bush Administration.

Such action is troubling not just due to Holder's repeated insistence before Congress that he was not aware of the controversial program and its deadly outcome to American law enforcement personnel in spite of receiving emails and updates from his deputies about it, but because the President has repeatedly claimed no personal knowledge of the Fast and Furious program.

Indeed, the assertion of “Executive Privilege” by the President to protect Holder's refusal to comply with the Congressional subpoena seems to contradict the President's prior emphatic public statements that he knew nothing about “Fast and Furious,” and further strains credibility that neither he nor anyone on his payroll in the White House knew about the lethal program.

This is so because a claim of “Executive Privilege,” a legal doctrine intended to aid the separation of powers and shield Presidential advisors from potential liability for giving candid advice to the President on matters of sensitive concern, (e.g. human “targets” selected for “elimination” by American drones in the fight against terror in far away places like Pakistan), is only legally permissible if, in fact, the White House or the President's advisors were actually aware of the lethal program, (otherwise no “privileged” information would be at stake which needed to be "protected").

Of course, there is nothing new about Presidents zealously guarding their right to direct lawful executive action free from undue meddling by Congress or trying to protect their own political appointees. In a 180 degree twist of this doctrine and an example of perhaps the most flagrant abuse of it in the modern era, everyone over the age of 60 remembers how President Nixon attempted to use similar arguments to protect himself from having to disclose the so called “Nixon tapes” in the Watergate coverup which was rejected by the Supreme Court and ultimately led to Nixon's resignation. However, comparisons to the Nixon Administration, even ones not exactly apropos, are not particularly helpful to an Administration already plagued by voter unease and polling below 50% favorability in most battleground states which Obama must carry to win reelection in 2012.

Moreover, unlike a more recent example of such claims attempted to diffuse political fallout from a Potentially devasting scandal during the 1980's, President Reagan, who never actually was proved to have approved of the covert program which indirectly aided the contras contrary to the policy of Congress, arguably did so with the best interests of the country at heart, in an area in which the President's constitutional prerogatives are undeniably stronger and allow more leeway in the long-term interest of the country, (i.e., foreign policy). To be sure, while one could make a loose claim that the “gunwalking” scheme at issue in Fast and Furious is likewise related to the important “foreign policy” of tracking and stopping Mexican drug lords from committing even worse crimes against American citizens later, the problem with that theory is in order to accomplish such a goal the Obama Administration would have actually had to have "marked" the weapons with tiny RFID tracers, (which they didn't in this case). While why the feds didn't do so is a matter of furious debate, with those like Wayne Lapierre of the NRA and yours truly believing it was done in an attempt to gin up support for gun control and others asserting mere incompetence on behalf of the BATF and the Obama Administration, the action just taken by the President insures the chances of the American people finding out which it is anytime soon, and certainly before the election, are slim to none. What IS clear however is the methods used by the BATF violated the very gun laws Democrats normally have championed in regulating gun sales on U.S. soil, (but which private gun shops in Arizona were urged to circumvent by the government to achieve the purposes of the Fast and Furious program). Indeed, in their zeal to illegally put weapons in the hands of dangerous criminals the government violated dozens of federal laws against “fraudulent” transactions, (including selling to known criminals and fake “straw man” buyers for the express purpose of exporting said arms across the border to Mexico in contravention of settled federal law). Further, when some gun shops questioned the safety and propriety of the government's "have a care" methods, some were not too subtly pressured or threatened. It is such claims that are some of the most disturbing and for which the documents requested by Congress could have shed additional light on as well as who in the Obama Whitehouse knew of the deeply flawed program.

Further, in perhaps the biggest contrast between this still youthful scandal of the Obama Administration and that which occurred in the 1980's, Reagan's Iran Contra resulted in zero American deaths, in fact, to the contrary Iran Contra arguably saved American lives, (as it ostensibly resulted in the safe return of American hostages held by radical terrorists). Indeed, while one can possibly argue about the wisdom of funneling profits from arms sold to Iran in the '80's to the Contras in Nicaragua fighting for their freedom, no one can doubt that the motives of President Reagan in doing so were not sincere and intended to promote American national interests. Not so of President Obama, whose actions seem designed, at least with the limited evidence available in light of the Administration's determination to withhold further documents from the public, with only one thing in mind: saving a flagging President from the embarrassment of politically-damaging revelations on his role in the scandal from erupting publicly just before the 2012 elections in order to aid his re-election chances, (arguably the only reasonable explanation for the President's last minute assertion of executive privilege in light of his previous denials of White House involvement in the scandal).

Call me crazy, but at least the way I see it, one's crass desire for political self-preservation doesn't come even close to a legitimate excuse to stymy a Congressional investigation into potentially illegal activities which resulted in the death of even one American law enforcement officer at the hands of Mexican outlaws.

However, most troubling of all is the extent to which such conduct seems to fit a pattern by the Obama Administration of self-aggrandizement and expansion of power at the expense of the other two branches of government, followed by delay, obstruction and distraction tactics when its methods or aims are legitimately questioned by those we elect to do so in our government of checks and balances.

From attempts to bury-- no pun intended-- the coal industry, (the President's remarks that anyone attempting to open a coal fired electric plant would be bankrupted and the cost of energy under his plan double come to mind), to attempts to discredit Fox news and others in the media such as Sheryl Atkisson of CBS news who have doggedly pursued the truth about Fast and Furious, (see here and here), to inappropriate and veiled threats to the Supreme Court which is widely expected to any day issue its ruling striking down the President's signature domestic achievement, Obamacare, the Administration seems at best tone-deaf and at worst malevolent when it comes to an understanding of the appropriate limits, constitutional and otherwise, to its power and the almost maniacal way it seems to view itself as well as its political “enemies.”

And although the use (and/or abuse) of the law and hard ball tactics of Chicago politics to advance his political career certainly is nothing new to the President, (witness Obama successfully using Illinois election law to block his primary opponents from the ballot in his first run for Illinois State Senate in his first run for office), the extent to which this President seems to recognize no bounds to his power-grabbing ways and the extent to which he seems willing to use highly-politicized themes and “power politics” such as the Trayvon Martin tragedy and attacks on States' voter identification laws meant to protect the integrity of the voting process is truly alarming. (And this is especially so when one takes into account the divisive and damaging effect such tactics have on the American body politic).

Don't like the investigation of a Congressional committee into potentially illegal and certainly poorly conceived “gunwalking” programs that end in the death of American agents/citizens in Mexico at the hands of outlaws? Attack the character and motives of the Congressional Committee's chairman.

Can't get your controversial “cap and trade” legislation passed through normal democratic means of debate and consensus? Simply declare, by Executive fiat, that the Environmental Protection Agency is “empowered” to administratively introduce draconian and job-killing regulations that will devastate our ability to develop our most abundant and reliable source of domestic electricity, coal.

Don't like the Defense of Marriage Act duly passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton? Just “declare,” absent the Supreme Court or Congress' agreement solely on the judgment of the authority of himself, that the legislation duly passed by the people's representatives and signed into law by Democratic president Bill Clinton defining marriage as between one woman and one man is "unconstitutional."

Even worse for the President is it exposes the blatant hypocrisy of the left at a time when it is most likely to alienate a critical group of voters not likely to see this as the “heightened transparency” of government Obama promised when running in 2008, conservative leaning independents like me.

In fact, while liberals like to complain that Republicans Administrations, i.e., Bush 43, had no respect for the rule of law and abused its powers with such things as executive orders and claims of "executive privilege," similar claims are now brushed off when it comes to the Obama Administration. Indeed, some are now observing the comparisons which are clearly emerging between this Administration, which promised to be “the most ethical in history,” and some of the actions of President Nixon, who famously attempted to stonewall Congressional investigation into the Watergate scandal of the '70's.

Only time will tell if this President's end shall be similar to Nixon's, or simply end unceremoniously at the hands of a public exercising their solemn duty in the privacy of a voting booth in an unprecedented time of deficit spending and global economic uncertainly who have, for their own unique reasons, simply had enough. Unquestionably however, it cannot help Obama's chances. Jp

For more info click here,0,4057316.story

Agent Terry's parents, interviewed on Fox News' Sean Hannity's show, shared their disgust at the announcement and and belief that it means the White House is "hiding something... They have lied from the beginning..." (see full video here )

Speaker John Boehner implied that White House officials were either involved in the Fast and Furious operation or the cover-up that followed.

Friday, April 13, 2012


The leader of a national tea party group today "warned" that should Republican party presidential candidate Mitt Romney win the nomination they will not actively campaign for him.

Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation organization, while conceding most Tea Partiers will likely vote for Romney, stated yesterday that "we will not be out there with signs for him or in his campaign," continuing that "Romney has a huge problem with the conservative base of the GOP.  He had better do something about that ASAP or he won’t have to worry about that moving to the middle nonsense,” (for full article click here).

Such blunt talk by a leader of a movement partly credited with giving Republicans control over the U.S. House in 2010's historic mid-term elections should give pause to the GOP who desperately need a united party to come together after a bruising primary season if they want to have any hope of defeating Democratic candidate and incumbent President Barack Obama in the General Election Nov. 6.

Such statements as Phillips' also give full view to the deep divisions that have plagued the party in recent years and which this year boiled over in a particularly vitriolic and extended primary season in which at least nine Republicans vied for the nomination and candidates openly attacked one another's level of conservatism, (or lack thereof), in extensive and televised prime-time debates.

And while that number is now officially down to two, (Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney), most observers, and even Gingrich himself recently, have all but conceded the likelihood of Romney being the inevitable GOP nominee.

The Tea Party Nation leader also cited informal surveys on the Tea Party Nation website indicating that as many as 25% of those who identify with the tea party movement plan on not voting for Mitt Romney if he is, in fact, the Republican nominee.

For such voters, the option of merely "staying home" on election day is more palatable than holding their nose and voting for a candidate whose conservative credentials and commitment to such things as a balanced budget and spending cuts that will eliminate the federal deficit are, at least to them, questionable.

The salient question however is, in doing so, do they tip the scales in Obama's favor and actually end up helping a President who they uniformly despise and who has promoted policies which they find equally, if not more, objectionable?

While such matters are not the focus of our article here, it is certainly appropriate to ask whether the right wing of the GOP, members of which this party has frequently sparred with here and on social media such as Twitter, is unintentionally shooting itself in the foot with such tactics?

More of interest to us and our educational mission here at the ACLP, we thought it appropriate to ask in the aftermath of such statements whether those like Phillips, purists for whom the word compromise seems dirty and seem to eschew the ordinary maxim of politics being the art of incremental change, want "the whole cake and eat it too" regardless of the consequences to our broader body politic.

Over the next week we will examine this idea, not just in relation to the Tea Party but also Ron Paul Supporters, Occupy Wall Street, and other groups which have been active this year and oft-threatened to "take their ball and go home," with the goal our answering this question:  Do such threats of political "civil disobedience" evidence a new "purism" that signals the advent of a permanent era in American politics with long-term repercussions which threatens to further unravel our social fabric and prove counterproductive to the very groups that propose such political responses or is it just another side of expected partisanship in an election year that will ultimately prove temporal and benign?

Or, put another way, could such dissatisfaction with the status quo cause a "once in a generation" political "realingment" and foretell a rising of new and heretofore unknown political parties to give full voice to the political beliefs and values of a large swath of the American electorate? Intriguing questions and ones we will endeavor to contemplate, and hopefully answer, in days to come.  jp

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Demcratic pundit Hilary Rosen accuses Ann Romney of "never working," Opens new front in the "War on Women" debate

Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen tonight opened a new front in the War on Women debate which has been occurring on Twitter and other Social Media sites in the aftermath of the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke story by declaring on CNN that "Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life." (See Reuters story here).

Unfortunately for the President, while apparently intended to reinforce a recurring theme of both the White House and some conservatives that Mitt Romney is "too wealthy" to be in touch with the needs and concerns of "average" voters, the comments instigated an firestorm of criticism on social media and an immediate and effective response by the Romney camp, (see here).

In a historic first, Mrs. Romney, not known for her social media expertise, (in fact, she didn't even have a Twitter account previously!) took to cyberspace to respond to the criticism, tweeting, "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work." She immediately garnered 6000 followers, and thus began an object lesson in the critical nature to both parties of this key part of the electorate in this year's Presidential elections.

Indeed, in an obvious attempt at damage control and to prevent the GOP from regaining the high ground with this core constituency and keep the momentum going their way from a previous "war on women" narrative which the Whitehouse has been successfully using to target female voters on the heels of Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy, the White House and its surrogates responded swiftly with attempts to distance Obama from Rosen's incendiary comments.

Jim Messina, the President's campaign manager, tweeted the following:

Hilary Rosen, Democratic Strategist Attacks Mitt Romneys Wife

David Axelrod, the President's chief election advisor and strategist, was also quick to respond:

Hilary Rosen, Democratic Strategist Attacks Mitt Romneys Wife

Josh Romney, one of those five children Mrs. Romney raised, also jumped in with his own tweet:
Hilary Rosen, Democratic Strategist Attacks Mitt Romneys Wife

A subsequent "apology" by Ms. Rosen, couched in a defense of her comments, didn't seem to help much, driving home the general point that in this election cycle, women, who President Obama leads vs. Romney, are critically important to his chances for reelection, See here.

While Romney leads the President by about 13 points among men, President Obama bests Romney by an even larger margin among women, a state of affairs the President and his campaign would like to keep.  Unfortunately for them, the recent uproar throws a monkey wrench into their plans, as Romney is all but assured of a boost in support among, in the very least, those women who have also chosen children over career.  We shall have to see if this translates into actual votes in November, but one things for sure.  This is going to one very contentious election that will pit poor against rich, black against white, and apparently, family against family.  Fasten your seatbelts folks. jp

UPDATE:  We have  just learned that sources are reporting that Ms. Rosen has been a regular guest at the White House, leading some to speculate that these were more than just random comments, but perhaps even planned to "test" new campaign themes that the President is interested in using on the stump.  While that is certainly conjecture, there is no doubt from the White House visitor logs, that Ms. Rosen indeed seems especially well connected to the Obama White House, having visited more than union leaders or others with natural ties to the President.  Read the whole story here.  jp

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Santorum Drops Bid for Presidency, Fails to Endorse Romney

Republican Presidential candidate today announced that he is "suspending" his campaign for the Presidency, in a move which will undoubtedly consolidate Mitt Romney's support and accelerate his efforts to win the Republican nomination.  Santorum, shown below, did not however endorse anyone for the Republican nomination, perhaps still feeling the sting of Romney's attacks on television which clearly have taken a toll on his small and relatively underfunded campaign in comparison, which had been beset by family health issues and concerns over his appeal in a general election with his conservative social positions, which many in the GOP feared would unnecessarily turn off independents and a constant focus of attacks and derision from Democratic pundits.  

The move puts the focus back on the faltering and now almost nonexistent campaign of former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich, who recently indicated tacit, if not overt acceptance of Romney's inevitable nomination.  Indeed, in spite of his prior comments, the former Speaker immediately indicated he may not be so quickly endorsing Romney, at least not yet. It remains to be seen if this turn of events, widely expected by political pundits in light of Santorum's inability to win any further major primary contests since his sweep of the South that catapaulted his nascent socially conservative campaign into the national spotlight just a few weeks ago in a season that has seen several Republicans' political fortunes rise and fall as "frontrunners," will change Ginrich's tune (or chances) between now and the GOP convention in August.   In light of his recent firing of almost his entire campaign staff and no money in the bank, our guess is that it won't.  But another chapter of this years Republican nomination process has ended; sure was fun while it lasted!  We wish Senator Santorum the best in his future endeavors.  We have a feeling it may not be the last we see of him.  NOTE: For full coverage of this event, including video of comments made by Santorum in bowing out, click here.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, announcing "suspension" of his campaign for President Tues 4/10/2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

3 days (and Three Cheers?) for Obamacare! Why the Supreme Court's upholding the individual mandate is better for the Conservative movement (politically speaking).

The thesis I am about to propose, that upholding the individual mandate may actually, in the long run, be better for the conservative cause, may well be considered heresy by many in the movement. However, the observations I am about to make are little more than common sense and cannot be doubted of their validity. But first, a disclaimer.

Anyone who reads this blog or follows me on Twitter knows that I do not follow any particularly "party" or conservative line, and that I sometimes enjoy playing, in the words of a college professor with whom I enjoyed many a discussion/debate, the "provocateur," or, what some would call nowdays, "devils advocate." Such an approach is well suited to my intellectually maverick ways, as I have always "followed my own drum" so to speak on such matters, (and have never been afraid to differ from others in sharing my own perspective!)

Further, while our philosophy here at the ACLP is unabashedly conservative in its overall philosophical outlook, (which often lends itself to be more supportive of ideas emanating from Republican rather than Democratic quarters nowdays), we are technically "non" partisan, which means that we do not, (and cannot!) automatically support any particular party or political candidates, but rather must be guided by certain principles and core beliefs, (which are outlined in the info box about us to the right of every blog post).

In that sense, then, rather than being politically driven, and in line with a more coherent and long-term historical approach to the ACLP's goals and conservatism in general, I feel bound to call em like em like I see em in analyzing current legal and political events from more of a historical and philosophical viewpoint (which, of course, always supports the Mission of the ACLP in favor of individual freedom and limited republican government as we see it).

Indeed, as a consequence and emphasis on ideas, rather than focusing on the transient nature of politics any particular party or personalities, we believe good ideas can arise from all quarters of the body politic, and from diverse persons, whatever their personal politics or label. This sets us apart from the ideologues of both right and left with whom I often spar on Twitter in the cause for truth and conservative principles. So please, if you are one of the "bots" or hyperpartisans with whom I am sometimes forced to argue with in the cause who insists on "purist" litmus tests or can only hurl insults against those with whom they disagree, spare me, (and you, as I will surely point out your inanity).

However, if you have a intelligible point of disagreement or clarification and can express yourself with other than four letter words or meaningless labels meant to demonize instead of debate, then by all means, we welcome, indeed, urge you to constructively join in the national discourse for the purpose of addressing the pressing issues facing our very sick republic in these critical times. (Indeed, that's what the "comment" boxes are for). But leave off the personal and ad-hominem attacks, profanities and racial slurs, (or face the consequences, which in the least includes being banned from publication on our site). Now on to the topic at hand!

The scope and goals of the Conservative Movement in 2012 (and beyond).

The reasons we think that upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's "individual mandate" is actually better for the goals (and long term vitality) of the Conservative movement, are, as alluded to above, primarily political.

By political we do not mean as involving (and being best effected by) the "political" or elected branches of American government, as one might ordinarily expect, (rather than the permanent class of the robe-wearing cult). This is a topic in itself, which would take far too long to address here.

Indeed, the list of reasons for a healthy distrust and unreliance on the judiciary as the preferred (or only!) branch of government capable of resolving constitutional questions are long and extend back at least as far as our republic's founding, as this author has previously and extensively written upon and others more recently have pointed out, see HERE).

So at the risk of disappointing some of our readers this aspect of the question is not the primary focus of today's editorial. Rather, we are here more interested in an analysis of the political ramifications vis a vis the 2012 Presidential Election, (and less saliently, the Republican primary).

On that score we see the primary goals of the Conservative movement at this point in time, as 1) selecting a viable Republican Candidate who can defeat President Obama in the Fall, a process well under way but which has been a long, and in many ways, damaging process, 2) the revitalization of the American economy, (including fiscal matters such as ending deficit spending and balancing the federal budget), and, 3) restoring the prestige and protection of American interests around the world, (which of course includes a long overdue overhaul and reinvigoration of American defense capabilities at home and around the world).

Although there is some obvious overlap with each other and undoubtedly a multitude of “sub issues” that can reliably be considered matters of importance to "conservatives," at the moment I am limiting myself to these three broad areas a) in the interest of time, and, b) because these broad three issues are unlikely to be controversial to at least the vast majority of those who self identify as "conservative" regardless of party affiliation, (with the exception of those in the Ron Paul crowd, who I have addressed elsewhere).

Dealing with the first of these, it is now quite plain that President Obama is far more likely to be helped, not hurt, by the Supreme Court striking down the Individual Mandate. Don't misunderstand me, as we have clearly expressed in our "So what's the matter with Obamacare?" post, we definitely are opposed to this monstrosity of a law, and moreover, do believe it to be an unconstitutional encroachment upon the rights of the States under the 10th Amendment, (the primary issue at stake in the Supreme Court case in our opinion). That is not the issue here. What we are talking about here is pure politics, i.e., what is more likely to result in a change in the Presidency in 2012? Clearly, the upholding of Obamacare is more likely to do so for several reasons.

Striking down the individual mandate helps re-elect Obama as it motivates his base and demotivates conservatives who are otherwise not overly excited about Romney.  

Dealing with the first of the reasons in support of my thesis, it is now quite plain that President Obama is far more likely to be helped, not hurt, by the Supreme Court striking down the Individual Mandate. Don't misunderstand me, as we have clearly expressed in our "So what's the matter with Obamacare?" post, we definitely are opposed to this monstrosity of a law, and moreover, do believe it to be an unconstitutional encroachment upon the rights of the States under the 10th Amendment, (the primary issue at stake in the Supreme Court case in our opinion). That is not the issue here. What we are talking about here is pure politics, i.e., what is more likely to result in a change in the Presidency in 2012? Clearly, the upholding of Obamacare is more likely to do so for several reasons.

Number one, the President's ability to demagogue the "overreaching" of the Supreme Court in striking down this "wonderful" legislation that "has provided critical needed protections and access to health care of millions," (as the President has previously and repeatedly stated in so many words), should not be underestimated.

As the President did with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision which allowed unlimited "bundling" of campaign contributions by corporations, unions and fat cat party donors to create the Superpacs partly responsible for the extended Republican primary battle we see everyday played out before us-- who can forget Obama's awkward and politically- charged "in-your-face" singling out of the Supreme Court for this decision while they sat in the front row of the President's 2010 State of the Union Address?-- President Obama will relentlessly hammer the narrative that the Supreme Court has become a "tool" of the "right wing Republicans" who, if granted the White House in 2012, will remake the federal judiciary into an activist arm of the GOP in favor of "corporate interests" to the denigration of "ordinary citizens," (never mind that such a claim undermines another of POTUS's claims, that the Republicans are "do nothings" who can only criticize his valiant attempts to save the country!)

Secondly, and somewhat relatedly, is the claim the President will repeat like a mantra on the campaign trail, (already in full swing now), that the "do nothing" Republicans are out and out "obstructionists" who would rather see the country in demise than help or give the President credit for any policy solutions to help our country, (again, regardless of the fact that the evidence is specious that the bailouts, deficit spending, and policies of this administration have actually helped anything but have rather hindered the current economic "recovery," especially the uncertainty of Obamacare's regulatory morass).

Such claims, while certainly ridiculous to the educated and politically astute, are powerful appeals to the lower-middle class who will be much courted in this election cycle, and will be repeated to potentially devastating effect in much the same way as Truman did in fending off a challenge from Dewey to his re-election in the 1946 Presidential elections.

Thirdly, if the President's opponent is Rick Santorum in the general election, Obama can all the more easily paint him as an "extremist" who will solidify his accusations of an alleged "do nothing" approach to health care, which, in spite of the President's own misguided approach in Obamacare, is still a legitimate issue to many voters.

If the individual mandate and/or law is struck down, the President can also attack Romney along the same lines-- although much less effectively-- as opposing efforts to "help" the people on the issue of rising health care costs, (again, in spite of all Romney's clear efforts to lead on this issue and all the evidence which suggests tort reform and a market based approach to health insurance would be fare more effective at stemming the rise of health costs).

And while we, like many, have been tossed and turned by the waves of the constant up and down of the Republican Presidential primary and according rise and fall of many seeking the nomination, it may come as no surprise that, in the final analysis, and all things considered, and barring selection of an unknown at a brokered Republican convention in Tampa in August, that Mitt Romney is probably the most likely GOP nominee who can beat President Obama, (even as he fails to inspire confidence in a great many conservatives, as the primary contest(s) have clearly shown).

Thus, if Obamacare, or it's individual mandate is struck down by the Supreme Court, it will motivate a fierce backlash from the left that will motivate the turnout of liberal voters, who have had the luxury of silently working in the background as they continue to organize their already significant union ground-game and outpaced Republican fundraising efforts while the GOP nominees are busy tearing each other apart in the extended primary campaign.

Indeed, although money isn't everything in politics, the fact that 2012 threatens to be-- thanks to unions and the President's prolific fundraising which promises to raise over a BILLION dollars for his reelection effort-- the most expensive election cycle in history while Republicans squander resources in endless infighting among themselves rather than being able to focus their resources squarely on Obama. In the final analysis, this means that an Administration defeat at the Supreme Court is more likely, rather than less, to help the President's re-election bid, (once all the additional time to fundraise and the increased motivation of POTUS' base that a Supreme Court defeat will cause is factored in. Hmmm, could this be the reason for the dismal performance of the President's solicitor general in arguments before the High Court?)

On the other hand, as above alluded, if Mitt Romney is the nominee, as all indications are that he will be, not only is there a very real risk that many conservatives will lack excitement to get out and vote on election day, but others in converse (and perverse!) fashion, will "rest on their laurels" thinking "now that we've defeated Obamacare there is no reason to get too excited about the election." Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, (which is why I say that the inevitable outcome of an Obama defeat on Obamacare in the Supreme Court is likely to decrease the chances of denying the President reelection, rather than enhance the chances of Republican victory in November. 

Defeating Obamacare, while likely to result in a short term economic boon, in the long term will result in government policies more likely to harm both our freedoms and our economy.

Wait a minute, are you meaning to say that a victory for anti-mandate forces at the Supreme Court will actually have a bad effect on the economy and conservative movement over time?Yes, that's exactly what I am saying! This is so because just as many will not vote once they perceive the "threat" of Obamacare to be gone, the same lack of enthusiasm as outlined above could very well cause a number of Freshman Republican House Members to lose their seats to angry and reinvigorated Democrats, and flip control of the Congress back to Democrats, (indeed, in a close election, as this one is likely to be, voter turnout can win or lose an election!) That means that rather than sane forces for change like Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin leading the House Budget Committee, we will have people like Democrat Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco, (who brought us Obamacare in the first place and said we would "have to read it to see what's in it"!) back in charge. Of course, this will inevitably just be a self-perpetuating cycle which will bring in more big government, anti-freedom policy prescriptions on not just health care, but environmental, social, regulatory, and tax policies that makes the freedom loving faint of heart.

Indeed, when added to the next attempt to "fix" health care of the Democrats they will likely try if Obamacare is struck down-- and yes, I am talking about a "single payer" fully-socialized system like Europe's or Canada's, which has really been the plan all along if you read liberal blogs or the legislative history of the 2010 lame duck Congress' attempts to put in the law the so called "public option,"-- whatever the Democrats cook up next will make Obamacare look like "the good old days," I promise you!

This will in turn damage our free-enterprise, choice and consumer driven system that most of us have known and loved all our lives into something little distinguished from European "social democracies" where government has a much larger role in all our lives (with a corresponding reduction in standard of living and rise in national debt, and we've all seen what's happening in Greece and Italy!). Need I say more?

Failure to defeat President Obama and the Democrats will hurt our National Defense

Finally, the economic disaster that Democratic control of the Congress and retention of the White House by the Obama Administration that would result upon re-election, on top of the already draconian cuts the disastrous "automatic cuts" the GOP was forced to concede to the President as part of last years "budget agreements," would cause such an economic downturn as would be likely to ensue that it would incalculably threaten America's ability to defend its prestige and interests at home and around the world!

And while this may not be a problem for the Paulbots who think that if we just "play nice" with the world dictators like Iran's WackedIsHeajob, (I never could spell! lol), Venezeuela's Chavez and N. Korea's child president, (to say nothing of newly invigorated Putin, Al Quaeda, fair weather friends in Pakistan our "friends-with-the-Taliban" government in Afghanistan!) will kindly return the favor, the far more likely result is an increased need for American military presence around the world to protect our way of life at home, (not to mention access to the oil that, like it or not, is still the lifeline of our industrial ability and economy, and I don't have to tell you the policies of this Administration that have exasperated that with the gas prices at record levels, do I? Just think "Keystone" and ANWAR).

And a final word for those Paul supporters and like-minded isolationists/libertarians; while libertarianism has to this point played a somewhat positive role in the GOP, (a subject for another day), and is not to altogether be discounted, if you think for a minute that once America and free countries around the world will somehow not be brought to our knees by lack of energy resources in a way that will make your right to freely smoke pot, have gay sex, engage the services of a prostitute at will, or whatever, (FILL IN THE BLANK) currently prohibited by your own government seem trivial and/or will magically result in less oppressive government with more "opportunity" to exercise basic civil rights you really need to lay off the crack cause your mind is just not working right!! (And this is saying nothing of the President's recently overheard apparent willingness to jettison what little missile defense systems we have planned to yet again appease near-totalitarian Russia). 

Indeed, besides the crippling effect on our readiness to defend strategic interests like the Straits of Hormuz and other friends like Israel, Japan and South Korea, the most basic right of a government is to protect her citizens from harm from hostile foreign governments. Indeed, as many libertarians like to quote Ronald Reagan, perhaps they should heed his very non-isolationist maxim of foreign policy, "peace through strength," (or if you prefer, the certified way to deal with Bullies, for which I refer you to your local elementary school playyard manual-- and no, America is not and never has been an international bully, and if you believe that spare me the mail as you and I will never agree!)

For all the above mentioned reasons, reasons that will be enhanced and not decreased in our view by re-election of President Obama, (which, for the economic and policy reasons as given above will be exasperated by Obamacare being struck down in our view), this core obligation of the Federal government to protect U.S. citizens can only be adequately protected by a strong National Defense capability, (which as pointed out above will be significantly decreased if not economically impossible if the Democrats, and Obama in particular, are re-elected to power).

So, kind reader, what are we to make of all this? Lest you sink into despair, let me encourage you, it is not too late for the greatness of American to be restored. Moreover, I could be wrong; I am no prophet, and the above is not inevitable. However, it is in our view more likely if Obamacare is struck down, (as we predict it will be), so we must be prepared! So what must we do, how can we come to the aid of our country in these perilous times?

We must redouble our efforts to defend conservative principles, to speak out against liberal and ineffective policies, to donate and become involved in the campaigns and causes we believe in, to return our country to fiscal sanity, and to unify the party most in tune with conservative principles; in short, we must work tirelessly to support whoever and whatever candidates support our values and to heed the advice of the man most of us believe was our most effective modern patriot and stalwart of freedom around the globe, our beloved President Ronald Reagan again, who spoke of the importance of unity and the Eleventh Commandment, ("Which you really need to read more and should google if you are that uninformed politically).

And while Reagan undoubtedly was speaking about his own party, which as a matter of public record was the Republican party, we welcome comers of all political stripes who support our mission to join us in this endeavor by linking to this site and following us on Twitter, anything to get the word out about what's at stake in this coming election (and current fight at the Supreme Court for that matter).

Friends, we must do this not out of partisanship but out of patriotism, as Americansin order to insure we have a change in policy in our government that respects our Constitution!
This will will not be easy, it will not be fun, and don't let anyone tell you it is "already baked in the cake" or that we can afford to become complacent, (because we surely can't!).

Rather, if we are to preserve freedom and our Republic's way of life, we must take action, for our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor. God help us if we don't. Jp