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

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