Tag Archives: 2012 Presidential Campaign

Ace: Obama did not do that badly

So I could say my extended absence has been due to our moving and unpacking all gazillion boxes (which have been in storage for two years) and deciding where everything should go (should the dining room table go here or here?) and finishing up uncompleted house projects (yes, I do need a closet) and becoming more involved in local “happenings”—and that would all be true.

But I could also say that it has been due to a slight feeling of unreality about the presidential election, and because I haven’t had the time (because of the move) to think this feeling through, I haven’t had a clear direction. And then I read Ace and everything fell into place:

Let me suggest something that many conservatives realized after the debate: Obama did not do that badly. For Obama. He was the same listless, droning, exhausted-of-ideas scold we have seen for at least two years now (and maybe three).

He was Obama. This is what he is. He is not quick-witted. He is not, as I think I saw Mickey Kaus note, a wonk. He has never been a wonk, a detailed-policy guy.

He is a guy who speaks vacuously of hopes and dreams and change and fairness.

He always has been.

The problem, for the liberals, is not Obama. This is what you bought. This is your guy. It wasn’t his A game, but it was something close to his B+ game.

The problem was Romney, who was commanding, fluent, reasonable, articulate, sharp-witted, warm, occasionally funny, full of ideas, full of facts, full of thoughtful, detailed criticisms of Obama policy (who the hell expected him to bring up, as an afterthought, Dodd-Frank’s failure to specify what a “reasonably qualified” mortgage applicant was, and how that chilled lending? Obama sure didn’t!), and, therefore, ultimately, full of qualification for the job and yes, full of gravitas.

That’s the problem.

Not Obama. I repeat: This is who Obama is. He has never been this brilliant intellect and keen policy analysts liberals have, in their BubbleWorld, dreamed him as.

The problem is not that Obama is or was awful. The problem is that he is what he always is — adequate and hardly ever more — and Romney is actually on top of things, an accomplished executive with a winner’s thirst for victory an an A-student’s understanding of what victory requires.

So part of the extreme emotional deflation of people like Sullivan — who only a few years ago called me a “frothing Caesarist” (I take that to mean a lickspittle for a Man on a White Horse) — is due to their having invented in their minds a conquering hero, an Eternal Champion, a Mussolini-like figure of incredible prowess in all matters including sexual (“Mussolini breaks a new horse every day, and a new woman every night,” an old Fascist saying went).

And he’s never been that. He’s been a very average politician, whose only above-average skill is giving a scripted, TelePrompTed address to people who already support him.

So for people like Sullivan, this is a bit of a bitchslap to their entire fantasy worldview, the day they saw Obama As What He Is rather than What They Fantasized Him To Be.

And they’re shocked by this. They feel their psychical mooring-lines stretching to the break.

This is partly Obama’s fault, of course. He encouraged this.

But it is much, much more the fault of people who pride themselves on being skeptical realists who permitted their minds to run to the magical and to the (frankly, blasphemously) religious….

The fusion of religion and politics has in fact been every bit as deleterious as the liberals always warned us.

It’s just that they were the ones who actually fused God and President.

I long for the days when elections were not about Salvation, and the Press Corps were not Acolytes, each vying to prove their devotion unto their Prophet….

And all I can say is “yes, absolutely, once again Ace nails it” (no, not in that way). But read it all yourself, there’s lots more.

VDH: It was the power, stupid!

Because Victor Davis Hanson is always a good read:

In my dumber days, between 2001-2008, I used to wonder why the Left relentlessly hammered the war on terror (e.g., renditions, tribunals, predators, preventative detention, Patriot Act, intercepts, wiretaps, Guantanamo Bay) when these measures had not only proven quite useful in preventing another 9/11-like attack, but had been sanctioned by both the Congress and the courts. In those ancient times, I was not as cynical as I am now. So I assumed that Harold Koh and MoveOn.org, though mistaken, were worried about civil liberties, or measures that they felt were both illegal and without utility.

But, of course, the Obama (who attacked each and every element of the war on terror as a legislator and senator) Left never had any principled objection at all. Instead, whatever Bush was for, they were in Pavlovian fashion against. I can say that without a charge of cynicism, because after January 2009, Obama embraced or expanded every Bush-Cheney protocol that he inherited. In response, the anti-war Left simply kept silent, or indeed vanished, or went to work extending the anti-terrorism agenda. Guantanamo Bay, in other words, was a national sin until the mid-morning of January 20, 2009….

What is going on? Two things, really. One, the media believes that the noble ends justify the tawdry means. So if it is a choice between emphasizing the latest Obama embarrassment by digging into the scary Fast and Furious, the “millions of green jobs” Solyndra insider giveaways, the Secret Service decadence, the GSA buffoonery, and the work while getting food stamps con in Washington OR endangering Obamacare and by extension “the children,” or the war to eliminate autism, or the right to breath clean air–well, why would one ever wish to derail all that by weakening a landmark progressive and his enlightened agenda?

Or for you more cynical readers, why would you wish to enervate the present comfortable culture in Washington in which the press and politics are at last one? Or why undermine the first African-American president, who is a constant reminder of our progressive advancement? Or why weaken our only chance some day to have open borders or gay marriage?

Two, the Left has always operated on the theory of medieval penance. We surely must assume that Warren Buffett has never had problems with the ethics of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. or had a company he controls sued by the IRS for back taxes. Why? Because he has confessed his sins, and accepted the faith and paid his tithe to the Church. Ditto a Bill Gates or a rich celebrity like Sean Penn or Oprah. In the relativism of the left, if the one-percenters will simply confess that their class is greedy and needs to pay their fair share—even if they are entirely cynical in the manner of GE’s Jeffrey Immelt and penance is written off as the cost of doing business—then they become exempt from the wages of them/us warfare and the “you want to kill the children” rhetoric.

There is no difference in the way the Koch brothers or Exxon run their empires and the way that  GM, GE, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Google do. But the former are enemies of the people, while the latter are protectors who have have confessed to their bishops and agreed to mouth doctrine and thereby obtained penance to make as much money as they want and to spend it as they damn well please. Suddenly in America after 2009 there are good and bad cable networks, good and bad celebrities, good and bad CEOs, good and bad sports teams (ask Lovie Smith), good and bad states, good and bad everything—not adjudicated on the actual basis of behavior, but rather on whether some are willing to go to reeducation camp, admit their errors, and join the effort to clean the air and feed the kids….

I have a confession to make that may upset readers. I was neutral in the Republican primaries, but especially interested in one fact: who would take off the gloves and run a “war room” campaign in the fashion of Bill Clinton in 1992 (as opposed to the McCain model of emulating Mike Dukakis in 1988)? Romney did it first and most effectively.

The result is that when we hear that Rush Limbaugh should be taken off the air for his profane misogyny, almost immediately now there are accounts of Bill Maher’s $1 million gift to Obama and his far greater and unapologetic slurs against women. When we hear all those creepy “concerns” about Romney’s great-grandfather as a polygamist in Mexico, suddenly we are reminded that Obama’s father in Kenya was, too. Putting a dog on the car roof is now not quite the same as eating a dog and then matter-of-fact reading one’s account of it on an audiotape. Trivial? Yes. Distractions from the current economic mess, and beneath us all? Perhaps. All Romney’s doing? Of course not.

But at least 2012 won’t be a default campaign. In other words, to quote Obama, Romney will get in “their faces” and “bring a gun to a knife fight.” McCain more graciously and nobly lost by putting all sorts of concerns off the table. I would expect that should Obama keep harping about Romney’s tax returns, Romney will demand Obama’s transcripts and medical records at last to be released. If Obama’s surrogates keep writing about Mormonism, we will learn of new disclosures about Trinity Church….

Read it all.

Test of Fire: Election 2012

From Catholics Called to Witness:

Bill Maher: Obama’s million dollar man

From ShePAC:

Hey, I think that video’s pretty good at presenting the facts and hypocrisy of the left on this issue.

I think President Obama’s campaign not returning the money is more a testament to their desperate desire for cash than their inability to see the hypocrisy. They need the money so they’ll overlook everything else.

Investors.com: The Harvard hug: What else are media hiding?

From Investors.com, on the Prof. Derrick Bell revelation:

Bias: We were wrong. The media elite did in fact vet this president, but they covered up what they found. And now that citizen journalists are digging it up, they’re trying to rebury it.

Exhibit A is the controversial video of Barack Obama praising and hugging radical Harvard law professor Derrick Bell. The media knew it existed four years ago and conspired with academia to hide it to get Obama elected.

“We hid this during the 2008 campaign,” confessed Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree. PBS had it then, but cut both the audio and the hug in a report on Obama’s Harvard days. The footage served as wallpaper. Now that Breitbart.com has put the entire video online, the major media have gone into damage-control mode for Obama….

They knew what he was about. Anybody who has read Bell’s works knows he’s militantly anti-white and anti-America. He didn’t try to hide that, unlike his fans in the media today.

Bell was too radical even for Harvard, which sacked him, but not too radical for our president, who embraced him as a 30-year-old law student. And who then went on to indoctrinate his own law students in Bell’s hate when he was a University of Chicago professor.

Obama required them to read Bell’s “Race, Racism and American Law,” which argues American law is illegitimate because it’s derived from “white power structure.”

Relevance today? Obama’s close relationship with Bell fits a pattern of radical associations that have carried over into his administration….

Read it all.

Going viral: Are you kidding me?

One man’s rage against the machine:

Media Matters could become the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of 2012 Obama campaign

Or so says liberal Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz:

“Well I think if swing voters in the pro-Israel community had any idea how extreme Media Matters was on issues of Israel and supporters of Israel, they would regard Media Matters as another, you know, Rev. Wright,” Dershowitz told The Daily Caller.

“And for many, many in the pro-Israel community, it would be a game changer.”…

Though Dershowitz says he doesn’t think the Obama administration and Media Matters are close, he believes the White House has to clearly distance itself from the organization because Democrats like him cannot exist within a tent that tolerates Media Matters….

And my response is, so what? Prof. Dershowitz tolerated Candidate Obama’s membership in the Rev. Wright’s church, and the president’s relationship with the reverend apparently did little to harm his campaign in 2008, thanks to a compliant and complacent press.

Why does the professor think things will happen differently this campaign season? Silly, silly man.

When you lose Ace . . .

I think Ace is serious here (and that scares me):

Bill O’Reilly: If Obama’s Re-Elected, You Won’t Recognize This Country in Four Years

I agree.

I am actually pretty scared.

“More than a touch of malice”

From Paul Rahe at Ricochet:

…We know a bit more now. We know that the President did not act on impulse, that he took his time in making this decision, and that he sought advice from a range of individuals within the Democratic Party. Vice-President Joe Biden and William Daley, who was then Obama’s Chief of Staff, both profess to be Catholic, and they strongly advised against doing anything that would antagonize the Catholic bishops and the laity. Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House and current Democratic minority leader, were also consulted. They, too, profess to be Catholic, and they fiercely advocated imposing this burden on all employers providing health insurance for their employees.

The decision appears to have been made before the New Hampshire primary. Otherwise, it would be hard to explain why, at the debate in New Hampshire in early January, George Stephanopoulos – who pretends to be a journalist but is still obviously nothing more than a Democratic operative – repeatedly pressed Mitt Romney to spell out where he stood on the question of contraception. Stephanopoulos’ disgraceful performance, which drew boos and catcalls from the crowd, is an indication that Obama and at least some of his aides thought that they had something to gain by injecting this question into this year’s campaign….

The administration’s claim to the contrary notwithstanding, the pill and other birth control devices are not free. But the expense involved is not great. Among those who are employed and have healthcare insurance, no one is hard put to come up with the paltry sum required.

This suggests that there can be only one reason why Sebelius, Pelosi, and Obama decided to proceed. They wanted to show the bishops and the Catholic laity who is boss. They wanted to make those who think contraception wrong and abortion a species of murder complicit in both.  They wanted to rub the noses of their opponents in it. They wanted to marginalize them. Humiliation was, in fact, their only aim, and malice, their motive.

Last week, when, in response to the fierce resistance he had deliberately stirred up, the President offered the bishops what he called “an accommodation,” what he proffered was nothing more than a fig leaf. His maneuver was, in fact, a gesture of contempt, and I believe that it was Barack Obama’s final offer. From his perspective and from that of Sebelius and Pelosi, the genuine Catholics still within the Democratic coalition are no more than what Vladimir Lenin called “useful idiots,” and, now that the progressive project is near completion, they are expendable – for there is no longer any need to curry their favor.

In his piece in The Washington Examiner, which I link above, Michael Barone mentioned Obama’s decree with regard to contraception and abortifacients in tandem with a brief discussion of the President’s decision to reject the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. He was, I think, right to do so – for there is no good reason that any student of public policy can cite for doing what the President did. Cancelling the pipeline will not delay or stop the extraction of oil from the tar sands in Alberta, and the pipeline itself would pose no environmental threat. If the President’s decision had any purpose, it was symbolic – an indication to all that he cared not one whit about the plight of the white working class and that he was capable of punishing those whom he does not like and more than willing to do so.

In 2008, when he first ran for the Presidency, Barack Obama posed as a moderate most of the time. This time, he is openly running as a radical. His aim is to win a mandate for the fundamental transformation of the United States that he promised in passing on the eve of his election four years ago and that he promised again when he called his administration The New Foundation. In the process, he intends to reshape the Democratic coalition – to bring the old hypocrisy to an end, to eliminate those who stand in the way of the final consolidation of the administrative entitlements state, to drive out the faithful Catholics once and for all, to jettison the white working class, and to build a new American regime on a coalition of  highly educated upper-middle class whites, feminists, African-Americans, Hispanics, illegal immigrants, and those belonging to the public-sector unions. To Americans outside this coalition, he intends to show no mercy….

Read it all, and read it well.

WFB: Culture beats economics

From Matthew Continetti at the Washington Free Beacon:

Polling shows that the economy remains voters’ top priority. But there are signs that the business situation is improving. The dropping unemployment rate is just one example of good economic news. U.S. growth may be subpar, but it is growth nonetheless. Conservatives would be foolish to think that the media will dwell on the economy’s weak spots when the president is a Democrat and his party controls the Senate.

Running bulls will bring in additional revenue to the U.S. Treasury, which will temporarily mask the country’s dire long-term fiscal predicament. The dollar’s status as the global reserve currency will stave off inflation and high interest rates for a while longer. The administration will claim credit despite doing everything in its power to reward friends and punish enemies, delay the recovery, and increase the cost and intrusiveness of government. But even that may not be enough to secure the president’s reelection.

Why? Because culture trumps economics. The tenor of news coverage might lead one to believe that the assault on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for ending donations to Planned Parenthood, and the debate over the administration ruling that universities and hospitals with religious affiliations must provide contraception to their employees, are winning issues for the Democrats. But any Democratic strategist planning a campaign around these issues might want to think twice.

Such controversies tend to mobilize conservatives more than liberals. As longtime consultant and analyst Jeffrey Bell observes in his excellent book, The Case for Polarized Politics, social issues tend to separate the populist, socially conservative mass from the progressive elite. That is why Republican social policy has been an electoral winner, whether the topic is crime or patriotism or affirmative action or abortion or religious liberty….

The debates over Komen and contraception are not solely about abortion and health care. They are both instances of a liberal minority attempting to coerce an organization to perform acts against its will. Patty Murray’s ridiculous suggestion that Komen’s “dangerous” decision to eliminate the grant to Planned Parenthood was the result of a “partisan witch hunt” is beside the point: Civil associations in a free society have every right to give money to whichever organizations they choose. Meanwhile, Barbara Boxer, M.D., can tell MSNBC that the Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive regulation is “a medical issue” all she wants; it does not change the fact that, if the regulation goes into effect, institutions affiliated with the Catholic Church will be forced to do something that violates fundamental tenets of their religion.

Both stories fit the classic pattern of post-cultural-revolution politics…

Tying the president’s fiscal policies to broader questions of society, culture, life, and freedom is the more effective route, because on these questions Obama has nowhere to go. He is a prisoner of his ideological biases. His elitist defense of social progressivism likely will lead him to commit a gaffe similar to when he said that the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” in arresting Professor Gates of Harvard….

Read it all.

“Hierarchy of raw political authority”

From Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal, a perspective on the HHS mandate and the Catholic Church:

…The American Catholic Church, from left to right, is now being handed a lesson in the hierarchy of raw political authority. One hopes they and their supporters will recognize that they have not been singled out. The federal government’s forcings routinely touch other groups in this country—schools, doctors, farmers, businesses. The church’s fight is not the whole or the end of it….

So here we are, with the government demanding that the church hold up its end of a Faustian bargain that was supposed to permit it to perform limitless acts of virtue. Instead, what the government believes the deal is about, more than anything else, is compliance.

Politically bloodless liberals would respond that, net-net, government forcings do much social good despite breaking a few eggs, such as the Catholic Church’s First Amendment sensibilities. That is one view. But the depth of anger among Catholics over this suggests they recognize more is at stake here than political results. They are right. The question raised by the Catholic Church’s battle with ObamaCare is whether anyone can remain free of a U.S. government determined to do what it wants to do, at whatever cost.

Older Americans have sought for years to drop out of Medicare and contract for their own health insurance. They cannot without forfeiting their Social Security payments. They effectively are locked in. Nor can the poor escape Medicaid, even as the care it gives them degrades. Farmers, ranchers and loggers struggled for years to protect their livelihoods beneath uncompromising interpretations of federal environmental laws. They, too, had to comply. University athletic programs were ground up by the U.S. Education Department’s rote, forced gender balancing of every sport offered.

With the transformers, it never stops. In September, the Obama Labor Department proposed rules to govern what work children can do on farms. After an outcry from rural communities over the realities of farm traditions, the department is now reconsidering a “parental exemption.” Good luck to the farmers.

The Catholic Church has stumbled into the central battle of the 2012 presidential campaign: What are the limits to Barack Obama’s transformative presidency? The Catholic left has just learned one answer: When Mr. Obama says, “Everyone plays by the same set of rules,” it means they conform to his rules. What else could it mean?…

Read it all. One point, while in the article, Mr. Henninger writes about the federal money Catholic Charities receives, he forgets to mention that whether Catholic Charities receives any federal money or not, it would still be legally required to offer contraceptive/abortifacient health care–the HHS regulations have nothing to do with federal money and everything to do with federal power.

Romney: President Obama versus religious liberty

Mitt Romney writes on the egregious HHS mandates in the Washington Examiner:

…My own view is clear. I stand with the Catholic Bishops and all religious organizations in their strenuous objection to this liberty- and conscience-stifling regulation. I am committed to overturning Obamacare root and branch. If I am elected President, on day one of my administration I will issue an executive order directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue a waiver from its requirements to all 50 states. And on day one I will eliminate the Obama administration rule that compels religious institutions to violate the tenets of their own faith. Such rules don’t belong in the America that I believe in.

The America I believe in is governed by the U.S. Constitution and I will not hesitate to use the powers of the presidency to protect religious liberty….

The Obama administration is forcing religious institutions to choose between violating their conscience  or dropping health care coverage for their employees, effectively destroying their ability to carry on their work.

Those of us who object have an irrefutable case. American courts have long held as a foundational principle the right of religious institutions to control their own affairs. It was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court as recently as January 11  in a case involving ministerial hiring. It is notable that in that case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC, the Obama administration was also challenging the basic time-honored principle of ecclesiastical autonomy. But a unanimous Court rejected the Obama administration’s position, declaring it to be “extreme” and explaining that the suit was “hard to square with the text of the First Amendment itself, which gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.”

In an effort to mollify the Bishops, Health and Human Services has now given religious institutions an additional twelve months to comply. That twelve-month extension is a clumsy attempt to push this matter past this year’s presidential election. As long as the rule hovers in front of us, we must keep up the battle. In a polity that provides all manners of exemption on the basis of religious freedom, it is an appalling trespass on the First Amendment.

Liberals and conservatives have made common cause to defend the rights of religious minorities in the past.  But somehow, today, when it comes to the agenda of the left-wing of the Democratic Party—those who brought us abortion on demand and who fight against the teaching of abstinence education in our children’s schools—their devotion to religious freedom goes out the window. They would force Catholics and others who have beliefs rooted in their faith to sacrifice the teachings of their faith to the mandate of federal bureaucrats.

It is a prerequisite to the preservation of our liberty that our government not dictate to religious institutions the principles by which they are to carry out their charitable and divine mission….

Read it all, and I sure hope he means it.

“Romney is winning his battles, but losing our war”

From Prof. William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

…Two lines of attack have exposed a schism between the Republican political haves and have nots which will not easily heal:  The attempt to rewrite the history of the Reagan revolution and the embrace of Nancy Pelosi’s partisan ethics attack and blackmail.

As to Reagan, I have documented many times here how the story line espoused by the Romney campaign and its supporters was false.  Newt was an important part of the Reagan revolution, and was not anti-Reagan as various pro-Romney pundits claimed.

This line of attack on Newt was pushed by Drudge even as the individual charges highlighted at the top of Drudge were disproved one by one.

There was a backlash on Thursday and Friday among talk radio hosts and a variety of people who were in a first hand position to observe Newt’s interaction with Reagan, culminating in Sarah Palin’s Facebook post on Friday afternoon denouncing the neo-Stalinist attempt to rewrite history.

That the attack on Newt’s Reagan bona fides came from someone who openly ran against Reaganism and against the conservative agenda in 1994 was an irony lost only on the pro-Romney Republican establishment and media.

Romney’s attacks on Newt’s late 1990s ethics charge also were distinctly from the left, echoing the talking points of anti-conservative Democrats like Nancy Pelosi.  It took people like Byron York and Mark Levin to expose the truth that the charges were part of a Democratic Party vendetta, and that substantively Newt did nothing wrong and was vindicated.

But mostly, the Republican establishment and conservative media who howled with outrage when Newt and Rick Perry were seen (wrongly in my view ) as attacking Romney “from the left” were silent, even as the Romney camp openly embraced Nancy Pelosi’s blackmail and ran ads featuring Pelosi threatening to reveal secret information about Newt after Pelosi already had backed away from the threat.

The embrace of Nancy Pelosi by the Romney campaign should have met with an avalanche of criticism from the Republican establishment, but almost nothing was said….

Read it all. Florida should be interesting.