Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sellebrity Saturday: More Members of the $35K Club.

Is there anything that says "Screw you! I Got Mine" quite like a $35,000 contribution to the enemy of American Prosperity? I don't know what that would be.

$35K TO THE SLAYER OF THE AMERICAN DOLLAR

Friday, August 19, 2011

Frivolous Friday: Obama Coins

TALK ABOUT DEVALUING OUR CURRENCY

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Retro Thursday: Evan Thomas Marries Theology and Journalism

Originally posted June 8, 2009. Sorry to say that journalism has shown no improvement since the original post.

It just doesn't quit. Even the jaded continue to be amazed at the unbridled worship of Barack Obama. Here, "Newsweek" hack Evan Thomas compares Obama to God and the chalky voice of Chris Matthews chimes in with "Yeah."

Watching Thomas and Matthews is like watching two winos wallow in their own regurgitation. Yes, there is pity and nervous chuckling but there is also the sensation of displaced shame. It is a collective embarassment, not just for the shameless, but for all of humanity. A sobering reminder that human folly knows no limit.


SHOULD WE LAUGH OR CRY?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Twofer Tuesday (Plus Two) The Heretical Laffer Curve

Lefties sneer at the Laffer Curve. The curse it. Mostly, they dismiss it. But they never refute it.

TAX RATES GO DOWN, REVENUES GO UP

ENOUGH OF THE THEORY...

THIS IS A BIT TECHNICAL BUT HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT

I am genuinely shocked that Charles Gibson would even address the Laffer Curve concept. And according to Gibson's question, Laffer's 28% might be too high for optimum revenue procurement.

OBAMA ADDRESSES THE LAFFER CURVE

Obama dances around the topic and evens suggests that he will usher in an era of fiscal responsibility. This is politics at its worst. Listen carefully to his credit card analogy. Just when you thought your cynicism ran dry, Obama taps another well.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Winning The Senate

I want the Senate as much as I want the White House. The GOP picked up seven seats in 2010. Unfortunately, one of those seats now belongs to Scott Brown who flipped off his supporters by voting for the 3,000 page Dodd/Frank finreg bill. Thanks for nothing, Judas.

I digress. The GOP needs four seats for a simply majority, thirteen seats for a super majority. Yes, thirteen is possible. Keep in mind that the GOP still has its share of RINO's: Brown, Collins, Snowe. These cads caucus with the Dems. Do you think we can count on them to foster energy independence or financial reform? Probably not. The GOP has to think big in 2012.

If I was sitting in (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus's seat I would have paid a visit to the back of the pack (Pawlenty, Santorum, Johnson) and told them outright, "You will not be our vice-presidential nominee. Forget about it. However, if you pursue the Senate seat in your home state, I guarantee your campaign will be supported."

I would say something similar to Hamlet Pataki, Hamlet Giuliani and Hamlet Bolton. "Yes, I know you want to be president. Fat chance (said with obvious sarcasm.) But your odds will improve if you pay your dues. Help me out and your chances go from none to slim."

We might have a perfect storm brewing (I am not tossing that cliche overboard just yet.) An unusually vulnerable Senate class stuck with an unpopular presidential candidate, the aftermath of the 2010 elections leaving the GOP in control of most state houses, the continued diminution of the mainstream media. It does not look good for the Dems but the GOP has dropped the ball over and over and over. The Republicans cannot repeat the mistakes of 2010 this time around.

Let's examine the 2012 Senate field. (An aside. I have failed at installing tables into this blog in the past. so please bear with me.)

1. Arizona: Open Seat
Best GOP Candidate: Rep. Jeff Flake.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Rep. Jeff Flake.
MSNBC will hae a good time with his name but this guy is a rising star. If you like Rubio or Lee or Rand Paul, you will like Jeff Flake.

2. California: Diane Feinstein (D)
Best GOP Candidates: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Nancy Reagan.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Michael Stollaire.

3. Connecticut: Open Seat
Best GOP Candidate: Former U.S. Comptroller Gen. David Walker.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Former U.S. Comptroller Gen. David Walker.
In other years, this anticharisma candidate would be advised to explore academia for its many career options. But in the midst of financial Armageddon, the prophet deserves a long look.

4. Delaware: Tom Carper (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Mike Castle. Maybe then, Karl Rove and Dana Perrino and upscale, respectable, clean, articulate Republicans will be happy.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Not Christine O'Donnell.

5. Florida: Bill Nelson (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Jeb Bush.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Allen West.
The GOP cannot blow this one. If they do, heads should roll. In addition to these luminaries, the sunshine state features other strong prospects who deserve a long look. This is not quite a slam dunk but it is there for the taking.

6. Hawaii: Open Seat
Best GOP Candidate: Laura Lingle
Best Tea Party Candidate: Is there a birther in the house?

7. Indiana: Richard Lugar (R)
Best GOP Candidate: Richard Lugar.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Not Richard Lugar.

8. Massachusetts: Scott Brown (R)
Best GOP Candidate: Scott Brown.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Has Willie Horton been paroled? Anyone would be better than Judas Iscariot. Anyone! Anyone! Anyone!

9. Maryland: Ben Cardin (D)
Best GOP Candidate: John Bolton
Best Tea Party Candidate: I don't know of any. It would be nice if Bolton would run.

10. Maine: Olympia Snowe (R)
Best GOP Candidate: Olympia Snowe.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Andrew Ian Dodge.

11. Michigan: Debbie Stabenow (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Pete Hoekstra.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Thaddeus McCotter.
This is winnable.

12. Minnesota: Amy Klobuchar: (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Tim Pawlenty.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Michelle Bachmann.
Unlike Bachmann, Pawlenty does not currently hold public office. He would not give up anything to run for the Senate. Running for the presidency might have improved his chances for a Senate seat. This is winnable. Run Tim, run.

13. Missouri: Claire McCaskill (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Todd Akin
Best Tea Party Candidate: None identified. We can hope Akin fits the bill.

14. Mississippi: Roger Wicker (R)
Best GOP Candidate: Roger Wicker.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Roger Wicker.

15. Montana: John Tester (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Denny Rehberg.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Denny Rehberg.

16. North Dakota: Open Seat
Best GOP Candidate: Rick Berg
Best Tea Party Candidate: Bob Harms

17. Nebraska: Ben Nelson (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Pat Flynn
Best Tea Party Candidate: Deb Fischer

18. New Jersey: Bob Menendez (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Chris Christie
Best Tea Party Candidate: Chris Christie

19. New Mexico: Open Seat
Best GOP Candidate:Heather Wilson.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Gary Johnson.

20. Nevada: Dean Heller (R)
Best GOP Candidate: Dean Heller.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Dean Heller (we hope.)

21. New York: Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Best GOP Candidate: George Pataki.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Pete King.
This one burns me up. Pataki has been testing the waters on Boston talk radio. I am not a fan of Rudy or Pataki but I will take either of them over Chuckie the Clown or Gillibrand. Both seats were open in 2010 and Rudy and Pataki sat on the sidelines. Don't even think about running for president!

22. Ohio: Sherrod Brown (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Jim Jordan
Best Tea Party Candidate: Jim Jordan (by default.)


23. Pennsylvania: Bob Casey (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Rick Santorum.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Laureen Cummings

24. Rhode Island: Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
Best GOP Candidate: Sigh.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Sigh.

25. Tennessee: Bob Corker (R)
Best GOP Candidate: Bob Corker
Best Tea Party Candidate: Bob Corker (We hope.)

26. Texas: Open Seat
Best GOP Candidate: Inconclusive.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Inconclusive.

27. Utah: Orrin Hatch (R)
Best GOP Candidate: Orrin Hatch.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Jason Chaffetz.
I think and hope that Hatch has seen the light. But I don't know if the people of Utah see it the same way.

28. Virginia: Open Seat
Best GOP Candidate:George Allen.
Best Tea Party Candidate: Jamie Radtke.
Battle ground state, indeed!

29. Vermont: Bernie Sanders (I)
Best GOP Candidate: A young, pro-life, fiscally conservative veteran.
Best Tea Party Candidate: A young, pro-life, fiscally conservative veteran.

30. Washington: Maria Cantwell (D)
Best GOP Candidate: None identified.
Best Tea Party Candidate: None identified.

31. West Virginia: Joe Manchin (D)
Best GOP Candidate: None identified.
Best Tea Party Candidate: None identified.
I like Manchin. If we lose this one to Manchin, so be it.

32. Wyoming: John Barrasso (R)
Best GOP Candidate: John Barrasso
Best Tea Party Candidate: John Barrasso

These are the battle fields. We will return to this chart until the primaries. Let the races begin.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ron Paul and Me

Ron Paul has become the Rubik's Cube of anomolies. That is, he has interesting facets but he is more complicated and eccentric than we thought possible. There was a time when he could be described in one word. Libertarian. Constitutionalist. Isolationist. Gadfly.

Then he required two words. Fiscal conservative. Dark Horse. Republican candidate. Then it became a sentence. He's the Republicans the Republicans love to hate. He's the Republican Fox News hates. He's the Godfather of the Tea Party. Now it seems that one sentence will not do him justice.

I became aware of Ron Paul in 1988 when he ran for president on the Libertarian ballot. I saw him twice on TV. Once was a C-Span kind of production where he addressed the student body of Drake University. He did well there.

Paul also appeared on "Firing Line" and I was underwhelmed. William F. Buckley asked razor sharp questions and Paul answered with talking points and platitudes. I thought Buckley and the audience deserved better. I remember Buckley stating that no, there was no costitutional provision for the FBI but the Bureau was formed not long after the proliferation of the automobile because bank robbers figured out that they could rob a bank in one state and quickly flee to another and no one could chase them. Buckley phrased this as a question and Ron Paul gave a canned answer. I did not vote for Ron Paul in 1988. As I had done in the previous presidential election, I joined the ranks of the philosophical non-voters.

In 2000 I voted for George Bush because I thought he was a fiscal conservative. I thought that the first MBA president would be able to balance the books. Unfortunately Bush stabbed us in the back. The GOP controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. The social conservatives had the president, all the GOP Senators and all of the GOP Congressmen minus one. The Fiscal Conservatives had Ron Paul.

Then as now, I believed that social conservatism is incompatible with fiscal conservatism. The Bushes and the Frists and the Delays possess a certain hubris that stems from the belief that they are morally superior people. It doesn't matter if we spend recklessly because we are morally superior. Nothing wrong with deficits if we are the ones creating them. Hannity et al, state the the Republicans lost their way. Yeah, so did Brutus and Judas and Benedict Arnold. I think those crooks actually enjoyed the twisting of the blade in our back as the looked us in the eye and whispered "trust me."

Meanwhile, Ron Paul, aka Dr. No, was building a cult following. He never compromised his principles. Never. If the vote was consensus minus ten, you could bet one of those ten would be Ron Paul. Ron Paul was anything but a follower. In the early part of the century Paul spoke and wrote eloquently about matters of individual freedom, the constitution and economics. I was one of the cultists.

I so wanted Ron Paul to challenge Bush in the 2004 primaries. Yes, he would have lost but he would have also forced Bush to defend his destructive spending record. He would have opened a dialog. Rove and Bush stayed mute and trusted that the Dems would nominate a buffoon to head their ticket. They would not be disappointed. Like a lot of people, I held my nose and voted for George Bush. It was the right decision. As free spending as Bush would be, Kerry would have been worse. He would have been Obama four years earlier.

In 2008 Ron Paul ran for president. At last! A candidate who never flip-flopped. A man who said what he meant and meant what he said. A true man of true principle. I ended my 31 year affiliation with the Democratic Party so that I could vote for Ron Paul in the primary. I registered Republican and not long after the election I registered "undeclared."

I got involved with the Ron Paul campaign and even donated money. It was so much fun. Ron Paul is probably the smartest elected official in DC. It was said that he had written ten books on economics (I can't verify that number because some of them are out of print.) I doubt if the other 534 legislators had written ten economic books between them. I doubt if most elected officials have read ten books on economics. Do you think Obama has read ten books on economics? I wonder if he has read any books on the dismal science since his Marxist student days.

Ron Paul's supporters were bright people. I felt like I had crashed a MENSA group without passing the entrance exam. The Paulists would have these amazingly in-depth conversations about subjects I did not understand. I never devoted much thought to intellectual property as it relates to open source programming. I never thought much about The Federal Reserve. I had mused over the gold standard and competing private currencies but I could not discuss the intricacies for hours on end. These people opened my eyes.

The campaign was fun but Ron Paul finished fifth in New Hampshire. All that effort and we end up with John McCain. And he ends up losing to an empty suit who is cosmetically pleasing. Hope and Change.

I supported Ron Paul because he understood economics but even then, I thought he was a bit wacky on foreign affairs. OK, he did not support the war in Iraq. I defer on that one. But the anti-Taliban campaign? I side with the Bush and Obama Administrations. More recently Ron Paul denounced the Bin Laden mission. Whiskey tango foxtrot Ron! Now, he does not mind Iran building the bomb! Eeegads.

I had already decided to support someone other than Ron Paul in 2012 when he announced his candidacy. I had already concluded in 2008 that he had hit his high water mark. He was then 72 and his voice was too high. He had a habit of meandering and of falling back on platitude and playing the didact instead of the candidate. Plus, we had to get real about the cosmetic factor. He would be 76 in 2012. Ron Paul is not a homely man but he never had those Mitt Romney leading man good looks. Look how far Obama got on nothing but superficialities. Sad but true, cosmetics determine elections.

The Tea Party movement changed everything. I was about thirty years ahead of my time on this one. All of a sudden people were talking Ayn Rand on the radio and Austrian Economics in the blogosphere. Common people were reading Hayek and Mises and Milton Friedman. I enjoyed the Great Awakening but it did have a surreal quality to it. Imagine holding obscure interests for a lifetime and then one day a third of the country adopts your interests. Good, yes, but slightly disorienting.

The Tea Party had ushered in a new generation of economic conservatives and I thought it was time for Ron Paul to pass the torch. I harkened back to something Jonah Goldberg said in 2007 or 2008. He said we need someone like Ron Paul but not Ron Paul. At the time, I took offense at this statement. Eventually I came to agree with him.

The Tea Party is about fiscal conservatism but it is also about common sense. There is a post 9/11 awareness that Ron Paul seems to have missed. When he denounces the Bin Laden raid or professes indifference with Iran's bomb, he is not doing so on constitutional grounds or libertarian purity. No, it is strictly idiosyncratic. Ron Paul sometimes embraces his inner silliness. Sad but true.

Ron Paul announced his 2012 candidacy about a mile from my house on a day I did not have to work. Still, I did not attend the event. That ship sailed long ago. But man, do I like Ron Paul. I respect him for his unwavering integrity but I also love, love, love the way he annoys the conservative pundits. Hannity has extended an olive branch but Levin and Ingraham and Limbaugh cringe at the mention of his name. Fox News blackballed him in 2008. The RedState.com guy banned Paul supporters in 2007. Howie Carr. Michael Steele. The list goes on and on. Ron Paul exposed the gross hypocrisy of the Republican Party and the vapidity of their loyal cheerleaders. Someone had to do it.

So personally, I do love Ron Paul but will his be a legacy of futility? I don't think so. Ron Paul might just be one of the most important figures of this era. I recently heard Grover Nordquist on my commute home (I think it was The Jerry Doyle Show) discuss two of the most underrated political figures in recent memory: Pat Robertson and Ron Paul.

Pat Robertson ran for the presidency in 1988 and the pundits sneered at his defeat to George HW Bush. But according to Nordquist, Robertson delivered 1.9 million evangelical Christians to the GOP. It is hard to believe that white evangelicals used to vote overwhelmingly Democratic. That demographic helped elect Jimmy Carter. Pat Robertson changed all of that.

By the same token, Ron Paul has lead a boatload of quasi-libertarians to the Republican Party. People who in years past might vote Libertarian or Constitutionist or more likely, just stay home are now following the Republican Primaries with heightened interest. And Ron Paul, has changed the substance of the debate. If you are a Republican candidate you had better be able to discuss quantitive easing and monetary policy. Such was not always the case.

I salute Ron Paul. Thanks for the memories. Thanks for waking up the Republican Party. Thanks for waking up America. Thanks for waking up the world. Thank you, Ron Paul.


Sunday Worship: Kenyan Musical, "Obama"

WILL THEY DO A SEQUEL ABOUT AUNT ZEITUNI?