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Roger L. Simon

The Republicans’ Continued Public Relations Disaster

April 22nd, 2014 - 8:58 pm

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Given the current state of the USA, Republicans should be winning every election from Seattle to Key West.  The economy hasn’t moved for years with the labor participation rate at record lows — people have given up – and bankruptcy over entitlements looming.  The international situation is in free fall with China becoming the global power, Iran making a mockery of faux negotiations and Putin on the way to reconstituting the Soviet Union.  Al Qaeda is not only alive, it’s growing.  (GM is dead.)  Optimism about our country is in the proverbial toilet. More Americans feel threatened by their own government than proud of it.

Republicans should be winning by acclimation for every position from dog catcher to president.

But they’re  not.  And you don’t need Strother Martin to tell you why – it’s a failure to communicate.

And that’s not just the so-called establishment or the so-called Tea Party — it’s both.  Both are doing an atrocious job of taking their message to the people. The establishment remains super cautious, equivocating and boring while the Tea Party walks around pretending as if wearing a three-cornered hat and waving the Constitution (great as it is) is going to impress a culture the vast number of whom (incorrectly!) associate that Constitution with geriatric white slave holders in jodhpurs.  Also, you have to be at least as sophisticated as your high school sons and daughters.  We do live in 2014. (If you’re not, what you get is a clueless Sharron Angle losing to that hideous mafioso Harry Reid.)

Rather than dealing with these realities, both sides — establishment and Tea Party — spend their time aiming fusillades at each other. How infantile and suicidal.

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Iran Won’t Have a Nuclear Weapon. Period!

April 20th, 2014 - 9:47 pm

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What happens when presidents lie?

The American public has had plenty of experience with this in recent years.  Liar-president could be the new hyphenate occupation like writer-producer or architect-contractor.  Almost every president has shaded things a bit, but three modern ones have been unabashed bull artists — Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and, of course, Barack Obama.

Clinton ultimately got a pass for his prevarications. Nixon didn’t.  Neither deserved one. But our current liar-president deserves one even less, because his lies have been of substance, affecting policy.  Nixon and Clinton just lied in self-defense — normal human cowardice.

Obama is something else again. He lies proactively and often reflexively. By  proactively I mean the obvious, such as “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.  Period!” By reflexively I mean that emotional no-man’s-land when someone says something they don’t really mean, but they say it anyway because they think it sounds good or makes them seem as if they are doing the right thing.

The red line against Syrian chemical weapons is a perfect example.  Did Obama ever have any intention of  following up on that?  Who knows? (Not only are most of those weapons still in Syria, the French say Assad may still be using them.)

Does the president himself know he is lying?  I am not sure. Obama would not be the first person to think that pronouncing something made it so — and he has spent his life from a very young age surrounded by people who have not contradicted him. The implications of this are quite disturbing, if you think about them.

It’s a form of what shrinks call “magical thinking” and is an indication of a disconnected personality. It is so, if you think so, as Pirandello famously put it (alternatively translated as “Right you are, if you think you are.”)

But whatever the case, Obama’s lies have far greater impact than the other presidents’ because almost no one across an increasingly fractious world believes him anymore.  What a relief that must be to the Iranians not to have to pay attention to his huffing and puffing about sanctions or whatever pathetic amount of saber-rattling, already pro forma, he might do. The nuclear talks can now go on in the spirit to which the mullahs are accustomed — a charade. Obama is one of them — he lies too.  Everybody lies.  Hahaha.

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Back in 1962, Robert Gover published a novel called the One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding whose premise Amazon describes this way: “A college sophomore spends a weekend with a pretty 14-year-old black prostitute under the manly misapprehension that she has invited him because she finds him irresistible.”

I remember reading it as an undergraduate and finding it mildly amusing.  Of course, inflation being what it is, it’s hard to write a book  about a piddling hundred dollar misunderstanding anymore.  But somehow the novel came to mind today when reading one of my favorite websites — The College Fix.  

The misunderstanding it called to mind, however, is not between johns and hookers of whatever ages.  It is between parents and the colleges to which we are sending our children.  And the cost of this misunderstanding has expanded exponentially — to sixty-five thousand dollars!  That’s the current approximate total for room, board and tuition at many of our finest private universities for those considered “fortunate” enough to be able to pay the full amount.  For others it can be anything from ten to forty grand, still a princely amount.

And what are we parents getting for this (besides broke)?  The College Fix’s editor Nathan Harden gives us a look in a report today — “Adventures in Gender Neutral Bathrooms” — that begins:

When you really have to pee at Columbia University, there is one question that must be answered before you can go: What is my gender today?

If you are biologically male, for instance, but feel like a female, you may feel the need to use the ladies restroom. And why shouldn’t you? If the girl in the stall next to you doesn’t like to take her pants down next to a man she doesn’t know, that’s just evidence of her hetero-normative bigotry. That’s why the Obama administration ruled in 2012 that dudes who feel like ladies have a right to use the women’s bathrooms on campus, no matter how unsafe that makes the women on campus feel.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have anything against everyone  having his, her or [question mark's] bathroom.  In fact, I read in Slate there are now fifty-six genders on Facebook and  if they each want their own baths, or to share forty-eight of them,  I say knock yourselves out. But — excuse me for being heteronormative or, worse than that, for using caps — I DON’T WANNA PAY FOR IT!!! — either via taxes or tuition.

And while we’re at it, I’d just as soon not pay for any of the lockstep nonsense being offered at our institutes of higher learning outside of science and math.  Well, maybe foreign languages.

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After reading the eloquent statement by Ayaan Hirsi Ali — “Here’s What I Would Have Said At Brandeis” — just posted at the Wall Street Journal, you can draw no conclusion but that President Lawrence should resign immediately from his post as president of that university. The rescinding of the invitation to Hirsi Ali to appear at their commencement is among the most immoral and reactionary behaviors in my lifetime by an American university.  Not only is it a desecration of the American founding principle of freedom of speech, it is unconscionable for a Jewish institution to have done this on the eve of Passover, the festival of freedom..

But let Ms. Hirsi Ali speak for herself.  She begins:

One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.

All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus.

Read the rest of this unforgettable statement at the WSJ.

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Hamas, Hamas… Jews to the gas.

I am starting this piece with that incindiary chant, intoned all too frequently at European demonstrations recently (not to mention soccer matches!), to remind readers just how far things have gone and who is behind them.

The folks at Brandeis University,  their administration, may not be aware of it.  I hope they’re not, though I suspect they are – aware that CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) has been linked closely and legally with the religious fanatic terrorist organization Hamas whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and many other things not associated with Mother Teresa.

CAIR calls itself a “Muslim NAACP.”  The NAACP may have lost some (or a lot) of its original mojo, but to compare CAIR to the NAACP is like comparing Josef Mengele to Ben Carson.  Say it ain’t so.

But it is so to the administration of Brandeis University, which has descended into a dhimmitude (a term extrapolated from dhimmis — non-Muslim citizens of Islamic states — by the brilliant Bat Ye’or) worse than the last Jews in Damascus or Baghdad by rescinding, at the behest of CAIR and the Muslim Students Association, their invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at this year’s Brandeis commencement.

Hirsi Ali, whom I have had the honor of meeting while CEO of PJ Media, is one of the most impressive and courageous human beings on this planet.  President Lawrence of Brandeis would be honored to kiss her feet. Now he has banned her — shredding the Bill of Rights, one of the greatest documents in human history, in the process, including, of course, freedom of speech.

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A New Campaign Song for Rick Perry

April 8th, 2014 - 10:02 pm

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It’s only April 2014, but a minor boom for a Rick Perry presidential candidacy seems to be cropping up online, first in the Fiscal Times and then on Jennifer Rubin’s WaPo blog, despite the Texas governor’s misfire the first time around.

He was the frontrunner in the 2012 campaign before that debate when he could not recall the names of all the federal agencies he wanted to eliminate completely  (three at the time, but maybe he should consider doubling or tripling it this go round). A good deal of his forgetfulness, I am certain, was attributable to Perry’s then recent back surgery and the consequent medications. (I’m the author of eleven books but can barely remember my name after 5mg of Ambien.) But he will have to demonstrate that.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of reasons for this Perry boomlet — Jen Rubin gives ten — and I have some of my own.  But first, the man needs a campaign song.  It’s hard to believe he’s been barnstorming through blue states the likes of New York, Illinois and California, drumming up business for Texas,  without one. So here’s my proposal  — this oldie by The Silhouettes  (1957) that seems to more than fill the bill…

Okay, now that that bit of nostalgia is out of the way, what are the reasons for giving Perry a second look , which I think it should be a long and careful one?  Most importantly, as Rubin points out, pace The Silhouettes,  Perry’s number one accomplishment is job creation, something he has achieved  through what would seem to be the most obvious of means — lower taxes and fewer regulations — not that that seems to get through a single “liberal” brain in America, including the President’s.  Nevertheless, most Republican candidates are sure to mouth that twin mantra in the coming election.  What makes Perry different is that he has walked the walked successfully on this for a long time.  He’s tested.

He’s also quite an appealing person.  I know, having met him rather extensively on two occasions (more of that in a moment).  But my principle reason for giving him that long second look is that he seems, at this juncture, the most viable of the possibilities in the room.  But before I explain why, I want to make clear that in 2016 I will vote for virtually anyone with an R in front or after his or her name before I would vote for any candidate the Democrats could possibly propose other than a resurrected Harry Truman or JFK – and even then I’m not sure.

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As one who has been a longtime supporter of gay marriage and remain one, allow me to say that I am appalled by Mozilla’s decision to fire (or “force to resign”) its newly installed CEO (and inventor of Java Script) Brendan Eich because Eich gave $1000 a few years back for Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage.

Although not held by me, Eich evidently has beliefs shared by literally billions of people of faith throughout the world.  Those  demanding his head like junior Robespierres should be ashamed of themselves.  Not only are they violating the spirit of the Bill of Rights and freedom of religion, they dishonor their own cause and embarrass themselves no end.  They move things backwards when the think they are moving things forwards.

All the blablabla in the world from the crew at Mozilla cannot cover this up.  Ditto the gang at the OKCupid dating site that initiated the witch hunt.  Whatever their intentions, they have become “thought police.” They are unable to contain, as the shrinks say, the deeply held religious beliefs of others, let alone respect them in any way, even when, as is clearly the case with Eich, he is able to respect theirs in his daily work quite well.

This is no more than political correctness gone berserk. It is totalitarianism flying under the banner of marriage equality.  How reactionary, how fascistic, and, yes, how darkly comic is that.

And to give you an idea how dangerous this is, for those who don’t already know, the names of those who donated to Proposition 8 were leaked by the IRS in 2012 to the same-sex marriage supporting Human Rights Campaign who then posted those returns, for a time, on their website. Human rights, but apparently not for Brendan Eich.

The weird part of all this is that gay marriage is virtually a fait accompli in our culture.  Leading politicians in both parties either back it or say that it should be decided by the states.  But the Robespierres go on.

(Artwork based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)

The Silence of the Liberals

April 1st, 2014 - 7:35 am

Am I the only one or have you noticed your liberal friends and family have been strangely silent lately?

I tweeted as much Friday and, given the number of retweets in a matter of minutes, I gather I am not alone.

So why are these normally voluble people suddenly doing a disappearing act? (I’m not talking about the politicians and pundits.  They’re being paid to move their mouths.)  It’s pretty obvious.

They are bewildered and embarrassed.  Some are even ashamed of themselves, not that they will readily admit it.  The man who was their hero has now been unmasked in every direction as the worst president since the Civil War and possibly earlier. Not only is he a cheesy liar, everything he has done, domestic and foreign, has failed, sometimes to extraordinary degrees. The domestic part is bad enough, but at least that might be reparable.  The foreign is another matter.  The world is spinning out of control.  Who knows where that will end?

Hence, the silence.

Easter and Passover celebrations will be a little easier for those on the right this year.  We won’t have to listen to as much stultifying palaver about global warming, income inequality, etc.  Some, of course, but not enough, I suspect, to ruin our dinners.

Unfortunately, however, we have nothing to gloat about.  Our liberal friends have left us with a pile of dung the size of  the Horsehead Nebula.  Digging out will be a titanic undertaking, especially in the aforementioned area of foreign affairs.   Ironically, Republicans have been jumping up and down about the inept Affordable Care Act, but the real problems left by the Obama administration will be global.  You don’t easily roll back an Iranian nuclear weapon or regain respect for America as the global leader when it is being dissed in nearly ever corner of the planet. (See Bret Stephens’ excellent column on the subject.) Just as nature abhors a vacuum, global leadership abdicated rapidly finds a replacement – usually a worse one. (Rand Paul and followers take note.)

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As one of the relatively few people (percentage wise) to have spent more than a decade on both sides of our political divide, and also to have participated personally in the civil rights movement in the South in the sixties, I am going to say something that will be extremely controversial to liberals, indeed make them hate me.  Given all those years I spent on the two sides, I have observed liberals to be vastly more racist than conservatives and libertarians.

It isn’t even close. During the time I was on the left, I heard  many racially disparaging comments by my associates either offered in confidence or as off-hand remarks.  During my time on the right,  I heard such a comment only one time — and that was by a Frenchman. (Frankly, it didn’t surprise me.  I have spent a certain amount of time in France and heard more racism around the dinner table than I ever have in this country.)  I will add that, though I don’t classify myself as a Tea Party member, in the seven years I was CEO of PJ Media, I met or spoke on the phone with dozens of  Tea Partiers.  Not a single one of them ever said or did anything that approached racism to me.  And I was certainly paying attention. That was my job.

The roots of this divide are not just the obvious Freudian projection — those who accuse you of something evil are usually the ones perpetrating it.  That’s true enough.  But it’s far more than that.  The Democratic Party has been waging a War on Black People since the Great Society of 1964-65 (actually for far longer than that) that has reached horrifying proportions in our time.  That nearly 73 percent of African Americans are currently born out of wedlock, 67 percent living in single parent homes, is nothing short of disastrous with yet more disastrous auguries for the future.

And all this during the administration of our first black president.  The level of hypocrisy is astronomical.

To be fair, at first this war was unconscious.  I know.  I was very much a supporter then.  In fact, I remained so for much longer than I should have.  But after a while, as the Great Society programs, ratified under both political parties,  failed to accomplish what was intended with the social conditions of African Americans actually growing worse, I finally arose from my lethargy to wonder why this was happening.

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Whatever you think of Rand Paul, he’s actually doing something that politicians rarely do — talking at length to audiences who don’t usually agree with him.  And winning over new friends in the process. His recent speech at UC Berkeley, where he apparently got a standing ovation for excoriating runaway government spying on Americans, is only the latest example.

Historically, the Republican Party has been just what the public thinks it is, largely a bunch of risk-averse white men who are totally clueless at public relations, even though they are on the right (correct) side of almost every issue.  Meanwhile, the liberal Democrats haven’t had a decent rational argument about anything for years, if they ever did. They ream young people, blacks and virtually every other “interest group”that supports them with their policies and they still win most national elections.  What a disgraceful group of losers that makes the Republicans. There are literally thousands of chips on the table and they’re leaving them all behind.

Rand Paul is smart enough to realize this and actually goes out and does things about it. Other Republicans should get out their little red book of quotations and Learn from Chairman Rand.  The country is changing.  Whole new groups are ripe for the picking, most obviously the young who are being so completely raked over by the Obama administration via Obamacare and the rest of the entitlements so many of them know they will never see. They were ready to applaud at Berkeley.

And African Americans — when, since the end of Jim Crow, have they done worse than under the Obama administration with its record black unemployment numbers and horrifying statistics on out-of-wedlock births in their community?   Consciously or unconsciously, Democrats have been waging a “War on Blacks” since the days of the Great Society.  It’s been a disaster for African  Americans, a nightmare, in truth.

But where are the Republicans, the party of Lincoln, on that?  They should be in the black communities talking to them about it, suggesting ways to make things better. Instead, they just sit around getting annoyed when the Democrats call them racists.   Play offense, not defense.

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