Their names have not been on the ballot since 1944 and 1964. FDR died in 1945 and LBJ in 1973 but the ghosts of democrat presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson are impacting the 2012 presidential election campaign with such magnitude that they both might as well be on the ballot themselves. The great entitlement legacies of these two mid- 20th century presidents, i.e., FDR’s Social Security and LBJ’s Medicare are now center stage after Mitt Romney named Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Both programs having been left virtually unchanged since their inception decades ago, and are now at the root of a fiscal crisis so catastrophic that our economic solvency and super-power status as a nation are genuinely threatened.
But all I hear on the news these days is anger directed at Paul Ryan by voters screaming, “Don’t take away our Medicare” or rally signs reading, “Ryan means Social Security cuts” and talking heads saying, “Ryan is going to fundamentally change Medicare as we know it.”
Where is Romney in all this? Within a few days after announcing the Ryan VP choice, he has become the ever- shrinking front-runner eclipsed by a running mate who is accused by Team Obama and their cohorts in the mainstream media of trying to undermine the entitlement programs left by FDR and LBJ. The race has now become “All Ryan all the time” and Romney’s candidacy has been reduced to nothing more than “Paul Ryan’s plan.”
Simply because Paul Ryan’s budget plan is complicated and will be totally exploited by the Obama campaign, masters of playing on the fears of average Americans — I fear that Romney’s bold choice of selecting Ryan is going to hurt the Romney-Ryan ticket especially with voters who feel the most vulnerable and threatened by any program changes.
This is not good news for Romney, Ryan or their election prospects. It is very difficult to change or even talk about changing entitlement programs that have come to represent the very fabric of America’s social safety net. Facts are not important in any of these arguments. The Obama talking points are all laced with pure emotion because the facts and the numbers of Ryan’s plan are too complicated to explain in a 30 second sound-bite. This only works to Obama’s advantage. Team Obama is chomping at the bit of Ann Romney’s dressage horse to make their case that Paul Ryan’s budget is radical, dangerous, and hurts all of us but especially those who need it most.
These arguments are tailor made for 30 seconds or less. FDR and LBJ will be on the ballot this November, right along side Obama-Biden and Romney- Ryan and that is bad news for all Republicans down the ballot. No matter how devastating the FDR and LBJ programs are to our present and future economy, a majority of Americans will not listen because there is a maxim that overshadows the coming economic tsunami.
Once government gives benefits, government can not take them away.
Paul Ryan came and spoke today in Lakewood, Colorado, very near my home. The high school gym was packed, with over 3000 present. Most of the folks there were local, but one couple seated next to me was from Durango and had driven six hours to get there.
To say the crowd received Ryan with enthusiasm would be an understatement. In fact, his reception became literally thunderous, as many started stamping or pounding on the gym benches, and they repeated this several times when Ryan made strong points.
President Obama took a swipe at an old canine tale on the campaign trail today in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Speaking to a crowd at Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum, Obama was spending the day trying to promote wind energy.
“And guess what, Governor Romney said let’s end the tax credits for wind energy production. Let’s get rid of them,” Obama said. “He said that new sources of energy like wind are ‘imaginary.’ His running mate calls them a ‘fad.’ During a speech a few months ago, Governor Romney even explained his energy policy this way — I’m quoting here — ‘You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.’”
“That’s what he said about wind power,” the president continued. “’You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.’ Now, I don’t know if he has actually tried that. I know he has had other things on his car.”
The audience laughed and applauded at the dig.
The Romney campaign sent out an email this afternoon noting a piece in The Atlantic ranking the reference to Seamus the Irish setter one of the dumbest things said by Dems in the past day.
“After sanctimoniously complaining about making a ‘big election about small things,’ President Obama continues to embarrass himself and diminish his office with his un-presidential behavior,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams told the L.A. Times.
What seemed to be territory firmly staked out by the Obama team has now been waded into by the GOP: fundraising contests.
Last week, Barack Obama announced a chance for donors — “if you chip in $5 or whatever you can” — to meet Michael Jordan and the president over dinner, “maybe even shooting some hoops with some of the other basketball stars, past and present,” at an event later this month in New York.
Last month, the Obama campaign was asking for “$3 or whatever you can” to automatically be entered for a trip to Obama’s birthday party in Chicago.
This evening the National Republican Congressional Committee sent out an email from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) with a subject line similar to what Dems have been using — “Let’s meet up”:
Id [sic] like you and a guest to join me in Tampa at the GOP Convention. The contest to win this trip ends in 4 days, so chip in $25 right now and youll [sic] be automatically entered.
Well, today is your chance…
The NRCC will cover airfare and the hotel for you and your guest.
This is a chance to witness history in person: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are going to reapply the Founding Principles that made America the greatest nation on earth.
Youll [sic] get to watch it live and I look forward to seeing you there.
Chip in $25 today and you might be on your way to the GOP convention.
See you in Tampa,
The email directs to an entry page on the NRCC site with a picture of Ryan and Cantor.
An approval rating of 50% is not bad for a relatively unknown congressman. Where he goes from here will depend on the race to define him. The Democrats and Obama have an easier time of it, as they have shown themselves more than willing to play fast and loose with the truth in tarring Ryan as a heartless monster willing to push granny over a cliff. In the meantime, Ryan has an opportunity to define himself as he travels across the Midwest explaining his plan to reform entitlements and cut the budget.
The Ryan choice appears to have aided Romney as well, as Rasmussen explains:
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s favorables are up after the first blush of national media exposure following Mitt Romney’s selection of him as his vice presidential running mate. But as is generally the case with running mates, Ryan gives only a slight boost to Romney.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of Ryan, while 32% view him unfavorably. This includes 29% with a Very Favorable view of Romney’s vice presidential pick and 13% with a Very Unfavorable one. Only 13% are now unfamiliar with Ryan, and five percent (5%) are not sure about him. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Just prior to being picked as Romney’s running mate, only 39% viewed Ryan favorably, while 25% held an unfavorable opinion of him.
Forty-three percent (43%) of voters think Romney made the right choice when he chose Ryan to be his running mate. Twenty-two percent (22%) disagree and think it was a bad choice. A sizable 35% aren’t sure.
But 36% now say they are more likely to vote for Romney with Ryan as his running mate. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say they are less likely to vote for the Republican, while just as many (30%) say the vice presidential selection has no impact on their vote.
In the key swing state of Ohio, the initial reaction to Ryan is also modestly positive.
Ryan’s numbers are in line with findings in the early going for the vice presidential candidates in 2008. Voters were slightly more critical of Republican John McCain’s choice of then-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. But Palin’s favorables were a bit higher than Ryan’s, and a comparable number of voters said her selection made them more likely to vote for McCain.
Ryans numbers are also slightly better than those for Vice President Biden after Obama chose him. And independents’ views of Ryan are in line with the rest of the country; 50% favorable and 38% more likely to vote for Romney.
At this point, it is clear that Romney didn’t hurt himself by choosing Ryan and helped himself slightly. That conclusion might change going forward, but for the moment, Romney doesn’t lose any ground for making his bold choice.
Several key Democratic Party professionals have told PJ Media that Vice President Joseph Biden has become intensely jealous of attention being paid presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Thousands have turned up for Ryan’s speeches while only 600 appeared for Biden’s latest address.
“He’d be tearing his hair out, if he didn’t have to be so careful of the follicles,” said one Democratic professional, speaking under condition of anonymity similar to that given GOP professionals who spoke earlier about Ryan in a Politico article by Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Martin. Biden is known for having had hair transplants while Ryan has a full head of his own.
“They’re sending Joe to secret anger management training. He’s been going berserk because he’s worried people think Ryan is more intelligent than he is,” said another Democrat, again speaking under anonymity and reminding PJ Media of Biden’s unimpressive college record where he ranked 506th of in a class of 688. The vice president has acknowledged plagiarizing while in law school, though he says it was “inadvertent.”
Consideration was being given, the Democrat added, to Biden’s having a “family emergency” in Argentina at the time of his scheduled debate with Ryan.
A third Democrat operative said party professionals were “extremely relieved” by the anonymously sourced Politico article alleging GOP pros thought Ryan a risky nominee. “That’s our best hope,” said the first Dem pro. “If Biden actually had to confront Ryan on substance, it could be a disaster. The vice president’s a bit of dim bulb, as everyone knows.”
As for Politico itself, that Democratic pro continued, “Some people think they’re sleazy because they rely so much on anonymous sources and innuendo, but they’re highly reliable for us when the chips are down. “
Video: Confused, Bumbling Old Man Who Can’t Even Remember Which State He’s In Knocks Obama Campaign Off Message Again
The confused, bumbling old man being the vice president, of course.
Let’s pause and consider that as his first major choice upon securing the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama selected this man as his running mate:
The man can’t count to four, was already a known plagiarist, and has gotten almost every single foreign policy question of the past thirty years dead wrong, yet he’s one heartbeat away from the most difficult job in the free world. That was Barack Obama’s choice.
Today, Biden’s accusation that Mitt Romney would turn the White House into a slave plantation and, one supposes, resurrect the international slave trade, has forced the Obama campaign to either toss the vice president under the bus or join him in the gutter. Guess which adventure they chose.
ANDREA MITCHELL: “I want to also ask you about something that Joe Biden said out on the campaign today. Let’s take a look at something Joe Biden was saying about banking regulation.”
BIDEN: “He said in the first hundred days he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
MITCHELL: “Now, ‘back in chains,’ I guess is what the Romney campaign is now objecting to strongly, saying it’s a new low, it’s a suggestion that is not acceptable political discourse. President Obama should tell the American people that – This is from Andrea Saul, one of your counterparts – whether he agrees with Joe Biden’s comments.”
OBAMA SPOKESMODEL STEPHANIE CUTTER: “Well I think he probably agrees with Joe Biden’s sentiments. I mean he’s using a metaphor –
MITCHELL: “Sentiments is different from comments…”
CUTTER: “Look, I appreciate the faux outrage from the Romney campaign. If you want to talk about the use of words, then take a look at Mitt Romney’s stump speech where he basically calls the President un-American. So does Andrea Saul agree with that language?”
Andrea Saul appears to be living rent-free in Stephanie Cutter’s head, where there is no doubt plenty of space. Good to know.
MITCHELL: “Without defending that or criticizing that, let’s get back to the question of when you said the president agrees with the sentiments, are you saying that the vice president went too far –“
CUTTER: “No, I’m not”.
MITCHELL: “–and that the president does not agree with the words that he used?”
CUTTER: “If you look at the entire context of what the Vice President was talking about, he was making a point that if we repeal Wall Street reform which is what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to do, we’re going to go back to the days where they’re writing their own rules, and we saw what happened. Taxpayers had to bail them out. We had to spend billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars bailing them out. Now I would think that that, you know, that is a problem for middle class taxpayers. That would hamper their ability to take care of their own finances.”
MITCHELL: “The bottom line that the President agrees with Joe Biden’s sentiments but not his comments?”
CUTTER: “The bottom line is that we have no problem with those comments.”
The bottom line is, the Obama camp is perfectly fine with telling people who never were in chains, the Civil War having settled that question long before anyone living was actually alive, that a Republican — a man of the party that was founded to end slavery — would put them “back in chains.”
I can’t wait to see how the Obama campaign tops this accusation in a week or two. Will they accuse him of creating AIDS in a secret Mormon lab, or will they accuse him plotting to destroy the Moon to flood heathen California?
One of anti-rights propagandists’ greatest pieces of compost material misinformation is that registration is a benign program to ensure only the law-abiding have guns. (As if criminals will register their guns. But then again, California has almost legalized marijuana, a powerful hallucinogen.) The dark truth of registration is how easily government can use the database to confiscate your guns.
California requires gun owners to obtain a Handgun Safety Certificate, which places personal information into a database (gun owner registration). This certificate allows Californians to buy guns.
The following email came from Paul Payne of the California NRA Members Council:
SB 249is California’s Worst Gun Confiscation Threat in 20 Years!
Contact your state Legislator TODAY!
Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco now trying to ban and confiscate more so-called “assault weapons.”
Originally, Senate Bill 249 was a quiet agriculture bill that passed in the California Senate back in May. With sneaky back-door tactics, Senator Yee turned the bill into a gun ban monster.
SB 249, as amended, would make a small but profound change to the definition of what constitutes a detachable magazine for a semiautomatic firearm. By doing so, hundreds of thousands of semi-automatic rifles, which were legally sold in California over the last decade, would become illegal on July 1, 2013.
The existing definition of detachable magazine was used by Governor Brown’s administration for the four years he served as Attorney General.
Senator Yee’s bill has no provisions to allow permitting, licensing or reimbursement for the loss of valuable property. Worse yet, the bill doesn’t require a public notice program to advise owners of this change in state law.
Thousands of owners could be arrested for inadvertent violations. If you own an affected firearm, your only choices would be to destroy it, surrender it to a law enforcement agency, sell it out of state or have it confiscated at the time of your arrest! Which option would you prefer?
Call AND E-mail your state legislators TODAY and urge them to OPPOSE SB 249
Contact information for your state Senator can be found here.
Contact information for your state Assembly Member can be found here.
Also, contact Governor Jerry Brown and urge him to tell the state Legislature that he stands by the existing definition of detachable magazine, just as he did when he was Attorney General.
Governor Brown can be reached at 916-445-2841 and by e-mail at: http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php
Please forward this alert to your family, friends and fellow gun owners across California and urge them to do the same.
California is going to need EVERYONE to help fend off this attack!
More information is available at: http://www.calguns.net/249/
Riverside Sheriff Stan Sniff sent the following letter to the legislature. http://www.calguns.net/249/SheriffSniff-OpposeLetterSB249.pdf
Politico brings us: The Frummish Report. Politico trolled for Republicans who don’t like the Paul Ryan pick, and then wrote about them. Here’s a sample.
“I think it’s a very bold choice. And an exciting and interesting pick. It’s going to elevate the campaign into a debate over big ideas. It means Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party. And probably lose. Maybe big,” said former President George W. Bush senior adviser Mark McKinnon.
Mark McKinnon…wait. That name rings a bell. Wasn’t he the Democrat who switched to make George W. Bush’s ads, then later was the McCain poo-bah who refused to attack Barack Obama in 2008 because Obama is black? Why yes, that’s him, officer.
When President Obama flouted the law and granted amnesty-lite to millions of illegal aliens by fiat, where was Mark McKinnon? Oh, he was clapping and cheering Obama on.
Where was McKinnon when Obama made the obviously political calculation to support gay marriage? Cheering the president on again.
When Obama’s bin Laden political ads drew fire from Republicans, where was Mark McKinnon? He was criticizing the Republicans for criticizing those ads.
While the country has been in the grip of a lawless and hard left administration, where has McKinnon been? On the sidelines, trying to blur politics with the No Labels nonsense.
I don’t mean to single Mark McKinnon out here. My actual target is not him, but Politico. Mark McKinnon does not represent the base of the GOP, and I’m sure he would admit that if asked. He’s a professional moderate who represents a sliver of a slice of a few moderate GOP consultants and candidates, many of whom are actually moderate Democrats in ideology. They’re not the base and not where the energy in the GOP is. Politico sought him out probably because they knew he would be sour on the Ryan pick, and he delivered. Politico gets to print the storyline it wanted to print.
But while McKinnon et al wring their hands, Paul Ryan is out-drawing his counterpart in campaign appearances and the Romney campaign is raising millions by showing boldness and taking the fight to the other side. That’s exactly the kind of thing the McKinnons of the world hate, and it’s one of the reasons we’re dealing with the wreckage that is the Obama administration now.
Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas got tsk-tsk’d by the food police captain herself last night after admitting to eating fast food.
Douglas and first lady Michelle Obama were on Jay Leno’s show, where the host asked the winning gymnast how she celebrated.
“We didn’t have time to celebrate,” Douglas said. “It was team finals and all-around finals and event finals after that. But after the competition, I splurged on a Egg McMuffin at McDonald’s.”
“Egg McMuffin?” Leno asked.
“Gabby, we don’t — don’t encourage him,” Obama said. “I’m sure it was on a whole-wheat McMuffin.”
“On a whole-wheat bun,” Leno said.
“Yes, yes,” Obama responded. “You’re setting me back, Gabby.”
“Sorry,” the teen medalist said.
The Egg McMuffin is actually one of the lowest calorie fast-food sandwiches at 300 calories.
Steve covered Joe’s slavery comments already. Later in the same speech, the Vice President of the United States thought it would be a fine idea to mimic his sign language translator for some reason.
Biden’s odd behavior did not stop with upping the charges against Mitt Romney from bullying to murder to now scheming to build a massive slave plantation. Biden told his audience that with their help, the Democratic ticket could win North Carolina again.
Either VPOTUS was promoting voter fraud or he didn’t know where he was. Today’s speech was in Virginia.
One heartbeat away from the presidency, is Joe Biden.
Today Florida is holding a primary election. I’ve learned that 1,100 voters who requested absentee ballots either did not get them or received them too late because the United States Postal Service treated the ballots as third class mail. 800 voters in Indian River County and 300 voters in Martin County were affected. Contests in Martin County include Alan West’s primary challenge as well as a U.S. Senate race, state house, state senate, school superintendents, sheriff and more. Florida law does not permit electronic return of the completed ballots by fax or email. That means that about 1,100 voters who specifically sought to participate in the primary today, can’t. More at my blog electionlawcenter.com.
The most liberal member of the Senate raised the alarm today, the 77th anniversary of Social Security, about whether President Obama would keep his 2008 campaign vow to staunchly defend the entitlement program.
“We are now in the midst of the fiercest and best-financed attack against Social Security in our lifetimes,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warned today. “Hundreds of millions of dollars are now being spent to destroy Social Security and endanger the well-being of millions of Americans. We must not allow that effort to succeed.”
Sanders, the head of the Senate Defending Social Security Caucus, noted that this year Obama has refused to stand behind his four-year-old opposition to cuts, and has indicated he’d be open to changing how benefits are calculated.
“It is long past time that the president told the American people in no uncertain terms, as he did in 2008, that he will not cut Social Security on his watch,” Sanders said.
Sanders introduced legislation – identical to a proposal that Obama advocated in 2008 – to apply the payroll tax on income above $250,000 a year; under current law, only earnings up to $110,100 are taxed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is among 10 cosponsors of Sanders’ bill.
The avowed socialist also criticized the GOP ticket for talk of privatizing Social Security and raising the retirement age.
“Before Social Security existed, about half of America’s senior citizens lived in poverty,” Sanders said. “Today, less than 10 percent live in poverty. Since its inception some 77 years ago, through good economic times and bad, Social Security has paid out every penny owed to every eligible beneficiary. This is a remarkable success story.”
Biden to North Carolina crowd: “He’s gonna put y’all back in chains.”
UPDATE: Jake Tapper notes that
Mr. Biden also told the crowd that if they get out the vote, “we can win North Carolina again.” Danville is close to the North Carolina border, but it is in fact in Virginia.
But Dan Quayle & Sarah Palin are the idiots.
Cross-posted from Vodkapundit.
Two innocent people were killed during a shootout yesterday between Thomas Alton Caffall III and police. But anti-rights propagandists will avoid the story behind the story in their rush to use this to demand more gun control.
Caffall’s mother said her son was “having difficulties with his mental health in recent years.” His stepfather called Caffall “crazy as hell” and a “ticking time bomb.”
“At one point, we were afraid that he was going to come up here and do something to his mother and me.”
Question: If that’s true, did you reach out to authorities?
The “Federal Categories of Persons Prohibited From Receiving” a firearm includes: “A person adjudicated mental defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or incompetent to handle own affairs…”
Caffall, age 35, “quit his job nine months ago and vowed never to work again.” Does that sound like somebody competent to handle their own affairs?
Last month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported:
“According to FBI data, the number of firearm transactions that were denied based on mental health records increased from 365 (or 0.5 percent of 75,990 total gun purchase denials) in 2004 to 2,124 (or 1.7 percent of 123,432 total gun purchase denials) in 2011.”
We already have enough laws in place. The only failure here may be citizen involvement.
The government that serves best is the one the People control, but if we don’t take action when necessary, we abdicate responsibility, and there will always be those ready to assume it, provided we surrender our freedom, responsibility’s twin.
Capitalizing on the success of “Glee,” the Oxygen Channel has come up with “The Glee Project,” a reality TV talent competition in which contestants vie for a coveted spot on the show’s namesake. Currently about to conclude its second season, “The Glee Project”—in keeping with the high school-era outcasts that inhabit “Glee”—put out a call for the awkward, the overweight, the disabled, the curiously little, the racially ambiguous, the sexually confused, the openly gay, the transitioning transgenders, and, of course, some plain old cute guys, no doubt to corner the teenage girl market.
Notable among this season’s contestants is 19-year-old Aylin (pronounced “Eileen”) Bayramoglu from Chicago. She’s a confident, vibrant, flirtatious young woman with what I consider to be the contest’s best voice. She also happens to be a Muslim. She describes her background as “Turkish Muslim” and yet shows no inclination to inhabit the traditional female role associated with her culture. She doesn’t wear a head scarf, she’s sassy, outgoing, and judging by her familiarity with the Top 40 songs assigned to her by the judges, thoroughly steeped in pop culture. In other words, she’s just like any other young American woman.
If anything, Aylin—who, early in the show, has a puppy love relationship with fellow contestant Charlie that includes a good deal of smooching, not to mention later episodes in which she makes out with various female contestants in pursuit of winning the sometimes creepily exploitative competitions—could dial the overt sexuality back a peg or two. But freedom is freedom.
Most importantly, Aylin is brave. It’s hard to imagine that the “conservative Muslim family” she refers to on occasion—nervously joking that they still think she’s never kissed a boy—will approve of her behavior once they see the episodes on TV. In a portrayal of this very scenario during last week’s episode, Aylin—acting in a short film assigned by the judges—played a Muslim girl who gets pregnant by her non-Muslim boyfriend and then, after tearfully donning her head scarf, is taken away by a fictional version of her own family. The role clearly hit home for the irrepressibly cheerful Aylin showed real sadness during the filming.
In reality, female rebellion in the Muslim world can have dangerous consequences and mere disapproval is the least of them. During the second-to-last episode (the finale airs tonight), the writers from “Glee,” including creator Ryan Murphy, discussed the possibility of choosing Aylin as the winner, noting carefully that the show hasn’t yet “explored Muslim culture.” One wonders if this—by the way, very gay—group of writers has any idea what they might be getting into. Unlike the show’s believing Christian and Jewish characters, all of whom are either caricatures or toned down secular fantasies, a Muslim character would challenge Glee’s writers to tackle something truly cutting-edge. It’s a far cry from getting “slushied” in high school for being gay or promiscuous to being hung, stoned to death, or “honor” murdered. There’s also the small matter of death threats, which tend to gravitate towards those who challenge Islam’s orthodoxies.
My hope is that should the judges choose Aylin to star in “Glee,” they won’t fall prey to the usual liberal preoccupation with presenting her as a victim of American culture, but, rather, as a triumph over the “stereotypes,” as she often describes them, imposed by her own culture. As Aylin herself put it in an interview with Wetpaint.com:
I would want my character to be a little controversial because I do want being Muslim to be represented. And I just kind of want to be super flirtatious and cause trouble and stir things up.
Sounds good to me.
I know that the Bill Burton/Joe Soptic “Mitt Romney Killed My Wife!” ad is growing distant in the nation’s rearview mirror, but it brought us a revelatory moment that we should not forget.
In the ad, laid-off union man Joe Soptic accuses Mitt Romney of being indifferent to suffering and destroying Soptic’s employer. That cost Soptic his health insurance, and ultimately his wife, who died of cancer. So the accusations are: Mitt Romney killed Joe Soptic’s job, which resulted in the death of Mrs. Soptic. Fade to black.
The ad manages to get every single relevant fact wrong. Here’s the timeline: In 1993, Mitt Romney was head of Bain Capital, and that company became majority owner of Soptic’s employer, GST Steel. Bain bought into GST to try to save it, as it did with other struggling companies. Romney left Bain in 1999 to save the Salt Lake City Olympics. Two years after Romney left Bain, in February 2001, GST filed for bankruptcy and Soptic was among the 750 who lost their jobs as a result. A full five years after that, Soptic’s wife was diagnosed with late-stage cancer and she passed away.
Soptic’s story is a sad one, but not uncommon. In real life, our problems don’t get solved in a half-hour sitcom format and there aren’t all that many stories that end happily. We live, we work, we raise our families, we experience delights and tragedies, we pass on and are largely forgotten on this earth. Believers point to a brighter day on the other side of our last “amen,” while life on this earth remains a hardscrabble thing for most of us worrying about that next bill or how we’re ever going to be able to afford to retire. Life is often cruel and unfair. But to blame Mitt Romney for any of what happened to Joe Soptic is either delusional or dishonest to the point of sociopathy.
It’s one thing for political operatives to shade the truth to gussy up their party or their policy case. It’s never a good thing, but it happens all the time. But Joe Soptic is no political operative. He is just an ordinary man, or was. For an ordinary man to blame the death of his wife on another man who bears no culpability and who has done Soptic no wrong is bizarre. But grief makes us do weird things sometimes. Festering rage and the unfairness of life can turn the straightest arrow a little crooked.
The political class among the Democrats surely knew that everything about Soptic’s story added up to zero culpability for Mitt Romney. Zero. Goose egg. Zip, zilch, nada.
But Obama’s former deputy chief of staff, Bill Burton, rolled the ad out anyway. Obama spokesmodel Stephanie Cutter claimed that the Obama campaign had no knowledge of Soptic, despite the fact that the campaign was in contact with him and held a conference call with him. Soptic’s charges got repeated by Democrat talking heads everywhere, until the ad became a debunked liability and then they all went the “I know nothing!” route.
The ad lied. The refusal to acknowledge that the ad was part of the Obama campaign’s overall strategy to destroy Mitt Romney was a lie. Everything the Democrats have said in the entire Soptic affair was a total, provable lie. Caught in the lie, they lied about the lie, all under the watchful eye of the 24/7 media and blogosphere. Somehow they retain the ability to sleep at night.
All of that is creepy and Americans should pause and think hard before voting this group any power. They cannot be trusted.
Who’d have thought that a frumpy Russian woman, dead some three-plus decades, would continue to be a significant and relevant force in political debate?
Predictably, the Left have seized on Paul Ryan’s affection for Ayn Rand to try to paint him as a fringe whacko unfit for office. Excellent. This is EXACTLY what we want them to do. We want the debate to turn ideological. Ryan’s a whacko for liking Rand? OK, remind me who your pastor was for twenty years. Forget talk of marginal tax rates at the debate podium. I want discussions of individualism versus altruism. The progs couldn’t handle a discussion like that. The progs have no underlying philosophy, no inspirational figures. What are they going to do? Quote Soviet-loving John Kenneth Galbraith? The plagiarist Fareed Zakaria?
A question remains for the pro-Ryan camp, however. Is Ryan a whacko for liking Rand?
My own views on Rand and Objectivism are the following: the essential spirit of her philosophy is correct, the particulars and style of execution often nutty and clumsy. The moral premises of her individualism, as laid out in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and other books, are valid and well stated. Some of the finer points of her philosophy–the ideas about romanticism in literature, for instance–are superfluous and ridiculous. An agnostic, I nevertheless found Rand’s atheism to be of the childish, grating college-boy variety. She, a philosopher, knew no philosophy other than basic Aristotle (her laughable mangling of Kant is something even Objectivists try to revise nowadays).
The interpersonal aspects of Objectivism are something to avoid even more: its slavish dogmatism and Randian personality cult are of no interest to me and shouldn’t be to anyone professing individualism. As a fiction writer she started out awful and became great. Her early novels–Anthem and We the Living–are dreadfully slow and boring. The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are excellent, if overwritten.
So, what’s a conservative/libertarian/classical liberal to make of all this? Well, Rand loved America. She defended American traditions and American exceptionalism. She defended Israel. She despised identity politics. This is good enough for me. Rand’s ideas continue to be relevant because, well, she was right about a lot of things. I have many Rand books on my shelf. I’d say I take one down at least once a month and read back over pages I have marked. When someone badmouths Rand, I always feel compelled to defend her, even though I don’t identify as an Objectivist. This is the true test of whether you have an affinity for someone. It’s hard to be a classical liberal nowadays and not have at least some Objectivist in you.
Most progs have not actually read Rand. Like children playing a game of telephone, they rely on one another’s hearsay about what Rand wrote, instead of actually doing the hard work and hitting the books themselves. This means that there is a steady stream of garbage in the blogosphere (and on your friends’ Facebook pages) about Rand. Whenever Rand becomes a part of the larger political discussion, every prog blogger in the country runs to his little keyboard and taps out a 2,000-work screed about how evil Rand was, how she hated poor people, etc. The best way to tell if you’re in the company of a prog who has not read Rand (other than the fact that you’re talking to a prog) is that he or she will say that Rand was evil for rejecting “altruism.” What the prog doesn’t realize–because he never read the books–is that Rand was using her own idiosyncratic, somewhat tendentious definition of altruism. She did NOT mean helping other people; to Rand, altruism was the collectivist idea that you have no right to exist as an individual. Progs think they are scoring a point when they mention Rand’s hatred of “altruism,” not realizing the difference in definition–kind of like me criticizing Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn for not liking “workers’ democracy.”
In short, give me Ayn Rand over Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright any day of the week. An anti-tax Russian woman is always better than a domestic terrorist and a racist sicko.
Long live Rand.
As President Obama keeps touting the success of his auto bailout of GM and Chrysler in Michigan and elsewhere, the red ink associated with that action keeps flowing.
According to the Treasury Department, if the government were to sell all the stock it bought to prop up the two auto giants, the taxpayers would be out $25 billion.
David Shepardson of the Detroit News:
The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.
In a monthly report sent to Congress on Friday, the Obama administration boosted its forecast of expected losses by more than $3.3 billion to almost $25.1 billion, up from $21.7 billion in the last quarterly update.
The report may still underestimate the losses. The report covers predicted losses through May 31, when GM’s stock price was $22.20 a share.
On Monday, GM stock fell $0.07, or 0.3 percent, to $20.47. At that price, the government would lose another $850 million on its GM bailout.
The government still holds 500 million shares of GM stock and needs to sell them for about $53 each to recover its entire $49.5 billion bailout. At the current price, the Treasury would lose more than $16 billion on its GM bailout.
The steep decline in GM’s stock price has indefinitely delayed the Treasury’s sale of its remaining 26 percent stake in GM. No sale will take place before the November election.
Treasury spokesman Matt Anderson said the costs were still far less than some predicted.
“The auto industry rescue helped save more than one million jobs throughout our nation’s industrial heartland and is expected to cost far less than many had feared during the height of the crisis,” Anderson said.
The Obama administration initially estimated it would lose $44 billion on the bailout but reduced the forecast to $30 billion in December 2009.
But the recent estimates are not as optimistic as last year.
The Treasury Department said in a May 2011 report that its estimate of auto bailout losses was $13.9 billion. The Congressional Budget Office also estimates a $14 billion loss. The CBO has written off $8 billion of the government’s auto bailout as an unrecoverable loss.
Of course, taxpayers are out far more than $25 billion. The total “investment” in GM and Chrysler is, according to the CNNMoney bailout tracker, $77.6 billion, of which about $12 billion has been paid back by the auto companies.
What did we get for the money? The Obama administration says that the bailout saved a million jobs. That would have been true if GM and Chrysler declared bankruptcy and slid into oblivion.
But that was never going to happen. General Motors, at least, would have emerged stronger and leaner vis a vis the union. Chrysler would probably have been bought out. No doubt some jobs at the auto companies and in the auto parts sector would have been lost — a consequence of poor decisions by management. But a million jobs saved? Only one study, done by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), has made that claim. The Wall Street Journal describes CAR:
CAR is an Ann Arbor, Mich., nonprofit research organization that is closely followed in the auto industry and by the White House’s former auto taskforce. The organization receives funding from the federal government and from corporations, according to its financial disclosures.
This is a decision Mitt Romney will have to make if he is elected in November. What are the chances that GM stock will bounce back to $53 a share? Or even make it into the 30′s? With the chance of another downturn in the economy, it may behoove the next president to dump the stock, take the loss, and move on.
[ Sung to the tune of "Venus" by Frankie Avalon: ]
Romney If You Will
Hey Romney! Oh Romney!
Romney if you will,
Please nominate a veep who’ll make us thrill.
A veep who’s good at math and six-pack abs
Who’s got the gift of gab,
Romney make him young,
A budget wonk who’s not so highly strung.
Wisconsites are popular this year,
Your choice is oh so clear: It’s Paul.
Ryan, deficit-hawk you may be,
You’re perfect for the job,
You’re such a big heart-throb!
Ryan has a plan
More serious than Barry’s “Yes We Can,”
A fiscal map to stave off bankruptcy
While Biden gaffes and says “Ooopsie.”
Ryan, fearless and confident,
You schooled the President
Over the moon we went!
Ryan add the looks,
Subtract the waste and balance all our books,
Divide your foes and make them all feel blue,
And multiply our love for you.
Hey Romney! Oh Romney!
You made our wish come true!
[ If you've forgotten the tune, here's the original; play it softly in the background and sing the new lyrics over it, karaoke-style: ]
- The Biggest D.C. Spy Scandal You Haven’t Heard About (Part One), by Patrick Poole. Why has the story of a 20-year illegal infiltration of D.C. on behalf of Pakistani intelligence gone unnoticed?
- Karl Marx vs. the Zeitgeist, by Roger Kimball. Or the concept of momentum applied to politics.
- Gnostics of Our Time, by David Solway. The “revolutionary mysticism” of the Left takes its toll.
- The Israel/Iran War Game, by Michael Ledeen. Will they (the Israelis) or won’t they? And if so, when? I know the answers, but you’re not going to like them.
- Paul Ryan: From Behind the Beltway Curtain to National Scene, by Bridget Johnson. Opponents will be blaming Ryan for the actions of the Republican caucus as a whole, but the GOP could use the spotlight to showcase their efforts on the Hill.
- Middle East Chaos Makes Israeli Iran Strike More Likely, by David P. Goldman. Right now, the timing seems as favorable as it is ever likely to be.
- Remove the Media from the Debates, by Roger L Simon. I thought back to the primary campaign when Newt Gingrich proposed Lincoln-Douglas style debates sans moderators. It was a good idea then and a good idea now.