That out-of-tune brassy sound you hear is me tooting my own horn

Real Clear Politics, Sunday, September 30, 2012:


I’m excited not only for myself, but for Laer Pearce, whose book, Crazifornia: Tales from the Tarnished State – How California is Destroying Itself and Why it Matters to America, is the subject of the post that RCP picked up.  It’s a great book, and as many Americans as possible should read it, so that they can fully understand what Progressive politics will do to the American landscape.

Marin County demonstrates the one-party totalitarianism that flows from open primaries

Yesterday, I posted about the result of California’s open primary in Marin:  two Democrats running against each other for the California Assembly.  My post was about the problem that this creates for those people whose party has been shut out of the election.  The net effect of open primaries is that, rather than allowing parties to choose their own candidates, the primary just becomes a “pre-election election,” with the November election serving as a run-off.

It turns out that the open primaries are also a problem for the candidates facing off against each other in November, because it’s hard for voters to distinguish between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.  In the article I quoted yesterday,the Marin IJ tried to help, by painting Marc Levine as more “pro-business,” which can be translated as “Mitt Romney surrogate.”

The IJ needn’t have made the effort, though.  I didn’t realize it when I wrote yesterday’s post, but I had waiting in my mail box a flyer from the California Democratic Party making the difference between the two candidates as clear as a bright summer day (click on thumbnails to enlarge):



On the flyer’s front, you can see the Republican elephant superimposed in the middle of what is clearly a group of people standing in line.  The text reads:

Marc Levine Doesn’t Want You to Know About the Elephant in the Room . . .

Because the elephant in the room is MARC LEVINE

Turn the flyer over and the message gets more specific:

The MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN KICKOFF in San Rafael was described as “LIKE MINDS COMING TOGETHER…”

[Quoting a female attendee] “We’re a bunch of red folks . . . and we find comfort with our own.”

Marin County Republican Chair Kevin Krick dismissed Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments as “a speed bump on the way to the White House.”

And the applauding Elephant in the Room was Marc Levine!  [With a big red finger arrow pointing to a picture of Levine attending the kick-off, with the Levine picture cropped in the shape of an elephant.]

What’s next — campaign contributions from Republican Special Interests?  Is this the kind of “Democrat” we want representing us in the State Assembly?

One can guess what happened.  Marc Levine, in an effort to distinguish himself from a Democrat opponent who is pure Progressive, sought to make himself known to a broader coalition of Marin County voters.  Since Marin has no subway or train stations outside of which the candidate can stand to introduce himself to voters, he goes from one political event to another.  This one was a Republican event.  He probably thought it was a smart move, because Republicans, having been denied a candidate by the open primary system are, theoretically, an up-for-grabs constituency.  They’ve got to vote for someone, so why not Levine?

Poor Levine.  His tactical outreach effort backfired, but it had the salutary effect of exposing the anti-democratic effect of open primaries:  Because of the open primary, which denied Marin County Republicans the right to choose their own candidate, the Democrat Party in California filled the vacuum by anointing a “Republican” candidate.

This whole thing has become a travesty.  What we’re seeing isn’t democracy in action.  Instead, it’s one-party rule, complete with infighting, without even the pretense of open elections.

The Hobson’s choice in Marin County elections; or, choosing between Left and Lefter

The theory behind Open Primaries is that it will encourage moderation in districts that are extremely Democrat or extremely Republican.  Without Open Primaries, minority opposition votes are symbolic throwaway votes.  Whoever is the majority candidate wins, regardless of the details of that candidate’s platform.  With Open Primaries, which inevitably result in two majority candidates going head to head, the minority opposition must either refrain from voting entirely or vote for the least bad of the other party’s candidates.  The hope is that, if minority party voters do the latter, they’ll vote for the opposition candidate who is least extreme.  I suspect that’s what’s going to happen in the upcoming Marin County election for 10th District in the California Assembly:

Due to California’s new open primary law, two Democrats will compete for the 10th District Assembly seat in the Nov. 6 general election.

Because the 10th District is overwhelmingly Democratic, in past years the general election has been little more than a formality; for all practical purposes, the eventual winner had already been decided in the Democratic primary election.

[snip]

The incumbent in this race is Michael Allen, who was elected to the Assembly in 2010 to represent the 7th District. Allen, 65, moved from Sonoma County to an apartment in downtown San Rafael after the 7th District was splintered by redistricting in 2011. Currently the assistant majority leader in the Assembly, Allen is a labor lawyer who has served as executive director of the Service Employees International Union Local 707 as well as president of the North Bay Labor Council and district director for state Sen. Patricia Wiggins. [Bookworm: In other words, way Left.]

His challenger is Marc Levine, 38, who has served on the San Rafael City Council since 2009. McCuan said Levine is known as a more business-friendly Democrat, and Levine’s endorsements and campaign donors indicate that. Levine angered some more liberal Marin Democrats in 2011 when he supported the opening of a Target store in San Rafael.

“Levine’s supporters are Joe Nation Democrats,” McCuan said, referring to the former assemblyman from Marin who once tried and failed to upend U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey in a Democratic primary election. [Bookworm: In other words, slightly less Left, thereby marginally avoiding fiscal insanity.]

I’m going to vote for Levine, because he’s better than Allen. Anything is better than Allen. But I truly resent having my voice muffled in this way. My candidate has been thrown out of the election entirely. Republicans are denied a voice and that is, I think, a complete failure of representation. It’s one thing always to lose; it’s another thing to be unable even to cry out as you do.

Watcher’s Council winners for September 28, 2012

The Council has spoken, and it is good:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Have we moved past the possibility of civility?

In the immediately preceding post, I comment on the vast chasm in American politics.  It is, perhaps, every bit as unbridgeable as the one that America saw before the Civil War.  People don’t just have differences of opinion, they have profoundly different moral compasses.

It is in that context that you should read the Anchoress’ post asking if America has gone beyond the possibility of civility in public discourse.  She writes from a religious viewpoint, one that contemplates a spiritual serenity that I admire.  Whether that serenity can ever beat back the toxic clash of ideologies we now see remains open to question.

In Lefty world, it matters not what’s being done; the only thing that matters is whether a Leftist does it

Back in 2004, when George Bush was president, Michael Moore compared al Qaeda terrorists to American Minutemen:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.

Moore’s shallow brain and inadequate education left him incapable of distinguishing between people who fight for individual liberty and people who fight for world domination and mass slavery.  He’ll root for sadistic murderers as long as they’re anti-capitalists.  He has no sympathy for people like Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, Wesley Batalona, Scott Helvenston, Jerry Zovko, or Michael Teague.

Back then, Moore was not alone.  You’ll recall that he spoke for a vociferous, angry, and large percentage of Americans who vigorously opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — wars that Bush began with both Congressional and NATO approval — because we were a big mean bully harming innocent Iraqi women and children as part of our sadistic and delusional war against some amorphous “terror” thangy.  Buoyed up by a tide of anti-War righteousness, Britain’s left-wing Lancet, once a respectable medical publication, posited that Americans had killed 650,000 Iraqi civilians, a report that was quickly debunked.

The debunking, of course, didn’t stop the antiwar uproar that had Americans taking to the streets with great regularity denouncing Bush as a Hitler-esque war criminal, and calling American troops baby killers.  Underpinning all of this antiwar fervor was the Lefts’ contention that terrorists were not a problem, that we just needed to show them a little understanding, and that Bush was grossly overreacting by taking the battle to the terrorists themselves.

Fast forward to 2012.  Stories are starting to appear in the U.S. press saying that Obama’s drone attacks — each of which he allegedly approves personally, after carefully selecting the target he wants dead — are killing and wounding thousands of civilians, including women and children, in Pakistan:

U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, have traumatized innocent residents and largely been ineffective, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law calls for a re-evaluation of the practice, saying the number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — about 2%.

[snip]

“TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 – 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 – 881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228 – 1,362 individuals,” according to the Stanford/NYU study.

Based on interviews with witnesses, victims and experts, the report accuses the CIA of “double-striking” a target, moments after the initial hit, thereby killing first responders.

Did I mention that we’re not at war with Pakistan?  Indeed, it’s nominally still an ally of ours in the war against Islamic terrorists.  That hasn’t stopped Obama.  What’s worse is, that aside from a few Leftists who are unwilling to tolerate any sort of American actions against terrorists (which is a principled stand, even if often a foolish one), Progressives, Democrats, and other people on the Left are not only quiet about this, they think it’s a good thing.

On my Facebook page, I did I quick post drawing people’s attention to these drone strikes, and highlighting the huge number of collateral deaths occurring, not just on Obama’s watch, but under his direct orders.  The responses I received from my liberal friends surprised me.  Really surprised me.  I will not quote them verbatim, because I haven’t asked for permission to do so (and won’t ask), but I can accurately summarize them as follows, simply by rephrasing people’s actual words:

What can we do?  We can’t negotiate with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  If they’re hiding among civilians, innocent people are going to get killed, but that fact alone can’t stop us from going after the bad guys.  I hate that this killing is happening, but better that their kids die from drone strikes, than that our American children die in terrorist attacks.  I’m totally liberal, but I’m a pragmatist when it comes to the fact that Obama is doing a job that needs to be done, and everyone who criticizes him is a whiner who hates him.

So, to recap:  Al Qaeda kills 2,996 Americans, and boasts about it.  George Bush gets credible information that Saddam Hussein is seeking to build a nuclear weapon, and that he is funding, sponsoring, training, etc., Al Qaeda terrorists.  Bush also gets credible information that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan is doing the same, except for the nuclear weapon part.  Only much later do we learn that Hussein’s nuclear weapons program may not have been as advanced as originally thought, with the misinformation in large part originating with Hussein himself, as he tried to portray himself as a regional strong man.  Armed with this information, Bush is able to create a coalition of many nations and to get Congressional approval to wage war against nations that host and aid Al Qaeda.

The argument from conservatives was and is that (1) al Qaeda declared war on us; (2) because it has no nation of its own, the only thing we can do is attack it in those countries that willingly and generously support it; and (3) if al Qaeda chooses to use innocents as shields that proves how depraved al Qaeda is, but cannot stop us in our righteous fights against true evil doers.  Incidentally, this is also the same argument that Israel and her supporters make:  Israel has repeatedly made concessions in order to get peace; Palestinians have made it plain that their sole goal is Israel’s destruction; and the high numbers of fatalities amongst women and children occur because Palestinians are evil enough to use innocents as their shields.

Throughout the Bush years, that argument was unpersuasive to the Left.  Now that we have a Leftist president, though, one who personally picks the day’s target in an allied country, and who supports a policy that inevitably kills innocents who are not even in a combat zone, everything is suddenly hunky-dorey.  It’s all good because Obama is doing it.

I find this sickening.  It bespeaks a moral vacuum that has no boundaries.  Leftists are incapable of clearing away the ideological brush and focusing on core moral issues.  The only core moral issue is Leftism.  You’re either for it or you’re against it.  If a conservative does things, they’re bad; if a Leftist does things that are infinitely worse, and illegal, they’re fully justified.  Just sickening.

 

“Quantum of Easing”

Another American Crossroads ad in a James Bond style, this one attacking Obama’s inflationary policies:

It’s clever, funny, and understandable, so please consider sharing it with others.  The election clock is ticking, and it’s up to citizens to counter the media’s all-out push for Obama.

Obama: Our do-nothing president

Deroy Murdock savages Obama’s do-nothing habits.  We’ve heard that before from many Obama critics, but Murdock column is particularly good, because he gives a perfect metaphor regarding Obama’s decision merely to read his national security briefings, rather than to attend that actual meetings (and that’s assume Obama really does read the briefings, and doesn’t just toss them on his desk, partially or entirely unread):

This phenomenon’s most chilling example involves Obama’s national-security-related Presidential Daily Brief (PDB). As the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) calculated, and Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen first reported, Obama attended only 43.8 percent of his PDBs between January 23, 2009 (three days after his inauguration), and May 31, 2012. Available nearly every day, the PDB allows the commander-in-chief to hear directly from top intelligence professionals about the latest threats to U.S. safety. These experts are on hand to answer questions, hear suggestions, and otherwise help Obama foil America’s enemies.

But Obama has had higher priorities.

According to GAI’s data, which was culled from the official White House calendar and Politico’s news coverage of that schedule, Obama chose to skip his PDBs and, instead, simply read his briefing book. This is a bit like studying one’s chest X-rays at home, having spurned a radiologist’s offer to interpret them and answer pertinent questions. In this sense, Obama quietly reviewed his national-security X-rays alone during 56.2 percent of the time GAI analyzed. In 2011, Obama missed 61.6 percent of his PDBs.

What makes all of this worse is that Obama is a compulsive liar, something that was already obvious on the campaign trail in 2008. His latest lie was to tell a Hispanic audience that (a) immigration reform had been his highest priority, but (b) the nasty Republicans blocked his every effort. The facts show that, when Obama owned a fully Democrat Congress that did everything he wanted, immigration reform never even crossed his radar.

I don’t actually think Obama is a slacker. I think he’s perfected the art of doing nothing in order to achieve his goals. Don’t like Israel? Ignore it. Iran will take care of it in all due time. Don’t really care about immigration reform? Ignore it, and then lie about it later in order to shift blame.

Put another way, Obama isn’t a slacker. Instead, he is the most passive-aggressive man ever to occupy the White House. His do-nothingness is carefully targeted to achieve specific ends.

Don’t let the bad polls get you down.

A lot of people have been writing to explain that the polls are heavily weighted in favor of Democrats, showing a Democrat voter turnout even higher than in 2008.  Many people think that this is a psy-ops effort aimed at depressing Republican voter turnout.  Zombie says we shouldn’t get our knickers in a twist about this one, because there’s no evidence that these psy-ops work, and lots of human nature that says they probably won’t work.