Can you imagine how different American history would have been if Edward Kennedy had read The Art of Manliness blog and learned how to escape from a sinking car? There’s a very good chance that, without a negligent homicide in his past, he might have been president. After all, in Democrat circles, he was considered the Kennedy’s last fair-haired boy, and that was despite the blood on his hands.
As is too often the case, Republicans are busy snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Despite the fact that the Obamacare debacle has been playing out before Americans’ eyes for more than three weeks, the RNC has done absolutely nothing to capitalize on the fact. Jonah Goldberg suggests at least sending out a letter:
If I was writing it, I would say something like, “The president vowed to you on numerous occasions (see attached document) that you could keep your insurance and that you would save money under the Affordable Care Act. This was untrue. Whether it was a well-intentioned mistake or a more deliberate deception, what the president and his party told you was flatly untrue, and we said so at the time.”
I then might go on to promise something like “the party will do everything it can, within its power, to alleviate the burden the Democrats have imposed on you and the country. We are of course limited by the fact that the president and his party control the agenda in Washington. If you think we’re due for a change, we’d love your support. If you think these changes are good for you, your family or the country, then obviously we politely disagree. If you think — as we do — that there’s got to be a better way, we hope you’ll give us a fresh look.”
That’s a nice letter. Without condescension, it reminds voters that the Republicans predicted and tried to stop this train wreck, it offers that Republicans will do whatever is in their power to help remedy the situation, and it reminds voters that the best remedy is a Republican majority in 2014 and again in 2016.
Goldberg’s good advice notwithstanding, Republicans are silent — or, if they’re not silent, they’re still engaged in a bloody internecine war that leaves innumerable openings for Democrats to blame everyone from Cruz, to Bush, to Nixon, to generic Republicans for Obamacare.
Last night, 60 Minutes, while coyly keeping both Hillary’s and Obama’s names out of the story, revealed what conservatives have long known about Benghazi: it was a carefully planned al Qaeda attack; al Qaeda warned everyone and his mother that it would take place; embassy security in Benghazi was a joke; the administration had been told repeatedly about the attack and about the security situation; and the administration did precisely nothing before or during the attack.
Now that 60 Minutes has broken the wall of silence, this should be a headline story in every paper and on every TV show in the land. But of course it’s not. And with the exception of Lindsey Graham, who’s doing some huffing and puffing, Republicans are sitting there with their thumbs in their mouths.
John McCain is going one step further, and praising Hillary to high Heaven. (Could it be that McCain is being Machiavellian here? One could argue that McCain hasn’t abandoned the idea of running for president in 2016. He wants an opponent who will be easy to beat and, with the Benghazi albatross around her neck, McCain thinks she’s that opponent. Did I just hear you say that’s an insanely stupid idea that gives McCain too much credit? I think you’re right. Forget I ever said it.)
We tend to see the Democrats as winning through lies, chicanery, media manipulation, and outright fraud (not to mention the whole IRS thing). I do think, though, that we have to acknowledge that it’s not just that the Democrats win elections. The Republicans lose elections.
McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012 were both abysmal candidates under any standards. This isn’t to say whether they would have been good or bad presidents (although I suspect either would have been significantly better than Obama). The problem began and ended with their campaigns: both were boring speakers; both were flat-footed debaters; both were utterly incapable of articulating core conservative values that bind together everyone from libertarians to the fading Reagan Democrat coalition; both failed to recognize the internet’s importance in their campaigns; and both were afraid to get their hands dirty in dealing with a black man (although McCain has always been happy to fight his own political family).
My feeling now is that if Chris Christie or Ted Cruz throw their hats into the ring, and if they can survive the inevitable circular firing squad from fellow Republicans fighting in the primaries, one or the other will top the ticket. This has nothing to do with whether they’ll be good presidents (although I’m sure each would be substantially better than anyone the Democrats dredge up). Both, however, will be good candidates. Unlike McCain and Romney — and unlike Obama, Hillary, and Warren — these guys are so fast on their feet that they can wow people by giving extemporaneous speeches without teleprompters and notes, and they’ll never fall into “um” or “uh” land the way Obama, McCain, and Romney did. Debates will be enjoyable blood baths, with the Democrats doing the (rhetorical) bleeding.
When it comes to articulating a conservative position, Cruz will have the edge over Christie. Christie has proven that, for the most part, his conservative beliefs begin and end with defanging the unions. I respect that, I really do, but it’s going to leave him rudderless and speechless when it comes to articulating ideas that can actually win people over to something grander than union bashing.
Both will have to tone down their arrogance. Unlike Obama, who floated through life on an affirmative action cloud, both these men are indeed smarter than most people, and they have the resumes to prove it — not just jobs obtained, but actual accomplishments. Since the media will not be able to portray them as idiots, as it did with George Bush and John McCain, it will have to go the Romney route with both: they’re evil plutocrats, a la Snidely Whiplash, just dreaming of ways to tie the American people to some foul capitalist railway track to let them die. Since both tend to be arrogant, they’re going to have to find some humility, or else this media charge will stick and destroy them.
Significantly, they’re both guys who live for the fight. Christie’s going to have a bit of a hard time overcoming his bromance with Obama, but Cruz is going to come out swinging, and will take no prisoners regardless which Democrat ends up representing that ticket.
The fact that both Christie and Cruz are lawyers is disappointing. It would be splendid to see someone other than a lawyer in the White House. As an ex-military guy, Allen West would be a delightful addition to the presidential roster, but I just don’t see it happening. I think the world of him, I admire his principles, I believe he’s a fighter, and he’s a good speaker, but even by the low standards Obama set, a two-year tenure in the House probably isn’t going to convince the American people to elect West president.
Do you have predictions for 2016? I know it’s a long time away, but it’s worth thinking about now, both because it’s a pleasant diversion from depressing headlines and because the headlines about Obamacare, Benghazi, and the economy are tarnishing the Democrat brand.
Assuming that the Republicans can stop fighting each other and start riding the anti-Democrat wave, what should they do? And who would you like to see getting groomed for the 2016 White House?
The two top names currently being bandied about for the Democrat presidential slate in 2016 are Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren. Democrats are saying that Hillary is “inevitable.” I recall them saying the same thing in 2008, and that was before she had the Benghazi albatross hanging about her neck. My suspicion is that, just as happened in 2008, were she to run, the media would roll out the red carpet for her, and she’d soil it within a few months.
No matter what Hillary does, she cannot get past the fact that, at some visceral, lizard-brain level, people who are not true believers neither like nor trust her. And I do mean visceral. We here are informed about what a squirrelly person she is, both personally and politically, whether one looks at Benghazi, lesbianism, political and economic ties to antisemitic Arab leagues, or whatever else. Most Americans neither know nor care. They just don’t like her.
And what about Elizabeth Warren? Well, Americans neither know nor will they care that Warren’s Senatorial race proved that she’s a liar. As Democrat politicians get caught in increasingly egregious lies, it’s rather ironic that people care less, not more. “That’s just what politicians do,” they say, when what they really should be saying is “That’s what Democrat politicians do, so why the Hell are we voting for them?”
I’m embarrassed to admit this about the American people, but I suspect even Obama’s manifest, gross, far-reaching lies about Obamacare will eventually get nothing more than shrugs from Americans. Those who are ideologically blind will even add “The Republicans made him do it.” So Warren’s lies won’t get her.
I suspect that what will destroy Warren in the end is the same thing that wiped out Hillary: she’s not likable. Exactly like Hillary, Warren is angry, smug, and condescending. Obama is too, but he was clever enough to hide that on the campaign trail. Hillary couldn’t and Warren can’t.
My own outdated experience with having Warren as a law professor some decades ago is that she’s also a terribly bad communicator. Like Obama, she does fine with the prepared speech, but she’s incoherent when she’s off the cuff. And unlike Obama, she’s not black nor does she have a photogenic smile nor “ripped abs” to help her out. Ask her the right question, meaning an important question for which she doesn’t have a pre-packaged answer, and all you’ll get is a boatload of angry BS.
William Jacobson, of Legal Insurrection, thinks as I do about Warren, and therefore devoutly hopes that she runs, because he’s assuming that she will collapse before a Republican candidate. I’d like to agree with him, but I fear greatly that Republicans will, as always, destroy themselves. With our luck, rather than having Ted Cruz, or Bill Lee, Alan West, or even Chris Christie (whom I’ve come to dislike but whose still more conservative than not) on the ballot, Republican primaries are going to result in our having John McCain on the ballot. Indeed, with Open Primaries now in major states such as California, the best tactic the Democrats could use would be to put John McCain or Lindsay Graham or some other self-hating “conservative” on the ballot against Warren or whomever else the Democrats run with.
Yesterday I directed your attention to one of the angriest editorial opinions I’ve ever seen in the normally temperate Wall Street Journal. What I missed was that Daniel Henninger, who’s also a normally temperate writer, also leveled a huge mortar round of ugly facts against our President:
We should admit the obvious: Barack Obama is the most anti-political president the United States has had in the post-war era. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter (even), Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush. All practiced politics inside the tensions between Congress and the presidency that were designed into the system by the Founding Fathers. Not Barack Obama. He told us he was different. He is.
Mr. Obama doesn’t do Washington’s politics. Disappointed acolytes say it is because he is “passive.” That underestimates him. For Mr. Obama, the affairs of state are wholly a function of whatever is inside his mind.
Some things remain in his mind, like the economic benefits of public infrastructure spending, which appeared one more time in Monday’s post-Navy Yard speech on the lessons of the financial crisis and Congress’s obligations to agree with him. Some things enter his mind and then depart, like red lines in the Syrian sand.
From where he sits, it is the job of the political world outside to adjust and conform to the course of the president’s mental orbit. Those who won’t adjust are dealt with by the president himself. They are attacked publicly until they are too weak politically to oppose what is on his mind.
This is the unique Obama M.O. For historians of the Obama presidency, this September has been a case study in the 44th president’s modus operandi.
Please read the whole thing here.
As with climate change, I feel vindicated — but a fat lot of good vindication does me. The damage is already done whether to our economy or our national security.
Voters duped by a Leftist media first gave us two years of unbridled Progressive politics, then at least four years of divided politics (2010-2014, or maybe 2016), and another three plus years of Barack Hussein Obama. Eight years is a long time within which destructive forces can do their dirty work. The turnaround won’t be instant and won’t even be eight years. If conservative principles do take hold again, it may take decades to undo the damage. And given the current infighting amongst those who call themselves Republicans, it looks as if the somewhat more conservative party in America is once again setting up its circular firing squad.
Sometimes I think that the only thing that will save the Right in 2016 is the fact that Democrats are also going to have a presidential primary. No matter how the actual election goes, I’ve got the popcorn and chocolate ice cream ready for the delightful spectacle of Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren, three of the worst liars in politics today, squaring off against each other.
Rich Lowry wrote a great article today about the Democrats’ enormous frustration with Ted Cruz: Cruz ought to be one of them, since he’s manifestly brilliant and hyper-educated . . . except that he refuses to be one of them. I especially liked this bit:
Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an extra element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements.
It almost is. Princeton and Harvard aren’t quite the École Nationale d’Administration, the French school that trains that country’s political class, but they are close.
Andrew Stiles assembled a list of quotations from Democrats anxious to destroy Cruz before he gets a solid footing as a national candidate. They realize that he’s Obama’s mirror image — Ivy League-educated, intelligent, a minority, and appealing to the masses — except that in Cruz’s case, he actually is intelligent and has the Ivy League grades and the work resume to prove it. More than that, Cruz has a great deal of experience with the federal government, something Obama lacked.
Cruz is, in other words, the un-Sarah Palin. He cannot be demeaned in order to be destroyed. Because Cruz’s credentials hold up to scrutiny, and because he’s been very careful about making his life an open book, unlike the secretive Obama, Democrats are left with two lines of attack: Cruz isn’t really a minority (because he doesn’t support Democrat policies, which is the litmus test for all minorities) and he must be insane or evil:
The liberal media are obsessed with Texas’s freshman senator Ted Cruz. The most recent outbreak includes a Daily Beast hit piece about his “creepy” college years at Princeton, as well as a flurry of articles about whether his Canadian-American dual citizenship could complicate a potential run for the White House in 2016.
“I don’t think he should be defined as a Hispanic,” former governor Bill Richardson (D., N.M.) said in response to a question about Cruz’s view on immigration. Richardson later said his remarks were “misinterpreted.”
I’m not just relying on pundits, of course. From everything I’ve seen of Cruz, he is admirable: He’s personable; able to articulate conservative principles in clear, accessible language; consistent; funny; and just all around an appealing candidate, at least for true-believers.
Having said all that, here’s the one thing that worries me about Cruz — he seems to be a bit of a hot-head, who likes to make waves but doesn’t always think through those wave’s consequences. Here’s Lowry again:
None of this is to endorse all of Cruz’s tactical judgments or to deny he can irk his own side of the aisle at times.
His push to defund Obamacare this fall is a grass roots-pleasing slogan in search of a realistic path to legislative fruition. Cruz never explains how a government shutdown fight would bring about the desired end. The strategy seems tantamount to believing that if Republican politicians clicked their wing tips together and wished it so, President Barack Obama would collapse in a heap and surrender on his party’s most cherished accomplishment.
In a field dominated with exciting, fairly young conservatives — Cruz, Mike Lee, Allen West (and even Rand Paul) — I think Cruz is someone to watch, admire, and appreciate. Can’t you just imagine heads exploding all over if there were a Cruz/West ticket? Having said that, though, I’m not inclined to manufacture a ticket this early in the game, nor do I like the idea of putting a ticket together just to watch Progressive heads explode. I want to wait a year or two, and then hope (devoutly) that the media hasn’t destroyed every viable conservative candidate by nitpicking over bullying incidents in pre-school or silly spoonerisms on the campaign trail. And then, since I’m assuming a Biden versus Hillary fight on the Left, I want to throw my wholehearted support behind any candidate who can defeat either of those two.
Sometimes distance provides perspective. My travels meant that, rather than being enveloped by news as I usually am, I read it only intermittently, and often through the New York Times’ filter, since that was the only news to which I had access for many days at a time. The few stories I was able to follow put me strongly in mind of the Gettysburg Address, and how far away from those principles our current government has come. Some of this is directly attributable to the current Democrat presidency, and some is an unpleasant by-product of a bureaucracy that has taken on a life of its own, independent of its creators’ ideas and energies.
Lincoln’s genius was that he was able to reduce to the smallest number of words the revolutionary principles that drove the Founding Fathers, as expressed in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Do we still have a government “of the people, by the people [and] for the people?” No. Our political and bureaucratic classes no longer believe that the people have anything to do with their continued existence (that is, they do not view themselves as parts of a government “by the people”); they do not believe that they have anything in common with the people whose lives they dictate (in other words, they are not part of a government “of the people”); and nothing they do benefits the people who are trapped in their web of laws and regulations (so that they are not part of a government “for the people”).
America has ceased to be a representative democracy and has, instead, become an oligarchy: We, the People, are controlled by a proportionately small number of people who claim all entitlement to themselves and who, through laws, lawlessness, and unbridled bureaucracy (with a bureaucracy made up of people entirely beholden to the oligarchy for their continued well-being), control every aspect of our lives. This oligarchy is separate from and unrelated to the constitutional, representative democracy Lincoln believed was the necessary underpinning for a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
A handful of stories upon my return forcefully brought home the vast chasm that has formed between “we, the People” and those who no longer represent us but who, instead, simply govern us.
1. The people have long loathed ObamaCare, and by a significant and unchanging percentage too. Even the President’s water carriers are getting nervous. Those charged with enforcing it against us will not use it for themselves, nor will those who imposed it upon us. It is a product of the oligarchy, with the benefits, but not the burdens, flowing solely to the oligarchy. It was imposed upon the People, not through a true democratic process, but through dirty political dealing. This is neither government by the people nor for the people.
2. Despite the stagnant economy, the high unemployment, the rise of part-time jobs (i.e., no living wage), the number of young people stuck at home, and the continuing bankruptcy of our country’s business and economy, our President and his family continue to live like Nero or Marie Antoinette. The Nero analogy was most recently demonstrated with the story that Obama is golfing while the world burns down around us. The Marie Antoinette analogy can be seen in the endless round of A-list partying and multi-millionaire style vacations the Obamas enjoy, using our money (White House facilities for parties, taxpayer-funded air transport and security for offsite pleasures), even as ordinary citizens struggling to make ends meet. Obama, however, is worse than either Nero or Marie Antoinette, or any other analogous political figures (both historic and present day) who rob from the people to fund their lavish personal lifestyles. This is because Obama is the only one of these figures who is — in theory, at least, an elected representative who is supposed to be only first among equals. Obama’s grandiosity, however, shows that he no longer considers himself one of the people. Worse, he is abetted in this historic break from a constitutional presidency by a ruling political and media class that has a vested economic and social interest in breaking with a constitutional republican democracy.
3. The current government has abandoned the notion that government belongs to the people (“of, by, and for”) and holds, instead, the belief that the people and everything that they possess belong to the government. Rep. Keith Ellison, a black, Muslim convert who is a darling of the Left, articulated this sentiment with startling clarity: “The bottom line is we’re not broke, there’s plenty of money, it’s just the government doesn’t have it. . . . The government has a right, the government and the people of the United States have a right to run the programs of the United States. Health, welfare, housing – all these things.” Government unions are a subset of this mindset. In private industries, both management and the unions are negotiating with real money, real products, and real labor. In the government sector, they negotiate with other people’s money regarding intangible products and services that are of dubious value. (Think about the fact that California alone has more than 500 different agencies, a spectacular percentage of which are duplicative, and an even larger number of which do not serve the California taxpayers, but instead are directed at steering special interest groups into the government fold.)
4. The bureaucracy has become an entity of itself. It is no longer a subset of American government. It is its own special interest group, and it advances its own agenda. This fact can be attributed in significant part to government unions which, as noted above, sever government employees from the Peoples’ economic and practical needs. Moreover, as the IRS scandal shows, the government bureaucracies no longer need political guidance to go after citizens who have the potential to disrupt their bureaucratic livelihood. With little or no prompting from the political class, the bureaucracies abandoned their obligation to impose the law impartially and, instead, attacked what they perceived as threats. If this seems familiar to you, you have only to think of innumerable science fiction books or movies (e.g., Terminator III), in which robots become sentient and turn on their human creators.
5. Our next election is already predetermined. Sadly, Myrna Adams makes the best argument for why Hillary Clinton will win in 2016 — and you’ll notice that none of her points have anything whatsoever to do with the will of the people or the state of America and the world, either now or in 2016. Instead, Adams points to the political machinery which has broken down, with the dial perpetually set to “Democrat.” Neither Hillary’s and her teams’ lack of any accomplishments to speak of nor the fact that Hillary herself is an undistinguished and inspiring human being will matter. The oligarchy, made up of politicians, monied interests, government bureaucracies, media players, and academics, has spoken. It’s Hillary’s turn now. After all, in 2008 and again in 2012, Obama was a candidate without accomplishments or, when off the teleprompter, charisma. The robots — er, oligarchs . . . er, political class . . . er, media — anointed him and he won. “We, the People” — our needs, desires, and existence — have become entirely expendable.
In the next election, democracy will be just as meaningful as it was in the old Soviet Union when 100% of the voters “freely” cast their votes for the Communist party candidate. The Soviet Union was a nominal democracy in that the people “voted,” but it totally by-passed Lincoln’s requirement that a government worth saving must be “of the people, by the people, [and] for the people” in order to ensure that a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” shall not “perish from the earth.”
It turns out that, when Dr. Ben Carson gently chided President Obama’s policies during the National Prayer Breakfast, he was holding back. When he gave a speech CPAC, where he could freely speak his mind, Dr. Carson was more direct: If a hypothetical “somebody” in the White House “wanted to destroy this nation,” he would “coincidentally” do exactly what Obama has already done.
In the lead-up to his stunning accusation against Obama, Dr. Carson repeated a point he made during the National Prayer breakfast, which is that the national debt, standing alone, is well on its way to destroy America:
We’re reacting to what we see as our fiscal woes without planning for the future, without really caring about what is happening to the next generation. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist to understand that if we continue to spend ourselves into oblivion, we are going to destroy our nation.
It was clear that he next intended to imagine what a good presidency would look like. After his first sentence, though, the audience response was so strong that he realized he would have to use a different way to address the issue of White House leadership:
Let’s say you if you could magically make it into the White House (interrupted by wild and sustained applause at the thought of Dr. Carson in the White House). I take it back!
Rather than discuss what a good presidency would look like, Dr. Carson asked the audience to think about a bad, destructive presidency and how it would play out:
But let’s say somebody was there and they wanted to destroy this nation. What would you do? Let me tell you what I would do. First of all, I would create division among the people. I would have everybody pitted against each other because a wise man by the name of Jesus once said “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” And then I would encourage a culture of ridicule for basic morality and the principles that made and sustained the country. And then I would undermine the financial stability of the country, and drive us so far into debt that there was absolutely no chance that it could recover. And I would weaken the military and destroy the morale of the military. That’s what I would do and I guarantee you it would work. Now, the question is, it appears coincidentally that those are the very things that are happening right now. And the question is, How do we stop it. Can we stop it?
In that simple hypothetical, Dr. Carson managed to sum up every domestic policy that the Obama administration, working with a Democrat legislature, has enacted: a White House that colludes with the media to harass, demean, insult, and misrepresent every conservative person or conservative idea; a massive stimulus that benefited only preferred political players, followed by constantly rising government expenditures; and fundamental changes to the military by allowing homosexuals to serve openly and women to serve in combat units.
It’s unclear whether Dr. Carson, who has never held political office, is ready simply to dive into the White House in 2016. That’s not really important. What is important is that Dr. Carson is one more reminder that the up-and-coming generation of politically active conservatives has young stars – people like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Allen West, and Ben Carson — who will reach their political peak in waves that wash over every election in the next sixteen years.
(Written by Bookworm; first published at Mr. Conservative)
I’m still reading scattered posts castigating Mitt Romney for being a bad candidate or running a bad campaign. I understand the need to analyze failures to identify remediable errors, but we’re making a huge mistake focusing on the end of the campaign, rather than the beginning. One could say the beginning of the campaign is the Republican primary that resulted in a nice, bland, classic Republican technocrat. It’s the voters’ fault Romney went head-to-head with Obama. But that conclusion still doesn’t reach far enough into the past to explain Romney’s failure.
Romney failed because the American public has been trained to vote against Republicans. This isn’t as random or obvious a thought as it seems (although I’ll concede that it is pretty obvious). It has special meaning for me, because I’m getting together with some conservative gals who have ties to recent Republican candidates. One of them is married to a man who, some time ago, tried to displace Lynn Woolsey in the House of Representatives. Woolsey will be retiring this January, but she’s probably quite satisfied that she can look back at decades of far-Left Progressive politicking in Washington. Two of the others with whom I’m lunching are gals I last saw at a lunch for Elizabeth Emken, who lost to Dianne Feinstein.
Both Republican candidates were fabulous by any normal standard: intelligent, attractive, principled, and honorable. In the 1940s, they would have been central casting picks for the good guy’s perfect political candidate. Both of them ran against incumbents who didn’t even bother to campaign. I’m not guilty of hyperbole when I saw that. Neither Woolsey nor Feinstein did anything beyond putting up a few signs. Both women knew that the Republican candidates weren’t worth fighting.
Woolsey’s and Feinstein’s certainty — which proved to be correct — clearly wasn’t because the Republicans were lousy candidates. Woolsey and Feinstein could afford to do nothing because they knew that there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell that California and Marin voters would vote for a Republican. The Democrat political takeover is so complete that even God himself, if he ran as a Republican, would lose.
The late, great Andrew Breitbart understood that the problem isn’t politics, it’s culture. Politics is just the final step in a culture’s trajectory. Roger Simon exhorts conservatives to focus on the culture and force a change as quickly as possible:
As the late — and increasingly lamented — Andrew Breitbart pointed out repeatedly, “Politics is downstream from culture.”
Just how downstream we saw in this year’s election. Virtually every accusation made by the left toward Republicans and conservatives (sexism, racism, greed, etc.) was prepared and nurtured in the realm of culture. That was the earth in which the lies grew and prospered. And those lies, more than any facts or policies, were responsible for a liberal victory in a year — with unemployment at 8 percent and a deficit at 16 trillion — that should have been a Republican rout.
Put simply, give up on the culture and you lose forever. (It’s hard enough with the media and the educational system rigged the way they are.)
So my point is quite simple. Quit bitching and start doing.
Roger’s right. Run for the local school board or town council (neither of which require you to state party affiliation). Get onto the community college board. Stop going to popular movies that have anti-American themes. You can live without seeing the latest action flick, but the movie producers cannot live without your money.
On Facebook and at parties, politely argue with vapid Progressive conclusions. I did so the other day on Facebook, and got an arch liberal to agree that the UN is a despotic organization that should be done away with. I don’t think he’d ever thought about that before. And I did it all by politely questioning conclusions that the Progressives in the debate couldn’t support and by advancing facts that they couldn’t deny.
We keep thinking that, because our ideas are sound, they don’t need explanation or promotion. In the meanwhile, the Progressive Left has long understood that, because it’s ideas do not work well in the real world, but only in the Petri dish of the Leftist mind, they can become ascendant only through relentless promotion. What we never realized was that most people don’t think, they just “know” — or think they “know.” But really, they’re just like a shopper buying one brand of peanut butter over the other because the brand she selects has a better jingle that has formed part of a permanent soundtrack in her mind.
We need to start jingling folks — every one of us, in every way we can. We can’t all be Andrew Breitbart, but we can be soldiers in his cultural army.
I do believe that vote fraud had an effect on this election, although I don’t know if it was big enough in swing states to change the outcome. Abe Greenwald’s theory makes a lot more sense when it comes to explaining how conservatives could have so completely misread the election outcome:
Barack Obama ushered in America’s first large-scale experiment in personality-cult politics. The experiment continues apace. Obama got reelected because he enjoys a degree of personal popularity disconnected from his record. No modern president has ever been returned to office with employment figures and right-track-wrong-track numbers as poor as those Obama has achieved.
Obama couldn’t run on his record, which proved to be no problem—Americans didn’t vote on his record. According to exit polls, 77 percent of voters said the economy is bad and only 25 percent said they’re better off than they were four years ago. But since six in ten voters claimed the economy as their number one issue, it’s clear this election wasn’t about issues at all.
The president’s reelection is not evidence of a new liberal America, but rather of the illogical and confused experience that is infatuation. For multiple reasons, Americans continue to have a crush on Barack Obama even after his universally panned first term. No longer quite head over heels, they’re at the “I know he’s no good for me, but I can change him” phase. Whatever this means, it surely doesn’t suggest conservatives would be wise to move closer to policies that aren’t even popular among Obama supporters.
(Read more here.)
What we saw on election day was the continuing power of the old media. Indeed, it is flush with power. This year, the old media abandoned any pretense of objectivity and still shaped an election. That’s quite something. For decades, the old media hid its partisanship, believing that doing so was the only way to sway the American people. This year, it learned that it could be hyper-partisan because it is still the gatekeeper.
We in the blogosphere were deluding ourselves about our reach and ability to change the dialog. By ignoring some stories (Benghazi, for example, or the scope of Sandy’s disaster) and by hyping other story’s (Romney’s offshore accounts or dog driving), it kept Obama in office despite the fact that he has failed to fulfill every promise he made and left the country in a perilous state.
I know that the economic numbers were creeping up ever so slightly before the election (improved stock market, slightly improved job numbers), but those would have been irrelevant if the press had been hostile to Obama. This was indeed a “cult of personality” election, as I see regularly on my Facebook page.
There certainly were issues that excited Democrat voters — the elite voted on social issues grounds (lady parts and gay marriage being the things they trumpet most triumphantly) and the 47% vote to keep their government benefits — but those issues were of paramount importance to them because the media colluded with the Obama administration to hide from the public the scope of the coming economic disaster. Had the American people better understood the economy, the elite might have decided that lady parts and gay marriage could wait a while, and the 47% might have realized that no government money means no government benefits.
Here’s the good news, though: Next election, the media doesn’t have Obama to elevate any more. We won’t have Romney, who is a a truly nice man, but whom the media demonized to the proportions of Sarah Palin, who is a truly nice woman. The press will still demonize the Republican candidate, but I’m not certain they’ll have anyone to anoint as the second coming. Neither Hillary nor Elizabeth Warren lend themselves to a personality cult. This hagiography worked once with Obama. I doubt it will work twice with someone else. The American population might be in a “fool me twice, shame on you” frame of mind.
Or, of course, Obama could bring in a new Golden Age in the next four years, in which case all of us will have to retire our animus and rejigger our political views. Currently, I’m not holding my breath on that one.
I’m sad today, but I’m realizing that this isn’t the first time:
1980: I voted for Carter (yes, I was that dumb); Reagan won. I was sad.
1984: I voted for Mondale (yes, I was that dumb); Reagan won. I was sad.
1988: I voted for Dukakis (yes, I was that dumb); George H.W. Bush won. I was sad.
1992: I voted for Clinton (yes, I was that dumb); Clinton won. I was happy.
1996: I voted for Clinton (yes, I was that dumb); Clinton won. I was happy.
2000: I voted for Gore (yes, I was that dumb); George W. Bush won. I was sad.
2004: I voted for Bush; Bush won. I was happy.
2008: I voted for McCain (gritting my teeth as I did so); Obama won. I was sad.
2012: I voted for Romney (believing the fundamental would spell victory for him); Obama won. I was sad.
Nine elections and only three happy faces. I’m perpetually running against the nation’s tide. Maybe if I support Biden in 2016, Rubio will win. Nah. With my luck, the Fates will know I’m faking it, and Biden will win.
I feel stupid this morning. I don’t get what the American people did.
The economy has barely improved since Obama took office, so they reelected him.
Unemployment is at the same heights as when Obama took office, so they reelected him.
Fuel prices are at an all time high under Obama, so they reelected him.
Our enemies abroad (Iran, Afghanistan, dispersed Islamists, Russia, etc.) are more hostile now than they were when Obama took office, so they reelected him.
Racial tension in our country has increased since Obama took office, so they reelected him.
Our borders are as porous as they were when Obama took office, so they reelected him.
The number of people on welfare and food stamp rolls has increased dramatically since Obama took office, so they reelected him.
Obama added $4 trillion to the national debt, more than all other presidents combined, so they reelected him.
People in New York and New Jersey are still incapacitated by Sandy, and without Obama’s much-vaunted federal help, so they reelected him.
ObamaCare’s unpopularity has never dropped below at least 50%, so they reelected him.
What am I missing about the American psyche? What makes it reasonable for a President with a record that, under normal circumstances, would be graded a failure to get reelected? Have we become France, which elected by wide margins a socialist president who was guaranteed to take a damaged economy and drive it into the ground?
I couldn’t predict what the American people would do, but I do have some predictions about the next four years of Obama’s presidency:
Iran will go nuclear.
Israel will be further isolated.
All carbon-based fuel prices will increase dramatically, raising the costs of everything.
Inflation will finally hit, profoundly damaging people’s life savings, and driving employment down.
The military will shrink to 1917 levels.
The administration (which will own the Supreme Court), will undercut the Second Amendment
Benghazi will get swept under the rug, because the House on its on won’t be strong enough to make it an issue. Same for all other investigations into Obama’s government.
ObamaCare will go fully into effect, increasing costs for private insurance holders, making it more expensive to run a business, driving more employers to offer only part-time employment, increasing business costs, and ensuring more and more government panels deciding what kind of healthcare Americans can receive.
An Obama court will determine that there is nothing unconstitutional about having religious people and organizations pay for birth control, abortions, sterilizations, etc.
Gay marriage will be legalized as a full civil right, rather than (my choice) making all unions presided over by a government entity “civil unions.” (All — male and female, female and female, male and male.) My idea leaves “marriage” as a uniquely religious institution, untouched by government. Under happen marriage will continue as both a civil and a religious institution, only that the government definition will expand to same-sex marriages. For this reason, making gay marriage legal will lead to an ugly confrontation between church and state, when a gay couple sues a church for refusing to marry it.
As our military weakens, there will be a major Islamist attack against Americans. Sorry, but it’s going to happen.
That’s what someone I know said when he heard the election results. I agree.
That’s all I have to say. In 2008, I regrouped. Now, I don’t know what to do.
Have at it, my friends. I will say that, in Marin, I saw three cars in a single parking lot that had Romney/Ryan bumper stickers.
In the endless parade of images that my liberal friends feel compelled to put on Facebook, this was my favorite for the day:
I honestly cannot understand a mindset that says the world popularity is the metric Americans should use for electing their president. Certainly a president who is conversant with world affairs and who has diplomatic skills is a good thing. However, it doesn’t seem to occur to Progressives and others of their ilk that the rest of the world doesn’t necessarily have America’s best interests at heart. Indeed, considering that the rest of the world has long resented America for her success, the fact that “the world” wants Obama might be a good indicator that Obama is a poison pill for America’s future.
When I look at the rest of the world — broke, racist, antisemitic, and socialist Europe; increasingly totalitarian (and antisemitic) Russia; frequently poverty-stricken Latin America; mostly devastated (and antisemitic) Africa; and ferociously medieval, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic Muslim Middle East — my first thought isn’t “Gee, I should follow their lead when selecting my nation’s executive officer.” Instead, I tend to think that these other parts of the world have shown singularly bad judgment in selecting their leaders.
As Groucho so memorably said, whatever they’re for, I’m against it.
If true, this is a very effective (and completely immoral) tactic:
New York Times best-selling author Brad Thor, based in Chicago, tells TheBlaze that the Obama campaign may be planning to preemptively announce victory in the presidential election based on early voting numbers in an attempt to “demoralize Mitt Romney supporters.”
Citing a “very solid source” in Chicago, Thor says the Obama campaign is looking to make it appear to voters that they have “this thing sewed up and are less than 24 hours to victory,” according to his source.
Meanwhile, team Obama will also urge voters to get out and vote so they can say they were part of the important 2012 election that resulted in a second term for Obama.
No matter what you hear in the news, VOTE. In an election that has the possibility to be very close, every vote counts. Do not let the other side play mind games with you.
One of the things that made Reagan such a winner in 1980 was the fact that he was a happy warrior. Voters had a real choice between Jimmy Carter’s dour malaise (“it’ll be this way forever”) and Reagan’s ebullient optimism in America (“morning in America”).
This year, voters have that same choice. Please share this video with those who are undecided or who are thinking third party or who just don’t believe in the process any more. (Don’t bother sharing it with the liberals you know. It’s like trying to wash a cat. The cat certainly gets irritated, but doesn’t necessarily get clean.)
Hat tip: Lulu
Glenn Reynolds says that the 2012 election has the possibility to be a “ground glass” election for conservatives:
Last week, I noticed this blog comment: “Romney was not my first, second, or third choice, but I will crawl over ground glass to vote for him.”
A lot of Republicans — and, judging from polls, a lot of independents — feel this way. If there are enough of them, Romney will win, and win big.
He then asks if the signs for such an election are really there, and then spends the rest of his column answering that conservatives are probably that desperate to see Romney in the White House.
In 2008, it was the Democrats who had the “ground class” demographic. Excited about the possibility of making history by casting their vote for the first black president, Democrats pretty much dashed and danced over that glass.
Would the outcome have been the same, though, if conservatives hadn’t been dispirited by McCain and independent hadn’t had a surfeit of the Bush years plus serious MSM-induced fear of Sarah Palin? After all, if both sides are willing to crawl over ground glass, you’re pretty much at a stalemate. This year doesn’t seem to be a stalemate year. Instead, the energy that powered an Obama victory seems to have burned itself out.
A good indicator of the apathy amongst those who aren’t diehard Dems is an article in the Marin IJ examining ennui amongst Marin’s extremely well-indoctrinated young people:
When it comes to her top election issue — Israel and the threat of a nuclear Iran — San Rafael High School senior Yael Zoken doesn’t see much difference between President Barack Obama and his opponent, Mitt Romney.
Sir Francis Drake High School senior Anna Jones likes Obama but is disappointed in his lack of major climate change initiatives.
And her classmate, Nathan Harms, said rising debt has persuaded him to consider Romney even though he believes the Republican has been “fairly inarticulate about his plan.”
“In this instance I’d go with the devil I don’t know as opposed to the devil I do know,” Harms said.
As Marin’s newest voters prepare to cast their first ballots Tuesday, they are struggling like their peers around the country to muster the same excitement felt by young people in 2008. Four years ago, many rallied around Obama amid anger at the war in Iraq, a message of hope and change and a sense of history that came with electing the first black president. In the 2012 campaign, issues such as taxes and the economy have proven less electrifying.
If Obama has lost the youth vote — because he failed to deliver on the change he promised and then left them jobless to boot — he’s lost a significant part of the statistical advantage he had over McCain in 2008. In 2008, youthful voters couldn’t get to the polls fast enough. This year, it’s questionable whether they’ll be able to look up from their iPhones and androids long enough even to notice that an election is going in. And while I think people should take their civil rights seriously and vote (“use it or lose it”), having a liberal-leaning youth demographic revert to its ordinary disinterest is good for serious candidates and not so good for the hip, faddish ones.
I honestly think this is Romney’s best ad:
Incidentally, regarding Obama’s revenge remark, Jonah Goldberg had exactly the same thought I did: Revenge against whom?
If you watch the clip itself, it’s not clear at all what Obama’s supporters are supposed to want revenge for. Obama mentions Romney’s name in the context of his run for the Senate in Massachusetts — back when Romney was quite the moderate — and the audience starts to boo. Obama says “no, no. Don’t boo. Vote. Vote. Voting is the best revenge.” Revenge for what? Him running for the Senate? Revenge for Romney daring to challenge Obama? I understand Obama is bitter. That’s been obvious for a while. But it’s just a weird and narcissistic assumption that his supporters want “revenge” too. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong, though. Which makes the whole thing even creepier.
The entire choice in this election is right there, in a nutshell: Do we support the paranoid narcissist who sees enemies everywhere or do we support the man who has a deep and abiding love for the United States of America, everything it’s ever been and everything it still will be.
On Monday, November 5, an ad will run in the Washington Times with the names of almost 500 retired military officers from all of the different forces who support Mitt Romney. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of the ad. The same email forwarding the ad asked that it be shared with as many people as possible, so that is what I’m doing:
I’ve got a new post up at PJ Media:
In the last few days before the election, many moderate Democrats are contemplating breaking up with Barack Obama. Parting with a political party or candidate can be every bit as wrenching as severing a personal relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend. The problem whenever one walks away from a serious breakup is that doubts keep creeping in: “Am I doing the right thing?” “Will there be someone else for me?” “Was there something wrong with me that I was attracted to such a manipulative, unkind person?” “Will I be ridiculed for being blind to his/her faults?”
Republican political groups (the Romney campaign, the RNC, PACs) have recognized that there are a lot of voters out there who need permission to change their minds about Obama. The Independent Women’s Voice has recently released several videos that recognize that political relationships are just as real and deep as romantic relationships. These videos address people’s struggle to balance a sense of loyalty with a belief that their survival depends on leaving a damaging relationship:
Because this election is going to depend on people breaking away from their toxic relationship with Obama and the Democrat party, we should acknowledge their emotional pain and extend a helping hand. This doesn’t just mean helping them decide to break-up, it also means validating their feelings and inspiring them after the breakup.
We need to remind them that they’re stronger and better for having abandoned a damaging relationship. It’s not their fault that they were charmed by a shiny smile and a glib line. We’ve all been there, but the smart ones walk away, having learned from the experience. Here, then, are the top seven “I am so done with you” breakup anthems.
You can read the whole thing here.
Bill Whittle explains very clearly why it’s a mistake in this election for those who dislike Obama to a protest vote for a third party, or not vote at all, in order to protest the fact that Republicans are so far from perfect. It’s a principled stand, certainly, but it is also one that denies the dangerous reality associated with a second Obama term:
If you are thinking of sitting out this election, or casting a protest vote for Gary Johnson or Ron Paul, please watch this video and think very seriously about whether this particular election is the one on which to take a stand. And if you know someone who is thinking of sitting this one out, or throwing away a vote, please suggest that they watch this video.
I cannot vouch for the facts in this email I received, so please take that into consideration as you read it:
From my personal experience at Bagram last year, when the “Commander-in-Thief” came over, the troops were handpicked, screened, and disarmed, including the Marines. All base roads, sidewalks, and access to flight lines, mess halls, etc. were restricted and totally blocked with heavily armored vehicles. No vehicle movement of any kind was allowed – including flight crews! He is truly an enemy sympathizing coward and worthless POS! You may quote me. “Hostile”
More than 1,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the last 27 months. This is more than the combined total of the nine years before!
Thirty have died in August. During the last month, over 50 additional NATO and US servicemen have been murdered, “inside jobs” by those who are hired to be a force for good in Afghanistan.
The “Commander in Chief” is AWOL! Not a peep, although he ordered the White House flag flown at half staff for the Sikhs that were killed.
There is a deep disgust, a fury, growing within the ranks of the military against the indifferent incompetence of this president.
It has taken on a dangerous tone. No one knows what to do about him, but the anger runs deep as the deaths continue with no strategic end in sight to the idiocy of this war.
Obama has had 4 years to end this futile insanity, during which time he has vacationed, golfed, campaigned, and generally ignored the plight of our men and women in uniform.
But, there is now a movement afoot in the armed services to launch a massive get out the vote drive against this president.
Not just current active duty types, but the National Guard, Reserves, the retired, and all other prior service members. This is no small special interest group, but many millions of veterans who can have an enormous impact on the outcome of the November election if they all respond.
The million military retirees just in Florida alone could mean an overwhelming victory in that state if they all show up at the polls. It might not keep another one hundred U.S. troops from dying between now and November, but a turn out to vote by the military against this heart breaking lack of leadership can make a powerful statement that hastens a change to the indifference of this shallow little man who just lets our soldiers die.
Veterans: Please forward to your lists. High Priority!
Sometimes, timing is everything. Steven Pinker, who is a Harvard psychology professor just published a long opinion piece in the New York Times explaining why there is a Red State/Blue State divide. As a predicate to his discussion, he began by dividing the mindsets that characterize conservatives and their Progressive counterparts:
Conservative thinkers like the economist Thomas Sowell and the Times columnist David Brooks have noted that the political right has a Tragic Vision of human nature, in which people are permanently limited in morality, knowledge and reason. Human beings are perennially tempted by aggression, which can be prevented only by the deterrence of a strong military, of citizens resolved to defend themselves and of the prospect of harsh criminal punishment. No central planner is wise or knowledgeable enough to manage an entire economy, which is better left to the invisible hand of the market, in which intelligence is distributed across a network of hundreds of millions of individuals implicitly transmitting information about scarcity and abundance through the prices they negotiate. Humanity is always in danger of backsliding into barbarism, so we should respect customs in sexuality, religion and public propriety, even if no one can articulate their rationale, because they are time-tested workarounds for our innate shortcomings. The left, in contrast, has a Utopian Vision, which emphasizes the malleability of human nature, puts customs under the microscope, articulates rational plans for a better society and seeks to implement them through public institutions.
(First, a quibble: David Brooks is not a conservative. He is, instead, a lukewarm liberal who has a good sinecure at the New York Times by pretending to be conservative. Aside from that, he’s not very bright. He can talk the talk, but anyone who is overwhelmed by the crease in a presidential candidate’s pants is not a serious thinker, or even a very serious human being. Quibble over. )
Pinker is correct that Sowell, who is a God amongst conservative thinkers, does talk about the conservative “tragic vision.” I’m not sure I agree with Sowell’s terminology, though. He’s not describing tragedy, so much as he is describing a realistic understanding of humankind, unpolluted by Utopianism.
In the tragic vision, individual sufferings and social evils are inherent in the innate deficiencies of all human beings, whether these deficiencies are in knowledge, wisdom, morality, or courage. Moreover, the available resources are always inadequate to fulfill all the desires of all the people. Thus there are no “solutions” in the tragic vision, but only trade-offs that still leave many unfulfilled and much unhappiness in the world.
Here’s where the timing bit comes in: In the above quoted paragraph, Pinker contends that the Left has a Utopian vision. While it’s true that the Left believes that the State can coerce people into a utilitarian conformism, the Utopianism seems to have leaked away recently. How else to explain the latest Obama campaign effort (h/t Newsbusters)?
Imagine an America
Where strip mines are fun and free
Where gays can be fixed
And sick people just die
And oil fills the sea
We don’t have to pay for freeways!
Our schools are good enough
Give us endless wars
On foreign shores
And lots of Chinese stuff
We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you
We haven’t killed all the polar bears
But it’s not for lack of trying
Big Bird is sacked
The Earth is cracked
And the atmosphere is frying
Congress went home early
They did their best we know
You can’t cut spending
With elections pending
Unless it’s welfare dough
We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you
Find a park that is still open
And take a breath of poison air
They foreclosed your place
To build a weapon in space
But you can write off your au pair
It’s a little awkward to tell you
But you left us holding the bag
When we look around
The place is all dumbed down
And the long term’s kind of a drag
We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And yeah, we’re blaming you
You did your best
You failed the test
Mom and Dad
We’re blaming you!
If that isn’t dystopianism, I honestly don’t know what is. The Obama campaign has no faith whatsoever in human kind. If it had faith, it wouldn’t believe that the only answer is Big Government. The campaign would believe in the people and ease off of the constant coercion that is modern Progressivism.
I cannot think of a more repugnant, off-putting advertisement than this dark, twisted vision of the future, one that insults at least half of the American people and that is, quite frankly, stupid and hysterical. I really thought the campaign had plumbed the depths with its Lena Dunham ad (voting for Obama is like sex) but it’s never wise to underestimate the ugliness behind the Obama campaign. One can only wonder what the coming week’s ad cycle will bring from a campaign that must work with a pathetic executive record and an increasingly unlikable candidate.
(By the way, to the extent that this video is only one in a series of disturbing Obama campaign videos, you can vote for the one you think is worst here, at the Gay Patriot.)