Will those who benefit from Obamacare offset those who are harmed by it?

At PowerLine, Paul Mirengoff analyzes a Politico article that attempts to assess the political fallout from Obamacare.  The Politico writers, says Mirengoff, acknowledge that those in the individual insurance market aren’t feeling the love for the Democrats now, but imply that the majority of these people would have voted Republican in any event.  Mirengoff notes, though, this impression is belied by facts in the Politico article:

But later in the article we learn that, according to a survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, nearly half of those who brought their own insurance are between the ages of 18 and 44. We also learn, thanks to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, that there is no statistically significant difference between the political party affiliation of those who buy their own health care.

To be sure, when pressed, more people in this group say they lean Republican than Democrat. But the Kaiser poll clearly supports my statement that the party allegiance of Obamacare losers (at least this set of them) is split. Moreover, as one analyst quoted by Politico says, anger over cancellation letters is likely to cross party lines.

In other words, actual numbers suggest that the first wave of Obamacare victims may turn some Democrats into Republican voters, at least temporarily.

Obama and the Democrats, however, are counting on the fact that, for every voter who turns against the Dems because he lost his insurance, his rates went up, and his coverage quality went down, the Dems will still gain voters who got insurance despite preexisting conditions or who benefited from the subsidies that voters with sticker shock are funding.  Just as Republicans fear the moment when 51% or more of Americans get government hand-outs, the Democrats look forward to the moment when 51% or more of Americans look to the government for goodies.

What I think both the Democrats and the Republicans are forgetting is that a large segment of that 51% doesn’t vote.  How do I know this?  Because I have a family member who is part of that 51%.  I love this family member, who is an honest, decent person with a great deal of integrity.  Nevertheless, her choice of friends leaves something to be desired.  (And no, I don’t know what bizarre combination of nature, nurture, and peer pressure resulted in me being a very wholesome professional living an upper-middle-class life in a chi-chi suburb surrounded by children and dogs, while she ended up being a college drop-out living in a trailer park.)

He may benefit from Obamacare, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be mentally organized enough to vote for Democrats

He may benefit from Obamacare, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be mentally organized enough to vote for Democrats

This gal’s friends all get some form of welfare:  foods stamps, welfare checks, free clinic health care, etc.  Many of them dropped out the employment market years ago.  To the extent that they are almost entirely dependent on government largesse, it is in their best interest to vote Democrat.  Obamacare definitely increases their fealty to the Democrat party.

The problem that the Democrats have with this cohort, however, is that, while it’s in these people’s best interests to vote Democrat, the same pathologies that leave them dependent on government also mean that most of them can’t or won’t vote.  Some are convicted felons (with their criminal records invariably tied to substance abuse), so they can’t vote.  All of them are eternally disorganized.  A combination of substance abuse, mental health disorders, and old-fashioned stupidity means that these people cannot get their acts together sufficiently to voter their own interests.  Most aren’t even registered, and wouldn’t know what to do if they were.

While these people are the Democrats’ natural constituency, they aren’t Democrat voters.  Sure, if you do a man on the street interview with one of these people, he’ll talk the party line and sound like he’ll be the first ones at the polls on election day.  If you were to go to his house on election day, though, you’d discover him slumped on the couch, beer in one hand and doobie in the other, unaware that he missed his opportunity to keep those welfare checks coming.

It's guys like this who reliably vote for Democrats, mistakenly believing that you help people by making them helpless

It’s guys like this who reliably vote for Democrats, mistakenly believing that you help people by making them helpless

Ironically, for a long time, those who have repeatedly voted Democrat for the benefit of this welfare class probably aren’t themselves recipients of welfare.  Instead, they’re the true believers, from the working class on up, who look at these pathetic, disorganized, drunk, and drugged masses and think that a vote for the Democrats, by keeping the welfare spigot open, will help these people.  Put another way, when we see Democrats win, it’s not because the welfare crowd cast the votes, it’s because the bleeding-heart crowd did it on their behalf.

I realize, of course, that this is a simplification that doesn’t take into account functional poor people who believe that they can survive only with government handouts and who make damn sure to vote for the party in charge of the handouts.  These are the voters Republicans need to reach, so that we can explain to them that the Democrats are rather quickly killing off the working- and middle-class geese who have been laying the golden eggs that have then been redistributed to the welfare class.  Destroy your tax base and there’s no more welfare.  These same people need to be convinced that welfare does not need to be a way of life.  And more specifically, blacks need to understand that, just because slavery was work, not all work is slavery.

The big question is whether these once-reliable Democrat voters, now that they're feeling the full effect of Obama's lies, will still vote Democrat

The big question is whether these once-reliable Democrat voters, now that they’re feeling the full effect of Obama’s lies, will still vote Democrat

Obamacare is going to have a very profound effect on Democrat voters, I suspect, but not in the way Democrats hope and Republicans fear.  The Democrats screwed by Obamacare and insulted by Obama’s lies will have their “come to Jesus moments” and may well shift political allegiance, even if only temporarily.  On the flip side, those who voted (and I mean actually cast a vote) for the Democrats and who are not screwed, will continue to vote Democrat.  But the poorest people, the ones who now have heavily subsidized, gold-plated health insurance, will not suddenly rush to the polls.  Health insurance or not, their pathologies will continue to render them incapable of the mental organization required for sending in an absentee ballot or getting out of the house and to the polling station on election day.

 

The problem isn’t the candidates; it’s the voters

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.

Wendell Willkie, another Republican candidate who looked as if he ought to have won.

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.

UPDATE: Welcome, Maggie’s Farm readers. If you enjoy this post, I invite you to check out the whole site. And if you like what you see, think about subscribing to the Bookworm Room newsletter.

Sheldon Adelson schools an Israeli Leftist in logic

America’s not the only one with crazed Leftists.  I managed to miss the fact that Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just accused Sheldon Adelson of using Benjamin Netanyahu as his puppet in this election.  Adelson utterly destroys that canard and, to my delight, he does so in three short paragraphs that are a triumph of classic logic over arrant nonsense.  Go there and enjoy!

Mandatory voting — a Soviet idea that should be reborn in the U.S.

If you’re old enough to remember the Soviet Union, you’re also old enough to remember that, when the American news reported that voter turnout was 50 or 60% for a given election, the Soviets would boast that they had 100% turnout for all elections.  Even I, a child, realized that there was a connection between that high voter turnout and the fact that the Communist party candidates routinely received . . . wait for it . . . 100% of the votes cast by 100% of the population.

In those countries that haven’t yet become Leftist dictatorships, mandatory voting is still Leftist party-line voting, because coercion is the only way to drag to the polls people who are so inert they can function only if the government provides continuing, low-level maintenance for them.  Is it any surprise, therefore, that a Leftist wants to use the power of the state to force American voters to the polls?

Peter Orszag, former head of the Obama Office of Management and Budget, is desperate. With even Roll Call recognizing that President Obama is fighting an uphill battle for re-election, Orszag is floating a trial balloon: mandatory voting. His call for forced voting comes in an op/ed for Bloomberg News:

The U.S. prides itself as the beacon of democracy, but it’s very likely no U.S. president has ever been elected by a majority of American adults.

It’s our own fault — because voter participation rates are running below 60 percent, a candidate would have to win 85 percent or more of the vote to be elected by a majority.

Compulsory voting, as exists in Australia and more than two dozen other countries, would fix that problem. As William Galston of the Brookings Institution argues, “Jury duty is mandatory; why not voting?”

Don’t you just love the thought of police knocking on doors and hauling people off to the voting booth? The whole thing also makes me wonder what the penalty would be for not voting. How many years before we start vanishing during the night and showing up in various Gulags (Detroit, maybe?)?

Obama’s peculiar definition of “courage” vis a vis the bin Laden raid

When Don Quixote and I talked yesterday about Obama’s use of the bin Laden raid as a campaign talking point, he pointed out that any sitting president who is running for reelection would use the raid as a talking point.  I agree.  The problem isn’t that Obama politicized the raid, it’s the way in which he did it.

A normal president would have used the raid to highlight his focus, acumen, and successful use of America’s national security resources.  These are the things the man holding executive office can, and indeed should, sell to the American public.

An abnormal president, however, talks about his personal courage in taking a political risk, something that matters only inside the Beltway.  That’s what’s so profoundly wrong about Obama’s approach to the bin Laden raid.  He’s not using his politics as a campaign selling point; instead, he’s using his campaign-related courage as a campaign selling point.

For Obama, serving as president isn’t about serving the country; it’s simply about him winning the office.  Obama’s bizarre presidential sales pitch, one that sees him boasting that he risked his standing in the polls, highlights the God that Obama really serves:

The California Open Primary has the practical effect of stifling Republican political speech in November, when it matters most

This election will be the first election since California voters decided, in 2010, to turn ours into an Open Primary state.  The practical effect of having done so is that the November election, rather than being head-to-head combat between the two parties, will be a run-off between the winners from the June election.

The road to this limited November ballot has already started, with candidates from all parties reaching out to voters.  The problem, of course, is that the candidates’ have only just begun their fund-raising, and only die-hard political junkies are really paying attention. Then, in June, the Open Primaries mean that voters can vote for anyone they want, across party lines.

Once the votes are counted, the two candidates who got the most votes go on to the November ballot.  Everyone else vanishes from the scene.  In states that have a heavy party majority in one direction or the other (as is the case with Bright Blue California), the practical effect is to banish minority party candidates from the November ballot.

Those who support Open Primaries contend that it is an efficient way to ensure that, when people are really paying attention, the majority of voters get to pick from the two most favored candidates, without having the airwaves — and their brains — cluttered with advertisements and speeches from candidates who don’t have a realistic change of winning.  Those who oppose the Open Primary process — and I am one who does — contend that it effectively shuts the minority parties out of the political debate.

The point of the primary system is to give citizens who are members of a specific political party the opportunity to pick that candidate who best represents their views.  Then, in the Fall season, those cherry-picked party candidates get to go head-to-head, giving voters a genuine ideological choice.  This is important even in states that tilt heavily in one direction or the other, because it means that, when voters are actually paying attention, they are exposed to more than just the majority party’s viewpoint.

In other words, if an Open Primary state tilts heavily in favor of one party or the other, the minority party isn’t just precluded from winning (and this holds true even if the majority party has some major scandal over the summer that causes its total collapse).  In addition to being banned from the ballot, the minority party is also entirely denied a voice in the marketplace of political ideas.  Without a candidate on the ballot, the minority party has no commercials, no debates, no opinion pieces, and no candidate interviews.

In True Blue California, seeing Republicans banished from the ballot entirely has been the Democrat dream — although supporters are careful to frame this one-party outcome in terms of “moderation”:

Carl Luna, a professor at San Diego Mesa College [and, judging by this post, one who leans Progressive, rather than conservative], said the hope is that the new way of voting will increase voter turnout and will lead to election of more moderate candidates.

“Since anybody can vote for anybody, you might have to appeal more toward moderate candidates, toward independents,” he said. “So you get two Democrats who win in one district, they go to the general election and the Democrat that can get Independents and even moderate Republicans to vote for them has a better chance to win.”

Here in Marin, because the ultra-Progressive Lynn Woolsey is finally gone for good (yay!), a multitude of Democrats have lined up to try for her seat. The same cannot be said for the Republican side of the ballot.  As is often the case in Marin, it’s been hard to find a Republican candidate willing to do the hard work of campaigning, knowing that the campaign won’t go anywhere.  We’ve had good people in the past (for example, Todd Hooper or Bob Stephens), but both men ran knowing full well that victory was unlikely.  Ultimately, they didn’t run to win; they ran to be heard.

This year, Dan Roberts is fronting the Republican party’s primary ticket for Woolsey’s former seat in the House of Representatives.  (Since he’s the only Republican in the primary, I guess he’s back the ticket too.)  I wish him well, I really do, but honesty compels me to say that Roberts doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning.

Two years ago, Roberts’ low melting point wouldn’t have stopped him from having a voice in the November campaign.   His presence on the ballot would have brought conservatives to the polling places.  He would have run an Op-Ed in the local paper, and his supporters would have sent letters to the editor. Indeed, if the summer bought more bad news for Democrats (skyrocketing oil prices, war in the Middle East, massive Obama administration malfeasance and scandal), he might even have benefited from a Democrat collapse, and pulled out a Republican victory.  None of those things, however — whether the opportunity to have conservative ideas heard or the possibility, albeit small, of a turn for Republicans in Marin — will happen.

In November, in keeping with the Democrat dream, California conservatives will be silenced.  The ballot will have only the names of the two top Democrat candidates for Marin’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The newspaper editorials and letters to the editor will say nary a word about conservative approaches to the serious problems vexing this nation.  There will be no commercials and no speeches.  The Free Speech that is a fundamental part of our democratic process (that’s small “d” democratic) will have been smothered and buried in June.  And, should the Democrat party suffer a national collapse over the summer, it will still wipe the board in California.

To give more dimension to the anti-democratic tilt of the Open Primary, and of the ethical dilemma conservatives face, I spoke the other day with Stacy Lawson, who is one of the Democrat candidates seeking Woolsey’s old seat.  Stacy seems like a very nice gal, whose selling point is that, with her business background, she is the moderate Democrat in the race, one who supports small businesses and true economic growth.  She’s pro-Israel, which she correctly identifies as the only true democracy in the Middle East.  Stacy specifically disavows ties to the Progressive branch of the Democrat party.

This is all for the good.  Except that when you talk to Stacy, it’s clear that, while she doesn’t have the anger that characterizes Progressives (which is why I think she’s a nice gal), her world view is antithetical to a conservative voter’s beliefs.  Why?  Because she believes government is the answer.  Rather than supporting small business by having government back off in terms of taxes and regulations, she believes government should be in the front line of fomenting growth, especially by subsidizing and promoting green energy.

Stacy was kind and polite when I suggested that green energy was iffy and expensive, and that we might do better to promote America’s huge fossil fuel reserves, while focusing on ways to refine and use those reserves in the cleanest way.  Nevertheless, it was clear that Stacy thought that my suggestion was a direct road to the old-fashioned, 1970s’ type of river, one that was filled with dead fish and caught on fire periodically.  In other words, even thought Stacy is indeed a moderate Democrat, she’s also an AGW, Big Government, vaguely anti-military (that’s where she’d cut the deficit) politician — or, as I already said, antithetical to a conservative voter’s beliefs.

In a perfect world, I would not vote for Ms. Lawson, even though I like her and appreciate that she is, by current Democrat standards, a moderate.  In a perfect world, with all due respect to the courageous Dan Roberts, I would also have some real choices in June on the Republican side of the ballot.

But this is not a perfect world.  In this, the real world, because Marin is an almost impossible venue for Republicans, and because we now have an Open Primary that allows for only two spots on the November ballot, when November comes, it is a dead certainty that, with the exception of the presidential ticket, my only choices for the House of Representatives (and for any other political office) will be Democrat versus Democrat.

I don’t like being forced to deny my political self (that is, I don’t like being forced to vote against my own party’s candidate), but pragmatism says that there’s an advantage in using the Open Primary to temper the other party so that there is at least one person who is relatively sane on the ballot.  This, of course, is precisely what Carl Luna (the professor I quoted above) hoped would happen — Republicans will vanish, but they’ll serve the vestigial function of protecting Democrats from their worst excesses.

So I have a question for you:  In June, should I cast a symbolic vote for the Republican Dan Roberts, thereby making a principled stand for my party, or should I vote for Stacy Lawson to help ensure that, when the November election takes place, the top two contenders for U.S. House of Representatives include a Moderate Democrat, rather than two Progressives?

(Incidentally, when it comes to the judges running for Marin County Superior Court this year, I’m not being forced to make the choice between a good Republican who can’t win, and some Democrats, one of whom might be better than the others.  There are only two men running for judge:  Judge James Chou, a moderate Democrat whom Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed to the bench, and Russell Marne, a self-professed Progressive.   As between them, the choice is clear:  It’s the moderate, experienced James Chou all the way.)

Obama’s election, like Harding’s, is one where we remember the voters as much as we remember the one for whom they voted

In 1920, for the first time, American women had the right to vote in a federal election.  Warren G. Harding won that election by a landslide and, rightly or wrongly, he went down as the president whose dashing good looks and insouciance so charmed American women that they put him in the White House.  Here is the dashing, insouciant Harding:

Harding’s good looks and charm have not worn well.  Neither has his reputation.  His administration is remembered as one of the most corrupt in history — and, sadly, that first batch of women voters is remembered for having put him in the White House.

Almost one hundred years later, Tina Korbe has identified a new group of voters who may well be remembered for their role in placing one of the most corrupt presidents ever into the White House.  It seems that the millennials (those young ‘uns who come of age politically in the new millennium) are no more.  Our President has given them a new name, one that, unsurprisingly, is tied closely to his own presidency:

President Barack Obama has rebranded us. To him, we’re “Gen44.” Expanded, that means we’re the generation that elected him as the nation’s 44th president. Can you say, “hubris,” anyone? It’s almost like pleading to restart the calendar with 2008 as 1 Anno Obama.

In addition to the overwhelming narcissism this re-branding displays, Korbe points out that there is a certain truth to this horrible appellation:

What’s particularly galling about this is that he’s right. To date, our record participation in his election is our defining achievement.

What women were to Warren G. Harding, Gen44 will be to Barack Obama.  Let us just hope that Obama’s administration will be almost as short-lived as Harding’s (only Obama, God willing, will be booted out via the ballot box, rather than congestive heart failure).

 

The real message behind the race hustlers’ manipulation of the Trayvon Martin killing *UPDATED*

The usual crowd of race hustlers, including Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the New Black Panthers and Barack Obama, have been making as much hay as possible out of Trayvon Martin’s death.  Clearly, they think that this episode has ballot potential in November.  I can see only one way in which it does have that potential, and I’ll get to that in a minute.  But first, a few reasons why I think their ham-handed attempt to paint America as a racist nation will be a bust.

First, in terms of characterizing America as a racist nation, the fact that we have a black president kind of, sort of, a little bit, makes it stupid to try to paint a whole nation with the “racism” brush just because a big Hispanic man in a bad neighborhood pulled a gun on a big black guy in the same neighborhood.  That’s true whether the killing was motivated by self-defense, insanity, or racism.

Second, people are beginning to catch on to the media’s games.  In a way, it’s useful that the Martin killing followed on the heels of the Toulouse massacre.  It’s a reminder that the media has a few templates for murder:  When a black person dies at the hands of a non-black person, it’s a front-page racially motivated crime.  When a non-black person dies at the hands of black person, it’s a bottom of page 27 story.  And when a Muslim kills people while shouting “Allah is great,” Islam has nothing to do with it.  Here, the media is sticking to its narrative with regard to both the Martin and Mohammed stories, despite pesky little details that put the lie to the media narratives.

Third, this was a one-person crime.  Zimmerman didn’t belong to a White (or Hispanic) Supremacist movement.  He wasn’t a corrupt small town sheriff.  This wasn’t just another in a long line of racially motivated murders in the same community.  It’s awfully hard to make a serious case for institutional American racism based on a sordid neighborhood dispute.

Fourth, crying “racism” is losing its impact.  I read the other day (and I can’t remember where) that every time the President dips into the strategic oil reserves, the price of fuel drops.  But here’s the kicker:  With each successive release of oil from the reserves, the price drop has less staying power than it did during the previous release.  Within an ever shorter time, fuel prices return to the price at which they were before the President used the reserves.  In other words, the market is getting smarter at recognizing that the sudden influx of oil is a Band-Aid fix that doesn’t repair the deep problems with our oil supplies — so prices remain the same.  With the racism cry, there’s a similar phenomenon:  Americans are getting smarter at recognizing that the sudden screams of racism have nothing to do with the fact that America is, overall, a non-racist country, something that is true regardless of pockets of racism that may pop out here and there.

There you have it:  four very good reasons why the bleats of “racism” are not going to convince Americans that they are still deeply racist and that they must reelect Barack Obama to continue to expiate their sin.

However, I’m not sure directing manifestly false insults at the America people is really going on here.  I think the New Black Panthers gave the real game away when the announced a bounty on Zimmerman’s head (dead or alive.)  What the race hustlers are telling Americans is that, if they don’t reelect Barack Obama, there’s going to be rioting on the streets, and that those who haven’t gotten with the pro-race program, can expect to have a bounty placed on their heads (dead or alive).

This isn’t about racism; this is about threatening American voters.

That’s all.

UPDATE: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, who has a real knack for connecting the dots, has collected all the dots into a single post and come to pretty much the same conclusion I did.

As of today, who’s your conservative candidate choice?

A friend sent me a link to a post at Whatever, a blog that John Scalzi runs.  Scalzi, who describes himself as a “pinko commie socialist,” is interested — truly, not snarkily, interested — in the views Republicans/conservatives/libertarians currently hold when looking at the Republican primary field.  Having the luxury of my own blog, I thought that, rather than weigh in there, I’d weigh in here, and ask you all to chime in as well.  I’ll stick to Scalzi’s rules, which I think are very good ones for this question:

1. This comment thread is for people who are US potential primary voters who identify as Republican and/or conservative (libertarian is also fine, if you see your libertarianism more aligned with general Republican/conservative principles and/or intend to vote in the GOP primaries). If you’re not any of these things, don’t comment, please. Seriously. We have enough politics back and forth on other threads; this one is not about that.

To amplify this point I will also stay out of the thread except in my capacity as site moderator.

2. For the purposes of this thread, please take as given that you likely believe the policies and practices of the Obama administration to be varying levels of bad, so it’s not on point to go on about that. I’m interested on your take on the actual candidates running for the GOP nomination and your thoughts on their individual pluses and minuses as well as on the group as a whole.

[snip]

4. Commenting between the people in the thread (who have already identified themselves as Republicans/conservatives) is of course fine but in general I’m more interested in people’s individual opinions regarding the candidates/group than I am in people trying to argue to others in the thread for their favorite candidate. So if you’d keep campaigning to a minimum and focus on the actual question, I’d be appreciative.

As a Californian, of course, none of my votes count.  My primaries are too late to matter and the state is so Blue, it’s kind of like a corpse when it comes to the actual election itself.  So, while I care deeply, my caring is sort of academic.

Having said that, I’ve been enjoying Newt.  Considering that all the candidates just yak away like crazy, it’s a kind of rare, delicious, almost illicit pleasure to hear someone who can string multiple sentences together, who has a rare depth and breadth of knowledge, and who often says what all of us have been thinking.  I have serious doubts about his abilities as an executive (I do think Romney wins in that category), but he’s like chocolate for the conservative political brain — and that’s despite the baggage, the loopiness, the history of random statements, the FDR worship, and whatever else one can say about Newt.

When it comes to thinking seriously about a primary candidate, I don’t know and, as I noted above, for me the question is academic (especially since California now has open primaries).  What I’ve said for months is that my candidate is NOT OBAMA.  Of course, I have to ask myself, what if the NOT OBAMA candidate is Ron Paul?  I think he’d be better for America on the home front than Obama is, but I think he’d manage to be even worse than Obama when it comes to America’s national security interests, both at home and abroad.  I don’t want to have to make an Obama versus Paul choice.

My current plan is to vote for the person with the “R” after his/her name.  I’m not going to teach anyone a lesson by withholding a vote, thereby weakening the NOT OBAMA Party, of which I am a member in good standing.

J.E. Dyer provides a comprehensive California voting guide

If you’re in California, it’s easy to figure out which people should get your vote:  Fiorina over Boxer, Whitman over Brown (and yes, that’s something of a nose-holder), anyone over Pelosi, etc.

It gets much more confusing when you get to the numbered items on the ballot.  Prop. 23 is easy:  Vote for that unless you want the state bankrupt in a couple of years.  But all the other numbered ones, the ones about taxes and fees and assembly majorities, are ridiculously confusing, especially since some of the tax and fee propositions appear virtually identical in wording for the confused voter, but will have markedly different outcomes if passed.

Fortunately, someone sane has stepped into this confusion.  J. E. Dyer, a former military analyst, and current blogger at Commentary’s Contentions, Hot Air’s Green Room and Patheos, also has her own blog, and it’s there that she spells out the numbers. (And yes, I did mean to be silly with my words there.  This is such a serious time that a teeny bit of humor is a nice safety valve.)

If you are a California voter, and you haven’t yet cast your vote, I urge you to study Dyer’s post very, very carefully.

Asking the Right Questions

Have you ever been in a debate with a Liberal/Lefty and been so overwhelmed with either the vapidity of their arguments or the absolute volume of misstatement, sloganeering or fact-twisting that you are left open-mouthed and unable to respond. After the interchange, you kick yourself by thinking, “I should have said….”. Happens to me all the time. Instead of constructively engaging, my mind asks “where do I begin?”. Or, alternately, I may start hammering them with facts and my own positions, none of which they will retain.

Over time, in business negotiations, I have learned that the best way to buy time while digesting information is to ask questions to better flesh out the issue. I don’t mean a Socratic dialog, I mean questions meant to make the other person think about their position(s). I offer the following in the context of the very excellent comments that have been made on this blog, recently, about how to constructively engage Liberals, especially the Liberals who have no idea of why they think the way they do, not to mention having a clue regarding why conservatives and libertarians think as we do. I propose that this latter designation represents a very significant block of prospective voters and we need to work on them, not just before November but with an eye to 2012.

In my own evolution from Scoop Jackson Liberalism to a blended libertarian conservatism, I recalled how one memorable question could completely change my world view. It didn’t happen right away, but over time I would mull that question and it would have its intended effect of making me change my mind. So, I would like to ask for your help with this question: how can we use single questions to help puncture the Liberal/Left bubble-sphere?” I also propose that using “why do you think…” is a good way of appealing to the other person’s intellect.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

When a Liberal uses the race card: “why do you think that people on the Left are so utterly obsessed with peoples’ race?”

When a Liberal talks about America’s supposed insults to Islam: “Why do you think that all countries the surrounding the world of Islam are subject to Muslim attacks and terrorism?”

On Democrats being for the little guy: “Why do you think it is that the Democrat leadership is so filthy rich?”

On the Tea Party: “With what beliefs of the Tea Party do you disagree?”

On Democrats being for minorities: “Why do you think that blacks have fared so badly in Democrat-controlled inner cities since Johnson’s War on Poverty of 50 years-ago?”

One Liberal Dependency on Government: “Please share your thoughts with me on how one can be simultaneously dependent on Government programs and still be free?”

When Liberals talk about Islam’s tolerance for others: “How many Muslims do you know? Can you tell me what’s in the Koran about tolerance toward others?” (OK, that’s two questions).

Would anyone else like to either help improve upon or add to this list of  “one, memorable questions” that can puncture Liberal/Lefties’ world views?