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.

The cult of personality trumped ordinary considerations

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.

Found it on Facebook: Voting with those “lady parts”

This keeps cropping up on Facebook and every time I see it, I find it irritating.

There’s something horribly medieval about reducing women to their sexual organs.  After all, when you think about it, the only thing that Obama has done for women is to order employers to provide insurance that covers birth control — which is a very limited expense.  That’s the difference between Obama’s approach to women and Bush’s.

In all likelihood, notwithstanding the fact that both Romney and Ryan are pro-Life, the only change under a Romney presidency is that we’ll go back to having women pay for their own birth control.  (And men, I’m sorry, but you should pay for your own Viagra.)

The Supreme Court is not going to reverse Roe v. Wade.  If it does, the matter goes to the states and, if enough people want it, a constitutional amendment.

As Michelle Malkin says, I’m voting with my lady smarts, not my lady parts.

Romney finds his inner happy warrior

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

Are you voting for love of country or revenge against an unnamed enemy within America?

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.

America’s retired military makes a strong statement for Romney

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:

Romney–W

Bill Whittle’s appeal to those who intend to stand on principle and vote for a third party or not vote at all

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.

A way for both Romney and Obama to give millions to a Hurricane Sandy charity

The Ohio Democratic Party Chairman, knowing that Mitt Romney is a wealthy man, who might have some extra millions lying around, has suggested that Romney give those dollars to a charity that helps Hurricane Sandy victims:

Mitt Romney should have donated $10 million to the Red Cross instead of ‘taking advantage of a tragedy’, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman has said.

‘I think Governor Romney ought to be focused on things he could do and say on behalf of the victims, rather than going to Dayton Ohio – the most important swing state in the country – and taking advantage of a tragedy,’ said Chris Redfern according to the Washington Post.

‘Look, I’m a partisan. I’ll let others judge this. But I think someone of Governor Romney’s wealth could have just written a check for $10 million to the American Red Cross and then spent today with his family. He chose to do something much different. He chose to politicise this.’

That’s almost a good idea.  Here’s the really good idea:

Obama has waiting for him a $5 million check made out to the charity of his choice.  With that money out there, Mitt should make Obama a deal. Obama’s obligation under the deal is to produce his academic records and passport application, by Friday afternoon.  He can do this easily enough by authorizing Occidental, Columbia, Harvard and the State Department to release the records on an expedited basis. For something this big, those organizations should be able to act quickly.  If Obama gets the records released by Friday afternoon, Mitt will donate another $5 million to that same charity.

I think that’s fair, don’t you?

Obama, in the crudest, most brutal way possible, politicized what happened in Benghazi

I have been keeping abreast of the news, and I do know that there’s a cascade of information about Benghazi rolling out now.  Yesterday I posted about Edward Klein’s claim that Hillary had tried to get security for Benghazi but that higher-ups (presumably in the White House) had simply ignored the request.

Today we learn that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty begged the CIA for help, but the CIA refused, despite the fact that the White House, the CIA, and the Pentagon all watched as events unfolded — which meant that they saw the CIA annex under attack.  Obama, apparently, slept through most of it, as he needed his beauty sleep before heading off to Vegas for some fundraising.  Obama has his priorities and he sticks to them.  Put another way, the Democrat political hierarchy watched Americans die, while the Commander-in-Chief abandoned his post.

I also know that Tyrone Woods father has said that Obama was a dead fish; that Hillary stuck resolutely to the “a video caused all this” lie; and that Joe Biden, if he’d thought it had with both hands for a week, couldn’t have come up with a cruder, more insensitive remark to make (quite jovially) to a dead hero’s father:  “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?”  At some point, while we weren’t looking, Biden apparently crossed the line from stupid to senile.

When the Benghazi attack originally happened, Mitt Romney provided a statement expressing appropriate outrage at the American deaths and questioning the administration’s video-centric response to the embassy attack in Egypt:

This attack on American individuals and embassies is outrageous, it’s disgusting, it — it breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives the cause of freedom and justice and honor.

[snip]

I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions. It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values.

The White House distanced itself last night from the statement, saying it wasn’t cleared by Washington. That reflects the mixed signals they’re sending to the world.

The Democrat establishment and media went crazy:  How dare Mitt Romney “politicize” a tragedy by criticizing the administration!  A whole news cycle got used up with this Squirrel attack, as the administration, without any media push back, doubled down on the video lie.

I asked myself then, as I often do, “What does it mean to politicize something?”  After all, I thought, when a politician is involved everything is political.  It became apparent to me during the week that to “politicize” something means to have a Republican criticize a Democrat for the latter’s ineptitude in handling a national security crisis.  That’s not much of a definition, though, because it doesn’t apply equally to both sides of the political equation.

Reading today’s news, I finally and fully understand what it means “to politicize something.”  It means that, in the face of a crisis, an administration’s response is guided, not by what’s right, but instead by what will fool the American people into continuing to support that administration.  Obama made a cold, brutal calculation that, if he wanted the American people to believe that his (or Panetta’s) Osama kill order destroyed Al Qaeda, he would forever after have to pretend that Al Qaeda doesn’t exist.  To do so, he would have to ignore completely all Al Qaeda activity, including the cold-blooded slaughter of four Americans.  Rather than admitting that Al Qaeda wasn’t as dead as he thought it was, Obama sowed the ground of his Potemkin Village with American blood:

You and I are paying close attention to all this.  People who already have some allegiance to conservativism have been watching Fox News, so they’re also paying attention.  The real question, with a week and a half left before the election, is whether today’s revelations will boil so aggressively that they will blow the lid right off of the MSM’s attempts to suppress this story.  I’m hoping that the media’s self-interest will result in this news coming to the fore.

It’s not that the media resents being fooled.  In this case, the media has undoubtedly been complicit in that fooling.  The media, however, likes winners.  With luck, to the extent that the wheels are coming off the Obama bus, the members of the drive-by media are going to be hopping off that bus and standing at the roadside pointing and jeering.

Found it on Facebook: a poster summary of all the Left’s uninformed attacks on Romney

Here’s today’s Progressive Facebook offering:

Point by point, let me show why this poster is really, really stupid:

His support of the middle class by encouraging the auto-industry to go bankrupt?  If you’re not living in Victorian England, when bankruptcy meant that the man of the family ended up in debtor’s prison, while his family starved in the streets, you’ll discover that American business bankruptcies are actually very well-managed, humane affairs.  A company that is put into bankruptcy, not for liquidation purposes but for restructuring, often comes out much stronger.  The bankruptcy process gives it relief from overwhelming creditor pressure, it allows the company to renegotiate debts and labor contracts, and it provides for payment plans that lessen or spread out the debt burden.  Our bankruptcy laws are some of the best things in the Federal codes and regulations.  What Obama did by taking over GM was to screw the creditors and the shareholders, while handing the unions a free gift — all at taxpayer expense.  Hell yes, I supported Romney’s insistence that GM go into an organized bankruptcy.

His lack of support for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for women?  I think it was Joe Biden who said it best, when he opined about what a minimal effect the Lily Ledbetter Act has on women’s working conditions:

Ryan voted ​against​ the Lilly Ledbetter Act.  All [it] said was if a woman finds out she’s been treated and treated wrongly– cheated in terms of her salary and benefits at work– that she’s able to sue from the moment she finds out.  That’s all it said.  Because they were locked out they said that if you didn’t learn within two years you were being cheated, then you’re out of luck.  But we changed the law.  It’s not a– it’s a big deal for women, but it’s not a big deal in terms of equal pay.  But it’s an important– and they couldn’t even support that.  Talk about being out of touch.

Keep in mind that Ledbetter’s only problem was a statute of limitations (i.e., the time within which someone can sue for a wrong).  Congress had made it short, the Supreme Court said that was Congress’ prerogative, and the Obama Congress then made it longer in a way that can be very damaging to American business.

His ability to make enemies upon every visit to a foreign nation?  The Muslim world hates Obama.  Obama insulted the Prime Minister of Israel.  He insulted Queen Elizabeth, the Prime Minister, and (when he sent back the Churchill bust) England itself.  He offended our allies in Poland and the Czech Republic when he reneged on a promise to provide them with protection against Russia.  Need I go on?

His experience in “running a business” that buys up companies, breaks them up, and sends jobs overseas?  Romney knows how businesses work.  When a company could be made stronger (Staples), he made it stronger.  When it couldn’t, he spared it (and its employees) a lingering death.  He also created millions upon millions of dollars in the free marketplace, money that benefited ordinary Americans (and their pension plans).  He took the Olympic balance book from red to black, and then he did the same with the Massachusetts budget.  Obama, if I remember correctly, wasted all of the Annenberg Challenge money.

His lack of support for college students and lower interest rates on loans?  Obama said yesterday that banks are evil because they’re in it to make money.  No, Mr. President, banks are not evil.  Banks are necessary, because they provide the funds people use to start and grow businesses.  No loans, no free enterprise.  (Just think of the Muslim world’s absolute prohibition on interest and its absolute paucity of true economic development.)  Interest is the way in which banks earn money on these loans.  I’m opposed to usurious interest rates, but forcing banks to provide low-interest loans to unqualified people is exactly what led to the financial collapse in 2008.  Romney doesn’t want to repeat that error; Obama does.

His hateful, arrogant, racist supporters like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter?  Do I need to make the usual laundry list of hateful, arrogant, racist Obama supporters?  Okay….  Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, the Rev. Wright, Father Pfleger, Hugo Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un….

His ultra wealthy supporters like the Koch Brothers?  Two words:  George Soros.  Two more words:  John Kerry.  You can add others to the list, but I think those two say it all.

His ability to turn into a chameleon wherever he goes?  Cast your mind back to 2007 when Obama, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii, went before a black audience and started speaking as if he just got off the plantation.  Interestingly, Hillary and Joe do the same thing.  Romney is never anything but what he is:  an upper middle class white guy who wears a suit.

His experience hiding his money in Cayman Island accounts?  I think we’ve already learned about Obama’s Chinese/Cayman Island pension.  Democrat policies make investing in the U.S. a risky business.

Or is it just because he’s a white dude and you just HATE Obama?  I don’t hate Obama’s color.  I hate his politics.  I couldn’t care less about Romney’s color or sex.  I like his politics.

Posters such as the one above work because people are ignorant.  They are ignorant because they want to be and because the MSM keeps them that way.  It’s up to us — the informed people — to spread a little knowledge around.

Found it Facebook: Obama, Romney, and the hired help *UPDATED*

A picture is making the rounds amongst my liberal Facebook friends, complete with the caption that “This says it all to me.”

I’m actually not sure what “all” the picture says. That Romney smiles at people performing a service for him while Obama gives them a fist bump?

If the Obama picture had shown him grabbing the mop from the janitor and himself scrubbing the floors, I might have been more impressed.  But the fact that he fist bumps for the camera really doesn’t tell me anything at all.  Likewise, I’d be interested in know what the tip and salary the tarmac guy helping Romney received versus what the custodian greeting Obama earns.  That information might actually tell us something . . . or not.

The one thing I can assure you is that pairing those two pictures tells me nothing about Obama’s and Romney’s individual merit or their ability to govern the United States of America.  It does, however, tell me a lot about Progressives that they can look at these two out-of-context pictures and seem to find some deep meaning — and what it tells me is that, if these voters prevail again in November — we’re in serious trouble.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Plain ol’ Charles, we now know that Romney wasn’t the effete rich guy having his shoes cleaned, he was getting a pre-flight security check.

Never argue with the crazy lady; or, why Romney had a good strategy for the third debate

We all know crazy people.  I don’t mean the kind of crazy people who believe that cats rule the world and that Satan is living in the begonia.  I mean the people with personality disorders who assiduously work to shape reality so that it matches their own warped and damaged inner world.  Many of these crazy people are very high functioning because their craziness leaves them driven, so they work hard, and manipulative, so they know which buttons to push to get other people to help them achieve their goals.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of these crazy people is that they lie.  Except that, as far as they’re concerned, they’re always telling the truth.  You see, for certain types of crazy people, truth is a fluid concept that is defined, not by stubborn facts, but by their emotional needs at any given time.  When people I know come to me griping about an unpleasant, reality-bending interaction with one of these people, I always say the same thing, “Never argue with the crazy lady.”

During the second debate, Mitt Romney tried to argue with the crazy lady.  Had Obama been completely sane when Mitt tried to get Obama to acknowledge that his administration pretended that the Benghazi’s deaths were a movie review that got out of hand, Obama would have embarked upon a long, circuitous explanation about his inadvertent failure to identify clearly September 11′s events in Benghazi as a terrorist attack.  Instead, Obama, who is the functional equivalent of a crazy lady, lied.  And because Obama had an enabler sitting there with a microphone, the lie got reinforced.  (And yes, I know that Obama used the phrase “acts of terror” in his Rose Garden presentation on September 12, but it’s very, very clear from reading the entire transcript that he was claiming that a video was what caused the events in Benghazi.  Only a crazy lady or an enabler would understand the tenor of his remarks in any other way.) Obama told other lies during the first two debates (about sequestration and Israel, for example), but that’s the one that sticks in my mind because Romney got so badly winded by the Obama/Crowley sucker punch — one belied by facts:

Mitt’s no fool.  He realized after the second debate that you can’t argue with the crazy lady.  And because the crazy lady has enablers all over the media, even if his arguments are entirely accurate and Obama’s entirely false, Mitt won’t get the benefit of second day analysis.  Were Mitt to challenge Obama directly, Obama’s crazy lady lies would live on, while Mitt’s truthful assertions would vanish.  And so a strategy was born:  Mitt simply ignored Obama.  Yes, he let lies go by, and yes it was irritating to those of us who know the facts, but Mitt understood that, whatever he threw at Obama, Obama would counter with a falsehood.  Heck, Obama’s entire debate performance was a falsehood, one that ignored years of speeches and conduct.  For a sane person, entering this kind of alternate universe and trying to function in it according to rational rules can only lead to disaster.

I think Mitt did the right thing, and I think the polls will support him.  He bypassed crazy-land and went directly to the American voters.  To them, he showed himself to be peaceful, intelligent, knowledgeable, and possessed of a solid vision of America’s place in the world.  It was a somewhat bizarre strategy, but in Bizarro World those are the only strategies that work.

Mitt versus Obama, or Ward Cleaver versus Eddie Haskell

When it became obvious that Mitt was going to be the Republican nominee for President, I started doodling around with my strong sense that the November match-up would look very much like a contest between Ward Cleaver and Eddie Haskell, of Leave it to Beaver fame.  In May, I put up a post, which was my first attempt at expanding on that image.

Usually, once I’ve written something, it’s out of my system.  This one, though, wouldn’t go away.  The more I watched the campaign progress, the more the Ward v. Eddie analogy seemed right on the money.  I eventually sat down and completely rewrote the post.  I then offered the expanded, rewritten, and updated article to PJ Media (after having advised them about the earlier iteration), and PJ Media kindly accepted it.

You can read my full-blown, up-to-date Ward v. Eddie analysis here.

Romney, even if he didn’t win the debate, walked out of the debate a winner *UPDATED*

What one can say with certainty about the last presidential debate is that it is not a game-changer — which is good for Romney, because the game is currently scoring in his favor.  In that way, it was a nothing of a debate.  Nevertheless, there were aspects of the debate that were fascinating.

Fascinating aspect No. 1:  Obama’s rhetoric had absolutely nothing to do with his presidency.  If I had never heard of Obama before last night and then tuned into the debate, I would have been impressed by what he said (except for the nasty tone, which I’ll get to later).  He spoke about a balance of diplomacy and might, he spoke of a strong military, he claimed to be a true friend to Israel, he understood that America is a world leader, he touted America’s responsibility to advance freedom, he recognized that one can’t be a leader with a disastrous home economy, he said he supported Iran’s abortive Green revolution, and he said that he would never allow Iran to get the bomb.  It was as if the last three and a half years never happened.

The Obama of the debate never had kill lists for Pakistan and crawl-on-the-belly lists for Russia.  He didn’t offend England, and Poland, and the Czech Republic, while making nice to Chavez and Morsi.  Nor did the debate Obama have anything to do with depleting the military to a point where it’s at its weakest since before WWI.

The talking head with saw last night is so tightly linked with Israel that, not only is there no daylight between the two, but he and Netanyahu will be the first in line when gay marriage is federally recognized.  This seems a little bit at odds with the insults, slights, demands, and cold-shoulders the administration aimed at Israel for more than three years.  Obama’s debate posture pretends that, when it came to Israel’s borders, Obama didn’t make a precondition for negotiations more extreme even than the Palestinians were demanding. This Obama, unlike the real world Obama, is BFFs with Israel.

The debate Obama was a champion of American exceptionalism, a man who never went around the world explaining to foreign countries that America isn’t so great and, if she leads at all, she should lead from behind.  This was not a man who boasted that he would fundamentally transform America.  Nor was this a man who made it plain that his fundamental transformation included attacking America’s core identity, many of her constitutional rights, and her economic system.

Finally, last night’s Obama was so tough, I’m surprised he hasn’t already bombed Iran back into the Stone Age.  Where was the man who stood aside while the Iranian people took to the streets demanding greater freedom?  Where was the man who has consistently worked to weaken the sanctions Congress has imposed on Iran?  And where was the president who has been so passive about Iran’s nuclear program that Ahmadinejad has endorsed him for president?

Frankly, I found this Obamabot irritating.  He’s like the guy who, behind closed doors, abuses his wife but, in public, calls her “Sweetie” and holds her hand,  He’s a brute, not because he doesn’t know any better (his public behavior shows that he does), but because he wants to be a brute.  That’s where his private inclinations lie.  Last night, Obama demonstrated that he knows perfectly well what is good for America and what Americans want, but his behavior over the past three years shows that he wants to be a weak, anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-military leader.  He’s the presidential equivalent of a wife beater.

Fascinating aspect No. 2:  Romney ignored Obama.  After trying to go head-to-head with Obama in the second debate, Romney went back to his first debate strategy of talking directly to the American people.  It wasn’t as effective as in debate no. 1, because Obama was more animated but, in a funny way, it was the most insulting thing Romney could have done.  (And we’ll get back to insults in a minute.)

In the first debate, Romney focused on introducing himself to the American people, not as the Frankenstein Capitalist the Obama media and Obama himself created, but as an intelligent, thoughtful, humane individual.  Romney achieved that goal and then some.  In this second debate, though, Romney wanted to show the American people that he is presidential.  He talked to them about broad policy concerns, and treated Obama like a buzzing fly.  Romney swatted at Obama occasionally, but otherwise focused on having a dialogue with the voters.

I would have liked to have seen Romney challenge Obama more directly on some of his lies (and there were a lot of lies), but Romney’s approach was, as I said, peculiarly insulting on its own terms.  He essentially said Obama is so irrelevant he can be ignored.

Fascinating aspect No. 3:  Obama was unbelievably nasty and condescending.  The true believers were elated by his “wit,” but I wonder if the undecideds didn’t find it unpresidential.  This was not a frat party or even an Alfred E. Smith dinner roast.  This was a serious presidential debate.  Unloading the equivalent of “Yoo hoo, old fart, the 80s are calling,” was not statesmanlike, and Romney was wise to look at the camera (i.e., the voters) and ignore it.

The nastiest statement, of course, was Obama’s response when Romney made a lengthy argument about the problems with our depleted military.  Romney talked about the fact that the military can no longer fight a war on two fronts and about the Navy’s concerns that the Navy has too few ships.  With regard to that last, Romney noted in passing that we have fewer ships than we’ve had since 1917.  Obama ignored the overarching argument entirely (Obama’s policies are weakening our military during dangerous times for America), and got terribly excited about the whole 1917 (or, as Obama said, 1916) bit:

You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.

Ouch!  In 7th grade, that would have been a great riposte.  At a presidential debate, not so much.  None of us  one likes someone who is condescending and arrogant, and that’s true whether the insult is directed at us or at someone else.  More than that, by making such a definitive statement about today’s military, Obama left himself wide open to corrections.  And it’s easy to correct his gross errors.  Yes, in 1917, the military mostly had battleships and now has aircraft carriers, but it also requires a host of supporting ships, from amphibious assault vessels to destroyers to supply ships, etc.  And as everyone except the president knows as of this morning, we use horses in Afghanistan and the military still trains with bayonets for close combat.

There is a difference between being witty and being nasty.  When I was 13, I didn’t know the difference and I wasn’t much liked.  Now, I’ve figured it out, and people enjoy my company.  Obama wasn’t witty, he was nasty, and that’s the one thing he couldn’t afford in this election.  After all, Obama’s never had anything to run on but his likability.  In 2008, he needed to be liked because he had no record; in 2012, he needs to be liked because he has a big record.

UPDATE: A friend sent me a link to an article from last year discussing the way in which bayonets continue to be useful in battle situations. My dad used bayonets at El Alamein (or maybe somewhere in Crete — I’m not quite sure), and he considered them his friends in battle.

Random thoughts

If this election was a romance novel, Barack Obama would be the bad boy who promises that, if you just let him have his way with you, you won’t get pregnant (honest!).  He then tells you that his friend Eddie will pay for your birth control.  Eddie doesn’t follow through, but Barry’s persuasive.  After Bad Barry has abandoned you and your baby, the manly, square-jawed Mitt comes along and helps you straighten your life out.  You fall in love with him and elect him president.

Have you ever noticed that Obama clips off the end of his words, as if he regrets having given them to you.  That’s why I don’t hear a great orator; I hear a guy with a poker up his . . . orifice.

If the October surprise is that Obama’s having talks with Iran, I don’t think that’s a good thing (“keep him in the White House so that the channels of communication open”), I think it’s a dreadful thing.  It’s scary thinking of what Obama will give away in such talks.

Romney had better find his inner aggressive guy tonight during the debate.  In the wake of the Benghazi debacle, Obama needs to be pushed against the wall, and Bob Schieffer won’t do it.  I fear, though, that Romney will sound more than usually tongue-tied, since foreign policy is something he knows in his head, but doesn’t feel in his gut.  I’m definitely a bit worried about tonight.  If Obama tells the truth, he’ll be in trouble, so he’ll lie — and I just hope Romney can handle that.

 

Found it on Facebook — Iran, the greatest threat to Western civilization

Sometimes my liberal friends surprise me.  Buried amongst the snarky, ill-informed pictures they routinely post, I’ll occasionally find something thoughtful and important.  Very, very important — such as this short video explaining precisely why Iran poses such a threat, not just within the Middle East, but to the whole world, America included:

The question for voters is whether they want to give Obama another four years to futz around while the Mullahs build their nuclear bombs and delivery systems (because futz is all he did during the first four years while the Mullahs powered forward) or if they want to hand the problem to an Alpha dog. Romney is not insanely aggressive (he’s no mad dog or cowboy) but, more importantly, he’s not in thrall to a deranged Leftist belief that, if we just make nice to Mullahs who believe that must take an active hand in bringing around the apocalypse, those same mullahs will also make nice and just go away.

Nor am I comfortable with Joe Biden’s assurance that, “Well, sure they have the bomb, but they can’t do anything with it.”  Biden doesn’t know his derriere from a ditch, and he has proven over the years to be remarkably wrong when it comes to national security issues.  The mere fact that he’s not worried frightens me as much as anything else could.

(The sad thing is that I’m pretty sure that the liberal friend who posted this video firmly believes that, despite the evidence of his first four years in office, Obama is the only one to save the world.)

There’s a website that goes with this video.  It offers prizes for those who make the effort to email the video to as many friends as possible.  Sending a few emails strikes me as a small price to pay for a worthy cause.

Romney knocks ‘em dead at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner

If you’ve been hearing good buzz about Romney’s performance at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner, that’s because he did a stellar job.  Here is his star turn:

Obama wasn’t bad either. I just don’t like him, which makes it harder for me to laugh at his jokes:

Found it on Facebook — misconstruing Mitt’s correct statement about marriage and gun violence

Here’s today’s Facebook find:

This poster, of course, comes from a liberal.  What the liberal doesn’t realize is that Mitt was riffing right off the liberals’ own beloved New York Times when he said that the best way to deal with gun violence is to promote marriage.  Just this July, the Times ran an article acknowledging what conservatives have known intuitively, which is that two-parent families are much less likely to live in poverty than one-parent families:

The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality and questions about a core national faith, that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue-collar wages and lavish Wall Street pay.

But striking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans like the Faulkners are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women like Ms. Schairer, who left college without finishing her degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.

Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.

The next analytical step is to recognize that there is a strong correlation between poverty and crime.  Even Barack Obama acknowledged this in an ugly, back assward way when he said that “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but rich people are all for nonviolence. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got what they want. They want to make sure people don’t take their stuff.”  The corollary to Obama’s class warfare statement is that rich people don’t take other people’s stuff either — they buy it.

So a root cause of crime is poverty and, as the New York Times admits, a root cause of poverty is single mother parenting.  That means that Mitt didn’t say something stupid; he said something smart.  Only people in deep, deep denial would deny the wisdom of his statement that we deal with violence, not by getting rid of the Second Amendment, which is our bulwark against government tyranny, but by reaffirming traditional middle class values.

While I’m on the topic of marriage, poverty, and crime, I’ll just throw one more thing into the mix:  Daddies.  Studies show that Daddies matter when it comes to boys and crime (and boys commit vastly greater numbers of crimes than girls do).  Interestingly, it’s not clear that this Daddy statistic applies as well to two Daddy families.  Still, two Daddy (and two Mommy) families are still going to be economically more stable than a single parent family, and the single parent trap is what I believe Mitt was addressing.

Facebook is just a wellspring of clever misinformation aimed at credulous, emotionally charged liberals.

Found it on Facebook — crude anti-Mormon sentiment

I continue to be fascinated with the things that my Progressive friends post on Facebook.  I feel like a cultural archaeologist.  Here’s today’s offering:

For once, my commentary can be summed up in a single sentence:

We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. — Barack Obama, September 12, 2012

 

More thoughts on the second presidential debate, including why Romney won a tie

Romney’s main problem is a chronic one.  While he intuitively understands what Bush Sr. used to call “the vision thing,” he can’t articulate it. He’ll spell out all the details, but he’s incapable of explaining to Americans that, if the government takes all their money, not only does it mean they don’t have it, it means the marketplace doesn’t have it.  What’s worse, Obama’s administration has provided perfect evidence that, once the government has all the money, it spends it badly, making dumb choices and pandering to special interests. With that simplistic explanation, Romney’s wonkery would have made more sense.  As it was, since I was watching on CNN which had a little chart showing real-time responses from some men and women, I could see that every time Romney got too into details, people lost interest.  (I actually found the chart irritating.  It was like watching a monitor in the ICU, breathlessly fearing that the monitor might show a flatline.)

The other problem, of course, was that Romney was in a two-against-one fight. He was game, but it was hard for him to land his punches when one attacker was off limits (for appearances sake, he couldn’t attack Crowley), while the other attacker was spouting lies left and right — and then being covered by the off-limits gal. Even if Romney had been more articulate, this was an almost impossible scenario. Gingrich might have handled it, but I’m not sure….

Michael Filozof noticed something important that I missed completely:

In all the analysis and spin in the media about Tuesday night’s debate, one item seems to have escaped scrutiny— but it struck me at the moment that Obama said it as a statement of such remarkable arrogance and hubris that I had to check the transcript today to make sure he’d actually said what I’d heard.

He did.

When queried about the lack of security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, Obama responded:

“Well, let me first of all talk about our diplomats, because they serve all around the world and do an incredible job in a very dangerous situation.”

“Our” diplomats. That’s the perfunctory throwaway line. What followed was truly astonishing:

“And these aren’t just representatives of the United States, they are my representatives. I send them there, oftentimes into harm’s way.”

Whoa! Wait a second! “These aren’t ‘just’ representatives of the United States?”

Just?

“They are my representatives. I send them there” – as if that’s the more important, bigger deal? America’s Ambassadors represent the country – not the man. Article II of the Constitution says that the President “by and with” — with, mind you! — “the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors…”

Filozof goes on to analyze just how bad Obama’s unconscious arrogance really was.

Yuval Levin also put his finger on something that was bothering me about the “undecided voters’” questions.  Almost without exception, the questions assumed a liberal world view.  They assumed that women get paid $0.72 on the dollar, which is true only because women like their children and, if they can, try to do part-time or flex-time jobs that pay less.  Romney sort of alluded to that flex-time principle but, as I noted above, he’s a details guy who gets, but can’t articulate, the big picture.

The questions assumed that illegal immigrants should get to stay here.  Romney, bless his heart, tried not to pander on this one.  He almost sounded hard-line about having a meaningful border (although, again, he couldn’t explain why sovereignty matters).  Interestingly, the tougher he talked, the higher that little graph ticked up.  It’s easy to like illegal immigrants in flush times; in lean times, they’re competitors for jobs.

One of the questions assumed that guns are bad.  Romney, after a little struggle with that one, based upon anti-assault weapon legislation he signed while governor, managed to focus on people, not guns, causing crime.  Obama focused on guns, and then remembered that there are people holding those weapons.

As for the Benghazi question, I actually assumed that Crowley wrote that question, since it was clearly intended as an opening for Obama to man up and take responsibility after letting Hillary fall on her sword (after first softening the blow by blaming her security experts).  Of course, Obama blew that opportunity by lying, turning what should have been a manly confession into an embarrassing (for him and Crowley) confrontation.

But Levin has a different theory about those questions:

When the debate commission announced that this year’s town-hall debate—in which questioners would be selected from among undecided voters in the surrounding region—would be held in Long Island, N.Y., rather than in a swing state, it raised a few eyebrows. Undecided voters in Nassau County generally aren’t like undecided voters in Ohio or Virginia. They tend to be people who start from a liberal foundation but may be a little too populist to be comfortably Democratic voters these days, and so in some respects a kind of mirror image of what we normally think of as swing voters. The questions in Tuesday night’s town-hall debate certainly reflected that character. These were, on the whole, questions from disappointed Democrats. That didn’t necessarily advantage one candidate over the other: It meant some of the subjects taken up in the debate heavily favored Obama but it also meant that the tone of the questioners was almost uniformly disappointed with Obama, which is probably the most dangerous of all attitudes for the incumbent president.

[snip]

Many of the questions were about the sorts of things liberals would want debates to be about. Given a chance to address the presidential candidates, would many swing voters in the battleground states in this election ask about pay equity (and ground their question in false liberal talking points on the subject)? Are they concerned about gun control? Do they think about immigration the way the debate questioner on that subject did? No. Yet at the same time many of the questioners approached Obama with an underlying sense of disappointment, and seemed to look at Romney with an eye to whether he might be a less disappointing president. I suspect this combination made this debate less interesting to undecided voters in undecided states, but that on the whole it helped Romney a bit more than Obama. Disappointment with the incumbent combined with a sense that the challenger is a reasonably plausible president is how you unseat a president, and tonight’s debate enabled Romney to advance both elements a bit even though Obama was much stronger than he was in Denver two weeks ago.

Standing on its own, the debate was probably a tie.  Obama proved he has a pulse, and Romney did okay.  That means Romney won.  As William McGurn pointed out yesterday, the only thing Obama had going into office was charisma.  He exploded that aura in his first debate, and could only have won by regaining his mystique in the second debate.  But Obama didn’t revisit the magic.  His pinched, high-pitched delivery, his vicious personal attacks on Romney, and his complete inability to state a vision or purpose for his second term (everything he said was a rehash of his first-term “vision thing”), established conclusively that “what’s done cannot be undone.”  Once you destroy something as precious and intangible as charm (and I’ll concede for this argument that Obama’s fans found him charming), you stand before the world unmasked and unarmed.

Barring massive fraud, I now believe Romney will win.  And if you’re reading this in Missouri, vote for Todd Akin.  He may have some wacky ideas, but he’s still better than Claire McCaskill and Romney needs to own the Senate to undo Obama’s and the Democrats’ first two years of damage.

UPDATE:  Just want to throw in that Wolf Howling, whose opinion I greatly respect, thinks Romney won.  And Bruce Kesler points out the most important thing, which is that voters, the ultimate critics, side with Romney on the economy and other things about which they (not the media) really care.

I guess it’s okay to lie if you’re the president

I just got me a new computer, and I want to set it up, so I have only a couple of quick comments.

Obama was much better in this debate, although no less dishonest.  (More about that later.)

Romney was almost as good in this debate, although he didn’t appear as good as he did last time, simply because Obama appeared less bad than he did last time.

Candy Crowley was a disgrace.  She gave Romney around four minutes less time than Obama, which is huge in these debates.  She did so by systematically denying Romney rebuttals.

Finally, speaking of Obama being dishonest and Crowley being a disgrace, I almost threw something at the screen when Obama explicitly and repeatedly asserted that, on September 12, 2012, during his post-Benghazi Rose Garden statement, he explicitly identified what happened in Libya as a “terrorist attack” — and then Crowley backed him up.  Then, I realized that this lie was a Godsend.  If you live in the bubble as Obama and Crowley do, you think that whatever you say will be accepted as gospel.  But nowadays, that’s a stupid supposition.  Here is Obama’s entire Rose Garden statement:

I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.

I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.

On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.

The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.

Oh, last point: Obama kept making promises as if he was running for the presidency for the first time. This sounded amazingly foolish coming out of a man who owned Washington for the first two years of his presidency. Romney, although not amazingly articulate, was able to make this point.

UPDATE: In his actual Rose Garden talk, as opposed to his prepared speech, Obama used the word terror, but not in the context of terrorism:

The second presidential debate on Tuesday in New York, re-ignited the controversy over Obama’s words following the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. The following day, he made this speech from the White House Rose Garden:

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.

Mickey Kaus has the full speech (the above is just an excerpt) and he says Crowley was clearly out of line. In amy event, Obama’s administration then spent the next two weeks assiduously denying terrorism and blaming a YouTube video.

Found it on Facebook: Romney is evil? Really?

One of my old high school classmates, who is gay and Progressive, posted a heartfelt plea today that all of his Facebook friends do whatever is necessary to keep the “evil” Romney out of office.  Evil?  That’s an awfully strong word.  Hitler was evil.  Mao was evil.  Stalin was evil.  Pol Pot was evil.  Saddam Hussein was evil.

But what the heck has Romney ever said or done to earn the appellation evil?  I meant to ask my friend, but my computer is dying and for reasons entirely unclear to me, it will no longer let me post any comments to Facebook.  I’ll have a new computer by next week and, if I remember, I’ll politely ask this guy why Romney is “evil” as opposed to merely being a mainstream politician and member of Lincoln’s party, whose mainstream politics somehow offend this guy.

I’m actually being a bit disingenuous here.  I’ve known for decades that Conservatives think Progressives are misguided; while Progressives think Conservatives are evil.  It’s just that I don’t remember this level of hysteria from before.  People disagreed, but the passion that characterizes the “Leave Britney alone!” video wasn’t as obvious, and the insults weren’t so blatant.


Yes, I’m working, but I also keep finding excellent stuff that I just have to share with you

To begin with, DL Sly is right that, if I don’t make each and every one of you aware of Iowahawk’s latest post of genius, I am doing you a profound disservice.  I won’t even make an effort to summarize what Iowahawk has done.  Suffice to say that your life will forever have a slightly diminished quality if you don’t read it.

Okay, having improved your lives, let’s get back to business:

Mike Devx has noted that, having smeared the polls when they were pro-Obama, we look foolish and hypocritical if we suddenly embrace them now that they show Romney inching up.  He’s right.  The pollsters have lost control of the statistics.  They don’t know what the heck they’re doing, and they’re doing it with only 9% of the public helping them out.  Jon Podhoretz says that Monday, October 8, was the worst day of all, and can be called “the day polling died.”  What’s more interesting to me is what I see on Facebook and hear at the school bus stop.  Obama supporters are starting to get that startled look of someone emerging from a pleasant dream, only to discover that the real world didn’t go away.

Romney is assuming rightly that Obama will come to the next debate loaded for bear (so will Biden, leaving Ryan with the distasteful task of picking his way through Biden’s inevitable lies).  Those of us who know Obama, though, don’t believe that his renewed energy will lead to a better debate showing.  He’ll still have attached to him the problems that dogged him in the first debate.  He won’t become more articulate, he won’t have greater knowledge, and, worst of all, he’ll still be struggling to hide his core truth, which is that he doesn’t like America, doesn’t like Israel, and doesn’t believe in individualism.  If you’re trying to debate extemporaneously in a way that is counter to your underlying belief systems, you will fail.  Oh, Obama has one more problem:  hubris.  Toby Harnden has a great post summarizing Obama’s disdain for Romney and the democratic process, as well as his laziness.

And finally, on a completely different subject, Jay Greene says that there is no teacher shortage.  His starting point is the fact that classroom sizes are significantly smaller than they were when I was a student back in 1970, but outcomes are unchanged.  From there, he talks about the downsides of hiring ever more teachers in order to reach some magic point at which the teacher student ratio is perfect.  I couldn’t agree more with Greene’s conclusions.  What do you think?

Will Obama’s failure to create genuine wealth finally end Keynesian economics?

Many of Obama’s most educated supporters believe in him because they believe in Keynesian economics.  Central to that belief is the theory that government itself can be an economic engine.  If people aren’t working, have them work for the government or at least have the government fund their ostensibly “private sector” jobs.  This theory holds that all jobs are good jobs, regardless of the employer.  Indeed, ardent Keynesians say the government is both the best employer and economic manager, because it’s big enough to control the entire economy, getting money and jobs where they most need to be.

I turned my back on Keynesian theories when I finally figured out that there’s a difference between jobs and wealth.  As Milton Friedman famously said, if all that you’re interested in is employment, forget shovel-ready jobs and aim, instead, for spoon-ready jobs, which will put more people to work.  At the end of the day, whether you have ten people with digging away with shovels or one hundred people picking away with spoons, all you’ll end up with are holes.  Under this model, any benefits from fuller employment are transitory.

What creates meaningful jobs, the kind that move the economy forward instead of create a static back-and-forth of taxes to the government and make-work to the people, is a dynamic private sector.  That’s where you get innovation, imagination, and energy.  Under this free-market economic model, the government’s job is to prevent abuse.  It steps aside to allow the greed that’s necessary for capitalism, while acting affirmatively to prevent fraud, abuse, and other kinds of things that interfere with the marketplace.

During the debate, Romney was referring to this policing role when he said some regulation is not only good, but actually necessary.  It’s when the government starts managing the economy that wealth vanishes.

If you have a rich country (or, as was the case with Europe when America paid for her Cold War security, a sugar daddy), you can keep the back-and-forth of taxes and government make-work going for quite a long time.  Eventually, though, you’re left with jobs, but no wealth.  And no wealth means no taxes, which means no jobs.  Welcome to Greece.

What Romney has to do during the next month is convince undecided voters, or worried voters who aren’t as decided as they thought they were, that, while, Obama’s policies can and will create jobs (as today’s anemic, and suspect, job reports revealed), his policies not only cannot create wealth, they are antithetical to wealth creation.  I think this ad is a good start:

The Smirk

The GOP instantly produced a video focusing on Obama’s face during the debate.  It’s called “The Smirk.”  I don’t know.  To me, it looks as if Obama’s trying not to cry.

I’m watching the debate now, and I would characterize it as a bloodless, but total, massacre. Obama wearily pretends the last four years never happened, while Romney cheerfully goes for the rhetorical jugular. I’m impressed that Romney doesn’t appear mean, he appears impassioned. He cares about America.

As for Obama, all he seems to care about is having the debate end. We all know that feeling. The game starts, you realize instantly that you’re seriously over-matched, but you can’t just walk off the field. So what you do instead is go through the motions, waiting for the final whistle to blow.  Ace has a picture showing who really cared.

I will not be foolish enough to say that the election is over. Sarah Palin has rightly warned that, in past elections, when he couldn’t win clean, Obama won dirty. Nevertheless, Romney, given the chance to meet the voters face to face, finally broke free of the media narrative. From here on out, voters will pay direct attention to Romney, which is what he needed.

Incidentally, all of my liberal Facebook friends, the ones who were posting endless Obama campaign posters, did one of two things last night: they suddenly fell silent or they announced that this whole election campaign is so boring, they just wish it was over. Kind of like Obama….