For my first foray into the world of Webcasting (Is that a word?) I decided to go with topic that wasn't controversial. Hope you like it.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sphere: Related Content
Curtis Gans is the director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate at American University.
He was kind enough to offer up his opinion to CNN.com in an article concerning the GOP's prospects of picking up seats in the November mid-term elections.
In warning against the GOP moving too far to "the Right" he cites "birthers" and "Tea-Party" activists as posing the greatest danger to the GOP's prospects for a big mid-term win.
"If the 'birthers' and the Tea Party people win most of the primaries in the Republican Party, that may not yield as much of a Republican victory in the general election as if their more moderate elements win."
Gans goes on to slam Marco Rubio, the Florida senate hopeful currently giving Gov. Charlie Crist a run for his money in that state's GOP primary.
"Rubio has the enthusiasm of the birthers and the Tea Party people and others like that, and that may propel him to the nomination, but it will be harder for the Republican Party to win in Florida under Rubio than it would be under a more moderate person."
Gans manages to mention the "birthers" twice in the relatively short CNN article.
Now, Mr. Gans is a big time Democratic Party insider so his personal political preferences are obvious, however his attempts to attach the "birther" label to the entire Tea Party movement and Marco Rubio show that Gans is either being intentionally misleading or that he is hopelessly out of touch with the reality of the current divisions within the GOP.
In all honesty, I haven't heard anyone besides those on the Left even mention the "birthers" in at least six months.
Even if the dispute over Obama's birthplace were still being debated and the "birthers" demands to see President Obama's birth certificate were still being taken seriously by anyone in the media, what evidence does Gans have that "birthers" are making up a significant portion of Rubio's base?
I don't think he has any.
The reason Gans keeps bringing up the "birthers" in the CNN article--in which he was interviewed to represent the "non-partisan" group that he heads--is because Gans knows that the "birthers" show the GOP and the Tea Party movement in a negative light. They make the movement appear irrational and unbalanced.
Pointing to the "birthers" is quite common when leftist pundits and commentators are trying to prove that the Right's hatred for President Obama is just as visceral as the Left's was for George W. Bush.
Through his commentary, Gans is trying to hurt the GOP by falsely implying that the "birthers" are a powerful and organized force within the party. An individual in his position obviously knows that this is not the case.
Trust me Mr. Gans when I tell you that most conservative activists and talk-radio callers have long forgotten the non-controversy surrounding Mr. Obama's place of birth. Conservatives now have legitimate reasons to distrust President Obama. First and foremost among these, his repeated fallacious claims regarding his proposals for health care reform.
One also has to wonder if they read polls over there at the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate. If they did they would probably have noticed that the Tea-Party movement is currently polling better than both of the major political parties.
A shout-out for shoddy journalism should also go to CNN reporter Kristi Keck for putting up a tub-thumper for the Democratic Party and selling him as an unbiased political analyst. Then again, if ABC can get away with it, putting George Stephanopoulos on the air every week, then I'm sure Keck will be just fine.
Posted by Falling Panda at 7:58 PM
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Here's the first sentence of the e-mail that the White House's organizing arm "Organizing For America" sent to it's supporters today.
Yesterday's disappointing election results show deep discontent with the pace of change. I know the OFA community and the President share that frustration.
This of course implying that people aren't upset with Obama and his "progressive" agenda.
Noooooooo! The voters of Massachusetts were clearly upset that the Obama Administration hasn't federalized the Health Care system fast enough!
They don't just want some terrorists to get civilian show trials in New York City! Uh-uh! Bay State voters were sending the message that they won't rest until every single accused terrorist has had his day in a New York City courtroom!
"Damn you Barack Obama! What haven't you spent more taxpayer money?!!!"
Wow! That's some audacious propaganda right there OFA! And many members of OFA are just delusional enough to believe it.
It's one thing if Obama's trying to pull the wool over the eyes of independent voters in order to garner support for an otherwise unpopular agenda. It's a very bad sign however when you have to try and convince your most dedicated supporters not to jump ship and you do so by telling them that the message that Massachusett's voters sent, was the complete opposite of what they were actually trying to say.
Posted by Falling Panda at 9:21 PM
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Sphere: Related Content
Given the current situation in Hispaniola, it may be a bit insensitive to use the term “political earthquake” to describe what will happen to the Democratic Party if Scott Brown ends up pulling off the political upset of the decade in the bluest of deep-blue states next week.
Whatever you want to call it, a victory will be all of the proof one requires to see that the recent liberal ascension was a farce and it will put a stopper in the progressive agenda for at least the next 7 years.
So do your part. Go here and donate $5 to Scott Brown’s campaign.
Next Tuesday night could mark the beginning of the end for Barack Obama and his liberal agenda. Even if Brown loses a close race, it’s a very good sign for our prospects in November.
Posted by Falling Panda at 3:42 PM
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Sphere: Related Content
by Dan Calabrese
suppose some will agree with a mouthful of ashes: “Damn right Bush is the man of the decade – a decade that sucked!”
As you prefer. But the argument here is that George W. Bush ought to be the man of the aughts mostly for the right reasons. I would also argue that he is smack dab at the center of what was best and worst about this decade.
The best, because Bush was a rare president who saw governing as a higher calling than his own political self-preservation. This frustrated his opponents – who couldn’t intimidate him with polls and attacks – as well as many of his supporters, who couldn’t get him to fight back with the sort of ferocity it seemed might be necessary to fend off attacks from Democrats and the media.
The worst, because Bush’s presidency is a good example of how willing people were in the decade now past to believe the hints, innuendos and impressions they received from the popular discourse, without really thinking for themselves.
After twice cutting taxes in his first term, Bush ran for re-election with a strong, growing, job-creating economy. And yet his opponents and the media continued to insist that the economy was terrible. (For a real bad economy, see: Now.) For the most part, the public believed this nonsense, and seemed to re-elect Bush in spite of an economy that was actually quite good.
The public was willing to believe the conventional wisdom that Bush had alienated our allies, in spite of the fact that he had allies working with us on all kinds of innovative and effective counter-terrorism measures, and had good personal relationships with most world leaders. The public had no idea what kind of progress Bush made with world trade markets and opening up emerging parts of the world like Indonesia.
They just kept hearing on the news every night that the whole world hated us because of Bush, and they believed it.
They believed lots of other things. They believed Guantanamo Bay was a torture hell that needed to be shut down at the earliest opportunity, and didn’t start to believe the opposite until they elected a president who actually tried to do what they thought they wanted, and they started to realize Bush had been right.
And yet, in spite of the 29 percent approval rating with which he left office, Bush accomplished a lot. Throughout most of his presidency, unemployment hovered around a ridiculously low 5 percent, even as Democrats howled that it was somehow too high. If unemployment came in at 5 percent tomorrow, Democrats would throw the party of the millennium.
He ended the reign of terror of Saddam Hussein, ended Mohmmar Khadafy’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, marginalized Yasser Arafat in the Middle East and, best of all, accomplished all this over the objections of the United Nations, which he righteously told where it could stick its objections.
Bush was not perfect, and he was not effective at pushing through every good idea he had. But it counts for a lot in my book that he tried to do desperately necessary things most politicians are afraid to do.
He was the first president who took a serious crack at trying to reform Social Security, the third rail of American politics. He tried to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration. He tried as far back as 2003 to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Now, he would deserve a hell of a lot more credit if he had actually gotten these initiatives through Congress. But it’s never made sense to me that the one politician who had the courage to propose these things is blamed because the pantywaist cowards on Capitol Hill – mainly worthless pieces of crap from his own party – couldn’t muster the courage to get behind him on them.
If the departed and unlamented GOP Congress had possessed half the courage of George W. Bush, we’d be drilling in Alaska, setting up privatized Social Security accounts and maybe, just maybe, not picking up the pieces of an obliterated mortgage market.
Conservatives hold a grudge against Bush for the explosion of federal spending during his administration. This is an area where I believe he should have fought harder.
But there are some worthwhile arguments to make in Bush’s defense here. The vast majority of the increase in federal spending came from legally mandated, formulaic increases in entitlement spending, which Bush could not have stopped absent an overall reform in the entitlement programs, and from war spending. As Bush found out in 2005, Congress wouldn’t touch entitlements, and whether you liked it or not, Bush believed the right approach to fighting wars was to simply spend whatever it took.
Granted, Bush contributed to the problem with the Medicaid Part D expansion, although it can be said in his defense that at least it’s one of the few federal entitlement programs that actually seems to be working well for its recipients.
To the extent that the big-spending GOP Congress contributed to the spending spree in the areas of discretionary domestic spending, many criticize Bush for refusing to veto these budgets. I think he should have too. But if Bush felt he could only spend his political capital in certain areas, and he chose the war as his hill to die on, it’s hard to argue with that.
Supposedly Bush feared that taking on the Republican Congress publicly over their free-spending ways would create a media cause celebre that would help hand Congress back to the Democrats. If that was his thinking, it was obviously a political miscalculation. But I can’t repeat often enough that a Republican Congress never should have presented a Republican president with such a dilemma. They had the power of the purse. They could have exercised their power responsibly. They did not wish to do so.
Bush made other mistakes. He appointed Ben Bernanke to lead the Federal Reserve. He imposed steel tariffs for a brief time in 2001. He pushed through his own ineffective “stimulus,” although it was a pittance compared to Barack Obama’s, and at least Bush’s went directly to the American people instead of being plowed into pork boondoggles. He tried to put Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court, although he redeemed himself with his other choices.
And of course, it’s easy to forget now the courage, strength and resolve he exuded in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. When Bush quoted Flight 93 hero Todd Beamer in imploring the country, “Let’s roll,” you knew that he would follow his words with real action. And he did.
But a debate on the wisdom of Bush’s choices, or on the effectiveness of his style of governance, could last forever, and surely will.
In my mind, one thing sets Bush apart, and earns him the honor of representing the best of this decade: He did what he believed was right, without regard to polls or political consequences. Whether that applied to policy on embryonic stem cells or the war in Iraq, Bush was no finger-in-the-wind politician.
He was a leader. He led with class, grace and compassion. He may or may not have been a “true conservative,” whatever the hell that is supposed to mean, but he understood the presidency, and he understood this country. And he understood that he held the office to serve the interests of the people, not to serve his own.
A lot of things were wrong with the decade now passing. But the fact that Bush was president for most of it was one of the really good things. I realize not much of the public has thought so in recent years, although I suspect many are now starting to appreciate what they used to have, and are starting to ask, “Why exactly was it that we didn’t like him?”
And thinking it wouldn’t be so bad if we had him back now.
Oh, and Dick Cheney too.
Posted by Falling Panda at 4:39 PM