Monday, January 30, 2012

Chevy Volt: Obama’s Folly

There is perhaps no greater example of the stupidity of the left than the Chevy Volt. It is the story of massive government subsidies going to solve a non-existent problem which result in a product no one wants and which doesn’t really work. This thing should become the new mascot of the Democratic party, forget the donkey, the donkey’s a vision of perfection by comparison.

Created by the bailed-out General Motors, the Chevy Volt has been an unmitigated disaster. The car was meant to be an environmentalist dream. It would combat global warming by reducing carbon emissions and would one day free us from our dependence on evil oil. But that’s not quite how it turned out.

To ensure the car could be called a “success,” GM stacked the deck by doing two things. First, they limited the release of the car in 2011 to big liberal cities: Washington, D.C., New York City, Austin, Texas, and California, with subsequent roll outs in other liberal states, and then all fifty-seven states by November 2011. This was meant to make sure that plenty of environmentalists would be on hand to buy the car, so GM could report brisk sales. Further, they limited the initial production run to 10,000 to ensure they would have more demand than supply and could report a sell out.

They even gave it all kinds of incentives. For example, while the car has a suggested retail price of $40,280, buyers get: (1) a $7,500 federal tax credit under the TARP bailout, (2) a $1,500 “state” rebate through the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (more federal money), (3) a federal tax credit for the purchase and installation of the charging unit, which is listed at costing $490 plus installation, but which Consumer Reports says costs around $2,000. That’s $11,000 in subsidies to buyers.

And that’s on top of the $2.4 billion in direct subsidies given to GM by the federal government, i.e. you, to develop the Volt, not to mention the $27 billion given to keep GM afloat so they could make wonderful cars like the Volt.

That’s a lot of federal help. So how did GM do? After thirteen months of sales, GM has sold only 7,997 cars. . . they couldn’t even sell the full 10,000 they made. To give you a comparison, the Toyota Prius sold 159,000 cars in the same period.

And that’s just the beginning of the morass.

See, it turns out the car ain’t as green as they made it out to be.

The Volt actually includes a gasoline engine. So in that sense, the car is not a true electric car, but is instead a hybrid. And if you calculate the “fuel economy rating” the same way it is calculate for other hybrids, the Volt only gets 48 miles per gallon, making it one of the worst hybrids. So GM objected and argued that it was unfair to treat this car as a hybrid and instead demanded that the car be tested using only the electric engine, i.e. that the EPA pretend the owners can use the gas engine. According to GM, that would result in a fuel economy rating of 230 miles per gallon.

Team Obama, the definition of more-ass, happily agreed to play along with GM’s fraud and tested the car in the new way. But even then it couldn’t come anywhere near GM’s claims of 230 miles per gallon. Instead, they found 93 miles per gallon in electric mode and 37 miles per gallon in gasoline mode, for an overall 60 miles per gallon. By comparison, the EPA rates the Prius at 51 mpg. Also, to get the 93 mpg, you need to drive it at low speeds on the highway.

It gets worse. The EPA also measured the tailpipe emissions and found 84 grams of carbon dioxide per mile using gasoline and “nearly zero” using electricity. But a study in the UK which calculated the emissions from the electricity used to charge the battery resulted in 199 grams per mile for the electric motor. Not only is that more pollution than several other cars, but that means you actually pollute less using the gasoline engine in the Volt than you do using the electric engine. Imagine that.

And then there’s the other problem: it’s a death trap.

See, it turns out that when the Volt gets in an accident, particularly from a side hit, the batteries can be damaged. This leads to a coolant leak which causes the car to catch fire. But it doesn’t happen right away. Instead, the fire can start minutes, hours, days or weeks later. In one instance, the car caught fire three weeks after the collision. GM claims to have fixed this by adding padding to the car, but has had to offer to buy back “a couple dozen” cars from people who are now too scared to own them. A couple dozen is around 5% of the total number sold.

And that’s not the only problem with the batteries. GM put an 8 year warranty on the batteries, but estimates right now are that the battery will need to be replaced every six to eight years. The cost of that replacement? $10,000. In other words, every six to eight years, you need to put in $10,000 to keep this turkey running. Given that the resale value is expected to fall 51% in three years, that means the car is effectively disposable. . . talk about a pollution nightmare!

It’s no wonder no one wants this car.

This is what happens whenever the government gets involved in the subsidy business. No rational business would ever try to make this car. It’s too expensive (GM apparently isn’t even making money on the current prices), it pollutes more than the evil polluting cars it’s meant to replace, it costs too much to own and it’s dangerous.

Moreover, it’s fixing a problem that apparently even Global Warming enthusiasts are starting to admit doesn’t exist – according to data released by the same enthusiasts who brought you climate gate and who have repeatedly said every single year for over two decades “this year was the hottest year on record,” the world stopped warming in 1997 and has been cooling ever since!

In an age when Obama’s folly can be seen in “green tech” companies going down in flames like bankruptcy dominoes after being handed mongo Federal cash, the Volt still stands out at the zenith of stupidity.... and you’ve paid $2.5 billion dollars so far to support that stupidity. Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Should All Nominees Be Supported?

Should a political party’s nominee always be supported? Generally, the answer is yes. A political party is a collection of people whose views overlap enough to give them a common interest in getting each other elected. To that end, they form a party with the implicit agreement that they will compete with each other to represent the party and then will support the nominee regardless of the outcome of the competition. Thus, the nominee should be supported. But there is an exception.

This exception arises when (1) the nominee’s views are well outside the range of common interests which hold the party together, and (2) there is a legitimate belief that supporting this nominee will harm the long term goals of the party.

On the first point, Reagan famously said that he could support anyone with whom he agreed on 80% of the issues. Reagan was making the point that it is foolish and counterproductive to require 100% agreement with a nominee before you can support them. Indeed, 100% agreement is probably impossible. Hence, this is the reason moderates should support conservatives and conservatives should support moderates and libertarians should support social conservatives and vice versa.

But Reagan’s point also contains the implicit understanding that at some point (possibly below 80% using Reagan’s formula) there is no obligation to support the nominee. Why would this be? For that, we need to look at the question of harm.

Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to ensure their products remain consistent. They want to make sure you find the exact same amount in each cereal box, that every batch of Mac and Cheese tastes the same, that every sock has the same number of stitches, and that every Acura uses only Acura parts. Why? Because having a consistent level of quality affects how people perceive their brands. People want to know exactly what they are getting when they make a purchase and branding achieves that -- whereas failing to maintain that consistency damages the brand because people will no longer know what to expect from their purchase.

Whether we like the idea or not, a political party is nothing more than a company, and its product or brand is an ideological range. Choosing a nominee from outside that range blurs the identity of the party and damages its brand.

How? For one thing, this will alienate supporters. Supporters expect nominees to be within the ideological range. When they aren’t, the party has violated the contract under which it claims a right to the individual’s support. It is the equivalent of McDonalds selling you a Big Mac container but including a ham sandwich rather than a burger. This is a violation of trust.

Moreover, this confuses voters. When a person represents a party or ideology, their views become associated with that party or ideology and their successes/failures taint the ideology. In other words, the nominee redefines how the public views conservatism or liberalism, and their meanings change. Hence, conservatism and Republicanism came to be associated with Nixon’s views in 1968, Reagan’s views in 1980, and Bush Jr.’s views in 2000 -- I exclude Bush Sr. because he claimed to be a moderate. Liberalism, by comparison, came to be associated with FDR, LBJ, Carter, and now Obama. Clinton called himself a moderate.

Prior to LBJ, the majority political view of the nation was FDR-liberalism. This could have continued indefinitely, except LBJ disgraced liberalism. His errors in Vietnam and his monstrous Great Society wiped out the Democratic party in the South and set the stage for a conservative resurgence. Jimmy Carter finished liberalism off by proving that Democrats are reckless spenders, incompetent managers of the economy, and militarily inept and cowardly. This set the stage for Reagan.

Reagan’s success revived conservatism while also redefining it back to its roots -- away from the big-government conservatism of the Nixon years. By the time Reagan left office, conservatism had become the natural ideology of the country and 60% of the public believed it.

This could have lasted for generations, except along came George Bush Jr. He wrapped himself in the conservative label and set about running a big government, civil-liberties-crushing, crony-capitalism, foreign-adventuring administration which so thoroughly discredited conservatism that in 2008, the voters were more radically liberal and more willing to accept liberalism than they had been at any time since LBJ. The ONLY THING THAT SAVED CONSERVATISM was the election of Barack Obama. If Obama hadn’t proven to be such a disaster, conservatism would be dead today. But Obama was a disaster and he caused a massive backlash which took the form of the Tea Party.

The lesson here is simple.

Ideologies get defined by their leaders and they get punished for the sins of their leaders. If a nominee calls himself conservative but acts like a liberal, the public doesn’t blame liberalism for his crimes and failures, it blames conservatism even if that person never once acted like a true conservative. Thus, Bush and Nixon, neither of whom could be called conservatives, discredited conservatism. LBJ/Carter/Obama, each of who were progressives and not liberals, discredited liberalism. And in each case, the only thing to save conservatism/liberalism was pure luck that someone worse came along to discredit the other side. If Moderate Joe Democrat had come along after George Bush Jr., we could well be looking at an America that views liberalism as the natural order of things and sees conservatism as meaning reckless spending, bad economic management, and cronyism.

Moreover, the nominee need not even be as disastrous as a Bush/Obama to harm the ideology. The goal of politics is to effect long term change in the country. That is simply not possible when the person representing your ideology holds views that are inconsistent with the ideology. This muddies the ideological waters and confuses the differences between the parties. In other words, when the Republicans and the Democrats both push the same solutions to the same issues, voters will come to believe there is no difference, and they will either stop voting or they will pick the party that promises them the most loot -- advantage Democrats.

This is what happens when you pick someone who is far outside the acceptable ideological range for the party or who happens to be insane. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if Newt or Santorum or Romney or Paul are so far outside the bounds that you should not support them, but ask yourself: “how bad would it be for the party, for my beliefs, and for the country if conservatism came to be defined in the way ____ sees it?”

Winning elections is important, but you don’t want to sacrifice the future to win a single election.

By the way, there's an interesting poll out which shows that 33% of Republicans want a new candidate to jump into the race. This is down from 68% only two months ago. I think the field is set.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Manatee Madness Debate Wrap Up

There was another debate last night. It stank. Yeah, even by the standards of recent debates, this was a turkey. Here’s what happened.

Winner: Brian Williams. Williams manipulated the candidates like a chess master last night. He got them fighting each other. He tossed mud and they re-tossed it. He had them buying into leftist assumptions all night and pledging fealty to leftist ideals. He also did his best to prolong the horserace and thereby help Obama by making Romney and Gingrich look bad while making Santorum and Paul look good.

Loser: Newt. Here’s why Newt should have lost. Newt lied through his teeth and proved repeatedly that he’s a slimeball. Here are some samples:
● Romney very accurately went through Newt’s baggage. Newt attacked him for telling “at least four lies.” What were these supposed lies? Newt sidestepped: “I’m not going to waste time going through them.” That’s because they weren’t lies and Newt knew it. But in making this kind of defense, Newt dodged his entire record and called Romney a liar, even though Newt was actually the one lying. This is a schoolyard bully tactic.

● Newt was sent packing by the House Republicans in disgrace. Last night, Newt actually tried to claim HE asked the Republicans to vote to censure him because he was becoming “a distraction to the cause.” How noble. Of course, this is a stunning lie and Ron Paul called him on it later. Newt also claimed he wasn’t fined, despite the $300,000 fine that’s on the record. Apparently, Newt is betting you’re too stupid to look it up.

● Newt claimed in prior debates that he created Ronald Reagan and Reaganomics. Anyone with a brain knows this is a lie, and last time, Romney countered that Newt is only mentioned once in Reagan’s Diary. Nevertheless, Newt repeated the claim last night and added a suggestion that he created Barry Goldwater too. This is Megalomania.

● Newt tries to pilfer supporters by talking about how much he agrees with certain candidates without ever actually saying how he agrees with them. Last night it was Santorum’s turn. He also pandered again to the Ron Paul people on the Fed and on gold by claiming views Newt has never held.

● Slimeball Newt keeps making smears while claiming he has no intention of smearing his target. For example, he said he wouldn't make an issue of the tax rate Romney paid. . . right before smearing Romney for not paying enough in taxes because he’s rich. This is the politics of envy and anti-capitalism.

● Newt lied big time and smeared Romney about lobbying. Freddie Mac’s lobbying office paid Newt $25,000 a month to act as a consultant, which apparently involved visiting Congressmen on its behalf. That’s called “lobbying.” Yet, Newt used a false technicality to claim he was never a lobbyist: he claims he was a “consultant” and not a “lobbyist.” Except lobbyists always call themselves consultants, and what really matters in determining whether someone is a lobbyist is what they do, not what their job titles are. Newt was a lobbyist and he knows it and he’s lying to hide it.

He also tried to turn a million dollar lobbying income into $30,000 by claiming he only got a small portion of the amount he was paid because the rest went to a business, which is wholly owned by. . . Newt.

Then he doubled down on gall by accusing Romney of being a lobbyist because Romney also worked as a consultant. Only, “consultant” is a generic title for anyone who performs special tasks under contract rather than as an employee. No evidence has been produced suggesting Romney ever lobbied or worked in the lobbying industry. Newt’s suggestion to the contrary is a lie.

He then also tried to claim that all of Bain Capital’s income was actually Romney’s income, even though the claim is ridiculous.

● Newt said he opposes the DREAM Act, but he again promptly said he supports its parts. Then he mis-described the act to make it sound palatable: Newt argued that it provides a path to citizenship for those who serve in the military. But that’s already the law. The DREAM Act gives citizenship for college attendance and uses taxpayer funds to pay for the tuition.
But conservatives are proving they aren’t smart enough to distinguish between substance and the Big Shiny, so that’s not why Newt lost. Newt lost last night because he didn’t deliver the Big Shiny. His attacks on the media fell flat, the audience didn’t whoop, he landed no blows, and he never looked commanding. And without the Big Shiny, he’s just an ass.

Perfect Attendance: Romney. Romney gave a great defense of capitalism, refused to apologize for being successful, gave a great defense of English only (it’s the key to success to “speak the language of America” and teaching students in foreign languages leaves them unprepared for school -- when they changed the law in Massachusetts to require English immersion their schools shot up the charts), and he landed a few solid blows on Gingrich. But I don’t think conservatives were listening. They’re too busy proving the media’s meme about conservatives having crushes on whoever is hot at the moment.

Winner: Santorum. Santorum is a noxious socialist and a liar. But Brian Williams helped package him as a “genuine conservative” by repeatedly touting his conservatism as a fact, by never asking him about controversial issues, by posing the questions as softballs, and by never following up on the answers no matter how ridiculous. For example, he didn’t even follow up when Santorum said there was good capitalism and “destructive capitalism.” He also let Santorum get away with implying he was opposed to illegal immigration because “they broke the law when they came here and every day when they work illegally” even though Santorum has actually worked to make it impossible to stop illegals from working.

Winner: Paul. As with Santorum, Williams did his best to hide Paul’s crazy. He tossed out softballs and avoided anything truly controversial.

All in all, last night felt like a wash. There was no decisive win, no decisive moment, and I doubt any candidate helped themselves much. The one guy who was probably most hurt was Newt who failed to deliver the Big Shiny, but we’ll have to see how that affects his supporters. At this point, Florida will come down to a few factors: (1) Will more moderates or more conservatives turn out on the 31st? Florida always seems to shift toward the center from what the polls predict. (2) Will enough people who know Newt come out and explain why they aren’t supporting him. (3) Can Newt get a Big Shiny in Thursday’s debate and will people remember it when they vote? Apparently, 1/3 of Florida has already voted. And (4) who will Democrats vote for to cause the most problems?

Finally, let me ask this. The complaint about Romney is that he flipped from moderate to conservative. That’s a legitimate complaint. But how does it make sense for conservatives to prefer candidates who not only held the same moderate views Romney did, but have never made the flip to conservatism?

Don't Forget: There's a new Politics of Trek today at the film site.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The All-Rat News Roundup

It’s time to get you caught up on the news. Today’s roundup has a special theme: rats. They’re everywhere and now they have rights.

King Rat: Lord Obama has decided he will formally accept the Democratic nomination at the 74,000 seat Bank of America stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. A couple thoughts:
1. It’s stunning hubris for an incumbent president to accept the nomination of his party at a 74,000 seat stadium when he is unopposed.

2. Given Obama’s recent inability to even fill pool halls when he speaks, should we wonder how many people will show up to this shindig?

3. How ironic that Obama picks a stadium named after a TARP bank!

4. Do you think the rich will descend from their stadium luxury boxes to mix with the peons?

5. This will be hurricane season, let’s hope God gets his smite on.
Rat Relocators: Washington, D.C., which leads the country in homicides, corruption and abject stupidity, has passed the idiotic law to end all idiotic laws: the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010. This thing is so crazy you couldn’t make it up. It provides that exterminators may no longer kill rats and other vermin. Instead, they must be captured. . . in families. . . and then relocated to Virginia or Maryland. A few questions:
1. Do they have to do DNA tests to determine if they’re all from the same family? And how do they know they caught them all?

2. What, no counseling?

3. Can they incarcerate their captives until they have the whole family or do they need to get them all at once?
Rat Hunter: In 2008, Romney was lampooned when he said he hunts “small varmints” when people demanded to know if he hunts. Apparently, you must hunt BIG GAME to show you support the Second Amendment. This time around, Romney got confused between moose (meese?) hunting and elk hunting. So naturally, idiots like David Asselrod jumped on this by joking that Romney was “on the horns of a dilemma.” (fyi, they’re called antlers David. . . if you’re going to poke fun at someone, don’t be a bigger idiot).

The issue of hunting came up in the debate as well. And this raises a question which has been bother me: when did the Second Amendment become about hunting? The Second Amendment isn’t there to protect hunting. It has NOTHING to do with that. The Second Amendment is a right to be armed to defend yourself against an overbearing government or whatever else may come your way, i.e. criminals, meese, foreign invaders, E.T. To require a candidate to prove they’ve killed some animal just to demonstrate their fealty to the Second Amendment is as ridiculous as requiring them to curse in public to show they support the First Amendment.

Dirty Rats: Why are Republicans demanding that Romney release his taxes? What are they expecting to find? “Oh look, he took the ‘sponsor a pedophile’ deduction!” All this can do is harm the nominee by playing into class warfare arguments where rich journalists decry the amount of money Republicans make while ignoring the much richer Democrats. But more importantly, in America, it’s nobody’s business what you make. And Republicans need to stop playing this game.

Sinking Ship Rats: Today is the day of the SOPA boycott when many websites (e.g. the Wikipedia) will shut themselves down to protest SOPA and PIPA. The bills are starting to fail. Not only will neither bill apparently be brought to a vote, but as the rats in Congress and the Senate have come to realize just how angry the public is at this, they’ve started to flee the sinking ship. Scott Brown and a group of Senate Republicans are the latest to declare their opposition. Even one of PIPA’s sponsors, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md), now opposes the bill. Apparently, Obama objecting the bill has scared the Democrats and reality has woken up many of the Republicans.

No doubt Republicans Lamar Smith and Marsha Blackburn are confused how the country could suddenly be so overrun with communists. Perhaps they should call for an exterminator relocator?

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Debate Wrap: Romney By A Length

. . . and the debates keep coming. Last night was the first of two debates this week from South Carolina. It was an interesting night and it will be interesting to see if this changes the race. Romney continues to roll and Perry helped himself a lot. Newt did well, sort of. The rest, not so much. Let’s discuss.

Loser: Juan Williams. Juan was the biggest loser because he proved he’s a race baiter extraordinaire. All he talked about was racism: cutting taxes is racist, being white is racist, not offering money to poor blacks is racist, telling blacks they need jobs is racist, the word “poor” is code word for “black” and is racist, repeating Obama’s words is racist, and criticizing Obama is racist. Juan even suggested that Romney betrayed his own race (he’s part Mexican) because he’s opposed to illegal immigration and won’t pander to Hispanics on that issue. Juan needs therapy.

Winner: Mitt Romney. Romney won the debate, hands down. Not only did he handle the other’s attacks on him well, but he continues to come across as increasingly more conservative (and thoughtfully conservative). For example:

When they attacked his Bain Capital record, Romney pointed out that Bain bought over 100 different businesses and turned most of them around (22 ended up in bankruptcy). The steel mill he shut down in South Carolina only closed after seven years of Bain trying to turn it around, it failed because of Chinese dumping of steel, and Bain later managed to open a newer mill in Indiana. This, he pointed out, gave him solid knowledge of how the economy really works and of the threat posed by China. He also mentioned that Bain’s companies created more than 120,000 jobs.

He then mentioned that his success as Bain led to him being asked to rescue the Olympics, which he did. And during his time as Governor of Massachusetts, the state had a 4.7% unemployment rate, a balanced budget, they reduced taxes nineteen times, and filled a “rainy day” fund with $2 billion. In effect, he went from success to success to success and proved he could succeed in the real economy, succeed at fixing bureaucratic messes, and succeed in running a state dominated by Democrats. That’s a solid sales pitch which easily defused the attacks on Bain.

In addition to defending his record, Romney continues to take solid conservative positions on taxes, regulations, deficits, foreign policy, military strength and even social issues. Moreover, he keeps making excellent conservative promises in each debate. This time he promised to (1) halt ALL “Obama era regulations,” effectively reversing Obama’s term, (2) push for voluntary self-directed retirement accounts, and (3) get rid of all campaign finance laws. It was another strong night for him.

Winner: Rick Perry. Apparently, Rick Perry has a retarded twin named Goober Perry. For some strange reason, they let Goober handle the debates up to this point. Last night, Rick stepped in and the difference was remarkable. It’s not that Rick said anything substantive, he didn’t, but for once he sounded like he knew what he was talking about. Indeed, he made it clear that he favors lower taxes and less regulation. He attacked the regulatory abuses of the EPA, Obama’s Labor Board’s attacks on Boeing, and the Justice Department’s interference in state voting issues. He attacked something he called Obama’s war against organized religion. He said Obama’s claim that the border with Mexico is secure is ludicrous and that traffic only slowed because this is the worst economy in 40 years. He defended the soldiers who urinated on the Taliban corpses by contrasting this with the Taliban killing and desecrating Americans. And most interestingly, he made the point that it’s not the government’s responsibility to fix housing and said (roughly): “the best way to get the economy going is not to think about how much we can push the government into the economy, but instead to think of ways to get it out of the economy.”

If this Rick Perry had showed up early on, he would be cruising to an easy win. But he didn’t. So now the question is, does this help Perry or not? Can he steal back voters who have fled to megalomaniac Gingrich or socialist Rick Santorum? It’s not clear, but Rick probably bought his campaign more life after the debacles of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Sort of Loser: Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is a frustrating candidate and last night really displayed why. He is capable of excellence in debating, especially at flipping sucker punches back onto hapless fools like Juan Williams and really taking them down. BUT there’s never any substance to his answers. Instead, he just makes a lot of noise attacking the questioner, mentions Ronald Reagan a dozen times, and then leaves an impression that he would do something different than Obama or the questioner. . . but he never actually tells you what he would do. Example:
Q. “Newt, should the government sell strawberry ice cream?”
A. “I find it insulting that you would ask such a blatantly biased question at a time when few Americans can afford ice cream of any type, and I certainly am not like Obama who doesn’t even realize that strawberry ice cream exists.”
Q. “But should the government sell it?”
A. “Look, I worked with Ronald Reagan and I’m not like Obama.”
Newt’s performance reeks of bread and circuses, but the clown act serves him well with a public that long ago lost the ability to spot substance. He was quite entertaining last night, but as you’ll see below, he lost because of Perry’s surge.

Loser: Ricky Santorum. Ricky again exposed himself as a socialist and a liar. He spent the night denying his own votes and pretending he actually led the charge against the things he voted for. In one particularly galling moment, he tried to deny his vote to force states to let felons vote by (1) attacking Romney for being a governor of a state that lets felons vote (something Romney did not support or sign into law), (2) somehow wrapping himself in the Tenth Amendment and declaring this a state issue, and (3) suggesting it was racist not to let felons vote. In effect, he denied his own vote, accused Romney of doing what only Rick himself had done, accused Romney of not being a conservative because he lived in a state which did what Rick tried to force upon every state, and then flipped it around and accused Romney (and conservatism) of racism for not doing what Rick now denies that he himself did. . . by hey, it’s a state issue. This happened all night on issue after issue and I’ve come to believe Rick is a pathological liar with no sense of shame.

Rick was also rude, as usual, and debates like an angry child. He also has a habit of flip-flopping in the middle of answers. And even beyond that, Rick’s a socialist. He does not trust you to invest in your own retirement, he wants the government to do it for you. He wants to micromanage the economy and stated very clearly that he believes certain companies should be given tax breaks and others not depending on which competitive forces he thinks are at play. But don’t worry, he assured us, he is all for capitalism once he and the government have fixed the economy.

Worse yet, Rick will latch onto any liberal attack and run with it. Last night, he played the race card twice, first when he attacked Romney for wanting to keep felons from voting, which Rick suggested was racist against blacks, and when he played along with Juan Williams’ equation that “poor equals black” and thus not giving money to the poor equals racism. Rick also suggested very strongly that he supports affirmative action.

There is some speculation that Rick is playing for the VP slot, but only a fool would pick the toxic Santorum as a running mate, especially with Allen West saying yesterday that he’s open to being on the ticket.

Loser: Ron Paul. Paul is insane and last night was just too much. Once again he suggested our problems in the Middle East were because we started it by bombing these countries. Then he played the race card by suggesting that the war on drugs is racist and that our criminal justice system is racist. So not only is Paul’s foreign and military policy suicidal, and his economic policy little more than extreme platitudes, but now he’s playing right into liberal smears on conservatism.
Last night helped Romney once again. Not only did he continue to seem presidential, but the anybody-but-Romney camp will remain split and in disarray. With Paul draining away 15% of the vote and Romney earning a consistent 40%, the only hope of the anybody-but-Romney forces is for one of the other three to emerge as the ABR champion. But Gingrich, Santorum and Perry are all horrid candidates, which is preventing any of them from becoming the natural challenger to Romney. Moreover, with Perry showing actual competence last night, he will likely steal back lost supporters from Santorum and Gingrich and thereby stop either of them from pulling ahead.

And in truth, I must say Romney really is earning the nomination. With each passing debate he becomes a better debater and sounds more conservative. He has slowly but surely raised my comfort level with him.

Thoughts? (fyi, there’s another debate Thursday night. . . ugh.)

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Obama Offers Republicans Key To The Future!

By now you may have heard that Obama is proposing to “eliminate,” “shrink” or “trim” some agencies. Well, no. In reality, this is just an attempt to look like someone who is concerned about making the government smaller. Nevertheless, the Republicans have a key opportunity here and they should seize it. Here’s the dealio:

The What: Obama proposes to consolidate agencies that focus on trade and commerce. Basically, Obama wants to merge the Department of Commerce’s core business-related functions with five smaller agencies: the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Trade and Development Agency.

However, what he’s really proposing is that Congress give him broad power to reshape the federal government. This power was initially granted to FDR during the Great Depression and was something every President had until the Democrats let it expire in 1984 to stop Reagan from using it. That is what Obama is asking Congress to give him, with the idea being he will use it to perform the consolidation mentioned above.

The Why: Obama’s stated reason for doing this is that consolidation saves money:
“No business or nonprofit leader would allow this kind of duplication or unnecessary complexity in their operations. So why is it okay in our government? It’s not. It has to change.”
It’s too bad Obama doesn’t really believe that. In any event, to give you a sense of how laughable his proposal is, by Obama’s own count, this would result in the elimination of only 1,000 jobs along with a supposed savings of only $3 billion over the next decade. That works out to $300 million per year, or 0.008% of the federal budget, about 8 cents out of every thousand dollars spent. Aim high my Kenyan Overlord! Of course, this comes at a time when his A-holiness is asking for an increase in the debt ceiling of $1.2 trillion and an additional $447 billion jobs bill.

His real reason for doing this, of course, is political. He knows the public is outraged at the government binge on his watch and he needs to show he can actually cut the government. But at the same time, he has to do it without offending any of the leaches who live off the government, i.e. his supporters. By shuffling the chairs around at Club Fed, he can tell the gullible part of the public that he’s so conservative he did something Reagan couldn’t -- he cut an agency. But at the same time, his backers can laugh at the rest of us because nothing will actually change.

Of course, giving him broad power to reshape the federal government could allow him to do more, but that seems unlikely because he can’t ADD to the government using the reorganization power. Thus, I wouldn’t expect him to do much.

The Why Not: Believe it or not, some people are upset about this. Specifically, Big Business is concerned that their favorite vending machines would be moved to more responsible agencies. They are particularly concerned about the loss of prestige/influence of having their favorite programs jammed into other agencies rather than remaining standing alone as separate agencies. The Chamber of Commerce has expressed this concern, as have their spokesmen Max Baucus (D-Mont) and Dave Camp (R-Mich), who claim this will hamper the government’s ability “to aggressively open new markets to American-made goods and services and create US jobs.”

Yeah, sure.

The Reason We Should Do This: The Republicans absolutely should support this proposal and give Obama broad powers to reshape the federal government and to trim/eliminate programs. Here’s why:
1. Obama won’t be President in 2013. A Republican will. And the Democrats will never give this power to a Republican. But they will give it to Obama. Thus, the Republicans should pass this now, while they can, so President GenericRepublican can use it to slash the federal government in 2013.

For those concerned that Obama might misuse this power, consider this. First, Obama can’t “grow” the government using this power, he can only shrink it. Secondly, by the time it passes, there will only be maybe eight months left in his administration. That’s not enough time to do anything in Fed-land. That means whatever he does can be undone by President GenericRepublican before it ever takes effect.

2. Republicans claim to be reformers, but that claim sounds hollow if they won’t create the tools that will allow reform.

3. This is the sort of thing Republicans can do to show moderates that they aren’t just opposed to Obama. Being seen as positive reformers could be worth 1-2% in the general election and could mean a couple critical seats.

4. The Republicans need to show they are willing to make changes which upset corporate welfare types. If they keep protecting everything Big Business wants, even when the only complaint is a loss of prestige, then the Republicans might as well quit pretending they represent anyone who isn’t incorporated.

5. Finally, the Republicans should pass this with some additional reforms attached. In other words, they should call Obama’s bluff. Give him what he wants, but cut deeper: eliminate programs, consolidate administrative staff, and genuinely wipe out redundancies. If Obama wants to pretend to be a real reformer, then offer him real cuts and put him on the spot with his own people. Challenge him to put up or shut up.
This is one of those bill that could be a game changer in the future if the Republicans have the vision to see it.
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Update: For those who recall the SOPA issue from last week, Obama has signaled that he’s opposed to this Stalinist bill. Amazingly, Obama is on the right side for once. Naturally, the usual suspects are now freaking out, including Hollywood, the Record Companies, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. Also, Lamar Smith is beside himself at the public’s outrage and can’t understand how the country is suddenly full of dirty communists. Up yours, Lamar!

P.S. There’s a debate tonight, so join us and tell us how much you miss Jon Huntsman!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crony Capitalism Targets The Internet

The internet has shattered monopolies everywhere. Journalists have discovered to their horror that the public can now find information without them, and doesn’t need their “analysis.” Self-publishing is killing publishers and is about to hit record companies. Retailers are horrified that you can buy anything from anywhere in the world without going through them. Hollywood is horrified that because people have greater choices, their attendance is crashing. Oh my! What to do?! Answer: call the government!

The issue in question is called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Its Senate fellow-traveler is called the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Ostensibly these bills are aimed at stopping “online piracy” by “rogue foreign websites.” But in reality, they’re aimed at controlling the web. And it’s no surprise they’re backed by a bevy of Big Business monopolies: Hollywood, record companies, media companies, drug companies, unions and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Sadly Republicans are in this up to their necks. Rep. Lamar Smith wrote SOPA because it’s a “good policy that protects American consumers from dangerous counterfeit goods and American business from having their products and profits stolen from foreign thieves.” Conservative (read: “idiot”) Marsha Blackburn actually claims this bill is conservative and that: “The same radical left-wing special interests groups that advocated for Obama’s so-called net neutrality regulations are trying to hijack conservative principles and mislead the public about SOPA.”

By the way, radical left winger Patrick Leahy wrote the Senate version, which should tell you all you need to know this... and Marsha’s judgment.

In any event, here’s why the bill is bad and anything but conservative.

This bill allows the US government and corporations to require internet service providers to block access to websites which they allege infringe on intellectual property rights. It also allows the government and these corporations to force companies like PayPal to block payments to websites which they claim infringe. And it allows copyright holders to sue these websites AND to sue sites like Google which link to them and sites like Facebook which host them if they don’t do enough (whatever that means) to block access to copyright-protected content. That’s like being able to sue the phone company because it gave a phone number to someone who stolen your film idea.

How does “conservative” Marsha Blackburn respond? “The fact is SOPA only applies to dedicated foreign rogue sites that are harming American consumers and creators.”

Except, that’s not how it works. The practical effect of this bill will be that search engines like Google will be forced to monitor the content of the sites to which they link. If the content could potentially violate a copyright, then Google must exclude it from the search. Think about that. That’s asking the phone company to make sure you aren’t doing anything illegal so long as they supply you with a phone number.

But hey, who needs Google? You can still get there if you know the name of the website, right? Nope. Your service provider can be sued if it doesn’t stop you from going there. In fact, the bill originally required your ISP to redirect you to a warning page if you tried to visit one of these sites. That language has been taken out and a “voluntary” provision has been put in its place. Of course, “voluntary” is just another way of saying “mandatory” when people can sue you to enforce it.

But wait, this only apply to foreign websites, right? Hardly. The law does say foreign websites, but how does Google know what’s foreign and what’s not when people can post on proxy servers? And if Google develops the skills to exclude copyright violating material in foreign websites, do you really think US courts won’t hold them liable for not doing the same for US websites? Don’t forget, the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act is still out there. It provided a safe harbor for ISPs and search engines on the basis that so long as it wasn’t possible to filter these things out, then they didn’t need to do it. Once they show they can do it on foreign websites, that safe harbor goes away for domestic sites.

It’s no surprise that Google, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, AOL, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Mozilla, PayPal and many, many more object to this. Even Wikipedia founder Jay Walsh says this will threaten the way the Wikipedia works. Flikr will apparently be shut down. I would suspect Blogger will too because Google (owner of Blogger) could be sued if, for example, we uploaded illegal content here.

What’s more, while retard Marsha Blackburn thinks this bill is conservative, ask yourself if ANY conservative would ever set up a legal system where you are guilty until you prove your innocence in court. That’s what SOPA does. Once an allegation is made that a site contains copyrighted material, the Big Business complainer goes to court and gets an order shutting you down. Once the order is entered, they send a copy to your ISP, to search engines and to money-processing companies like PayPal. They are then required to shut you out or they face liability themselves. That’s when you finally get involved in the process. Now that you’ve been found guilty, and you are suddenly kicked off the net, you have the right to go to court and prove that you were wrongly black-listed. A year or two later (and minus mucho legal fees), you’ll probably be back on line. That’s a great way to take out a competitor at a crucial time.

I guess Marsha Blackburn learned conservatism at the knee of Joseph Stalin. And for the record, this puts our government in the same company as China, Iran, Libya and Tunisia.

Lest you think I’m blowing this out of proportion, BOTH leftist and conservative bloggers have gone to war against the idiots who are sponsoring this assault on the internet and freedom on behalf of Hollywood, the music industry and drug companies. They are particularly outraged that this could destroy political blogging because it is so easily abused. Erick Erickson of RedState is actually leading the charge. He’s promising to fight to unseat any of the Stalinists who support this thing:
“I love Marsha Blackburn. She is a delightful lady and a solidly conservative member of Congress. And I am pledging right now that I will do everything in my power to defeat her in her 2012 reelection bid due to her co-sponsorship for SOPA. . . . If members of Congress do not pull their name from co-sponsorship of SOPA, the left and right should pledge to defeat each and every one of them.”
Fortunately, much of the corporate backing for this bill is starting to collapse. GoDaddy just found out how stupid it was to support this when people began boycotting GoDaddy en mass. They’ve since withdrawn their support, as have other large corporations and scores of law firms.

Paul Ryan ran into this issue when he gave a noncommittal response when asked if he supports it and found himself blasted. He now firmly opposes it. Naturally, Ricky Santorum, champion of the (non-gay) common man supports it. Newt apparently does too. Romney doesn’t, which makes him the only conservative on this issue.

Sadly, too many Republicans are little more than whores who do the bidding of Big Business. The list of companies who favor this reads like a who’s who of monopolists who have failed to innovate, failed to embrace technology, and simply don’t want to spend time or effort rectifying their past failures. Thus, they have called their minions in Congress and asked the government to cover up their mistakes.

It’s time Republicans stop this crap! CONSERVATISM DOES NOT SUPPORT GOVERNMENT REGULATION TO PROTECT LARGE COMPANIES! And since Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Smith apparently don’t understand that, they need to be voted out.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Republican Candidates Fall For Smear, Again

Some people never learn. These people are called failing Republican candidates. This time the media smeared Mitt Romney and like a pack of jackasses these candidates bought into it hook, line and sinker and promptly set about blasting Romney. . . and capitalism. Ug.

Here’s the set up. The Washington Post and other liberal outlets reported the other day that Mitt Romney said he likes to fire people. In fact, as presented by the leftist Post, the quote reads: “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”

That sounds kind of Grinchy. But it’s not actually what Romney said. Here’s what Romney said:
“I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. You know, if someone doesn’t give me a good service that I need, I want to say I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me.”
This is not what the Post described it as. Romney is not saying he likes firing people. He is saying he likes having choices as a consumer. He likes having the ability to change companies when he doesn’t like the service being provided and he wants Americans to have that power when it comes to health insurance companies. This is how all Americans think.

Of course, this didn’t stop the idiots from jumping on the liberal smear-version.

Rick Perry, who really is proving to be a total dipsh*t, turned the “I like to fire people” portion of the quote into a ringtone that people could download. Then he channeled Karl Marx and said this about Romney’s time at Bain:
“Allowing these companies to come in and loot the, loot people’s jobs, loot their pensions, loot their ability to take care of their families and I will suggest they’re just vultures. They’re vultures that sitting out there on the tree limb waiting for the company to get sick and then they swoop in, they eat the carcass. They leave with that and they leave the skeleton. I don’t think they want someone who has killed jobs in South Carolina on the altar of making more money for themselves and their company.”
It doesn’t even make sense what Rick is saying, how could Romney make money buying companies and letting them fail? This is Oliver Stone “I know nothing about finance but I hate it” thinking. But even worse, this is Marxism. Rick is criticizing the very idea of capitalism here. He is saying that somehow it’s wrong (1) to buy another company, (2) to fire employees, and (3) to seek profit.

Gingrich piled on, saying: “If somebody comes in, takes all the money out of your company and then leaves you bankrupt while they go off with millions, that’s not traditional capitalism.” This is, of course, nonsense as well because no one gives a company away for nothing so someone else can suck millions of dollars out of it. Huntsman jumped on this too just as stupidly.

The Club for Growth, the driving force behind much of modern economic conservatism, blasted these attacks:
“[The] attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital are disgusting. Because of the efforts of Bain Capital, major companies like Staples, Domino’s Pizza, and the Sports Authority now employ thousands of people and have created billions in wealth in the private economy. Attacking Governor Romney for participating in free-market capitalism is just beyond the pale for any purported ‘Reagan Conservative.’”
Ron Paul also has properly defended Romney.
“I think they’re wrong. I think they’re totally misunderstanding the way the market works. They are either just demagoguing or they don’t have the vaguest idea how the market works. . . You save companies, you save jobs when you reorganize companies that are going to go bankrupt. And they don’t understand that.”
Gingrich, by the way, finally backed away from attacking the “I like to fire people” quote claiming that he didn’t know it had been taken out of context, but he has yet to repudiate his sudden embrace of Marxism.

This is frustrating. Once again, these candidates fall for an MSM smear without ever bothering to ask whether there is any truth to the smear. What’s worse, they knee-jerk attack Romney by blasting capitalism. All this does is reinforce liberal propaganda -- capitalism is evil and heartless and profit is bad. This is shameful and it hurts conservatism.

It’s no wonder 58% of Republicans want more choices.

Romney, by the way, had a devastating response to Gingrich and Perry:
“It is no surprise that, having spent nearly half a century in government between them, Speaker Gingrich and Governor Perry have resorted to desperate attacks on a subject they don’t understand. We expect attacks on free enterprise from President Obama and his allies on the left — not from so-called ‘fiscal conservatives. Speaker Gingrich and Governor Perry seem to think that running against the private sector is the way to revive their floundering campaigns.”

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Real Rick Santorum

With the implosion of everyone else, Rick Santorum is now being given his turn to run as the anti-Romney. And many conservatives are jumping on Ricky’s bandwagon with the idea that he’s more conservative than Romney. Don’t believe it. Let’s talk about Ricky.

● “Conservative” Rick: Rick claims to be an all-around, genuine, dyed-in-the-wool conservative. But would a conservative do this?
● Rick voted to create the Medicare prescription drug benefit entitlement.
● Rick opposes even the voluntary use of eVerify, which would keep illegal aliens from getting jobs.
● Rick voted for Ted Kennedy’s No Child Left Behind.
● Rick voted to force states to let convicted felons vote.
● Rick voted to give $1 billion to bailout the steel industry.
● Rick voted for the ban on “assault weapons.”
● Rick voted to make it illegal to sell guns without a secure storage or safety device.
● Rick voted to fund anti-gun education programs in schools.
● Rick voted against the National Right To Work Act, which allows non-union shops.
● Rick twice voted against repealing the Davis-Bacon Act, which is how the federal government supports union labor through government contracts.
● Rick twice voted to make it easier for unions to unionize FedEx. This bill was created by UPS and the Teamsters, and is essentially what Obama has done to Boeing, except it was done at the behest of a competitor.
● Rick voted to fund the legal services corporation, which pursues left-wing litigation around the country, e.g. suing cities to increase benefits or suing landlords to stop evictions.
● Rick voted to make fuel price gouging a federal crime.
● Rick opposed creating an independent Board of Governors to investigate IRS abuses.
● Rick voted to require a union representative be placed on the IRS oversight board, and then voted to exempt the IRS union representative from criminal ethics laws.
● Rick opposed cutting funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
● Rick supported a large number of liberal nominees including Sonia Sotomayor to the Circuit Court, Richard Holbrooke to be UN Ambassador, and Alexis Herman to be Secretary of Labor.
● In 2004, Rick endorsed Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey and cut an ad telling voters “Specter is with us on the votes that matter.”
● In 2006, Rick ran campaign ads playing up his bipartisan work with Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer: “Because it makes more sense to wrestle with America’s problems than with each other.”
● “Fiscal Conservative” Rick: Rick claims to be a fiscal conservative. Yet. . .
● Rick supported every budget during the Bush years, despite their then-record spending and then-record deficits.
● Rick now claims he opposes earmarks, but he previously said: “The idea that earmarks are the problem in Washington, D.C., is just ridiculous.” He also sought more than a billion dollars in earmarks, including such ridiculous things as $300,000 for a bilingual health care study, $250,000 for an “African-American cultural center” in Pittsburgh, $96 million to build a light rail system into Pittsburgh, $2 million to renovate the Vulcan Monument in Alabama, funding of museums in Nebraska and Seattle, the Stand Up for Animals Project in Rhode Island, etc.
● Rick voted for the Bridge to Nowhere.
● Rick voted for mandatory federal child care funding.
● Rick voted to increase funding for the Department of Education by $3.1 billion.
● Rick voted to provide $2 billion in home heating subsidies.
● Rick voted to increase social services block grants from $1 billion to $2 billion.
● Rick voted to give taxpayers $100 rebates on gas prices.
● Rick voted to create a $140 billion asbestos compensation fund, and voted against requiring uniform medical requirements to ensure claims were legitimate. Think “Pigford.”
● Rick voted to give $18 billion to the IMF.
● Rick opposed food stamp reform.
● Rick opposed Medicaid reform.
● Rick voted to divert gas taxes to pay for Amtrak.
● Rick voted to increase Amtrak funding by $550 million.
● Rick voted to increase spending on social programs by $7 billion.
● Rick voted to increase community development programs by $2 billion.

● Rick opposed the flat tax.
● Rick voted twice for internet taxes.
● Rick voted four times to raise tobacco taxes to fund Medicare prescription drugs, to pay $8 billion in child health insurance, to increase NIH funding, and to provide health insurance subsidies to small business.
● Rick voted to raise taxes by $9.4 billion to increase student loans.
● Rick opposed repealing Clinton’s gas tax increase.
● Super Hawk Rick: Rick claims everyone else is weak on defense and he specifically attacks Obama for not doing enough about terrorist states like Iran and Syria. So why did Rick do this?
● Rick voted for the Chemical Weapons Convention and then voted against forcing the President to certify that Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, North Korea and China have joined before the CWC would become effective.
● Rick voted to allow the sale of supercomputers to China.
● Rick voted to give North Korea $25 million in foreign aid.
● Rick voted to ban landmines.
● Rick voted for the START II Treaty.
● Rick voted against requiring President Clinton to get Congress’s authorization for military action in Bosnia.
● Ricky the Lobbyist: While Rick claims to be an outsider, he served 16 years in the House and Senate. What’s more he is deeply immersed in lobbying culture and has traded influence:
● In 2006, Rick received the most contributions from lobbyists of any Senator.
● After Rick lost to Bob Casey in 2006, he became a lobbyist for multiple groups. One group was United Health Services. Rick sponsored two Medicare-reform bills while he was in the Senate which would have aided UHS. Rick also joined the board of directors of American Continental Group, a lobbying company. As a Senator, Rick got earmarks for many of ACG’s clients.
● Rick voted to require broadcasters to provide discounted broadcast rates to politicians.
Rick is not a fiscal conservative, not even close. In fact, he’s closer to Obama than Bush and Bush was anything but a fiscal conservative. Rick’s also no foreign policy conservative. Nor is he averse to influence peddling.

And when it comes to social policy, he’s either a moron or a cynic. He will often contradict himself on issues like gay marriage where he speaks in circles about states’ rights, and he’ll make vague pronouncements like his belief in “marriage,” which he treats as a policy but provides no details. Moreover, the things he does propose, like passing constitutional amendments, are non-starters because they simply can’t be passed. So what is he actually promising? It sounds like he’s more concerned with pandering than he is in achieving anything.

Moreover, his stridency about his social conservatism is a disaster waiting to happen. Of all the candidates left, Santorum is the only one who is guaranteed to attract 0.0% of the moderate vote. He will even turn off many conservatives as well because, to borrow a line from Ghostbusters II, “he scares the straights.”

Think twice before you decide this man is the conservative alternative to Romney.

** Don’t forget it’s Star Trek Tuesday at CommentaramaFilms!**

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Case For Romney

Romney’s not a conservative. He’s hardly exciting or inspirational. He’s flopped around so much it’s just not possible to say what he really believes. But strangely, the more I think about it, he is the Republican candidate who would probably make the best President. Here’s my take on the strange case for Romney (since I can't have Cain.)

Let me start by pointing out that other conservatives are now making a case for Romney.
● Charles Krauthammer invokes the William Buckley rule: vote for the most conservative candidate who can win. He says that’s Romney.

● Ann Coulter argues Romney is the only candidate we can trust to both repeal ObamaCare and stop illegal immigration. Her point about ObamaCare is an “electability” argument, but her point on illegal immigration is solid. Only Romney and Bachmann actually oppose amnesty. The others claim to oppose amnesty, but really support it in hidden form. Some go even further. Perry wants to give illegals more rights than Americans. Newt wants to grant illegals all the rights of citizens without the name “citizen” and thereby hand the Democrats a double victory -- new voters through amnesty plus a political charge that Republicans want Hispanics to be second class citizens. Santorum actually opposes voluntary use of the e-Verify system because his Big Business friends want the system gone so they can hire cheap illegal labor.
My take is different. Not only do I believe Romney is most electable -- in fact, he may be the only electable candidate -- but I think Romney may turn out to be an excellent President, something I cannot say about the rest. Here’s why:
Most Electable
The electability case is simple. This election will be an referendum on Obama. And as such, Obama is doomed. No President has been so low in the polls so consistently for so long. This tells us the public has reached its verdict and will not change its mind. In 2010, we saw the result of this when the public punished Obama’s party with an historic thrashing. Even now, Democrats see the writing on the wall so clearly that people like Barney Frank and Ben Nelson are quitting before they get tossed out. The Democrats know they’re doomed.

The only thing that can save Obama would be if we pick a Republican who makes the race about themselves rather than a referendum on Obama. Egomaniacal loose-cannon Newt Gingrich, gay-baiting Rick Santorum or Michelle Bachmann, corrupt Bush-clone Perry, or the terrifying Ron Paul, would all make the race about themselves and the public would need to decide if it can trust these Republicans before it ever looks at Obama. That’s the only kind of race Obama can win because it distracts from his record. But Romney is mild, bland, and inoffensive. His background is competent and shows the right kind of experience. He isn’t someone the public will worry about. That leaves the election as a referendum on Obama’s record, and in that election, Obama goes down in an historic landslide. Thus, not only is Romney the most electable, he may be the only electable candidate on the Republican side.
The Best Potential President In The Bunch
But electability only goes you so far. The real question is, what kind of President would Romney make. In that regard, I’ve come to believe that for a very strange reason, Romney may end up being a really good President. Here’s the thing. Our two best Presidents in recent memory were Reagan and Clinton (after his disastrous start). What they had in common was a form of conservatism that just isn’t on display in any of the other candidates or in any of the recent Presidents. I think Romney has that.

The best way to explain what I mean is to first point out the problem with the other candidates: they all think they have magic bullets to fix the country. Santorum and Bachmann think they can fix America by ridding it of gays. Santorum now adds a new-found populism which mixes socialist ideas like favoring manufacturing with the middle-class-destroying policies of Big Business. Rick Perry thinks he can fix America by handing it over to his corporate donors. Huntsman thinks he can fix America by taking the partisanship out of politics. Newt thinks he’s God and can fix America by issuing grandiose ideas. And Paul thinks he can fix America by turning the clock back to an idealized 1776 that never was.

This is all destined to fail because it misunderstands why America and conservatism work. Genuine conservatism does not try to run an economy by fiat. It does not pick winners and losers and it does not look for magic policies to kickstart the country. Genuine conservatism recognizes that the government cannot fix America, only Americans can fix America. And Americans can only fix America if the government stops trying to organize the economy and lets people do their own things.

Reagan understood this. His goal in office was not to find some clever policy to spur something specific. His goal was to eliminate regulations and lower taxes and unleash the public to make their own choices. None of the candidates except Paul (who fails for other reasons) understand this because they aren’t genuine conservatives. . . they think they can tinker America to greatness by making its choices for it.

Unlike the others, I suspect Romney understands this. For one thing, Romney’s background as the hamstrung governor of a liberal state tells us that Romney knows the limitations of political power. Secondly, his business experience is critical. Since he didn’t just run a company, but was instead involved in buying failing companies and turning them around, he is familiar with the vagaries and uncertainties of the business world and the degree of latitude business needs to function. Those are exactly the kinds of lessons that underlie Reagan’s beliefs.

But even if Romney doesn’t get this, there’s another reason to suspect he would make an excellent President, and believe it or not, it’s his lack of principles. Clinton was an awful President when he first arrived. His people were far-left radicals who planned to remake America. The backlash against their hubris gave us the first Republican Congress in forever. That’s when an interesting thing happened. Clinton, who apparently had no values of his own, decided the best way to govern would be to stick his finger in the wind and do whatever the public wanted. Since the public was leaning right, Clinton ended up moving right and became one of the better Presidents in history because the public pushed him in the same direction Ronald Reagan had gone -- toward getting the government out of the way.

One of the concerns people have with Romney is that he lacks principle. This is true in a specific sense as he has been both liberal and conservative on almost every issues. But there is one overriding principle Romney does follow: he does what the public wants. Right now, the public is sending highly conservative, Reaganesque signals. Romney has adopted these and presents a platform that is easily the most conservative of any of the candidates. And there is good reason to believe he means it, because he thinks this is what the public wants and, thus, that is what he intends to deliver.

In other words, as strange as it may sound, Romney’s lack of principles may be what make him the most trustworthy candidate because he will do his best to please us, the public. And since the public is conservative in a Ronald Reagan sort of way, there is significant reason to believe Romney will adopt Reagan's principles. I don’t see that in any of the other candidates, each of whom seems more interested in legislating their own pet peeves.

That’s why I think Romney deserves support. Not only is he the most likely to beat Obama, who simply must be beaten for the sake of the country, but he also has the potential to become an excellent President. I understand the fear that a man without principles is unpredictable and that RINOs have too often lied about their views to sneak through the elections, but I think Romney is a different case because Romney isn’t a principled RINO who has adopted a conservative cloak, he’s a principle-less mirror who adopts whatever the public currently wants. And with the public channeling Reagan and Romney signaling that he understands that, I think he could well become a President in the conservative mold of a Reagan or the good-Bill Clinton years.

That’s my take on it. I guess we’ll see what Iowa thinks tonight?

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