Showing posts with label Mitt Romney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mitt Romney. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Your Problem Now. . .

I warn you up front that this will be an ugly article. But last night's election really brings to light that something has gone drastically wrong in this country and it's time we realized that. It's time we realized that America is indeed two nations, just as John Edwards said. There is productive America and handout America. And it's time we stopped enabling the leeches. They created this problem, let them pay for it now. Here are my thoughts on the election, the future and the country as a whole.

To The Retards: Congratulations. You proved once again last night that one can never go broke underestimating the American public. You, my slow cousins, just re-elected a man who has put the country on the brink of bankruptcy and whose plan to fix that is to (1) spend more money that doesn't exist to create jobs that won't exist, (2) create an unfunded entitlement program that is bigger than the entire national budget, and (3) tax his way to prosperity. Good luck with that, assholes. Good luck because you, his mindless supporters will be the ones hardest hit when the economy tanks and when the government can't afford to pay the benefits you voted for yourselves. Indeed, good luck when gas prices hit $6 a gallon, when your taxes double, when your employer drops your healthcare and you get fined for not buying your own coverage, when your doctor stops taking Medicare or Medicaid, when your welfare check stops adjusting for inflation or shows up as an IOU, and when you lose your job to China because Obama won't stand up to his debt-pimp. Good luck finding a job too with the economy being 23 million jobs short and your idiot Messiah's plan being to hire 100,000 new teachers. Not to mention he'll need to create another 10 million just to keep up with population growth. But don't worry, he'll get even with all those rich bankers for you. . . only, he forgot to tell you, he's their bitch. That's right, he passed regulations that let evil Wall Street wipe out small local banks so that they can make a mint on your stupid ass.

To My Productive Friends: This election was a battle between productive Americans and leeches. The leeches won. But guess what, you still have options. I recommend the following:
(1) Everyone should apply for every government benefit they can. None of these programs are funded and they rely on good people being unwilling to apply for them, i.e. they only work because only a fraction of people who qualify actually take the benefit. It's time that changed. It's time for everyone to demand every penny to which they are entitled. Employers should drop their employee health insurance and shift that cost to the government, just as Obama wants. Take up tax avoidance strategies. Find tax shelters. Apply for subsidies. Reagan broke the Russians by spending them into oblivious, you can do the same to Washington. There is no shame in taking from a thief.

(2) Stop subsiding liberal cesspools. Conservatives need to move their businesses from blue states to red states. Stop buying from blue state companies. Buy instead from red states or foreign companies.

(3) Conservative governors, don't be stupid. Grab every penny you can from Washington. Sign up for Obamacare or you will only end up subsidizing the states that do. Being frugal in a zero-sum game only means you end up paying the bill for others binging.
To Congress: The Democrats are now talking about the Republicans needing to come together to work with Obama to solve the nation's problems. Why should you? Pelosi proved in 2004-2006 that the public would not punish them for standing in the way of everything Bush wanted. To the contrary, they got more seats. Harry Reid and Obama proved in 2010-2012 that they could stand in the way of everything as well, and they too got rewarded. For six years now, the strategy of paralysis combined with character assassination has proven effective. I see no reason why the Republicans in the House and the Senate shouldn't do the same. Let the country fail and let Obama take the blame -- America is strong enough to pick up the pieces in six years. It's time for scorched earth. No more good faith. No more acting for the good of the country over partisanship. If a deal gets done, make sure it benefits red states at the expense of blue states. . . forget shared pain. And never stop the character assassinations. This was Obama's plan and now it needs to be yours.

To The Religious Right: Go away. For several election cycles now, it's been clear that the Religious Right has become an increasingly heavy drag on the party. It is simply impossible to win women and moderates when your party is the party of old white guys who proclaim rape to be the will of God and who want the government to obsess over gays and abortion. Your bullshit will never pass and all it's doing is turning off the people we need to fix the country.

To Conservative Whites: It's time to face the fact that the electorate is changing and we need to embrace Hispanics. If Romney had gotten into office, I think we would have seen a serious change in this regard, but he didn't. So it's up to us. It's time we STOPPED talking about deporting illegal aliens. That will never happen anyway and whining about it only upsets Hispanic voters who don't want to hear us running around talking about deporting their friends and family. Get over it.

To My Foreign Friends: The joke's on you, seriously. I've been speaking with several foreigners who were very much rooting for Obama for a variety of reasons. Sadly for you, you are about as misinformed as humans can get. Here are some things you thought would change "from the evil Bush years" which didn't and which won't: Obama won't close Gitmo, he won't stop the war on terror, he won't stop using drones or landmines. He won't rein in America's out of control debt. He won't take the lead on climate change or on saving the Eurozone circle jerk. Oh, and to my Chinese friends, all that paper you are holding marked "Backed By The Good Faith and Credit of the United States" isn't worth the paper it's written on. Sorry, you backed the wrong horse.

Do I sound bitter? Probably, but I'm not. I'm just telling you the truth. In reality, I really don't care about last night because it doesn't affect me. The people who will be hurt are the very people who wanted Obama to win, and it's kind of hard to care about them, since they decided to use the ballot box to steal from the rest of us to support their own worthless lives. But I'm through saving you from your own incompetence. You've created fiscal and economic tsunamis that will now strike. And like I said, it's your problem now.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night America!

And away we go. It's election day!

As the swing states decide, we'll update the map above and let you know which states have gone which way. Reputable sources say Romney wins 315 votes. My personal guess is that he wins 301 votes: New Hampshire, VA, NC, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, all of Nebraska, Colorado, and Nevada. He does not get Oregon, any of Maine, or Pennsylvania. But we'll see.

The Senate is important tonight too. Of those "in play," we are defending: Massachusetts, Indiana, Maine and Arizona. All but Arizona are endangered. The Democrats are defending: Hawaii, Wisconsin, Connecticut, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. All but Florida are endangered. We need to win a net of four seats to take control. I predict we win four.
Your thoughts, predictions and insider-info below...
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Final Pre-Election Roundup

All right. . . one more election roundup before we move on from this topic, thankfully. Things look good for Romney, but not so good for the Republicans in the Senate. That could make for an interesting and difficult four years.

The Presidency. The polls are all over the place. There are polls showing Romney/Obama tied in Michigan, Romney ahead in Ohio, Romney ahead in Pennsylvania, and there are polls showing the reverse. Pretty much every battleground state has contradictory polls. So forget the polls and focus on the momentum. As we head into the final hours of the campaign, Romney is hitting his stride and he’s giving off all the signs of being the winner. He’s talking about big themes, love of country, and setting a very positive, enthusiastic tone. He’s talking about the future. He’s also drawing crowds of around 30,000 people. Even the press is noticing his tone. Obama, on the other hand, is speaking to nearly empty venues and just told his supporters “voting is the best revenge.” Talk about exposing a hateful leftist mindset if you need to appeal to anger and spite to excite your supporters.

Moreover, the Romney people are starting to predict victory. One Romney aid predicted 300 electoral votes. Michael Barone predicted 315. Sen. Rob Portman says he’s confident Ohio will swing Republican. They are spending money in states where they shouldn’t even be competitive, like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. On the other side, Team Obama is defensive. They are pouring money into the same states, talking about firewalls (which indicates a disaster) and spending their time trying to deny that Romney has momentum. . . they don’t claim any momentum of their own. The hurricane bounce appears to be three points, like all his bounces, and should have already faded -- plus, it won't translate into votes.

Now add in a rash of surprise newspaper endorsements for Romney with eleven major papers switching from Obama to Romney, and a demoralized press corps that hasn’t attacked Romney with any enthusiasm and which seems resigned to dealing with “President Romney.”

All of this suggests that things are indeed going Romney’s way.

The House. There’s no serious contention that the Republicans will lose the House. Pelosi kept claiming she would win the 25 seats they need to take over, but now they are only promising 5 seats, and they are privately concerned about losing 1-2 seats.

The Senate. The Senate is not turning out well. At once time, it looked like the Republicans could win as many as nine seats to get a 56-44 lead. But things have gone wrong. Uninspired candidates didn’t help. Then we got a surprise retirement in Maine. Then some of our candidates turned stupid. . . really stupid. Now it looks like we’ll be lucky to get the four seats we need to take the chamber 51-49.

Of the seats “in play,” the Republicans are defending four: Massachusetts, Indiana, Maine and Arizona. All but Arizona are endangered, and I think we’ll lose them all. Massachusetts is simply too liberal for a Republican to win barring something unusual in a bi-election. In Maine, another liberal state, the race will go to a popular former governor who will side with the Democrats. Indiana was a mistake, where a popular Republican got tossed in the primary by a “Tea Party” candidate who made a huge slip-up on abortion. . . something the Tea Party doesn’t normally worry about.

So we start by losing three seats, which puts us at 44 seats.

The Democrats are defending the following “in play” states: Hawaii, Wisconsin, Connecticut, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Ohio, Florida, Missouri, and Virginia. All but Florida are endangered.

We got stupid again in Nebraska (thank you Sarah Palin) and picked a bad candidate, but I think we’ll still squeak that one. Wisconsin in trending our way. Virginia is a race between two former governors and ours isn’t as inspired as he should be. It’s a toss up right now. We should be winning Montana, except a libertarian candidate is draining away just enough support to keep that one close. I think we win that too. Missouri was ours for the taking until our Religious Right nutjob candidate started talking about abortion. Now the race is too close to call. Everyone talks about how great the Democratic candidate is in North Dakota, but I don’t buy it. . . we win that one. Hawaii is a toss up, as is Ohio. I think we get Ohio, but not Hawaii. And finally, I think we lose Connecticut in a squeaker. That means we win 5, lose 2, and 2 remain undecided.

Doing the math means we get somewhere between 49 and 51 seats, with a likely result of 50. A 50/50 result would not be good because that means nothing will ever get out of committee. Indiana and Missouri are the real killers here and abortion is again the problem.

Also, let me remind people of Christine O’Donnell. Conservatives lost easily-winnable seats in Nevada, Delaware, and now likely in Missouri and Indiana because they got stupid and picked unpalatable candidates. Those four seats may well be the difference in Obamacare going into effect and conservatives will bear the full blame for this. Elections have consequences and so do failing to win elections. It’s time we got smarter about picking candidates.
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Unknown Election Factors

With the election nearing, people are now trying to come up with random factors that could swing the outcome. Here are a couple. . .

Layoffs: Some are wondering if a slightly falling unemployment rate will help Obama. Nope. The official unemployment number isn’t really what matters to people. What matters is how secure they feel personally about their jobs. In that regard, there are 23 million unemployed or underemployed individuals. Not only are those people without jobs, but their presence in the labor force makes others vulnerable to being replaced by lower cost workers and makes it harder for employed persons to find new jobs. That’s called job insecurity.

Moreover, the situation is about to get worse. Because of the military cuts in the last budget deal, defense contractors are issuing pink slips to their workers in massive numbers. Further, a series of mass layoffs appear to be underway, such as UBS laying off 10,000 people. That will scare people across the country.

Paybacks: Obama has thrown several people under the bus in the past few months to save his rear, and they seem intent on paying him back now. Leaks from the intelligence community cast doubt on Obama’s attempts to shift blame on Libya by claiming they failed to warn him. The intelligence community let it be known that they did warn Obama and he ignored them. Obama also tried to claim there was no request for additional security in Libya. That made Hillary look bad. “Friends of Hillary” have now put out a story claiming that Hillary did request additional security, but her request was shot down. It’s not clear if Americans care about Libya, but these leaks suggest that some people inside the administration think they can hurt Obama with this.

Minority Turnout: For Obama to win Colorado, he will require heavy Hispanic turnout. For him to win Ohio and Pennsylvania will require heavy black turnout. Neither is a given in this election. Polling has found a lack of enthusiasm for Obama within both groups. Will they turn out? We don’t know. We do know that youth turnout will be way down and that is bad for Obama. This is a true wildcard which can decide the race.

Jews in Ohio?: Yes, there are around 120,000 Jews in the Cleveland area who typically vote Democratic. But if Romney can pull away parts of the Jewish vote, they can make a big difference in a key state which is expected to be very, very tight.

Same Day Registration: Colorado, Wisconsin and New Hampshire all allow voters to register and vote on the same day. In 2008, Obama used this to get tons of new voters to turn out on election day, adding about 2% to his totals in those states. His team is hoping to do the same and add 3-4% to his total this time. However, there is no reason to believe that there is the same level of enthusiasm for Obama now as there was in 2008, and it seems unlikely that he can inspire the unregistered to suddenly turn out. Without those voters, the polls show likely and registered voters leaning toward Romney.

Chrysler: Obama seems intent on hanging his hat on the Detroit bailout. And lucky him, Chrysler just announced that its profits surged 80% over last year. All is good, right? Well, no. Fiat, owner of Chrysler, announced that they are considering shifting Jeep production to China and Italy – although now that Romney used this in an ad, they are trying to backpedal. Still, the damage is done. To paraphrase a line that Obama kept using against Romney: “Obama’s Detroit bailout saved jobs. . . in Italy.” This could do significant harm to Obama’s rustbelt strategy, particularly in Ohio where Jeeps are currently made.

Hurricane Sandy: No one knows how the hurricane will affect this election. On the one hand, it does give Obama a chance to appear presidential. On the other hand, I doubt that will help because that’s his job and doing his job won’t really get him any sort of bonus points. That said, Obama could spend the last couple days before the election running around promising FEMA money to all of these voters. But then, these are blue states so it can’t really change the outcome.

There is also a question of voter turnout. If the storm is destructive enough, large parts of the solid-blue Northeast may find record low turnout because voters will either be away or unable to get to the polls. That shifts the election to the diehards, which could well produce some Republican surprises.

Show Me The Money!: Romney has a cash advantage in excess of $50 million right now, which gives him the ability to reach states like Minnesota, which are opening up as competitive. Can money win campaigns? I doubt it.

Silver State Mormons: Nevada remains close, though it seems to be trending toward Romney now. The key demographic helping Obama are unions and Hispanics. They could decide the state. BUT, there is another group few are considering – Mormons. Nevada is packed with Mormons and if they turn out in large numbers, Romney will win Nevada. Stay tuned.

Anything I missed?

5 Days and counting....
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Politics

Hurricane Sandy has arrived, and putting aside the fact that Bev was reduced to chasing a man dressed like a taco down the street to avoid starvation, the MSM has been busy doing what they do best – spinning this storm for political gain. Here are three big examples.

The “Craven” Mitt Romney Exploits Your Pain: On Tuesday, Romney turned a campaign rally in Ohio into a hurricane relief rally. He asked people to bring food and supplies and to donate money to the Red Cross. Who could object to that? MSNBC.

MSNBC spun this story in the most despicable and deceitful way. First, they claimed that Romney “dressed up” a campaign rally as “a charity drive.” Then Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, said:
“I think that this is just another moment where you see the clear striking difference between a president who has a heart for the American people and someone who simply wants to be president of the United States.”
Huh?! This was seconded by MSNBC host Martin Bashir and other guests. Then they accused Romney of “politicizing” the storm and said “in this sort of disastrous moment [we] can really see in bold relief the differences between President Obama and former Governor Romney.” Really? All Obama has done is his job – he gave a speech asking for donations. . . the exact same thing Romney did. Yet, Romney is rotten and Obama is great? How does that work? Finally, they brought on GQ’s Ana Marie Cox, who said of Romney’s efforts: “I found that sort of fake, relief rally, whatever it is, to be pretty offensive, and also wrong-headed.” And then this hag called Romney “craven.”


So what is this character assassination based on? They claimed that Romney was collecting goods and not asking people to donate money, which is what the Red Cross “really wants.” Ok, for starters, any sort of aid is helpful in these situations, that’s why aid organizations always ask for stuff, not just money. And who are these jerks to impugned anyone’s charity? I doubt they gave a penny. . . unlike Romney who has given millions. Moreover, Romney DID ask people to donate. The video of the event shows two huge screens with the Red Cross donation number on them. So their entire argument is not only vile character assassination, but it’s based on an intentional lie. Talk about politicizing a tragedy!

The Evil Mitt Romney HATES FEMA and you!!: Almost the moment Sandy hit radar screens across the country, the MSM started running with this question: “Does Mitt Romney want to shut down FEMA?” Uh, no. He’s never advocated that. Yet, reporter after reporter began asking this question. They were always told “no,” but that didn’t stop them from suggesting the answer was really “yes.”

Where did this idea come from? Last year, a group of leftist bloggers claimed that Romney called FEMA “immoral” and said disaster aid “makes no sense at all.” This was picked up by reporters who surprise, surprise, read leftist blogs (“Journolist II” anyone?), and was even brought into a New York Times editorial smearing Romney two days ago. The problem is, it’s a lie.

What Romney actually said was this. He was asked by CNN’s John King in June 2011, during the primaries, what Romney would do about FEMA which was about to run out of money. King asked, “[aren’t we] learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role?” Romney responded: “Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction.”

Notice that Romney does not say to shut down FEMA, nor was he asked about it.

He then went on to talk about the debt and the need to trim the federal budget. He said, “We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.” During this speech, King tried to speak over Romney and asked, “including disaster relief?”

These leftist bloggers are pretending that Romney’s entire speech became about disaster aid the moment King threw the question out there, even though Romney was already talking about something else and never acknowledges King’s addition. Romney never said disaster aid was “immoral” or “made no sense at all,” as they now claim he did. What he said was that disaster aid should be applied at the state level and he said continuing to raise our debt was “immoral.” But that doesn’t make Romney seem heartless.

By the way, no one in the MSM is mentioning that Obama proposed a $900 million cut of FEMA’s budget.

The Hurricane “Stole” The Election!: Finally, the MSM is trying to plant the idea that Hurricane Sandy “stole the election.” They are setting this up by claiming that the hurricane has unfairly taken Obama away from the campaign and will disrupt the very liberals Obama needs to win by disrupting the Northeast.

Of course, Obama will still win these states, so the hurricane doesn’t really change anything substantive. Also, it’s only taking him away for a few hours, and even then he’s getting tons of free media coverage out of it. But never let the facts stop a new “conventional wisdom.”

So why would they do this? They want to delegitimize Romney’s victory, just as they tried to delegitimize Bush by claiming he stole Florida (when even their extensive media-sponsored recount effort found that Bush did win), and just like they did with claims about electronic voting machine fraud in 2004 and the Swift Boat “smear,” as if harsh ads were somehow something new. Why do this? Because they think the only way the left can return to power will be to make Romney seem like an illegitimate president presiding over a chaotic and hopelessly gridlocked Congress. To do that, they need to fight everything he does. And to do that, they need to keep their mindless followers feeling victimized so they keep turning out for protests, keep supporting hateful propagandists like MSNBC, and keep sending death threats to prominent Republicans. They need chaos and anger. Hence, “Romney cheated.”

Trust me, 2013 is going to be an ugly year on the left.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Smoke Signals of Pending Disaster

The surest way to know how a Presidential campaign is trending is to look to see who’s acting desperately. Leading the league in desperation at the moment is Team Obama. Indeed, this past week/weekend really exposed a campaign that knows it’s in serious trouble.

Let’s start with the obvious. The debates didn’t help Obama. Romney started gaining momentum just before the debates and he kept right on going all the way through the end. Nothing has slowed him. Indeed, check out the polls. Gallup showed Romney creeping up little by little until he took a 5%-7% lead, where he’s stayed since the last debate. Team Obama tried to smear Gallup so people would dismiss this, but now Rasmussen is showing a similar lead. Even the networks, who notoriously poll several percent to the left of real events are showing Romney and Obama tied or Romney leading by a single point. So it looks like nationally, Romney is ahead by 5%.

This weekend also gave us polls showing Pennsylvania within 3% of Romney’s grasp and Obama’s lead in Minnesota. . . of all places. . . down to 3% (47% to 44%). Don’t forget that undecideds tend to break for the challenge 2-1. Rasmussen has Romney up by 2% in Ohio.

Obama has signaled he’s giving up on Florida, Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia. Wisconsin is tied and so is Nevada. Obama is now desperately flooding the airwaves there and in Michigan. These are all states Obama was supposed to win handily. Heck, the Des Moines Register in Iowa just endorsed Romney -- the first Republican they've endorsed in 40 years!! Meanwhile, Romney and the RNC are moving into blue states. Time is precious, so don’t believe they would do this without good reason.

So how has Obama responded?
● First, he changed strategies. Just as I said he needed to do, Obama is now trying to go positive and to present voters with a reason to vote for him. To do that, he’s created a series of ads touting his five-point plan and asking you very nicely to compare it to “Governor Romney’s, to see which is better for you.” These are quite good ads and he comes across as very presidential. But I think they are too late and his plan is too uninspired because this is the same plan he touted in each of the debates and it attracted no one.

● Secondly, because his new plan isn’t working, and I think they know that, he’s floating the idea of a $400 per person payroll tax cut. Look for more to follow.

● Third, Obama is making a big show of finally acting like a President in the face of a natural disaster by letting it be known he’s going to monitor this hurricane closely rather than campaign (cough cough John McCain... "I'm going to suspend my campaign..." cough cough).

● Fourth, even though he’s trying to go positive, he’s also putting out some truly vile ads suddenly, like one in which a group of children sing how Romney wants to let sick people “just die.” He's also running a Mediscare ad which has been 100% debunked, even by the left.
All in all, this reeks of desperation for Obama. The fact Obama is pouring money into supposedly safe states tells us that he’s in serious trouble and he knows it. The fact he’s changed his message tells us that he knows his current message isn’t selling. Indeed, I think it’s too late to change minds, not to mention his “5-point plan” just isn’t inspiring. The tax cut proposal smells of a desperation bribe, but no one is going to take a $400 bribe on credit. His attempt to appear presidential in light of the hurricane also won’t work because we expect that from our Presidents and you don’t get extra-credit for doing what you’re supposed to do. Not to mention, he has a history of ignoring natural disasters.

Now compare this to Romney, who is displaying extreme confidence and only fine-tunes his strategy rather than trying to make wholesale changes. If you want to know who is really winning, there are your clues.


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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Tea Party Effect

I’m rarely interested in what Joe Scarborough says. He’s one of those RINOs who is always finding fault with conservatives and typically whines “why can’t we be more like the Democrats?!” Leave Barack alone! Boo hoo. Anyway, he’s finally written something interesting and it’s about the Tea Party.

Joe starts his article by pointing out that all of his liberal pundit friends, all his friends in the MSM, and all the Democrats he knows keep asking him why the Tea Party is destroying the Republican Party. This is the point where Joe usually throws his hands up in the air and whines about our side. Instead, he rightly calls bullspit on this. In fact, he goes so far as to list the Tea Party’s accomplishments:
● They brought the largest legislative landslide in US history in 2010. This created the largest Republican majority in Congress since 1946.
● They grabbed six seats in the Senate.
● They elected six governors.
● They helped win 700 seats in state legislatures.
● They took Ted Kennedy’s seat, which seemed impossible.
● They led the resistance against Obamacare.
● “The energized a conservative movement battered by eight years of bloated Republicanism.”
This last point deserves clarification because I agree with Joe. By 2008, the Republican brand had become toxic. It was associated first with the Republican Congress obsessively and hypocritically going after Clinton over an affair. Then Bush came along and added questionable wars, open cronyism, the creation of new entitlements and massive spending.

Indeed, before the Tea Party came along, the GOP followed Bush’s lead and spent $700 billion bailing out Wall Street, sent the debt ($10 trillion/69.6% of GDP) and deficit ($450/7.1% of GDP) to record levels, created an unfunded $7 trillion Medicare drug plan entitlement, and fought two wars and was eyeing more. Moreover, Big Business was all over the White House, raping the Treasury time and again through subsidies, protectionist regulations, and no-bid government contracts to cronies. He also created the Patriot Act which stripped Americans of their rights and signed anti-piracy legislation which turned the courts into a cash machine for the recording industry, Hollywood, and agri-business.

Obama made this even worse, sending the debt to $16 trillion (101% of GDP) and the deficit to $1.7 trillion (11.4% of GDP), adding a $787 billion “stimulus” (read: payment to cronies), adding the $2 trillion Obamacare entitlement, adding one war and putting two more on the agenda, and adding more than 100 new major regulations at a cost of more than $50 billion a year. Obama also kept the doors open to Big Business and he tried to allow Big Business to shutdown the internet to stifle competition.

The Tea Party brought all of that to a grinding halt. Since the Tea Party came along, the spending has stopped (though it hasn’t reversed yet). Obama’s regulations are being targeted for repeal. SOPA was killed. Net neutrality was killed. Cap and trade was killed. The Tea Party is leading the charge to repeal Obamacare. The bloated and overpaid federal bureaucracy was exposed. And the public has turned against further wars, even as liberals have developed a taste for using the military to make Obama’s “whine from behind and bend-over” foreign policy look muscular.

There is no doubt that ALL of this should be credited to the Tea Party.

The Tea Party has changed the culture of the Republican Party. They are the part of conservatism that has been abandoned by “the establishment.” They are the people who bring the “small government” to the party of small government. They are the completion of the Reagan Revolution. They are the people who have upset the natural order of things in Washington.

This election will be interesting for several things. First, I genuinely see Romney as the first Tea Party candidate, even though he refuses to adopt the label, because his views on smaller, limited government, less spending and a focus on small business over Big Business combined with his attacks on cronyism, align perfectly with the Tea Party philosophy. So does his focus on economic issues. Secondly, we will need to watch to see if the Tea Party can deliver a follow-up victory to 2010. If they do, they will become the dominant party in Washington. I think they will, but we’ll see. Tune in to find out.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In Humor There Is Truth

Two politicians walk into a bar. . . actually, it was the Al Smith Dinner and both Obama and Romney were together on stage trading jokes. Some of these were particularly funny and they definitely highlight the talking points of both campaigns. I figured you might enjoy some of the best one-liners. Enjoy!

Romney on the Deficit: “In the spirit of Sesame Street, the President’s remarks tonight are brought to you by the letter O and the number 16 trillion.”

Romney on the Economy: “This president already has a compelling new campaign slogan: ‘Are you better off now than you were four weeks ago?’”

Romney on Obama’s Socialism: “We’re now in the final months of the president’s term. As President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room with everyone in white tie and finery, you have to wonder what he’s thinking. So little time, so much to redistribute.”

Romney on the Catholic Church: “If you’ve got a church... you didn’t build that.”

Romney on the Media: “The media have a certain way of looking at things. When suddenly I pulled ahead in some of the major polls, what was the headline? ‘Polls show Obama leading from behind’.”

Romney on the Media: “I have seen early reports from tonight’s dinner – headline: ‘Obama embraced by Catholics, Romney dines with rich people’.”

Romney on Obama’s Campaign: “It’s good to have someone you can depend on at the end of the day. I have my wife, Ann. President Obama has Bill Clinton.”

Romney on his Mormonism: “Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this, it’s to be the designated driver.”

Obama on the Debates: “As some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy in our second debate. I felt really well-rested after the nice, long nap I had in the first debate.”

Obama on the Debates: “Four years ago, I gave Chris Matthews a thrill up his leg. At the first debate, I gave him a stroke.”

Obama on Romney Being Rich: “Earlier today, I went shopping at some stores in Midtown. I understand Governor Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown.”

Obama on Romney Being Rich: Referring to everyone being dressed in white tie and tails, “or as Gov. Romney calls it, business casual.”

Obama on Romney’s Likeability: “After my foreign trip in 2008, I was attacked as a celebrity because I was so popular with our allies overseas, and I have to say I am impressed with how well Governor Romney has avoided that problem.”

Obama on Clint Eastwood: “Everyone please take your seats, or else Clint Eastwood will yell at them.”

Obama on Foreign Policy: “Monday’s debate is a little bit different because the topic is foreign policy. Spoiler Alert: We got bin Laden.”

Obama on Catholicism: “Gov. Romney, your father was born in Mexico and had five kids. Are you sure you’re not Catholic?”

Basically, Romney continues to talk about the economy, the deficit, and poke Obama for not running a good campaign. Obama continues to play class warfare by attacking Romney for being rich, and he’s struggling to put the debates behind him. Just looking at the two strategies in a vacuum, it’s clear why Romney is now pulling ahead in all the polls. I also think it’s interesting that Romney shows a strong sense of humor. He had the audience laughing a LOT. I am reminded more and more of Ronald Reagan every day.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Romney Wins By A Hair, Obama Loses By A Mile

Romney proved himself to be knowledgeable and thoughtful last night, and he showed himself to be quite Presidential. Obama also came across well, though not quite Romney’s equal – he was more political. Thus, Romney won the debate by a hair. But Obama made key mistakes that caused him to blow his last chance to win the election.

Bob Schieffer: Schieffer did an excellent job and should be commended. His questions were thoughtful, fair and he allowed a solid debate.

Romney Succeeds: Romney had one job last night and he did it. He needed to come across as someone you would trust as Commander in Chief. He did. He had much more knowledge than Obama on every single issue and clearly had thought through his solutions. He presented a solid vision, a plan to achieve that vision, and knowledge of the details of every single issue covered which helps you believe his plan will work. He passed the test.

Obama Strategy Fail I: Obama had two jobs last night and he failed at both. Obama’s first job, the one he really needed to achieve, was to give people a reason to vote for him. He didn’t. All he did was repeat his five point plan that hasn’t excited anyone yet and he attacked Romney as wanting to help the rich. These arguments failed in the first two debates and merely repeating them here won’t change anything. He needed something more and he didn’t give it. Indeed, his strategy last night was surprisingly stupid and I think he lost the election last night by default.

FYI, Obama plan: (1) he wants to help manufacturers invest here with tax code changes, (2) he wants to make our education system the best in the work and he wants to retrain workers, (3) he wants us to “control energy” by investing in clean energy, (4) he wants to tax the rich so he can “invest” the money in R&D, and (5) he wants to hire teachers (later he added hiring veterans to build roads).

Then he accused Romney of wanting to help the rich, of wanting to add $7 trillion in debt through military spending and tax cuts (all of which has been debunked), and said Romney wants social policies from the 1950, economic policies from the 1920s, and foreign policy from the 1980s. None of this helped in the prior two debates, and it won’t help now. To the contrary, all this did was open the door to Romney to repeat his devastating attack on Obama’s record which I’ve written out several times already. (see Romney’s Theme). Romney also repeated that he wants to champion small business, which will help him with the Tea Party, and he talked about education reform, which will help him with women. He also pointed out that he balanced budgets in private business for 25 years, at the Olympics, and four years as governor... Obama has yet to balance a budget.

Obama Strategy Fail II: Obama’s second job last night was to land a knockout blow on Romney. He never came close because the lines he used were horrible. They were petty and bully-like, and these detracted from an otherwise solid performance. Examples include:
● He condescended to Romney by trying to explain to him what an aircraft carrier is and what a submarine is.

● He described Romney’s foreign policy as Obama’s policies only “saying them louder.”

● He implied that the US jumped in on the side of the Arab Spring protestors right away, even though that’s false. But more importantly, he said this was his idea and he blurted out, “Me!” Kind of a Howard Dean moment there.

● He waved the bloody shirt of 9/11 by claiming that he brought “closure” to the son of someone who was killed on 9/11 – something the left (and Obama) savaged Bush for doing.

● Obama accused Romney of wanting to use military force as a first resort. This stupid attack, repeated throughout the night, let Romney demonstrate repeatedly that he is not reckless or bloodthirsty.
Obama lost the election on the above, the rest below is just details.
Obama Tactics Fail I: Obama’s biggest tactical mistake was using a shotgun approach on Romney. He attacked on too many issues and used too many details. Moreover, many of his attacks sounded like Obama was trying to pull quotes out of context, such as when he accused Romney of not seeing al Qaeda as a threat – no one will believe Romney said that. These fake attacks polluted all the rest of his attacks and made everything he said sound like a distortion.

Obama Tactics Fail II: Another tactical failure was accusing Romney of being a reckless warmonger, but then simultaneously accusing Romney of advocating the exact same policy Obama is following. That doesn’t work.

Key Moments: Here are the likely key moments:
● Romney neutered the bin Laden thing and bought himself serious credibility when he congratulated Obama on getting bin Laden and then said, “but we can’t kill our way out of this mess.” In echoes of my articles on the topic, he said we need a comprehensive strategy to get the Muslim world to reject extremism in their own ranks through promoting: (1) economic development, (2) better education, (3) rule of law, (4) gender equality, and (5) the creation of civil societies. This is brilliant because it stopped Obama from bragging and it highlighted that Obama has no plan – Obama later played “me too” and tried to claim this is what he’s already doing.

● Romney highlighted Obama’s failure to give a reason to vote FOR Obama by repeating, “Attacking me is not an agenda.”

● Obama said of Iran, “We cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.” This is interesting because Paul Ryan said the same thing and Joe Biden called the claim ridiculous.

Israel: A lot was said about Israel, but Romney had the key moment and Obama may have blown a key moment. When Schieffer asked how they would respond if Israel called and said their planes were on the way to bomb Iran, Romney jumped in and said they shouldn’t answer a hypothetical like that. He also said that his relationship with Israel’s Prime Minister was such that this would never happen. This made Romney appear statesmanlike if he already has solid relationships with our allies. Obama ducked the question.

Then Schieffer asked if they would guarantee that an attack on Israel was the same thing as an attack on the US. Obama sort of said it was, but seemed to hedge. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Romney then suggested that Obama was talking about helping Israel only diplomatically.
Obama Lies: At several points, Obama simply lied to hide his record. He claimed that he did support the Green Revolution in Iran, even though he remained silent for nine days. He claimed he did not propose $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts on the military, which is technically true but still a lie. Harry Reid proposed them and Obama demanded they be included in the budget deal. His claim to arm the Syrian rebels is a lie. He lied about not going to the UN on Syria. And he lied by claiming he had implemented non-existent policies to promote democracy overseas.

China: Obama made a huge mistake when he labeled China as our second biggest national security threat after terrorism (he forgot Iran) because China will not be amused. Our relationship with China is based on false facades of friendship, which both sides are careful never to violate. Obama did.

Romney then turned this against Obama by pointing out that China is an opportunity. He said (as I’ve suggested) that China could be made an ally because economic growth is vital to them as they need 20 million new jobs a year to maintain civil order. But we need to get our budget in order, we can’t cut our military, we must strengthen our commitment to our allies in the region (read: Taiwan), and we must go after China for unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, counterfeiting and stealing of intellectual property. Obama countered that Romney owned stock in Chinese companies. This was a mistake because whereas Romney gave a plan to fix the problem, Obama took a political cheap shot.

Romney also used China to talk about engaging Latin America in trade, which will help him with Hispanic business owners.

Syria: Obama did a lot of doublespeak on Syria. He talked about taking the lead in “mobilizing the world, providing humanitarian aid and organizing the opposition.” As with Biden, he implied that we armed the opposition and then turned around and accused Romney of being a warmonger for trying to arm the opposition. The arms actually came from the Saudis, not us. And Obama asked the UN to take the lead. Romney also denied wanting to send any American troops or planes to fight, proving he’s no warmonger, which caused Obama to flip his strategy on its head and accuse Romney of proposing to do exactly what Obama is doing, only being reckless somehow.

The Closings: The closings were interesting. Obama went negative. He blamed Bush for his problems and then accused Romney of wanting to help the rich before he repeated his five point plan. This was uninspired.

Romney’s closing was Reaganesque. First, he made two great points. He repeated Obama’s record and called it the President’s path. Obama said we shouldn’t go back to the policies of a decade ago, and Romney countered that we don’t want to relive the last four years. Then Romney made an appeal to bipartisanship, which will play well with independents. He noted that he worked with a legislature that was 87% Democratic in Massachusetts and he said he could work with good Democrats and good Republicans in Washington. Then he spoke about the greatest generation and how they have passed the torch and he described America as “the hope of the Earth.” Basically, he gave people a reason to support him. Obama didn’t. All of this is classic Reagan.

Good Night For Price: Romney tracked my foreign policy discussions on issue after issue. This is very encouraging because it sounds like he’s looking for real solutions and he’s no Bush neocon.

Conclusion: This was an odd debate in the sense that Obama didn’t really play to win. I’m wondering what he was thinking. Yes, he performed well, he was Romney’s equal most of the night, and he took some cheap shots that will thrill his ignorant base. . . but he played for the draw when he really needed a blow out. This makes me wonder if his campaign team just isn’t that bright or if he knows he’s lost and he’s look for future political opportunities. Whatever his plan, he failed to take the risks he needed to win the election.

I now expect the MSM to go into desperation mode to win the election for him. But the polls will show Romney climbing a couple percentage points more. At that point, the cracks will appear on the left and they will savage him for his bad campaign.


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Monday, October 22, 2012

Final Debate Thread

Home stretch people, home stretch. Tonight is the last debate. . . thankfully. Tonight is about foreign policy, which probably means ratings of between 14-18 people. In that regard, we now have a CIA memo which blows a hole in the Obama Administration plan to blame the intelligence community. Obama seems to have decided that less than 4 deaths per embassy is optimal. And Joe Biden is looking for veterans of our recent wars with Iraq and Iran. . . idiot.

It looks like Obama wasn't able to gain any momentum from the last debate so tonight could be critical. Maybe he should talk about the 47% of Pakistanis Romney hates. . . or the 57 states he's visited since he became a professional golfer president.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Second Debate Wrapup

I suspect last night’s debate was a draw. Obama’s performance will play well with his base, but I don’t think he gave independents anything to latch onto. Romney’s performance came across as solid but uninspired. He did make some points that could blow the race open, but they got lost in the muck, and their effect will depend on how he exploits them in coming days. Let’s discuss.

The “Unbiased” Moderator: Candy Crowley was highly biased. She kept cutting off Romney and tried to talk over him, but never talked over Obama. She helped Obama out of jams several times, and the questions she chose were mostly left or far-left questions.

Obama’s Theme: Obama’s theme was that Romney is rich and wants to help the rich. I don’t think anyone buys this because Romney’s denials are emphatic. Moreover, as I’ve pointed out before, Obama needs to give a reason for people to vote for him, not just against Romney. He still hasn’t done that. Obama’s reason to vote for him was: (1) he wants to give unspecified tax breaks to manufacturers whereas Romney wanted to bankrupt Detroit, (2) he wants everyone to go to college and he wants community colleges to retrain workers, (3) he wants energy independence, and (4) he wants to reduce the Obama trillion dollar deficits by taxing the rich and stopping the wars and spending that money on college and building roads and bridges. That’s a mishmash of small ideas that won’t resonate outside his base.

Also, Obama’s “Detroit” argument blew up on him when Romney pointed out that he wanted Detroit to enter bankruptcy so they could come out stronger, AND he pointed out that Obama did send Detroit into bankruptcy. In other words, Obama is smearing Romney for suggesting something Obama actually did. This stumped Obama and he basically said (paraphrase) “that’s different.”

Obama did better when he was asked to defend his record. Obama said he (1) cut taxes $3,600 for middle class families, (2) cut taxes 18 times on small business, (3) ended the war in Iraq, (4) killed Osama bin Laden and pursued al Qaeda, (5) passed Obamacare to stop insurance companies from jerking you around, (6) reined in Wall Street, (7) created 5 million jobs, and (8) saved the auto industry. None of this is true, but it sounded good and most people won’t know the difference.

Romney’s Theme: Romney attacked Obama’s record over and over. This produced an extremely devastating moment right after Obama gave the defense of his record mentioned above. Romney suddenly hit him with this: (1) Obama’s jobs plan was supposed to create 9 million more jobs than he’s created, (2) he said he would put forward a plan to reform Medicare and Social Security to preserve them from collapse, he hasn’t proposed one, (3) he said he would put forward a plan for comprehensive immigration reform in his first year, but he never did, (4) he said he would cut the deficit in half, but he doubled it, (5) he said middle income families would see their healthcare premiums go down $2,500 a year, but they went up by $2,500, and Obamacare will add another $2,000 a year, (6) Obama claims he created 5 million jobs, but that’s after he lost 5 million jobs, for a net of zero jobs – also, 5 million jobs doesn’t even keep up with population growth, (7) there are 23 million Americans unemployed, (8) one in six Americans lives in poverty, (9) there are 47 million Americans on food stamps, compared to 37 million when Obama took office, (10) growth this year is slower than last, which was already slower than the prior year, (11) family income is down $4,300 under Obama. This was a powerful moment and completely wiped out Obama’s recitation of his own record. If Romney puts this in a commercial, Obama is in trouble.

Where Things Got Tricky For Obama: Obama ran into some problems with his base last night and needed to do a lot of dancing. For example:
Feminists: A question came up from a whiny feminist about women being paid less than men. I’ll debunk this at some point. Anyway, what the chicky wanted was for Obama to swear that he would support equal pay laws. Obama refuses to do that and he ducked. Instead, he danced around the idea of equality and he talked about “continuing to push on this issue” without saying what he was actually pushing on. He kept talking about the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which is not what feminists want, and he kept blurring this with enforcing laws against discrimination. This won’t satisfy the people who care about this issue.

Romney, by comparison, gave the better answer for non-feminist women voters. He gave a general answer about seeking out women for his cabinet and about improving the economy so that workers would have more power over employers and thus employers would need to make accommodations for women – he should have mentioned the pay disparity in the White House. He also talked about 3.5 million more women in poverty today than when Obama’s term began. He also gave a vague statement that he doesn’t want an employer or a bureaucrat making decisions about contraception. This will work for independents, but will upset both the feminist left and the religious right as they will both interpret this negatively.

Gun Control: Obama was asked if he would ban “assault weapons.” This is a problem for Obama because the left has learned they can’t support gun control and win elections, so Obama has smothered every attempt to raise gun control as an issue. But his base wants this desperately. So Obama danced. He claimed to support the Second Amendment (which lost him his base right there) before he mumbled about working on a comprehensive solution to violence through education and faith based groups. He kept saying code words like “mentally ill” and he kept talking about “automatic weapons,” which haven’t actually killed anyone in the US since the 1930s, but he refused to say anything concrete.

Then Romney spoke about enforcing existing gun laws, talked about the need for improving our values through encouraging marriage and then attacked Obama on Fast and Furious. His attack was a bit of a ramble, but will probably get people asking what Fast and Furious is. Candy Crowley needed to save Obama on this.

Then something funny happened. Obama suddenly attacked Romney for signing gun control legislation in Massachusetts (with another assist from Crowley). Obama must think this will unnerve gun owners about Romney, but what it really did was again paint Romney as “not a right wing extremist.” This probably bought Romney lots of moderate votes, without costing him any gun owner votes, and confused the heck out of Obama’s supporters.

Outsourcing: A pro-union question was asked about outsourcing, and Obama walked right into a trap he set himself. First, Romney gave a solid answer on why Obama’s outsourcing claims are hypocrisy: (1) 500,000 jobs have been lost to China during Obama’s term because Obama made the US less attractive to business, (2) Obama failed to fight China on currency manipulation and refuses to label them a manipulator so tariffs can be imposed, (3) our corporate tax rate is 20% higher than Canada, and (4) Obama failed to China pirating American intellectual property. He should have mentioned Obama’s job’s czar outsourcing tens of thousands of jobs, but he didn’t.

Obama countered that he too wants lower taxes, which means his plan is the same as Romney’s plan, which he’s criticizing. He then claimed he wants to stop loopholes that let companies take deductions for shipping jobs overseas (fyi, there are no such deductions), and he claimed he has been fighting China. Next, he claimed Romney wants to make more deductions to ship jobs overseas, which comes across as an obvious lie. Then he tried to smear Romney by claiming that Romney invested in companies that sent jobs to China. He even claimed that Romney has invested in a company that makes surveillance gear which China uses to oppress its people. Bad Romney.

That’s when things went wrong because Romney pointed out that he does not control his investments because they are in a blind trust AND that Obama’s pension fund makes the identical investments Obama just smeared Romney for making. Candy Crowley again needed to save Obama at this point by cutting Romney off and talking over him. But the point was made, Obama’s outsourcing attacks are hypocrisy.
Immigration: Romney talked about America being a nation of immigrants and that he wants to stop illegal immigration because they are preventing legal immigrants from coming. He also said he wants to give green cards to people with accredited degrees. This could mean a boost in overall immigration or it could mean a shift back to seeking educated immigrants rather than laborers. This isn’t clear. He said he wants employment verification and he wants a path to “permanent residency” for children of illegals. Then he attacked Obama for saying in 2008 that he would present a comprehensive immigration reform bill in his first year, but never actually presenting such a bill. He even noted that the Democrats had a supermajority at the time.

Obama tried to dance around this by blaming Romney for opposing Obama’s plan in 2008, which he says ended bipartisanship. But as Romney pointed out, he wasn’t the leader of the party in 2008, and with a supermajority, there is no reason Obama needed the Republicans if he really wanted to pass such a law. This won’t play well for Obama with Hispanics. Obama then made it worse by basically taking the identical position as Romney except that he wants to make all young illegals citizens.

Obama finished by claiming Romney wants to deport immigrants and with a race-baiting appeal by mischaracterizing Arizona’s law as letting police target anyone who looks Hispanic or black, which it definitely does not do. In any event, this gave Romney a chance to say that he would not try to deport 12 million people, which probably helped him a good deal with Hispanics.

The Libya Muddle: Obama was asked who is to blame for the failure to provide security to our ambassador in Libya. Obama dodged and claimed he took responsibility in a general sense. He then claimed that he would not rest until they figure out who did it and got them. . . kind of like OJ?

Romney pointed out that rather than address this situation, Obama went to Las Vegas for a fundraiser the following day. Obama denied this and claimed he went to the Rose Garden and called this a terrorist act. Romney said this wasn’t true and said it took Obama 14 days to call this terrorism. Obama called that a lie and Candy Crowley backed him up.

Obama/Crowley lied. For 13 days, Obama blamed the videotape. He did use the word terror, but in a general context: “no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.” Meanwhile, his administration kept blaming the videotape, calling this a spontaneous demonstration, and refusing to call this an act of terrorism. They said this on television, in press conferences and at the UN.

A Key Romney Point: It sounded to me like Romney proposed letting the top 15% of high school graduates go to college for free. If that’s true, then look for him to pick up a ton of young votes.

Another Key Romney Point: Finally, we come to a question that was meant to crush Romney, but may have provided him with a key moment. He was basically accused of being George W. Bush the Sequel. Romney countered that (1) he wants energy independence, Bush preferred dealing with Arabs, (2) he wants more free trade agreements in Latin America, Bush wasn’t into free trade, (3) he will balance the budget, whereas Bush had massive deficits (he used an Obama quote about Bush’s “outrageous $500 billion deficits” to slam Obama’s trillion dollar deficits), and (4) the biggie: “Our party has been too focused on Big Business for too long. I want to focus on Small Business.”

This last comment is an endorsement of the Ron Paul/Tea Party/Populist cause and this will align Romney with this vast group of people who see the government as a kleptocracy where Big Business rapes the Treasury with the consent of Democrats and Republicans alike. Do not underestimate the significance of that moment.

Obama countered with the usual of blaming Bush for his own failure and he tried to cast Romney as helping China. Then he did something really strange. He tried to paint the demonized, reviled George Bush as a moderate so he could claim that Romney was to the right of Bush. Not only will this not make sense to average voters, but it calls into question the legitimacy of all of Obama’s prior claims about Bush.
Based on the above, it sounds like Romney was a clear winner, but he wasn’t. Unless there is a devastating moment, debates are about impressions. And the impression last night was that they were evenly matched. That makes this a draw. . . at least for now.

By and large, the key points Romney made were lost in the muddle of the back and forth. But if Romney pushes those correctly, he stands a good chance of stealing young voters, Hispanics and independent women. He also will ignite the Tea Party and centrist populists. Obama, on the other hand, had no such moments, and he runs the risk of losing blacks and gays, who got nothing, and feminists, who found their demands rebuffed. It’s too early to tell any of this, so for right now, the debate feels like a draw.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Second Presidential Debate Thread!!

Round Two tonight! Will Obama come out swinging? I would think so. Does he know how? I kind of doubt it. Look for a nasty, nasty affair tonight. One of the theories about Biden's last performance was that he acted went full-jackass intentionally in the hopes of making Obama look better when Obama tries to go half-assed tonight. No, I'm not kidding.

So what do you think will happen tonight? Also, feel free to treat this like an open thread until the event itself.

OT: If anyone hasn't reviewed my books yet, I could really use the help! Even just a few words would help. Thanks! LINK.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Presidential Debate Re-Cap

Last night was a clear Romney victory. Romney was incredibly well prepared, Obama was not. Romney came across as knowledgeable, professional and pleasant. He debunked all of Obama’s attacks over the past few months and presented a clear vision of what his administration would look like. Obama came across as flustered, angry, and lacking any plan for the future. Here are the highlights.

Romney Themes: Romney main theme all night was focusing on the middle class and on jobs, and he kept saying, “My priority is putting people back to work.” He did an excellent job of personalizing this too, which made him seem genuinely concerned about average Americans. To create jobs, he proposed (1) energy independence, (2) challenging China on currency manipulation, (3) balancing the budget, (4) cutting taxes on small business, and (5) improving retraining for workers.

Obama Themes: Obama never really mentioned the middle class. He spent the night attacking Romney for trying to cut taxes on the rich, even after Romney debunked this. He also kept attacking Romney for hiding the specifics of his proposals: “he keeps saying repeal and replace, but he won’t tell us what he’ll replace it with.” At first, this seemed to work. But Obama kept saying it on every issue and it began to sound fake. Not to mention, he would claim there were no details and then immediately attack specific details he’d just told us didn’t exist.

Romney Attacks Obama’s Record: Romney repeatedly hammered Obama on his record, noting “look at the evidence of the last four years”: (1) 23 million people unemployed, (2) the 37 million people on food stamps when Obama took office are now 47 million, (3) slower economic growth year after year, (4) middle class income fell $4,300 under Obama, (5) gas prices doubled, (6) health care costs rose an average of $2,500 per family, (7) food price inflation and electricity prices are up, (8) Obama said he would cut the deficit in half and he’s doubled it, (9) trillion dollar deficits every year, (10) Obama added more to the national debt than all other prior presidents combined, (11) 50% of recent college graduates can’t find work, and (12) one in six people is now below the poverty line.

At first, Obama tried to counter this by blaming Bush (war, economic crisis, unpaid-for tax cuts), but eventually he just sidestepped these attacks. At one point, he even seemed to ask Jim Lehrer to save him by suggesting they should move on. What’s worse, Obama offered no plan to fix this. All he proposed was taxing the rich, hiring 100,000 more teachers, building more community colleges, and giving a minor tax rate cut to manufacturers.

Obama Attacks Romney’s “Tax Cut”: Obama kept saying Romney wants a $5 trillion tax cut and an additional $2 trillion in military spending. Yet, at the same time, he claimed the average family’s taxes would go up $2,000 under Romney’s plan. Romney debunked all of this, but Obama kept repeating it, which gave Romney the perfect platform to loudly and clearly deny that he plans to raise middle class taxes – something Obama claims in television ads.

Whoops: The moment that really unsettled Obama came when Obama tried to demonize the oil industry for getting $4 billion in corporate welfare. Romney flipped this on him by pointing out that Obama sunk $90 billion into green energy companies like Solyndra, which is equal to 50 years worth of the corporate welfare Obama was attacking. Romney then went further and named the bankrupt green companies and mentioned they had been Obama contributors before zinging “you don’t just pick and winners and losers, you only pick losers.” Obama seemed stunned by the entire attack.

Romney later repeated this attack after Obama accused him of wanting to cut education spending. Romney used Obama’s own words about budgets exposing real priorities to point out that the $90 billion Obama sunk into these crony companies could have hired two million teachers – 20 times the 100,000 Obama wants to hire now. That stung.

Romney the Reasonable: All night, Obama did his best to make Romney seem extreme by claiming he wanted to repeal everything, that he wanted to cut taxes on the rich, eliminate all regulation, privatize social security, cut education spending, etc. Romney forcefully denied each of these claims and made it clear that he wants to fix what is wrong rather than wreck the system. This came across as very reasonable, especially as Romney could identify specific parts of each bill he thought should be repealed or saved. Obama seemed unprepared for this moderate approach and just kept repeating the debunked lines, which seemed more and more desperate as he kept doing it.

Deficit Plans: To cut the deficit, Romney wants to cut spending. His test is, “is this program worth borrowing money from China to pay for it.” He also talked about combining agencies, cutting duplicate programs, and cutting the number of employees, but mentioned this would be through attrition, which will make this a lot less controversial.

Obama countered by claiming he’d already prepared a plan to save $4 trillion, though Romney wondered why Obama hadn’t tried to get it passed. Obama also claimed Romney refuses to raise taxes and thus is not serious about the deficit. This led to an interesting philosophical argument about tax cuts and the economy. Obama insists that tax increases must be part of any plan to balance the budget. Romney claims raising taxes will depress economic growth and the real answer is to lower rates while eliminating loopholes to shift the burden upwards and then to grow the economy to bring in more revenues. That’s Reaganomics, folks!

Romney also pointed out that Obama said in 2010 that you don’t raise taxes during a recession, so he asked why Obama thinks its ok to raise taxes now, even though the economy is weaker. And he claimed Obama’s tax increases would cost 700,000 jobs. Obama had no answer.

Oil & Gas Obama: At one point, Obama tried to take credit for oil and natural gas production being up in the US. Romney countered that this was all on private land and that Obama has actually cut the number of permits on federal land by half. He did not mention the Keystone Pipeline, but he did mention that he favors coal, which Obama left out of his list of energies.

Medicare: Medicare came up repeatedly. Obama is trying to spin his $716 billion in Medicare cuts as savings which make the system stronger – he actually makes that claim in ads as well. Romney was ready for this. He claimed that these weren’t savings, they were simply rate cuts and that 15% of hospitals and nursing homes and 50% of doctors have said they won’t take Medicare patients if this happens.

Obama tried to counter by claiming that Romney wants to privatize Medicare and turn it into a voucher system. Romney responded that he wants to create a voucher alternative, so there would be two choices for people. Obama admitted this and backtracked to arguing this would leave people on the voucher system unprotected and would cost them $6,000 a year. Romney denied this, claiming everyone would be fully covered. Obama backtracked again and said this would bankrupt the government system because “clever insurance companies” would steal away healthy seniors, and he kept mentioning his grandmother.

Obamacare: Obama claimed Romney wants to get rid of all of Obamacare and he rattled off the popular provisions: (1) coverage of preexisting conditions, (2) keeping your kids on the plan until age 26, and (3) no arbitrary caps on coverage. Romney said he wants to keep the first two. Obama countered that Romney’s plan doesn’t keep the first, but then strangely proved that Romney’s plan actually does. Obama also got into trouble when he tried to counter Romney’s mentioning that a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats will decide what kind of healthcare you can get. Obama denied this, claiming instead that they would try to force best practices on all hospitals. He cited the Cleveland Clinic as an example of how great this can work. Romney then flipped it around and noted that the Cleveland Clinic is a private business and thus proves the superiority of the free market to solve these problems. Obama had no answer.

After all of this, Obama tried to claim he copied Romneycare when he made Obamacare. This struck me as stupid because it made Romney the expert. It also let Romney explain where Obama failed to copy Romneycare correctly.

Who’s A Crony?: Obama kept accusing Romney of wanting to help Wall Street, but this rang hollow because he used it in response to everything from Obamacare to education, and because Romney pointed out that Dodd Frank was a “huge kiss” to New York banks because it designated 15 banks as too big to fail and guaranteed them taxpayer protection. Obama was caught off guard on this and clearly doesn’t know the provision. Combined with Solyndra, this nicely exposed Obama’s cronyism. He also accused Obama of harming the housing market because Dodd Frank penalizes risky loans, but hasn’t defined that term, so lenders won’t lend. This is a sore spot for Obama who faces fire from the left for not fixing the mortgage crisis.

A Jerk To The End: Right at the end, both were asked to describe their view of the role of government. Obama got down into the weeds and talked about hiring teachers and accused Romney of not wanting great teachers. Romney took this apart by explaining that Massachusetts is the top state for education because of his efforts. He then went on to describe his vision which was both positive and hopeful. He talked about the federal government’s job being the promotion of the values in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. He talked about protecting the life and liberty of the public through a strong military, about the right to pursue happiness including protecting those who need help, about preserving religious tolerance and freedom and letting Americans pursue their own dreams. This was Reaganesque. Obama looked petty.

Then the moderator asked them to explain how they would overcome the partisan divide. Romney talked about being governor of a solidly Democratic state and how he found common ground without surrendering his principles. He mentioned that both Democrats and Republicans love America and he said it takes leadership to bring people together. Obama then began his response with a poorly timed partisan swipe at Romney, followed by claiming credit for his own accomplishments and accusing the Republicans of trying to help Wall Street and taking away people’s healthcare. So much for bipartisanship.

The Reaction: The reaction has been brutal for Obama. All the pundits agreed Romney won and many seemed pretty despondent over Obama’s performance. T-Rav sent us this link of Chris Matthews blowing a gasket: LINK. Bill Maher tweeted that Obama made great points. . . for Romney. And the conservative world is intensely energized tonight.

In the end, what truly stood out to me was just how amazingly prepared Romney is for this job. Assuming he wins, he may be the most capable man to occupy the office in decades. Moreover, I am thrilled that his answers remained fundamentally conservative throughout as he never lost track of the true role of government and the limits on its power. This was a good night.

Thoughts? Anything I missed?

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Presidential Debate Thread!!

Tonight's debate will be from the University of Denver, and will be hosted by Jim Lehrer of PBS's "NewsHour." Cookies and Obama Phones will be handed out to everyone in the audience. Questions will focus on domestic policy and what kind of tree each candidate wishes he was.

Hmm? Anyone have any idea what "domestic policy" means? Feel free to enlighten us in the comments. Or tell us what kind of tree you think each candidate should be?! :)

As an aside, here's the rest of the debate schedule:
Oct 11: Vice Presidential Debate, Foreign and domestic topics
Oct 16: Second Presidential Debate, Town Hall meeting format
Oct 22: Third Presidential Debate, Foreign policy
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ve Vant To Ask You Some Qvestions!

Politico has come up with a list of ten debate questions, five for Obama and five for Romney. Meh. Anyway, I figure I would discuss these and maybe suggest better ones. You should suggest your own in the comments.

For Obama: Politico’s first question is a laugher. They want to know what Obama will say to the “millions of Americans who might have jobs today if you had made the 2009 stimulus package bigger.” They say he promised bold action and he “blinked.” Oh boy. He spent $787 billion. Basically, he spent the equivalent of the Korean economy. The Korean economy supports 30 million jobs. Obama promised 3 million. He got squat. Stimulus spending does not work and spending more wouldn’t have produce any more jobs. But of course, this question would let Obama sound reasonable to moderates for not overspending and he could simultaneously claim the Republicans blocked him (even though they had no power to block him). This is a softball.

Their next question is the standard, we thought you were going to bring us together, but those evil Republicans wouldn’t work with you, so did you overestimate your ability to work with those monsters? That’s a worthless softball too. But then things get more interesting.

The third question is why Obama hasn’t done more to protect people from losing their homes. This is a good question, though it would be better to ask him what he plans to do. The answer is that there’s nothing he really can do unless he wants to buy out mortgages or nationalize the lenders, so it would be interesting to see his answer.

The fourth question asks “how can you promise to protect entitlements when you’ve put them on the table.” This was during the debt ceiling negotiations. There’s no good answer here, though his campaign commercials are delusionally claiming that he strengthened entitlements by stripping them of money. It would be interesting to see how he spins out of this one.

Finally, they ask why he hasn’t shown “leadership on gun control.” The answer is he knows he’d lose the election if he suggested that, but it would be interesting to see him stuck between his gun-hating supporters and the public.

Other questions I would ask would be:
1. How did the DOE clean energy loans program become such a disaster and will you prosecute Solyndra and the others who took loans obviously planning to go out of business? Also, what will you do to protect the rest of the money that was lent?

2. Why can’t we simply return spending to 2008 levels to cut the deficit?

3. What tangible benefits has your Middle East policy produced?

4. What do you plan to do to create jobs?

5. You said you would keep lobbyists out of your government, but your government is full of them. Why did you appoint these people?
For Romney: The first question for Romney strikes me as odd. They want Romney to pinky-swear that he won’t eliminate the mortgage-interest deduction. I don’t recall anyone outside of this blog talking about that? I think this is an attempt to put words in his mouth and make him deny something he never said, so they can call him a flip-flopper while simultaneously scaring people. That’s dirty pool.

Then they ask how he can keep “popular, expensive parts of [ObamaCare] but get rid of the underpinnings that pay for them?” Well, the two things Romney has promised to keep don’t cost the government a penny, so this question is misleading. Imagine that.

The third question is rotten too: “why is it fair that you pay a lower tax rate than many low-income and middle-class Americans?” Uh... that’s not true. Someone actually looked this up today and discovered that Romney’s tax rate was higher than 97% of all taxpayers. But it doesn’t sound so bad to say, “is it fair that you pay a lower rate than 3% of Americans?”

Then they try to revive the tax return issue by asking why Romney demanded more years of taxes from Paul Ryan than he released himself. Yawn.

Finally, they ask him to name three things he disagrees with in Ryan’s budget. This is just an attempt to make him and Ryan appear to be at odds, which they aren’t. Anyway, there’s no right answer here. I would evade this by saying that “you can’t look at a budget that way because it’s all part of a mosaic... now f-off twerp.”

Other questions I would ask would be:
1. What do you plan to do to create jobs?

2. Would you support an across the board spending cut in the Federal government? At what percent? And what other cuts would you make?

3. Obama has been blasting you on Bain Capital, can you tell us how many businesses Bain closed, how many jobs were lost, did they make any money on those closures, how much did they lose on those closures, what companies are alive today because of Bain, and how many jobs do they provide today?

4. What role will Paul Ryan play in your administration?

5. You once said John Roberts was the type of justice you wanted to appoint. Has your opinion changed in light of the ObamaCare ruling, and if so, what justice is most like the type of person you’d like to appoint now?
What would you ask?

FYI: First debate Next Wednesday, October 3.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Campaign News

There has been a lot of interesting talk about the Romney campaign lately. From the manufactured claim the campaign is imploding to Paul Ryan slamming all the right-wing pundits who won’t stop smearing the campaign to more polling data. Let’s discuss.

Polls: It seems almost obligatory that we talk about polling these days. So here are two things worth noting. A new Politico/GWU poll claims Romney has a 14% lead on Obama among the middle class. If true, that would not only put the lie to Obama’s class warfare strategy and claims to represent the middle class, but it would also mean Romney is blowing Obama away because 60% of the public is middle class. Interestingly, this figure doesn’t fit with Politico’s topline number of Obama leading by 3%.

The other interesting news was hidden within an article by Dick Morris on why you can’t trust the current polls. We’ve discussed this extensively here, but what Morris adds is that while most polls are using sample turnout identical to 2008, Rasmussen is using a combination of 2008 and 2004. . . not 2010. This explains why Rasmussen is better, but still calls the race a toss up. The electorate in 2004 was one of the most closely balanced in recent history and 2008 was a high-water mark for the Democrats. Neither of those scenarios is likely this time because there is a huge enthusiasm gap in favor of the Republicans and many Democratic voters (like college kids) haven’t even registered. Thus, any poll that incorporates the 2008 numbers will be skewed too far toward the Democrats. Moreover, 2004 is not a good balance for 2008 because it was also a low-Republican turnout election which gave the Democrats the House and Senate. Consequently, even Rasmussen’s numbers appear to be skewed left. I suspect that balancing the numbers against 2010 would show Romney with a 5-8% lead.

It’s All Falling Apart: It’s been amazing to watch this false narrative being built about the Romney campaign falling apart. This started at Politico as a speculation piece on one of their back pages. The following morning, several MSM outlets and blogs ran with this story as if it were being reported as true rather than speculation. Suddenly, reporters were asking Romney about it and reporting his responses as him denying the truth of the supposed turmoil. Romney has all but laughed these off, but the MSM continues to run with stories about the troubles Romney is experiencing and how they are desperate for a re-set button, etc. They are also weaving in the fake poll narrative now, claiming that these polls are proof that Romney’s campaign is failing. In the latest incarnation, they are spinning it backwards by claiming the polls caused the panic, even though the panic story began before the polls they are talking about.

Ryan Fires Back: This narrative of internal chaos has been pushed hard by many on the right. Leading the charge is RINO Peggy Noonan, who last week called the Romney campaign “incompetent,” and this week said:
“The Romney campaign has to get turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant ‘rolling calamity.’ A lot of people weighed in. . . . [but] no one that I know of defended the campaign or argued ‘you’re missing some of its quiet excellence.’”
This is pathetic logic: “I’m right because I nobody bothered to tell me I’m wrong.” You can prove anything that way. She even claims that an unnamed source inside Romney’s camp secretly agrees with her! Yeah, right. But Noonan is not alone. Others on the left and right ends of the conservative spectrum have been just as harsh. Romney is swinging too far right, not far enough right, hasn’t said enough, says too much, needs to provide specifics, should avoid specifics. Mostly, he just needs to do “better.”

The truth is that our pundit class are idiots. They don’t know what they are talking about, so they try to fake having knowledge by criticizing the campaign while careful avoiding actually saying what the problem is. They do this because criticism is easy and they win no matter what. If Romney loses, they warned him. If he win, it was only because he followed their advice and “did it better.” Moreover, they make their living by drawing attention to themselves. Thus, they look for ways to be controversial and to sound smarter than they really are. This is not helping. These people should be attacking Obama’s myriad of failures, flaws and outrages, but they know they will sell more copies attacking their own side.

Paul Ryan put his finger on this when he said these commentators were wrong and that “I think that’s just the nature of conservative punditry is to do that – to kind of complain – about any imperfection they might see.” Sadly, that is correct.

Return of the Tax Return: Finally, Romney released his 2011 taxes and the media is frustrated. They have no idea how to smear Romney with these because Romney gave $4,020,722 (29.4% of his income) to charity. Obama gave only $172,130 (21%) of his income and Joe Biden gave $5,540 (1.5%) of his income to charity.

There are also no strange surprises or deductions the MSM have been able to attack. So the best they’ve got now is Harry Reid whining to the Las Vegas Sun, “He’s hiding something! He’s hiding something! It is so evident he’s hiding something!” Which makes me ask again why Harry won’t tell us where he buried the children he molested. . . it’s evident he’s hiding something.

Thoughts? Additions?

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Libya/Egypt: An Opportunity

As with all international incidents, it takes time to understand what is really going on across the Middle East. There are a lot of conflicting reports and some obviously false ideas being batted about. With several days to observe, here are my thoughts, and what I think needs to be done next.

As often happens during crises like this, everyone sees what they want to see. If you see Islam as evil, then this is proof that all Muslims are evil. If you want to see Islam as a victim of the US, then this is proof that America continues to provoke Muslim outrage. Both views are ridiculous. Let’s start with some inconvenient facts which the idiots on both sides want to ignore:
● (1) The video did not cause these attacks. These attacks were premeditated to coincide with 9/11. The video was simply given as an excuse. How do we know this? For one thing, Egyptian intelligence warned the US three days early that an attack was planned. For another, there is no way this video could even have been seen across the Middle East – not to mention, why would it only outrage Muslims in a handful of countries but not others?

For yet another, these were not spontaneous crowds. We know this because not only did they bring heavy weapons, such as mortars, but they actually knew the location where the US Ambassador to Libya would flee after the riots began and they shelled that location with sufficient accuracy to convince military experts that this was a highly coordinated, professional attack. These were planned attacks.

● (2) This was not aimed solely at the United States. German and other Western embassies have been attacked as well.

● (3) The Libyan and Egyptian governments were not behind these attacks. Egyptian intelligence actually warned the US this was coming. Both governments have condemned attacks. Libya has arrested around 50 people who were involved. And crowds of Libyans also demonstrated against the attacks.
So what does this mean? It means that this was likely just another terrorist attack by al Qaeda, who have indeed claimed credit and say this was in retaliation for the killing of their number two man. More importantly, this and the reaction by the Egyptian and Libyan governments means that there is an opportunity here.

It is clear that both the Egyptian and Libyan governments very much wish to avoid being seen as hostile to America. That tells us something significant. That tells us that they are much more reasonable than people have been giving them credit for and that we have an opening to work with them to forge a better relationship.

Why is this important? For one thing, if these countries drift into the world of radical Islam, then we are looking at new havens for terrorists, right on Europe’s southern border. It makes a lot more sense to engage these countries, who are giving off signs of being willing to engage with us, to try to bring them into the fold of responsible countries, than it does to write them off. As Sen. John McCain correctly said this weekend:

“It’s a fight, a struggle in the Arab world between the Islamists and the forces of moderation. And they want America disengaged.”

Anyone who doesn’t understand this, simply doesn’t understand what is going on or what is at stake. McCain then claimed that Obama’s policy of disengagement is the problem. I don’t fully agree with that because al Qaeda has been plotting attacks since the 1990s, but I do agree that Obama has failed to engage Egypt and Libya (and others) sufficiently. Now is absolutely the time to (1) get these countries to guarantee individual rights, (2) change the culture of their police by training them to shake off corruption and handle riots without violence, (3) get them to crack down on radical behavior, and (4) get them to open up their economies to create jobs for all these unemployed youths.

In this regard, I think it’s a good thing Obama has invited the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood to come speak to him. The Muslim Brotherhood have actually done a lot to shake off the image of being a terrorist organization and to be seen as a legitimate, moderate Islamic organization. If this meeting is handled correctly, Obama will let the Muslim Brotherhood know that their reputation around the world and our response to them will very much depend on them helping to rid Egypt of the kind of radical elements that give aid and comfort to terrorists like al Qaeda. Whether or not Obama can be this firm is unclear – though he has shown a much stronger anti-terrorist backbone than most conservatives want to give him credit for.

Things to avoid are (1) lumping all Muslim in with these terrorists – that just turns potential friends into enemies, (2) talking about military action where none is possible – that just inflames the situation and makes the US look weak, (3) turning our backs on these governments at this moment of opportunity – which is exactly what al Qaeda wants, and (4) further disengagement -- you cannot control what you do not participate in. Obama also must stand up for free speech and make it clear that Muslims must learn that they have no right to control the views of other people. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton has gone the completely wrong way on this and keeps trying to blame the tape.

Politically, I think this has been a disaster all around so far. Romney looked bad by speaking too quickly. He gave the MSM a chance to redirect the crisis at him. I think he was right in what he said, but he should have waited to say it. Clinton looks horrible because the State Department clearly has flopped back and forth between pandering and denying reality. She has presented an image of a liar who is desperate to cover up her mistakes and avoid blame. Obama looks like a fool as well. Indeed, many commentators left and right, including the German magazine Der Spiegel have declared his foreign policy a “failure” because he obviously has failed to “reconcile” the Muslim world. They also criticize his handling of this crisis, particularly his blaming the video. Indeed, they say that it is illegitimate to blame this video because either this was a terrorist act, in which event the video was irrelevant, or this was “an expression of a frightening ignorance,” in which event he needs to stand up to the ignorance. Obama also has had a problem keeping his administration on the same page and his running off to fund raisers rather than dealing with this are, frankly, shocking. Let’s hope everybody learns from their mistakes.

In the end, I think the key to remember here is that we must learn to tell friend from foe. We have received a clear signal of friendship here from the Libya and Egyptian governments and an opportunity we have not had since the Arab Spring began to shape these new countries. It’s time to seize that opportunity, rather than squander it in a false narrative designed to hide what really happened or a blast of ignorant bias.

This is one of those moments that turns history. Let’s hope people start to realize this.

Thoughts? Questions?

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