Monday, November 29, 2010

Hugh Hewitt's Review of America by Heart

Hugh Hewitt has a book review up of America by Heart. It's a good view to put alongside the analysis done by Jay Newton-Small.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Portland leaders rejected feds who save the city from terrorist attack

Byron York:
"In 2005, leaders in Portland, Oregon, angry at the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terror, voted not to allow city law enforcement officers to participate in a key anti-terror initiative, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. On Friday, that task force helped prevent what could have been a horrific terrorist attack in Portland. Now city officials say they might re-think their participation in the task force -- because Barack Obama is in the White House."
. . .
"What is ironic is that the operation that found and stopped Mohamud is precisely the kind of law enforcement work that Portland's leaders, working with the American Civil Liberties Union, rejected during the Bush years. In April 2005, the Portland city council voted 4 to 1 to withdraw Portland city police officers from participating in the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Mayor Tom Potter said the FBI refused to give him a top-secret security clearance so he could make sure the officers weren't violating state anti-discrimination laws that bar law enforcement from targeting suspects on the basis of their religious or political beliefs.

"Other city leaders agreed. 'Here in Portland, we are not willing to give up individual liberties in order to have a perception of safety,' said city commissioner Randy Leonard. 'It's important for cities to know how their police officers are being used.'"
. . .
"In the Mohamud case, it appears that Portland's anti-law enforcement stand might actually have influenced Mohamud's decision to undertake an attack in the city. According to the FBI affidavit, the undercover agents asked whether he worried that law enforcement would stop him. 'In Portland?' Mohamud replied. 'Not really. They don't see it as a place where anything will happen. People say, you know, why, anybody want to do something in Portland, you know, it's on the west coast, it's in Oregon, and Oregon's, like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.'"
Apparently Portland's leaders rarely think in it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

CBS and Jay Newton-Small Lap National Review and The Weekly Standard

PalinTV has posted a great CBS News interview with TIME correspondent Jay Newton-Small.

Newton-Small shows how a professional political analyst operates. She actually read Sarah Palin's new book America by Heart with an eye to its content and meaning. Then she comments on it and its implications intelligently. What a breath of fresh air.

Nothing like the analysis recently at National Review or The Weekly Standard. Their great writers give snark analysis of Palin (get an Oprah show) and take 2,000+ words to ignore their own conclusion (we're against tagging after Palin).

Good for CBS and Newton-Small for taking their viewers seriously.

The Best of Humor: Palin Joins Lincoln, JFK, Reagan

This woman is good in so many fields. Reminds me of how well she did on Jay Leno's show. Palin came away with praise from Jon Stewart. What other major presidential candidate except Lincoln with his backwoods stories, JFK and Reagan has done so well with humor?
"A Thanksgiving Message to All 57 States"
. . .
"My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate – from the FBI’s 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. And let’s face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian for that…"

"Of course, the paragraph above is based on a series of misstatements and verbal gaffes made by Barack Obama (I didn’t have enough time to do one for Joe Biden). YouTube links are provided just in case you doubt the accuracy of these all too human slips-of-the-tongue. If you can’t remember hearing about them, that’s because for the most part the media didn’t consider them newsworthy. I have no complaint about that. Everybody makes the occasional verbal gaffe – even news anchors".
Now for the more serious point.
"Obviously, I would have been even more impressed if the media showed some consistency on this issue. Unfortunately, it seems they couldn’t resist the temptation to turn a simple one word slip-of-the-tongue of mine into a major political headline. The one word slip occurred yesterday during one of my seven back-to-back interviews wherein I was privileged to speak to the American public about the important, world-changing issues before us.

"If the media had bothered to actually listen to all of my remarks on Glenn Beck’s radio show, they would have noticed that I refer to South Korea as our ally throughout, that I corrected myself seconds after my slip-of-the-tongue, and that I made it abundantly clear that pressure should be put on China to restrict energy exports to the North Korean regime. The media could even have done due diligence and checked my previous statements on the subject, which have always been consistent, and in fact even ahead of the curve. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story? (And for that matter, why not just make up stories out of thin air – like the totally false hard news story which has run for three days now reporting that I lobbied the producers of 'Dancing with the Stars' to cast a former Senate candidate on their show. That lie is further clear proof that the media completely makes things up without doing even rudimentary fact-checking.)

"'Hope springs eternal' as the poet says. Let’s hope that perhaps, just maybe, they might get it right next time. When we the people are effective in holding America’s free press accountable for responsible and truthful reporting, then we shall all have even more to be thankful for!"
Nicely done.

To paraphrase the common sense boy in an old story: The press has no clothes. And not much of a sense of humor either.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for Mark Steyn

Among the many things I'm thankful for today, Mark Steyn is definitely on the list.

His post yesterday says:
"Rather boringly, I have some health issues that demand somewhat more attention than I’ve been able to give them. So rather than keep driving you nuts by showing signs of life on the home page for a day or two and then lapsing back into sleep mode for a week, we’re going to close up shop for a while."
Prayers are in order for arguably the funniest, wisest political writer of our time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for William F. Buckley, Jr.

Today would have been William F. Buckley, Jr.'s 85th birthday.

He was my hero, and he honored me with his friendship, love and encouragement for over three decades.

His wit and intelligence are legendary. He was a humble, caring man as well. The humility came out in how he treated people. When he first greeted you, his face would light up, like the sun coming out from behind clouds, as though you were the delight of his day. His talk was filled with humor and enjoyment of people, ideas, actions, things. He shared of himself easily, and listened to others just as easily.

He was a gift to the nation and to me personally. The photos were taken in the early 1970's during tapings of Firing Line.

Matt Labash Lives in a Glass House

One has to feel sorry for Matt Labash. He's a political humor writer, and uses his personal and family experiences in his writing. His bio at The Weekly Standard gives his two sons names: Luke and Dean, and he includes them in his writing by name, age and with conversational snippets. Yet, Labash apparently thinks it is Sarah Palin's fault that her children get savaged in the press because she exposes them to the public.

Unfortunately Labash does his share to make sure that mean personal reaction gets published in the national press, like The Weekly Standard. Labash doesn't publish this trash in the context that there is something wrong with the tweets, but implies that there is something wrong with Sarah Palin (and, by extension, her husband Todd) for being in a television series on Alaska with their children.
". . . [T]he online hyenas circled, then savaged Palin and her family. They reamed 9-year-old Piper for disturbing wildlife with 'racist anti-bear calls.' They mocked Willow when a boy snuck upstairs as Palin busied herself on her BlackBerry. They came up with baby names for any forthcoming Palin children: Snausages, Musket, Hugh Betcha, Pander, and Mooseknuckle.

"Does any of this matter to Palin? Probably not. She must be used to it by now. But her family is not acclimating so seamlessly to their new reality-television roles. Her daughters, just a few days ago, got in a widely reported Facebook scrape, with Willow electing to defend the family honor when the show was trashed by an old classmate for 'failing so hard.' Willow, in turn, invited him to 'stfu, Your [sic] such a faggot.' Willow has a lot of growing up to do. Literally—she’s only 16, and what 16-year-old would want those growing pains played out in public?"
The lesson Labash seems to take away is that the Palin parents should stay out of sight, even so innocuous sight as a series promoting the beauties and wonder of Alaska, so that no one will bother the Palin children.

Will Labash himself do that if someone starts targeting his boys? Will he stop his public writing? If he doesn't give up his writing career, will that mean that unfair public criticism of his sons doesn't matter to him?

Labash faults Palin for
". . . going rogue . . . . Letting it fly. Following your gut. Which has made Sarah Palin wealthy, and intensely discussed, and now has secured her a spot in the Reality TV Star pantheon. And good for Palin if she’s happy following her gut.

"Though there’s no compelling reason to suggest the rest of us should tag along behind."
What's interesting is that Palin has not let "it fly" or followed her "gut" like Labash has.

Palin has committed no felonies nor been compelled to retract and pay for publicly libeling someone. Matt Labash, on the other hand, let fly an article against Deepak Chopra, and probably committed a felony in the act of gathering his resource material. He didn't get charged with a felony, but The Weekly Standard had to pony up settlement money and issue a complete retraction for Labash's piece.

You'd think that someone living in the glass house that Matt Labash lives in would be, if not wise enough, at least empathetic enough to see how dangerous his position is to his own career and family.

Beyond the personal implications of Labash's position, apparently he doesn't see how antithetical it is to the nation's democratic political process.

If we don't start fighting back against this barbarianism, whether we we dislike the person being pilloried or not, the nation will soon come to the place where good people flee all association with politics--including writing sometimes not so humorous* pieces about it.

A prudent man sees evil and hides himself,
The naive proceed and pay the penalty.

Proverbs 27:12
*The one truly humorous part of Labash's piece comes in his last sentence conclusion that he can find no compelling reason to "tag along behind" Sarah Palin. One would have wished he had recognized that before spending 2,000 plus words tagging along behind. It's also a sentence of hope. Perhaps no more Labash pieces on Palin?

Maybe Chris Christie Isn't Quite Ready for Prime Time

Governor Chris Christie obviously hasn't learned the spirit of Reagan's 11th commandment.

Late night shows deal in sneer, so they are minefields for current and future candidates. Unfortunately for Christie, the sneer got the better of humor in this bit. Happens to all of us now and again, and it dims our stars too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Advance Publications [Oregonian's owner] at Crossroads

That's the headline of a story at Crain's New York Business. Newspapers are the weak part of Advance Publications.
". . . [N]ewspapers are the weakest link in the family business.

"Circulation at the company's biggest property, Cleveland's The Plain Dealer, was down 7% in the most recent six-month reporting period, to an average of 253,000 copies. The Star-Ledger in Newark—which lost 40% of its newsroom in cutbacks two years ago—saw circulation fall 9%, to 223,000 copies. And last year, The Ann Arbor News was reduced to, with a print edition appearing just two days a week.

"Revenues for the newspaper group plummeted 26% in 2009, to $1.3 billion, according to Ad Age.
No mention of the Oregonian's 25% circulation loss in the last three years.

The one silver lining for Advance Publications and the Oregonian: Advance has no debt.
"'That makes a huge difference,' says Ken Doctor, a newspaper analyst with Outsell Inc. He calculates that the Newhouse papers, in line with the rest of the industry, returned to profitability this year with margins of 5% to 10%—far below the 20%-plus margins that were typical for the sector just five years ago."

Thankful for C. S. Lewis

from the Life magazine photos collection
On this day 47 years ago C. S. (Jack) Lewis passed into the presence of his Lord.

He was a man of clear thinking, clear writing on even the most difficult subjects, and integrity. He was also a humble and loving man. The reader is always treated as his equal and his friend.

Lewis left the world a wonderful legacy in different literary genres. There are his children's books (Narnia), science fiction trilogy, Christian fantasy, literary criticism, and clear, reasoned defense and elucidation of basic Christian beliefs. Some of my favorites:

Mere Christianity
The Magician's Nephew
The Screwtape Letters
That Hideous Strength

collections of essays such as:
God in the Dock
and Christian Reflections

I was able to visit the Lewis house in 1973 just after the death of Jack's beloved brother, Major Warren Lewis. Here is a photo of C. S. Lewis's desk used by Major Lewis after his brother's death.*

C. S. Lewis has enriched my life beyond description.  Thank you, Lord, for C. S. Lewis.
*The Dibutsu Buddha statue is one that Warren Lewis bought in 1930 on a stopover in Japan during his trip back from military service in China.

Monday, November 22, 2010

National Review Fires a Shot over Its Own Bow

Jim Geraghty of National Review (NR) fires a shot over his magazine's bow with the interesting intelligence that on NR's recent cruise 2/3rds of the folks he talked to were "wildly enthusiastic about Sarah Palin". These are NR's monied, one might say "establishment", types able to go on a cruise with top NR staff and pundits.

Interestingly, National Review, just published a hit piece on Palin by Mona Charen. Charen advised Governor Palin to get an Oprah-like talk show rather than run for president. One assumes that Charen might advise enthusiastic Palin supporters on the NR cruise to similarly start watching Oprah-type shows and leave off reading NR.

I have been the financial manager for a publishing house, and it's not too smart to tell your reading public that they're stupid.

Perhaps Geraghty's column will help NR to listen a little better to its base.

The other alternative is to hone persuasion skills and try to flip the 2/3rds "wildly enthusiastic" Palin support to the 1/3rd not. Good luck with flipping public opinion--as President Obama and the Democrats found out in the last election.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Left and Right Agree on Recount in Alaska

Apparently things don't smell good on the vote counting in Alaska from both the left (no dog in the fight) and the right (a win on the line).

Shannyn Moore on the Huffington Post:
"Despite heavy national media coverage and historic Citizens United money spent on Alaska's hotly contested and much-watched three-way US Senate race, the results, if we are to believe them, were a surprisingly low voter turnout. In fact, this election was one of the lowest turnouts since they started tracking ballots cast versus registered voters in the mid-1970s.

". . . It's curious that the forgotten gubernatorial race, reportedly, had several hundred more votes recorded than the attention-grabbing U.S. Senate race. Furthermore, as returns from around the state poured in on election night, the percentages between candidates in statewide races never changed throughout the evening-despite Juneau, for instance, being ideologically opposite of Wasilla.

"Election chain of custody is the unbroken trail of overseeable accountability that ensures the physical security of our ballots during an election. Goldbelt Security Services was contracted by the Alaska Division of Elections to provide the security and transportation of the ballots to Juneau. Goldbelt is an Alaska Native Corporation with SBA 8(a) status-meaning they are eligible for sole-source, no-bid government contracts. The 8(a) program was relentlessly attacked by Joe Miller. The Alaska Native 8(a)'s unanimously backed Lisa and provided tremendous financial support in the bargain. As they transported the record of the state's future, Goldbelt Security had a tremendous stake in the outcome of the election. Imagine if the Alaska Division of Elections contracted Drop Zone Security to transport and guard the election ballots. How would the Murkowski camp react?

"I'm not buying it. We are a small enough state that we should have hand counts."
From the Joe Miller camp:
"Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto said, 'Our campaign has sworn affidavits identifying unsecured ballot boxes, other precincts where numerous ballots appear to be in the same handwriting, others where there is 100% voter turnout and still other precincts where the ballots were sent to the Division of Elections presorted by U.S. Senate candidate. These and other irregularities give our campaign pause. Alaskans must be able to trust the results of its elections.'

"One important step in reviewing the results of the election is ensuring that the number of voters signed in the precinct logs on Election Day matches the number of votes being recorded from that precinct and that there is no evidence of voter fraud. Further verification of these totals will have to come from the tapes that the voting machines produce with a tally of the number of voters and the break down between candidates. So far the Division of Elections has failed to respond to the Miller request for these tapes."
. . .
"Additionally, the Murkowski write-in ballots have undergone a hand count review where spoiled ballots are being counted for her, whereas the Miller ballots have all been counted by machine with many valid ballots not being included.

"Joe Miller said, 'After all the absentee ballots are in and we’ve further reviewed the procedures and the results, we may ask for a recount. Less than 1% of the vote now separates my and Lisa Murkowski’s total. If there is a recount and a consistent standard is applied to all the ballots, who knows what the difference would be. We need to uphold the integrity of the vote and we need a consistent standard.'”

Could TSA Employees Face Criminal Charges for Following Orders?

UPDATE: The other side:
"But I’m afraid some people are directing their anger at the wrong target. Ron Paul, for instance, has introduced legislation to remove TSA employees’ immunity from prosecution and arrest them for assault. Kick the Bureaucrat is a game conservatives love to play, and sometimes it’s justified, but this time it isn’t. The problem is the policy that the White House and its minions have instructed their subordinates in the civil service to carry out. And it’s not just the Obama folks; Bush insisted on this non-profiling approach, and Republicans ran Congress for four years after 9/11 and supinely permitted it."
NW Republican has an interesting take.
". . . today's TSA employees who molest law-abiding men, women, and children should consider that as the public backlash against what would otherwise be illegal body searches ("pat-downs") grows, it is possible they could find themselves on the receiving end of criminal prosecution in the future, perhaps even years after their TSA employment is over."
The post points out that "following orders" is not a defense when committing a crime.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

High Negative Rating Equals Unelectable?

Then we may have a problem in 2012 since the two front runners have similar negative baggage.

Governor Sarah Palin has 52% negatives after being bombarded with unfavorable coverage since 2008. But, that's only 2 points from President Obama's 50% negatives despite fawning media coverage since 2008.

So, is a 50% or 52% negative rating enough to sink a candidate? Apparently not. There's not much serious commentary on the Democrats nominating someone other than Obama for 2012. Or much serious commentary on any Republican candidate easily defeating him.

Would Republicans have a better chance with someone with lower initial negatives? That's the problem. Lower initial negatives. Just ask President Bill Clinton how fast one's image can be slimed by ridiculous charges. Clinton had to defend himself in the national press for "racist" comments. One gets the feel for how fast huge negatives can accumulate for even the squeakiest clean Republican.

Ideas and leadership are the central issue. On major issues who has carried the banner best?

On Obamacare? On economic policy? On the size and role of government?

At this point, there is no candidate who can hold a candle to Governor Palin as a leader on these issues. And she has charisma too.

To blame the person out in front of the charge for getting more flack than those following is unfair and shortsighted.

Why Oregon Is Becoming Idaho Not Washington

Washington's openness to business growth in coal export is another example of why Oregon is becoming Idaho rather than keeping up with Washington's economic growth.

OregonGuy has the details.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Palin and Teddy Roosevelt: Courage, Energy, Adventure

UPDATE: 4.96 million viewers--"Best Launch in TLC's History"

Palin rock climbing from TLC video
Todd and Sarah Palin from TLC video
The first episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska shows an energetic, adventurous woman with more than a bit of courage. Palin takes on some demanding rock climbing in spite of a fear of heights.

Teddy Roosevelt comes to mind as the only comparison in terms of presidential candidates in the last century.

First of eight parts aired tonight.

Teddy Roosevelt (NARA photo)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Media Assassination of Palin. Kathleen Parker: "I led it."

Out of their own mouths.

Newsbusters transcript:
JOHN ZIEGLER: So you didn't buy into the Obama moderation myth?


ZIEGLER: You were duped by the media --

PARKER: I was one of those people who thought this is a guy who is talking about not a red, not a blue America, and who's going to bring the country together.

ZIEGLER: So you were duped.

PARKER: I was at that 2004 Democratic convention.

ZIEGER: Were you duped?

PARKER: No, I'm not going to say I was duped, I'm saying --

ZIEGLER: So you stand by that.

PARKER: Listen to you: I'm the interviewer here. [Nervous laughter] This is fun; this is fun. But I wrote critical things of him, and I still write critical things of him.

ZIEGLER: You endorsed him. You endorsed him before the election. And you took pride --

PARKER: I did not endorse. I did not endorse.

ZIEGLER: You took part in the targeting of Sarah Palin. You essentially took part in the assassination of Sarah Palin 1.0. That person is dead; she doesn't exist any more.

PARKER: No, no, no. Actually, I did not take part in it: I led it. Let's be clear. Let's get our facts straight.

Time to Say "No" to the TSA

UPDATE: Here's how to do an effective search without humiliating or groping passengers:
"Israel's El Al is universally recognized as having the best airport security in the world -- and they don't have security guards pulling pretty women out of line so they can look at them naked in body scanners. They also don't feel up women and run their hands over children's crotches for security purposes.

"So what do they do? Here's "Isaac Yeffet, the former head of security for El Al" to explain it,

"'It's mandatory that every passenger -- I don't care his religion or whatever he is -- every passenger has to be interviewed by security people who are qualified and well-trained, and are being tested all year long. I trained my guys and educated them, that every flight, for them, is the first flight."

"'...We are constantly in touch with the Israeli intelligence to find out if there are any suspicious passengers among hundreds of passengers coming to take the flight.'

"'...During the year, we did thousands of tests of our security guys around the world. It cost money, but once you save lives, it's worth all the money that the government gave us to have the right security system.""

Read the rest here.

Coyote at NW Republican has some good commentary on this issue.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Incandescent Light Bulb Stockpilers

From the Daily Caller some reasons for stockpiling:
[1.] ". . . Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs), have a tendency to burst into flames."
. . .
[2.] "There’s also an aesthetic component to it. 'It’s the color temperature,' Smith said. 'The quality of light is just nowhere near what incandescents can do.'"
. . .
[3.] "Moreover, Smith . . . feels that the claims of energy savings associated with CFLs are unsubstantiated. In part, this is a function of how they are used. Energy Star, the certification program for 'green' products, suggests that a CFL should be left on for a minimum of 15 minutes to achieve maximum energy savings. This makes CFLs unsuitable for certain applications. For instance, Smith cited the example of the bathroom at an elementary school where he teaches as a substitute.

"The constant turning on and off of the lights meant that, at one point, the janitor came in and 'he was replacing that same bulb for the third time in three days, ‘cause the on-off cycle was killing them.' The janitor, Smith said, 'was also stocking up' on incandescent bulbs.

[4.] "Another issue Smith cited is that CFLs contain mercury and need to be recycled properly. The little amount of mercury on its own isn’t really enough to cause a problem, but if enough people throw out the bulbs with their normal trash, eventually, it’s going to add up to a lot of mercury in landfills.

[5.] "Then there’s the fact that CFLs are substantially more expensive than incandescent bulbs. 'Basically what this is doing is removing affordable lighting for the poor,' Smith said. . . . 'I mean, if you’ve got someone that’s barely feeding themselves, they’ve got a light bulb that goes out and, they’re going to have to go to the store and get a three dollar light bulb versus an 89 cent light bulb.'"
The 100 watt bulbs are due to be phased out in January of 2012. But, I was at a couple of stores today and noticed how limited the incandescent light bulb selection is becoming. No cheap bulbs anymore. Almost all the "regular" light bulbs are "soft light" coated bulbs--going for a bit less than 40 cents each in an 8 pack with bulbs supposed to last twice as long as the old kind. The "natural light" bulbs (e.g., Reveal) are going for about 60 cents each with a new version supposed to last two times longer than the original but costing more than twice as much.

I picked up 5 boxes of four for my own stockpile. I get frustrated at the dim lighting from the CFL's, and have replaced them in all the single bulb overhead light fixtures. We still have the CFL's in one light fixture that has four bulbs. It gives off enough light, but takes four bulbs to do it--not much of an energy savings. However, it does give us a place to use up the CFL's we bought in the experiment to "save money".

Here's a humorous look at the dangers of CFL's along with the sad news that GE closed its last U.S. incandescent light bulb factory in September. This also means more U.S. jobs moving overseas.

Obama: I’d rather get this right than get it rushed

On trade negotiations with South Korea:
"Mr. Obama made that clear in a meeting with his advisers after his arrival in Seoul on Wednesday, after Ron Kirk, the United States trade representative and chief negotiator, told Mr. Obama there were sticking points he had yet to overcome. 'I’d rather get this right than get it rushed,' Mr. Obama told Mr. Kirk, according to a senior administration official who was present."
Too bad President Obama didn't feel that way on the healthcare bill which affects a lot more of the U.S. economy and American life than trade with South Korea.

President Obama signing health insurance reform bill March 23, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Election Analysis: Barone, York, Barnes, Kristol, Ferrechio

The Washington Examiner and Weekly Standard join forces for some very good video commentary. Part 1 of 7 is below.

Monday, November 08, 2010

NY Sun: Palin Ahead of the Curve on Economic Fallout

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal also praises Palin's economic take:
"The former Alaskan Governor showed sound political and economic instincts by inveighing forcefully against the Federal Reserve's latest round of quantitative easing. According to the prepared text of remarks that she released to National Review online, Mrs. Palin also exhibited a more sophisticated knowledge of monetary policy than any major Republican this side of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan."
[emphasis added]
From an editorial of the New York Sun:
"One of the questions in respect of 2012 is how it has happened that the only major Republican figure, aside from Congressman Ron Paul, to stand up and be counted on the dollar is Sarah Palin."
. . .
"At the time [October 2009], the value of a dollar had slid to just less than a 1,000th of an ounce of gold. Today it has plunged to barely better than a 1,400th of an ounce of gold. In other words, in the year since Mrs. Palin took up this issue, the Bernanke Dollar — or the Obama Dollar, or the Pelosi, as we’ve sometimes called it — has lost a third of its value."
. . .
"We were struck, reading the Robert Costa’s National Review advance on Mrs. Palin’s speech*, with the reach of her warning. She attacked QE2, as the second quantitative easing of monetary policy is called, head on. 'The Fed hopes doing this may buy us a little temporary economic growth by supplying banks with extra cash which they could then lend out to businesses. But it’s far from certain this will even work. After all, the problem isn’t that banks don’t have enough cash on hand – it’s that they don’t want to lend it out, because they don’t trust the current economic climate. And if it doesn’t work, what do we do then? Print even more money? What’s the end game here?'

"Mrs. Palin is looking over the horizon: 'Do we have any guarantees that QE2 won’t be followed by QE3, 4, and 5, until eventually — inevitably — no one will want to buy our debt anymore? What happens if the Fed becomes not just the buyer of last resort, but the buyer of only resort?' She comprehends how it is going to get to the voters she’ll be courting. '[E]veryone who ever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so. Pump priming would push them even higher. And it’s not just groceries. Oil recently hit a six month high, at more than $87 a barrel. The weak dollar — a direct result of the Fed’s decision to dump more dollars onto the market — is pushing oil prices upwards. That’s like an extra tax on earnings.'

"The worst part of it, in Mrs. Palin’s warning, is that 'because the Obama White House refuses to open up our offshore and onshore oil reserves for exploration, most of that money will go directly to foreign regimes who don’t have America’s best interests at heart.' In other words, she is reasoning out a coherent economic and geopolitical argument that she and her party — Tea, if not the mainstream GOP — can take to the voters. She is moving effortlessly from her Facebook page, which has more than 2.3 million friends, to our intellectual journals. So as we asked at the outset of this editorial, how has it happened that she is the first to brand this issue?

"Was it her time running a state whose economy is tied to oil, which often tracks gold? Is it that she can see Russia from her door? Is she just smarter than the other candidates? Is it her savvy, and her husband’s, at running a fishing business? Is it her journalistic instinct? Or does she read more papers than Katie Couric? No matter, she is now out in front of yet another issue as there is about to convene a new Congress of the United States in which she has a brace of allies indebted to her for her help in getting elected. Mr. Bernanke seems to have blithely ignored his other critics, but it will be more dangerous to ignore the Mamma Grizzly."
[emphasis added]
This is a follow up, in less than a week, of Palin's advice on how to win in 2012 which John Podhoretz called "brilliant".

Two brilliant analyses in less than a week. That's why, as the New York Sun says, Palin "is moving effortlessly from her Facebook page, which has more than 2.3 million friends, to our intellectual journals."

Like another attractive conservative labeled a lightweight who went on to win the presidency in 1980 and the Cold War as well, Palin is proving that those doing the labeling don't seem to have a clue.
*Link to the text of Palin's speech quoted on National Review's The Corner

H/T Conservatives4Palin

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Republicans and Whigs

One hears about how the Tea Party saved the Republicans this election and gave the Democrats a "shellacking". But, is the Tea Party movement more than just a vote getter? Is the Tea Party the element that will help the Republican Party deal with a crucial issue the country can no longer dodge?

In the 1850's the issue was the extension of slavery into new states and territories. The Democrats were for compromise. The Whigs had a compromise wing and a wing that followed Abraham Lincoln's position that the nation could not "endure, permanently half slave and half free." When it became clear that the Whig Party would not stand firmly against the extension of slavery, a new party was formed: the Republican Party. Because the Whigs were unable to meet the challenge of slavery, the Whig Party dissolved after 1856.

Is the United States in a similar crisis situation today?

Governor Sarah Palin seems to be the main political commentator speaking in these terms. She likens the Republican Party's current situation to that of the Whig Party in the 1850's.
"In the next two years, if all we end up doing is adopting some tax hikes here, some Obama-agenda compromises there, and a thousand little measures that do nothing to get us out of the economic mess we’re in, the same voters that put the GOP in office will vote them out in the next election. If that happens, the story of 2012 may well be that of the GOP going the way of the Whigs. No, the American people are expecting us to be bold and big in our economic reform to allow the private sector to create jobs and soar!"
The crucial issue today is economic. Can the United States survive a continuation of adding/expanding entitlement programs and the consequent soaring debt? Even the Congressional Budget Office and President Obama recognize the seriousness of the nation's debt crisis. But, prior to the Tea Party movement no one had the political will to make a roll back of bad policies rather than various forms of compromise the central issue.

Lincoln's warning on compromise with slavery has an eerie application to current economic compromise.
"The new year of 1854 found slavery excluded from more than half the States by State Constitutions, and from most of the national territory by congressional prohibition.

"Four days later, commenced the struggle, which ended in repealing that congressional prohibition.

"This opened all the national territory to slavery, and was the first point gained."
. . .
"Put this and that together, and we have another nice little niche which we may ere long see filled with another Supreme Court decisions declaring that the Constitution of the United States does not permit a State to exclude slavery from its limits."
. . .
"Such a decision is all that slavery now lacks of being alike lawful in all the States. Welcome, or unwelcome, such decision is probably coming, and will soon be upon us, unless the power of the present political dynasty shall be met and overthrown. We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri. are on the verge of making their State free, and we shall awake to the reality instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State. To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty is the work now before all those who would prevent that consummation. This is what we have to do."
Sarah Palin more than any major political figure urged the Tea Party to use the primary system in the Republican Party to address the pressing economic crisis facing the nation. Others shrieked or pouted about establishment candidate primary losses. Winning control of the Senate this election was central to them. Thus, all the pundit hand wringing over Delaware, Nevada and Colorado. None of the crying was over substantive change to avert economic disaster.

Palin looked beyond that short term vision and encouraged contested primaries as the best means to develop candidates able to confront the nation's central issues.
"Competition in these primaries is good. Competition makes us work harder and be more efficient and produce more. And I hope you'll get out there and work hard for the candidates who reflect your values, your priorities. Because despite what the pundits want you to think, contested primaries aren't civil war. They're democracy at work, and that's beautiful."
Palin's role in keeping the Tea Partiers in the Republican tent was not just a matter of speaking to their conventions and underlining their concerns. Palin gave them a plan of action to influence public policy.

Palin's plan: vote in good people in Republican primaries and change the course of state and national government. Use the political power structure of the Republican Party to reverse the nation's economic crisis.

That's what Tea Party winners and losers were all about. Not taking and holding this or that political seat, but effecting substantive change of course in a nation heading for economic disaster.

What's sad is that, like the 1850's Whigs, so many old guard Republicans and pundits don't get the seriousness of the nation's crisis and that little compromises "adopting some tax hikes here, some Obama-agenda compromises there, and a thousand little measures that do nothing to get us out of the economic mess we’re in" is the recipe for disaster for the Republican Party as well as the nation.

Peggy Noonan. Who's the Nincompoop?

Poor Peggy Noonan. She's not only less and less relevant (see the decline in Noonan's page views), she seems to have trouble understanding the "why" of important issues she writes about.
"[T]he tea party is not a "threat" to the Republican Party, the tea party saved the Republican Party."
. . .
"In a practical sense, the tea party saved the Republican Party in this cycle by not going third-party."
. . .
"Because of this, because they did not go third-party, Nov. 2 is not going to be a disaster for the Republicans, but a triumph."
Why didn't the Tea Party go third-party? Noonan never says.* Maybe she doesn't know. Maybe Noonan doesn't like the answer: Sarah Palin.

In Noonan's column yesterday she lambasts Palin for referring to the flack Reagan received for being an actor in B movies. Noonan goes on to "instruct" Palin on Reagan's accomplishments and infers that Palin is a "nincompoop" for not realizing Reagan's greatness.
"The point is not 'He was a great man and you are a nincompoop,' though that is true. The point is that Reagan's career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn't in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn't in search of fame; he'd already lived a life, he was already well known, he'd accomplished things in the world."
Okay. So, Noonan's point is that to be a great leader you have to have lived a life, become well known, and accomplished things in the world. So much for Abraham Lincoln.

This isn't to say these attributes aren't good to have. It's just that such generalizations are, well, generalizations and not always true. People without worldly accomplishments can be great leaders and people with worldly accomplishments can be in over their head in political leadership. However, even giving Noonan the benefit of the doubt, if Palin runs for president, she will have fulfilled all these conditions. (see below)

Noonan goes on:
"And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can't just bully them, you can't just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade."
A good point. But, Noonan fails to give a single example of Reagan's ability "to bring people in and along." This is a writing and thinking failure.

On the other hand, Palin, just the day before Noonan's column, published her own article (in National Review) and touches on the very issue Noonan raises: Reagan's greatness in being able to bring people "in and along". Palin not only gives a concrete example of how Reagan did that but explains how to put that to work today. Palin:
"We are quickly approaching a fiscal turning point where these crucial reform discussions will be mandatory. We need to speak about them in a way that the public will embrace. During his first run for the presidency in 1976, Ronald Reagan found out that election campaigns aren’t necessarily the best settings for quasi-academic discussions about issues like Social Security reform. So for his next campaign, he resolved to build his platform out of tried and tested policies like tax cuts. Successful candidates in the next election cycle will have to test and develop similar policy platforms that address the crucial issues of entitlement reform and shrinking government in a way that the voters will find pragmatic and even attractive."
Peggy Noonan wrote speeches for Reagan but doesn't seem able to illustrate the center of his greatness or how others can apply his leadership style. Palin, who didn't know Reagan, but has studied him, goes right to the heart of how to bring people in.

Noonan seems unaware that the person she calls a nincompoop has had major accomplishments in life. In terms of private accomplishments Palin has helped run a successful private fishing business. She's a best selling author handily trouncing most everybody else in her genre including the current President (only bettered in political autobiography by President Bill Clinton). Palin is an often interviewed political commentator on the most successful cable news network in history--and which just trounced all the other stations (network as well as cable) in covering the 2010 elections. Noonan knows how hard it is to come by that sort of success since Noonan is in the political writing and commentating field too.

As for public service successes, Palin is the first woman governor of Alaska (winning without a political machine, family name or fortune) and successfully negotiated the biggest pipeline deal in Alaskan history with the big oil companies. Palin's fiscal savvy left Alaska with a major savings account during these last two years when most states have had to come to grips with empty coffers and state budgets heavily in the red.

Palin's success at bringing people "in and along" in keeping the Tea Party movement within the Republican party has already been covered.

So, even in terms of Noonan's own criteria, Palin has been a success.

Maybe it's Noonan who's the nincompoop.

*Other than throwing out the thought that it was a mysterious "rolling decision, group by group, to take part in Republican primaries and back Republican hopefuls." No known reason. Just happened to happen that all these little dissent-based groups came to the same conclusion that Republicans were OKAY.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

60% of Palin-Endorsed Candidates Win

UPDATE 2: The incomplete Washington Post Palin tracker now has Palin with a 62% win rate with 33 wins, 20 losses (counting Joe Miller in Alaska as a loss) and one race to be decided (Emmer in Minnesota). The complete results at organize4palin have 59 wins out of 81 endorsements with 2 races still to be decided (Emmer and Miller). Though they don't yet have Buerkle in NY as a win, she has won that race. That's a 72.8% win rate!

UPDATE: My bad! Governor Palin actually has a 64% win rate (close to veto override level). I trusted the Washington Post to be accurate. Oh, dear. One has fact check the lions of the mainstream media even on the most basic fact issues.

Governor Palin endorsed 81 candidates. Of those 52 have won and 7 are in contests yet to be decided (like Joe Miller in Alaska). So, Palin's possible win rate is an even more amazing 73%.


Former Governor Sarah Palin had a good election night. She endorsed 54 candidates in the 2010 election, and 32 (60%) of them have won. A 60% win rate is massive--equivalent to a filibuster proof senate. Poor President Obama has a much more dismal win rate for those he endorsed/campaigned for. He would be thrilled today if 50%, not to mention 60%, of his endorsed candidates had won.

Five of Palin's endorsed candidates are in races that have not yet been called. So, Palin's win rate can, depending on how many of the five win, rise to nearly 70%. The Washington Post's Palin endorsement tracker:

Monday, November 01, 2010

Dick Morris to Do Play-by-Play Analysis Election Night

For months and months Dick Morris has said this would be a big election with perhaps 100 seats in play. Some conservative commentators have pooh-poohed that analysis (at times with light scorn towards Morris), but it looks like Morris may have the last laugh and prove who really is the far-sighted pundit.

Morris is planning on doing a series of election analyses/updates at his website tomorrow night. He says he will be giving a 3 minute audio commentary every 15 or 20 minutes.

Dick Morris is one of my favorite commentators both because of his political insight and upbeat way of presenting his analysis. One can see why he and President Clinton (also upbeat) were a powerful presidential political team.