Friday, November 16, 2012

9 Heroes Who Died November 3 to November 13, 2012

November 3 - They died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device in Paktia province, Afghanistan. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Dain T. Venne, 29, of Port Henry, N.Y.;
- Spc. Ryan P. Jayne, 22, of Campbell, N.Y.; and
- Spc. Brett E. Gornewicz, 27, of Alden, N.Y.

November 5 - Pfc. Brandon L. Buttry, 19, of Shenandoah, Iowa, died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

November 9 - Spc. Daniel L. Carlson, 21, of Running Springs, Calif., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

Capt. James D. Nehl, 37, of Gardiner, Ore., died in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations. KCBY news:
Capt. James Nehl, 37, graduated from Reedsport High School. His former classmate and teachers say he made the perfect soldier.

According to his high school teacher, Jim Wells, it's what Nehl wanted to do all along.

"Quiet guy, sincere, not a typical teenager, what you would say, very disciplined. I think he was living his dream and unfortunately died his dream. He wanted to be an army ranger,” Wells said.

Nehl liked to hunt and fish. He was on the football, track and swimming teams, and in the National Honor Society.

Keith Tymchuk, another of Nehl’s former teachers, said he didn't stand out from other students, but that's what made him such a perfect soldier.

"It speaks about James in that he was quiet and didn't call attention to himself and was just one of those people who wanted to do what was right,” said Tymchuk.

Capt. Nehl was killed while fighting for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Wells said he was the "perfect fit for the military. Athletic, disciplined, he's the kind of guy you want on your side.”

While he didn't stand out at school, a classmate said he stood out among his friends.

"Quiet confidence, that's the best way to describe him. An enemy of no one and a friend of everybody. He was a good man and even back then I knew he would do good things,” said Ron Dukovich.
November 10 - Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Bennett, 26, of Glendora, Calif., died in Sperwan Gar, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when he encountered an improvised explosive device during combat operations.

November 12 - Sgt. Matthew H. Stiltz, 26, of Spokane, Wash., died at Zerok, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with indirect fire.

November 13 - Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle Jr., 25, of Rocky Mount, N.C., died in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Will the 30 Republican Governors Give Obamacare a Headache?

Byron York points out that since the November 6th election, Republican governors now control 30 states. This is up from 29 Republican governors in 2010. That control over 60% of the states may mean a headache for the roll out of Obamacare.
The flash point, at least right now, is Obamacare. People might assume the health care plan, passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court, will now simply go into effect. It won't be that simple.

Obamacare directs states to establish exchanges through which uninsured people can purchase coverage. If the states don't do it, the law says the federal government will step in and set up an exchange itself. The Obama administration has been trying to push the governors to say whether they will set up exchanges in their states. So far, most of the Republican governors seem inclined to say no.

They have several reasons. One, they believe the exchanges will cost their states a lot of money. Two, they believe the federal government will exercise ultimate control, meaning there will be little benefit for a state to do the heavy lifting to get the exchanges started. And three, some suspect the exchanges will be a disorganized and troubled enterprise, and when the implementation of Obamacare comes under criticism, the blame will lie with the administration, and not the states.

Some conservatives are urging the governors not only to stay out of the exchanges but also to reject Obamacare's planned expansion of Medicaid. That could be a crippling blow to the health care law. "If enough states do so, Congress will have no choice but to reopen Obamacare," Cato Institute health care scholar Michael Cannon wrote in National Review Online recently. "With a GOP-controlled House, opponents will be in a much stronger position than they were when this harmful law was enacted."
[emphasis added]
If the Federal Government has to set up exchanges in more than half the states, that will take some big bucks. With the House of Representatives (where "all bills for raising revenue" must originate according to Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution) in Republican hands, lots of new funding for implementing Obamacare is not likely to happen.

A non-smooth roll out of Obamacare will be another indicator to the electorate already against it, that Obamacare is a legislative and medical fiasco.

Not only presidential but gubernatorial and legislative elections have consequences.

You can read Michael Cannon's article at National Review here. One very interesting point:
. . . [D]efaulting to a federal exchange exempts a state’s employers from the employer mandate — a tax of $2,000 per worker per year (the tax applies to companies with more than 50 employees, but for such companies that tax applies after the 30th employee, not the 50th). If all states did so, that would also exempt 18 million Americans from the individual mandate’s tax of $2,085 per family of four. Avoiding those taxes improves a state’s prospects for job creation, and protects the conscience rights of employers and individuals whom the Obama administration is forcing to purchase contraceptives coverage.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Byron York: Key to Winning 2016--Candidate Who Can Inspire, Not Message Change

Byron York in the Washington Examiner puts together the pieces about Obama's win and Romney's loss.

First he notes the question about what the Obama campaign will do with the amazing infrastructure they have built. Pass it on to another candidate? No.
". . . [T]he three top officials in Obama's re-election effort -- David Axelrod, Jim Messina and David Plouffe -- were asked what will happen to the mighty Obama campaign now. What next for the enormous campaign infrastructure, with its massive databases and voter profiles? Will it go to a new candidate?

"You can't just transfer this," said senior adviser Plouffe. "People are not going to spend hours away from their families, and their jobs, contributing financially when it's hard for them to do it, unless they believe in the candidate."

"All of this, the door knocks ... the contributions made, the phone calls made, were because these people believed in Barack Obama," Plouffe continued. "And so for candidates who want to try and build a grassroots campaign, it's not going to happen because there's a list or because you have the best technology. That's not how this works. They have to build up that kind of emotional appeal so that people are willing to go out and spend the time and their resources and provide their talents because they believe in someone. ... The reason those people got involved was because they believed in Barack Obama. It was a relationship between them and our candidate."
[emphasis added]
Barack Obama won because he inspired people, especially the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Mitt Romney did not excite any group. Not even Mormons. In 2004 George W. Bush gained more Mormons (80%) than Mitt Romney (78%) in 2012.

York mentions the fact pointed out on this blog previously that McCain (actually McCain-Palin) running in the face of a massive financial meltdown in 2008, gained more votes than Romney against the same candidate who was much stronger then because not shackled with a poor economy and poor presidential record.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, appears not to have excited any big group. Yes, he won the support of 59 percent of white voters, but there are indications that whites actually stayed away from the polls in large numbers. Overall, Romney won fewer votes than John McCain's doomed 2008 campaign.

"The 2012 elections actually weren't about a demographic explosion with nonwhite voters," writes analyst Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics. "Instead, they were about a large group of white voters not showing up. ... The reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home."
[emphasis added]
Romney's problem was clear in the primaries.
That's where finding a great candidate comes in. Romney is an able, accomplished, intelligent and hard-working man, but Republicans knew from the start he was an imperfect candidate. During the primaries, GOP voters tried every alternative possible before finally settling on Romney. He remained a flawed candidate in the general election.
[emphasis added]
In the primaries, Romney was sold not as having the best ideas, being the best campaigner or best anything. Like Democrats voting for John Kerry in 2004, 2012 Republican voters thought Romney had the best chance of beating the incumbent. Both Kerry's and Romney's role was to not stumble and win by attrition. It showed in the presidential vote even though both Kerry and Romney had massive get out the vote efforts.

York concludes that it wasn't Obama's positions that won the election, but the fact that more of his voters believed in Obama as a leader than Romney's voters believed in Romney as a leader.
Now, because of Romney's loss, some are urging that the Republican Party completely remake itself. Some argue that GOP lawmakers must support comprehensive immigration reform and change positions on other issues. The answer, they say, is broad, across-the-board change.

But listen to the Obama team. There is a less complicated lesson to this election. Voters want to believe in a candidate. If Republicans find that candidate, they will win.
[emphasis added]

Friday, November 09, 2012

Kudlow: 63% of Voters Say No to Increasing Taxes to Reduce Deficit

From Lawrence Kudlow writing for the New York Sun:
In the fierce headline debate over the so-called fiscal cliff, our newly reelected president argues that “a majority of Americans agree with [his] approach.” That approach, according to the president, is “to combine spending cuts with revenue — and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes.”
Well, that’s not exactly what the exit polls said.

To the question “Should taxes be raised to help cut the budget deficit?” only 33% answered “yes” while 63% responded “no.” Isn’t that interesting? Nobody’s talking about this exit-poll nugget.
[emphasis added]

Liberal Turnout Was the Difference in 2012

The 2012 presidential election was won on the basis of appealing to and turning out the candidate's political/ideological base. Independents and moderates were not the key. Romney actually won independents. And Obama received a lower percentage of moderates than John Kerry did in his 2004 loss. The uptick in voting from the left wing of Obama's base won the election.

To the left is a chart of conservative, moderate and liberal voters as a percent of the total vote in 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.

The only category in which 2012 out performed the previous two elections is in the liberal vote for the Democratic candidate.

The Obama campaign beat the drum that this was a liberal vs. conservative election. Did the electorate want to go back to the failed policies of the past and let the rich off from paying "their fair share"? The Democrats also added the "social" issue of abortion and forcing all employers to provide free contraceptives. In other words, the Obama campaign used the dog whistles that political pundits for years have been saying would lose a presidential campaign. The key, experts assured us, is appealing to moderates and independents. Not this election.

The Romney campaign followed "expert" advice and did not emphasize the conservative/liberal divide. They emphasized managerial competence. Romney could create more jobs. They stayed away from social issues and even constitutional 1st and 2nd amendment rights issues. They banked on the "It's the economy, stupid" theme of 1992.

But, for the electorate, the economy did not trump ideology and social issues. Romney actually lost in moderate vote percentage compared with George W. Bush in 2004 (16.8% vs. Bush's 20.3%) and McCain in 2008 (16.8% vs. McCain's 17.2%). And Obama did too (22.96% vs. his 2008 26.4% and Kerry's 2004 24.3%). But, it didn't sink Obama's campaign because he made up for the loss of moderates with increased liberal support.

Romney lost this election because he did not excite his conservative base by pounding conservative issues as Obama pounded liberal issues.

Had Romney been able to equal the Gallup poll percentage with conservative voters (let alone over-perform as Obama did with liberal voters), he would have won the election with an additional 5 million votes.

The big vote addition is due to the fact that even though enthusiastic liberals were 25% of this election's voters, conservatives still made up 35% of voters--a 10% difference.

It turns out running on ideology and principle really can win elections. Ronald Reagan proved that in 1980. And, this election proved it again.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ann Coulter and Dick Morris: No One Could Have Won

Self-serving political analysis was on view yesterday.

Ann Coulter on Hannity last night:
"There was one rule of elections that I had forgotten and I shouldn't have and that is it's very hard to take out an incumbent. That was, as many, many people remember why I abandoned Romney and ran off with Chris Christie in the middle of Obama's term because I just thought -- he's likable, Obama is likable. He's an incumbent, it's going to be very hard to take him out. We are going to need some star power street fighter like Chris Christie. I was wrong about that. I absolutely think that Mitt Romney was the right candidate, the strongest candidate. But it remains true that it's very hard to take out an incumbent. In the last hundred years, Republicans have taken out a sitting president one time and that was Ronald Reagan in 1980." [emphasis added]
Uh, but just 20 years ago Democrats took out George H. W. Bush despite an economy that was better than the present one. Coulter chose her analogy field slyly by narrowing it to Republican politics and ignoring 1992.

There's more:
"I would distinguish between helpful criticism, so we don't make the same mistakes and fighting the last war," Coulter said. "And I think it's preposterous to be nitpicking Mitt Romney as if he's John McCain or Bob Dole. He was no (sic). We saw those debates, that is counterfactual. He was a magnificent candidate and nearly beat an incumbent president." [emphasis added]
Dick Morris said he underestimated the new political realities. But, he agrees with Coulter: "If Romney couldn’t manage this trick against Obama in the current economy, no Republican could."

Though I agree with Coulter that Romney was a better candidate than McCain, why did Romney got less votes than McCain? Or should we say, less votes than McCain-Palin?

Neither Coulter nor Morris deal with the Republican vote total. Because the elephant in the room is how much stronger Palin made McCain's much more difficult race with the financial meltdown of September, 2008, than Romney's race this year was.

It's astonishing to hear the "no one could have won" philosophy from someone who encourages conservatives on college campuses where conservatives are the utter underdog and a political expert who knows the history of how Bill Clinton unseated incumbent George H. W. Bush just 20 years ago (though Dick Morris didn't have a part in that win). Lord forbid that either would look at McCain-Palin's 2 million vote gain over Romney's and draw the conclusion that they are wrong about Sarah Palin, the most attractive, smart, charismatic conservative woman in American history.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Portland: Millionaires Pay Same Tax as Low-Income

UPDATE: The City Club of Portland has removed their Arts Tax study from their site. Here's a link to find it.

Portland has become the super-flat tax capital of the region--maybe even the country.

Portland has passed a measure 26-146 (Multnomah County vote tally shows a whopping 60% approval rate) that charges the same tax ($35 per income earner) whether the income earned is bare minimum or millions of dollars. None of this same percentage stuff. The exact same amount.

It is probably not because the area, though voting strongly for President Obama, does not share the Obama enthusiasm for the rich paying their "fair share". Rather it is due to knee-jerk, unthinking voting. It is for the arts and a tax. So, it must be good. Portland voters did not even think about the extremely regressive nature of this tax. Which begs the question of how much thought goes into the area's voting on any issue.

Measure 26-146:
. . . would assess an annual income tax of $35 on all income-earning Portland residents ages 18 and older unless they live in a household making less than the federal poverty level. The money would be used to hire arts and music teachers in public schools serving K-5 students in six Portland school districts. Money also would provide grants to nonprofit arts organizations, other nonprofits and schools to provide arts access to K-12 students, and to make arts and culture available to underserved communities. The tax, expected to raise $12 million a year, would begin with the 2012 tax year.
The City Club did a study of the measure. The majority report favored passage even after explaining how regressive and burdensome the tax would be "on many low-income families."
The tax is imposed on any income-earning adult above the federal poverty level. Using this poverty level sets a low threshold for tax liability. For example, a family of four with annual household income of $25,000 would most likely be required to pay $70 in tax. A single person earning $12,000 would be required to pay $35. We believe a $35 tax is not overly burdensome for a majority of prospective taxpayers; however, your committee believes that it will be a burden on many low-income families. [emphasis added]
The majority further saw the double whammy even if one adult in the household was "non-working".
The actual amount of the tax in this scenario would depend on how many adult income earners there are in the household. However, even a non-working adult is likely to be an income earner, since any amount of income qualifies, thus a minimal amount from casual employment, gifts, or interest on a joint savings account, would qualify an adult resident as “income earning” for purposes of the tax. Therefore, it is likely that most above-poverty households with two adult residents would pay $70, even if one of the adults is not employed full time. [emphasis added]
The minority report, which opposed passage of the measure, noted that even the Internal Revenue Service does not use "coercive collection actions" on individuals earning less than $29,000 or families earning less than $55,000. But, Portland voters are okay with sending a private collection agency after individuals earning less than $11,200 and families earning less than $23,100 (the Federal Poverty Guideline threshold).

Further, everyone earning under that amount will have to file annual proof of income to avoid collection agency visits. Having to file proof of income every year should be fun for those living under poverty level. But, they are probably sitting around eating chocolates and reading True Confessions anyway, so what is a little extra time and paperwork to them?

What are Portland voters thinking? It seems not much is going on in those pretty little heads. Certainly nothing to do with easing the life of low-income families or the unemployed in the city.

Let the poor eat cake. We want publicly funded art access, and we want it now.

Try a Clear Conservative Message Next Time?

Voting results in the last few presidential elections (2012 figures as of the writing of the post):

Obama 2012 - 60,173,541 - - Romney 2012 - 57,449,374
Obama 2008 - 69,498,516 - - McCain 2008 - 59,948,323
Kerry 2004 - 59,028,444 - - - Bush 2004 - 62,040,610

Though the 2012 totals are not final, in terms of the current count Romney not only lost 7% of George Bush's vote in 2004, but surprisingly got 4% less than McCain's in 2008.

Though Romney did better than McCain on moderates (41% to McCain's 39%) and actually won independents (50% to Obama's 45%), enough liberals turned out that he lost the election.  In fact, liberals way over-performed.

Gallup finds that in 2012 40% of Americans self-identify as conservative, 35% as moderate and only 21% as liberal. The exit polling yesterday shows that those who voted self-identified as 35% conservative, 41% moderate and 25% liberal. Conservative voters were down 5% from the national average, moderate voters up 6% and liberal voters up 4%. That points to a significant number of conservatives staying home and liberals turning out. In fact in 2012 liberals outperformed their turnout in 2008! So, even though Romney did better with voting liberals (11% vs. 10%), moderates (41% vs. 39%) and conservatives (82% vs 78%) than McCain, Romney as of now has fewer votes.*

President Obama played to his hard base, and they turned out even though his total vote was down 13% from 2008 (see chart above). Still, liberal enthusiasm was enough to pull him over the line (see Vote Lib vs. Gallup Lib in the chart at left) because they out performed their actual population percentage.

Romney did not garner even the mediocre voter support McCain, hobbled by the economic meltdown of September 2008, drew.  McCain's reasonable showing was due largely to Sarah Palin who attracted huge, enthusiastic crowds in 2008 equaled only by Obama's 2008 crowds.

In contrast, Romney played to independents, and both independent and conservative turnout was basically static in 2012 compared with 2008.  Moderate turnout was actually down 3 points.

My family and I voted because we always do. But lots of other folks stayed home (among Democrats too) because no candidate presented a vision worth following. President Obama's "I inherited a mess and am doing the best I can" and hard turn to left issues (abortion, contraception, tax the rich-share the wealth) kept enough of his base to overcome Governor Romney's failure to increase his base turnout with "I can create jobs".

In back to back presidential elections two articulate Republican vice presidential candidates have not been enough to overcome the presidential candidates' lack of ability to make a convincing case for their view of how to govern.

A clear call to conservative, constitutional values such as Governor Palin, Senator Rand Paul and Senator-elect Ted Cruz have shown may be enough to win in 2016.

An uptick in conservative voters equaling the uptick in liberal voters yesterday, would mean a 9% increase (5% to equal their 40% share and 4% to catch up with the liberal increase).  That would be a swing of about 3.7 million votes making Romney winner in popular vote by almost a million votes, slightly less than Obama is currently winning by.

Most conservative pundits bought into this year's the "we've-got-the-conservatives-the-important-thing-is-to-win-the-moderates" strategy. There was no real push to focus on on important economic and societal truths. Maybe defeat will help conservative political leadership rethink that strategy. The "boring but competent" candidate model did not work even though he won a majority of independent voters.
*In 2004 George W. Bush did better with voting conservatives (84% vs. McCain 78% vs. Romney 82%), moderates (45% vs. 39% vs. 41%) and liberals (13% vs. 10% vs. 11%) than either McCain or Romney.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Verify That Your Vote Has Been Counted in Oregon

The Oregon Secretary of State's office will verify if your vote has been counted here.

Just enter your name, date of birth, and zipcode.

NY Sun: Election Spending Plunges Along With Value of Dollar

Again, the New York Sun gives a perspective worth thinking about:
While we’re waiting for the polls to close let us just reflect on an astonishing fact that is emerging as the newspapers and other analysts tot up the amount of money spent on the election. The figures from which we are doing our calculations are from Advertising Age. It turns out that the value of the outlays in the election that is ending today is estimated to have plunged to only 5.7 million ounces of gold from the value of 8.2 million ounces of gold that was sunk into the contest four years earlier. It’s not just the turnout that seems to be dropping. Its the value that people are placing on the whole process.

Oh, we understand that in terms of United States Federal Reserve notes, the spending on this election has soared, to what Ad Age estimates at $9.840 billion. There may be other estimates around; that is AdAges's. It is way up from the $6.981 billion that was spent four years earlier. The dollars that were sunk into the Obama-McCain contest, however, had a value of roughly twice the number of grains of gold as the dollars being lathered around in respect of the contest between President Obama and Governor Romney. One always has to keep this in mind. It’s not the spending on the election that is going up. It is the value of the dollar that is going down.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Anchorage Daily News Continues Circulation Bleed

The Anchorage Daily News again saw a decline it its daily circulation (-4.82%) and its Sunday edition (-6.48%) from a year ago.

Audit Bureau of Circulations notes that in the same period there was a 0.2% average circulation decrease for other daily newspapers and a 0.6% gain in Sunday circulation.
"Daily circulation for the 613 U.S. newspapers reporting comparable multiday averages decreased 0.2 percent. Circulation for the 528 newspapers reporting comparable Sunday data increased 0.6 percent."

This means that in the last year the McClatchy owned Anchorage newspaper lost about 5% more in its daily circulation than the average newspaper and 6.5% more in its Sunday circulation.

Over four years (September 2008 to September 2012) the Anchorage Daily News has lost about a third of its circulation (-32.64% daily; -33.08% Sunday). Coincidentally at the beginning of this same four year period the Anchorage Daily News turned from running neutral or positive news stories on then Governor Sarah Palin to running mostly negative articles on Palin after her pick as McCain's vice presidential candidate.

Anchorage Daily News circulation numbers:
. . . . . . . . . . . . .daily . . . .Sunday
Sept. 2008 . . 61,882 . . . 70,272
Sept. 2009 . . 50,935 . . . 57,655
Sept. 2010 . . 46,783 . . . 52,960
Sept. 2011 . . 43,794 . . . 50,287
Sept. 2012 . . 41,684 . . . 47,028

Palin: Tuesday Is Our Chance; Please Vote for Romney and Commonsense Conservatives

Sarah Palin today:

This Tuesday our country's future is in our hands.

What's past is prologue. We know what we will get from a second Obama term because we've all endured his first term. We know how well he kept his 2008 campaign promises. Do we really believe he'll keep his 2012 promises?

Do we believe the word of a man who promised he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class, but then slammed the middle class with a massive tax hike in the form of Obamacare (and don’t forget that his own lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that the individual mandate is a tax)?

Do we really believe he won't raise taxes even more on every American in order to pay for his wasteful spending and his crony capitalism?

Do we believe that the same president who increased the debt in his first term by more than all the first 41 presidents combined will suddenly decide to cut the deficit in his second term?

Do we believe that the president whose reckless spending led us to the first credit rating downgrade in our nation's history will suddenly become a responsible fiscal manager if we reelect him?

Do we really believe that a president who promised us that job creation was his number one priority despite month after month of dismal job numbers now has a credible "plan" for the job growth that eluded him for the past four years?

Do we believe that the same president who shut down the Keystone Pipeline and blocks domestic oil and natural gas development at every turn is somehow going to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and lead us to energy independence?

Do we really believe that our country's national security is safe in the hands of a president whose administration denied security and assistance to our consulate under attack on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on America, and then blamed that consulate attack and the death of our ambassador on a "spontaneous" protest over an obscure YouTube video despite all the real time evidence to the contrary?

Do we believe that a president who was caught on a hot mic telling the Russian president that he would have "more flexibility" after his reelection is being honest about his plans for a second term?

We know what we will get from a second Obama term. We will get the same failed policies. We will get Obamacare locked into law without any chance of undoing this dangerous legislation and any chance to seek real patient-centered health care reform. We will get a debt crisis. We will get more inflation and higher gas prices. We will get tax increases. We will get fewer jobs. We will get more small businesses collapsing under the weight of higher taxes and unfair regulation. We will get more corruption and crony capitalism favoring the Obama administration's friends. We will get less domestic energy development and increased dependence on terrorist sponsoring foreign regimes for our energy needs. We will get a "blame America first" foreign policy that bows to our enemies and snubs our friends like Israel and leaves America and the world less safe. We will get less opportunity and security for ourselves and for our children.

In 2008, Barack Obama promised to fundamentally transform America. And for all his failures and broken promises, that's the one thing he has delivered on. He's transformed us from a nation of hope to one of anxiety. It doesn't have to be this way.

Tuesday is our chance to turn things around.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have offered a credible alternative to Barack Obama's failed policies. Governor Romney understands how the free market works. His pro-growth economic policies will benefit all Americans. He has promised to move us toward energy independence, deficit reduction, and responsible entitlement reform that honors our commitment to our seniors and keeps faith with future generations. Governor Romney deserves a chance to lead. President Obama had his chance. He's failed, and we can't afford to go backwards.

We must also remember the many good Republican candidates who are running for the House and Senate this year. They deserve our support as well. If you are like me, you have watched these campaigns, learned about the candidates, and know where they stand despite the skewed lens of a partisan media bent on keeping liberal leadership in power. We saw the destruction a Democrat controlled White House, House, and Senate brought us after the 2008 election. Our country can't afford that again. Your vote is the only safeguard against that happening.

On Tuesday, please vote for Governor Mitt Romney and the commonsense conservatives running for office in your states.

Voting is our duty and our right. We must never forget the immense sacrifices generations of Americans, including our brave men and women in uniform today, have made to give us this right. And we must never forget the duty we owe to generations of Americans yet to be born to exercise our right to vote prudently. The White House and control of the Senate is in the balance in this election, and every vote will count.

I firmly believe it is our responsibility to restore this country and secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity for our children, just as it was secured for us. This is our sacred duty to the past and to the future. We will succeed in this so help us God.

God bless you and God bless America.

With an Alaskan heart,

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Romney's Good Judgement in VP Pick

Governor Mitt Romney showed first class sense when he picked serious, knowledgeable, measured, upright Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential candidate.

That good judgement is underlined if the Politico story is true that Governor Chris Christie was Romney's first choice.
Now, campaign insiders tell POLITICO that Christie was Mitt Romney’s first choice for the Republican ticket, lending an intriguing new context to the continuing drama around the Garden State governor.

The strong internal push for Christie, and Romney’s initial instinct to pick him as his running mate, reflects how conflicted the nominee remained about choosing a running mate until the very end of the process. At least on the surface, Christie and Paul Ryan are about as opposite as two Republicans could be: a brash outsider from the Northeast versus a bookish insider from the heartland.

And yet Romney switched from Christie to Ryan in a span of about two weeks, according to a detailed inside account provided to POLITICO.

Romney was so close to picking Christie that some top advisers at the campaign’s Boston headquarters believed the governor had been offered the job. The campaign made tentative plans to announce a pick in late July, just before Romney headed off on his overseas trip, starting with a stop at the London Olympics.
Christie's pluses are ability to connect with the Republican base and working class men and straight talk.
Romney liked Christie’s fearless advice — unvarnished talk that he wasn’t used to hearing from his cocoon of Boston advisers, many of whom had been with him since he was Massachusetts governor.
 His weaknesses are lack of dependability, self-centeredness,  and impulsive nature.
Some aides around Romney began to sour on Christie when he was late to a couple of events where they were appearing together. “Chris is a sort of cavalier New York, New Jersey guy: ‘If I’m a few minutes behind, I’ll blame it on traffic,’” said a person who knows him well. “That’s just who he is.”

The tardiness rankled the by-the-book folks around Romney. As the vice-presidential selection ramped up, Christie was always at the top of the list, but always with an asterisk.

Some Romney loyalists thought he was too much about himself.

“He wouldn’t make a good Number Two,” one adviser said. That is a point that Christie often made himself, when brushing off talk that he would be chosen.

Advisers also fretted about the raw emotion that makes Christie so popular on TV and on the trail, fearing it might be a liability in the West Wing. In blunt language that Christie can appreciate, another official said: “The explosiveness had some risk.”
Christie has a Bidenesque, impulsive streak in him which sometimes leads him to say and do things in a way which do not help his team or, even worse, which set a bad precedent. Most recently there is his effusive praise of President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy which could have been said just as honestly but less effusively days before a close presidential election. Not smart. But an actual bad decision for his state and its future is his decision to allow fax and e-mail voting in New Jersey. As Max points out tongue in cheek, "This Should End Well".

Mitt Romney's ability to assess and choose the man better suited to both the vice presidency and possible heart beat away rise to the presidency bodes well for all the picks a President Romney will have to make. The more I learn about the VP pick, the more I'm impressed by Governor Romney's leadership insight.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

6 Heroes Who Died October 18 to November 3, 2012

October 18 - Pfc. Shane G. Wilson, 20, of Kuna, Idaho, died in Khost, Afghanistan.

October 23 - Chief Warrant Officer Michael S. Duskin, 42, of Orange Park, Fla., died in Chak District, Wardak Province, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on dismounted patrol during combat operations.

October 25 - They died of wounds suffered when their unit was attacked by small arms fire in Khas Uruzgan, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan. Killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Kashif M. Memon, 31, of Houston, Texas.
- Sgt. Clinton K. Ruiz, 22, of Murrieta, Calif.

October 31 - Cpl. Alex F. Domion, 21, of Richfield Springs, N.Y., died as a result of a non-combat related incident in Helmand province, Afghanistan. This incident is under investigation.

No death date given.  Published November 3 - Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Kantor, 22, of Gillette, N.J., died supporting stability operations in Zabul, Afghanistan.

Michael Barone Thinks Romney Will Win Handily

Michael Barone
The consummate professional, Michael Barone, presents a clearly reasoned analysis of why he thinks Romney will win.

The analysis is interesting just in underlining major factors in predicting voter response.


1. "[V]oters oppose Obama's major policies and consider unsatisfactory the very sluggish economic recovery -- Friday's jobs report showed an unemployment uptick."

2. Independents. "[B]oth national and target state polls show that independents, voters who don't identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans, break for Romney."

3. Early Voting ". . . [I]n early or absentee voting, . . . Democrats trail their 2008 numbers in target states Virginia, Ohio, Iowa and Nevada."

Barone then does specific state analysis on 16 states. Some examples where he goes into some detail:

4. "Ohio (18). The anti-Romney auto bailout ads have Obama running well enough among blue-collar voters for him to lead most polls. But many polls anticipate a more Democratic electorate than in 2008. Early voting tells another story, and so does the registration decline in Cleveland's Cuyahoga County. In 2004, intensity among rural, small-town and evangelical voters, undetected by political reporters who don't mix in such circles, produced a narrow Bush victory. I see that happening again. Romney."

5. "Pennsylvania (20). Everyone would have picked Obama two weeks ago. I think higher turnout in pro-coal Western Pennsylvania and higher Republican percentages in the Philadelphia suburbs could produce a surprise. The Romney team evidently thinks so too. Their investment in TV time is too expensive to be a mere feint, and, as this is written, Romney is planning a Sunday event in Bucks County outside Philly. Wobbling on my limb, Romney."

6. "Wisconsin (10). Recent polling is discouraging for Republicans. But Gov. Scott Walker handily survived the recall effort in June with a great organizational push. Democrats depend heavily on margins in inner-city Milwaukee (population down) and the Madison university community. But early voting is down in university towns in other states. The Obama campaign is prepared to turn out a big student vote, but you don't see many Obama signs on campuses. Romney."

Michael Barone's conclusion: "Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals."

Fundamentals. Barone stands head and shoulders above the rest. Of course, all predictions can go south, but analysis like Barone's that teaches as well as predicts is priceless because it is so rare.