Archive for January, 2012
There’s some discomfort on the part of the more secular DC inhabitants both left and right with any pro-traditional values anything. Perhaps that’s why President Obama feels free to do this, as reported by Elizabeth Scalia:
There are questions as to whether HHS has authority to issue exemptions to Obamacare, although quite a few have been issued for reasons other than conscience. There appear to be no questions in the president’s mind, or in Secretary Sebelius’, that they have the authority to intrude on freedom of religion. With this ruling they insist that church-affiliated institutions either act against their own belief or so narrow the scope of their community service as to be removed from the public square; either way, the government is deliberately affecting the free exercise of religion. Considering some Catholic schools, hospitals and charities were serving their communities before the secular governments even thought to follow suit, that is a damnable, and damning, legacy for a president who once taught constitutional law.
If the culture war has seemed oblique to you or somehow irrelevant or perhaps a thing of the past, read Elizabeth’s post.
If you have wondered what Rick Perry was talking about and now, what Newt Gingrich has been decrying in Florida, read Elizabeth’s post.
If you give a crap at all about the idea of Freedom of Religion and the exercise of, even if you believe nothing, read Elizabeth’s post.
Ultimately, you serve a god–either the One who bestows inalienable rights or the state as run by the latest human flavor.
Unless you’re in the mood to serve Barack Obama and his grand vision, defend your rights to self-determination and worshiping in the way you see fit.
Bookworm calls the cultural divide a “gaping chasm”.
Three years ago, I thought it would be cool to do something fun for bloggers at CPAC. Everyone was gathering there, why not have a casual get-together for people who work so hard.
In fact, my thought was little more than a Tweet-up sort of deal. Ha!
Turns out, I wasn’t the only one thinking about doing something for bloggers. Ali Akbar, who himself, a young blogging buck, along with Aaron Marks, a young finance and tech genius who helped online fundraising for elections, also wanted to do something for bloggers.
So, we three started Blogbash. Like most things in my life, it started as a modest idea and morphed into something else entirely–sponsors, food, drink, cake, swag, speeches, awards.
Blogbash became a thing.
We continued the tradition last year. And this, year, Ali, Aaron, and I have been working nearly full time putting together the best Blogbash yet. Hours of work, endless conference calls, dealing with caterers, procuring bartenders –and we’re doing it all from out of state. Aaron is in Pittsburg. Ali is in Dallas by way of Georgia. I’m here, north of Houston.
We have helpers (learn more about everyone here): Devon Wills has worked on getting bags, shirts and other things printed up. Others like Lyndsey Fifield and Abby Alger will help organize in DC. In other words, it takes lots of work by lots of dedicated people to pull this off.
It’s important, too, to know that some groups have loyally supported bloggers by way of Blogbash–Freedom Works is chief among these. We are gratified to have their help again. We’ve had new supporters, too, like Heritage Foundation, Injustice the Film, etc.
This year, we’ve had groups clamoring to support the bloggers–some candidates, more industry groups. This is heartening for the conservative movement as a whole. Many industry groups have been afraid to “come out” for fear of punishment by the Obama administration.
Please go take a look at this (still incomplete) list of sponsor Blogbash.org/sponsors/.
Please make sure and thank them and remember them. Blogbash approached nearly every single group who asks bloggers to pimp their stories, candidates, ideas, etc. With sponsorships as low as $300, it didn’t take much to participate.
Finally, this year, we’re adding to the already big party atmosphere of BlogBash. Bloggers can nominate their peers.
Best Investigative Post
Best Activism Post
Best Sunlight Post
Best in Show: Podcast
Best in Show: Twitter
Best in Show: Facebook Fanpage
Best in Show: Video
Conservative bloggers are doing amazing work shining the light in dark places, causing real change. They are making a difference. Please nominate the posts, podcasts, social media stars. They will be voted on AT the party.
What started out as a friendly get together, has become that and much more–an event filled with surprise guests, renewed relationships, and rewards recognizing our peers phenomenal work.
It’s been an honor to put this together. Unlike the left, where the blogging community is almost entirely corporate, now, on the right, bloggers tend to be unpaid and independent.
Blogbash is a yearly token of appreciation for hard work and sacrificial commitment.
Like health care, education affects everyone. Like the new Obamacare, education sets central recommendations, controls choices and creates a bureaucracy.
The government way is one-size fits all.
The problem is that just as every patient is different, so is every student. Patients and students need MORE choices not less.
In education, teachers unions and state and federal bureaucrats have powerful incentives to keep things the same.
Unfortunately, same harms the powerless–our future generation.
Education reform is an easy issue to get worked up over and then do nothing. There are multiple reasons for this:
1. Education reform can take a long time — by the time motivated parents take on a certain issue, it is likely their children won’t benefit and once the child is done with school, the parents are simply relieved.
2. Parents have kids in the system — Yell at he warden, beat up the prison guard, and see how comfortable your stay at the clink is. Parents worry about their children being at the mercy of angry educators. They have good reason to be concerned. Teacher retaliation is not theoretical. It’s happened.
3. All ed reform seems to be trimming around the edges and not overhauling central issues.
4. Teachers unions actively fight against any meaningful change. Kids are caught in the middle.
The solution to this problem is to create more flexibility. One proposal in Texas is to have the education dollars follow the child.
I like this solution. Here’s why:
1. Education is still industrial-revolution ready, but less useful for the technological age. Money could be shifted to education focused on modern economic needs.
2. Children are diverse and learn differently. I have an Asperger’s/Autism student, a GT student and a kid who I’m still trying to pin down. The education system is perfectly suited to the middle of the bell curve. What about all the kids who are outside the middle? What about the kid who needs far more structure verses the kid who is so self-motivated he or she could be a college grad by age 17?
3. It’s market-based. Success breeds success. Money will go towards the best solutions.
I wonder why teachers unions are so insecure about their ability to keep and serve students? Why don’t they believe they’d be as competitive as private schools if they’re loosed from all their educational shackles?
Bad teachers would likely have a tougher time. Isn’t that a desirable outcome? Don’t we WANT good and great teachers? Don’t we want to eliminate the bad eggs?
My uncle who has been a Superintendent of Schools in Michigan and has been a part of nearly every ed reform change over the years says that people just want to talk about it but not really effect real change.
That’s probably true. It is patently unfair, though, that wealthy folks (like the Obamas) can put their kids in private schools that succeed while forcing the poor people to stay in failing schools. It is patently unfair that tax paying parents get no benefits while home schooling their own children.
People vote with their feet while resources are being thrown down the gluttonous public maw of educational failure.
It is time to become more innovative, not less, with education.
Working with National School Choice Week has been eye-opening. There is much work to do.
Choice is the answer.
Is Newt being Alinskied or is he an Alinskyite?
“Gingrich’s clashes against the establishment are classic Alinsky.”
I’ll admit that primary elections of all stripes have more than a little Alinsky, a lot Machiavelli and a dollap of Sun Tzu thrown in for fun, but the brass knuckle tactics go with the territory.
Mitt Romney ran to the left of Rick Perry on Social Security, called Perry a “crony capitalist”, and became a positively scandalized church lady in the face of Perry’s reasonable solutions to illegal immigration–solutions, I’d add, that he supports now that Perry, his chief nemesis, is gone.
If Newt is Alinsky, we’re all Alinsky now.
Added: Ann Coulter is going all-caps on Newt. She makes a compelling case for Mitt Romney. The arguments are nuanced and policy oriented. I’m not sure how that works against Prez Hope and Changey.
I will say this: I’m not willing to fall on my sword for any of the remaining candidates. I don’t like any all that much.
The bigger macro issues of fighting with the press and fighting dirty like Obama, I think Newt may be better equipped to do. And that goes to electability, too.
Emmett Tyrrell Jr. makes a compelling anti-Newt case, too. He calls him “our Clinton.“
Maybe there should be a new TV show: Everybody hates Newt.
Just a thought. Clinton was scandal ridden and awful and evil. He was also expedient. So, here’s the question: If Newt got elected, and has a Republican Congress, and is a Clintonian expedient President, which way does he go?
Does he go this way to keep the Tea Party happy? Here’s what Reagan said about Newt’s plan.
When I say everyone hates Newt, I think maybe, it’s not an exaggeration.
Newt the honey badger. Not kidding.
Found someone who likes Newt. He DID work with Reagan and make positive change. Not so fast says another writer at NRO. Newt is the devil and never met Reagan ever (I’m taking liberties at this point).
Another defense of Newt?
More Newt hate. Jim Geraghty channels Tom Coburn (who I like but blocked me on Twitter because I tweet to much, so what does HE know)?
“I don’t want a nice man,” said Kenny The Nail Guy, “I want someone to beat Obama. I choose Newt.”
This was a very interesting statement from a Vietnamese immigrant who despises communism and knows a socialist when he sees one. He sees one in Obama.
Kenny is onto something.
Pretty much everyone, except Callista and his daughters, believes Newt Gingrich isn’t a very nice guy. I felt like his multiple marriages and “angry little attack muffin” persona as Peggy Noonan called him would be a deal breaker.
I am coming to believe his impatience with the bullshit and general grumpiness is the reason people like Gingrich.
First, people are sick of the stupid. And the government is big, stupid, annoying, interfering, and run by incompetent boobs. Gingrich is willing to concede it. In fact, he has a difficult time bearing the stupidity. In psychological terms, this is called mirroring. Gingrich mirrors the national mood perfectly. We’re a nation of angry little attack muffins except no one is really listening to the average out of work, miserable citizen. Who will speak for them?
Second, Newt is battling the media–his real enemy. He has declared war on them. If he’s going scorched earth on Mitt, he’s going nuclear on the Press. People are loving it. Why? Because the press aggressively, arrogantly pushes their agenda which is a hard left agenda. America is NOT a left-leaning country. They are center-right. They self-identify as conservative.
The press pets this cycle have been Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney. Lavish spreads in Vanity Fair. Extraordinary deference in debates (especially Mitt).
Today, Romney cluck-clucks to Newt that going after the press is easy. No it’s not, otherwise Romney would do it. But Romney doesn’t want to antagonize the ones who have been giving him such generous ink.
Any Republican running for office is not only running against his Democratic opponent, he’s running against the press. A conservative’s CHIEF enemy is the press. Let me say this another way, a Republican CANNOT win unless he speaks around, above and in all ways that avoid going through the press liberal filter.
Romney, like McCain in ’08, wants to be buddies with the press. And yet, the press is on Obama’s side. When Romney goes into the general, he’ll be constantly flustered and offended and dismayed by the abuse he’s taking. It will be a shock after the sloppy kisses of the primary where the press would rather the choice be between a Republican liberal and a liberal-liberal.
Newt, in contrast, knows who he’s running against and right now, it ain’t Romney and in the general, it won’t be primarily Obama. It’s the press. He gets this now.
Finally, around 75% of the GOP base has been against Romney since the beginning. In 2008, the base knuckled under, again, for a guy who was a terrible candidate. They’re unwilling to do it again.
And don’t be deceived, Mitt Romney is a horrible candidate. Romneycare, global warming, increasing taxes, bland, not a great communicator, flip-flopper, abortion, distant, removed, owned a chop-shop.
My brother said of Mitt,”Everyone knows that guys like Mitt exists,” speaking of Mitt’s company Bain which went into distressed companies and sometimes chopped them up and sold off assets,”and people know that that work is a necessity and someone has to do it. They just don’t want their president to be that guy.”
Mitt isn’t particularly likable either, he just seems like a nice guy. Well, Obama seems like a nice family guy, too. Big deal. People have decided nice is overrated.
Mitt has another negative though. Mitt Romney is the caricature of “evil Republicans” that the Democrats are salivating over. The press, meanwhile, like Mitt because he’s Harvard educated, urbane, cool, and a touch less liberal than Obama. They could live with him if their coverage doesn’t destroy his campaign.
People are wondering why Newt is doing so well. But the more I think about it, it makes sense.
Voters want someone who will fight and fight for them and against their common and frustrating and powerful nemeses.
You know that friend you have who is kinda a jerk? Why do you keep him around? Because in a fight, he’s gonna beat your enemy to heck.
The job with Newt will be pointing him in the right direction. So far, he’s been responsive to the ideas of his fellow candidates and seems willing to take on the federal leviathan.
As a friend said of Newt: He fights.
More at Newt Judges You.
Is Bain a villain or victim? Is Mitt Romney a hero or a heel? That’s the question before Republican primary voters and a few things need to be understood about Capitalism generally first before answering these questions specifically.
Capitalism is well regarded by most Americans. The bailout of investment firms that backed bad mortgage-backed securities i.e. bank bailouts is not well-regarded by Americans.
Bank bailouts, business bailouts, bailouts, period, are not capitalism.
A truly free market means the freedom to succeed or fail. A truly free market means I don’t have to pay for your screw up.
America no longer has the freest of free markets. [For more about this and Bain, please read Jonathan Last in the Weekly Standard. He makes excellent points.]
Americans who work for GM and GM subsidiaries, for example, are more than happy to take taxpayer money, rip off GM investors, give the money to the unions, and currently keep their jobs even though the company has a bunch of money-losing products and the company has yet to make money back that it took from the taxpayers (and probably never will).
Americans who see nearly $750 billion taxpayer dollars go to a failed company like Solyndra (Obama cronies who want to make money off of the failed green-jobs hoax at taxpayer expense) are not so happy.
American Iowans who get ethanol subsidies to grow corn for energy production even though it’s more expensive, and shockingly, dirtier, like a more nuanced capitalism.
Americans are romantic about capitalism. They like a free market a little freer and a little more socialist-y (new word) depending on their mood.
Politicians are worse.
Politicians can use taxpayer dollars, regulations, lawsuits, threats, audits, and all sorts of means to manipulate the market.
So, corporations, in response to the government unevenness, seeks favor. They buy advertising (hello Wall Street
investors donors to Obama) and hope to influence the laws, regulation, bailouts, etc. in a way favorable to their business, their stockholders and their board. And who wouldn’t?
When the government gets so powerful, corporations and individuals are forced to be obsequious and cower before the throne of power lest their businesses and lives be ruined.
Obama and Democrats enjoy this power. Many big government Republicans don’t mind it so much either.
Corporations enjoy the arrangement as long as it benefits them. Greasing the government skids becomes part of doing business. The more corrupt the government, the more it costs but the cost of NOT paying off the politicians is far worse and a destroyed business or even industry.
Individual Americans look at all this and are disgusted. They forget their own involvement or excuse it figuring that the “big guys” will win anyway, so “might as well get my share”.
The political-corporate nexus has become a mutually-beneficial and exclusive system. The American taxpayer, the guy on the hook for all the flights of fancy (Solyndra) and foibles (Fannie, Freddie, and Wall Street investment bankers) stands on the outside.
$15 trillion in debt later and little to nothing to show for it, the little guy is fed up.
The stories, that the press will finally tell about how the little guy has been screwed (not by Obama mind, never by Obama) but by Mitt Romney and other villains like him, will be front and center.
The American economy is not free-market capitalist in the sense that businesses or government are having to pay the consequences of bad behavior. Two words: “Moral Hazard”. We are seeing the consequences of the moral hazard of these bailouts and they’re unintended.
The most dire consequence: People are questioning capitalism itself, rather than the bad government behavior that drove bad business behavior.
Romney supporters conflating defending Mitt Romney with defending capitalism are stretching this sentiment. It’s been long since companies like Bain were strictly operating in a free market system and while it’s subtle, this fundamental unfairness is what has people hopping mad.
When Romney piously decried the in-state tuition for illegal immigration, he was playing on the sense that people feel that it is unfair for people to get benefits they haven’t paid for. It was a populist argument. Further, Mitt didn’t just let that argument stand. He outright lied about Governor Perry’s illegal immigration stance making it seem as though Rick Perry was soft on illegal immigration while he, Romney, was a defender of all things America. It’s laughable, but it worked and he knew it would.
And I suspect Romney and his acolytes are afraid right now because they know that the attacks about Bain also work. But if they work now, they’ll work in the general.
The American people are angry and feel totally alienated from their government and the “big”, powerful businesses that use their influence to influence a favorable business client.
On Twitter, Brooks Bayne rightly notes the conflation by Romney supporters of mercantilism and capitalism.
The histrionics displayed by Romney’s supporters ignores the collusion between government and business to the harm of the individual citizen.
How do these folks think the Teaparty started? It’s this very unfairness that caused outrage. TARP started boiling at the end of the Bush administration, was supported by both Obama and McCain and the unholy alliance has, instead of abating, gotten worse. At least a sliver of this emotion is encapsulated by Occupy Wall Street.
Occupy Wall Street just took the opposite tack of the Tea Party. Rather than being left alone–which is what the Teapatiers want–the OWS folks want the bailouts to go to them. Forget corporate bailouts, they want personal bailouts.
Somehow, personal bailouts is socialism but big bank bailouts is “supporting the free market”? No it’s not.
Obamacare was collusion with Insurance companies at the expense of tax payers. TARP benefited banks and businesses over leveraged by making bad bets.
Over and over, the taxpayer is being asked to look the other way while their taxes are being raided for the benefit of irresponsible players — the government, banks and businesses all angling to take great risk. They receive all the benefits if they succeed and the taxpayer is on the hook for the losses should they fail.
The problem with Romney is that he neutralizes every single Obama negative — Romneycare, big regulations (buying global warming, etc.), bailouts, TARP, and the collusion of Wall Street with the government.
Capitalism as a concept is just fine. The problem is that America is a far cry from a truly free market. A market isn’t free when the risk takers can make someone else pay for their mistakes.
Americans are tired of paying for others mistakes. They’re tired of being on the losing end. They thought Obama was going to bring “fairness”. Obama just made things worse–socialism is always worse.
Republicans should be for something better, but as far as I can see, the front runners all like using the Government for their own fanciful schemes. For some reason voters are supposed to trust them to do different. No wonder the Republican field is divided and depressed. [Update: William Jacobson says the Republican party has become “the party of Bain”. Heaven help us.]
Trusting a politician is always a bad bargain. Voters don’t seem ready, though, to trust themselves and that’s the only solution.
More about Romney’s own class warfare here.
Updated: Dan Riehl says that the left will “hang Romney with the rust belt and win“.
So the race is down to a one-term moderate governor who framed the architecture of Obamacare and a Senator from Pennsylvania who couldn’t get re-elected. The latter is conservative; which is something.
The problem with Santorum is money and ground game. He has neither. His plucky Iowa victory is invigorating for his few national supporters and I might be surprised and see that he’ll be able to whip up grassroots support and get funding.
Santorum gave a beautiful and touching speech; deeply personal and affecting. Romney hurriedly, frenetically rattled off his stump speech from the morning. Ann Coulter loved it.
Anyone who pays attention to conservative politics is profoundly disappointed. Santorum is an uphill battle many ways: name recognition for one. He’ll get it now, but will it be enough? Can he energize anyone? He’s not the energize type, is he?
The other candidates fell away. My gut tells me that for Gingrich, it was his personal issues. For Perry, it was illegal immigration. For Bachmann, it was Bachman. She was like the crazy ninja who cut herself every time she slashed.
Ron Paul and his ardent young supporters will have influence again soon–disrupting CPAC and acting like college students loosed on a bender. Sarah Palin is right that the GOP needs to listen to the foundational concerns of many of Paul’s supporters: Fear of an over-reaching government, fear of too many wars in far-flung places for reasons not exactly clear about America’s interest, fear of fiscal insanity (completely rational).
On a personal note, I am profoundly disappointed at the result for Rick Perry. He gave a gracious speech. He has cancelled his South Carolina appearances. It seems over. It makes me sad. He’s a good man. He’s leads Texas in significant and beneficial ways. I can’t help but think we’ll be wishing for a guy like him when results are actually measured down the road.
Thankfully, I believe more is at work here than pure human folly–even though this primary season and President Obama’s fiscal policy have been shot through with nonsense.
And so ends a miserable Iowa caucus. If I were a guessing woman, I’d guess that Mitt Romney will be the eventual nominee.
His moderate, liberal even, stances will be portrayed as crazy-eyed conservative by the media–which is a patent lie.
Mitt’s Romneycare debacle in Massachusetts will neutralize the horror that is Obamacare. Mitt’s legendary flip-flops will trump, in the media’s eyes, Obama’s flop after flop after flop.
DC talking heads will be stunned to see a listless and apathetic base disgusted that the GOP cannot put forth a Republican with any principles.
The race will be close and some sort of defining moment will push people toward Romney or Obama, but the election won’t be the nuclear blowout it should be.
And if my record holds true, I’ll be wrong about this all and you all can take comfort in my horrible predictions. Let’s hope this is a George Costanza post and everything I write is exactly opposite to what will actually happen.
On a more negative note, I was right about McCain and no one listened to me then, either.
So, here’s to being wrong! 2012 is going to be a very long year.