Posts Tagged President Obama

Moving On

I’ll say it, so I can move on to more productive things. Okay. I’m disappointed.

There’s a ton of post-election analysis out there, but I don’t want to get in to that too much. I will say that I don’t think this is a sign that America is lost, or found, or anything. This does not mean that America has rejected conservative values or that Republicans will never win the White House again, any more than 2010 meant that America had rejected liberalism, or that 2006/08 meant that America had rejected conservatism, or that 2004 meant that America had rejected liberalism… hopefully you see my point. This is how it goes.

I also don’t think that this is a sign that Romney and the GOP went too far towards radical right-wing extremism, or anything of the sort. People are saying that the Republican party needs to give up on social issues, that Republicans lost because the party went hard-line and embraced people like Todd Akin. These people are wrong; the Republicans rejected Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, not the swing voters.

Romney carried Indiana by almost 11%, but Mourdock lost Indiana by over five points. Romney won Missouri by around 9%, and Akin lost the same state by over 15%. It was Republicans that voted against these guys. Commentators are claiming that the GOP needs to learn from this election that the “independent voters” will reject them unless they moderate on social issues. Nonsense. Mourdock’s opponent was a staunchly pro-life Democrat who even co-sponsored the controversial “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act” which defined the now-infamous term “forcible rape.” Indiana wanted a pro-life Senator. Mourdock wasn’t rejected for being pro-life, and he wasn’t rejected by the moderate swing voters. He was rejected by conservative Republicans for saying something deeply stupid which made us all look bad.

Which is my point. Romney didn’t lose because people rejected conservatism. Romney lost because people don’t know what conservatism is. Romney lost because a lot of people thought things about conservatives that aren’t true. Romney also lost because he said and did some very stupid things himself (I’m looking at you, DREAM act), but that’s not the central issue, because all politicians say stupid things here and there. President Obama successfully convinced a lot of groups that, if you’re a part of X group, you’re betraying people if you don’t vote Democrat. Women have to vote Democrat because Democrats care about women, and Republicans don’t. Same for various minority groups, ethnicities, industries. Young people think that Democrats “get” them and Republicans just don’t care about them. Whereas Romney and the Republicans didn’t talk to groups or ethnicities or genders as if we are all fighting each other. They preached a message of caring about, and doing what’s best for, all Americans–all of us together, since we’re all in this together–but people didn’t hear. America was unconvinced.

But where others see an obstacle, I see an opportunity. That’s the point of this blog. Conservatives have been awful at communicating why conservative policies help everyone, regardless of color or class, and far too many people really believe we’re all in groups and classes that have to fight and take from each other in order to get ahead.

So I’m working on a new series: Conservative Myth vs Fact. I want to take on these fallacies. I want to discuss like adults why the right sees things the way we do, things like public sector unions, taxing the rich, education reform, social security reform, and others. And I do hope for a real discussion. I know many of my readers disagree with my point of view, and I hope you will join in. If you have a specific topic in mind you’d like to bring up, post it in the comments here. And I look forward to the process.

Onward and upward!


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A Basic Conservative Look at Election Day

So, it turns out having a baby makes it a lot harder to blog regularly.

But fear not! For you have in front of you, just in time to share with your undecided voter friends, the 2012 Basic Conservative Election Overview!

The Current Situation

Shoddy journalism, political ads, debates, fact-checkers, fact-checker fact-checkers, and bloggers like me have all conspired to make the truth very slippery indeed this year. Many people believe many things that are simply not true. Some of those things are asserted as truth by the President and his challenger nonetheless, with the full, cynical knowledge that the majority of people listening won’t bother to check–and those that do are political nerds that have already made up their mind about who to vote for, and a few lies won’t change that.

So, depending on who you listen to, we’re currently experiencing an unending recession, or finally seeing the economy recover. If there’s been no recovery, it’s either because George W. Bush dug too deep a hole for us to climb out of in four years, or a huge expansion of government has put the brakes on the economy. The last four years (interestingly) have either seen massive government growth, or the most conservative, spendthrift administration since WWII.

The problem is, each of these statements generated responses saying “that’s not true, here’s the truth!” (That last one is one of my favorites.) And each of those responses generated responses. And each of those… you get the idea.

So let’s take a look at….

The Current Situation (Really)

President Obama inherited a mess. There is no question. The US economy entered a recession in Dec. 2007, kicked off by the bursting housing bubble. Each side has attempted to place 100% of the blame for that on the other side–but there is blame enough to go around, as everyone had their role to play.

The President also came in to office with a plan. The job losses could be stopped with an $800 billion dollar stimulus–in fact, his administration released an analysis that stated that, with the stimulus, unemployment would never reach 8%, and by 2012, would return to below 6% (chart at right).

So in February of 2009, one of the first orders of business of the new Congress and new administration was to pass and sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

By October of 2009, unemployment had sailed past 10%. Just last month, we finally, mercifully dipped below 8% for the first time since 2009. Various people have updated the now-infamous chart to reflect what really happened (second chart).

We may not have gained much in the way of jobs from the stimulus. President Obama himself, a couple of years after signing the bill, joked that the shovel-ready jobs he promised were “not as shovel-ready as we expected.” Hilarious.

Many have argued that the stimulus, though it didn’t create many new jobs as hoped, saved millions from being lost–millions! It’s just that nobody can seem to agree on how many. That’s because it’s all speculative. Especially considering that in their rush to present all the jobs saved, the White House started counting people multiple times. From the linked article (emphasis added):

“…contract administrators employed by the state may oversee more than one stimulus project, meaning that they can be double or triple counted in stimulus employee counts.

For example, Bill Cass, NHDOT’s director of development, explained that one administrator is overseeing four projects, and has staff supporting him. Both the administrator and his staff would have been counted four times each in the report’s employment numbers.

All this to say, the stimulus gives new meaning to “overpromised and underdelivered.” Lots of people throw around lots of numbers, but there are a few things we can be certain of: 23 million people unemployed or underemployed. The left screams when you mention that number “because only 12 million or so are actually unemployed!” But this is a number that the government tracks–the two most useful BLS unemployment numbers are what’s known as the U3 (official rate), currently 7.9%, and the U6, which includes people who have given up looking for work, and people who are working part time only because they cannot find full time employment–currently 14.6%, which is where that 23 million number comes from. And I think those people are getting just as screwed by this economy as those in the 7.9%.

Another thing we can be sure of: the stimulus wasn’t the only thing that was supposed to improve the economy. Despite attempts to place the lack of recovery on the Tea Party and Republicans in Congress preventing the President from being able to get a single thing done, the President got pretty much everything he wanted in his first two years. The stimulus, the CARD act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform act, an extension of current tax rates (2009 Obama: “You don’t raise taxes (on anyone) in a recession.”) and a boost to the stimulus, plus a few bills addressing housing and hiring incentives–all passed in 2009 and 2010, each one promising to turn the economy around. Obamacare is a series of posts all its own, but let’s at least mention it here, lest we forget that the President really did get everything he wanted.

And yet, as I said above, the official unemployment rate is still 7.9%, up from last month. The economy is still growing far too slowly to pull us out of our slump. And the anemic growth we have seen is itself slowing.

We were told that if we simply spent enough money, none of this would happen. We spent the money. We borrowed it from our children, spent it, and we will now hand them the bill. And yet there is no recovery.

Two Options

The President has tried. He did exactly what he campaigned on, and it has failed to produce results. This year, he’s campaigning on doing more of the same. More “investment,” which in government-speak, simply means stimulus. But we tried that. All it did was explode the deficit. So his solution is to continue spending like we have, and simply take a little more from those millionaires and billionaires. They can afford it, then we’re in the clear!

But the math does not work. Even if, like the President, you consider anyone making over $250,000 a year a millionaire, letting the “Bush tax cuts” expire on those tax brackets will bring in at most, according to official numbers, $80 billion next year. Our deficits are well over $1000 billion and have been ever since 2009. The President is arguing to cut our deficit by a few percent in words that imply that if we simply raise these taxes on the rich, the debt will be covered. It’s a lie. He’s simply arguing for more of the same.

We have another option. Mitt Romney has spent his life finding ways to balance budgets and turn failures into successes. People attack Bain Capital because some of the companies they bought laid people off, or went out of business. Yes, that happened. Of course that happened. Romney and Bain specialized in buying failing companies and turning them around. Complaining about his record is like attacking an ER doctor for sometimes losing patients. Yes, by the numbers, maybe your pediatrician has never had someone die on the table–but I’d rather have a surgeon who’s dealt with messy situations before if I come in with a ruptured appendix. Romney’s record is phenomenal. Paul Ryan has passed budgets when the President could not–budgets that balance, and make the necessary changes to our bankrupt Social Security and Medicare systems to keep them afloat.

These are men with solid records and a serious plan to fix our mess. President Obama wants to keep doing what we’re doing–what has failed for four years so far–but he’ll get those evil millionaires.

There is only one serious option. This Tuesday, vote Republican.


For those of you that live in states where your vote for President “won’t matter,” or don’t think local races make a difference, please remember that spending bills originate in the House–and historically this has had more of an impact on the government’s spending and debt than the President. I made an embarrassingly low-quality chart to demonstrate:

This is the difference between voting Democrat and voting Republican. This is what you need to remember. The left and the media will yell that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about the poor, or the 47% that won’t vote for him (though they were okay with candidate Obama dismissing anyone that wouldn’t support him in 2008 as bitterly clinging to guns, or religion, or racism).  The left and the media will try to convince you Republicans want to ban contraception (they don’t), that Republicans are racist (re-read your history), that Republicans are pro-rape (don’t get me started)–but this chart is the difference. If Senator Obama was right four years ago that borrowing trillions to finance irresponsible spending is unpatriotic (he was), then this chart is all you need to know.


One final note. There were a couple of lies in the recent weeks and during the debates that I didn’t get a chance to write up, but I can’t let pass. One is President Obama’s continued assertion that he’s cut taxes on small businesses and the middle class–18 times, lots of tax cuts, tax cuts for everyone! Unfortunately, the cuts he’s referring to are generally negligible and/or already expired. In fact, he’s put on the books a myriad of tax hikes on small businesses and the middle class–he just made sure they didn’t kick in until 2014, long after it would affect his re-election. And the left has long attempted to conflate “not raising taxes” with “cutting taxes”.

The second lie that I can’t help but comment on came from Vice President Biden during his debate. He looked America in the eye and told a flat-out lie on par with calling the sky yellow. I will quote directly from the USCCB response.

“…the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.”

I put this fully in the category I mentioned at the top of my article–a bald-faced lie told with the full understanding of the truth and the cynical knowledge that the only people that will bother to check won’t change their vote over it. Our Vice President represents everything that we all know is wrong with politics and politicians today and deserves the support and vote of absolutely no one this Tuesday.

Alright. Nothing left to do now but vote. I hope you will, too.

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Real Leadership

The last few days have seen the Republican nominees and all-stars enter full attack mode. And the Great American Pastime of arguing, fact-checking, and commentary has moved into its final stretch–with the conventions, we start our engines for the playoff season, and I’m excited to see the contenders enter the ring.

In addition to giving bloggers like me an opportunity to badly mix metaphors, this is also a good moment to comment on the left-wing responses to some of the RNC speeches.

What I’ve heard and read from the left in the last few days can be divided into two categories: arguments centered on Romney and Ryan, and arguments centered on President Obama. The arguments I’ve heard about Romney and Ryan have been predictable; their speeches were nothing but lies and distortions (and also racist!), they only want to help the rich, yadda yadda yadda. More on that in a further post. But it’s the arguments about Obama’s record that I want to talk about here.

Romney and Ryan have reasonably spent a fair amount of time highlighting the President’s failed record. Almost four years now–a full term–and unemployment has yet to come back below 8%, we still have 23 million people unemployed or underemployed, and his first term will have added nearly $6 trillion in debt.

I think it’s fair to point those things out. So what has been the response?

Republicans are mean.

Seriously! I still hear, after almost four years of failure, that it’s all the mean Republicans’ fault. Obama wanted to fix the economy, but Bush left him such a mess, and he’s NEVER been able to get any of his plans through those mean Republicans in Congress that block him at every turn! They even admit they want him to fail, and that’s just mean!

So I’d just like to remind us all of something.

Despite the way the left talks today, Obama had large majorities in both houses of Congress for the first two years of his Presidency. During that time he got everything he wanted passed. Stimulus, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare–multiple major, far-reaching works of legislative overhaul.

People talk as if the President has never been able to pass a bill. “Of course the economy hasn’t turned around,” they say, “Congress won’t let a single one of the President’s ideas through!” The facts contradict this. Americans have extraordinarily short memories. Every one of the President’s ideas got through.

Finally, after having two years of carte blanche to pass anything he wanted, the American people recoiled at what they saw the Democrats doing, and responded with their votes. Obama himself referred to it as an electoral “shellacking.” Since then, the fact that he’s had any opposition in Congress at all has been the central excuse of the left for our economic situation.

And still, the stimulus WAS passed, and we still sailed beyond 10% unemployment. Dodd-Frank was passed, and the housing market has yet to rebound. The President’s policies aren’t some vague “what-if” that may have fixed our problems. President Obama’s policies are in place and we are seeing their effects in our economy’s failure to grow.

The position of President of the United States used to be referred to as the “leader of the free world.” I haven’t heard that term used in years. I don’t think people see this President as a leader at all.

So instead of a President that blames every problem on someone else, I think we need a leader that can work with whatever difficult situation he’s dealt. Someone that has been able to work with a hostile legislature and still get things done. A leader that has been able to step into existing failures and turn them into successes. If we can find one, I want a leader that’s been so amazingly good at turning failures around, maybe he’s even sheepish about how much money he made doing it.

That’s not about being mean. That’s getting things done. Let’s get things done, America.

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GOP and Women

From my recent article at Kendall County YR:

The May 10th editorial by Tony Scott in the Kendall County Record claims that the GOP needs to stop alienating women with backwards social issues like abortion and birth control. Scott goes so far as to claim that “most Republican candidates support limits on… birth control.” This is made up. It’s false. Scott wants the uninformed to assume that these dangerous Republicans are coming to ban sex and make women wear burkas. In fact, the issue of birth control has only been brought up by Democrats recently, in attempts to force religious institutions to provide free contraception for their employees. Even the staunch social conservative Rick Santorum stated that, though he morally disagreed with contraception, he had no interest in restricting anyone’s access to it. If you remember all the way back to January of this year, when the issue was first artificially injected into the campaign by former Democratic advisor George Stephanopoulos at a debate, every single Republican on stage was variously bemused and/or annoyed at the waste of time. Stephanopoulos spent over four minutes repeatedly asking each candidate, in so many words, come on… you want to ban the pill, right? Tell me you want to ban the pill.

The Republican audience got so fed up with the absurdity of the line of questioning that they started to yell and boo. Romney summed up the general sentiment: “George, I — I don’t know whether a state has a right to ban contraception. No state wants to. I mean, the idea of you putting forward things that states might want to do that no — no state wants to do and asking me whether they could do it or not is kind of a silly thing, I think.”

Scott correctly reports that 77% of those recently polled thought birth control “should not be part of the national political debate.” Republicans agree. They’re not interested in it either, despite attempts to characterize the GOP as the party of “extremism and gender inequity.”

Also brought up is the issue of abortion. Republicans need to back off abortion, goes the claim, because 53% of Americans support it! Polls on abortion are tricky. They change. A lot. Constantly. Pew did report last month that 53% of those polled were in favor of keeping it mostly legal, but that number, in its pendulous swings over the past few decades, keeps slowly swinging in a pro-life direction. And swing it does. Between October 2008 and April 2009, support swung from 57% to 46%—eleven points in eight months. There was a three point change between two polls conducted in the same month in 2008. Even six months ago, only 51% of those polled supported abortion. This number moves a lot, but the big picture is a trend towards protecting the lives of our unborn children.

Here’s the bigger picture still. These social issues make for good press and loud arguments, but when asked what issues will determine their vote this November, people list abortion, contraception, and gay marriage low on the list (39%, 34%, and 28%, respectively, answer these issues are “very important”). The top of the list? The economy (86%) and jobs (84%). Our current President is running on a failed record on those issues, against a man who’s spent his life demonstrating a spectacular ability to turn financial failures into successes, in both the public and private spheres. Which of those two men do you think Americans should trust with our economy?

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Discussion: Government Limits

Since last week’s Supreme Court hearing on the Affordable Care Act, the President has made some fairly extreme claims about the case.

“Ultimately, I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter. When I started this site, I wrote that I intended it to serve not only as an educational tool for conservative principles, but as a forum for thoughtful disagreement. To that end, the floor is open. I especially want to hear from anyone who disagrees. Tell your liberal friends. I’ll start.

President Obama is completely, absurdly wrong to even begin to imply that the court’s powers of judicial review are in question. The “unprecedented, extraordinary” event he refers to is something the Supreme Court has done since 1803 with Marbury v. Madison and the Court has exercised that power dozens of times since. That’s hardly disputable, though I welcome anyone who agrees with our President on this issue.

The larger question I wanted to discuss was the same one the Supreme Court itself discussed last week. My question is, essentially, does the government have any limits?

Does the federal government have, in this case, the authority to force every citizen to purchase a private service?

Can the government do absolutely anything that “promotes the general welfare”? If so, why does the Constitution have anything beyond the Preamble?

Would a Broccoli Act be Constitutional? If Congress wrote a law saying that every adult had to go buy broccoli and eat at least one serving a day, should the court allow that because it promotes the general welfare?

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