Friday, November 16, 2012

Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword

There are plenty of lessons for republicans to learn from the recent election defeat, and I hope this is one of them: Reagan’s eleventh commandment must be obeyed: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."

The key to President Obama’s ultimately successful campaign strategy was a summer spent “carpet-bombing” Romney with attack ads. Were the ads fair? No. Were they even truthful? No. Did they violate the principles Obama announced when he ran four years ago? Yes. Were the ads effective? Yes. And Romney is hardly in any position to complain.

Rewind to the Republican primaries. Newt Gingrich stung the Romney campaign with an important victory in South Carolina. How did Romney’s supporters respond? They assassinated Gingrich’s character with vicious ads. No great campaign of ideas – just savage attacks. The ads that were run against Gingrich weren’t fair, just like the ads Obama ran against Romney, and as Obama’s ads were effective over the summer, the ads against Gingrich were effective during the republican primary.

And then it happened. Unfairly attacked, Gingrich predictably hit back. Gingrich went after what should have been a strength for Romney -- Bain Capital. Gingrich’s negative attacks against Romney gave the Obama campaign free market testing for its own unfair negative ad campaign. Now I don’t think for a second that Gingrich’s attacks caused Obama to attack Romney – Obama was going to character-assassinate Romney in any event. Smearing Romney was the only way for the incumbent in the midst of a failed presidency to win. But I am suggesting that when Obama ended up saying the same things about Romney that Gingrich had been saying earlier, it lent an air of credibility to Obama’s attacks that they did not deserve. Obama ended up reinforcing false charges that had first been leveled by those of Romney’s own party. But, again, Romney is in no position to complain. His supporters started it – they carpet-bombed Gingrich at the first sign of trouble. What did they think would happen?

Perhaps a campaign of ideas will never work, at least not in this day and age. Perhaps the only way to win today is by paying for lies on television. I hope not. In any event, I hope that three years from now, when republicans start this process all over again, that they remember the wisdom of the Gipper. Leave the vicious lies to the left next time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finally We Know What Romney Really Thinks!

The msm won’t look at what Mitt Romney said.  They’re so busy trying to push the narrative that the wheels are coming off the Romney campaign and that Obama’s re-election is inevitable that they have no time for real news and analysis like trying to figure out why our embassies throughout the Muslim world are in flames, why the economy can’t get any traction, or whether there might be anything to what Mitt Romney said in his remarks several months ago.  Let me just note that the Romney is doomed spin is just that – spin.  The polls cited in support of that idea systematically over-sample democrats.  The over-sampling of democrats is utterly unjustified since all objective indicators point to a stronger turnout by republicans than by democrats.  Those very polls show Romney well ahead among independents, but they keep Obama ahead in the overall poll by sampling lots of democrats and very few republicans.  Look behind the numbers and you can see for yourself.  If you want to look at a reliable poll, check out Rasmussen, which continues to have the race as a dead heat.  Rasmussen does an excellent job tracking party affiliation, which drives turnout.  Just before the election in 2008, the democrats had a huge affiliation advantage.  The republicans now that reversed that.  There can be only one explanation for the systematic over-sampling of democrats in the msm polls -- intentionally skewed results.   

Better yet, look at what the candidates are doing.  Candidates battle over what they know to be the battleground.  If one candidate surges, the battle ground changes – new states come into play and former battleground states go out of play.  Name one Romney state that Obama now is fighting for.  [Crickets.]  Obama has given up on North Carolina.  Wisconsin and New Hampshire now are tossups, as are Colorado and Nevada.  The race today is precisely where it has been for a long time – most states long decided and a dead heat in a few states that ultimately will determine the outcome.  Having thus put the lie to the msm narrative that is designed to tamp down republican turnout, let’s do their job for them and actually look at what Romney said.
He said that “there are 47% . . . who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”  So the republican candidate for president thinks the nanny state is a bad idea, that it fosters a dangerous dependence, and this is supposed to be news?  The republicans have been running on that time immemorial.  Here’s the question the msm should be addressing, but won’t:  Is Romney right?  John Stossel thinks so.  I tend to agree.  Romney may have conflated the number of those who pay no net federal income tax with this separate group of chronically dependent, but his fundamental point about the dangers of dependency is sound.

Romney also said that “These are people who pay no income tax.”  Again, this problem has been the topic of discussion for a long time.  I thought there was bi-partisan support for the idea that the slowly increasing percentage of people who pay no net federal income tax is a potential problem as fewer and fewer people have skin in the game.  Romney’s recognition that his tax-cutting message will not resonate with those who pay no taxes seems to me a truism.  The part of Romney’s remarks where he essentially gave up on getting the votes of these folks probably is the kind of calculation that all politicians make, but not in public.  I have to assume that the Obama campaign has given up on my vote – if not, then they’re fools, and I don’t think they’re fools.
I’m glad for these sorts of recordings that come out showing candidates in a candid moment.  I learned a lot about what the president thinks of me when he described my kind as bitterly clinging to our guns and Bibles when he thought only his friends were listening.  I think I learned something important when the open mic caught the president promising the Russians increased “flexibility” in his second term.  The same goes for this Romney revelation.  Based on his record in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, I’ve always worried whether he really understands the dangers that government dependency poses for our society.  Now I know a little more about what he thinks on this subject, and I’m more comfortable voting for him having heard what he said here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Obama v. Straw Man

President Obama has a history of political success based upon picking his own opponent.  For example, his first election victory came when he had all of his opponents for the Illinois Senate disqualified so that he could run unopposed.  Similarly, in 2008, he constantly chose to run against the unpopular George Bush instead of his actual opponent, John McCain.  Obama is a very savvy politician.

Well, he's at it again.  Now that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, the Obama campaign is on the attack.  But, consistent with their past successful strategies, they're not attacking the actual Paul Ryan and his current positions -- they're attacking an opponent more to their liking. 

Ryan has not been a careful politician, at least not with regard to the budget.  He makes bold proposals, and he improves those proposals based upon criticisms and suggestions of others.  So this approach has provided the Obama campaign an opportunity -- they are vigorously opposing earlier versions of Ryan's proposals, versions that nobody is advocating at the moment.  If you can't beat the opponent in front of you, run against a straw man! 

When we hear Wasserman Schultz, Axelrod, and the other Obama mouthpieces (along with their surrogates in the msm) characterize Ryan's positions on the budget, the smart voter won't lap up the koolaid they're peddling.  If you want to know what's in Ryan's proposed budget, it's in black and white.  All you have to do is look it up.  I'll even make it easy for you:

We must not blindly take the word of either campaign.  We have the internet now.  We can learn the facts for ourselves.  And with the way the msm does their "job," we'll have to.  That's ok, we're better off checking things out for ourselves anyway.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Super Romney

I can't think of anything that Romney could have done to improve my view of him more than the selection of Paul Ryan as a running mate.  Everybody, including President Obama, says over and over that our entitlement programs are headed for almost imminent disaster, and they'll take the budget and the economy down with them.  Politicians have been saying that for a long time, and the closer we get to the looming disaster, the more people keep talking about it.  But few have been willing to try to do anything about it, and you can understand why. 

Since Paul Ryan began the process of actually proposing and developing (to his credit, his proposal has been an evolution) solutions, the political left and their accomplices in the msm have done everything they can to make Ryan a political pariah.  Witness the fact that even though Ryan's proposal has changed over the years in response to suggestions, the msm keeps letting the Obama campaign get away with attacking an earlier iteration of the proposal that isn't even on the table anymore.  The left's efforts against Ryan have had at least this much effect -- Ryan and entitlement reform now are permanently linked in the public psyche. 

Romney knew this.  But by picking Ryan, Romney has not only touched the third rail of entitlement reform, he's giving it a big bear hug.  Too wimpy to be president?  Take that!  Seriously, the Ryan pick is like the soldier who turns into enemy fire, guns blazing.  It's like the New York first responders on 911 running into the WTC.  You think I overstate Romney's courage?  Maybe.  But this space is not big enough to contain the names of the politicians in both parties who have run from entitlement reform over the last few election cycles.  If Romney will follow through with real and lasting entitlement reform, he could end up right up there with Ronald Reagan in my book.  And if he dies trying?  Then we have a big problem, because who is the politician who will ever again dare to tell us the truth if we mow down Romney for this pick?