The following was submitted by Nick Nottleman, a reader and concerned American.
The 2000 Presidential Election pitted George W. Bush against then Vice President Al Gore. Ralph Nader from the Green Party received 2.74 % of the popular vote and no other candidate received more than .5% of the popular vote. But the two main characters in this play were George W. Bush and Al Gore. Or were they?
While the Internet bubble was definitely bursting, the country was for the most part in decent shape. The military had been downsized considerably and for the first time in many years, there was a surplus in the Federal Budget. The Story’s villain was “The Clinton” and his sidekick, the “Blue Gobbler.” There to report it all, the likes of Rush Limbaugh and several reporters at Fox News.
In the 2012 election, the same strategy seems to be being deployed. An article at the Daily Caller quotes a Rasmussen poll:
A generic Republican presidential candidate would beat Barack Obama by a five-point margin if the election were held today, according to a poll released Tuesday by Rasmussen.
The as-yet-unnamed Republican candidate leads Obama 47 percent to 42 percent. This is the fourth consecutive week that Rasmussen’s polling has found a generic Republican candidate with a lead.
And Rasmussen is not alone.
Wait a second… you mean to say anyone with an (R) behind their name beats President Obama?
Because the general consensus being built is that any Republican would be a better president. On a semi-sane day, I might actually agree with that premise, but I prefer life out on the fringe. You know, where things like realizing THAT IS EXACTLY HOW WE ENDED UP WITH George W. Bush happens!
It’s a great day for liberty — the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta has ruled against the government in Florida v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
WASHINGTON - An appeals court ruled on Friday that President Barack Obama’s healthcare law requiring Americans to buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty was unconstitutional, a blow to the White House.
The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also ruled that the rest of the wide-ranging law could remain in effect.
The legality of the so-called individual mandate, a cornerstone of the healthcare law, is widely expected to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Obama administration has defended the provision as constitutional.
There are a couple of things of important note packed into this ruling:
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the 2011 Long-Term Budget Outlook yesterday. As you might expect, both sides are talking up the aspects of the report that play to their talking points. For example, if you listen to our progressive/liberal friends, they’re quick to point to charts in the report showing that budget deficits wouldn’t be as large if the 2001/2003 tax cuts hadn’t been extended. Of course, most, if any at all, don’t acknowledge that the CBO also says this in the report:
Changes in marginal tax rates (the rates that apply to an additional dollar of a taxpayer’s income) also affect output. For example, a lower marginal tax rate on capital income (income derived from wealth, such as stock dividends, realized capital gains, or the owner’s profits from a business) increases the after-tax rate of return on saving, strengthening the incentive to save; more saving implies more investment, a larger capital stock, and greater output. However, if that lower marginal tax rate increases people’s after-tax returns on savings, they do not need to save as much to have the same future standard of living, which reduces the supply of saving. CBO concludes, as do most analysts, that the former effect outweighs the latter, such that a lower marginal tax rate on capital income increases saving. A higher marginal tax rate on capital income has the opposite effect.
Since 1993, CNN has regularly asked a pair of questions that touch on libertarian views of the economy and society:
Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your own view?
Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?
A libertarian, someone who believes that the government is best when it governs least, would typically choose the first view in the first question and the second view in the second.
[I]n CNN’s latest version of the poll, conducted earlier this month, the libertarian response to both questions reached all-time highs. Some 63 percent of respondents said government was doing too much — up from 61 percent in 2010 and 52 percent in 2008 — while 50 percent said government should not favor any particular set of values, up from 44 percent in 2010 and 41 percent in 2008. (It was the first time that answer won a plurality in CNN’s poll.)
With all this talk of isolationism in the GOP, namely over our “kinetic military action” in Libya and the wearying, ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s an atmosphere that Republicans will be more willing to cut defense spending and reorganize our military to better fit in with the rest of the world. No more Dubya’s and silly foreign expeditions, more or less. But there’s one area that I see missing: Europe. I think it should be front and center.
When we Americans start arguing over welfare spending, it almost inevitably comes to be that those on the “left” say “Well, we’re spending billions and billions of dollars on bombing people in foreign countries, maybe we should cut that first, huh?” Naturally, conservatives balk at cutting military spending (while libertarians agree and then continue arguing to cut welfare anyways), but in terms of Europe, this is an area where they can make a great tactical manuever. I say this because, also almost inevitably, some liberal or progressive will then cite Europe as a great example of their welfare state ideal, saying “See, they can do it! Why can’t we, with the #1 economy in the world, do the same?” This was almost always brought up in the healthcare debate, focusing on the United Kingdom’s NHS, Germany’s social insurance policies, and infant mortality. And what else can conservatives and libertarians say? Europe sucks? Only in some limited aspects, and that’s simply not a respectable argument anyway.
If you were able to sit through the entire debate, I think you deserve an award. Seriously, that was rough. There wasn’t much in the way of substantive answers. And outside of Rep. Ron Paul, who is focusing his message on monetary policy and non-interventionist foreign policy, no one really seemed to want to separate themselves from the pack last night. There was a lot of agreement and no fireworks.
CNN’s John King, who served as the debate’s moderator, did a terrible job. He spent most of the evening utting “uh huh” behind the answers given by each question. Just before commercial breaks he asked candidates if they preferred “Conan or Leno,” “Elvis or Johnny Cash” and “Coke or Pepsi.” CNN will be hosting a Tea Party debate on September 12th, let’s hope they workout the kinks between now and then.
Michele Bachmann: Even though she contradicted herself on a couple of occasions - for example, saying that she wouldn’t interfere with state marriage laws, but yet supports a Federal Marriage Amendment; Bachmann, who used the debate as an opportunity to announce her candidacy, actually came across fairly well as far as communicating her message. I’d say she was in top three debate “winners.” By the way, Bachmann’s House seat seems to be up in the air. If she’s actively running for president, she can’t run for re-election. However, she has until June 2012 to make a decision.
Does Newt Gingrich know what he believes? It’s a serious question. The guy that is often seen as a leading intellectual behind the conservative movement and is hoping to be the Republican presidential nominee is sure making some big mistakes in his first week as a candidate.
Over the weekend, Gingrich slammed the budget plan presented by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for “right-wing social engineering”:
Newt Gingrich’s appearance on “Meet the Press” today could leave some wondering which party’s nomination he is running for. The former speaker had some harsh words for Paul Ryan’s (and by extension, nearly every House Republican’s) plan to reform Medicare, calling it “radical.”
“I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” he said when asked about Ryan’s plan to transition to a “premium support” model for Medicare. “I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.”
As far as an alternative, Gingrich trotted out the same appeal employed by Obama/Reid/Pelosi — for a “national conversation” on how to “improve” Medicare, and promised to eliminate ‘waste, fraud and abuse,’ etc.
“I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options,” Gingrich said. Ryan’s plan was simply “too big a jump.”
If you were looking for a substantive discussion of the problems facing the United States, last night’s State of the Union address was a let down.
President Barack Obama spent 62 minutes speaking in mostly generalities and explaining to us how great government spending is, but also warning the Congress that he will veto bills containing earmarks – special projects that are inserted into legislation that go bypass the normal budget process. President Obama also pledged to take measures to cut spending by enacting a five-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending. While he may consider this to be some great feat, Obama’s proposal will only save $400 billion during that time. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the $6 trillion in budget deficits projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
Obama noted in his speech that non-defense discretionary spending represents a relatively small portion of the budget – around 12 percent, using his numbers, and added that “we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough.”
One of the most common refrains from the political left and the media is that, regarding the economy, conservatives advocate for unchecked freedom for big business to do whatever it wants to do, and for no government interference with business at all. These assertions stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of conservatism.
For the conservative, the issue comes down to the proper role of government. To have no government at all is anarchy, and certainly no conservative would argue that. So the question is not whether or not there should be government involvement (there should), but what level of government involvement is appropriate.
When we look at the biggest financial scandals of the last decade (Enron, WorldCom, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, etc.), they all have one thing in common. At some point, whether through active complicity or negligence, government played a huge role in allowing the scandals to occur. And with every scandal, it becomes an excuse, or rather an imperative, to increase the level of government involvement to keep it from occurring again.
Some of the major scandals have occurred because the regulatory oversight assigned to one government agency or another was either inadequately enforced, or government employees were co-opted into the fraudulent scheme. Others occur because our statutory and regulatory law has become so complex that it is inevitable that a crafty thief will be able to find technical loopholes that fulfill the letter of the law while being contradictory to the clear intent of the law. Either way, we continue to add layer after layer of government bureaucracy, regulation and complexity, and yet the scandals keep getting more and more expensive. That is because the more complex the law, the easier it is to find a technical Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card.
“What we have here…is a failure to communicate.”
In the movie classic Cool Hand Luke, these are the words spoken by the warden to Luke, a young prisoner who makes a brief but daring escape from a chain gang. The warden, a cruel, iron-fisted man who ruled the prison like it was his own dictatorship, was determined to break the spirit of Luke, a happy-go-lucky young man thrown into prison for cutting off the tops of parking meters one night while drunk. His failure to break Luke infuriated the warden, and the escape attempt offered the warden an opportunity to kick Luke violently to satisfy his own rage, as well as make an example to the other prisoners of what happens to those that do not conform to the dictates of power.
The Obama administration has become the modern-day version of that warden. As American citizens become less and less trusting of the agenda of Obama, Pelosi and Reid, having seen the failed promises and resulting damage to our economy, Democrats have moved into damage control.
At first they attempted to woo us by eloquence and persuasion. We were told that 95% of Americans would get a tax cut, that the stimulus bill would keep unemployment under 8%, and that we could add 30 million people to the insurance rolls, increase benefits and still bring the cost down. Anyone who’d ever run a business or balanced a checkbook saw this for the utter nonsense that it was. Yet the Democrats used outright lies, bribery and threats to pass their agenda. Seeing their popularity wane as the “hope and change” of the campaign season turned into the reality of “rope and chains “ of massive debt, they have become more and more desperate to regain control of the narrative.