Friday, August 31, 2012


Out in Florida for a week. Scoping the ground to gauge support for Romney V Obama. I thought Clint Eastwood's speech at the RNC was very odd. But he is still my favorite all time actor.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rebutting the left wing spin on Ryan's Speech

Jonathan Cohn's TNR hit piece on Ryan was mostly devoid of factual value. Here's why.

1) Wrong. The plant was still open until April 2009. Obama said that he would help it stay that way. He didn't.

2) Some truth. True that Romney-Ryan counts the cuts, but the cuts are effectively irrelevant to Romney-Ryan because their plan is to completely overhaul the medicare system anyway. A plan so horrendous, it was co-authored by a a liberal democratic Senator. Indeed, unlike the President, Ryan has always said that he is willing to negotiate on this issue as part of a grand compromise. 

I find these quotes absurd -  

"By the way, Obamacare's cut to Medicare was a reduction in what the plan pays hospitals and insurance companies. And the hospitals said they could live with those cuts, because Obamacare was simultaneously giving more people health insurance, alleviating the financial burden of charity care.
What Obamacare did not do is take away benefits. On the contrary, it added benefits, by offering free preventative care and new prescription drug coverage. By repealing Obamacare, Romney and Ryan would take away those benefits—and, by the way, add to Medicare's financial troubles because the program would be back to paying hospitals and insurers the higher rates."
Let's see what doctors decide to do when the opportunity cost of treating Medicare patients becomes even more excessive. And where is Obama going to find the money for his new 'added benefits'? As with his Medicare proposals (and his budget - see end of 5), he is going to imagine it into existence.
3) Republicans must share some blame for this. I have argued the same. But... In the end, it was Obama who failed to engage in genuine negotiations with House Speaker Boehner about how to resolve the debt crisis. Boehner was willing to stand up to the huge power of the tea party in pursuit of a deal. In contrast, Obama went back on his word so as to please left-wing Democrats in Congress.

4) Somewhat fair. But those lines are on an escalating track through the next ten years. In addition, they assume that Obama wants to cancel all the Bush era tax cuts (which he doesn't). And... it hilariously asserts that Obama has no responsibility for the continuing economic troubles. And... it claims that Obama has no responsibility for Iraq/Afghanistan even though he has direct control over both theaters. 

5) This is an ideological issue. Republicans believe that the Federal Government should have less role in social service program provision. IE - If New Yorkers want to pay more taxes for more programs, then that is their prerogative. If Mississippians want to pay less taxes for less programs, again, that is their prerogative. Block granting allows states to find cost savings at the local level, rather than having the blind hand of the Federal Govt. throwing money into a dark, bottomless abyss.  Just look at the cost growth of the Federal disability support program as an example of this issue. The poorest Americans are the ones who have the most to lose if we continue on the debt course. Such a situation risks Medicare's very existence.  The real issue here is addressing the health care cost growth which is absorbing low/middle income real wages (neither Obama nor Congressional Republicans are yet offering substantive plans to address health care inflation) (though I believe Ryan will want to press this concern onto a Romney Presidential agenda). Cohn seems to think (like many Democrats including the President) that we have an ample supply of money. We have no money. We have to make tough choices rather than tough attack ads. Oh and on tax reform, Ryan's plan (endorsed by Romney) would eliminate loopholes so as to prevent the rich from being able to reduce their tax bills through heavy avoidance. Obama would simply reinforce the thousands and thousands of pages of our tax code mess. Obama's approach to America's fiscal situation is a dream. And a nightmare for America. 

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan made a great speech last night. Ryan was bold, passionate and presented compelling arguments. Ryan didn't turn away from the fray, he ran straight into it. The difference between Ryan and the 2008 Republican VP could not be more profound. I thought Ryan was at his best when he slammed the President's failed economic record - 'one term, five trillion in new debt.' My favorite line was his rebuke of Obama's attacks on Romney's business record - 'And by the way, being successful in business: that's a good thing!' It was obvious that Ryan was at his most comfortable when he attacked Obama's Presidency as the 'nothing' Presidency. As Ryan noted with reference to the ideas battle at stake in this election - 'We will win.'

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Things to watch out for at the GOP Convention

TONIGHT - Ted Cruz, Gov. Chris Christie and Ann Romney. Expect Ann Romney to attempt to personalize her husband for the American people - Mrs. Romney may mention her husband's strong support in her battle with MS. From watching Ann Romney on tv, I feel that she will make a strong, positive impact on the American people. On the part of Christie, expect a humorous, aggressive rebuttal of President Obama's economic policies. The crowd will go crazy for Christie who is this Convention's keynote speaker. I am a long time fan on Christie. Ted Cruz - the new tea party hero will also be worth looking out for. I like Cruz, he brings an intellectual gravitas to the tea party movement which has been lacking until now.

WEDNESDAY - Condoleezza Rice and Paul Ryan. Expect Rice to cover substantive issues of foreign policy and make the case for why Romney would be stronger here than the President.  Ryan's speech will be pivotal. Many Americans still do not have a firm view on Ryan and this will be his opportunity to alter that perception gap. I am very confident that Ryan will deliver a powerful, passionate speech which outlines the grave fiscal situation that America faces. Expect Ryan to attack President Obama for his utter failure of leadership on the national debt crisis. Also expect Ryan's personal appeal numbers to improve post-Convention. His young, passionate and honest approach to politics represents a refreshing and a stark contrast to the President.

THURSDAY - Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney. Expect rising Republican star Rubio to give a speech that reaches out to Latino and Hispanic voters. Rubio will want to show why Republicans not Democrats offer the best policies for these voters. Also expect Rubio to play up his compelling life story. 

Finally, Mitt Romney. Expect Romney to assert his business background and moderate brand of Republicanism as arguments as to why he should be elected President. Critically, Romney will want to rebut Obama's left wing approach to economics. Romney will attempt to come across as a CEO type figure. Strong, confident and friendly, but in control. Romney will also want to positively contrast himself with the President's 'celebrity style' personality. I expect that if Romney delivers a strong speech he will raise himself three-four points above Obama in the post-Convention polls. Romney's speech will focus on two key concerns - the economy and introducing the idea of a Romney Presidency to the American people.

It should be an interesting week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

LBC Radio Discussion

I will be talking with Nick Ferrari about the GOP Convention on LBC radio 97.3 tomorrow morning at either 7.45 AM GMT or 8.15 AM GMT

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A response to Owen Jones

On Thursday, Owen Jones, a columnist for The Independent (a major UK newspaper), wrote an opinion piece titled - 
In my view, Jones's argument is weak; indicative of the author's poor understanding of international affairs and his embedded anti-american sentiment. Below, I have responded to the major arguments that Jones makes.

After all, it was difficult to defend an administration packed with such repulsive characters, like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, whose attitude towards the rest of the world amounted to thuggish contempt.

Cheney and Rumsfeld may be controversial characters (I often disagree with their positions), but I reject the notion that they are 'repulsive'. From their perspective, the US faced critical national security challenges that required robust policy responses. I respect that both men did what they thought was right for the United States. Jones seems to think that because Cheney and Rumsfeld disagreed with his European leftist world view, they were beyond reproach. He is wrong.

Many will shudder remembering that dark era: the naked human pyramids accompanied by grinning US service personnel in Abu Ghraib; the orange-suited prisoners in Guantanamo, kneeling in submission at the feet of US soldiers; the murderous assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

I take issue with everything here. In response to the despicable abuses at Abu Ghraib, the US Military rightly punished those responsible. The actions of these personnel were an aberration from the fine conduct that the US armed forces exemplify 99% of the time. It is disgusting that Jones asserts that Abu Ghraib was a deliberate action on the part of the US Government. 
             On Guantanamo, the photo that Jones refers to was taken in January 2002, just after the first prisoners had arrived. The photo shows nothing more than the detainees sitting in a control position. However, for those on the hard-left like Jones, the photo serves a natural metaphor for their inherent disgust towards the notion of military justice. I always find it amusing that people like Jones have no concerns about the military justice system when it is used against military personnel, but get incredibly upset when it is used against terrorists.
             Fallujah - Jones's most idiotic point. Jones evidently has absolutely no understanding of military operations in urban environments. They are always bloody, always destructive and always unpleasant. However, prior to its Fallujah operation, the US Military took great effort to evacuate the city of civilians. As a further indication of the US Military's desire to prevent civilian loss of life during the operation, only 10% of requested (pre-ground force entry) air strikes were authorized. Pre-November 2004, Fallujah was the primary base of operations for Al Qa'ida in Iraq. It was the place where car bombs were constructed to be used to murder innocent Iraqis, it was the city where hostages were held, tortured and executed. It was the physical and ideational home of those who wanted to destroy Iraq. It was where men like Janabi murdered Iraqi patriots who simply wanted to bring justice to their communities. Put simply, the US had no alternative but to take Fallujah. Had we not, thousands more Iraqis would have died at the hands of the insurgents and Iraq's stability and security (already endangered) would have been placed in much greater jeopardy. (See one example of Al Qa'ida in Iraq actions).

This week, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, demanded that the US allow independent investigation over its use of unmanned drones, or the UN would be forced to step in.

Good luck UN. The US is at war. We have the right to defend our citizens. I wonder if like me, Jones visualizes this when he writes that the UN will be 'forced to step in'. Note- I am simply arguing that the UN is an impotent joke that serves dictators rather than democracy. I am not endorsing feeding UN officials to sharks.

In one such attack [predator drone] in North Waziristan in 2009, several villagers died in an attempt to rescue victims of a previous strike.

It might be unpleasant, but the US must address those who threaten us. It would be militarily absurd to allow our enemies to be withdrawn from the battlefield, to then be able to plot against us once again.

According to Pakistan's US Ambassador, Sherry Rehman, the drone war "radicalises foot soldiers, tribes and entire villages in our region". After the latest strike this week, Pakistan's foreign ministry said the attacks were "a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity and are in contravention of international law". Its Parliament has passed a resolution condemning the drone war. 

I have little doubt that the drone strikes help cause the radicalization of some Pakistanis.  This is regrettable. However, in my opinion the US has no choice but to utilize the drones. Extremist groups in Pakistan pose a substantial threat to the security of the United States. Pakistan may complain, but Pakistan is in bed with these terrorists. Perhaps if the Pakistani  government/military got tougher on extremists, Pakistan would have a logical argument with which to persuade the US to end the drone program.

It [drone program] is armed aggression by the Obama administration, pure and simple.

BS. It is self-defense justified by moral and strategic necessity.

Two months ago, former US President Jimmy Carter described drone attacks as a "widespread abuse of human rights" which "abets our enemies and alienates our friends". He's not wrong: the Pew Research Center found just 7 per cent of Pakistanis had a positive view of Obama, the same percentage as Bush had just before he left office.

You don't fight a war based on opinion polls.

[Re-Afghanistan] US involvement in a senseless, unwinnable war in the country – ruled by a weak, corrupt government that stole the 2009 presidential election with ballot stuffing, intimidation and fraud – continues.

Opposing the Taliban is senseless? Then I guess Jones thinks that this (not a one time incident) is okay. The war in Afghanistan is winnable.

Under Obama, the US role in the Middle East remains as cynically wedded to strategic self-interest as ever. Despotic tyrannies like Saudi Arabia are armed to the teeth: in 2010, the US signed an arms deal with the regime worth $60bn, the biggest in US history. Obama has resumed sales of military equipment to Bahrain's dictatorship as it brutally crushes protesters struggling for democracy. Last year, Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain with tacit US support. And even when the US-backed Mubarak dictatorship was on the ropes in Egypt, Obama's administration remained a cheerleader, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arguing that the "Egyptian Government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people".

I actually broadly agree with Jones here. The US should have withdrawn support for Mubarak far earlier - he had become a despot beyond redemption. The US must also exert pressure on Saudi Arabia to improve human rights and democracy conditions. Unfortunately as I have previously argued, until we get rid of our oil addiction, America will remain on the Saudi leash. My concern with Jones is that he doesn't realize how hypocritical he is being when he criticizes US pro-democracy action in Afghanistan and Iraq, but simultaneously demands pro-democracy action everywhere else.

Coupled with the US's ongoing failure to pressure Israel into accepting a just peace with the Palestinians, no wonder there is rising global anger at Obama.

Peace will not come until the Israelis and Palestinians desire a lasting settlement. Jones plays the typical card of blaming Israel, even though the Israeli peace proposals in 2000 and 2008 - rejected by the Palestinian leadership - were bold and generous. I am hopeful that Netanyahu will be increasingly able to isolate extremists in his coalition who oppose peace. I also hope that HAMAS inability to improve the lives of Palestinians in Gaza will lead to their collapse (sadly I doubt HAMAS cares much for democratic tradition).

The US share of global economic output was nearly a quarter in 1991; today, it represents less than a fifth. The financial crash has accelerated the ongoing drain in US economic power to the East. Latin America, regarded as the US's backyard since the 1823 Monroe Doctrine claimed it for the US sphere of influence, is now dominated by governments demanding a break from the free-market Washington Consensus.

China will face major problems as it seeks to deal with a large population who lack freedom and economic mobility. With strong leadership, the US can retain its position as the world's foremost power. Jones comments on S/C America are hilarious. He neglects to mention that the major economic powerhouses of Brazil and Colombia have rejected the wacko Chavez aligned movements which are falling apart at the seams. I always find it staggering that the European left worship men like Chavez and Castro. Chavez has destroyed Venezuela's economy while supporting a band of murdering rapists in Colombia. Castro rules over a country in which only 5% of the population have cars and from which many Cubans risk crossing shark infested waters to escape the 'communist paradise'. For Jones to embrace these regimes is both morally foul and intellectually bankrupt.

the Iraq war not only undermined US military prestige and invincibility, it perversely boosted Iran's power in the Middle East.

The hard left love using this line, yet Maliki (albeit too autocratic) is by no means an Iranian stooge. The Iraqi people determine their own future now. Jones apparently mourns the 'safe hands' of Saddam Hussein.

With the last remaining superpower at its weakest since World War II, there is an unmissable opening to argue for a more equal and just world order, restricting the ability of Great Powers to throw their weight around. And a word of warning: if we don't seize this opportunity now, one superpower will simply be replaced by another – and our world will be as unequal and unjust as ever.

Since the end of the Second World War, America has preserved international security and freedom. This has come at significant expense in American treasure and at a high human cost to the American people. Without the US, the world would be at the mercy of violent extremists. The security of the seas (crucial for international trade) would be endangered and the ambitions of autocrats from Russia to China to Venezuela would be unleashed. I have no comprehension of what kind of world Jones wants. Presumably he is one of those leftists who subscribe to the incomprehensible notion that the UN can preserve international order. Just look at Rwanda, Kosovo, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria to see the UN's 'peace' record. Perhaps Jones wants the Chinese to assume the mantle of global power? Again, that might not be so good for those in Asia or those around the world who wish to be free. 

In the end, I suspect that there is a deeper motivation behind Jones's words. For Jones as for so many on the hard left, America is an obstacle to their (false) socialist utopia. They wish for a system in which power is centralised with an elite who know what is best for everyone else. Conversely, America believes in and stands for a system via which individuals hold power and enrich society, through communities built upon tangible mutual interests and ideals. 
           America is far from perfect, but a strong America is necessary for the security and freedom of people everywhere.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the aftermath of Akin, the Democrats have embraced dirty campaign tactics.

Todd Akin’s comments were profoundly moronic. They were also unbecoming of a serious Republican candidate running for political office in the 21st century.

While Akin’s interview should have been expected to spark a broader national debate on social issues, instead, Democrats and left wing bloggers across America have elected to pursue a strategy of false demagoguery. While Republicans have reacted to Akin’s words (and his half-hearted apology) with anger and disappointment, Democrats have reacted gleefully, sensing a new opportunity for partisan battle. As a result, Republican candidates are now facing a systematic and deceptive Democratic effort to tar them with the Akin brush.

A striking component of this Democratic attack campaign is the manner in which it is being employed against Republicans from across the spectrum of GOP ideology.

As the VP nominee, Paul Ryan was always going to be a target. Even though Ryan has issued a concrete rejection of Akin’s words, he is still being labelled by the left as an Akin aficionado. Regardless of the fact that Ryan has asserted that his personal beliefs on abortion are private and not ideals for future policy, according to Democrats, as Romney’s VP, Ryan’s beliefs still raise legitimate policy concerns. Assuming they hold their own VP nominee by the same standards, this line of attack is probably not the most logical approach for Democrats. Take Iraq. Here, Biden first proposed a wacky 2006 idea to break up Iraq and then later started claiming credit for the surge which he had opposed. Put simply, on this crucial issue of national security, Biden’s record is a poster for consistent farcicality.  

Alongside Ryan, moderate Massachusetts Republican, Scott Brown, has been another notable target for Democratic post-Akin misrepresentation. While Brown was among the earliest Republicans to condemn Akin, his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, has happily tried to tie Brown to the scandal. As Warren put it, he [Brown] stood up and said, ‘Yay, Mitt Romney,’ who said he was going to get rid of Planned Parenthood, and, ‘Yay, Paul Ryan,’ who’s out there on a bill wanting to redefine rape. Scott Brown is in this one up to his neck.” Even the New York Times was uncomfortable with these blatant lies – stating immediately below Warren’s quote that her words were simply not true. For Warren the Harvard Law Professor, truth is an obstacle not a virtue.

Having attempted to tar Republicans in the East (Brown) and Mid-West (Ryan), Democrats have also launched attacks on Republicans in the West. The experience of Michael Baumgartner, the Republican Senate candidate for Washington, provides perhaps the best example here. While Baumgartner has focused his campaign on the most serious of issues – our current effort in Afghanistan, left wing bloggers have attempted to paint him as an Akin accessory. They are doing so even though Baumgartner holds a clear record showing that his personal faith does not determine his policy judgement and even though Baumgartner condemned Akin before his Democratic opponent, Maria Cantwell. As a patriot who has spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan seeking to advance freedom in those states, – Baumgartner reacted strongly to the pathetic attempt to stain his candidacy. In communications with me yesterday, Baumgartner expressed his disappointment that most media coverage has focused on the Akin issue while neglecting more important concerns which have real and lasting importance for our country. I agree with him. While I differ with Baumgartner on what our Afghanistan policy should be, I find it disgusting that his opponent lacks the decency to engage with him in debating such a crucial moral and strategic issue.

This week brought a solemn timeline – the two thousandth American military fatality in Afghanistan. Sadly, rather than taking stock of this moment, the party of ‘hope and change’ has been more interested in misrepresentation and distraction. Offers of honest debate by Republican candidates, whether by Paul Ryan on the debt or Michael Baumgartner on foreign policy, have all been rejected by the vast majority of Democrats. Instead, these partisans favor a continuing storm of unjustified and deceitful attacks. This dynamic should concern us all. This week, thanks to one idiotic Republican and the Democratic Party, our national political dialogue evaporated into a mist of polluted partisan absurdity.

Certainly, Akin should be ashamed of himself. But, in their reaction, so should a great many Democrats. Amidst the record of their disastrous economic management, the Democratic Party now seemingly has nothing to offer but spin.

‘Hope and Change’ has never sounded so ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Todd Akin and the GOP

Todd Akin needs to quit the Missouri Senate race. He is distracting attention away from Obama's failed economic record while also helping Democrats to frame the GOP as a party of extremists. I don't believe that Akin was malicious in what he said, just stupid. The deeper concern that I have about this issue is in the way that extreme views like those of Akin help negatively paint perceptions of the Republican Party. The fact that next week's GOP convention platform will call for a constitutional amendment to prohibit abortion (without clarifying rights in cases of rape or incest), is an example of this fundamentalist encroachment on GOP policy. While Romney rightly opposes this position (as Bush opposed the 2004 call for banning civil unions for homosexuals), Republicans must be willing to speak up louder in opposition to religious extremism- a constituency that makes up a far smaller part of the GOP than most people understand. People like Tony Perkins are entitled to their views, but their views are clearly on the fringe of American social discourse and they should not be allowed to punch above their weight in GOP policy formulation. My fear is that if the GOP fails to adopt a more moderate tone on social issues, we will isolate a large swathe of the next generation of potential Republican voters. And of course, there is also the broader, more important issue of what our party stands for.

Monday, August 20, 2012

UK laws on free speech

UK law is stupid when it comes to issues of free speech. Recently, a number of criminal prosecutions have been brought against individuals who made remarks on the internet which upset people. These comments were dumb, mean spirited and deserving of repudiation. However, they should not have received criminal sanction. The fact that English law imposes a burden on a speaker to ensure that his speech will not reasonably be perceived as offensive (even if he does not intend for it to be so) is truly ridiculous. Such a burden restricts emotional debate and chills public discourse on matters of key public concern. It also leads to a profoundly tiered approach towards determining what is and what is not legitimate speech, allowing prosecutors and the police to apply their own flexibly subjective standards in the enforcement of the law. These laws are un-democratic and authoritarian. Sadly they are supplemented by equally bad UK laws on defamation. I am gratified that the US still protects free speech where the UK does not.

It shouldn't be illegal to be an ass hole.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Romney - Ohio Speech

This is a great speech by Romney in Ohio the other day. He appears confident, focused and articulate. Th speech takes apart Obama's failed policies and false rhetoric. Romney is a bright man with a strong message. Especially with the addition of Ryan onto the ticket. I am relieved that Romney appears increasingly comfortable with his campaigning and is now more willing to aggressively take on the President. Game time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Facebook 'Like' = Free Speech?

The decision by a US District Judge to reject constitutional protection for a man who clicked 'like' on a political candidate's Facebook page, was in my view a serious error. The US Appeals Court should overturn this ruling. The individual was affirming his support for a political ideal and was engaged in a public domain speaking on an issue of public concern. To suggest that a Facebook 'like' falls below the standard for constitutional protection, is similar to suggesting that the government should be able to restrict a speaker from setting up a yard sign on his front lawn. In both cases the speaker is attempting to present his private political agenda to a public audience. From my perspective, a Facebook 'like' is an affirmation of agreement and thus a clear statement of opinion.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Paul Ryan as a candidate

This video effectively explains why Paul Ryan will make a great VP candidate. Because the Democrats refuse to suggest solutions to medicare/social security cost growth, they are unable to do anything but apply scare tactics against Ryan's plan. It is pathetic and it will be seen as such by the American people

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan - VP

IF Paul Ryan is indeed to become Romney's VP running mate, he would be an extremely strong choice. Ryan has been one of the few Republicans willing to propose a serious process for reducing the catastrophic federal debt. He has been clear and articulate in taking apart the President's disingenuous and failed debt reduction policies. The Ryan debt reduction plan (which Romney has endorsed) makes bold choices on tax (it reduces loopholes - some popular) in return for lower rates. The Ryan plan also offers substantive reforms to social security and medicare, in order to maintain those programs for future generations. In contrast, Obama's plan would let those programs erode with the weight of the baby boomers. Ryan will be able to articulate why the President's policies are so abysmal and how America can do better. It is important that this election is centered around intelligent debates concerning the deep financial difficulties that we are facing. No candidate is better suited to that debate than Paul Ryan.

I am much happier with this VP choice than the last one!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Obama v Romney - Latest polling analysis

The NYTimes is carrying an interesting story examining demographic polling for the presidential election. The polls conclude that Obama continues to have strong support among women, while Romney has a consolidated base of support among white families earning less than $100,000 a year. As a Republican, I draw positive conclusions from this story. The polls illustrate that Obama's anti-Romney business narrative has pretty much failed. The President has been spending ludicrous amounts of money on pathetic adverts that represent the height of hypocrisy for a man who said he would 'change' Washington for the better. Many voters have not been persuaded by these ads. I believe that the voters in Romney's camp understand that it is in fact Obama who has failed on the economy. These voters want real change and Obama is incapable of offering it. I also believe that when Romney really starts running (which he hasn't yet) and spending money on ad campaigns in key swing states, Obama's lead among women voters will deteriorate. The Democratic spin story about the 'war on women' is a bunch of bs. Contraception is cheap, I don't want to subsidize someone else's sex life. That isn't a war on women, it's common sense. Obama's slight overall polling advantage resides on the negative attack ads that he has brought to bear against Romney. When Romney responds to these ads with facts, Obama will lose support and I expect that Romney will pull ahead in the polls. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Obama's Economic Failure

The jobless numbers today were better than expected (UPDATE- the jobless numbers released in September illustrate the President's ongoing economic failure). However, they were still exceptionally poor. The economy continues to suffer from an 8 .2/.3% unemployment rate. As the BLS statistics show, far too many Americans are currently disengaged from the employment figures because they have effectively given up looking for work. The job situation in America is very unpleasant. It cannot be denied that President Obama inherited an extraordinarily difficult economic environment. BUT.. Obama has been President for 3.5 years now. As Harry Truman stated with regards to responsibility of the President - 'The buck stops here'. Obama's economic policy has been a profound and continuing failure. I believe there are three core reasons for this.

1) The President does not accept basic capitalist economic theory. This can be seen in health care - Obama has increased demand dramatically without producing a correlative increase in supply. I have suggested ways Republicans (who have been pathetic on this issue) could offer a better alternative. Obama's economic mindset can also be seen in his comfortable attacks on corporations - happily comparing them to the bogey man rather than as job creators. This President has an inherent suspicion of capitalism - his attacks on Bain Capital providing the most troubling example. This point has recently become more clear with Obama's observation that successful business owners owe government for their success. For the President, success is inextricably linked with government. As a correlative point, government should therefore at least in the President's eyes, play a fundamental, active role in society. I believe that this mindset is fundamentally flawed. It is true that government facilitates economic growth by providing roads, schools and law/order etc. However, at the core of business success (as with any success) is the hard work of individuals, the willingness to take risks that others won't and the creativity that comes from the individual with an idea. Ultimately, the President believes that Washington DC is better than individual investors at allocating capital. (See 3).

2) The President is seemingly incapable of being honest about the need to reform and resolve America's tax code/debt crisis. Until America's tax policy is permanently reformed, there will be a continuing fog that prohibits individuals and businesses from making long term decisions about how and where they should allocate their money (their "scare resources"). Instead of offering a tax reform plan that would lower rates and increase revenue by removing deductions, Obama instead calls for higher rates and a continued tax system characterized by insane complexity and numerous loopholes. To date, Obama's only  remotely serious tax reform proposal offered reduced corporate rates in return for a winners and losers system in which Washington would allocate its own loopholes to favored industries. In essence, it just re-dressed the same problem. On the issue of debt, until America is able to produce a long term plan for reduced spending, foreign and domestic investors will remain timid and interest payments will continue to soar. On debt, Obama rewarded John Boehner's bold  summer 2011 willingness to find a deal with games. Now, as he runs for re-election, the 2008 candidate for honesty, hope and change peddles the old democratic lie that raising taxes on the rich can alone pay to erase the debt crisis. These failures represent a collapse of leadership and the unsurpassed hypocrisy of Obama's 2008 election narrative.

3) The President believes that the government is best placed make decisions about allocating capital. See Solyndra for how this works out. I used to believe that criticisms of the President were silly when they typified him as a socialist. Now I think they are somewhat justified. I believe that the President's ideology is closely bounded to a liberal mindset that mistrusts capitalist instinct and believes that the government should exist as an active positive constraint against this instinct. I'm not an ultra capitalist, but I do believe that capitalism is a large part of what has made America strong. Government must regulate and punish (SEC and DoJ for example) where capitalism runs amok, but as a general rule, I believe that the less government interference, the better. I believe this is an especially prescient point with regards to Unions. Unions are the President's favorite special interest. Even though they destroy state budgetsreduce employment opportunities, drive up living costs and restrict the free movement of workers. And damage economic productivity.

The above issues are real and considerable obstacles to building a better economic future for America. In my opinion, Mitt Romney would be a far better President than the incumbent.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz

I am happy that Dick Cheney called out Sarah Palin. Palin is simply not Presidential material. She is rude, arrogant, anti-intellectual and thinks being folksy constitutes the supreme value of leadership. The Republican Party can do far, far better than her. Luckily, it seems that the election of Ted Cruz as the Republican nominee for the 2012 Senate race in Texas might lead to his replacing of Palin as the 'face' of the Tea Party. He is intelligent, charismatic and has a compelling life story. He would make an impressive and certainly far superior Republican leader than Palin. If Republicans are going to take back the White House and succeed in advancing our agenda, then we will need candidates who can articulate compelling ideals for Americans to unite behind. Simply hating Obama is stupid and insufficient. People want honest, persuasive alternatives.