Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Republicans Damage the Constitution In Order To Save It

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 12:54 am
By: Ken Blanchard
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Three fifths madisonMy father once told me that the difference between the two parties is simple: the Democrats are stupid whereas the Republicans are just plain dumb.  That bit of wisdom has held up well, though not always in the same proportion at the same time.

Today the Republicans did something smart and promptly turned it into something really dumb.  Reading the Constitution was the smart thing.  The founding document possesses enormous authority and reverence toward it is altogether proper.

The dumb thing was to read an “amended version”.  The text they read, I gather, removed all the language that has been superseded by amendments.  There is a lot of language in the Constitution that isn’t in the Constitution anymore, in a legal sense.  For example, the original text states that senators are chosen by the state legislatures, but that was changed by the Seventeenth Amendment to election by the people of each state.  I gather that the original language of the text was changed to reflect later amendments.  I can’t seem to find a complete audio version to check.

This was politically dumb because you surely undermines your case for fidelity to the original document by producing a new, edited document that no ratifying body ever saw.  It was dumb also because it invited folks like Dahlia Lithwick at Slate to accuse the Republicans of “whitewashing the Constitution” by leaving out the passages about slavery.  It was dumb because it looks dumb.

It was also dumb because the very passages that we are now justly ashamed of reveal both the corruption of the American idea by slavery and also the genuine greatness of what that peculiar institution corrupted.  Here is one of the passages, I gather, that was not read in full.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, whichThree fifths madison shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

In reading the document aloud, they skipped over that last clause.  One can understand why.  Those “other persons” were slaves.  The presence of slavery in a Republic based on the principles of the Declaration of Independence exposes the founders as hypocrites.

But you can’t be a hypocrite without acknowledging, if only by pretense, that you know what is right and what is wrong.  The language above is laboriously constructed for the precise purpose of omitting the words slavery and slaves.  The founders recognized that those words would stain the document, and so they are absent from the several provisions that recognize the institution.

Moreover, the Three Fifths Compromise expresses a logical division already present in the Republic.  If those “other persons” aren’t really people, with rights and dignity, then it makes no sense to count them for purposes of representation in the House.  If they are really people, then they ought not only to be counted; they ought to be freed and given the vote.

If we hadn’t really believed what we wrote in the Declaration, the Civil War would not have been possible.  If we hadn’t practiced slavery, in blatant contradiction to what we wrote, the war would never have been necessary.  Skipping over the Three Fifths Clause throws the baby out with the very foul bathwater.

It’s a bad sign that the Republicans had no one around to point this out.  I’m available, if they are reading.  This was not an auspicious start.

GOP South Looks Sort of Like South Dakota

Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 10:11 am
By: RadioActive Chief
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Democratic South finally falls

Once upon a time, the South was known as the “Solid South” for the Donkey Party and “yellow-dog Democrats” kept it that way. (The name came from a proudly stated determination that they would vote for a yellow dog, if it was on the Democratic ballot.)

Times have changed, and this report on the current situation shows a real similarity between what’s happening in the south and the current condition of party politics in SOUTH Dakota.

For Democrats in the South, the most ominous part of a disastrous year may not be what happened on Election Day but what has happened in the weeks since. After suffering a historic rout — in which nearly every white Deep South Democrat in the U.S. House was defeated and Republicans took over or gained seats in legislatures across the region — the party’s ranks in Dixie have thinned even further.

THe gory details of what’s happening in Dixie have some resemblance to events in SD:

In Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama, Democratic state legislators have become Republicans, concluding that there is no future in the party that once dominated the so-called Solid South.

Hmmm. Nygaard’s jump in the SD Senate comes readily to mind.

The realignment in the South has resulted in more similarity to SD – with the GOP in control of both houses of the legislatures…in many cases for the first time since the post-Civil War reconstruction ended in the 1870’s.

The losses and party switching, one former Southern Democratic governor noted, “leave us with little bench for upcoming and future elections. There’s little reason to be optimistic in my region,…We can opportunistically pick up statewides every now and then, but building a sustainable party program isn’t in the cards.

Looks like the situation of the SD Donkeys at this point. While the benefits of a vigorous “loyal opposition” certainly are worth talking about…there is no entitlement for any party to hold power, win elections, etc. At some point, a pattern of overwhelming defeat HAS to be a big clue that there is a lack of situational awareness, and that there is a major disconnect between the afflicted party and the voters.

If any party continues to advocate and stand for policies and principles that the sovereign voters decide they want no part of, then what else could be expected than a pattern of electoral defeat and political stagnation. In the here and now, as long as the Democratic Party continues, like a stubborn donkey to adhere to the failed liberal-progressive paradigm, they will continue their slide, and IMHO, will deserve nothing more.

Meanwhile, if the Republicans assume they now have a license to play “politics as usual” and turn away from principles, they can easily end up in the same political dust-bin as the Democrats. Time will tell.

Some Notes from Across the Pond, and More

Posted: Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 11:03 pm
By: RadioActive Chief
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First a thought about the Tea Party from The London Telegraph in this excerpt from a James Delingpole post:

Liberty is not a pick and mix free-for-all in which you think government should ban the things you don’t like and encourage you things you do like: that’s how Libtards think. Libertarianism – and the Tea Party is nothing if its principles are not, at root, libertarian ones – is about recognising that having to put up with behaviour you don’t necessarily approve of is a far lesser evil than having the government messily and expensively intervene to regulate it.

And this isn’t an argument for anarchy. There are still plenty of ways society can make known its disapproval of certain “immoral” practices, such as through the traditional method of stigma. Libertarianism doesn’t mean doing what the hell you like and letting everyone else go hang themselves. It’s about doing whatever the hell you like so long as it doesn’t harm others. (Property rights, for example, would remain sacrosanct).

Maybe this technically isn’t directly from the Brits, but it is the Brit Samizdata blog quoting the American Richard Viguerie:

Some have asked how the Tea Party movement hopes to pressure Republican leaders or influence the party. That’s the wrong way to look at it. The goal is not to pressure Republican leaders but to become the Republican leaders. The goal is not to influence the party but to become the party.

That led to another Viguerie comment

“Voters have given Republicans one more chance to get it right,” Richard A. Viguerie said today. “They are on probation, and if they mess up again, they won’t get another chance.”

“The last time the Republicans were in charge, they became the party of big spending, Big Government, and Big Business. They abandoned the philosophy of Ronald Reagan and cozied up to lobbyists and special interests. And they paid a price at the polls.

“This year, the Democrats under President Obama and Speaker Pelosi drove millions of voters right back into the arms of the Republicans. But if Republicans return to their bad habits – if they start working for K Street instead of Main Street – they will pay a terrible price. Tea Party voters and conservatives will turn them out in the 2012 primaries.

“People will say: Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, and the Republican Party is dead,” Viguerie said.

The Chief would add the observation that there was once a political party called the Federalists. A bit later in history there was one called the Whigs. Both died and went away. The Republicans are still able to profit from those examples, if they will.

Coming to terms with defeat, or not

Posted: Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 12:42 am
By: Ken Blanchard
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margaritavilleSome people say that there’s a woman to blame
but I know: it’s my own damn fault

Those who have just been shellacked in an election would do well to listen to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaretville a few times, while searching for their lost shaker of salt.  When Republicans get shellacked they inevitably whine about the biased press.  That’s a little bit harder now that Fox News dominates Cable, but when did reason ever persuade the wounded heart?

In 2006 and 2008 the Republicans got shellacked nationally.  It didn’t happen because the other side cheated or because the press was biased or because the moon was in Virgo.  They got beat because they lost the confidence of the electorate. In a Republic that’s getting beat fair and square.

In South Dakota this year the Democrats got shellacked from top to bottom.  My esteemed Keloland Colleague and NSU Colleague Emeritus, David Newquist, is ready with excuses.  He blames the “the socio-economic factors affecting the Democratic Party in South Dakota.”  He doesn’t spell out those factors, but it doesn’t much matter.  In politics, as in golf, you have to play the ball where it lies.

I think it is a scandal that the Democrats did not run a candidate against John Thune.  David again is ready with excuses.  He seems to think that Senator Thune will do such terrible things to an opponent that no human being could dare to challenge him.  I think that that is utter nonsense.  Republicans Rand Paul in Kentucky and Daniel Webster in Florida bore up under much worse abuse than any candidate has ever dished out in South Dakota.  Instead of turning pale and withdrawing, they fought and won.  I cannot believe that Democrats in South Dakota are such cowards as David imagines them to be.  I think that the uncontested Senate race, the first in the state’s history, was a deliberate strategy.

Nationally, Democrats are looking for their own excuses.  One of the most common ones is that President Obama let his foes define him.  Here is E.J. Dionne:

President Obama allowed Republicans to define the terms of the nation’s political argument for the past two years and permitted them to draw battle lines the way they wanted. Neither he nor his party can let that happen again.

That’s just another version of the standard excuse used by both sides after bad news: the voters didn’t reject us or our policies!  We just didn’t explain ourselves properly.

Nonsense on stilts.  When President Obama put forth health care reform as his highest priority (among his other highest priorities), he very clearly defined the terms of the argument.  Health care reform would “bend the cost curve downward,” i.e, health care reform would save the nation money spent on medicine.  The problem was that no one believed it because it obviously wasn’t true.  Even if you believe the CBO estimates, the best you are going to get out of the health care bill is a wash.  But the CBO estimates always include caveats indicating that the savings in the bill depend on Congress doing things that it has always promised to do but has never actually managed to do.

Here’s why the Democrats took a bath in this election: First, the economy is in dreadful shape.  The President today praised the unexpected growth in private sector jobs.  But that growth is not enough to make up for population growth, let alone enough to depress the unemployment numbers.  Voters are hurting.

But there are two kinds of pain.  One is the kind you have when you break your ankle.  It really smarts, but you aren’t too worried because you figure you are going to get better soon enough.  The other is the kind of pain that makes you think that something much worse is happening, something that you won’t get over.  Pain plus existential fear is a lot worse than just pain.

The trillion dollars a year deficits we are running really worry a lot of us.  They make us wonder whether the economic pain we are suffering isn’t more like the persistent cough or the ache in the gut that won’t go away.  Maybe the whole system is sick.  Does the President have any plan to put us back on the road to fiscal health?  That is one thing that he didn’t define very well.

The deficits are the second thing that weighed down the Democrats.  The third thing was the health care bill.  As the economy stalled and the deficits mounted, the Democrats spent all their energies not on the present crisis but on the thing that they have wanted for decades.  The people didn’t want it.  The voters expressed their dismay not only in opinion polls but in actual elections, but the Democrats in Congress pushed ahead anyway.  That was the third thing.

The economy, the deficits, and the health care bill, in that order, did the Democrats in.  They ought to come to terms with that.  It might not get better.

The Sad State of South Dakota Democrats

Posted: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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mcgovernI grew up in a one party state.  I escaped in my early twenties by driving my Ford Maverick across the borders when an ice storm confused the authorities.  The one party state was Arkansas, and I can tell you that it was not a model of political excellence.

One party states encourage corruption and diminish the power of the voters to punish it.  Voters can rarely get a grasp of the powers that work around the tables, day to day, in their state government offices.  When there are two competitive parties, voters can punish large blocks of legislators.  With each party hoping to gain on the other in the next election, there is some general incentive for reducing corruption and promoting good government.  When there is only one effective party, the worst excesses result in a few individuals taking all the blame.  The larger body of scoundrels remains immune to censure.

As state governments go, the Republic of South Dakota is pretty good.  Unlike, say, California, there are fewer forces corrupting our legislative chambers and our state house.  But we should worry when one of our two great parties seems to be fading faster than tomatoes after the first frost.

Yesterday South Dakota Democrats failed to win a single state wide race.  The gubernatorial election was won by a Republican, which happens so often you’d think it’s in the state constitution.  The constitutional offices were swept by the GOP.  Our lone representative to the U.S. Congress, Representative Herseth Sandlin, lost by a narrow but sufficient margin to her Republican opponent.  To her credit, Herseth Sandlin was the only Democrat to win more than 40% of the vote in a state wide race.  Our junior U.S. Senator, John Thune, had no opponent.  This was the only non-contested Senate race in the nation and the first in the state’s history.

I heard a rumor that the Democrats decided not to field a Senate candidate in order to reduce Senator Thune’s incentive to involve himself in this year’s state politics.  I have no idea if that is true, and if it isn’t I apologize for repeating it.  If it is true, it’s damning.  I mention it because I can’t understand why else they couldn’t find someone, anyone, to run.  The uncontested race is a scandal in itself.

If all that weren’t bad enough, the showing of Democrats showing in the state legislative races was worse.  Democrats won just 20 out of the 70 seats in the state House of Representatives.  I haven’t calculated the vote totals, but that’s less than a third of the House.

It doesn’t get better in the State Senate, where Democrats won just six of thirty five seats.  That’s going to stretch those six Senators mighty thin across the Senate committees.

To say that the South Dakota Democratic Party is in disarray is misleading.  The problem is not organizational but existential.  The party is on the point of going clean out of business.  It is effectively dysfunctional.  Maybe the State House is beyond their reach, but clearly the House and Senate seats are not.  The party is going to need someone to run against Kristi Noem in two years.  Tim Johnson is going to retire, sooner or later.  In those contests, the Democrats have no bench.

South Dakota needs a viable opposition party.  It needs someone like George McGovern to reorganize it, county by county, rebuilding the local party apparatus.  Someone like Tom Daschle could have done that.  But Daschle, set free by defeat, had neither the time nor the interest for his state or its affairs.  What is Stephanie Herseth Sandlin going to do, now that she has time on her hands?  I am guessing she is not going to stick around.

There is a tragic flaw in the South Dakota Democrat.  The best of that species tend to look beyond our borders for greater things.  The voters frequently recognize that, and in an act of grace, set them free.  Meanwhile, the party withers.  This is not good for Democrats in the state, or for the state itself.

One last Nugget of Nerd’s Candy from the House Race

Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 11:30 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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weather sdThe SD U.S. House race remains the most interesting election in South Dakota, both here and nationally.  My colleague Professor Schaff has done a great job of putting some of the numbers in perspective.  I can’t resist making some final comments.  This is my last post on this race.  No foolin’.

As weather patterns become visible to meteorologists when they create models based on pressure systems and fronts, so voting patterns become visible to political scientists when they build models consisting of voting blocks and population dynamics.

In the U.S., the most important voting blocks are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.  The outcome of an election is determined by three factors: 1) the relative size of each voting bloc; 2) the direction each bloc is moving; and 3) how much of each bloc turns out.

While candidates try very hard to influence all three of these factors, they really have only a marginal influence.  A good candidate running a good campaign can change the final outcome only if the forces are in virtual balance.  The only thing that is likely to shift the forces described above in a dramatic way is a scandal serious enough to undermine one of the candidates.

In the South Dakota House race, the first factor is easy to gage.  According to the Secretary of State’s website, voter registration numbers are:

Republican    237, 809

Democrat      194,204

Independent  85,296

That obviously gives the Republican a significant advantage but it also means that independent voters will decide the election.  If the Republican advantage over Democrats holds in the election and if independents split or break Republican, then the Republican will win.  The Democrat can win if independents break strongly enough in her direction.

Of course, some registered Republicans will vote for the Democrat and vice versa.  That is the second factor.  Professor Schaff’s post parses the numbers.  Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is a familiar incumbent and she has clearly done a good job of attracting Republican votes in the past.  According to the Keloland poll (Mason-Dixon) HS is doing a bit better at attracting Republican votes than Noem at attracting Democrats.

It seems likely that the third factor will be most important in determining the outcome here as it has been doing elsewhere.  Polls showing Herseth Sandlin leading all assume that Democratic turnout will be at least as robust this year as in the last two years.  Indeed almost all the difference in the various polls results from differences in estimating this factor.

All year long Republicans have enjoyed two major advantages in state after state.  Republican voters are turning out in large numbers and independent voters are swinging robustly toward the GOP.  This is measured not only in opinion polls but in actual elections and primary elections.  More people voted in Republican primaries this year than in Democratic primaries, something that is unprecedented.

It is possible, to be sure, that South Dakota will buck that trend.  Democrats may turn out in numbers more like those in 2008.  Republicans and independents may not show the pronounced preference for GOP candidates that the polls indicate nationally.

The only real numbers we have to go on suggest something else.  Here are the numbers of new registered voters in each voting bloc since Oct. 1st.

Republican      1,903

Independent   1,497

Democrat            900

These numbers measure two things, both of which are more real than poll samples.  One is people bothering to register to vote.  The other is people bothering to encourage them to register.  A more than two to one advantage for Republicans over Democrats suggests that the national GOP wave is building here as it is elsewhere.  Among recent registered voters, the Democrats have become a third party.

This post on the House race and my last are nerd’s candy.  I don’t know what is going to happen on Tuesday, and neither do you.  I am not a gambling man but, if I were, I’d bet on a Noem victory.  Three days from now we will know whether I would have collected.

Democrats Devour Themselves

Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010 at 11:29 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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goya.saturn-sonThere is a sinister force stalking the land, conspiring against Democrats.  That sinister force turns out to be Democrats.  It appears that Bill Clinton tried to persuade Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida Senate race.  It also appears that he did not.  When asked about it, Republican turned independent Charlie Crist says he can’t remember.  Apparently, when Clinton didn’t ask Meek to drop out he in fact persuaded Meek to drop out, but Meek later decided not to drop out although, mind you, there was never any deal that he drop out.

Now that we have that straight, what the heck is going on here?  In two recent polls Republican Marco Rubio is twenty points ahead of Charlie Crist, who is somewhere between seven and fourteen points ahead of Meeks.  However, in only one poll is Rubio’s support more than that of Crist and Meeks combined.  If President Clinton could have persuaded Meeks to official drop out and throw his support to Crist, which he apparently did and didn’t do, and if Crist then gained all of Meek’s support without losing any of his own, then Crist might have had a chance to win the Senate seat he so dearly covets.  Senator Crist would then have caucused with the Democrats.  Point Obama.

It might not have worked out that way.  A race reduced to Rubio v. Crist would have forced voters to make up their minds about Crist, and they might not be so forgetful as Crist apparently is.  Nonetheless, that looks like the only viable strategy that the Democrats have for winning that Senate seat.  They desperately want to win it, not only for one more vote in the upper house, but to stop Marco Rubio.  Rubio is smart, articulate, and Cuban.  He has a made for TV face and hairdo.  This is what Democratic strategists have nightmares about.

If Bill Clinton did in fact persuade or try to persuade Meeks to drop out of the race, it wouldn’t have been illegal or immoral, nor would it have contributed to global warming.  It would have been embarrassing all the same.  Trying to torpedo an African American Democrat, and by all accounts a very capable candidate, in favor of a very White, formerly Republican independent wouldn’t inspire confidence in the party.  If the only way the Democrats can win that Senate seat is by running someone who isn’t a Democrat…

Can’t anyone keep a secret these days?  This is the second such pseudo scandal to trouble the Democrats this year.  They did and did not try to persuade Joe Sestak to drop out of the Senate Democratic nomination race in Pennsylvania.  There is nothing improper about this but it would be better to handle it behind closed doors.  Apparently rooms don’t have doors anymore.  In that case, isn’t it better to just be honest?  The Democrats keep embarrassing themselves, but that might be because they have no better options.

If folks at the top of the Democratic food chain are reduced to eating their young, the young are biting back.  Dozens of House Democrats are running against their own party leadership.  The Democrats have a chance to hold onto the Senate seat in West Virginia, but only because Governor Manchin is running as a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-Obama candidate.  Manchin actually shot a sign with “cap and trade” on it with a rifle in a campaign commercial.  He favors repeal of ObamaCare.  With Democrats like this, what does one need a Tea Party for?

There is someone out to get the Democrats.  It’s the Democrats.  This is what their party achieved over the last two years.

Obama Sends Republicans to the back of the bus

Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 11:00 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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who's drivingIt is always difficult to run a campaign, and especially a national campaign, when you seem to be way behind.  It is difficult to inspire hope in among your own troops and at the same time convey the appropriate sense of alarm or to be upbeat without appearing delusional.

In one respect, however, campaigning becomes easier when you are in a hole.  You have less territory to defend and a smaller group of people at whom you can aim all your rhetoric.  The Democrats nationally gave up any attempt to win cut into the Republican vote or win back independents months ago.  That was tactically indicated.  They went negative on a national scale, searching for any way they could find to undermine Republican candidates.  That was also tactically indicated.  Charlie Cook endorsed such a strategy early this year.

Such a strategy involves its own traps.  Focusing your message on your base may permanently alienate voters who are not part of that base.  It may also make bridge building after the election rather more difficult.

Case in point: the President’s recent remarks in Rhode Island.  From Fox News:

He said Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out. Now that progress has been made, he said, “we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”

As Mark Twain said of Wagner’s music, this is not as bad as it sounds.  The President was not really suggesting that a block of American voters that may well be larger than his own supporters this year have to accept their place, permanently, in the back of the public car.  What he said surely sounds as if that is what he meant.  Does he really have such a tin ear that he can’t recognize what telling people to move to the back of the bus means in American political rhetoric?

I will be charitable and assume that the answer is yes.  The President was oblivious to the historical and logical implications of what he said.  He was thinking only of how warmly the audience responded when last he said something like this.

The President’s single best piece of rhetoric in the campaign, perhaps the only memorable one, was this:

After they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back. No!  You can’t drive. We don’t want to have to go back into the ditch. We just got the car out.

That was very good, and when a line goes over well you are likely to repeat it.  As for assigning all Republicans to the back of the bus, the President does have a tin ear and this is pretty much how he really thinks about politics.  People who disagree with him don’t really deserve to have a say.

What is really objectionable about the “sit in the back” quote is not the obvious historical resonance of the image, but the fact that the President does not seem to understand what an election is.  He doesn’t get to decide who drives the public car.  Rhode Island Democrats don’t get to decide that.  The people of these United States get to decide that.

I am honestly uncertain that the President gets that.  He really supposes that some or perhaps all of his authority comes from the fact that he is Obama.  He hasn’t grasped that every single ounce of it comes from the electorate.  He may not be capable of grasping that.

Republicans nationwide grasp the essential fact very well.  That’s the advantage of losing two elections in a row, badly.  Republicans right now are like children waiting for an early Christmas.  Every time a one of them goes to RealClearPolitics to check out the latest generic poll, he or she is shaking the wrapped up box and trying to guess how wonderful a gift is inside.  Unlike our President, Republicans know exactly who Santa Claus really is.

Incompetent Dishonesty from the White House

Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:26 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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Wile-E-CoyoteNow is the time. History has fashioned the frame for a spectacular unforced error.  The man and the moment have met.

What is remarkable about the Administration’s current campaign against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (and Republicans in general) is not how dishonest it is.  One expects that by now.  What is remarkable is how transparently incompetent it is.

The President made a barely veiled accusation against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  From the New York Times:

“Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign corporations,” Mr. Obama said. “So groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections.”

This is textbook weasel talk.  Both of the statements are true, but they are clearly intended to make a false insinuation: huge sums of money from foreign sources are being spent to influence American elections.

The charge was made more explicitly in an ad produced by the Democratic National Committee and released over the weekend.  You can view the ad at FactCheck.Org.  Here is a transcript of the narration:

Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie: They’re Bush cronies. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: They’re shills for big business. And they’re stealing our democracy. Spending millions from secret donors to elect Republicans to do their bidding in Congress. It appears they’ve even taken secret foreign money to influence our elections. It’s incredible: Republicans benefiting from secret foreign money. Tell the Bush crowd and the Chamber of Commerce: Stop stealing our democracy.

The President himself backed off of the charge in recent days, but Vice President in charge of calumny, Joe Biden, has kept at it.

What are the merits of the charge?  FactCheck subtitles its entry: “Democrats peddle an unproven claim.”  Here is FactCheck’s first paragraph:

Democrats, from President Barack Obama on down, are trying to turn an evidence-free allegation into a major campaign theme, claiming that foreign corporations are “stealing our democracy” with secret, illegal contributions funneled through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It’s a claim with little basis in fact.

The New York Times got there first:

A closer examination shows that there is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents.

The Associated Press agrees:

The Obama administration and its allies are going all out against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and GOP-leaning groups, accusing them of using foreign money to help finance political ads. Trouble is, they’re providing no evidence.

ABC News comes to the same conclusion:

While Obama is trying to tie Republicans and some of their backers to the specter of foreign interference in U.S. elections, an examination of the evidence provides little support for the claims.

Again, what is remarkable about the Administration’s strategy is not that it dishonest, but that it is so blatantly and incompetently dishonest that three major news outlets and FactCheck were compelled to expose the Administration’s charge for the lie it was.

This makes sense of an astonishing paragraph in Mark Halperin’s recent piece in Time:

With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters.

As Halperin puts it, the President is caught in a vise.  According to a Los Angeles Times poll, half of the people who once supported the President don’t support him anymore.  Of course, that includes people who reject the President because he hasn’t gone far enough to the left for their tastes.  An incompetent attack on Republicans will not please anyone on the right or left.  It is not just the voters, however, but the political and media elites who have lost confidence in Barack Obama.

For an explanation of the President’s woes, see my previous post.

The Conservative Majority

Posted: Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 11:49 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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disraeliI have to admit that I am getting a little nervous.  I first realized I was a conservative while sitting at the City Drug Store in Jonesboro Arkansas, while sipping on a cherry coke.  It was 1977.  The next year I arrived at the University of Arizona only to be surrounded by people who viewed conservatives the way I viewed bell-bottomed jeans: as something that had best be forgotten.  Almost all of my professors, and pretty much all of my fellow students (in so far as they had political views) were liberals.  On a campus of some thirty thousand students, the College Republicans could sit around a single long table.

Those were the days!  Being in a small, oppressed minority has a lot going for it.  You can be righteously indignant, you can insist that everyone else is doing it all wrong, and no one will pay much attention to you, let alone consider your ideas.  In such a position, there is no fear of repudiation.  That state, safe and warm and well-nourished by the American Spectator and the National Review, came to an end in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was elected.  Since then, conservatives in particular and Republicans in general have had to answer for what their elected representatives actually did.

Fast forward to the present, and it gets worse.  Gallup’s sample of likely voters this year shows that 54% consider themselves conservative, 27% call themselves moderate, and 18% identify as liberals.  Wait a minute.  Conservatives are a majority?  When did that happen?  Hint: the last two years had something to do with it.  Compare those numbers with 1994.  Back then it was Conservatives at 40%, Moderates at 48%, and Liberals at 12%.  That’s the year when Republicans captured both houses of Congress.

Liberals have always been a small part of the electorate.  That’s tolerable when 88% of the press and maybe a larger share of college professors, and pretty much every government bureaucrat or public union employee is part of the 12%.

I am not sure what to think when I am suddenly part of the majority of likely voters.  It isn’t just nationally, either.  In Wisconsin, liberals make up 20% of likely voters, and moderates 33%.  Conservatives are 47% of that group of people who will actually vote.  That isn’t a conservative majority, but conservatives outnumber liberals by more than two to one.  Moderates are probably breaking Republican by two to one as well.  No wonder Russ Feingold is in deep doo doo.

Just right now, conservatism is surging.  God gave us Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.  That doesn’t mean that God is on our side.  It might mean the opposite.  If Republicans capture both houses of Congress, they will have to figure out what to do with them.  I am not sure that anyone knows what to do.  Conservatives have every reason to enjoy this moment.  Next January, things are going to get tough.