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December 29, 2011

Ann Coulter is... gasp... Right ! !

Normally I don't have a lot of use for Ann Coulter as my general perception is that she's a far-right bomb thrower who makes our side look bad, but this column of hers forces me to make a reassessment:

Only One Candidate is Right on the Two Most Important issues,br> by Ann Coulter
December 28, 2011

In the upcoming presidential election, two issues are more important than any others: repealing Obamacare and halting illegal immigration. If we fail at either one, the country will be changed permanently.

Taxes can be raised and lowered. Regulations can be removed (though they rarely are). Attorneys general and Cabinet members can be fired. Laws can be repealed. Even Supreme Court justices eventually die.

But capitulate on illegal immigration, and the entire country will have the electorate of California. There will be no turning back.

Similarly, if Obamacare isn't repealed in the next few years, it never will be.

America will begin its ineluctable descent into becoming a worthless Western European country, with rotten health care, no money for defense and ever-increasing federal taxes to support the nanny state.

So let's consider which of the Republican candidates are most likely to succeed at these objectives.

In order to allow Democrats to indignantly denounce Republicans who said Obamacare would add to the deficit, the bill was structured so that no goodies get paid out immediately. That way, when the Congressional Budget Office was asked to determine if Obamacare was "revenue neutral" over its first 10 years, government accountants were looking at a bill that collected taxes for 10 years, but only distributed treats in the later years.

Starting at year 11, those accountants will be in for a big surprise when the government starts paying out Obamacare benefits without interruption.

Because of this accounting fraud, Obamacare can still be repealed. But as soon as all Americans have been thrown off their employer-provided insurance plans and are forced to start depending on the government for health care, Republicans will never be able to repeal it.

The vast complex of unionized government workers managing our health care from Washington will fight to keep their jobs (for more on this topic, see the Department of Education), voters will want their "free" government treats (for more on this topic, see Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) -- and even if they don't, there won't be a private insurance market for them to go back to (for more on this topic, see IRS rules favoring employer-provided health care).

The only way to stop Obamacare is to beat Obama in 2012, and repeal it before the health care Leviathan is born.

Otherwise, starting in 2016, Republicans will run for office promising only to improve Obamacare. Newt Gingrich will be calling plans to reform it "right-wing social engineering."

All current Republican presidential candidates say they will overturn Obamacare. The question for Republican primary voters should be: Who is most likely to win?

2012 is not a year for a wild card. It's not a year for any candidate who will end up being the issue, instead of making Obama the issue. It's not a year for one wing of the Republican Party to be making a point with another wing. (And there are no Rockefeller Republicans left, anyway.) It's not a year to be gambling that America will vote for its first woman president, or that the country is ready for a nut-bar libertarian.

Running against an incumbent president in a make-or-break election, Republicans need a candidate with a track record of winning elections with voters similar to the entire American electorate.

Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich have never had to win votes beyond small, majority-Republican congressional districts.

Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have won statewide elections, but Huntsman and Perry ran in extremely red states that don't resemble the American electorate. Only Romney and Santorum have won a statewide election in a blue state, making them our surest-bets in a general election.

But if Santorum wins, we lose on the second most important issue -- illegal immigration -- and he'll be the last Republican ever to win a general election in America.

Just as Americans ought to be able to learn the perils of a welfare state by looking at Greece, we ought to be able to learn the perils of illegal immigration by looking at California.

Massive legal and illegal immigration has already so changed the California electorate that no Republican can be elected statewide anymore. Not so long ago, this was a state that produced great Republican governors and senators like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, S.I. Hayakawa and Pete Wilson.

If even Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, two bright, attractive, successful female business executives -- one pro-life and one pro-choice -- can't win a statewide election in California spending millions of their own dollars in the middle of the 2010 Republican sweep, it's buenas noches, muchachos.

And yet, almost all Republican presidential candidates support some form of amnesty for illegals in order to appeal to the business lobby.

Among the most effective measures against illegal immigration is E-Verify, the Homeland Security program that gives employers the ability to instantly confirm that their employees' Social Security numbers are legitimate. It is more than 99 percent accurate, and no employee is denied a job without an opportunity to challenge the records.

Although wildly popular with Americans -- including Hispanic Americans -- the business lobby hates E-Verify. Employers like hiring non-Americans because they can pay illegal aliens less and ignore state and federal employment laws.

Any candidate who opposes E-Verify is not serious about illegal immigration. If anything, E-Verify ought to be made mandatory to get a job, to get welfare and to vote.

Kowtowing to business (while pretending to kowtow to Hispanics), Paul, Perry and Santorum oppose E-Verify. As a senator, Rick Santorum voted against even the voluntary use of E-Verify.

Jon Huntsman claims to support E-Verify, but also wants to give illegals amnesty as soon as the border is sealed -- as determined by someone other than us. Also, he gave driver's identification cards to illegal aliens in Utah. (You'd think a guy no one has ever heard of would be more careful about ID cards.)

Following his latest guru, Helen Krieble, Newt Gingrich is for amnesty, combined with second-class status for illegals. Instead of giving illegal aliens green cards, Newt proposes giving them "red cards" so they can stay, take American jobs, have children, receive welfare benefits, attend public schools -- and eventually be granted amnesty. The Republican primaries will be over before most voters realize what Newt's "red card" scheme entails.

Only Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney aren't trying to sneak through amnesty for illegal aliens. Both support E-Verify.

Numbers USA, one of the leading groups opposed to our current insane immigration policies, gives Republican presidential candidates the following grades on immigration: Paul, F; Gingrich, D-minus; Huntsman, D-minus; Santorum, D-minus; Perry, D; Romney, C-minus; and Bachmann, B-minus.

And that was before Romney said last week that Obama's drunk-driving, illegal alien uncle should be deported!

That leaves us with Romney and Bachmann as the candidates with the strongest, most conservative positions on illegal immigration. As wonderful as Michele Bachmann is, 2012 isn't the year to be trying to make a congresswoman the first woman president.

Two Little Indians sitting in the sun; one was just a congresswoman and then there was one.

Ann Coulter has come out for... gasp... Mitt Romney!

Romney; the one all my conservative friends insist is a total RINO who can't be trusted, the one who all the right-wing radio talk show hosts tell us must be defeated (never mind that in 2008 they told us we had to vote for Romney to stop McCain), the one who we are told is slippery, cannot be trusted... you know the drill.

As I told you yesterday, Romney's the one for me. Not that he's my ideal Republican, and not that I would not support any one of a number of Republican governors (Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, Bob McDonnell or Chris Christie come to mind) or Senators (think Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn) over him in a heartbeat. No, it's that we live in the world of political reality (a point I expounded on yesterday) and in that world Romney is really the only viable choice.

So I'm glad that Ann Coulter agrees with me. Whatever else you want to think of her, this is a very sober and adult column. She's willing to forsake "purity" for pragmatism, something that has no doubt gotten her an inbox full of hate mail. Ann, you're a better person than I realized. Keep up the good work!

Posted by Tom at 8:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 28, 2011

Thoughts on the GOP Field

I follow the William F Buckley Jr rule when selectinng which candidate I will back. He said that we should

Nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable

or words to that effect. I also follow the Ronald Reagan rule which says that

That person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally; not a 20 percent traitor

In other words, I'm not interested in pure ideology. Sure, they need to be as conservative as is possible. But I'm not going to back a "pure" conservative who is a sure loser over an 80 percent conservative who has a good chance of winning. I've done local politics for too long to retain any pie-in-the-sky idealism. Involvement has given me quite a hard head and sense of realism about it all. I don't waste my time anymore working for "pure" candidates who are doomed to lose.

With that in mind, my favorite for the Republican nomination is...

Mitt Romney - ...is my favorite. You probably guessed that from the above, but maybe not. To be sure, he has his faults. His Massachusetts health care plan is disturbingly like Obamacare, and he refuses to back off key parts of it. He's a very late convert to most aspects of the conservative agenda, and is notorious for these flip-flops. On the plus side, he at least gives somewhat reasonable explanations for them, unlike Newt Gingrich. He's a good family man, morally and ethically upright, a fantastic manager, won't embarrass us by saying stupid things, is not vain or self-centered, and will do generally conservative things. Ramesh Ponnuru has the best article on why Romney's the one to support.

Newt Gingrich - Conservatives owe a debt of gratitude to Gingrich for leading us out of what seemed like permanent minority status to our takeover of the House in 1994. This is no small matter, and as such he has a spot reserved for him in the Republican/conservative hall of fame. But this does not mean he is qualified to be president. Former New Hampshire John Sununu called him "nconsistent, erratic, untrustworthy and unprincipled." He's almost as big a flip-flopper as Romney, as witness this 2008 video of him defending the individual mandate for healthcare. Mark Steyn has perhaps the best takedown of Newt, but the editors of National Review do a pretty good job in their piece as well. In short, though, Gingrich is every bit as vain as Obama, with all that implies. He was a terrible leader when he was Speaker and was forced out in 1998 by the conservatives. Most of his ideas are good but many are half-baked. He also has more scandals in his background than all of the other candidates put together (true or not is irrelevant because they'll be trotted out ad nauseum). All of these faults have combined to see him drop in the polls as of the past few days.

Rick Santorum - His star appears to be waxing while Gingrich's wanes. I like him for his policy positions, but you can't run for president having lost your last senate race. His ideas sound good, but fair or not his boyish looks always make him appear to be less than serious. He just doesn't seem to have the right stuff. It's a shame, but see "hardheaded" above.

Ron Paul - A kook. His followers are worse. 'nuff said.

Rick Perry - He was once the flavor of the day, but it quickly became clear that he's not ready for prime time, and probably never will be.

Michelle Bachmann - I like her for her ideology but you need to have been elected to more than just a than just a house district before you can run for president. More, fair or not she comes across as too extreme and would scare the soccer moms. Two people can say the same thing but in different ways; one will come across as reasonable and the other as wild-eyed. It's not the policy, it's how you say it.

Jon Huntsman - He is actually more conservative than most people think, but in a moment of monumental stupidity decided to create an image of himself as a moderate.

In the end, Romney will most likely get the nomination. He is steady and patient, and will not say anything stupid that will sink his nomination. His organization is first-rate, and as an activist myself I know that this counts for a lot more than most people think. It's not by accident that he got on the ballot in Virginia (notorious for having a tough process, especially this year) while the others (except Paul, whose followers are more fanatics than anything) did not.

Can Romney win against Obama? It'll be close, but he stands the best chance of anyone. And anyone from the Republican party would be better than Obama. My prediction is that he picks someone from the Tea Party wing of the party to shore up the right, someone like Marco Rubio, Jim DeMint, or even Ken Cuccinelli (Attorney General-VA). If he does, he'll be a formidable opponent, and the Democrats will have a real fight on their hands.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 27, 2011

Tragedy in Iraq... and don't think it will stay there

There's nothing like being personally involved in local politics to make you realize that by comparison simple blogging about far away issues is small potatoes indeed. One day maybe I'll get back to this, and then again maybe not. Until then posts will be few and far between, but you've already figured that out.

Here we go. Last month Frederick and Kimberly Kagan warned about the crisis unfolding in Iraq in the wake of President Obama's ill-considered decision to withdraw willy-nilly from Iraq. In an article posted today they tell us that the country is going, going...

With administration officials celebrating the "successful" withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, thanking antiwar groups for making that withdrawal possible, and proffering outrageous claims about Iraq's "stability," "sovereignty," and the "demilitarization" of American foreign policy even as Iraq collapses, it is hard to stay focused on America's interests and security requirements. Especially in an election year, the temptation will only grow to argue about who lost Iraq, whether it was doomed from the outset, whether the current disaster "proves" either that the success of the surge was inherently ephemeral or that the withdrawal of U.S. troops caused the collapse. The time will come for such an audit of Iraq policy over the last five years, but not yet. For the crisis in Iraq is still unfolding, and the United States continues to have a huge stake in the outcome. The question of the moment is not "Who lost Iraq?" but rather "Is Iraq definitely lost?"

It certainly seems so.

I will answer the question they avoid doing; it is impossible to know whether the venture was doomed from the outset but it was President Obama who lost it, and he did so deliberately. All to satisfy the kook left, of course.

And if you detect a bit of bitterness from team Kagan in today's piece, consider that they started out the December warning piece I mentioned with this gen

We interrupt President Obama's celebration of keeping a campaign promise to bring you news from Iraq, where a political crisis has been unfolding since just hours after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta departed on Thursday

I can't say I blame them. We've come so far, and gone though so much, only to have out idiot president throw it all away, partially for the sake of electoral expediency, partially to satisfy the Democrat party's kook left, and partially because he's part of that kook left himself.

It didn't have to be this way. As team Kagan pointed out last month

Some will say that the failure of the Iraqi political and sectarian settlement was inevitable, that the "surge"--as they predicted--produced only temporary results, and that Iraq was irretrievably lost the moment American forces invaded in 2003. Those arguments are simply wrong. The ethno-sectarian settlement endured tremendous tests from its tentative establishment in 2007 until President Obama announced the end of American presence in Iraq. Its endurance was unquestionably underwritten by the presence of American troops, who provided critical double-guarantees: they guaranteed Maliki against the Sunni coup d'├ętat he evidently fears so much, and they guaranteed the Sunni Arabs against precisely the sort of vengeful misuse of Iraq's security forces now occurring. Interestingly, they continued to be effective in that guarantor's role even after they had withdrawn from combat operations, were taking virtually no casualties, and were not even moving around the country very much. It may be that an American military presence of 10,000-15,000 troops (as General Lloyd Austin ultimately suggested) would have been required for a long time to help the settlement not only endure, but harden into something that could stand on its own. Such a presence would still have been smaller than what the U.S. has in Korea today--and has had there for 60 years. The decision to abandon Iraq entirely will stand as one of the monumental strategic follies of the 21st century, and the cost of that disastrous choice are already emerging starkly.

American options for trying to mitigate the damage are limited, but nevertheless important. The U.S. should immediately threaten to withhold assistance, including the shipment of military aircraft Iraq recently ordered, if Maliki does not back down and adhere to the commitments he made to the Sunni bloc. Washington should engage Ankara energetically to enforce a common front toward the Kurds. Kurdish parliamentarians--and security forces--remain key players in this drama, but they have been acting selfishly and fearfully, always with one eye on the door out of Iraq and into independence. Many Kurdish leaders apparently believe that even if the U.S. will not back them, Turkey will. But it is no more in Turkey's interest than in ours to see Iraq once more in flames. Now is the time for some smart power in the region.

Above all, however, now is the time to show that this administration actually cares about what happens in Iraq. It is not enough for the vice president to phone it in. The secretary of state should go to Baghdad, not to celebrate our withdrawal, but to play an active role in mediating the aftermath. Obama should invite Maliki and his Sunni and Kurdish counterparts to a summit somewhere in the West to hash this out. If not, we will no doubt be treated to yet another series of visits by Iraqi leaders to Tehran as the Iranians again demonstrate their willingness to engage where Americans withdraw.

But of course Obama didn't do any of these things because he doesn't really care.

We all knew that things would get tricky as American troops left, and violence did indeed rise, so it's not as if Obama couldn't have seen this coming. but then, he would have had to cared.

If I still have to point out the obvious then I will; our enemies are watching and laughing. All along they bet that we would not have the willpower to stick it out for the long haul and once again they may have been proven correct. They watched us leave Vietnam, pull out of Beirut, run from Mogadishu (have I missed anything?) and now we're giving up on Iraq and Afghanistan. Those who blather about "redeployment" don't realize that our enemies have discovered that they can make us leave anywhere if they keep up the pressure long enough.

Oh well, Obama may well strike Iran. If he does we will be assured by his supporters that this "proves" that he is really a tough guy yada yada. Well, we'll see if he does, and whether he's willing to sustain a weeks long bombardment (yes I said weeks long as in plural, as in many weeks of continuous fighting because that's what it will take), whether he's willing to let our navy sink blow every Iranian vessel out of the water regardless of whether it is a "threat" to our forces, and whether he is willing to tell both the striped pants set at the State Department and the moral relativist set at the United Nations to pound sand. If he does all these my hat will be off to him... but he'll still have been the president who lost Iraq.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack