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August 30, 2012

The Romney-Ryan Pro-Growth Agenda

Obama and Biden have no plan other than higher taxes and more government. All that has resulted in is stagnation and a loss of freedom. Romney and Ryan's plan is pro-growth and pro-freedom

Obama beware: Clear skies for GOP
Romney-Ryan ticket is pushing smart, pro-growth agenda
by Brett Decker
Monday, August 27, 2012

Hurricane Isaac might be pounding the GOP convention in Tampa this week, but on the political front, the skies are clear for Republicans looking toward this year's election. During times of national crisis, the electorate acts rationally when presented with a clear alternative to the status quo that is responsible for the mess. In 2012, conservatives offer voters a comprehensive, united vision for cleaning up the Obama Great Recession and returning America to economic growth and prosperity.

Taxation: The George W. Bush tax cuts are set to expire on Dec. 31. Letting the sun set on this package means an automatic tax hike of $3.2 trillion will wallop individuals and businesses as of New Year's Day 2013. In some states, the tax bill will jump by almost $6,000 per household. Overall, taxes would rise for 83 percent, including almost everybody making $60,000 or more, according to the Tax Policy Center. Stealing this fortune from the private sector and giving it to bureaucrats to waste on inefficient government programs mean it can't be invested in job-creating enterprises. The right is united that extending these tax cuts is the least that must be done to attack the Obama unemployment surge

Energy: Polls show voters highly prioritize making the United States energy-independent. President Obama has pursued suicidal policies that have gutted our long-term energy-production capacity. These include deep-sixing the Keystone XL pipeline, persecuting the coal and oil industries, wasting billions on purportedly green technologies that don't work, and prohibiting drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Gulf and all along our coasts. The movement challenging Mr. Obama for the Oval Office wants to, "Drill, baby, drill," and undo other backwards liberal acts that threaten to starve U.S. industry and other consumers of needed power.

Regulation: U.S. manufacturers are being suffocated by approximately 2,200 regulations imposed by the federal government over the past three decades. "In 2012, major regulations could reduce the total value of shipments from the manufacturing sector by up to $500 billion in constant 2010 dollars," according to a new report released by NERA Economic Consulting and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation. "Manufacturing exports in 2012 could be up to 17 percent lower than they would be without the estimated cost burden from major regulations." The nanny-state regulatory agenda undermines U.S. competitiveness against foreign countries that pursue policies that don't assume the corporate-government relationship has to be adversarial. The pro-business, conservative coalition wants to cut through the rat's nest of red tape strangling America's job creators.

Debt: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus installed a debt clock at his party's convention center in Florida. U.S. national debt is set to hit the heart-stopping $16 trillion mark about the time Mitt Romney makes his keynote address accepting the Republican nomination for president on Thursday. Since taking office, Mr. Obama has added nearly $5 trillion in debt, or more than was stacked up by the first 41 U.S. presidents combined, according to CNS News. The Obama administration's trillion dollars in "shovel-ready" stimulus projects failed to jumpstart job growth and only dug the country deeper into a dark hole. The challengers promise to cut spending to lighten this millstone tied around the neck of the private-sector economy.

A tropical storm may be hitting the Republican convention, but it's Mr. Obama and the Democrats who need to worry about a November storm front moving in. Millions of Americans are jobless in the Obama economy. The president might literally feel their pain after this election is over.


Posted by Tom at 10:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Paul Ryan at the Republican Convention

I've only had a chance to watch the major speeches but so far so good. All of the speeches I've seen have been positive and upbeat. I don't think any of the ones I saw on Tuesday even mentioned the president, as they were all focused on what we could do to fix the country. No bashfest, this.

Robert Costa accurately calls Paul Ryan the "happy warrior:"

Paul Ryan: The Happy Warrior
His conservative rallying cry is in the spirit of Kemp, Reagan, and Goldwater.
August 29, 2012 11:M.30 P.M.
By Robert Costa

Ryan has accomplished much since he was a twentysomething aide, and his adherence to conservative principles is, evidently, as strong as ever. He took care to cite Kemp tonight, in the biggest speech of his political career, to send a message about who Paul Ryan is as a thinker -- to go beyond the anecdotes about his days flipping burgers at McDonald's or his recent efforts as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

"As with Kemp, Paul has always been a happy warrior, and he remains a happy warrior," says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director. "Democrats try to portray him as the austerity king, but he is a champion for growth."

In short, Paul Ryan did a very good job, if he didn't outright knock it out of the park. A few excerpts.courtesy of National Review's The Corner blog, starting with a concept that will drive the liberals nuts: "Rights come from nature and God, not from government:"



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"Being successful in business, that's a good thing!"
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I'll take freedom over "the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners"
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"A government planned life, a country where everything is free but us"
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"College graduates should not have to live out their 20's in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at faded Obama posters"
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Rep Paul Ryan is a national treasure. He is smart, articulate, and speaks with style and grace. He has studied the central problems of our time like few others. He has solutions that will improve the lives of everyday Americans. Whether he and Gov Romney are elected I cannot say for certain, but I am confident that he will wipe the floor with his buffonish opponent, VP Joe Biden. If elected he will have a chance to help turn our country around. God speed and good luck.


Thursday Update

Via Powerline, Ryan's entire speech:

Entire transcript at Fox News

"Fact checking" is all the rage, but they are not gods and are not at all infallible.
The "fact checkers" are full of it. More here t and here and here.

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August 24, 2012

It's the Democrats who are Extreme on Abortion

One of the latest talking points coming out of the left is that conservatives and Republicans are "extreme" on abortion. This from the party of gay marriage no less, but never mind that. As Rich Lowry points out, it's the Democrats who are extreme:

In the Illinois legislature, (then-Senator Barack Obama) opposed the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act" three times. The bill recognized babies born after attempted abortions as persons and required doctors to give them care. Obama's stalwart opposition to the bill came up during the 2008 campaign, and his team responded with a farrago of obfuscation and distortions.

The bill was supposedly redundant. Except it wasn't. Protections for infants who survived abortions were shot through with loopholes, which is why the bill was offered in the first place. (Abortion doctors were leaving infants to die without any care.) The bill was supposedly a threat to abortion rights. Except it wasn't. Obama opposed a version that stipulated it didn't affect the legal status of infants still in the womb.

About a year after his final vote against the bill, Obama gave his famous 2004 Democratic convention speech extolling post-partisan moderation. But he couldn't even bring himself to protect infants brutalized and utterly alone in some medical facility taking what might be only a few fragile breaths on this Earth. Some moderation. The federal version of the bill that he opposed in Illinois passed the U.S. Senate unanimously. Some post-partisanship.

President Obama is an extremist on abortion. He has never supported any meaningful restriction on it, and never will.

He opposed a partial-birth abortion bill in Illinois, even as the federal version passed the House with 282 votes and the Senate with 64 votes and was signed into law by President Bush in 2003. He arrived in the U.S. Senate in time to denounce the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the ban.

In 2007, he told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that his first act as president would be signing the Freedom of Choice Act. The act would enshrine in federal law a right to abortion more far-reaching than in Roe v. Wade and eliminate basically all federal and state-level restrictions on abortion. This isn't a point its supporters contest; it's one they brag about. The National Organization for Women says it would "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies."

All true. As I documented in 2008 during the campaign, Obama was the most pro-abortion candidate in our history. Yes that's right; pro-abortion, there's no "choice" about it. In his third debate with John McCain, Obama said that as a state senator he did not "vote to withhold lifesaving treatment from an infant" and was " completely supportive of a ban on late-term abortions, partial-birth or otherwise, as long as there's an exception for the mother's health and life."

All lies, as National Right to Life explained at the time:

-- The Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) was a simple three-sentence bill to establish that every baby who achieved "complete expulsion or extraction" from the mother, and who showed defined signs of life, was to enjoy the legal protections of a "person." As a state senator, Obama led the opposition to this bill in 2001, 2002, and 2003. On March 13, 2003, Obama killed the bill at a committee meeting over which he presided as chairman. In the October 15 debate, Obama said, "The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment." This claim is highly misleading. The law "on the books," 720 ILCS 510.6, on its face, applies only where an abortionist declares before the abortion that there was "a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb." But humans are often born alive a month or more before they reach the point where such "sustained survival" - that is, long-term survival - is likely or possible (which is often called the point of "viability"). When Obama spoke against the BAIPA on the Illinois Senate floor in 2001 -- the only senator to do so -- he didn't even claim that the BAIPA was duplicative of existing law. Rather, he objected to defining what he called a "previable fetus" as a legal "person" -- even though the bill clearly applied only to fully born infants. These events are detailed in an August 28, 2008 NRLC White Paper titled "Barack Obama's Actions and Shifting Claims on the Protection of Born-Alive Aborted Infants -- and What They Tell Us About His Thinking on Abortion," which contains numerous hyperlinks to primary source

And the left has the temerity to call us "extreme" for our pro-life stance? Give me a break.

Read my 2008 post for the whole thing.

So What About the "Rape and Incest" Thing?

Here we are are forced to discuss, however briefly, things terrible and traumatic beyond most people's imaginings. This is a touchy subject and difficult to address. One's heart can only go out to the victims of such horrors, and we should do all we can to take care of them in their suffering.

The position of the pro-life movement on this needs to be explained in a clear fashion. Disagree if you will, but hear me out.

The logic is pretty straightforward: we believe that independent human life, complete with soul and spirit, is formed at conception. This does not of course mean that the new life can function outside of his or her mother, although scientific advances will one day make it possible, Aldous Huxley just being a bit ahead of his time. As such, it doesn't change the principle.

It does not, therefore, make any difference how that life started. It is not the doing of the pre-born baby as to how he or she was conceived.

No one would think that a 1 year old should be killed because he or she was the product of a rape, this because we would all agree that it is an independent being with soul and spirit. If you believe a pre-born baby to be an independent human with soul and spirit, then 1 year old = pre-born, therefore you can't kill either.

If you want to disagree on the status of a pre-born baby, ok, but at least please understand the logic before you go off half-cocked on the matter.

Again, the Real Extremists

So again, the real extremists are those like Barack Obama who not only won't ban partial-birth abortion, but are ok with letting living infants die who survived the abortionists attempt to kill them.

And it's just been announced that Sandra Fluke,Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood will speak at the Democratic National Convention. The first is a nut, and if the other two aren't extremists no one is.

I'll end with this must-watch video of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen. She gives one of the most extraordinary speeches I've heard in my life. No matter where you are on this issue, please watch it.

Posted by Tom at 9:00 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

August 22, 2012

Yes Todd Akin is an Idiot and Yes He Should Quit the Race

I was at a meeting of the vast right-wing conspiracy when I learned what Rep Todd Akin (R-MI-2) said in an interview:

Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.

What he said was outrageous. Because he is the Republican nominee in the Missouri race for U.S. Senate, the whole thing blew up and quickly became a national controversy. Long story short just about everyone except his opponent has said that he should withdraw from the race. I agree, he should quit immediately.

Republican Party leaders everywhere have done the right thing and asked him to withdraw as well. Not that I expected any less, but condemnation from our party and movement seems nearly universal. I'm sure there are exceptions, but they are just that; exceptions.

Sadly, none of this will make any difference to liberal hate-mongers, who continue to try and insist that Aken is somehow representative of all conservatives and Republicans, that we are waging a war on women, blacks, poor people, blah blah blah. Whatever.

My guess is that Akin will withdraw within a week or two. As for now, I a pleased with the way my movement is handling this.

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August 20, 2012

"How Hatred Became a Liberal Value"

Pretty dynamite charge, but sadly to say it's all too true. Via David French at The Corner:

How Hatred Became a Liberal Value
Paul A. Rahe
Aug 16, 2012

Politics is generational. Consider the thuggery practiced by the Democrats recently in Wisconsin. Force, intimidation, and openly partisan, unprofessional conduct on the part of judges, civil servants, physicians, and policemen became on the part of left-liberals the order of the day, and no one on the left stood up to denounce this conduct. Now, thanks to our President's admiration for the tactics of Saul Alinsky, others in other states are imitating the deportment of the Wisconsin left-liberals - not only heckling Republican candidates but attempting to storm the platforms on which they speak.

I remember when left-liberals insisted on civility. I remember when they condemned the tactics of intimidation championed by the New Left. I remember when progressives insisted on impartiality on the part of judges, civil servants, policemen, and those who purported to be reporting the news (as opposed to espousing opinion). There were always exceptions to the rule. Dan Rather was playing tricks as early as 1963. But, when caught and exposed, these exceptions took it on the chin. Today they rarely even apologize.

I remember when liberals sported on their automobiles bumper stickers reading, "Hatred is not a Family Value." Then, back in 2003, in The New Republic, Jonathan Chait wrote an essay explaining why it was legitimate to hate George W. Bush, and the dam burst. Civility is no longer a liberal ideal. And now - as yesterday's armed attack on the Family Research Council in Washington, the five-hour delay in President Obama's condemnation of the act as he calculated whether it was in his interest to comment or not, and the mainstream media's initial reluctance to report on the event, much less highlight the activist LGBT connections of the shooter suggest - left liberals are willing to wink at violence. It may be regrettable, they think, but, like stealing elections, it is all in a good cause - and before figuring out how to respond to an outbreak of violence on the part of their allies, they pause to calculate the political consequences. You will not hear liberals arguing for a crackdown on the use of force by animal-rights activists, environmental activists, union thugs, and the Occupy movement. Instead, you will find in them a desperate hankering to pin on the Tea Party responsibility for conduct the Tea-Partiers abhor and a willingness to engage in race-baiting and talk of class warfare on a stunning scale.

The truth is that it is a short distance from the hatred preached by Jonathan Chait to assassination, and five and six years ago there was a great deal of open, public fantasizing along these lines by left liberals.

Posted by Tom at 10:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 16, 2012

Should We Blame Liberals and Gays for the Family Research Center Shooting?

On Wednesday Floyd Lee Corkins II, of Herndon, Va., walked into the offices of the Family Research Council in Washington DC and shot a security guard before being subdued. He did it with a 9-mm. Sig Sauer handgun, which, by the way, he had purchased legally. The guard who was shot survived and in fact was the one who wrestled

A relatively small story in and of itself. What makes it newsworthy is this via Fox News:

(Corkin) uttered a statement to the effect of, "I don't like your politics," before reaching into a backpack for a handgun and opening fire.

And after being subdued

Sources told Fox News that after Johnson disarmed Corkins, the gunman said: "Don't shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for."
Photobucket

Now where might Mr Corkin have possibly gotten the idea that Family Research Council was such a terrible organization that they should be attacked?

The Southern Poverty Law Center, that's where. If you're not familiar they are a liberal advocacy group masquerading as a civil rights organization. At least that's the take of many conservatives.

On November 10, 2012, the Southern Poverty Law Center's research director Heidi Beirich was on Talking Points Memo, and here is the relevant part of her exchange with Evan McMorris-Santoro:

As Beirich told me, there is no difference between the FRC and the KKK in the eyes of the SPLC now. Still, she said that the hate group designation doesn't mean the SPLC thinks everyone who supports the FRC "has a full understanding of what they're up to." Many who support the FRC may do so because of the group's very public ties to evangelical Christianity, and Beirich stressed that the SPLC designation has nothing to do with an "attack on the churchly world."

I asked her if a Republican choosing to address the FRC convention next year would be making the same choice as one who addressed an Aryan Nation rally.

"Yeah," she told me. "What we're saying is these [anti-gay] groups perpetrate hate -- just like those [racist] organizations do."

No one seems to know whether Corkins knew about that designation, but it is known that he worked as a volunteer for about six months at the The DC Center for the LGBT Community.

So Who Should We Blame?

Reverse the whole thing, and the left would be blaming conservative talk radio, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, even probably the Catholic Church and Evangelicals. In short, every conservative person or organization they saw as a threat.

We know because this is exactly what has happened in the past. They tried to blame the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords shooting on Sarah Palin because of the supposed gun-related metaphors in her speeches and her PAC posted a "target" on liberal politicians they wanted to vote out.

This is nothing new, either. Sixty years ago many liberals tried to blame the assassination of President John F Kennedy on the right, only to find (to their great disappointment, I'm sure) that the deed was done by a communist wanna-be.

In August of 2010 James Jay Lee took three people hostage at the Discovery Channel building in Montgomery County, just outside of Washington DC. After a four hour standoff, a tactical squad shot and killed Lee after he pointed his pistol at a hostage. Lee specifically said that he had been inspired by former Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Fortunately in this case no one else was killed, but they could easily have been.

Did we see a media campaign to urge environmentalists to "tone down the rhetoric?" Stop their hysterical claims that "the earth has a fever" and that there was "a planetary emergency?" Anyone tell Al Gore to apologize? Of course not. In fact, the reaction of the right was to NOT exploit this, but rather to say "if this had been the other way around the left would exploit it." Sure enough, they have.

The left has been hoist by their own petard in this latest shooting at the Family Research Center. They wanted to play the game whereby they would blame the right for any violence directed at a liberal politician. They should have known that it would come around to bite them. There are crazies on all sides, and those who think that they're on on the other side come to learn the truth, usually the hard way.

Part of me is amused watching liberals squirm over all this. They know that we have the perfect opportunity to slam them on this just like they tried to do to us. But from what I an tell no significant person or publication on the right is using this to blame the left for what Corkins did, but rather to admonish the left for their ridiculous attempt to blame certain acts of violence on the right.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, did say that "he blamed the suspect for the shooting, but said he was "given a license" by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which labeled the Family Research Council as a hate group."

He also said that "I think it's time for people to realize what the Southern Poverty Law Center is doing with their reckless labeling of organizations that they disagree with."

Yes the SPLC is reckless, but no the shooter was not "given a license" to do what he did

Ok, So Who is to Blame?

Of course the left is not to blame for what Corkins did, anymore than the global warming nuts are to blame for what Lee did, or almost did, at The Discovery Channel. And no one on the right is to blame for the Giffords shooting.

Yes calls to "tone it down" are fine. Sometimes they'll even be heeded, at least for awhile. But human nature is what it is, and people will say terrible things about their political opponents. Any student of history knows that the reality is that political speech is not any worse today than it was in times past. What has changed is that technology allows them to be heard by more people.

So the problem is not the speech, it's the communications technology. And I don't know how to dial that back.

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The Great Medicare Debate Begins

If you haven't seen the latest commercial from team Romney called "Paid In," here it is:

The reaction from liberals to this has varied from "the Ryan plan would also cut medicare," to "you Republicans want to throw granny off a cliff," to "can we talk about global warming now?"

The whole issue is horribly complicated and more than I can deal with in one post, but here's a bit of background on what's going on:

From the Miami Herald

At issue is the fact that, while Romney running-mate Paul Ryan wants to transform and cut future Medicare expenditures by about $700 billion, President Obama's healthcare plan cuts $700 billion over a decade

So although both Obama and Ryan's plan would cut Medicare...

There is a big difference, though, in the thrust of the reductions bewteen Ryan and Obama's plans. ObamaCare specifically calls for no reductions in benefits (though, again, if you squeeze providers, benefits will be harder to receive) because it's essentially a defined benefit plan. Ryan calls for a defined contribution plan. And under Ryan's scenario, there's a good bet that the contribution won't be enough to cover health expenses that ObamaCare seeks to guarantee.

Well, maybe Ryan's plan wouldn't have enough money to over expenses that Obama allegedly "guarantees," but we can be sure that if we stick with Obama's plan the money won't be there.

James Capretta, writing in National Review, provides more details:

A fair reading of the facts shows that the Romney-Ryan campaign has every reason to believe that they can put the Obama-Biden ticket on the defensive over Medicare. The most salient fact is that, to pass Obamacare, the president cut Medicare by more than $700 billion over the coming decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). And these cuts are of the worst kind. They are arbitrary and across the board. They reduce reimbursement rates for all who provide services to Medicare patients, regardless of how well or badly they treat their patients. Among the cuts is a $156 billion reduction in payments to Medicare Advantage plans over ten years. These cuts will force seniors to pay $3,700 more for their health care by 2017, according to a study I co-authored with Robert Book (for those who might be interested, the cuts are distributed by congressional district here). The Medicare trustees project that the cuts will drive some 4 million seniors out of Medicare Advantage plans between 2012 and 2018.

Further, the Medicare cuts in Obamacare would slash payment rates for hospitals, so much so that the chief actuary of the program has warned repeatedly that the cuts will jeopardize access to care for seniors. He has estimated that if the cuts go into effect, 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes will have to stop taking Medicare patients to avoid the large financial losses that result from getting paid at Medicare rates. By 2030, some 25 percent of these institutions would need to drop out of the Medicare program.

Moreover, as Charles Blahous has pointed out, the Medicare cuts in Obamacare aren't used exclusively to replenish the trust funds that pay Medicare benefits. Instead, they are used to pay for a massive expansion in entitlement spending. To put it in slightly more political terms, President Obama has raided Medicare for $700 billion to pay for his government takeover of American health care.

In other words, the charge is accurate.

Ryan Schools Obama

Watch the whole thing here, but you can get a taste of it in this Youtube excerpt:

Thursday Update

In a post at NRO's The Corner, Avik Roy examines some widely-used Democrat arguments and takes them apart one-by-one:

Defense #1. Paul Ryan's GOP budget preserved Obamacare's Medicare cuts.

- APOTHEFACT CONCLUSION: Romney's budget doesn't preserve Obamacare's Medicare cuts. Simple as that.

Defense #2. Obamacare's Medicare cuts don't harm seniors' health benefits.

- APOTHEFACT CONCLUSION: Seniors' benefits won't change on paper. But they will change in reality, because fewer and fewer doctors will accept their insurance.

Defense #3. Obamacare cuts wasteful spending from the Medicare Advantage program.

- APOTHEFACT CONCLUSION: Medicare Advantage offers seniors higher-quality care at a lower cost than government-run Medicare. Obamacare should have sought to save money by expanding the program, instead of undermining it.

Defense #4. The Romney plan for Medicare is worse, because it would shift costs to seniors.

- APOTHEFACT CONCLUSION: President Obama is not being honest about the Romney Medicare reform plan, which was expressly designed to respond to the cost-shifting critique of the 2011 Ryan plan. The Romney plan preserves Medicare's benefits without exposing seniors to rising health-care prices.

See his full article at Forbes for details.


Posted by Tom at 6:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2012

Obama's "you didn't build that" Absurdity

I know I'm late to the party on this, but I just saw this article which quotes the president at length and explains perfectly why the president is so wrong-headed.

Obama's defenders make numerous excuses, mostly that he was taken out of context or that he meant something other than what conservatives say he meant. The problem with the former is that the context makes what he said worse, not better. The problem with the latter is that it's contradicted by the plain meaning of what he said. Here is just an excerpt of Yuval Levin's piece, but read the whole thing:

The Hollow Republic
By Yuval Levin
August 6, 2012

President Obama must surely wish he could undo the campaign speech he delivered in Roanoke, Va., on July 13. That was where he offered up the view that "if you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen." It is a line that could haunt him right to November, revealing as it does an unwillingness to credit success and a hostility toward the culture of entrepreneurship. But the remark came in the context of a broader argument that was just as telling on a different point, and no less troubling.

After laying out his plans to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, the president said this to his audience:

You know, there are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back. They know they didn't -- look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, Well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, "You know what, there's some things we do better together." That's how we funded the GI Bill, that's how we created the middle class. That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That's how we invented the Internet, that's how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for president, because I still believe in that idea: You're not on your own, we're in this together.

This remarkable window into the president's thinking shows us not only a man chilly toward the potential of individual initiative, and not only a man deluded about the nature of his opponents and their views, but also (and perhaps most important) a man with a staggeringly thin idea of common action in American life.

The president simply equates doing things together with doing things through government. He sees the citizen and the state, and nothing in between -- and thus sees every political question as a choice between radical individualism and a federal program.

But most of life is lived somewhere between those two extremes, and American life in particular has given rise to unprecedented human flourishing because we have allowed the institutions that occupy the middle ground -- the family, civil society, and the private economy -- to thrive in relative freedom. Obama's remarks in Virginia shed a bright light on his attitude toward that middle ground, and in that light a great deal of what his administration has done in this three and a half years suddenly grows clearer and more coherent, and even more disconcerting.

Again and again, the administration has sought to hollow out the space between the individual and the state. Its approach to the private economy has involved pursuing consolidation in key industries -- privileging a few major players that are to be treated essentially as public utilities, while locking out competition from smaller or newer firms. This both ensures the cooperation of the large players and makes the economy more manageable and orderly. And it leaves no one pursuing ends that are not the government's ends. This has been the essence of the administration's policies toward automakers, health insurers, banks, hospitals, and many others.

It is an attitude that takes the wealth-creation capacity of our economy for granted, treats the chaotic churning and endless combat of competing firms (which in fact is the source of that capacity) as a dangerous distraction from essential public goals, and considers the business world to be parasitic on society -- benefiting from the infrastructure and resources provided by the genuine common action of the state. Of course, the state's benevolence is made possible precisely by the nation's wealthiest citizens, but the president seems to see that as simply an appropriate degree of "giving something back." His words and his administration's actions imply that he views the government as the only genuine tribune of public desires, and therefore seeks to harness the private economy to the purposes and goals of those in power.
....

And to deal directly with Obama's "you didn't build that" crap, Mitt Romney has the perfect one-liner response:

"When a young person makes the honor roll, I know he took a school bus to get to the school, but I don't give the bus driver credit for the honor roll,"

Yup.

Beyond the philosophical absurdity of his "you didn't build that line, is that his reason for using it is an excuse to hike taxes. It's all part of his extortion scheme; plan ball or or I'll destroy you.

Senator Scott Brown went after his non-Indian opponent, Elizabeth Warren, who said something similar to Obama the other day, and he nailed it on the head:

My opponent says that no one succeeded on their own. She points to roads and bridges and government services we all use. But to downplay individual initiative as nothing more than a byproduct of big government is to fundamentally misunderstand our free enterprise system, and it is a backward view of who we are as Americans.

Government services don't distinguish success from failure. However, they are a convenient excuse for politicians to take undue credit for the success that you create.

Professor Warren's twisted logic dictates that because businesspeople like you take advantage of government services, then you owe "a hunk" of their success back to the government in the form of higher taxes. Forget about the rather large "hunk" they already pay.

This philosophy is a dangerous one, and it turns the American Idea on its head. Because once you accept the premise that government is responsible for success, there is no limit to what you can justify taking because there is no restraining principle that says, "that is not mine to take." That so-called "hunk" will get bigger and bigger.

In 2009 I wrote about the left's war on charities, and it looks like I was onto something. These folks would actually be happy if religious institutions like the Catholic Church were forced to close their hospitals and charitable institutions. All the better, in their view, because then the government could step in and take over.

Ditto with everything else. Part of the attack on the Boy Scouts is over their common-sense refusal to accept gay scoutmasters. But what I think really grates is just their insistence on remaining independent from politically-correct leftist thought, and for that they are to be punished. The HHS mandate that has caused such an uproar is only the tip of the iceberg.

What they want is to create a situation where there is no escape from their mandates. In their ideal state, individuals will not be able to get out from under their mandates. You will not be allowed to be without health insurance, and you will be made to pay for it. You will be forced to subsidize abortion. Your private organization will be made to obey all manner of offensive rules.

Brave New World, here we come.

Posted by Tom at 9:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan - A Excellent Choice!

Updated with video and quotes

This morning it was announced that Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) would be Mitt Romney's running mate, and I think it was an excellent choice.

More below the fold, but in short Ryan brings controlled energy to the campaign, both energizing the base and interesting independents. His knowledge of the federal budget and the issue of jobs is encyclopedic. Contrary to what liberals will tell us, he is hardy an extremist.

Lucky me, the Romney-Ryan team held a rally this afternoon in Manassas VA, just an hour or so from where I live. I joined a few dozen other conservative activists who got on a bus from one of our Victory Offices and headed down there.


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The crowds were huge, we didn't leave as early as I would have liked, and I as among the several hundred who weren't able to get into the arena ;-( Fortunately they had large LED screens outside where we could watch the action. The picture above is one of them at the event that I found on the internet. The ones below the fold are what I actually saw:

Actually the TV looked a lot better than what you see here. The lines must have something to do with the scanning rate.

Rally 2 Manassas 08-11-12
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Rally 1 Manassas 08-11-12

From the Loudoun Times-Mirror, here are some excerpts from Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney's remarks:


Paul Ryan

"You deserve to decide what kind of country we're going to have,what kind of people we're going to be,"

Mitt Romney:

"When a young person makes the honor roll, I know he took a school bus to get to the school, but I don't give the bus driver credit for the honor roll,"

"Our rights did not come from the government, our rights came from the Creator."

The like about the bus driver and the students is of course a response to Obama's ridiculous "you didn't build that."

I've already seen the spin from some liberals that Romney should have picked someone like Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) because he is oh-so-nice, and one one of those nasty extremists. The reality is that they say this because they know Portman is a milquetoast who would be no threat to them.

Paul Ryan, on the other hand will take the fight to Obama and will utterly destroy that clown Biden in their debate. He will also make mincemeat of dopes in the media like Chris Matthews. He knows the federal budget and economic issues backwards and forwards. This is what Democrats fear most; a discussion of the actual issues that Americans care about.

Paul Ryan has an actual plan, the "Roadmap for America's Future." It's smart, specific, and factual. All Obama and Biden have to offer is fear, division, and doubt.

Otherwise, John Fund does an excellent job of summing up why Ryan is an excellent choice:

Smart Democrats Should Be Worried
By John Fund
August 11, 2012 11:21 A.M.

Liberal pundits are already fanning out in force to attack and discredit Paul Ryan. Michael Tomasky, who recently wrote a Newsweek cover story calling Mitt Romney a "wimp," has now decided that Romney's bold move is "a terrible choice" because Ryan has proven himself to be an extremist on budget issues.

No doubt there are many Democrats rubbing their hands in glee in contemplation of reviving some version of the ad that featured an actor playing Paul Ryan pushing a grandmother in a wheelchair off a cliff. But the smarter ones are worried.

First, if Ryan is an extremist and his proposals are so unpopular, how has he won election seven times in a Democratic district? His lowest share of the vote was 57 percent -- in his first race. He routinely wins over two-thirds of the vote. When Obama swept the nation in 2008, he carried Ryan's district by four points. But at the same time, Ryan won reelection with 65 percent of the vote, meaning that a fifth of Obama voters also voted for him.

Ryan has pointed out to me that no Republican has carried his district for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984. "I have held hundreds of town-hall meetings in my district explaining why we have to take bold reform steps, and I've found treating people like adults works," he told me. "All those ads pushing elderly woman off the cliffs don't work anymore if you lay out the problem."

Second, Democrats know that Ryan has Reaganesque qualities that make him appealing to independent, middle-class voters. Take the cover story on Ryan that the Isthmus, a radically left-wing Madison, Wis. newspaper, ran on him in 2009. "Ryan, with his sunny disposition and choirboy looks, projects compassion and forcefully proclaims dedication to his district," the story reported. "And he's proved he is not unyieldingly pro-corporate, as when he recently joined in condemnation of AIG 'retention' bonuses."

Third, Ryan's ideas aren't that novel or scary. The idea of "premium support" for Medicare, which would change the program's one-size-fits-all policy to a private-insurance model with public options, was endorsed by a bipartisan commission appointed by Bill Clinton back in the 1990s. Late last year, Ryan announced a new version of his proposal with a new partner signing on: Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who first achieved political prominence as an advocate for seniors.

Four, Ryan puts Wisconsin and its ten electoral votes in play. Polls have shown that President Obama holds a five to seven point lead in Wisconsin -- significant, but much less than Obama's 14-point margin in 2008. With Ryan on the ticket, polls show the race is dead even.

Five, if Republicans were looking for a superior candidate, they've found it in Ryan. His maiden speech as the GOP vice-presidential candidate was perfectly pitched:

We won't duck the tough issues . . . we will lead!

We won't blame others...we will take responsibility!

We won't replace our founding principles . . . we will reapply them!

Echoes of Ronald Reagan at his best.

Ryan was judged to have already had the better of President Obama in televised exchanges on Obamacare. His debate with Joe Biden this October might well be remembered as cruel and unusual punishment for dim vice presidents. Recall that Sarah Palin fought a much more engaged Joe Biden to a draw in their 2008 vice-presidential debate.

Six, as Democratic consultant Joe Trippi acknowledged today on Fox News, Ryan will bring in a flood of donations from overjoyed conservatives and tea-party members. Romney had a problem with energizing the GOP base. That problem is now solved, and that will make it easier to pump up conservative turnout.

Democrats will no doubt try to make Paul Ryan into a younger version of the devil they've tried to paint Mitt Romney as. But they should worry about fighting a campaign on fundamental issues in a weak economy. That's precisely how Jimmy Carter, the last Democratic president to run for reelection during hard times, wound up losing so badly that it not only cost Democrats control of the U.S. Senate but damaging the liberal brand for years afterwards.

Posted by Tom at 9:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Is Anything the Obama Campaign Says True?

Updated with Romney response ad at bottom

If you haven't seen it, here is the infamous "Understands" commercial, courtesy of Priorities USA Action, and starring one Joe Soptic:

One slight problem: Romney left Bain in 1999, the plant closed in 2001, Soptic's wife died in 2006.

As of this writing the Obama campaign has not denounced this commercial, so they apparently approve. The Wall Street Journal asks the relevant question; "The challenge is finding anything (Obama's) campaign says that is true."

President Obama spent his formative years in academia, so he's no doubt familiar with postmodernism, the literary theory that rejects objective reality and insists instead that everything is a matter of interpretation and relative "truth." At any rate he's running the first postmodern Presidential campaign, now organized almost exclusively around allegations about his opponent that bear no relation to the observable universe.

They then review the "Understands" commercial, as well as Harry Reid's allegations, and conclude that

Our point isn't that politics is often brutal and unfair. That's always been so. And it isn't that Mr. Obama promised to elevate the national conversation for an era of partisan comity. Dumping that 2008 pose was inevitable.

The point is that more than any President we can recall, Mr. Obama isn't trying to persuade voters that he deserves to stay in office because of his philosophy, record or positive vision for the country. Rather, his case is that he deserves re-election because Mr. Romney is worse, and he is so very much worse because of things that were invented in the West Wing but are detached from reality.

The entire theory of the Obama campaign seems to be that the more outrageous the claim the better, because the more you repeat it the more the media will talk about it, and the lie will achieve a kind legendary truth.

The bad news, as Charles Krauthammer observes after looking at the latest Fox News poll, is that it seems to be working:

This poll is not a reflection of issues. It's not about Iran and it isn't even about the economy. You don't have to have a PhD to see this is directly in response to the negative campaign against Romney. The key is the tripling of the gap among independents between Obama and Romney from four percent to 11.

But the key number here is favorable numbers. Romney's have dropped by about five or six and the unfavorables have risen by five or six. That is the "Kill Romney" campaign, to quote a memo leaked in August of 2011.

And it is working. It is all about an attack on him, and they make him into Gordon Gecko who now, as we know, kills the wives of workers in his plants. And it is having an effect. There's no question.

It's obvious, isn't it? Obama and his minions would rather talk about anything, and I mean anything, other than the economy and foreign policy. 8.3 percent unemployment, an anemic 1.5 percent growth, trillions in new debt, a horribly unpopular heath care program, and the worst "recovery" in the history of the United States are a huge anchor. This would sink any normal president.

But Obama is not normal. In 2008 he created a cult-like following that is fanatical beyond Ronald Reagan ever dreamed of. And let's face it; that he's a liberal black man with an odd name certainly helps him.* Add to this yuppie white guilt and you've got a potent combination right there.

As if this were not bad enough, he and his liberals have created a culture of dependency that guarantees a permanent Democrat-voting base. Health insurance is now somehow a "right." Those out of work are owed what is an apparently never-ending unemployment payments. Food stamps are part of life, not, as they should be, a stigma that encourages extra efforts to find work. Workers at any job are never to be laid off, no matter how bad the company is doing.

We saw where this gets us last year in Wisconsin, where labor union thuggery reached new heights. They illegally occupied the statehouse in what was basically an attempt to intimidate legislators.

Every year in the county were I live the board of supervisors has budget hearings, and before they decide on a budget and tax rate there are several public input sessions. They feature a seemingly endless parade of teachers and government hangers-on with their hand out demanding more - more - more in the way of taxes and spending. Sitting through them can be one of the most depressing experiences you can imagine. It's the culture of entitlement in all it's glory.

And to pay for all this you better fork over your "fair share;" this to be defined by the liberals at their whim. One year it's x percent for y income, but if they decide that they need x plus #, then you better agree or else. If you want to be Obama's secretary of the treasury it doesn't matter if you're a tax cheat or not, but if you're a conservative businessman, or heaven forbid, a venture-capitalist, you had better not take advantage of too many tax breaks. Tax breaks are only for those who "invest" in "green energy," don't you know.

* I know, I know, we're not supposed to point this out, but it's ok for Obama's McCarthyite defenders to call anyone they want a racist. And anyway it's true.

Update

Mitt Romney's response to the "Understands" ad:

Posted by Tom at 8:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 10, 2012

1200 Days Since Senate Democrats Passed a Budget, and $5 Trillion Deeper in Debt

No wonder Harry Reid wants to talk about Mitt Romney's tax returns:

'1,200 Days and $5 Trillion in New Debt Since Senate Dems Passed a Budget'
The Weekly Standard
by David Halper
August 8, 2010

Tomorrow will mark a milestone: It will be 1,200 days since Senate Democrats passed a budget, during which time Congress amassed $4.8 trillion in new debt.

Later today, the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee will release this chart, detailing these startling numbers:

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Congress has spent $11.2 trillion since passing its last budget on April 29, 2009, according to the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee. The new debt since that date is $4.8 trillion.

"Since the last budget resolution was passed 1,200 days ago, the government has borrowed 42 cents of every dollar spent," the chart notes. The chart is based on Treasury Department figures.

In a joint statement, Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions and House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan mark the milestone.

"Tomorrow marks another disappointing record for the United States Senate: Senate Majority Leader Reid and his Democrat conference will have gone an unprecedented 1,200 days without adopting a budget plan as required by law," write Sessions and Ryan. "Not only have they failed to adopt a budget, but with America under threat of financial calamity, they have refused to even present a plan for public scrutiny. Last year, Majority Leader Reid said it would be 'foolish' to do a budget and the legally required Budget Committee mark-up was cancelled. No plan from his conference has seen the light of day. He refuses to disclose who he plans to tax and how he plans to spend taxpayers' money."

This year, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad committed to bringing forth a budget plan and conducting a mark-up, and was shut down by the Majority Leader. Once again, the conference put forward no proposal and offered nothing on the Senate floor. The Senate Majority did not offer up a single plan or even cast a vote in support of a single plan. By contrast, House Republicans laid out and adopted a credible, responsible plan that avoids this looming debt crisis with spending cuts and pro-growth tax reform while preserving the safety net.

Never before has our nation needed a budget and a long-term financial plan as badly as it needs one now. The Congressional Budget Office stated this week that the federal government is on track to run another trillion-dollar deficit this year and our debt will continue to explode with this continued lack of leadership. In addition to huge deficits, we face a $4 trillion tax increase at the end of this year and a sequester that Defense Secretary Panetta said will 'do catastrophic damage to the military.' Responsible and moral leadership requires the Senate to meet its legal obligation to pass a budget and to begin to address the fiscal crisis that is fast approaching our nation.


Posted by Tom at 6:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 8, 2012

Obama in Never-Never Land

Once again, VDH dissects Obama in a way that exposes him for the fraud he is:

Obama in Never-Never Land
Victor Davis Hanson
August 7, 2012

The chief tenet of postmodernism is that truth and facts are arbitrary constructs, set up by the privileged to manipulate others less fortunate. In the case of our first postmodernist president, Barack Obama, there cannot be facts, past or present, only a set of shifting assertions that gain credence to the degree that they prove transitorily useful for progressive causes. A sympathetic biographer, David Maraniss, noted that almost all the touchstone events in Barack Obama's mythographic memoir were fabricated. Of course, Obama would object to such a value-laden term and instead call them composites, impressions stitched together and presented as truth to serve the higher moral narrative: a young biracial idealist searching for his identity in a mostly racist and oppressive America. To the degree that Dreams from My Father enhanced that narrative, then all of what was in it was "true" -- even the literary agent's bio attesting that the exotic author was born in faraway Kenya.

For the fabulist Obama, the past is a vague mess with shifting narratives that can serve noble contemporary causes. Take World War II -- the old war that supposedly proves that victory is now an obsolete term, since, as Obama explained, Japanese Emperor Hirohito capitulated to General MacArthur, apparently on the deck of the Missouri, in a rare act never to happen again. Obama's own grandfather was in the forefront of stopping Nazism, and the more dramatic the circumstances the better -- so who cares whether the Russians, and not an American unit, liberated Auschwitz and Treblinka?

Indeed, the war is a sort of a vague haze where Nazi death camps become "Polish" and Pearl Harbor was hit with "the bomb." If it is useful while speaking in Cairo to pretend that the Islamic world helped to prompt the European Renaissance (which benefitted enormously from the flight of Greek scholars as Constantinople was threatened by the Ottoman Turks) and Enlightenment (which ignited a Romantic interest in freeing Greece from Islam), then so be it. If Córdoba had few, if any, Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition, who cares, if we wish to hold up the Muslims there as beacons of tolerance in comparison to murderous Catholics?

No American has any idea whether recess appointments, executive privilege, executive orders, or filibusters are to be considered good, bad, or indifferent, since Senator/President Obama has damned and embraced them all. I vaguely remember that at one time Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, and preventive detention were either of no value or unconstitutional, and trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court and prosecuting CIA agents for supposedly too harsh interrogations were good. But that was all more than three years in the past, and hundreds of "Make no mistake about it"s and "Let me be perfectly clear"s ago.

I recall that there were once admonitions that President Obama could not by fiat enact amnesty or special programs for African-Americans based on race, and that he could not come out unequivocally for gay marriage. But who knows, since someone did enact amnesty, set up a special bureau for African-American education, and use support for gay marriage as a wedge issue in the 2012 campaign.

It is demagogic to suggest that anyone in the Obama administration deliberately leaked national-security secrets to favored New York and Washington reporters, so leaks about Predator-drone targeting, cyber war against Iran, double agents in Yemen, and the details of the Osama bin Laden mission were not really leaks at all, or, if they were, they came from non-administration sources.

The Obama health-care plan was once different from Hillary Clinton's in that it never included an individual mandate, but then it did have a mandate, then it had a tax instead, and it ended up with a penalty. The only constant is that names change as circumstances dictate. Barack Obama does not take money from oil companies, hire lobbyists, approve of earmarks, or raise money from Wall Street, but somebody with that name did. The new civility is "punish our enemies." Voter intimidation is asking for an ID at the polls -- it is not trying to make it more difficult for those in the military to vote. Developing domestic energy means canceling the Keystone pipeline and putting vast areas of federal lands off limits to gas and oil production. If the private sector goes ahead, despite federal regulations and discouragement, with new fracking and horizontal drilling, then the Obama administration achieved record levels of domestic oil and gas production.

Someone said something about cutting the deficit in half within four years and, through borrowing, forcing unemployment under 6 percent, but I am not sure any more who it was -- given that that was 42 months of 8 percent-plus unemployment and $5 trillion in borrowed money ago.

No one knows what "reset" with Russia was, or is, or will be; it didn't so much fail as simply got erased. Nor can anyone figure out whether the dissidents in the streets of Tehran in 2009 were noble or to be ignored, or why exactly we belatedly supported the ouster of Mubarak, or what exactly turned Qaddafi from a monstrous oil exporter who had to be appeased to a really monstrous oil exporter who had to be removed, or why we had to reopen our embassy in Damascus as a gesture to the "reformer" Assad, who is now a murderous non-reformer who must go.

I am sure Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush flip-flopped and did things that they had said they would not, but there was always the clear sense that their hypocrisies were adjudicated by some sort of standard. With President Obama there is neither a reality nor a standard, just words that so often have no connection to the real world, past or present.

-- NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author most recently of The End of Sparta, a novel about ancient freedom.

Thursday Update

If Dr. Hanson should have waited another day to publish his piece he could have included this from today's Washington Times:

As the junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama co-sponsored a bill to restrict the U.S. government's military support of countries that use children as soldiers. But President Obama has waived those very same sanctions in the name of "national interest," bypassing the findings of a State Department report and allowing millions of dollars in military aid to flow to countries where children as young as 11 have been conscripted to fight -- many of whom have died in one bloody conflict after another.

Mr. Obama's actions have inflamed an army of critics, who say the waivers have put at-risk children in even greater danger.

"The implementation of the law by President Obama has been a big disappointment," said Jo Becker, children's rights advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. She said countries won't get serious about ending the use of child soldiers until they think the United States is serious about withholding aid. "U.S. tax dollars should not go to governments that use child soldiers."

Posted by Tom at 9:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 6, 2012

Governor Romney's Olympic Achievement

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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent this email out today which spells out the problems Mitt Romney faced when he took over the 2002 Winter Olympics and all that he did to solve them. I had no idea the problems were as bad as they were before he got there.


Dear Fellow Virginians,

Now that we're about half way through the Olympics, I thought it appropriate to reflect on the accomplishment that put Mitt Romney on the national (and international) stage: the turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

This is important for several reasons, first among them the continuing contrast of real-world accomplishments that Mitt Romney has achieved compared to the complete dearth of accomplishment of the current President when he ran for President (to say nothing of what he has done to America since he took office).

I think that it is objectively accurate to say that Barack Obama was the least accomplished person to ever ascend to the Presidency in my lifetime and probably all the way back through the 20th century, if not ever. What did he accomplish in the U.S. Senate? Nothing. What did he accomplish in the Illinois State Senate? Nothing - including frequently (147 times I think) not even voting even though he was present... pretty basic. What did he accomplish outside of government? Nothing that he seems to want to talk about...

Prior to being elected to anything, Mitt Romney founded and led Bain Capital, a pioneering and successful venture capital firm for more than a decade and a half. And in February 1999, he was asked to take over the effort to plan for and execute the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

I'm writing about Romney's 2002 Olympic accomplishment because it was completely non-partisan, difficult to achieve, and represents a reasonable analogy for the choice before us in the 2012 Presidential election.

Upon Arrival

First, let's look at what he was walking into. The 2002 Winter Olympics weren't merely struggling, they were mired in scandal. Do you remember the discovery of the $1 million worth of gifts and bribes to International Olympic Committee (IOC) members to win the Olympics in the first place? That's what Romney was walking into.

But that's not all. When Mitt Romney came on board, the budget for the 2002 Olympics was $1.45 billion, but it was $380 million in deficit. Executives were spending lavishly on meals and travel, going to meetings with large entourages, and the culture within the organization was such that they would never have gotten into the black without a radical turnaround. Sound like a useful example for the federal government?

On his way in, Romney thought the problem he was confronting was 80% a public relations problem and 20% a management problem. After only three weeks on the job, he concluded the problem was 80% management and only 20% public relations. And he rolled up his sleeves and got to work.

To cut to the chase on the numbers, Romney cut $200 million out of the budget (a 15% cut) and finished $100 million in the black... with praise for the accomplishment coming from every corner of America and beyond. A 15% cut in the federal budget would cut the deficit in half.

Making it Happen

To achieve this unprecedented Olympic turnaround required many things: strategic planning, hard-nosed decision making, even harder-nosed execution of those decisions, and a change in the corporate culture (and day-to-day operation) of the whole Salt Lake City committee - starting at the top.

Romney immediately stopped the lavish dinners. At meetings, executives had to pay for their own coffee and doughnuts, had to buy slices of pizza for $1 each, sodas for 25 cents. The entourages stopped going on trips. Trips were cut short or eliminated, e.g., Romney's December 1999 report to the IOC in Switzerland was done by teleconference, saving 3 days travel and $10,000.

Romney and his team questioned basic assumptions about how an Olympics should (must?) be run. When something didn't seem to make sense, he would drill down on it and frequently find that, in fact, it didn't make sense! And over the side such things would go.

For example, having a daily "Olympic Newspaper..." Why not let the papers in Salt Lake City handle that job? And so they did.

No limos for VIPS. No lavish hotel suites or parties for the IOC or anyone else. All business.

Romney also donated each of his three years' of salary - $275,000 per year - to charity? Additionally, he personally donated about $1,000,000 of his personal money to the Olympics. No shortage of personal commitment at the top of this organization.

Comparison

The last time the U.S. hosted the Winter Olympics prior to 2002 was in Lake Placid, New York in 1980. One of the gripes the Obama folks lob in about this incredible accomplishment is that the 2002 Winter Olympics got federal funds. Which is certainly true. However, while just under 20% of the 2002 budget came from federal funds, in Lake Placid in 1980 that number was about 50%.

Would I prefer no federal money? Sure I would, but Romney got a lot less federal help to pull off a winter Olympics than Lake Placid, and he started in a deep, deep hole.

Relevance

Well, this is obvious. America is in a deep financial hole. And Barack Obama has violated the first rule of holes since the day he was sworn in, namely, when you're in a hole - stop digging.

Our federal government needs a turnaround. It involves more than just our President, but the President plays a critical leadership role.

We need to replace our current President - one who insists on continuing to dig us into deeper and deeper holes (e.g., last month's jobs report and rise in unemployment) - with a President who has a track record of executive accomplishment.

I would respectfully suggest that President Obama has had three and a half years of failure as President, and nothing prior to 2008 to point to and say "this shows what I can do." Mitt Romney has achievements that he can point to and say "this shows what I can do," but none of them stand out like his arduous, three-year turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Half way through the 2012 Summer Olympics, as Americans and others around the world celebrate great accomplishments, it seemed to me to be a good time to reflect back on one of Mitt Romney's greatest accomplishments.

Please share the comparison of accomplishment versus none with your friends and family, in letters to the editor, and via door knocking and phone calling at our Victory Centers! Click here to find your nearest Victory Center. I'll see you out on the campaign trail.

Sincerely,


Ken Cuccinelli, II
Attorney General of Virginia

P.S. Here is a recent T.V. ad on the subject of the 2002 Olympics that the Romney Super-PAC has put out.

Posted by Tom at 6:06 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 1, 2012

Of Course I went to Chick-fil-A Today

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Was there really any doubt? Activist that I am, it was the only place to go today.

I got to my local Chick-fil-A at a few minutes past noon, and unsurprisingly the parking lot was overflowing and there was a line of maybe 20 or 25 cars at the drive-through. Inside the line snaked all around the inside, wrapping around the place. But it moved very quickly, as the company was clearly ready for the day. I must say I have never been more impressed with a fast food place's organization and the speed and dedication of the workers They had it figured out.

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Hmmm. Somehow the bottom picture won't resize right, but it doesn't really matter so I'm not going to diddle with it.

While in line of course the conversation was about the political situation that had brought about this day. I saw several people from church, one Catholic priest, a county supervisor and several of my Republican activist friends. No surprise there.

And news reports from all over the country make it clear that today's Mike Huckabee inspired Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day resulted in similar scenes in their restaurants all around the country. From dawn to dusk, they've been swamped.

It wasn't the desire by some people to legalize gay marriage that brought this about. Nor was it ay sort of push for "equal rights" or however they want to dress it up. No, today was a reaction to the thuggish behavior of several liberal-leftist big-city mayors and their allies in the militant gay left.

What you have, plain and simple is an attempt by the thugs on the left to bully decent people into submission. And let's make clear; this is what the "gay rights" movement is all about. It's not about gay people wanting marriage or whatever and then to be left alone to go on their merry way. It's about forcing everyone else to actively accept and sing the praises of their agenda.

It's an attack on liberty, really. Just as the HHS mandate is an attack on religion and freedom of conscience, what the left is doing is trying to take away your ability to disagree.

The attack on Chick-fil-A has a cause du jour aspect to it that we've seen so many times before. One day it's the Boy Scouts who are denounced as public enemy number one, then it's on to bullying as the thing we're all supposed to be upset about, then it's "violence against women," now it's Chick-fil-A. One year were suppose to be mad at pharmaceutical companies, the next it's the oil companies, now it's private-equity companies.

What I've learned is that if a company or organization can just stand firm for a short time, the storm passes and the liberals move on to something else. If you cave to their demands they just ask for more and more and the demands never end. It's not that the quest for gay marriage will end, but the attacks on a particular organization or company will largely stop.

So my hat is off to the owners of Chick-fil-A, and I salute my fellow Americans who went to their restaurant today for standing up to the thugs. May we stay strong and prevail in this fight.

Thursday Morning Update

It looks like a few gay groups are trying to designate this coming Saturday as a "kiss-in" day at Chick-fil-A restaurants. Charming. I wouldn't like it if a heterosexual group did this, and I don't like it that some gays are going to do it. Public displays of affection beyond handholding, or the quick hug or kiss are inappropriate, and it's most certainly wrong when it's meant as an in-your-face, as this is.

I think this is going to backfire on the gay groups, though. These tactics may make hard-core partisans feel good, but they offend everyone else, including moderates and normal liberals who might otherwise sympathize with their cause.

Posted by Tom at 8:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Obama's War on Religion Started Today

In case you weren't aware, the god-awful HHS mandate requiring providers to cover contraception andabortifacients went into effect today. K-Lo nails the significance of what is happening in one paragraph (which is why she writes for a real magazine and I'm a hack blogger):

This Day in the History of Religious Liberty
By Kathryn Jean Lopez
August 1, 2012 11:40 A.M.

Today is the day that the implementation of the controversial Health and Human Services contraception, sterilization, abortion-inducing drug mandate goes into effect. (Read George Weigel's piece here and our editorial here.) My inbox is an election-year celebration of contraception from the likes of Planned Parenthood. But the HHS mandate is not about access to contraception, it's about radical ideology and the role of government in our lives. It also violates the consciences of more than Catholics -- this is why Wheaton College, among others including Geneva College and Colorado Christian University, find themselves suing the federal government over the mandate. The president of the United States believes folks who don't want to cover contraception and sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs are backward. In their view, they can talk all they want about sexual morality in their churches, but they cannot practice the implications of those beliefs in their lives outside the churches, in businesses, and even in Church-related charities and schools, when it comes to insurance coverage. The HHS mandate exists because Congress gave HHS wild regulatory powers, which they've understood to include redefining religious liberty by regulation.

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