District of Columbia

Another Example of Hypocritical Politics on Secret Ballots

As the Democratic caucus angles to pass the badly named Employee Free Choice Act, a law that will actually take away the choice of a secret ballot for millions of America's workers, we get one more example of how Democrats in Congress allocate things for themselves that they refuse to allow others to enjoy.

In the nasty infighting between Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and John Dingell (D., Mich.) over the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce committee in the House of Representatives, a secret ballot was held of the members of the House after which, Waxman came out the victor.

So, we have Dingell, a Democrat that shilled for the auto industry and unions as they destroyed their own profitability, and we end up with Waxman, a shill for the enviro-wacko lobby that will destroy the auto industry the rest of the way with unnecessary and idiotic "green" initiatives.

Worse to worser, of course, but notice how they settled who would become the new chairman? They used a secret ballot. And it's the secret ballot that the EFCA will eliminate for prospective union members.

So, the politicos in the House of Reps find the secret ballot important for themselves, yet they are rearing to take away such a right for America's workers?

Hypocrites.

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Congrats to Jake Tapper: Now Senior White House Correspondent for ABC!

A richly deserved promotion goes to one of the fairest folks in the Old Media and hearty congratulations from us today. Jake Tapper from ABC has been given the plum assignment of Senior White House Correspondent as of this week.

What a great pick by ABC. They couldn't have found a better guy. Tough, fair minded, on top of the story, web savvy. He has it all. And, at the risk of sounding like I'm playing for the "other team," not a bad lookin' fella. OK, that last bit was over the top... but you know. I go caught up in the moment.

So, congrats to Jake Tapper. Imagine, being assigned to the role of Senior White House correspondent at such a time in history! What an opportunity.

Now, some advice, Jakster. Remember how Obama liked to throw people off the plane, how he loved to chuck them under the bus. Remember how Joe Biden punished reporters for their sins during the campaign? Don't be intimidated, man. We've got your back here. So, if you end up in Obama's new journalist jail, we'll try to scrape together some bail money.

And now, we probably just made every other member of the Old Media decide you're persona non grata because of our praise. Just tell 'em we were off our meds.

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Why I Prefer to Be a Bad Sport for Now


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On November 5 John Kasich wrote: “We must figure out how to reorganize and restructure ourselves so that we can once again command the confidence and respect of not only the members of our own party, but voters of all stripes.”  I certainly agree that conservatism must be redefined, and I will offer my suggestions in a moment.  But I submit that none of us is ready for the task just yet.

 

In her 1969 groundbreaker On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., introduced a model known as the Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.  While not every process entails all five stages, the good doctor stated categorically that everyone experiences at least two.  But it appears that virtually every conservative commentator has tossed the model out and substituted his own single-phase paradigm: Submission.  No sooner had Senator McCain delivered his concession speech than some of my favorite radio talk show hosts – who had been breathing fire just hours earlier – blandly appealed to my optimism as though the proponents of capitalism and self-determination had merely lost a preseason football game.  Perhaps they don’t want to appear sore losers.  Perhaps they want to come across as “high-roaders.”  But in whose eyes?  I guarantee you the liberals are so drunk with victory that they don’t care whether we lost sportingly or otherwise.  Besides, it is a bit late for conservatives to worry about image.  We have been drubbed.  We have been bulldozed, hoodwinked, ground into the muck.  We fought fair while they pulled every dirty trick in the playbook, and they clobbered us silly.

 

Where is the outrage, ladies and gentlemen?  Do liberals hold a patent on passion?  Did someone outlaw indignation while I wasn’t looking?  The liberals seem to wield it freely enough.  History instructs that we can not move forward until we fully appreciate where we are.  Permit me to remind all of those blasé “we’ll-gettum-next-timers” a few facts I can recall off the top of my head about the man who just gave conservatism a bloody nose.  Barack Hussein Obama: (1) exhibited blatant sexism during the primaries, then thumbed his nose at feminism by snubbing Senator Clinton in favor of “Conehead” Biden; (2) showed the “common man” his true elitist colors when he rejected public campaign financing and outspent Senator McCain by a factor of 7 to 1; (3) would turn our courts into tools for “redistributive justice”; (4) used government computers and databases to find dirt that would discredit Joe the Plumber; (5) has bragged about the fact that he wants to increase the tax burden on the producers of this country so that he can guarantee a better living for the 30-40% who are freeloaders; (6) was endorsed by both Hugo Chavez and Iran’s parliament; and (7) has little patience for the notion of individual rights.

 

And another thing.  Let us not forget that, despite his silken demeanor, the man is an empty suit when it comes to concrete solutions.  I know attorneys because I am one.  The first lesson they teach in law school is how to use as many of the biggest words available to say as little as possible.  Our new chief executive took that lesson to heart.  People are weeping and screaming and dancing in the streets because “we” made history on November 4 by electing the first African American in U.S. history.  Unfortunately, a majority of the voters got so caught up in making history that they forgot to ask what kind of person lay beneath the fashionable skin they were about to vote for.  Let’s face it.  Obama didn’t have to make sense.  He needed no substance.  And he didn’t need to curry favor with moderates.  All he needed was to be a good looking, well-spoken black man who hung out with “cool” people like Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.  And he knew it from day one.  When I was a boy I was taught that the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s would someday stamp out racism.  I’m sorry to report that racism is still with us; it has merely switched sides.

 

This is the America our complacency has nurtured.  So spare me the silver-lining pablum.  I want to hear some emotionally healthy yelling and desk-pounding out there.  I’m not talking about rioting or bullying.  Those of you with an established forum in the media know exactly what to do.  I only hope you’ll find the motivation to do it.  As for the rest of you, try this as an example.  When I moved to a college town some years back, I confess that I allowed my vitriolic liberal brother-in-law to temper my philosophies.  Whenever he would rant about the evils he perceived Bush to have perpetrated, I was quick to remind him that the common enemy wasn’t Bush – it was career politicians and elitists in general.  When he simmered down I patted myself on the back for "remaining above the fray."  But one evening my 9-year-old nephew bragged to me that he had browbeaten a schoolmate of his into “voting” for a liberal in an important race.  With the glassy-eyed exuberance of a Hitler youth, he recited the mantra he had heard night after night from his father.  I decided I had placated the brother-in-law for the last time.  Though I don’t hang out as much with my sister’s family as a result, I can rest assured that my nephew now knows his father’s way of thinking is not the only way.

 

So conservatism as we know it has been pulverized.  It lies dead in the gutter.  How do we resurrect it?  The first thing we do is reintroduce ourselves to some fundamental principles many of us have forgotten: lower taxes; limited government intervention; disciplined government spending; individualism.  All variations of the concepts of tradition and convention must be eliminated from our lexicon.  Who do we attract?  On the count of three, let’s all scratch our heads.  One … two … three … and there is our answer: Real People.  But just what is a real person?  As a rule of thumb, real people don’t toe the party line or wear the homogenous blue blazer.  Take me, for instance.  I’m into The Who, Pearl Jam and the Black Keys, but I refuse to buy a suit that is anything but double-breasted.  I have tattoos, but I believe shoelaces should be tied, belt loops should be belted and undershorts should be covered in public.  I am licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and I will not hesitate to go for the kill shot if someone breaks into my home.  On the other hand, I have never understood, and will never understand, the attraction of game hunting.  I am an agnostic.  I detest abortion, but I think an outright ban ignores reality.  Though I am a heterosexual, I don’t understand how letting gays get married diminishes the institution for straights.  By the same token, I don’t understand why gays feel the need to impose an archaic religious ritual on an otherwise fulfilling relationship.  I don’t indulge in illegal recreational drugs; just the same, I don’t see the harm in legalizing marijuana or cocaine – people bent on destroying themselves will do it one way or another, so there’s no reason to spoil the party for responsible users.  Blah, blah, enough about me.

 

The point is that today’s conservative is not as easy to peg as was the little twerp Michael J. Fox played on prime time television in the 1980s.  That is why there were so many so-called Independents out there for Obama and his string-pullers to swoop up this time around.  The key to redefining conservatism is to refrain from overdefining it.  Agree on a very limited number of core principles, leave the rest of the slate clean and welcome the deluge of fresh new faces with bold ideas who will inevitably flock to your doorstep.

 

-R. Thomas Risk

 

 

Advice for Obama Press Corps: Keep Your 'Chute Handy

As confirmed by Politico.com's Ben Smith in his corroboration of the story that broke on the Drudge Report last night, the Obama campaign did indeed bump three major newspapers from the press group traveling aboard the candidate's plane.  Although press accounts are not specific, it is assumed that their removal was conducted while the plane was still on the ground.

The Obama campaign indicated that they will try to find seats on campaign buses for the disenfranchised Dallas Morning News, Washington Times and New York Post staff, and that they are encouraging them to travel with Joe Biden. 

(Two major right-leaning newspapers, who now have an axe to grind, riding along with the king of the gaffes?  One would think that Team Obama would be better served in the final days of the election by giving them daily interview sessions with Barack than by placing them within earshot of gaffemaster Joe.)

While it is true that in a similar move, Senator McCain barred Maureen Dowd and Joe Klein from his campaign plane, there is a subtle but important distinction between that punishment and the kind of retribution Obama is meting out. 

Dowd and Klein are columnists.  They write commentary and analysis in their own voice and the result is mainly the opinion of the writer as an individual.  When a columnist gleefully pounds away at a politician, it doesn't seem at all out of bounds for the politician to shut down that one person's access.  Even if the lex talionis - eye for an eye - mode of justice may be harsh, at least it observes some semblance of symmetry.

A newspaper's endorsement of a candidate is a decision more often made by the ownership of the paper, in consultation with the editorial staff, but it is never made by reporters.  The reporting done thus far by the ejected journalists has not been harmful to Obama.  On the contrary, most campaign trail reporting tips toward positive coverage of a candidate as reporters develop a relationship with the candidate they are covering.  Label it human nature or the Helsinki Syndrome, depending on your perspective.

There is no balance in Obama's retaliatory strike and it could say something larger about how he will apply power to other problems that arise.  In international terms, we assign a particular label to people and causes that consider innocents as appropriate tools for conveying political messages.  In domestic terms it is political thuggery and the penchant the Obama camp has for silencing dissent should at least give us a reason to retain skepticism, whether you color yourself red, blue or purple.

The Chicago-style politics of making war on anyone a politician classifies as 'enemies' by hitting their proxies is something that we, as a nation, have been trying to extinguish for more than one hundred years, but the Obama machine is reviving those tactics of naked power and proving that they still work.  He is giving us a sample, a sneak peak of his wilder side.

With the prospect of single-party rule of the federal government, and intimidation of media who are perceived as 'unfriendly' to an Obama administration, more than ever it seems clear that a vote for Obama is a vote for change.  When we realize what the word 'change' really means in Obamaspeak, I only hope that we will be able to change back.

dust off your wool check blazer

So, the man tempts fate. I don't see him being sued by all these people he supposedly lies about. There is the thing called "civil remedy" if these folks are so horribly offended, and injured, why haven't they sued? Maybe, since 2 minus1 is still roughly equal to 1, they are afraid they will loose!

Here's another thing to consider:  say you are a subremely knowledgeable and prescient 'great mind' with the goals of a bright future in full sight of your inner vision. If he's so wrong, it should confirm your thoughts and make you more confident in your closest held assertions.  Methinks you doth protest in assymetric proportion and therby inversely support your conclusions. Transparency is achieved! Peek-a-boo.

Obama Gets His Own Wedding Anniversary Wrong

So, The One was in front of his subjects of the Black Congressional Caucus in D.C. and was wowing them with the mellifluous tones of his oratory and there stood the little missus. There was that mean Mama all a flutter over her man -- you know, the one that made her proud of America for the very first time? -- and the messiah deigned to notice her across the room.

The One thought to bring her before the enraptured crowd and let everyone know that the Dear Leader was having his 15th Anniversary with Michelle the Angry. “She just about has me trained. Almost. I still do stupid things she tells me sometimes," he jests.

What a wonderful day. A 15th wedding anniversary... well, maybe Barack is a bit late with that celebration? You see, he is supposed to be celebrating his 16th wedding anniversary, not his 15th. From October of 1992 to October 2008 is 16 for most of us.

Oh, these things happen. Especially to men, let's face it. Many, many men throughout time have forgotten little details like, Valentine's Day, anniversaries, birthdays... men sometimes don't have a mind for these dates so important to women. So, to be fair, we cannot do much else but chuckle at this little slip.

But, here is the thing. If John McCain had made such a glaring error the Old Media would be crucifying him over it. He and his wife would be the butt of jokes on every late-might TV talk show, would be portrayed as a doddering, senile old fool by every barely listened to PACIFICA or Air America host, and would be the hottest topic of ridicule from all the partisan pseudo-analysts in every medium from pulp to electronics.

And guess what?

Obama is getting a pass.

It's hard for the media to even see daylight anymore they are so in the tank.

(Photo credit: http://obamawho.wordpress.com)

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What a Night!

Last night, both the Democrat and Republican nominees for President of the United States, Barack Obama and John McCain, met face-to-face in a debate forum for the very first time. Both appeared energetic and prepared to engage in this rhetorical battle in front of thousands who were there and millions watching at home.

Both of these two met and exceeded expectations set forth by their respective campaigns. For Barack Obama, long term, this might be where the good news for him ends.

I say “long term” because of the raw transcript of the debate. There were a number of instances where Obama looked as if he was trying to be all things to all people. There were also moments where he showed his youth and inexperience in other areas.

First, when the moderator Jim Lehrer asked the candidates about scaling back the federal budget as to what each of the candidates would do as president, Obama never mentioned one area where he would freeze or reduce spending. Instead, he mentioned his support for increased funding for early childhood education. All told, the combination of the Paulson bailout plan combined with Obama’s four-year spending proposals would add an additional $1.5 trillion to the federal budget alone. He needed to show where his cuts were going to be, but he showed an instance where he was going to increase spending.

Meanwhile, McCain gave areas where he would reduce spending starting with his least favorite items on the budget, earmarks. Next, McCain went to eliminating the ethanol subsidies and by tighting the screws on defense contracts so that defense spending is more efficient.

Obama supporters might be fast to point out that he will eliminate $10 billion a month ($480 billion over four years) by ending the war in Iraq and eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or more a year. For the 48 months that he would be president which would not even come close to covering the costs for his spending proposals, tax cut for the bottom 95% of wage earners, covering a projected $600 billion deficit in his first budget, and the Paulson bailout plan. Sacrifices will have to be made and they might most likely start with the proposed tax cut (a la Bill Clinton).

The second mistake by Obama was a reversal of his position on so-called dirty energy. John McCain has made the construction of 45 new nuclear power plants to provide energy and combat climate change along with support for clean coal and offshore drilling parts of his energy plan along with renewable energy, flex-fuel vehicles, and better fuel economy.

Prior to last night, Obama had previously expressed his desire to tax coal, natural gas, and place a windfall profits tax on the oil companies which even he admits would not produce another drop of oil. However, last night Obama got in to the mode of being all things to all people by advocating his support for drilling, clean coal technology, and nuclear energy. The Sierra Club cannot be happy about this.

Third, Obama was clearly on the defensive about unconditional negotiations with Iranian President Mahmoud “Adolph, Jr.” Ahmadinejad. A major mistake made here was the citation of former Secretary of State and McCain’s friend and advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger. Obama cited Kissinger as one of five former Secretaries of State who had advocated Presidential-level talks with Iran. The five include both of Bill Clinton’s (Warren Christopher and Madeline Albright) and James Baker, who served under Bush-41. McCain had said that Kissinger was not one of the five though Obama insisted he was. 

After the debate last night, Kissinger said the following: “Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level.  My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.” Oops!

Fourth, there was a moment in the debate where John McCain and Barack Obama were comparing the bracelets they received from mothers who had lost their sons in Operation Iraqi Freedom. McCain gave the name of the soldier who was on his bracelet instantly without having to look. The same cannot be said of Obama who had to look at his to get the name. It might have been better for Obama to have not mentioned the name if it required him to take a look.

However, the biggest missteps by Senator Obama went under the radar because they were sprinkled throughout the debate. In all, there were eight instances where Obama expressed his agreement with Senator McCain. Within minutes, McCain’s campaign released a web ad (potentially a television ad in the future) showing where Obama agreed with McCain on responsibility and accountability, the earmarks process, and that business taxes are high. More could be made against Obama on the issues of spending cuts, the success of the troop surge strategy in Iraq, and that the world cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran.

Writing in the National Review, Byron York stated a prediction: “The next time McCain and Obama meet in debate, on October 7 in Nashville, start a drinking game in which you take a big swig every time Obama says, ‘John is absolutely right.’ I’ll bet you get to the end of the debate without ever lifting a glass.”

In all, Senator McCain won this round despite the curtailing of national security issues (the original topic of the debate) for three questions on economic issues. The night was largely on McCain’s turf thanks to national security, talks about government spending more than anything else, and the aforementioned missteps of Senator Obama. However, for McCain, thanks to Obama’s energy and exceeding expectations, the win was not by as wide a margin as some anticipated.

On John McCain's VEEP Nominee Announcement...

I'd like to add a couple of thoughts on why I think it should/could be Governor Mitt Romney.

(Additional nominee coverage!)

When former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Committee this past February, he ended his bid for President by delivering a concession speech that was a powerful and sharp articulation of modern conservative values.

At the time, many people in the room and watching on television wondered, "Why didn't he give THAT speech earlier?"  Throughout the primary, conservatives looked at the candidates and craved Ronald Reagan's rhetorical power and skill.  Fred Thompson came close but only in flashes, and only when rested.  Mitt Romney's CPAC speech was a very clear signal to conservatives that he was ready to stay on the national stage.

He's not a perfect conservative, but neither was Ronald Reagan. And to be blunt, ideological purity won't get us home this fall. If we are to defeat the Democrats, the base of the conservative movement know that they need to look beyond his religious affiliations and hope the McCain campaign knows what they've got: a triple-threat candidate for VP who can perform in a crunch.
 
A McCain-Romney ticket puts the crucial state of Michigan in play. Shake up Michigan and Obama's options start to narrow and the stakes rise dramatically. Voters in Michigan will respond to Romney both due to his historic ties to the state and to his understanding of the economy and job creation.
 
There are four million Mormon voters in the country, many in the Mountain West states of Nevada and Colorado.  As the West becomes increasingly more volatile, Republicans should consider these Mormon strongholds with a candidate guaranteed to energize a constituency we've taken for granted in previous elections.
 
When put to the challenge of debating Democratic V.P.  Nominee Joe Biden, Romney will come across as the levelheaded, calm, collected and knowledgeable business leader that we saw throughout his Presidential bid. Biden will look like just another D.C. insider accustomed to Senate hearings and backroom deals.  And let's face it: people are shallow. Romney will come across as an accessible, attractive candidate right out of central casting. (One could argue the “youth” to McCain’s “beauty”). Bottom line: Biden will debate like a Senator, but Romney will debate like a President.

It isn't just that Mitt Romney is a good choice...he's a choice who plays out in more ways than one, addressing many constituencies and possessing the presence and experience of a man tested on the national stage.

Mike Huckabee and a narrow segment of the religious right may not like Romney or even trust him, but what he brings to the table far exceeds any doubts about his conservative credibility. Its the same kind of thinking the rest of the party has gone through to embrace McCain.

Besides...who didn't hear a deep, Reageanesque echo when Romney said "… we are all dedicated, and I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed beyond our fondest hope. America must remain, as it has always been, the hope of the earth."
 

GOP Youth Convention

GOPYOUTHCONVENTION.org

What are you doing to effect the upcoming election?  Are you a young member of society and you feel like you cannot do anything because you are inexperienced in the political relam or that you do not know where to start.  Well how about you get trained by some of the best grassroots political organizers in the country so that you can go out and truely make a difference in the upcoming election. 

For just $50 you will be able to get this training without missing any school all while in Minneapolis at the Republican National Convention.  That is right just e-mail info@gopyouthconvention.org and join young members of the Republican party from around America as they come together to be trained to be the future grassroots organizers for the GOP. 

I hope that you will all inquire about this wonderful opportunity to help share not just this important election but you to help our wonderful party for years to come.

Thanks, and I hope to see you in Minneapolis.

New Media Discovery: WaPo Misidentifies Three As McCain Donors, Apologizes for Mistake

Amanda Carpenter has an interesting little blurb over at Townhall.com where she reports on Townhall's catching the Washington Post misidentifying three donors as McCain contributors when, in reality, these donors did not donate to the McCain campaign at all. It seems some due diligence was dropped at the Washington Post, for sure. Good thing the new media was there to correct the story!

In his story headlined "Bundler Collects from Unlikely Sources," the Post's Matthew Mosk thought he had a way to insinuate that McCain was taking campaign donations from some "unlikely" Muslims. Mosk detailed what he thought was the campaign donations from three people, Ibrahim Marabeh, and Nadia and Shawn Abdalla, each with Muslim sounding names, that he claimed donated to the McCain campaign through a campaign "bundler" named Harry Sargeant III -- a bundler being a campaign supporter that goes out and gathers many donations from friends and associates for his candidate of choice.

Mosk apparently thought that Harry Sargeant III was suspicious because he owns an oil-trading company and the three others apparently seemed suspicious merely because of the sound of their names. But at her Townhall blog, Carpenter discovered in short order than none of the four donors in the Washington Post story donated to the McCain campaign at all.

Mosk also tried to shoehorn into the story the tale of disgraced Clinton "bundler" Norman Hsu, who was "indicted in part on charges of circumventing legal giving limits by routing contributions though 'straw donors,'" even though there are no allegations of likewise illegalities with Mr. Sargeant's campaign donations. As if merely mentioning Hsu was enough to tar Sergeant as "unlikely" regardless of the lack of connection or similarities between the two.

As soon as the Post piece came out Carpenter wondered where the Post got its evidence of the donations.

Since this information is not easily found, the WaPo should have explained where it came from in their story. Or it could be, this is just simply not true. And if that's the case they should apologize to the McCain campaign and promptly post a correction online and in tomorrow's paper.

And only hours after the Townhall piece, the Post suddenly appended a correction to the Mosk story.

An earlier version of this story about campaign donations that Florida businessman Harry Sargeant III raised for Sen. John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton incorrectly identified three individuals as being among the donors Sargeant solicited on behalf of McCain. Those donors -- Rite Aid manager Ibrahim Marabeh, and lounge owners Nadia and Shawn Abdalla -- wrote checks to Giuliani and Clinton, not McCain. Also, the first name of Faisal Abdullah, a McCain donor, was misspelled in some versions of the story.

The power of the new media shows itself again.

But consider this: Carpenter just used a publicly available resource to track campaign donations to see that Mosk's claims were suspect. Was this so hard for Mosk and the editors of the Post to do? We all make mistakes, of course, but what does this say of the editorial work at the Post?

(Photo credit: Maryland Public Television)

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