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2012

So, this is how Liberty dies – with thunderous applause.

From South Florida 9-12:

My husband Doug wrote this and I wanted to share…

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“…and whether I have EARNED your vote or not: I have heard you. I have *LISTENED* to you…”

“I have never been more HOPEFUL, about America…”

“We are not as divided as the pundits would suggest…”

“We are, and forever SHALL BE, the United States of America!!!!”

Ladies & gentlemen, fellow Americans – the President of the United States: BARACK OBAMA.

*FOUR MORE YEARS.*

I have sat quietly stunned for over an hour, trying to accept the meaning of this democratic moment. I can only think of Senator Padme Amidala’s pained (if prescient) observation, in “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith”, after Palpatine declares himself “Emperor” over the (former) Republic…

SO, THIS IS HOW LIBERTY DIES – WITH THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE.

 

 

No Rest For Conservative America, the ‘Sleeping Giant’, in 2012

From Big Government:

Remember this video?

 Though this clip was replayed again and again- a sign that Americans were “awakened” as a result of the realization that President Obama and the liberal Democrats were, indeed, on the path to “fundamentally transform” the nation- the sad, but accurate, phrase used by the woman speaking is, “sleeping giant.” Conservative America has been a “sleeping giant.”

Most Americans describe themselves as “conservative.” And conservatives, by nature, tend to mind their own business. Unless, of course, their “own business” is being run over by a controlling, liberal president and his cronies.

American conservatives have indeed had to rouse themselves out of a somewhat complacent sleep and get to work. They have done so formidably, as evidenced by the election, in 2010, of a large number of conservative members of Congress. But, more work awaits, and time is fleeting.

Many may have their gaze set on Iowa. I say leave Iowa to the pundits. There are bigger fish to fry. Whether the winner is a Republican “establishment machine” nominee, or one with real conservative credentials, the nation needs a Congress that will embrace its power, as provided for in the Constitution, to limit the scope of the federal government. The ultimate “tension” of the Constitution: how to elect members of Congress who will go to Washington to limit their own power. Only an inspired document could set its sights on such a seemingly non-human task!

With so many focused on the presidential nomination process, conservatives would do well to attend to the congressional and state legislative races in their districts. The election of sound conservatives to local town and city councils, as well as school boards, will provide a “feeder system” of successful candidates at the local level who may well end up in Congress, saying “no” to more government spending.

Read the rest at Big Government.

David v. Goliath

From National Review:

My New York Post column today takes a look at the Republican field of potential Davids going up against the billion-dollar Goliath army being assembled by Barack Obama. While it’s true that you can’t beat somebody with nobody, I argue that the real nobody is the Potemkin President, and that if the GOP can attach a name and a face to its principles, the battle may be easier than it looks right now:

No candidate yet feels like a winner to the party’s base — combative conservatives. And no one’s likely to, as long as the GOP establishment is trying to appeal to the quasi-mythical milquetoast independent voters who pull up their petticoats and flee at the slightest sounds of conflict.

The party needs a leader who can clearly and passionately make its case: No milquetoasts need apply. He (or she) will need to calmly cut through the media fog: Obama is protected by a journalistic phalanx too heavily invested to see him rejected at the polls.

Certainly not over trivial things like a $14 trillion national debt, soaring deficits, bankrupt entitlements like Medicare and Social Security and an increasingly arrogant and out-of-touch president who would rather party with Queen Elizabeth in London than cut short yet another glorified vacation and tend to Joplin, Mo., and other devastated cities of the Midwest.

It’s true the Democrat-Media Complex has the power to cloud men’s minds about Obama, but with a little clarity of articulation and philosophical cogency the Republicans have a very winnable hand. Which of course doesn’t mean they’re not capable of blowing it.

The election’s not for 18 months, but it’s time to get real. On Tuesday, the GOP lost a “safe” seat in a special election in upstate New York. The Republican candidate apparently thought she could waltz into Washington instead of taking the fight to her conservative Democrat opponent, who was busy demagoguing the Paul Ryan plan for Medicare reform. Lesson learned?

In the upcoming battle for the country’s future, the Republicans actually hold most of the cards. All they need is somebody to play them — smartly, effectively, confidently and unapologetically.

As David knew, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. All he needed was his slingshot — and courage.

Palin’s Secret Weapon: New Film to Premiere in June

From RealClearPolitics:

Shortly after Republicans swept last November to a historic victory in which Sarah Palin was credited with playing a central role, the former Alaska governor pulled aside her close aide, Rebecca Mansour, to discuss a hush-hush assignment: Reach out to conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon with a request. Ask him if he would make a series of videos extolling Palin’s governorship and laying to rest lingering questions about her controversial decision to resign from office with a year-and-a-half left in her first term. It was this abdication, Palin knew, that had made her damaged goods in the eyes of some Republicans who once were eager to get behind her potential 2012 presidential campaign.

The response was more positive than Palin could have hoped for. He’d make a feature-length movie, Bannon told Mansour, and he insisted upon taking complete control and financing it himself — to the tune of $1 million.

The fruits of that initial conversation are now complete. The result is a two-hour-long, sweeping epic, a rough cut of which Bannon screened privately for Sarah and Todd Palin last Wednesday in Arizona, where Alaska’s most famous couple has been rumored to have purchased a new home. When it premieres in Iowa next month, the film is poised to serve as a galvanizing prelude to Palin’s prospective presidential campaign — an unconventional reintroduction to the nation that she and her political team have spent months eagerly anticipating, even as Beltway Republicans have largely concluded that she won’t run.

Read the rest at RealClearPolitics.

Run, Paul Ryan, Run

From National Review:

Indiana governor Mitch Daniels’s announcement that he can’t play in the presidential primaries because his wife and daughters say he’s not allowed to is terrible news for the GOP and the country.

It’s terrible not because Daniels was obviously the best candidate or had the best chance to beat President Obama. It’s terrible because Daniels would have elevated the debate on entitlement reform and the budget in a way that no one else currently in the race seems able to.

Oh, the “Tea Parties” will have plenty of candidates. Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann, the founder and head of the House Tea Party Caucus, will almost surely run and do quite well. Herman Cain, the black former business executive, remains a Tea Party rock star. On the more libertarian side, there’s Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. If those two have their way, the dollar will not only be backed by gold, it will be printed on paper made from hemp.

Nearly every stripe of conservative will have at least one standard-bearer, or perhaps several (including gay Republicans, who can rally around the Fred Karger juggernaut). Except right now, no one appears equipped to defend the House GOP budget, written by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, which will likely define both the presidential and the congressional elections in 2012.

The Democrat-run Senate hasn’t passed a budget in more than 750 days, and Democratic leader Harry Reid says it would be “foolish” to try. That’s because the Democrats don’t want to muddy their attacks on Ryan’s idea of “premium support,” whereby the poor get more generous vouchers than the middle class or the wealthy to pay for Medicare coverage. By the way, the “radical” concept of premium support is not so radical. It has deep bipartisan roots, with endorsements from such Democrats as former senator John Breaux of Louisiana and former representative Dick Gephardt of Missouri.

The president’s counterproposal, splashed out in a rambling partisan attack in April, essentially reintroduces the whole “death panels” debate, albeit at a macroeconomic level, by empowering 15 presidentially appointed members of the Independent Payment Advisory Board to take the blame for throwing Grandma off a cliff.

Regardless, by rights, the 2012 presidential contest should be a choice between those two approaches, plus the parties’ wildly divergent views on spending and taxes. But no wonk on a white horse seems to be riding to the rescue.

Mitt Romney can crunch the numbers. But as his attempts to square his Massachusetts “Romneycare” with his opposition to “Obamacare” have shown, his salesmanship needs work.

Newt Gingrich should have picked up the mantle, but he opted to triangulate against Ryan. Almost immediately, triangulation morphed into self-immolation.

Obviously, Gingrich’s spontaneous human combustion had a lot to do with his own problems. If he had merely offered a modest dissent from the plan, he wouldn’t have spent the last week walking back his statements with all the grace of the barnyard dog stepping on a field of garden rakes in the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons.

Still, the Gingrich spectacle confirms one of Ryan’s original strategic aims: to “box in” the various presidential candidates on the issue of entitlement reform. But it also shows why they came up with all of those “third rail” metaphors in the first place.

So the question many are asking is, should Ryan ride to the rescue? If the election is going to be a referendum on his plan, maybe the one guy who can sell it should do just that. On Monday, House majority leader Eric Cantor called for Ryan to get in the race, saying, “Paul’s about real leadership.” Charles Krauthammer on Fox News’s Special Report said he wouldn’t just urge Ryan to run, he’d form a “posse.”

If Ryan ran, he would probably drive the other candidates farther away from his own plan while forcing them to come up with serious alternatives of their own. Many think that if he got the nomination, he would clean Obama’s clock in the debates.

It’s a lot to ask. He has three young kids and would have to get organized and funded from a cold start for a long-shot run. But politics is about moments, and this one is calling him. Unless someone suddenly rises to the challenge, the cries of “Help us, Paul Ryan, you’re our only hope!” will only get louder.

Oh my: Pawlenty calls for Medicare and Social Security reform — in Florida

From Hot Air:

First he goes after ethanol in Iowa, now this. What’s next? Telling Texans it’s time to wean themselves off of barbecue? Good lord. This isn’t a campaign, it’s an intervention.

Alternate headline: “Tim Pawlenty now unelectable in not one but two early primary states.”

A day after telling Iowans their beloved ethanol subsidies will have to go, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty used a stop in senior-heavy Florida to call for reining in Social Security and Medicare benefits for future retirees…

It’s part of a tough-medicine tour, designed to highlight Pawlenty’s willingness to tell “hard truths.” He’s also planning to visit Washington to call for less-generous pay and benefits for public sector employees and to New York to call for an end to Wall Street bailouts…

Pawlenty said Social Security’s retirement age must “gradually” increase for people who are not yet in the system. He also called for ending cost-of-living increases for wealthy retirees. He said he’ll release details soon and said the changes would not affect current retirees.

That’s from today’s Facebook town hall, where he also took a question that seemed geared towards winning a certain fiscal-con icon’s constituency:

“In the state of Indiana, our governor has been really hard on teachers,” asked one girl. “What is your view of education?”

Pawlenty voiced a position on education similar to the reforms passed by Daniels in the last Indiana legislative session: school choice and vouchers, support for charter schools, and saying that education policy should be geared to help children and should “put their needs first, rather than the interests of adults in public employee union movement.”

The choice of the question seemed deliberate, as a way to position Pawlenty as the natural alternative for Daniels’ supporters.

The straight talk on entitlements, I think, is mainly geared towards giving him cover with the base for when he starts inching away from Ryan’s Medicare plan. He praised Ryan’s budget when speaking to reporters after the Facebook town hall today but reminded them that he’ll be introducing his own plan in the coming months. With good reason: The more Senate Republicans bail on Ryan — Olympia Snowe is the latest — the closer we get to the sort of tipping point imagined by Nate Silver. It’s easier for the GOP to deflect concerns about Ryan’s Medicare reforms if they’re voting party-line, less easy when the RINO contingent of Snowe, Collins, and Brown defects and thereby implicitly signals to centrists that Ryan’s budget is “extreme.” T-Paw’s trying to massage both sides here (much as he did in Iowa), hinting without saying that he thinks Ryan’s plan is extreme too but not so much that entitlement reform should be avoided. Exit quotation: “What I know is this: There just can’t be any more sacred cows.”

Herman Cain on His 2012 Chances

From National Review:

Herman Cain sees an opening.

As numerous big-name Republicans drop out of the race, Cain, a former pizza magnate, tells National Review Online that he can win the GOP presidential nod.

“I can’t say who else might get in,” Cain says. “But if you look at the announced candidates — Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, and me — I think my chances of getting the nomination are just as great as their chances, and probably better than some of them.”

“People are looking for a candidate,” Cain explains, days after he announced his run at an Atlanta rally. “Fewer people are competing for the same votes and the same dollars. We have a real opportunity to pick up some support.”

The polls back up his confidence. A new Gallup survey shows Cain with a huge following among conservatives who are paying attention to the 2012 campaign. “Cain, although still not widely known, has the highest ‘positive intensity score’ among Republicans of any potential GOP candidate still in the race,” Gallup reports. “His ‘positive intensity score’ of 27 matches the highest yet recorded for any candidate or potential candidate this year.”

Cain, a longtime Georgia resident, predicts that he can build a national network of conservatives — and fill the void in the GOP primary for a southern man. He thinks that he can perform very well in South Carolina’s primary and, as a fresh voice in Iowa and New Hampshire, rise quickly.

“I do not believe that the South, nor Georgia, is necessarily Newt Gingrich’s territory, simply because of the experience that he has there,” Cain says. “We are going to do well in all of these early states. People are connecting with my message, with my commonsense solutions and my passion.”

“People know that I am not just giving a stump speech,” he continues. “I am giving speeches about what is in my head and in my heart. That is resonating. So I am going to keep doing what I have been doing, which is building a ‘bottom-up’ campaign around the country.”

Cain acknowledges that his momentum has not garnered much media coverage. After toiling for months under the radar, he is ready to “call names.”

Pawlenty vs. Ethanol Subsidies

From National Review:

An interesting passage to put in an announcement speech in Iowa:

I’m here today to tell Iowans the truth, too.

America is facing a crushing debt crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen before.  We need to cut spending, and we need to cut it…big time. The hard truth is that there are no longer any sacred programs.

The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out.  We need to do it gradually.  We need to do it fairly.  But we need to do it.

Now, I’m not some out-of-touch politician.  I served two terms as Governor of an ag state.  I fully understand and respect the critical role farming plays in our economy and our society.  I’ve strongly supported ethanol in various ways over the years, and I still believe in the promise of renewable fuels – both for our economy and our national security.

But even in Minnesota, when faced with fiscal challenges, we reduced ethanol subsidies.  That’s where we are now in Washington, but on a much, much larger scale.

It’s not only ethanol.  We need to change our approach to subsidies in all industries.

It can’t be done overnight.  The industry has made large investments, and it wouldn’t be fair to pull the rug out from under it immediately.  But we must face the truth that if we want to invite more competition, more investment, and more innovation into an industry – we need to get government out.  We also need the government out of the business of handing out favors and special deals.  The free market, not freebies from politicians, should decide a company’s success.  So, as part of a larger reform, we need to phase out subsidies across all sources of energy and all industries, including ethanol.  We simply can’t afford them anymore.

 

“It’s a Weak Field”. No, It Is Pretty Typical

From RedState:

A lot of people are taking some comfort in my post from this morning. But there is also a lot of “the field is weak” comments.

Let’s review, shall we? Let’s go back to 1964, which was arguably the first year of the modern campaign era. Then we’ll work our way forward with those open years or years when the GOP was the out of power party.

In 1964 we had:
Hiram Fong of Hawaii
Barry Goldwater of Arizona
Walter Henry Judd of Maryland
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. of Massachusetts
Nelson Rockefeller of New York
George Romney of Michigan
William Scranton of Pennsylania
Margaret Chase Smith of Maine
Harold Stassen of Minnesota

In 1968 we had:
Frank Carlson of Kansas
Clifford Case of New Jersey
John Lindsay of New York
Richard Nixon, then of New York
Ronald Reagan of California
Jim Rhodes of Ohio
George Romney of Michigan
Nelson Rockefeller of New York
Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas
Harold Stassen of Minnesota
John Volpe of Massachusetts

In 1980 we had:
John Anderson of Illinois
Howard Baker of Tennessee
George H. W. Bush of Texas
John Connally of Texas
Phil Crane of Illinois
Bob Dole of Kansas
Larry Pressler of South Dakota
Ronald Reagan of California
Harold Stassen of Pennsylvania
Lowell Weicker of Connecticut

In 1988 we had:
George H. W. Bush of Texas
Bob Dole of Kansas
Pierre S. du Pont, IV of Delaware
Alexander Haig of Pennsylvania
Jack Kemp of New York
Paul Laxalt of Nevada
Harold Stassen of Minnesota
Pat Robertson of Virginia

In 1996 we had:
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Pat Buchanan of Virginia
Bob Dole of Kansas
Robert K. Dornan of California
Steve Forbes of New York
Phil Gramm of Texas
Alan Keyes of Maryland
Richard Lugar of Indiana
Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania
Morry Taylor of Ohio
Pete Wilson of California

In 2000, we had:
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Gary Bauer of Kentucky
Pat Buchanana of Virginia
George W. Bush of Texas
Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina
Steve Forbes of New York
Orrin Hatch of Utah
John Kasich of Ohio
Alan Keyes of Maryland
John McCain of Arizona
Dan Qualye of Indiana
Bob Smith of New Hampshire

In 2008, we had:
Sam Brownback of Kansas
Mike Huckabee of Arkansas
Jim Gilmore of Virginia
Rudy Giuliani of New York
Duncan Hunter of California
Alan Keyes of Maryland
John McCain of Arizona
Mitt Romney of Massachusetts
Ron Paul of Texas
Tom Tancredo of Colorado
Fred Thompson of Tennessee
Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin

This year so far we have:
Michele Bachmann of Minnesota
Herman Cain of Georgia
Newt Gingrich of Georgia
Jon Huntsman of Utah
Gary Johnson of New Mexico
Ron Paul of Texas
Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota
Mitt Romney of Massachusetts
Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania

Some of them dropped out before the primaries, some after, and some garnered votes at the convention without doing much. But looking at the field, 2012 doesn’t seem more or less weak than most of the others.

I’d argue that 1964 to 1980 showed the rise of conservatives and after 1980 everyone largely ceded the field of ideas to conservatives. 30 years later, some Republicans wavering, but by and large the candidates still pay homage to Reagan. If anything, the GOP field right now is a reflect of our past successes and wins.

Of the candidates listed, I think the candidate who can tap into the spirit of one year I didn’t mention is the guy who will be the nominee — Reagan ‘76. He defied the party structure and wound up losing the nomination that year. But then the tea party movement didn’t exist back them. Whoever stands up as a credible outside voice of conservatism is going to go far. Conversely, those too tied to the “establishment”, whatever one might view it to be, will be hurt.

But don’t tell me it is a weak field. It’s a pretty typical field for the GOP.

 

Governor Daniels Chooses Not to Force His Family to Relive the Past, Opts Out of Presidential Race

From Ogden On Politics:

By now virtually everyone has seen the news that Governor Mitch Daniels has decided not to run for President.  While I wouldn’t have been surprised by this decision in January when I thought there was about a 15% chance he’d run, the last several months have all pointed to a Daniels’ candidacy.  This past week, I was about 70% sure he’d run.

Often when politicians claim to opt out of a race because of family reasons, “family” is merely an excuse. With Daniels though I believe him.  Everyone downplayed the issue here in Indiana, but the fact is Cheri Daniels’ decision to leave the marriage and four daughters behind to marry someone else and move to California in the 1990s. was an issue that would have become front and center should the Governor decided to run for President.

Contrary to the claims by some that the “far right” would not like the divorce and remarriage part of the story, religious conservatives would love the reconciliation and celebrate it as emblematic of family values.  The story unfortunately is more involved than that.  Cheri Daniels’ decision to leave behind her young daughters in Indiana to move to California and marry another man, created a political problem.  It wouldn’t have been a problem just with conservative voters, but with voters of all political stripes, and especially with mothers who would never forgive her leaving her young daughters behind.  On the presidential campaign trail, Cheri Daniels and the four (now) adult daughters would be asked repeatedly about what happened.  The questions were not going to go away.

Governor Daniels could have put his political ambition first and expose Cheri and their children to constantly reliving a painful episode from the past.  Instead Daniels chose to protect his family, putting their interests ahead of his own.  In a day and age of selfish male politicians having affairs at the drop of the hat, Daniels’ dedication to his family is a breath of fresh air.

God Bless America

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