Friday, February 12, 2010
Lashing Out Beats Accountability
Conservatives understand that liberals often demonize their opponents rather than debate the merits of the issues because the tactic works. But you have to wonder whether another reason they lash out is that they are angry that reality doesn't cooperate with their ideologically driven solutions and it's easier to blame others than to face up to the unpleasant truth of their failed ideas.
It's not just the tirades of liberal talk show host Ed Schultz, who said he would cheat to keep Scott Brown from winning his Senate election, or Chris Matthews, who said Republicans indoctrinate their members in the same way Cambodian communists re-educated their subjects, or the nasty outbursts of presidential adviser Rahm Emanuel.
I was also reminded of this, on a subtler level, when reading a Washington Post piece on David Plouffe, Barack Obama's presidential campaign manager, who recently returned to the Obama camp to quarterback the Democrats' election efforts in 2010 and beyond.
Plouffe said: "Politics is a comparative exercise. This isn't just a referendum on Democrats. ... It's a choice. ... Republicans right now are just sitting back and slinging arrows. We need to ... shine some light over their side of the fence."
Plouffe said he would remind voters that Democrats have spent two years trying to fix problems, whereas Republicans want to wheel a "Trojan horse" into Washington and spill out bankers and health insurance executives. Sure, why not vilify bankers and insurers when it helps your guy avoid accountability for his policies?
It's shamelessly Machiavellian of Democrats to accuse the GOP of going negative, when Democrats use Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" (e.g., "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it") as an instruction manual. But hey, they're out of fresh ideas, so what other choice do they have?
Notice how liberal Democrats frame almost any issue: stressing their supposedly good intentions and the Republicans' alleged lack of compassion to avoid a genuine debate and scrutiny of their policies. Consider:
On welfare, Democrats insist on ever-greater redistributionist programs with the ostensible goal of "ending" poverty. Nearly a half-century and $5 trillion since the war on poverty was initiated, we've barely made a dent in poverty. In fact, prior to the Republicans' Contract with America in 1994, we were losing ground in all relevant categories -- with black families, particularly black children, being the hardest hit.
Despite the evidence, Bill Clinton had to be dragged kicking and screaming into signing the welfare reform bill, for which, of course, he claimed full credit. But sadly, the manifest successes of the reforms -- which saw significant improvements in poverty and the rate of illegitimacy, especially among blacks -- didn't keep uber-liberal Barack Obama from rolling them back with a vengeance, something the public has barely noticed. These liberals cannot afford to allow success to stand, lest they be with fewer victims to exploit and conservatives to demonize.
On tax policy, the overwhelming successes of supply-side economics at improving the lots of all income groups without a loss in tax revenues didn't prevent liberals from falsely depicting the policies as sops for the rich and blaming them for the spending-induced deficits. More revealing was Obama's damning revelation that he favors capital gains tax increases as "a matter of fairness" despite admitting they result in decreases in revenue. Here he can't even credibly claim noble intentions. Instead of helping the poor, he's willing to hurt them, as long as everyone else is hurt, too. Class envy trumps results, which is really twisted when you think about it.
On education, liberals refuse to support school vouchers, the result being that many poor people, especially minorities, remain locked in inner-city schools without a key. Otherwise, liberals wouldn't be able to demand endless tax dollars for public education, which only they can "deliver."
On homosexual "marriage" and "don't ask, don't tell" policies for the military, liberals absurdly impugn conservatives as "homophobes" instead of addressing their valid interest in protecting traditional marriage as one of society's pillars and preserving the cohesiveness of the military unit, respectively.
On abortion, liberals refuse to consider mounting scientific evidence that the unborn are live human beings (as if further evidence were needed to confirm what we already know), because it forces them into moral accountability. Instead, they falsely declare the matter unknowable and, worse, try to co-opt the moral high ground as champions of women's rights while condemning their life-advocating opponents as bigots.
On man-made global warming, they cling to their flat-earth alarmism while refusing to discuss the evidence and accusing their opponents of willful blindness. Surreal on stilts!
On health care, they demand socialist solutions to achieve "universal coverage," when such solutions have failed everywhere they've been tried and will, studies show, leave millions uninsured. But they're still superior because they care. Or do they?
The Trouble With Elitist Theories
by Victor Davis Hanson
What's behind the Tea Party protests, low approval ratings for Congress, distrust of the media and unease with experts in the Obama administration? In short, a growing anger at the sermonizing and condescension by many of America's elites.
We see this specifically, for example, in the debate over global warming, which a year ago was accepted as gospel. The high profile of prestigious scientists, former public officials like Al Gore and Van Jones, and the Obama administration all made impending cap-and-trade legislation seem likely. Skeptics were derided as "deniers" and virtual know-nothings.
But then the assertion of manmade climate change met a perfect storm. First, several high academic priests of global warming were discredited. Leaked e-mails at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom revealed doctored evidence, personal vendettas and cover-ups among scientists.
More recently, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted it had relied on faulty information, leading it to make inflated claims on impending manmade warming disasters involving Himalayan glaciers.
These exposes dovetailed with a series of unconnected events that further undermined the climate-change diktat. Many of the most prominent green advocates either seemed hypocritical or downright crazy. Al Gore, for example, has earned much of his new fortune from his supposedly disinterested public service to the green cause, and yet habitually leaves a carbon footprint like few others on the planet.
The president's own "green jobs" official, Van Jones, it was revealed, had signed a "truther" petition stating that the U.S. government had planned 9/11. His credibility shot, Jones had to resign.
Then there was the uncooperative weather itself. Environmental grandees jetted into frigid Copenhagen to discuss planet warming. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., portions of a very cold East Coast have been blanketed with unprecedented snowfall levels -- at a time when the public is supposed to be concerned that temperatures are unseasonably warming.
Other conventional wisdom from supposed experts has also been questioned. Take the model of the European Union. After the September 2008 American financial panic, European diplomats and intellectuals lectured Americans on the evils of unfettered capitalism and the superiority of their statist model. The strong euro and steady expansion of the EU had convinced many that their soft socialism was the only way of the future.
But European prosperity was, in fact, heavily subsidized by decades of free protection by the U.S. military. Meanwhile, aristocratic bureaucrats in Brussels were increasingly not accountable to their skeptical continental constituents -- and seemed terrified of popular referenda from member states on the EU constitution.
And now? Several EU nations like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal face financial implosions -- brought on by unsustainable government spending, out-of-control pensions and endemic tax cheating. The euro is falling fast. Bondholders of European debt are jittery. Now, northwestern countries like Germany and France -- despite their own budget problems -- may have to bailout Greece. Yet, in 2009, the American binge of massive spending and borrowing, expansion of government, and new proposed taxes followed the model of the supposedly superior European system. But for all the massive new debt, unemployment here remains high and the economy still sluggish.
The Obama administration came into office also convinced of another theory popular among many intellectuals, lawyers and members of the media -- that the so-called "war on terror" had degenerated into a Bush administration overreaction to 9/11. Obama's anti-terrorism czar, John Brennan, lambasted the past anti-terrorism nomenclature and the methods of the very administration he used to work for. President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay. Rendition, military tribunals and Predator drone attacks at one time or another were caricatured as unnecessary or counterproductive. Even the name "war on terror" was dropped for kindler, gentler euphemisms. "Outreach" and "reset" with the Islamic world became instead the talking points. Highly educated experts had to explain to those of us who are less sophisticated that the real dangers were Guantanamo Bay and the waterboarding of a few terrorist detainees rather than the need to detain and interrogate actual terrorists.
And now? After the mass murdering at Fort Hood, the Christmas Day bombing plot, the popular outrage over offering a civilian trial in New York to the architect of 9/11, and the snubbing of American outreach by a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran, there's less reason than ever to accept a therapeutic approach to dealing with radical Islamic terrorism.
There is an unfocused but growing anger in the country -- and it should come as no surprise. Nobody likes to be lectured by those claiming superior wisdom but often lacking common sense about everything from out-of-control spending and predicting the weather to dealing with enemies who are trying to kill us all.
Democrats in worst shape in the last 50 years: "The metrics are pretty clear: Barack Obama got the highest percentage of the vote for a Democratic candidate for president since 1964 and now he has plunged his party into its weakest position in the polls since that time. For confirmation, look at the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls on the generic vote for Congress: 45% Republican and 42% Democratic. Rasmussen Reports, which interviews only those who pass a screen as likely voters, has it 44%-36% Republican, ABC/Washington Poll has it 45%-42% Republican, NPR’s bipartisan poll has it 44%-39% Republican and Gallup has a 45%-45% tie. Democracy Corps, a Democratic outfit which has earned respect for its results, has Democrats ahead 46%-41%.
Muslims can do no wrong in Sweden: "Sweden's unemployment agency has been found guilty of discrimination for expelling a Muslim man from a job training program because he refused to shake hands with a woman. A Stockholm court Monday ordered the Public Employment Service to pay 50,000 kronor ($6,700) in damages to an immigrant from Bosnia who lost his jobless benefits when he was kicked out of the program. Citing his faith, the man had refused to shake hands with a woman when he was interviewing for an internship. The agency said his behavior was part of the reason he didn't get the position, and decided to exclude him from the program. The court ruled that the man was discriminated against because of his religion. It wasn't immediately clear whether the ruling would be appealed."
Animal tagging dead, authoritycrats stunned: "They were stunned. The gray, boring, unimaginative breed of faceless functionaries who inhabit the American enclave variously called Oz or Wonderland or Washington DC couldn’t believe what they had just heard. The US Department of Agriculture had tossed in the saddle blanket. The mandatory Grand Scheme to register every farm and ranch, to electronically tag every edible creature in America for the alleged purpose of ‘protecting consumers’ by tracking diseased animals, had died.”
The stupid British Left set to destroy more British jobs: "Unilever become the latest company to threaten to pull out of UK over rising taxes. The boss of Unilever has warned the company could be forced to move abroad if hit with further tax rises. The loss of the firm that makes PG Tips and Hellman's mayonnaise would be a major embarrassment for the Government and the biggest casualty to date. Unilever can trace its history in the UK back to the 1890s. A number of companies tired of constantly changing tax regimes and onerous regulations introduced under Labour have already moved abroad. And many business leaders have become increasingly infuriated with the Government for hitting hardest those British firms that make large slices of their profit overseas. The UK has one of the highest corporation tax rates in Europe, while the return to 17.5 per cent VAT will also deal a blow to firms. High-earners from April will be hit with Gordon Brown's 50p tax rate, a move which some critics have said will trigger an exodus of workers. Mr Polman said: 'We do have choices where we put research laboratories, choices for manufacturing facilities and choices where we put our senior management. In Ireland corporation tax is 12.5 per cent and the basic 2009 corporate federal rate of tax in Germany was 15 per cent."
Iran now a nuclear state: "As security forces clashed with his opponents, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was quoted on Thursday as saying his country had produced a first batch of uranium enriched to a level of 20 percent, taunting the West by declaring that if Tehran wanted to build a nuclear bomb, it would say so. Iran, he said, repeating an earlier assertion, was now “a nuclear state.” Mr. Ahmadinejad again denied that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons. “When we say we do not manufacture the bomb, we mean it, and we do not believe in manufacturing a bomb,” Mr. Ahmadinejad told the crowd, according to The Associated Press. But he added” “If we wanted to manufacture a bomb, we would announce it.” Western experts have already said that once Iran was able to enrich uranium to 20 percent it could theoretically move relatively quickly toward the manufacture of weapons-grade fuel, usually reckoned at 90 percent."
Breakaway Episcopalians get sympathy in England: "The Church of England threw a lifeline to a breakaway group of former Episcopalians on Wednesday, saying it "recognizes and affirms" the aim of the fledgling Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to be part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. After hours of wrangling and debate in London, the Church of England's General Synod signaled that it sympathized with conservatives who have left the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada over radically different views on biblical authority, same-sex unions and the elections of two gay bishops. But the synod stopped short of doing what several African and other developing provinces have done -- formally recognize the 100,000-member ACNA, which was formed in June as a parallel Anglican body of 28 member dioceses with 742 parishes and 800 clergy."
Obama nominates yet another extremist: "The Senate is about to act on the nomination of militant leftist Dawn Johnsen to be the chief of the U.S. government’s elite legal team. But that post is a stepping-stone for top judicial offices, including the Supreme Court itself. That’s likely Barack Obama’s plans for Johnsen, and it’s why she must be stopped now. Ultra-liberal activist Dawn Johnsen, currently a professor at Indiana University School of Law, is President Obama’s nominee to be assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). As the OLC chief, Johnsen would shape the legal positions of the Obama administration on every issue. OLC is the elite legal team for the federal government, giving legal advice on every important issue to the attorney general, other department heads in the government, and to the president himself. That’s why the head of OLC is called “the attorney general’s lawyer.” The problem is that Johnsen is a radical."
Economists say many lost jobs won't return: "About a quarter of the 8.4 million jobs eliminated since the recession began in the US won't be coming back and will ultimately need to be replaced by other types of work in growing industries, according to economists in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey. While the job market is constantly shifting as some sectors fade and others expand, this recession threw that process into overdrive. Thousands of workers lost jobs as companies automated more tasks or moved whole assembly lines to places like China. As growth returns, so will job creation - just with a different emphasis in the mix of jobs being created. Economists in the survey are predicting a slow upswing for the economy as a whole. Respondents on average expect economic growth to settle at about 3 per cent in 2010, off sharply from the powerful 5.7 per cent seasonally adjusted annual growth rate in the fourth quarter." But with about 100,000 new jobs a month needed just to soak up new entrants to the work force, that pace of job creation will only slowly reduce the high unemployment rate."
Trial lawyers: Democrats’ other money machine: "Public-sector unions aren’t the only machine used by Democrats to recycle tax dollars for campaign funds. Trial lawyers also use government’s monopoly on the use of force to tax the public, profit handsomely, and recycle a portion of the funds to their political enablers.”
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Posted by JR at 7:15 PM