Friday, November 18, 2011

Romney or bust?

Ann Coulter below thinks so and although I don't like it I suspect she is right. Many conservatives don't like him because he is too centrist but that may be in his favor. Centrism could pull in the essential independent voters

The mainstream media keep pushing alternatives to Mitt Romney not only because they are terrified of running against him, but also because they want to keep Republicans fighting, allowing Democrats to get a four-month jump on us.

Meanwhile, everyone knows the nominee is going to be Romney.

That's not so bad if you think the most important issues in this election are defeating Obama and repealing Obamacare.

There may be better ways to stop Obamacare than Romney, but, unfortunately, they're not available right now. (And, by the way, where were you conservative purists when Republicans were nominating Waterboarding-Is-Torture-Jerry-Falwell-Is-an-Agent-of-Intolerance-My-Good-Friend-Teddy-Kennedy-Amnesty-for-Illegals John McCain-Feingold for president?)

Among Romney's positives is the fact that he has a demonstrated ability to trick liberals into voting for him. He was elected governor of Massachusetts -- one of the most liberal states in the union -- by appealing to Democrats, independents and suburban women.

He came close to stopping the greatest calamity to befall this nation since Pearl Harbor by nearly beating Teddy Kennedy in a Senate race. (That is when he said a lot of the things about which he's since "changed his mind.") If he had won, we'd be carving his image on Mount Rushmore.

He is not part of the Washington establishment, so he won't be caught taking money from Freddie Mac or cutting commercials with Nancy Pelosi.

Also, Romney will be the first Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan who can talk. Liberals are going to have to dust off their playbook from 30 years ago to figure out how to run against a Republican who isn't a tongue-tied marble-mouth.

As we've known for years, his negatives are: Romneycare and Mormonism.

We look forward with cheery anticipation to an explosion of news stories on some of the stranger aspects of Mormonism. The articles have already been written, but they're not scheduled for release until the day Romney wraps up the nomination.

Inasmuch as the Democrats' only argument for the big-eared beanpole who's nearly wrecked the country is that you must be a racist if you oppose Obama, one assumes a lot of attention will be lavished on the Mormon Church's historical position on blacks. Church founder Joseph Smith said blacks had the curse of Cain on them and banned blacks from the priesthood, a directive that was not revoked until 1978.

There's no evidence that this was a policy fiercely pushed by Mitt Romney. To the contrary, when his father, George Romney, was governor of Michigan, he was the most pro-civil rights elected official in the entire country, far ahead of any Democrat.

No one is worried Romney will double-cross us on repealing Obamacare. We worry that Romneycare will make it harder for him to get elected.

But, again, Romney is the articulate Republican. He's already explained how mandating health insurance in one particular wealthy, liberal Northeastern state is different from inflicting it on the entire country. Our Constitution establishes a federalist system that allows experimentation with different ideas in the individual states.

As governor, Romney didn't have the ability to change federal laws requiring hospital emergency rooms to treat every illegal alien, drug dealer and vagrant who walked in the door, then sending the bill to taxpayers. (Although David Axelrod, Michelle Obama, Eric Whitaker and Valerie Jarrett did figure out a way to throw poor blacks out of the University of Chicago Medical Center..)

The Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, supported Romneycare at the time. The biggest warning sign should have been that Gingrich supported it, too.

Most important, Romney has said -- forcefully and repeatedly -- that his first day in office he will issue a 50-state waiver from Obamacare and will then seek a formal repeal.

Romney is not going to get to the White House and announce, "The first thing I'm going to do is implement that fantastic national health care plan signed by my pal, Barack!"

Unlike all other major legislation in the nation's history, Obamacare was narrowly passed along partisan lines by an aberrationally large one-party majority in Congress. (Thanks, McCain supporters!) Not one single Republican in Congress voted for it, not even John McCain.

Obamacare is going to be repealed -- provided only that a Republican wins the next presidential election.

If a Republican does not win, however, it will never be repealed. Recall that, in order to boast about the amazing revenue savings under Obamacare, Democrats had to configure the bill so that the taxes to pay for it start right away, but the goodies don't kick in until 2014.

Once people are thrown off their insurance plans and are forced to depend on the government for "free" health care, Obamacare is here to stay. (And Newt Gingrich will be calling plans to tinker with it "right-wing social engineering.")

Instead of sitting on our thumbs, wishing Ronald Reagan were around, or chasing the latest mechanical rabbit flashed by the media, conservatives ought to start rallying around Romney as the only Republican who has a shot at beating Obama. We'll attack him when he's president.

It's fun to be a purist, but let's put that on hold until Obama and his abominable health care plan are gone, please.



Romney in an Age of Anger

Obama's attack on America has poisoned the atmosphere for more moderate politicians

Why do so many prominent pundits and politicos on the right who embraced Mitt Romney as their champion in 2008 reject him now as a gutless, unprincipled moderate and unworthy standard-bearer for the conservative cause?

The answer to that uncomfortable question has nothing to do with changes in Mitt Romney (if anything, he’s gotten more conservative in the last four years) but it does indicate troubling tendencies within the Republican Party and the nation itself.

In February, 2008, the most influential (and persuasive) right winger of ‘em all threw his all-important support to Romney’s then struggling candidacy. “I think now, based on the way the campaign has shaken out, that there probably is a candidate on our side who does embody all three legs of the conservative stool, and that’s Romney,” he told his massive audience. “The three legs of the stool are national security/foreign policy, the social conservatives and the fiscal conservatives.”

After Rush highlighted the de facto endorsement in his newsletter with the headline “One Candidate Now Represents All Three Legs of Conservatism” the rest of syndicated talk radio (Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck) largely followed suit. Laura Ingraham introduced Mitt at CPAC as a “true conservative” and “a conservative’s conservative.” Only one lonely, courageous voice among the top-rated national hosts (and that would be me) openly dissented and proudly (and perspicaciously) endorsed McCain. Even Jim DeMint, the most conservative member of the US Senate, fell in line behind the Mittster.

But this time, conservatives seem wary, cynical or downright hostile to Romney’s smooth and formidable campaign. Instead of praising Romney as the perfectly balanced, three-legged-stool conservative dream candidate, El Rushbo now says, “Romney is not a conservative. He’s not folks. You can argue with me all day long on that, but he isn’t.” (October 13). Erick Erickson of goes even further, wailing that “Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican nominee. And his general election campaign will be an utter disaster for conservatives as he takes the GOP down with him and burns up what it means to be a conservative in the process…He is neither liberal nor conservative. He is simply unprincipled.”

What did Romney do, exactly, to inspire such angry contempt?

On no major issue did he move to the center in the last four years and on several (like Medicare reform, or environmental regulation) he moved decisively, even boldly to the right. The conservative commitments he made in 2008 (on social issues and other matters of policy) remain firmly intact, and the notorious flip-flops with which his thinking “evolved” over the years have receded further into the past (mostly before 2005) and so should seem less relevant, not more so.

Furthermore, as a candidate Romney has vastly improved with his self-assured, focused and coherent debate performances and a more genial and engaging, less plastic and patrician, personality. Looking at tape from four years ago and comparing it to the polished, capable candidate on display today, it’s easy to find reasons to rally to Romney’s cause this time, but impossible to discern any change for the worse.

Why, then, the stubborn conservative resistance to Romney’s seemingly inevitable nomination?

Some of his critics claim that right-wingers oppose him this time because they can select among better, more viable alternatives than in 2008, when some conservatives would do anything to stop McCain. This argument, however, displays a short, selective memory: in what way do formidable figures like Governor Mike Huckabee and Senator Fred Thompson, with all their governmental experience and folksy charm, count as less plausible or impressive than the likes of Rick Perry and Herman Cain? Moreover, the impassioned conservative 2012 candidates from the House of Representatives (Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul) hardly overwhelm the trio of House contenders from 2008 (Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo…and Ron Paul).

Part of Romney’s problem in this year’s race stems from Obama’s disastrous decision to push through his ill-considered health care reform, which brings fresh focus on Romney’s own sweeping (and controversial) insurance plan in Massachusetts. But Mitt had finished any tinkering with medical mandates by the time he left the governorship at the end of 2006, and in the intervening years he fought Obama care from the beginning and came up with refreshing proposals for more practical, market-based reforms.

The real problem for Romney this time around involves something deeper, and more disturbing than questions of policy, and centers on the utterly changed mood in the country at large and particularly within the Republican Party. Four years ago, despite the beginning stages of the economic meltdown and the last stages of a painful war in Iraq, the nation yearned unmistakably for unifying, reassuring leadership. Barack Obama pledged to fill that need and won the presidency largely based on his hopeful promises to bring people together, bridging barriers of black and white, rich and poor, progressive and conservative.

Today, after four years of incompetence, reckless spending, self-infatuated grandiosity and shameless class warfare, neither side touts compromise or cooperation while both try to rally their die-hard loyalists with promises to follow Conan’s prescription for “what’s best in life: to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and to hear the lamentations of their women” (okay, maybe not the last part).

Amazingly enough, in the midst of the debt-ceiling debacle this summer, all the current leaders in the GOP presidential field (yes, including Mitt Romney!) urged John Boehner to risk default and national disaster rather than reach any deal with the dreaded Democrats. As the Super Committee struggles to craft some sort of agreement before the doomsday deadline at the end of this month, fierce partisans on both sides refuse to give ground and hammer out an agreement that might actually reduce the deficit and save the country. Democrats claim that Republicans want to wreck the economy for political advantage, or to steal more money from the poor for their rich Wall Street friends; conservatives insist that Obama and his minions scheme to wreck the economy to impose their vision of a totalitarian socialist utopia.

In other words, a moment of aspiration has given way to an era of anger, while hope-and-change morphed into rage and paranoia. Some measure of the sad state of the nation (and of the conservative movement) can be gathered from the desperate weeks that the preening demagogue Donald Trump actually received serious consideration as a presidential possibility.

In this atmosphere Romney looks suspect to many activists on the right not because he isn’t conservative enough but because he isn’t angry enough. His real problem isn’t a question of ideology, it’s a matter of attitude. Mitt can’t keep himself from looking self-possessed and unflappable, cool and collected, reasonable and restrained. Rage isn’t part of his emotional repertoire: even when visibly frustrated by Rick Perry’s boorish disregard of all rules of debate in the Las Vegas slugfest, he came across as more pained and perplexed than infuriated.

Like most seriously successful businessmen, Mitt is a pragmatic problem solver, a sensible fixer, a technocrat. It’s easy to imagine him rolling up his perfectly cuff-linked sleeves to begin a process of cooperative, institutional repair in Washington but it’s tough to visualize the perfectly poised governor at the head of an avenging conservative army, laying waste to the opposition in a merciless effort to smash the remaining redoubts of their power.

Four years ago, Mike Huckabee delighted his many admirers with a wonderful line that seemed to capture the more hopeful spirit of that time. “I’m a conservative,” he liked to say, “but I’m not angry about it.”

The fact that Mitt Romney’s lack of anger and indignation has become a disqualifying attribute to many of his conservative critics isn’t just a problem for Romney or for Republicans. It’s an alarming development for the United States of America.



A Response to Jeffrey Sachs' Progressive Vision

In last weekend’s New York Times, Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs predicted and championed a new progressive movement that will allegedly restore “honest and effective government for all,” revive “crucial public services,” “end the climate of impunity” that encouraged fraud on Wall Street, and “re-establish” the supremacy of “people votes over dollar votes” in Washington, D.C., whatever that means. These ends will be accomplished by essentially replicating the Obama presidency thus far. If this prediction has any merit, it is a prudent time to heed Bill Buckley’s admonition to stand athwart (progressive) history and yell, “Stop!” Happily, three formidable obstacles undermine Professor Sachs’ progressive prophecy.

First, his inspiration is misplaced. Professor Sachs takes inspiration from the Occupy Wall Street movement. He shouldn’t. Whereas most hardworking, law abiding Americans see in the Occupy movement unruly scenes of violence, drug use, social disorder, and disorganization, Professor Sachs sees the beginnings of a new era in modern politics. Contrary to this wishful thinking, the people in Zuccotti Park and elsewhere have not started America on a path to renewal. They have started themselves on a path to social alienation, criminal records, and, as reported at the Occupy Atlanta encampment, tuberculosis. Unsurprisingly, there has been no popular outcry against the reestablishment of law and order, and sanitation.

What the Occupy crowd and Professor Sachs seem to miss, or not appreciate, is that bigger government equals bigger businesses and less consumer choice. It also, as Dennis Prager correctly notes, leads to smaller citizens. Increasing the size and scope of the federal government inexorably restricts individual decision-making. Subjecting citizen initiative to the policy paternalism of Washington is, aside from being bad policy, also fundamentally un-American. Professor Sachs’ vision runs contrary to the truth Ronald Reagan noted: we are a people with a government, not a government with a people. Finally, he gets the Progressive analogy wrong. Whereas earlier Progressives were law abiding citizens who championed some admirable causes, like women’s suffrage, today’s Occupy rabble trash private and public property and have no discernible, coherent agenda.

Second, his perspective is selective and incomplete. The root cause of Professor Sachs’ misperception of America lies in his vantage point. He suffers from Baby Boomer Ivory Tower Syndrome (BBITS), a chief symptom of which is, among other things, a surprising inability to accurately gauge the convictions of the intended conscripts of this purported Progressive army, whom Professor Sachs presumably encounters on a daily basis. The vast majority of those in his targeted age range would be generations X and Y. They have no memory of or inclination towards the earlier Progressive movements; they are not the SDS of today; and their relationship to the federal government is not defined by what happened at Kent State or in Vietnam. They are wholly different creatures than 1960s student radicals (see below).

Instead, thanks to the Reagan economic boom, a substantial number of those in generations X and Y have lived lives of unparalleled comfort and plenty, immune from draft cards, and obsessed with technological materialism (iPhones/Pods/Pads, etc.), mindless entertainment (reality TV, video games, fantasy football), and symbolic, empty forms of social activism (using recyclable shopping bags, driving a Toyota Prius, donating a Facebook “status” to tsunami victims). They are decidedly less politically radical -- the largest political club on the Berkeley campus is the College Republicans -- and they’ve lived through the Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush administrations, which (generally) agreed that raising taxes to support big government was a feature of a bygone political era, or at least not a prudent path to political victory. Also, these generations are famously entrepreneurial, e.g.. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Groupon, etc. Their focus is on what they can build up in the private, not public, sector.

These traits lead to a unique political ideology commonly found in dynamic urban areas. For example, in the People’s Republic of Santa Monica, California, where this column is written, the prevailing orthodoxy of those in the 25-40 year old range seems to be: “I’m fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.” For better or for worse, this demographic is notoriously laissez faire concerning government intrusion (hands off) because it is unaccustomed to, and therefore not reliant upon, government provision. For the Xs and Ys, the goal is self-sufficiency. No one takes the bus, or clamors for high speed rail, when they can instead fight traffic in a BMW 3 series, or a Prius.

Third and finally, Professor Sachs ignores political reality. One line from his recent book, The Price of Civilization, demonstrates his misguided thinking: “Yes, the federal government is incompetent and corrupt – but we need more, not less, of it.” Voters across America disagree: the elections last week produced important small government/anti-tax wins across the country, including in the bell weather states of Colorado (rejected tax increases), Ohio (rejected Obamacare) and Virginia (elected more Republicans statewide). And, Mr. Obama’s progressive interventions have spawned and empowered the Tea Party and the Tea Party Congressional Caucus, which has single-handedly ended his short-lived progressive agenda in Congress. How Professor Sachs can observe these trends and discern a new Progressivism is bewildering.



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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