Thursday, February 02, 2012

Obama and the Democrats are still playing the race card for all it is worth (1)

It's all they've got but it is very disruptive to race-relations

Walter E. Williams

There's been a heap of criticism placed upon President Barack Obama's domestic policies that have promoted government intrusion and prolonged our fiscal crisis and his foreign policies that have emboldened our enemies. Any criticism of Obama pales in comparison with what might be said about the American people who voted him in to the nation's highest office.

Obama's presidency represents the first time in our history that a person could have been elected to that office who had long-standing close associations with people who hate our nation. I'm speaking of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for 20 years, who preached that blacks should sing not "God Bless America," but "God damn America." Then there's William Ayers, now professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago but formerly a member of the Weather Underground, an anti-U.S. group that bombed the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol and other government buildings. Although Ayers was never convicted of any crime, he told a New York Times reporter, in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attack, "I don't regret setting bombs. ... I feel we didn't do enough." Obama has served on a foundation board, appeared on panels, and even held campaign events in Ayers' home, joined by Ayers' former-fugitive wife, Bernardine Dohrn. Bill Ayers' close association with Obama is reflected by his admission that he helped write Obama's memoirs, "Dreams from My Father."

Many Americans thought that with Obama's presidency, we were moving to a "post-racial society." Little can be further from the truth. Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, in a National Review (1/18/2012) article titled "Obama's Racial Politics," says that Obama's message about race and his charges of racial bigotry are "usually coded and subtle." Criticizing Republicans, before a Mexican-American audience, Obama said that he ran for office because "America should be a place where you can always make it if you try -- a place where every child, no matter what they look like (or) where they come from, should have a chance to succeed." If you don't get it, "no matter what they look like" is code for nonwhite. Hanson says that Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder, has "found race a convenient refuge from criticism -- most recently accusing his congressional auditors of racism, for their grilling him over government sales of firearms to Mexican cartel hitmen."

Obama's racial politics are aided and abetted by a dishonest news media. When Republican candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry referred to "a big black cloud that hangs over America, that debt that is so monstrous," he was dishonestly accused of racism by MSNBC's Ed Schultz, who said, "That black cloud Perry is talking about is President Barack Obama." Schultz omitted the second half of Perry's quote. Chris Matthews referred to Perry's vision of federalism as "Bull Connor with a smile."

The media have help from black congressmen in stirring up racial dissent. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said white presidents must be "pushed a great deal more" to address black unemployment than would a black president. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said that argument over the debt ceiling is proof of racial animosity toward Obama. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said that Republicans are trying to deny blacks the vote. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., said the tea party wishes to lynch blacks and hang them from trees. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Perry's job creation in Texas is "one stage away from slavery."

All of this places a heavy burden on people who care about our nation. We must ensure that the 2012 elections are the most open and honest elections in U.S. history. Should Obama lose, I wouldn't put it past leftists, progressives, the news media and their race-hustling allies, as well as the president, to fan the fires of hate and dissension by charging that racists somehow stole the election, thereby giving support and excuses for the kind of violence and lawlessness that we've witnessed in flash mobs and Occupy Wall Street riots.



Obama and the Democrats are still playing the race card for all it is worth (2)

It's all they've got but it is very disruptive to race-relations

Jonah Goldberg

In response to the face-off in Arizona between President Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last week, Jackson said, "Even George Wallace did not put his finger in Dr. King's face." And it's true; he didn't. Similarly, not even Josef Stalin wrote two autobiographies the way Obama has. And even Genghis Khan didn't have a Swiss bank account the way Mitt Romney did.

Of course, Jackson's non sequitur is a single note in the cacophony of asininity surrounding the wildly overhyped confrontation between Obama and Brewer. An MSNBC host (and putative expert in matters racial) said the photo reminded her more than anything else of the iconic image of Elizabeth Eckford, the 15-year-old black girl who was harassed in 1957 by racists on her way to a desegregated school in Little Rock, Ark. And liberal talk radio host Stephanie Miller concurred that Brewer was "playing the fragile-white-woman-scared-of-black-man card." Al Sharpton, Bill Maher and Maureen Dowd sounded similar refrains.

Lost in all of this is the simple fact that the president instigated the confrontation. He was upset with how an earlier meeting with Brewer was characterized in her book, "Scorpions for Breakfast" (full disclosure: my wife collaborated on the book). She probably shouldn't have raised her finger, even if it was only to get a word in edgewise.

But good Lord, given the liberal overreaction to this incident, you'd think the governorship of Arizona outranked the presidency, or that Obama was a beleaguered civil rights activist sneaking into Arizona by cover of night, and not the president of the United States touching down in Air Force One.

Obama simply messed up a campaign swing by stepping on his message. But his most ardent supporters had to turn the incident into some sort of racial Gotterdammerung. Obama had it right later when he said it was all "not a big deal."

But this absurd controversy is surely a harbinger of greater inanities to come. As even some Democrats in Washington concede, Obama can't run on his record. That's why he's running against a "do-nothing Congress" and unfairness in the tax code. That's simply not exciting enough for his supporters, particularly given the fizzling of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

And nothing more excites the base of the Democratic Party -- or gets more free media -- than wildly implausible hysterics over racism, even when there's so little evidence to support the claim.

Take what appears to be the left's strongest claim: Newt Gingrich's blowout victory in South Carolina was a triumph for his racist "dog-whistle" political rhetoric on child labor and the huge rise in food stamp use under Obama.

"Dog-whistle politics" is a term imported from Britain that implies politicians use language with two frequencies, one for normal people and one for less savory constituencies. Dog-whistle messages are real. But dog-whistle spotting can be hard -- you're listening for things that, by definition, normal people cannot hear -- and prone to wild misinterpretation.

For instance, Gingrich has been talking about food stamps and child labor for a long time. During that time, he also worked harder than most GOP politicians to reach out to minority groups, even to Sharpton. Does he phrase things too provocatively? Absolutely. But he does that about everything from tax cuts to moon bases.

When Gingrich came down like a ton of bricks on Juan Williams in the South Carolina debate on the food stamp issue, liberals instinctively saw it as a racial transaction, pure and simple. And although I have no doubt that racists enjoyed seeing Gingrich belittle a black journalist, there's zero evidence that Republicans overall cheered for racist reasons. They've cheered Gingrich for attacking white moderators from every outlet, including Fox News.

And to the extent there are racial implications to what Gingrich proposes, they're no more racist than remarks made by prominent African Americans who see the culture of poverty perpetuating poverty.

But for reasons that say a lot more about the weaknesses of the first black president, liberals yearn to hear racism where it isn't to make this campaign into something more exciting than a referendum on Obama.



Let Us Now Praise Private Equity

Every presidential candidate has to defend himself against accusations of wrongdoing — an affair, abuse of office, campaign-finance impropriety, and so forth. Mitt Romney finds himself in a predictable defensive crouch, too, but the allegation against him is extraordinary: He stands accused of doing his job too well.

As the founder and CEO of the private-equity firm Bain Capital, Romney was a turnaround artist. In that role, the GOP frontrunner says, he restored failing firms to health, usually with great success. He claims to have helped create thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in new wealth.

Some of Romney’s Republican rivals, particularly Newt Gingrich, haven’t framed Romney’s record in such generous terms. They say Romney was a “vulture capitalist” who used financial chicanery to enrich himself and his cronies at the expense of helpless workers. President Obama and his allies will surely make the same case in the months to come. Indeed, a recent memo from Stephanie Cutter, the president’s deputy campaign manager, accuses Romney of having sought “profit at any cost,” and of believing in “an economy where the wealthy and powerful can rig the game at the expense of working Americans.” Romney’s verbal gaffes, including an ill-considered soundbite professing his love of “being able to fire people,” have made him vulnerable to more demonization still.

After his victory in New Hampshire’s primary, Romney fought back with unusually strong words. “President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial,” he said, adding that “we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him.” But Romney was only partly right. The plaintiffs against free enterprise are not just a handful of politicians, but a growing number of American voters who think corporate elites have jeopardized a social contract that once guaranteed, as Bill Clinton put it, that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to have a decent life and a chance for your children to have a better one.”

There is some reason to believe that in the 21st century, that contract has expired. Over the last decade, job destruction has outpaced job creation in the private sector. Great American brands like GM and Chrysler went on life support, and others like Kodak died altogether. Today’s corporate success stories, meanwhile, are nimble, brainy start-ups rather than the glorious industrial giants of yesteryear. Consider Instagram, a cellphone-photo-sharing service with 10 million users and, as of late last year, six employees. Even a Silicon Valley behemoth like Facebook, currently valued at over $82 billion, has just 3,000 employees. Kodak had 19,000.

Companies like Instagram and Facebook will hire more — but they probably won’t hire those veterans of Kodak or GM, and they won’t flock to Rochester, N.Y., or Detroit, Mich., to chase after the Next Big Thing. We can blame economic abstractions, such as globalization or skill-biased technical change, for this upheaval of the American economy. Or we can blame those who have profited most conspicuously — the highest-earning 1 percent, and the man who now serves as their political stand-in: Mitt Romney.

Anxious American workers are right to worry about their futures. After the financial collapse, U.S. jobs were destroyed in a labor-market bonfire of a size not seen since the Great Depression. Hiring, job creation, and investment since then have been anemic. Though hiring seems to have picked up slightly, there are still between three and five out-of-work, job-seeking Americans for every opening. This ratio never went above three-to-one from 1951 to 2007, and it only rarely surpassed two-to-one.

The United States now has dangerously low employment, and as workers remain idle, they lose skills and become unhireable by those smaller, more technologically advanced corporations. So the backlash against job destruction, particularly as manifested in the cost-cutting efforts of Bain Capital, is predictable. This backlash, alas, will almost certainly not facilitate job creation. Indeed, if the government tries to make layoffs more difficult, large work forces will cost more to maintain, and the job shortage will stay dire.

The difficult truth that virtually no politician is prepared to acknowledge is that the road to job creation runs through job destruction. Yet it is a truth that workers and voters must understand — and Mitt Romney carries the almost impossible burden of explaining it. The controversy over Bain Capital won’t blow over. The only way forward is to show how his work at Bain contributed to growth, and how the excessive regulation and crony capitalism his fiercest critics advocate is a recipe for stagnation.

Much more HERE



“Single-payer” health care requires evermore patient patients: "No one denies that the U.S. healthcare system is badly broken, beginning with the introduction of employer-provided (3rd-party payer) health insurance as a work-around to World War II wage and price controls, and ever-higher premiums correlating with ever-expanding government involvement in the sector -- evidence that would seem to call for less government involvement, not more."

Who wants to be a businessperson? "Who in their right mind would want to be a businessperson these days? It’s always been tough creating and growing a business -- failure is more common than success but the potential for reward and the thrill of the chase still appeal to the energetic, the imaginative and the diligent. These days, though, the historically successful 'western' liberal business model is under attack from the bottom and the top."

NBC Ignores Burning of American Flag by Oakland Occupiers: "NBC whitewashed the anti-American activities of the violent Occupy protests in Oakland. The network dedicated only 34 seconds to covering the riot, but refused to mention the fact that Oakland protestors burned an American flag - despite the fact that both its sister networks, ABC and CBS, had done so. On Saturday, Jan. 28, nearly 400 Occupy Oakland protesters were arrested for their actions in a violent riot. Occupiers vandalized Oakland's historic City Hall and burned an American flag (which they stole from the City Hall). They were harshly criticized by the Democratic Oakland Mayor, Jean Quan, for their destructive actions. MRC TV obtained footage of the American flag being burned by Occupiers in Oakland while the Occupier shooting the video recited a mocking, anti-Semitic version of the Pledge of Allegiance. The major morning shows on the broadcast networks provided a sanitized version of these events."

Indiana becomes Rust Belt's first right-to-work state: "Indiana's controversial right-to-work bill became state law Wednesday. The state Senate voted 28-22 to pass the labor union bill as thousands of protesters packed Statehouse hallways shouting their disapproval. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill shortly thereafter without ceremony, making Indiana the 23rd state in the nation with such a law. Under right-to-work laws, companies can no longer negotiate a contract with a union that requires non-members to pay fees for representation. The House earlier passed the measure 54-44. Daniels and other Republican supporters characterized the measure as needed for Indiana to attract jobs."

About those US jobs: "US politicians make a great show of concerning themselves with the level of unemployment. And so they bluster about the need for this new program or that new program -- in fact, about any new idea except for the one that will actually be effective. Namely, stop the meddling."



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