Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gallup: United States ‘More Liberal in Recent Years’

Buried below its rankings of the most conservative and liberal states, Gallup declared that “Americans have become slightly less conservative and more liberal in recent years.”

The polling group did hedge the judgment by also stating that state-by-state, the ideological bends have “generally remained quite stable.”

The declaration of America’s leftward lean has been a consistent theme in Gallup’s annual state-by-state surveys. In 2014, Gallup said the nation’s “Conservative advantage down from last year.”

Their 2013 judgment was nearly identical to this year’s:

“America has become a slightly more liberal and a slightly less conservative nation than it was in 2011 -- based on residents' self-reports of their ideology…”

Beyond the state-by-state trends, this survey seems to indicate that while President Obama might have fallen short of “fundamentally transforming” America, he has tilted the nation leftward, at the very least.

Gallup’s 2015 “State of the States” series revealed the list of the most conservative and liberal states in the country. Mississippi was named the most conservative, while Massachusetts was deemed the most liberal.

Gallup also determined the most “moderate” state in the U.S. was Delaware, due to the state’s high percentage of self-described moderates.

The comprehensive survey polled 177,034 adults in all 50 states and Washington, DC.



Obama's Morally Confused Prayer Breakfast Lecture

By David Limbaugh

I find it very odd that a president notably lacking in humility and frequently riding his own high horse would lecture American Christians about those subjects -- because they presumably condemn acts of barbarism by Islamists.

Talk about a string of disconnects. While we're at it, let's note one more. Obama, at the National Prayer Breakfast, also exhorted us to "uphold the distinction between our faith and our governments — between church and between state." Last time I checked, it was not Christians, unless you believe that Obama is a Christian, who were using government power to restrict religious liberties of others.

Obama, however, has conspicuously infringed on the conscience rights of Christians in supporting mandates that require religious organizations to pay for contraception and abortifacients.

Indeed, Obama was too busy lecturing Christians about "theocracies that restrict people's choice of faith" — though there are no Christian theocracies in the world — to note that many Muslim nations in the world are theocratic and under Shariah.

Is Obama's moral compass so skewed that he is utterly blind to the rampant theocratic oppression that routinely occurs in Muslim nations in the world? This takes moral equivalency to new levels.

But that wasn't even his worst moral distortion of the morning. On the heels of the Islamic State group's burning alive a captured Jordanian pilot, Obama's instinct was not to decry ISIS' depraved murder but to caution us not to judge the religion of Islam. Was anyone doing that, by the way?

As usual, Obama's first impulse to another atrocity committed in the name of Islam was to defend Islam — and attack Christianity and Christians, who Obama apparently believes are holding their noses in the air thinking they don't engage in such behavior in the name of their religion.

Foremost on his mind was to correct the record on Islam, kind of a pre-emptive defense of the religion he holds dear from his childhood, against any attempts to tar it based on thousands of "isolated" incidents. Here's where his moral equivalence reared its ugly head again.

He said, "We ... see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon." That was his predicate for chronicling the recent despicable actions of ISIS — an acronym, by the way, that, in his moral bewilderment, he refuses to utter — and then glibly transitioning into certain regrettable actions committed by or with the support of Christians in history.

Of course, he was compelled to invoke the Crusades, which in his view were unprovoked acts of aggression by Christians against Muslims but which in reality were far more complex than that. And of course, he had to mention the Inquisition, as if that is somehow relevant, even microscopically, to what's going on today.

But no blanket condemnation would be complete without Obama's obligatory and habitual denunciation of slavery and Jim Crow, only this time he cited them as examples not of America's evil past but of evils committed in the name of Christianity.

As long as we're talking about "wedges" and "weapons," it sure seems to me as if that's precisely how Obama continues to use slavery and Jim Crow. He just will not let these go. It obviously never occurs to him that Christianity was one of the main driving forces in eradicating slavery in this country. But we can hardly expect him to give us a fair reading of Christianity's role when he is on a mission to demonize it.

Obama is the one who needs to demonstrate a little humility and dismount his own elevated steed. He needs to put aside the pride that contributes to clouding his judgment about acts of terror committed by Islamists. He needs to recognize that it is nothing short of an act of moral cowardice to suggest that the multitudinous atrocities committed in the name of Islam today, whether or not they are representative of the true religion of Islam, bear any comparison to acts of Christians — today or in the past.

He needs to reset his own bias-riddled perception and open his willfully closed eyes to the fact that we have real enemies today who are killing us in the name of their religion and that, regardless of how representative they are of the faith that fuels their war cry, they see themselves as faith-driven and they are not going to be deterred or pacified by craven denunciations of Christianity or fervent defenses of Islam proper.

This is not about the Islamists' grievances over poverty or injustice or any of the other pet causes with which Obama can identify but about conquering the world for a global caliphate and subjugating or killing everyone who will not submit. There is no appeasing this mindset.

Americans are in greater danger now than we have been in decades because we have a leader who simply will not recognize that our allies and we are under attack around the world by untold numbers of people acting under the banner of Islam. No matter how many peaceful Muslims there are in the world, it doesn't change the fact that we're threatened by many who aren't.

If Obama spent one-tenth of the time focusing on these radical enemies as he does apologizing for the religion they claim to represent, Americans would be much safer.



Lessons From an Unenduring Majority

A 2002 book, “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” posited, as the title suggests, an “enduring Democratic majority” in the wake of “permanent changes” to America’s demography. Co-authored by John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira, the book’s central idea – the heart of the Emerging Democratic Majority (“EDM”) theory – was that the Democrat Party had amassed such a solid coalition of voters over the decades that the party could endure occasional bad election cycles and still retain control of the levers of government over the long haul. Recently revisiting his book, Judis noted it is, well, wrong. How times change.

Sadly for EDM – and every other Democrat-ideology theory forced into sustained contact with reality – the theory was flawed. It turns out – to paraphrase Mark Twain – news of the Republican Party’s death was greatly exaggerated. What hasn’t been exaggerated is the magnitude of just how far the authors' theory missed the mark. The theory wasn’t just wrong: It was exactly wrong – a feat extremely difficult even for Democrats to pull off. As Noah Rothman notes at Hot Air, the fatal flaw in EDM is, “Voters expected results from the party in which they had vested new authority.” After the better part of a decade getting none – or should we say the wrong results – voters learned to vote with their feet, walking out on Democrats at the polls.

The results of that reality check have been telling. Americans do not believe Democrats can provide economic security, let alone national security. The Democrat Party has become the party of racial, social and economic division, promoting class warfare as a primary means to gain political power, at the expense of all. It has accelerated national spending to a point of unfathomable debt, reincarnated the permanent welfare state, and turned public education into a 12-year babysitting service in which children simply bide time until they are turned out onto the streets of reality, lacking critical skills to become productive members of society.

In broad brushstrokes, in the wake of the contentious Barack Obama Era, Democrats have lost both the House and the Senate, lost control of 69 of 99 state-level legislative chambers, and lost countless officeholder seats. In short, the Democrat Party is in its worst position in 90 years. Americans no longer believe Democrats can deliver on any of their Pollyanna visions of the future.

Lest Republicans succumb to the same ruinous party-in-majority arrogance that (at least for the time being) wiped out the Democrats, we should warn that there’s a lesson here for every politician. The lesson is this: Ignoring or mistaking the will of the people can be hazardous to one’s political health.

Surveying the Democrat debris in the wake of the 2014 midterm Republican wave, the Chosen One commented, “To everyone that voted, I want you to know that I heard you.” The problem is that in his arrogance he didn’t hear. Immediately following his seemingly conciliatory statement, he punchlined, “To two-thirds of voters that chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.” Sure, Barry: It wasn’t popular will, it was just all those eeevil Republicans holding “the people” back from the polls. Any wonder why Democrats went 0-for-2 in Obama’s midterm cycles?

Summarizing the myriad lessons-learned littering the landscape of Democrats' political destruction, we offer the same advice to Democrats as we do to Republicans: Take time to do the hard thinking to connect the dots between our nation’s core founding principles and today’s voters. The notion that a party can have an enduring majority without understanding the fundamental principles upon which America was founded is mistaken. The same is true for a party that ignores or misunderstands the will of America’s voters. Listen to the Founders. Then listen to the voters. That’s how to create an “enduring majority.” Anything else is just another political theory on the ash heap of history.



There Is a Simple Formula for Unleashing Economic Prosperity

The age old question in economics is this: how does a nation or state create economic growth and rising living standards for its citizens? Once upon a time superstitious economists believed that growth was a function of the constellation of the stars.

That kind of belief in astrology as a predictor of growth was no more misguided than many of the fad economic theories that are peddled today by charlatan economists who preach more government interventionism.

President Obama takes a victory lap for the economic recovery of the last five years despite in being the slowest since the Great Depression. Median household incomes have collapsed by $1,500 in real terms during the Obama recovery. That’s some rebound. Obama’s stimulus plans have created fewer jobs than would have been created by doing nothing – and that is according to his own analysis.

In sum, confusion reigns on how to regenerate growth.

But there is a simple and time-tested formula for unleashing economic prosperity – here at home and abroad. This formula is not complicated. The Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom – which ranks 186 nations – shows conclusively that growth is a byproduct of free enterprise policies and limited government interference.

Adjusted for purchasing power, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is more than 6 times higher in “free” vs. “repressed” economies. So for example, the per capita income is over $50,000 in a free nation like the United States. It is $11,610 in a repressed nation like Cuba. Israel has a per capita income of $34,770 versus $14,845 in Lebanon. Israel is far more economically free than Lebanon.

Take two nations that start at the same place economically. After two decades, the citizens in the nations with economic freedom will enjoy a standard of living one third greater than their counterparts in the less free zone. Poverty rates will also fall in the free nations much faster than the command and control economies. Health, education and environmental improvement are also closely tied to economic freedom. Free markets are the path to fairness. That’s a lesson even Pope Francis, a recent critic of capitalism, needs to learn.

Economic freedom isn’t hard to achieve: it means low taxes, free trade, limited government spending, a sound currency, the rule of law, and a light hand of regulation. Cronyism, which is too often regarded as a partner of capitalism, is exposed as a deterrent to growth. Russia is a nation not of free market capitalists, but of cronyism – and its economy has floundered. In other words, countries that grow reward citizens for how hard they work and what they know, not who they know.

The United States is ranked by Heritage as only the 12th economically freest nation in the world today, behind places like Hong Kong, Switzerland and even Canada. Only a decade ago, the U.S. consistently ranked in the top ten or higher of most free nations – but that all predated stimulus plans, bailouts, tax hikes on the rich, and Obamacare.

While many nations in the rest of the world tragically flirt with proven failed big government strategies and cheap money, the U.S. has an opportunity to win the global competition for jobs, businesses and capital investment. The low hanging fruit in Washington is to chop our highest in the world corporate income tax, reform our welfare system to reward work over handouts, approve free trade deals and drill for our domestic energy resources. That would be a good start to raising worker incomes and it may even move America, the Land of the Free, back into the economic freedom top 10 – where we belong.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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