"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Late-Term Abortion, Kirsten Powers, and the Gosnell Trial

I am sharing this a little late, but it is still worth reading (if you haven't already).  Kirsten Powers wrote an excellent piece on the Daily Beast recently.  Aside from her NRA references I think it's very good.  Kirsten Powers is a Democrat and liberal, but she has an excellent perspective on late-term abortion.  She has received much criticism from the left on her positions, and it's very encouraging to see someone like her taking a stand.  Powers has held this position for some time, and I believe she was actually the one to bring the story of the Kermit Gosnell trial into the mainstream media and hence give it much more attention (though it still hasn't received as much coverage as it deserves).  The big Atlantic article by Conor Friedersdorf (which I also encourage you to read- it includes large segments from the grand jury report which shows just how bad conditions were at the Gosnell facility) came after he read her column in USA Today.  The media silence on the Gosnell horrors was so bad that Snopes.com actually published a piece on the urban legend site confirming that it was in fact true.

The Gosnell trial is in its 8th week, and the jury is in its third week of deliberations, considering 4 counts of 1st degree murder for infant deaths (several have already been thrown out by the judge since the start of the trial), one of 3rd degree murder, and many lesser charges.  Two House committees have begun investigations into similar poorly regulated abortion facilities throughout the country, prompted by the PA Department of Health's failure to properly investigate reports they had received for some time about the Gosnell abortion mill.   

***Update: As of this afternoon, Gosnell has been found guilty of 3 out of the 4 1st degree murder charges, guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of a woman under anesthesia, and guilty of aborting 21 babies that were over the 24 week limit at which abortion is legal in Pennsylvania. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ban assault pancakes!

My fellow citizens:

As president of the Take Your Rifles, Ammunition, and Naughty Things (TYRANT) Foundation, I am writing to you with grave concerns.  In light of recent events, such as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the infamous Baltimore Pop Tart Massacre, it is my goal to raise public awareness of a new menace to our children and our society: assault pancakes.

Unlike conventional firearms, such as handguns, assault rifles, and Pop Tarts chewed into the shape of a gun, assault pancakes are completely untraceable can be manufactured in an ordinary kitchen using nothing more than 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/4 cups milk, 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon white sugar.  In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder...sorry, where was I?

Assault pancakes. Used in conjunction with high-calorie-capacity butter and syrup, these deadly weapons are capable of causing great harm to your health.  Excessive consumption of assault pancakes is known to cause type 2 diabetes, or in some cases, death.  Assault pancakes have also been known to cause distress to emotionally-unstable elementary school teachers.

To counteract this threat to the well-being of our children and hysterical teachers, TYRANT proposes the following legislative priorities:

  1. Restrict the purchase of flour to those over the age of 18 and require a 30-day waiting period.
  2. Declare any area within 100 feet of a diet clinic to be a pancake-free zone.
  3. Close the so-called "pancake breakfast loophole", which allows nonprofits, such as churches, to sell pancakes to the public without performing a background check.
  4. Provide stronger regulations against pancake manufacturers, such as IHOP and Bob Evans, who cater to impressionable children by including these deadly weapons on their children's menus.

If we stand strong and work together, we can keep our children safe from assault pancakes.  Please join TYRANT in the fight against this menace...this warm, fluffy, delicious, maple-flavored menace.  For the children.


Some Dude
TYRANT Foundation

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Late-term abortion death in Maryland

*Edit: I guess the title was inaccurate.  Any abortion involves a death.  But this one involved two.*
Natedawg has other things to do and has stayed out of politics and blogging these past couple of months.  But he wrote this brief comment to go along with the linked article, and I think it's well worth sharing.  We need to be sure as many people as possible know about these types of tragedies.  

"I got an email about this yesterday -- check out the link for the whole story. A 29-year old woman died of complications from a botched abortion performed on a 33-week old baby in Germantown, MD, after the abortion "doctor" Leroy Carhart could not be reached to provide follow-up care. This is not the first woman who has died at the hands of Carhart who specializes in "late-term abortions." 

A lot of people don't realize that in Maryland abortions can be performed for any reason at any stage of the pregnancy right up until the baby's birth. I don't know how anyone with a conscience could not be shocked and sickened by this entire story, from the legalized killing of a nearly full-term baby to the utter callousness of the care this woman received to the tragedy of her preventable death. 

This story needs to get attention in the press...hope lots of people show up for the prayer vigil/memorial outside of the abortion clinic on Monday at 9 am."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Women in Combat

In the past few days, Defense Secretary Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have lifted the ban on women serving in combat.  There are no no more gender barriers on military jobs. This certainly opens up the possibility that women may be included in a future draft.  Panetta appears not to have fully considered this part of the issue.  The feminists want us to think that men and women are the same.  They aren't.      

A friend (whose husband is military) shared this link on Facebook. I think it's definitely worth a read.  The woman veteran in the post writes about issues with the standards that must be met by any member of the military, the conditions that they face, and the problems that would most certainly arise from putting men and women together in these conditions.  She also discusses the cultural tendency of men protecting women that still exists, no matter how much the politically correct feminist types would like to ignore it, and the problems this would create in a combat situation.  She closes with this statement:  

"I say again, I would have loved to be in the infantry. I think I could have done it physically, I could’ve met almost all the male standards (jumping aside), and I think I’m mentally tough enough to handle whatever came. But I would never do that to the men. I would never sacrifice the mission for my own desires. And I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if someone died because of me."

Sending women into combat is a very concerning, though perhaps not very surprising, move.  One wonders what might happen if there were to be a draft and women were included.  Certainly there would be significant resistance, but would it be enough?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Because we hear so much "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas..." Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff

I'm sure we've all been hearing about the fiscal cliff lately.  This is a confusing issue, and I thought Dr. Tracy Miller's blog post "What Should be Done about the Fiscal Cliff"contains excellent and very clear analysis.  I highly recommend that you take the time to read it.  

I also appreciated Donald Schanzenbach's piece entitled "Mission to Restore America: Fiscal Cliff Follies."  Writing from a Christian worldview perspective, he makes the point that we've already gone over the cliff, and much more needs to happen to bring us back than for some sort of compromise to be worked out in Washington.  He believes that through financial disaster of our own making we may see a return to wisdom and back to God in America.  Let us pray that he is correct. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Here it is, for the 3rd year in a row, but I think it's worth it.  Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends!
George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation
General Thanksgiving
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houzes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

[I have updated some of the spelling for easier reading.]

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Heartfelt Thanks to My Readers

I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to all my readers over the past three years, and especially to those who have been willing to comment from time to time.  I decided several months ago that if Obama was reelected that I would stop blogging, and I intend to follow through on that decision.  I will be taking a long hiatus from following politics and from blogging, possibly a permanent one.  I felt the 2012 presidential election was the last hope to getting our nation back on the right path before we go off the fiscal cliff.  Based on the results of that election, I no longer have any confidence in the rationality or respect for the values of the majority of the people in this country.  I have little hope for our country's future, either fiscally or morally, apart from a dramatic intervention by God in changing people's hearts and minds.  Frankly, my heart is no longer in this endeavor, and I have decided to direct my time and efforts in the future into other areas besides politics. 

I firmly believe God is sovereign over all things that happen in this world, including our elections and our country's future.  I know that He is working all things for good for His people.  Ultimately my hope is in Him and His promises from the Bible.  As a citizen of heaven, I look forward to the new heavens and the new earth, where all sorrow and pain and tears will be wiped away forever.  Until that time, it is my duty and the duty of all of us to continue be good citizens of the country in which God has placed us and to love and serve our fellow men in His name.  I will continue to vote and to follow political news on a cursory level, but I no longer expect to see our country return to its founding principles.  Although I am discouraged for the future of my country, I am thankful for the blessings that God has given me and remain filled with hope and joy about my life, my family, and the future.  I harbor no ill will or bitterness toward those who disagree with me politically.

This blog will stay online and perhaps others will continue to post on it.  It is possible that I will return to blogging at some point in the future, but I expect to be going dark for a long time.  Again, I am thankful to all of you for reading and appreciate all the encouragement you have given me over the past three years.  May God bless all of you!

Some Post-Election Thoughts

Well, the votes have been counted and the voters have made their decision -- another four years of Barack Obama. 

Needless to say, my predictions regarding the presidential race and the Senate races were very wrong.  Instead of Romney winning the popular vote by a couple of points nationwide, Obama ended up winning by two or three points.  I predicted six states wrong in the presidential race -- some of them very wrong like Wisconsin -- and four Senate races incorrectly.  Both were simply bloodbaths for Republicans.  I missed badly because I was not expecting a Democratic wave that swept nearly every close Senate race and Electoral College state into the Democratic column.  I was especially surprised to see Obama win Florida and to see GOP Senate candidates lose in North Dakota and Wisconsin.  I didn't do too badly in the House races.  Out of 435, it looks like I incorrectly called about 12 races for the GOP that ended up going for the Democrats and about 2 races for the Democrats that ended up going for the GOP (I say "about" because there are still a few races that haven't been officially called yet).  I was quite disappointed to see that conservative firebrand Allen West lost in Florida.  Referenda didn't go well either.  Maryland approved in-state tuition benefits for illegal aliens.  Unions won a couple of important state-wide votes in California.  Pro-lifers were on the losing end of a ballot issue in Florida.  Gay marriage passed in all four states in which it was on the ballot.

When you look at the composition of the electorate and how it voted, it's easy to see why Romney lost.  National exit polling showed that self-identified Democrats outnumbered self-identified Republicans by 6 percentage points, a nearly identical margin to 2008.  Overall turnout was down significantly compared to 2008, but was very high among Obama's core supporters.  Whites made up only about 72% of the electorate, which was down significantly from 2008 which was in itself a year of record turnout for minorities.  Jay Cost estimates that as many as 10 million white voters sat out this election.  Hispanics gave Obama nearly 70% of their vote, which is even more than he got against McCain in 2008.  Women also voted heavily for Obama.  The percentage of self-identified conservatives was only 35% compared to self-identified liberals who were 24% of the electorate -- a much smaller gap than typically seen in presidential elections.  The bottom line is that a very Democratic, liberal, minority-heavy, female-heavy group of voters turned out to the polls and produced an unexpected Democratic wave.

The bottom line is that these results are unbelievably depressing for conservatives -- far worse even than 2008.  Obama won by a landslide in 2008, but at least the decision of voters was understandable, given the unpopularity of Bush, weariness with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the financial meltdown.  Voters were looking for a change, and Obama was an appealing figure who appeared to rise above partisanship and offered grand rhetoric about bringing the country together along racial lines as well as political ones.  This year is totally different.  The country has had four years to see what Obama is really like.  He has openly governed from the far left and campaigned for president on an openly liberal platform.  His election strategy was based on dividing the country and using wedge issues to try to turn out his base (amnesty executive order, gay marriage, nationalization of student loans, war on women, union bailouts, etc.).  Despite his slogan "Forward," he presented no positive vision for the country and focused his entire campaign on tearing down Romney.  I got to see many of Obama's ads airing in the Washington, DC media market, and they were relentlessly and almost uniformly negative.  By any reasonable measure, Obama's presidency has been a failure.  Economic growth is extremely weak, unemployment is just as high as when he took office (and higher when you factor in the huge number of people who have left the workforce), real household income has decrease significantly, deficits and debt are at record levels, his health care bill remains unpopular and has already resulted in higher insurance premiums, gas prices are nearly double what they were when he took office, and the housing market remains weak in most areas of the country.  His presidency has been marked by partisan gridlock, with no effort made to work with the other side and to find bipartisan solutions to our debt crisis or to reform entitlements.  And of course, there are the scandals -- the waste of taxpayer money on companies like Solyndra, the racialism and corruption of the Justice Department, and the incompetence, indifference, and lies regarding the Benghazi embassy attack. 

Obama and the Democrats will undoubtedly be emboldened by this election.  Their bogus war on women meme and their class warfare shtick apparently were embraced by the public, so we will see much more of that in the coming years.  Obama has already governed and won reelection by being open about his left-wing views; he will not move to the center now.  He will double down on his fiscal and cultural agenda.  He will continue to circumvent the Constitution when needed to enact his agenda.  His left-wing appointments will leave an indelible mark on the Supreme Court and lower courts. 

I don't think there is much of a silver lining coming out of this election for conservatives.  There will be no undoing the damage of four more years of Obama, but that is not even the worst.  The worst is that Obama is apparently a reflection of a majority of the voting public.  They voted to reelect him because they idolize him and believe that he reflects their values.  This election opened my eyes to realize how much this country has changed.  A majority of the public embraces values and beliefs that are completely the opposite of mine.  They will vote for the candidate who supports abortion on demand, regardless of how bad the economy gets or how many lies are told about terrorist attacks on our embassy.  They will vote for the candidate that offers them the most free stuff or panders most effectively to them, regardless of how much it drives up our debt and jeopardizes our children's future.  There is no doubt that the media is deeply corrupt and that its bias throughout the campaign greatly aided Obama.  But ultimately, it is the American people who choose to accept the spin fed to them instead of thinking for themselves and seeking out the truth.  We voted for four more years, so we will get four more years just like the last four years.  Our country will get the leadership we deserve. 

UPDATE: I wanted to add a link to a typically outstanding Impromptus column by Jay Nordlinger with his thoughts on the election.  I agree almost entirely with everything he says. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why I Believe Mitt Romney Will Win Today

First, here is my prediction:

Final popular vote prediction: Romney 50.5%, Obama 48.5%
Final Electoral College prediction: Romney 291, Obama 247

I believe there are only 8 true tossup states that will decide this election. Here is my prediction for each of them:

1. Virginia - 51% Romney, 48% Obama
2. Ohio - 50.5% Romney, 48.5% Obama
3. Colorado - 50.5% Romney, 48.5% Obama
4. Iowa - 50% Romney, 49% Obama
5. Wisconsin - 50% Romney, 49% Obama
6. New Hampshire - 50% Obama, 49% Romney
7. Pennsylvania - 50.5% Obama, 48.5% Romney
8. Nevada - 51% Obama, 47.5% Romney

The one I am least sure about is Wisconsin -- changed it at the very last minute from Democrat to Republican.

In addition, I have 2 states classified as Leans Republican:

1. Florida - 52% Romney, 47% Obama
2. North Carolina - 53% Romney, 46% Obama

And 4 states classified as Leans Democrat:

1. Minnesota - 51.5% Obama, 47% Romney
2. Michigan - 52% Obama, 47% Romney
3. New Mexico - 53% Obama, 46% Romney
4. Oregon - 53% Obama, 45% Romney

All other states I believe are safely in one camp or the other and will go for either Obama or Romney by double digits.

The next question is why I am picking Mitt Romney to win when conventional wisdom clearly seems to favor Barack Obama.  The primary reason for why Obama is favored, of course, is due to very favorable polling for him at the state level.  The Real Clear Politics average of polls is showing Obama ahead in all the swing states, with the exception of Florida (and North Carolina if you count that as a swing state).  Also, while Mitt had a clear lead in the national poll average for most of October, Obama gained significantly in the past week in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and now leads slightly in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls as well.  So why would I pick Romney to win, when a clear majority of the polls seem to indicate that he will lose, possibly badly?

The first thing to understand is that this year is not 2008 anymore.  The political landscape has shifted dramatically.  Perhaps the most dramatic indication of this is the massive survey of national party identification that Rasmussen does each election year.  In calculating this party identification, Rasmussen surveys 15,000 likely voters nationwide, so it is a truly massive poll (more than 10 times bigger than even the largest national head-to-head election polls).  In 2008, Rasmussen found a 7 point advantage for Democrats, which ended up being very close to the final margin of victory for Obama.  In 2004 and 2010 they actually found small advantages for Democrats (+3 for Democrats in 2010), even though Republicans ended up performing extremely well in both elections.  This October, they found a 5.8% advantage for the Republicans, which a stunning turnaround for the GOP and an extremely favorable indication for the election.  And Rasmussen is not alone.  Gallup did a similar survey of national party identification and also found a 1 point Republican advantage (and 3 points when you factor in voters who lean toward one party or the other).  This data is especially extraordinary when you factor in that there has never been a presidential election in the modern era in which the Republicans have had a party identification advantage on Election Day.  The closest they have ever come was in 2004, when the party identification was even between Republicans and Democrats. 

Of course, we have many other proofs that this year will be dramatically different from 2008.  The enthusiasm for the Republicans is off the charts and significantly higher than the enthusiasm for the Democrats.  Polls have picked this up by showing the Republicans have a higher interest in the election and are more certain about voting.  Polls have also showed that those who strongly disapprove of Obama's job performance significantly outnumber those who strongly approve of his performance.  This difference in enthusiasm is also evidenced by much larger and more enthusiastic crowds for Romney compared to Obama.  This all feels like 2008 in reverse.  Peggy Noonan commented on the Republican passion bubbling under the surface in this election in her excellent column here.  Concern about Democratic turnout is doubtless what has led Obama to campaign in Democratic strongholds like Madison, WI and Boulder, CO in the final week of the campaign.

And, there is the evidence of the demeanor of the candidates and the campaigns.  Romney has seemed relaxed and confident and stayed largely positive in his campaign message, while Obama has seemed angry and his campaign ads have been overwhelmingly negative.  He was even caught telling his supporters at a recent Ohio rally to vote for revenge, while Romney countered by urging supporters to vote for love of country.  In the last presidential debate, the difference in demeanor between the two candidates clearly showed that Romney believed he was ahead and Obama believed he was behind.  Some of the Obama campaign's tactics, such as that creepy Lena Dunham "My First Time" ad, seem to be the actions of a desperate campaign, not a confident one. 

And then, of course, there is the early voting data.  We can't know for sure who people are voting for, of course, but we can discern trends relating to partisan turnout.  And the data in all the swing states indicates a huge improvement for the GOP compared to 2008.  In Ohio, there has been a more than 260,000 vote swing away from the Democrats and toward the Republicans in early voting turnout.  There has been a percentage swing toward the GOP in early voting in Florida and North Carolina that looks likely to overwhelm Obama's narrow win margin in both states from 2008.  Democrats lead big in early voting in Iowa, as they always do, but the percentage advantage for the Democrats is actually slightly less than it was in 2004 when Bush carried the state.  Early voting turnout is down significantly in key Democratic strongholds in Virginia this year compared with 2008.  Republicans have about a 2 point lead in early voting in Colorado this year, compared with a Democratic lead four years ago.  There is not early voting in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, but absentee balloting has looked very favorable to the GOP.  Even in Nevada, the GOP has improved significantly since 2008, even though it looks like Obama will still carry the state.  Most surprisingly, a recent poll from Gallup showed Republicans actually leading the early vote nationally by 6 points, which is incredible when you consider that most of Obama's national margin in 2008 came from early voting. 

Even when you look at current national polling, Gallup and Rasmussen both show a one point lead for Romney, with Obama at 48%.  Not a good place for an incumbent to be.  The latest CNN poll oversampled Democrats by 11 points, but still showed the race a tie with a 22 point advantage for Romney with independents.  The latest ABC/Washington Post poll had Obama up three, but its poll oversampled Democrats by 6.  I think a fair reading of these national polls indicates a Romney advantage and slight momentum back in his direction (after a week of Obama gains).  Remember that Romney had a steady and significant 3-6 point lead in both Gallup and Rasmussen for the week or two before the hurricane, with sizable advantages with independents.  The hurricane gave Obama a clear bounce, but I don't think it fundamentally changed the race.  Will independents, who have been negative about Obama for three years, suddenly reverse themselves and vote for Obama simply due his looking presidential for a couple of days in a hurricane a few days before the election?  I find it hard to believe, but I guess I can't completely rule it out. 

What about the state polls?  Well, some of them are very questionable in my mind -- either online polls or polls done by Democratic agenda pollsters like Public Policy Polling.  Zogby has been largely discredited as a pollster, and Gravis came out of nowhere this year and has no track record.  Most of these state pollsters are assuming the electorate will be very similar to 2008, with large oversamplings of Democrats.  Some of these state polls have shown Obama with larger leads in Ohio and Florida than his 2008 margin!  Marist and Quinnipiac have been especially guilty of this -- the Marist pollster said straight up in an interview that he is assuming a 2008 electorate.  I think many of these polls are a case of garbage in, garbage out.  Their results are inaccurate because they are making inaccurate assumptions about the electorate. 

I won't deny that this election looks to be quite close and that either Obama or Romney could easily win.  But I keep coming back to the fundamentals of this election.  Fundamentally, most Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.  Overwhelmingly voters consider the economy to be the most important issue in this election, and every poll shows that voters favor Romney over Obama on this issue.  No matter how many ads about abortion and contraception Obama runs, the election is not going to be about those issues for most voters.  I think, in the end, the big issues do not favor Obama and that will cause late-deciding voters to either break for Romney or sit out the election.  And I am encouraged that much smarter political gurus like Michael Barone, Karl Rove, and Jay Cost largely agree with my view of this election.

In short, I'm putting my faith in the American electorate to make the rational decision.  Maybe I'm letting my political biases get in the way of objectivity.  We'll all know in less than 24 hours (hopefully)....

Final Presidential & Senate Predictions

I have updated my Senate & Electoral College maps with my final election predictions.  You can click on the updated links on the left side of the blog to see the maps.

For the U.S. Senate, I am predicting a net pickup of 2 seats for the GOP, which brings them to 49 seats.  Democrats will also have 49 seats plus 2 liberal leaning independents who will likely caucus with their party (I am considering those two independents as Democrats for purposes of this analysis).  This is a disappointing prediction for me, since for much of the year the Republicans seemed to be in a good position to take control of the Senate.  There are a number of tossup states that I have currently leaning toward the Democrats that the GOP could conceivably win if they have an unexpectedly strong Election Day, however, so control of the Senate is not completely out of reach at this point.

At this point, the GOP seems likely to lose two seats in the Northeast.  One, the open seat in Maine, was almost a foregone conclusion when Republican incumbent Olympia Snowe announced her retirement and popular former governor and liberal Independent Angus King jumped into the race.  King is expected to easily defeat both Republican and Democratic opponents.  The other Republican seat in jeopardy is in Massachusetts, where Scott Brown seems to be slightly behind Democrat Elizabeth Warren.  Brown is surprisingly well-liked in liberal Massachusetts and has positioned himself as a moderate, but I fear that the large Democratic turnout for Obama this year will be too much for him to overcome.  This race is still a tossup though, which means it could go either way.

These two losses will be offset (in my view) by four Republican pickups of Democratic seats in the rest of the country.  The easiest pickup will be in conservative Nebraska, where Deb Fischer should easily defeat former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey to replace retiring Senator Ben Nelson.  Despite Kerrey's previous successes, he is far too liberal for the state.  A second pickup should come in North Dakota, where Democrat Kent Conrad is retiring.  Democrat Heidi Heitkamp has run a surprisingly strong race and has stayed close in the polls, but Republican Rick Berg, who currently represents the entire state in the House of Representatives, now seems likely to win (although he will run behind Romney in the state).  A third pickup is the open seat race in Wisconsin, where former GOP Governor Tommy Thompson and Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin are vying to replace retiring Democrat Herb Kohl.  This is a close race, and Baldwin was leading in the polls for a few weeks after Thompson won a contentious four-way primary, but Thompson now seems to be consolidating a lead.  Baldwin is one of the most left-wing members of the House and out of step with the state.  The fourth pickup for the GOP should come in Montana, where I predict that Republican Denny Rehberg will defeat sitting Democratic senator Jon Tester.  Polls show a close race, but Rehberg has already won statewide several times and will be aided by a strong performance by Romney at the top of the ticket in the state.

I also believe the Republicans will hold onto three competitive seats of their own in Indiana, Nevada, and Arizona.  Indiana is the one I am least sure about.  Republican Richard Mourdock, who defeated incumbent Senator Richard Lugar in the GOP primary earlier this year, was widely expected to defeat Democrat Joe Donnelly until he made an alleged gaffe regarding abortion in the case of rape during a debate.  Since then, a couple of polls have shown Donnelly ahead, although still well under 50% with a large number of undecideds.  I suspect that many of those undecided voters are conservatives who will come back to Mourdock in the end, especially with Romney and GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence winning the state by wide margins.  In Nevada, Republican Dean Heller, an appointed incumbent, is leading in the polls over scandal-tarnished Democrat Shelley Berkley and should hang on to win despite the state's increasingly Democratic leanings.  And in Arizona, conservative congressman Jeff Flake should win by a few points over Democrat Richard Carmona to replace retiring GOP Senator Jon Kyl.  This is a race that has probably never been as close as some of the pundits have seemed to think.

I am also predicting that the Democrats will hold on to 9 of their own vulnerable seats, including 5 incumbents and 4 open seats.  The most disappointing of all of these races is the one in Missouri, where it looks like deeply unpopular Senator Claire McCaskill will hold on to her seat due to a mindnumbingly stupid statement by her GOP challenger Todd Akin regarding pregnancies resulting from rape.  Akin still seems to be closer in the polls than I would have expected, but the libertarian candidate in the race is polling between 5 and 10% in some polls and I would guess McCaskill will survive with less than 50% of the vote.  Democrat Sherrod Brown is another far-left senator who is out of step with his conservative leaning state of Ohio, but he appears to have a slight edge over GOP candidate Josh Mandel.  If massive Republican turnout propels Romney to a strong win there, Mandel might have a chance.  In Pennsylvania, freshman Democratic Senator Bob Casey, Jr. was thought to be safe for most of this election cycle, but Republican self-funder Tom Smith has unexpectedly surged in the polls and made things interesting.  The state has also gotten some last minute attention from Romney in the last couple of weeks, but given Pennsylvania's Democratic leanings both Romney and Smith are underdogs at this point.  In Florida, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, once thought to be in serious trouble, now looks clearly favored to win a 3rd term over Republican Connie Mack IV, who has run a disappointing campaign.  Even more likely to win is Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow, who is polling strongly against Republican Pete Hoekstra.

Of the Democrats' four vulnerable open seats, by the far the toughest one is in Virginia, where former governors Tim Kaine and George Allen have been in a neck-and-neck battle to capture the seat of retiring Democrat Jim Webb, who defeated Allen in 2006.  Most polls have been showing Allen running at least two or three points behind Romney in Virginia, and my best guess is that Kaine squeaks this race out.  Democrats look to be in much better shape in their other three competitive open seats, all of which are being fought on friendly turf.  In Connecticut, Linda McMahon has spent tens of millions of her own money but appears likely to lose to Democrat Chris Murphy, who stated in a debate that he believes that human life begins at birth.  Moderate Republicans Heather Wilson of New Mexico and Linda Lingle of Hawaii were both thought to be top-tier candidates but have not been able to overcome the Democratic tilt of their states.

Tomorrow morning, I hope to provide my rationale for picking Mitt Romney to win the presidential race.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Excellent article for the night before the election

Amit Ghate has an outstanding article at Forbes titled "We Must Stop Treating the President As Our Savior."  Thanks to the Foundations of Econ blog for directing me to this article.

"A growing tendency to treat the president as savior has resulted in a dangerous expansion of executive power and a simultaneous debarring of responsible candidates.  Accordingly, the question in today’s presidential election shouldn’t be “who can save America?” but “who will do it the least damage?”

Longer term — if our Republic is to survive — we must return the role of president to its proper place  by reasserting our individual sovereignty and self-responsibility."

As we all wonder what will happen tomorrow, it's comforting to remember that God is still sovereign and is working everything according to His plan.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My U.S. House Predictions

Time to begin making predictions for the 2012 elections!  My prediction for the U.S. House is for the Republicans, surprisingly, to gain 4 seats.  My predicted partisan breakdown for the 2013-2015 House of Representatives is 245 Republicans and 190 Democrats.

Here are the details of my prediction.  If a district is "safe" or "likely," that means I am certain or fairly certain that it will go to a particular party, probably by a comfortable margin.  If a district "leans" toward a particular party, that means I believe that it is competitive but favors one party or the other.  "Tossup" districts feature highly competitive races which could go to either party on election night.

Safe or Likely Republican: 215 seats

Includes 6 currently held Democratic seats - Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell of North Carolina, 1 Democratic open seat in Arkansas, 1 Democratic open seat in Indiana, 2 Democratic open seats in North Carolina, and 1 Democratic open seat in Oklahoma.

Leans Republican: 15 seats
  1. Colorado 3 - GOP incumbent Scott Tipton reelected
  2. Florida 10 - GOP incumbent Daniel Webster reelected
  3. Florida 18 - GOP incumbent Allen West reelected
  4. Iowa 3 - Combined district; GOP incumbent Tom Latham defeats Dem incumbent Leonard Boswell
  5. Iowa 4 - GOP incumbent Steve King reelected
  6. Massachusetts 6 - Democratic incumbent John Tierney loses to Republican Richard Tisei
  7. Michigan 11 - GOP open seat; Republican Kerry Bentivolio wins
  8. Minnesota 6 - GOP incumbent Michele Bachmann reelected
  9. Nevada 3 - GOP incumbent Joe Heck reelected
  10. New York 18 - GOP incumbent Nan Hayworth reelected
  11. New York 19 - GOP incumbent Chris Gibson reelected
  12. New York 27 - Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul loses to Republican Chris Collins
  13. Ohio 6 - GOP incumbent Bill Johnson reelected
  14. Utah 4 - Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson loses to Republican Mia Love
  15. Wisconsin 7 - GOP incumbent Sean Duffy reelected
Tossup - Republican win: 15 seats
  1. Arizona 1 - GOP open seat; Republican Jonathan Paton wins
  2. California 7 - GOP incumbent Dan Lungren reelected
  3. California 10 - GOP incumbent Jeff Dunham reelected
  4. California 36 - GOP incumbent Mary Bono Mack reelected
  5. California 52 - GOP incumbent Brian Bilbray reelected
  6. Colorado 6 - GOP incumbent Mike Coffman reelected
  7. Illinois 10 - GOP incumbent Bob Dold reelected
  8. Illinois 13 - GOP open seat; Republican Rodney Davis wins
  9. Michigan 1 - GOP incumbent Dan Benishek reelected
  10. New Hampshire 1 - GOP incumbent Frank Guinta reelected
  11. Nevada 4 - New district; Republican Danny Tarkanian wins
  12. Ohio 16 - Combined district; GOP incumbent Jim Renacci defeats Dem incumbent Betty Sutton
  13. Pennsylvania 12 - Democratic incumbent Mark Critz loses to Republican Keith Rothfus
  14. Tennessee 4 - GOP incumbent Scott DesJarlais reelected
  15. Texas 23 - GOP incumbent Quico Canseco reelected
Tossup - Democrat win: 16 seats
  1. California 9 - Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney reelected
  2. California 24 - Democratic incumbent Lois Capps reelected
  3. California 26 - GOP open seat; Democrat Julia Brownley wins
  4. Connecticut 5 - Democratic open seat; Democrat Elizabeth Esty wins
  5. Georgia 12 - Democratic incumbent John Barrow reelected
  6. Illinois 11 - GOP incumbent Judy Biggert loses to Democrat Bill Foster
  7. Illinois 12 - Democratic open seat; Democrat Bill Enyart wins
  8. Illinois 17 - GOP incumbent Bobby Schilling loses to Democrat Cheri Bustos
  9. Kentucky 6 - Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler reelected
  10. Minnesota 8 - GOP incumbent Chip Cravaack loses to Democrat Rick Nolan
  11. New Hampshire 2 - GOP incumbent Charles Bass loses to Democrat Ann McLane Kuster
  12. New York 1 - Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop reelected
  13. New York 21 - Democratic incumbent Bill Owens reelected
  14. New York 24 - GOP incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle loses to Democrat Dan Maffei
  15. North Carolina 7 - Democratic incumbent Mike McIntyre reelected
  16. Rhode Island 1 - Democratic incumbent David Cicilline reelected
Leans Democrat: 6 seats
  1. Arizona 2 - Democratic incumbent Ron Barber reelected
  2. Arizona 9 - New district; Democrat Kyrsten Sinema wins
  3. California 41 - New district; Democrat Mark Takano wins
  4. Florida 26 - GOP incumbent David Rivera loses to Democrat Joe Garcia
  5. Illinois 8 - GOP incumbent Joe Walsh loses to Democrat Tammy Duckworth
  6. New York 25 - Democratic incumbent Louise Slaughter reelected
Safe or Likely Democrat: 168 seats

Includes one currently held GOP seat - that of Republican incumbent Roscoe Bartlett.

The good news is that, regardless of whether or not Barack Obama is reelected, the Republicans are virtually certain to retain a big majority in the House of Representatives.  This means that if they have enough backbone to do so, they should be able to limit the amount of damage that Obama does to the country over the next four years in the event that he is reelected (which I am not predicting by the way).

Senate and Electoral College predictions to follow soon....

How I'm Voting on Tuesday

Just in case anyone is interested, here is how I'm filling out my Montgomery County, MD ballot on Tuesday:

President: Mitt Romney (R), for reasons that anyone who reads this blog already knows.  I have a list of 100 reasons why I'm voting against Obama (and therefore for Romney).

U.S. Senator: Daniel John Bongino (R) - I was excited about Bongino when I voted for him in the primary, but I have been disappointed that I haven't seen or heard a single TV or radio ad for him this entire election season.  I guess he hasn't had enough money to advertise.  I have seen and heard a lot of ads for the independent candidate, Rob Sobhani, but he doesn't seem to have much substantive to say other than that he is neither a Republican or a Democrat.  I know Bongino, a Tea Party guy, would be a far better senator than Democratic incumbent Ben Cardin, who is a leftist hack, but I have no doubt that Cardin will be reelected with Bongino and Sobhani splitting the challenger vote.

U.S. Representative: Roscoe Bartlett (R) - Bartlett has long represented the 6th district in Western Maryland and has been a reliably conservative vote.  Unfortunately, the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature did a ridiculous gerrymander of the state's congressional districts to ensure that 7 out of the state's 8 districts would be controlled by Democrats.  My district now favors the Democrats, and Bartlett's age (he is about 87 I think) certainly makes the race even more difficult for him.  Sadly, I expect Bartlett to lose to Democrat John Delaney, leaving Andy Harris of the Eastern Shore as the only Republican in the state's U.S. congressional delegation.

Board of Education: Morris Panner - I always find it difficult to get information that helps me to differentiate between the Montgomery Co. BoE candidates, so I generally find out which candidates are endorsed by the county teachers' union (per the "apple ballot") and vote the opposite.  I dislike teachers' unions because they are essentially an arm of the Democratic Party and stand in the way of real educational reform.  Unfortunately, they have the money and influence to ensure that their preferred candidates almost always get elected.  I am voting for Morris Panner for the BoE At Large position, who is the only candidate running for BoE this year who impressed me much and who is running against apple ballot candidate Phil Kauffman.  I am not overly impressed with non-apple ballot candidates Rebecca Smondrowski and Annita Seckinger in Districts 2 and 4, but may still vote for them over their apple ballot opponents.

Question 4 - AGAINST the petition - Question 4 is a statewide referendum petition that makes illegal immigrants living in the state eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges.  I am against this petition because I don't believe it is right that my tax dollars should go to subsidize the education of people who are in this country and this state illegally.  Unfortunately, many people in my state and my county seem to believe that our country's immigration laws should be simply ignored.  I expect this petition to pass, possibly by a wide margin.

Question 5 - AGAINST the petition - Question 5 is a statewide referendum petition to approve the currently drawn boundaries for the state's U.S. congressional districts.  As mentioned above, these districts are gerrymandered in a ridiculous way to ensure maximum Democratic representation.  This National Journal article lists 2 of Maryland's districts as among the 10 most contorted districts in the entire country and includes a map of the two bizarrely shaped districts.  By voting no on this question, we can hopefully force our legislature to come up with a more sensible congressional district map.

Question 6 - AGAINST the petition - Question 6 is a statewide referendum petition to approve same-sex marriage.  I believe that marriage is a crucial building block of our society and that redefining it could have far-reaching negative effects.  Earlier this year, I wrote an extensive essay (and a couple of follow-up articles) arguing the case for marriage as the union between a man and a woman.  Among the points I made were the fact that marriage has been universally recognized as between a man and a woman across all societies and throughout history due to certain universal features of human nature, that marriage provides numerous benefits for children and for society, that the traditional definition of marriage is not discriminatory against anyone including gays, that same-sex marriage fundamentally changes the institution of marriage and makes it weaker rather than stronger, and that same-sex marriage threatens free speech and religious liberty.  Maryland is one of four liberal-leaning states this year in which same-sex marriage is on the ballot; it will be interesting to see whether any of those states will be the first to approve it by popular vote. 

Question 7 - AGAINST the petition - Question 7 is a statewide referendum to expand commercial gambling in the state.  Tens of millions of dollars have been spent in advertising on both sides of this issue, all coming from casinos which either stand to gain or lose financially from the new gambling facilities.  While I have become more open to the idea of legalized gambling in recent years simply based on the idea of individual freedom, I really do not want my taxpayer dollars going to finance gambling activities which I believe tend to have a negative impact on society and hurt the poor.  The more I have read about this issue, the greater the sense I have that the whole process is a corrupt partnership between sleazy politicians and casino interests designed to benefit themselves at the expense of taxpayers.  Governor O'Malley, who apparently has presidential aspirations, could benefit immensely from casino donations as a result of a loophole in this deal, and while O'Malley has raised taxes on the rest of us he has made sure that the casinos get huge tax breaks that other businesses don't get.  This referendum does not guarantee that even a single penny of additional money will be spent on education.  Some of the previous attempts by Maryland to finance gambling have been poor investments financially, and there is evidence that this gambling expansion could simply take business from other casinos already in existence in the state.  Also, from what I have read, many of the jobs that this referendum creates are construction jobs from union contractors out-of-state.  I'm voting no because I think this deal is more about benefiting the casino industry and the politicians with ties to that industry than benefiting the state as a whole and investing our tax dollars wisely.

Question B - FOR the referendum - Question B is a referendum on a law passed by the Montgomery County Council to limit the scope of collective bargaining for police employees.  Essentially, the county has had rules in place that force the county police chief to engage in collective bargaining with the police officers' union over even the most minor of management decisions.  This law has given the police union in our county more power than that of any other police union in the state and has resulted in inefficiency and unresponsiveness to community needs.  This referendum would limit the power of the union by restricting collective bargaining to certain major areas such as officer salaries and benefits.  I support Question B because I think it would save taxpayer dollars and would improve public safety.

Question C - FOR the referendum - Question C is a local referendum that would permit restaurants and hotels in my town of Damascus to sell wine and beer for consumption on the premises.  Currently, Damascus is a "dry town" which prohibits the sale of any alcohol within its boundaries.  I support this question because I believe it will attract better quality restaurants to the area which would benefit the town as a whole. 

There are some other ballot questions as well, but these are the only ones that I consider to be important. 

In the next day or two, I will be posting my final predictions for the presidential, Senate, and House of Representatives races.  So stay tuned!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Get out the vote? No thanks!

It's that time. We're counting down to election day and everybody and their brother is on Facebook and anywhere else encouraging people to get out and vote. But do we really want to get out the vote? We've all seen those segments on TV where the "man on the street" is interviewed about basic facts about our country and fails miserably. Is this the type of person we want to encourage to go to the polls?

See the below segment from 20/20 a few years ago in which John Stossel discusses the problems with the "get out the vote" mentality. Get out the vote? No, get out the informed vote!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Price Gouging"

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and at the risk of sounding insensitive, I want to link to this excellent piece the Mises Institute re-posted from 2004, called "Price Gouging Saves Lives in a Hurricane."  I almost shared it on Facebook, but feared the wrath of those who wouldn't take the time to read it.  Give it a chance, and you'll see it's not as ridiculous as you might think at first.  It's just sound economics.

Another Creepy Pro-Obama Ad


Imagine an America
Where strip mines are fun and free
Where gays can be fixed
And sick people just die
And oil fills the sea

We don’t have to pay for freeways!
Our schools are good enough
Give us endless wars
On foreign shores
And lots of Chinese stuff

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

We haven’t killed all the polar bears
But it’s not for lack of trying
The Earth is cracked
Big Bird is sacked
And the atmosphere is frying

Congress went home early
They did their best we know
You can’t cut spending
With elections pending
Unless it’s welfare dough

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And we’re kinda blaming you

Find a park that is still open
And take a breath of poison air
They foreclosed your place
To build a weapon in space
But you can write off your au pair

It’s a little awkward to tell you
But you left us holding the bag
When we look around
The place is all dumbed down
And the long term’s kind of a drag

We’re the children of the future
American through and through
But something happened to our country
And yeah, we’re blaming you

You did your best
You failed the test

Mom and Dad
We’re blaming you!

Yes, the creators of this ad think it is a good argument for Obama's reelection.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"The Incredible Shrinking President"

Great column by Mark Steyn up on the National Review website today.  Among other things it addresses the ongoing scandal surrounding the Benghazi embassy attack, which keeps getting worse and worse for the president.  He is lucky to have a compliant press corps which relentlessly covers for him on this. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vote for the Values Party!

After writing my previous post about how the vast majority of Democratic ads I have seen this election cycle have been about abortion, I came across this article from Politico affirming that my observations do indeed reflect a clear nationwide strategy by Democrats.  They have decided to "go all in for abortion rights."  Here is more from the (typically slanted) Politico article:
Democrats have gone all in for abortion rights, with none of the hedging or defensiveness they’ve shown in recent years — a subtle but striking repositioning with political consequences that extend far beyond Nov. 6.

The evidence of it is impossible to miss. The airwaves are choked with messaging about women’s reproductive health. Abortion rights advocates had prime speaking roles at the Democratic convention. Contraception advocate Sandra Fluke is a prominent campaign trail surrogate. Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood, recently introduced President Barack Obama at a Virginia campaign rally.

While Democrats have long supported a woman’s right to choose, this year’s full-throated embrace of abortion rights — from the president down to the most obscure House candidate — marks a historic departure that now places the party as firmly and unyieldingly in support of abortion rights as the GOP is in opposition.
There you go, America!  You wanted a plan and a vision for the future.  You got one.  And people blame Republicans for the culture wars....

Just in case there are a few people who hold to traditional values who might still be planning to vote for Obama despite his non-stop celebration of abortion, he made sure to stick his finger even deeper into the eye of Middle America with this YouTube ad, created directly by the Obama campaign:

Yes, ladies and gentleman, the U.S. President is running an ad in which an actress compares voting for Obama for the first time with losing one's virginity.  I've never seen anything in American politics to rival this in sheer creepiness and disgustingness.  Does Obama think real women are like this?  Even more unthinkable, do his supporters really think like this?

The Democratic Party is a values party.  It's just that the values they hold are completely opposite of everything I believe in.  I would never associate myself with this party.  Ever.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Some Random Thoughts on the Election

I just wanted to jot down some random thoughts about this upcoming election.

Much media attention has been focused on Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's recent debate comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are God's will.  Mourdock's statement was certainly foolish and ill-advised -- I think Republican candidates should completely avoid the topic of abortion resulting from rape and I'm not sure why it's so hard for them to do that.  Abortions resulting from rape are less than 1% of all abortions performed nationwide and it is the one area of abortion policy in which public opinion is strongly against the pro-life position.  Nevertheless, I think Mourdock was very clumsily expressing the belief, held by most Christians, that all human life is the creation and gift of God, which I don't think is an extreme or fringe belief at all.  Perhaps he was also expressing the Calvinistic Christian belief that all things that happen, even bad things, are part of God's will. 

By contrast, another Senate candidate, Christopher Murphy of Connecticut, recently expressed the opinion that human life begins at birth.  In my opinion, this is a far more extreme opinion than the one expressed by Mourdock and is aggressively anti-science.  The notion that a baby does not become human or alive until it comes through the birth canal is laughable.  Yet, I'm sure most or all of my readers have never heard of this story, largely because the overwhelmingly pro-choice media buried it.  Republicans are not the only ones who make stupid statements, but they are the only ones who are unable to get away with those stupid statements.

Even though I live in a state where there are no competitive statewide elections, I have been seeing and hearing a lot of Washington media market TV and radio campaign ads targeting Virginia voters in the president and Senate races.  It is not an exaggeration to say that a clear majority of the Democratic ads I have heard are focused on abortion.  Of course, they never mention the word "abortion," preferring to use euphemisms like "women's health care" and "women's rights to make their own choices about their bodies," but it is clear what they are really talking about.  The same focus was clearly on display at the Democratic National Convention this year.  With all the challenges our country faces domestically and on the world stage, the primary topic of conversation for the Democrats appears to be a celebration of abortion.  I know -- or at least know of -- evangelical Christians who are planning to vote for Obama, and it is beyond me how they can rationalize voting for a candidate whose identity is completely wrapped up in abortion.

One of the things that frustrates me as well is that Republicans are such incredible wusses when it comes to the topic of abortion.  There is no reason this issue should work to the Democrats' advantage, given the fact that more Americans actually identify as pro-life than as pro-choice and studies of past presidential elections have shown that a majority of single-issue abortion voters vote pro-life rather than pro-choice.  I understand that Romney and congressional Republican candidates don't want to make abortion the centerpiece of their campaigns, given the preeminence of the economy in most voters' minds, but I don't think they should be afraid to fight back on the issue when they are attacked.  For example, Obama attacked Romney for being against women because of his opposition to taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood several times in the second debate, and I think Romney should have responded to it at least once instead of letting the claim stand that he was against women.  If Obama is going to hammer Romney on abortion, why shouldn't Romney respond with an ad pointing out how extreme Obama is on abortion, or at least asking why Obama is obsessed with the issue with unemployment at around 8%?  If Obama is going to demand that Romney disassociate himself from Mourdock's comments, why shouldn't Romney demand that Obama disassociate himself from Murphy's comments about human life beginning at birth?  I think the GOP is unwise to entirely cede this issue to the Democrats. 

So, where does the presidential race stand?  I think it's not looking so bad for Romney right now.  A few weeks ago, I wrote a post encouraging conservatives to keep their chin up despite disappointing poll numbers.  Since then, we have had three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate, all of which I think have worked to the advantage of the Romney/Ryan ticket.  The first debate was most critical of course.  The 65 million Americans across the country who were watching got to see Romney debate Obama on the issues directly without the media spin and realized that Romney was a smart, capable man with a deep understanding of the issues and an economic plan for the country.  The Romney they saw on stage at the first debate in Denver, and in the other two subsequent debates, was nothing like the caricature of Romney that had been beaten into people's heads from months of vicious non-stop Obama attacks on Romney's character, background, and policies.  Romney's debate performances demonstrated to independent and undecided voters that he is a legitimate alternative to Obama and managed to improve his personal likability as well. 

I find the claims of some pundits, such as Nate Silver of the New York Times, that Obama is a 65% to 70% favorite to win reelection to be highly implausible and even ridiculous.  Right now, Romney is four points ahead in the Gallup tracking poll and three points ahead in the Rasmussen tracking poll, and at or above 50% in both polls.  Few if any recent national polls have shown Obama above 48%.  Under normal circumstances, voters who are still undecided in the final week or two of the campaign generally break for the challenger, and incumbents rarely end up getting a larger share of the vote than their final poll number.  The rationale for insisting that Obama is a clear favorite for reelection seems to be that poll numbers in several key swing states, especially Ohio, look more favorable to Obama and the electoral college rather than the popular vote will determine the election winner.  However, the electoral college almost always lines up with the popular vote except in cases where the difference between the two candidates' popular vote is 1% or less.  Furthermore, polling in swing states like Ohio has been less frequent, has used smaller samples, and has tended in many cases to significantly oversample Democrats.  For example, in 2008 Democrats had an 8% advantage in turnout, and some recent Ohio polls have shown a 9% advantage in turnout.  This is actually assuming an electorate that is more Democratic than 2008, which is an extremely unrealistic assumption and is belied by early voting statistics and trends.

I am far from certain that Romney will win, but I give him slightly better odds than Obama at this point.  Obama has little time left to change the narrative, absent a major "October surprise" or gaffe on Romney's part.  Overall, I feel like those of us who want to see Obama defeated have the best opportunity we could have asked for to do that.  Romney is a candidate who appeals to the middle and is difficult to paint as an extreme "right-winger."  His moral character appears to be blameless and his background and experience show him to be more than qualified to be president.  He is an eloquent speaker and an excellent debater -- far better than most other recent Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates.  He has had plenty of money to get his message out.  And voters have every reason to reject Obama.  He has clearly shown himself to be an extreme liberal over the course of his first term.  He has utterly failed to solve the biggest problems facing our country, such as an awful economy, high unemployment, a ballooning national debt, a looming entitlement crisis, runaway federal spending, and soaring health care costs.  He has offered no positive future vision for the country and run an extremely nasty and negative campaign.  I don't know how the choice could be clearer for voters or how there could be any greater incentive for non-liberal voters to reject Obama.  If we lose this election, it will be the clearest proof yet (to me at least) that our country is utterly beyond reason and beyond hope.

For those who are political junkies like me and are interested in reading political analysis from a conservative perspective, I recommend this website: http://battlegroundwatch.com/.  In less than two weeks, this long campaign will be all over!