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

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Guess "Post-Partisan Healer" Means Different Things to Different People

Obama's latest quotes:

In an interview on a Spanish-speaking radio station, he said that Latinos need to "punish their enemies" in the upcoming election by voting against Republicans.

At a recent rally, he said that after the election the Republicans could cooperate with his agenda if they wanted to, but they would have to "sit in the back." (Think Rosa Parks.)

This is on top of earlier comments about how Republicans don't want blacks to vote and video appeals to the "blacks and Latinos that powered my 2008 victory."

This president is a post-partisan, post-racial healer all right...in the mold of Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, and David Duke. He is using racial identity politics to blatantly divide our country. He is exacerbating racial grievances by pitting one group of Americans against another, provoking suspicion and mistrust. He is using Nixonian terms like "enemies" to apply to his political opponents. He is a national embarrassment.

The Red Corner of Montgomery County

Check out this recent article from The Washington Post, which profiles my hometown of Damascus, MD, and how dramatically it differs culturally and politically from the rest of Montgomery County. I'm sure our county will once again elect a slate of left-wing candidates to local, state, and federal offices, but thankfully the town I live in won't be to blame for that....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not All Democrats Are Created Equal

As we approach Election Day, there has been a lot of speculation about how many House (and Senate) seats the Democrats are going to lose. However, I think it's important to point out that not all Democrats are created equal. While pretty much all the Democrats in the Senate are liberal (every single one voted for ObamaCare), there is a small cadre of genuinely moderate-to-conservative Democrats in the House. As Obama and Pelosi have lurched the Democratic agenda farther and farther to the left, these conservative Democrats -- almost all from the South -- are finding themselves in greater and greater jeopardy merely as a result of the "D" after their name on the ballot.

Now, I won't be shedding tears over any Democrat who loses his seat next week, no matter how conservative. After all, even the most conservative Democrats did choose to enable a Democratic majority which has advanced a radically progressive agenda and to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. However, as I have said before, when it comes to politics I am a conservative first and a Republican second. I want to see conservative gains in Congress, not merely Republican gains. I don't want to see all Democrats lose indiscriminately -- I want to see those specific Democrats lose who have carried water for the Obama/Pelosi agenda and advanced policies like ObamaCare and cap-and-trade in defiance of the will of their constituents. As the results roll in on election night and the House losses begin to add up for the Democrats, I will be looking beyond the raw numbers to see which types of Democrats are being defeated. If many conservative southern Democrats lose while many liberal Democrats from swing districts survive, I will be disappointed -- even if the Republicans take the House comfortably.

This is why it is a little disappointing to me that the national Republican party is spending heavily to defeat conservative Democrats like Gene Taylor and Travis Childers of Mississippi, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Lincoln Davis of Tennessee, Bobby Bright of Alabama, and Jim Marshall of Georgia. In one sense, I can understand it. After all, the entire point of the NRCC's existence is to succeed in electing as many Republicans as possible, and these congressmen are not Republicans. However, there are so many competitive House districts this year that the Republican party cannot come close to funding all of them. I would much prefer to see them directing their scarce resources to defeating the Democrats that are responsible for supporting Obama's agenda. After all, Big Labor is focusing its resources on re-electing those specific Democrats who have voted for that agenda -- why aren't Republicans and Republican-leaning groups keeping a similar focus?

I don't see that defeating Democrats like Gene Taylor and Bobby Bright is going to make much difference for conservative principles. Taylor is a long-time conservative who voted to impeach President Clinton way back in the 1990's. Bright scored an astonishing 79% on my congressional scorecard -- higher than many Republicans. All of the Democrats listed above scored well over 50%. Instead, I would like to see the following Democrats defeated on election night (their percentage of conservative votes on my scorecard are in parentheses). They are listed in approximate order of their vulnerability.

Debbie Halvorson (IL) - 25%
Mary Jo Kilroy (OH) - 7%
Betsy Markey (CO) - 29%
Steve Driehaus (OH) - 21%
Kathy Dahlkemper (PA) - 25%
Tom Perriello (VA) - 21%
Paul Kanjorski (PA) - 18%
Earl Pomeroy (ND) - 29%
Alan Grayson (FL) - 11%
Steve Kagen (WI) - 7%
Patrick Murphy (PA) - 11%
John Boccieri (OH) - 29%
Dina Titus (NV) - 21%
Baron Hill (IN) - 29%
John Hall (NY) - 14%
John Salazar (CO) - 21%
Mark Schauer (MI) - 21%
John Spratt (SC) - 21%
Bill Owens (NY)
Gabrielle Giffords (AZ) - 21%
Phil Hare (IL) - 4%
Jerry McNerney (CA) - 18%
Ron Klein (FL) - 18%
Leonard Boswell (IA) - 14%
Ciro Rodriguez (TX) - 25%
Kurt Schrader (OR) - 18%
Sanford Bishop (GA) - 21%
Charlie Wilson (OH) - 29%
Martin Heinrich (NM) - 11%
Tim Bishop (NY) - 11%
Raul Grijalva (AZ) - 0%
Gerry Connolly (VA) - 14%
Gary Peters (MI) - 18%
Loretta Sanchez (CA) - 14%
Tim Walz (MN) - 14%

All of these 35 Democrats voted for ObamaCare (most also voted for cap-and-trade). All of them are being challenged by at least reasonably conservative Republicans. Most of them are well to the left of the conservative or swing districts they represent. All of them are considered vulnerable. If a large percentage of these congressmen do not lose, it will be a disappointing night for me, regardless of what the total number of pickups is for the GOP.

So as you follow the election results next week, keep an eye out for which types of Democrats are losing. That will tell you a lot about the prospects for conservative principles in the next Congress.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A lot of hot air

I moved to Maryland a few months ago.  As I have settled into my new home state, I have quickly learned that the people of Maryland, or at least their elected representatives, seem to like government regulations.  Over the weekend, I got a notice from the Maryland Vehicle Administration that says my car has to be tested for compliance with emissions standards.  According to the notice I received in the mail, the purpose of this test is to reduce "the amount of ground-level ozone in the air we breathe". 

However, the notice also says what to do if your car fails the test. 
  • Move your vehicle into a customer parking space, come in the office and speak to the Customer Service Representative on Duty.
  • You may apply for a repair waiver after the vehicle fails the test, is repaired, then fails again.
  • You must present proof that at least the minimum amount required for the waiver was spent for emissions related repairs.  Refer to the "If Your Vehicle Didn't Pass" brochure or www.marylandmva.com for further information.
In other words, you can still drive a non-compliant vehicle as long as someone tried to fix it.  It's the thought that counts.  My guess is that this ineffective and useless law was passed so the people in office could prove that they had done something to protect the environment.  At least the test only costs $14. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Odds 'n Ends

I have to mention this gem from Obama at a recent fundraiser:

"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument do not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared."

Hmmm. This reminds of another classic quote from Obama from back in 2008:

"[Small town Pennsylvania residents] get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

It's kind of hard to avoid the conclusion that Obama is an elitist. He clearly believes facts, science, and intelligence are all on his side, and those who disagree are prejudiced, ignorant, or not thinking clearly. In Obama's world, those who disagree with him are always motivated by irrational fears or xenophobic bitterness. His administration openly smears anyone who dares to question him -- from the Tea Parties to Fox News to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The man who campaigned on bridging our differences and bringing an end to extreme partisanship in Washington has become one of the worst partisan hacks in Washington.

I like The Denver Post's David Harsanyi column on this topic, found on realclearpolitics.com here. Harsanyi is not a social conservative and I don't always agree with him, but I find his sarcasm against the left quite refreshing.


On another note, one of my favorite liberals, Juan Williams, was recently fired from his position as political analyst for National Public Radio. Williams was fired for making allegedly bigoted comments about Muslims on The O'Reilly Factor a few days ago. Here are those "bigoted" comments:

"I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

The CEO of NPR, Vivian Schiller, later added insult to injury by saying that Williams should have kept his feelings about Muslims between himself and his "psychiatrist."

Even taken out of context, there is nothing bigoted about Williams' comments. He is expressing the feelings that many, probably most, Americans have when flying post-9/11. The comments were true and honest. Given that radical Muslims blew up four planes less than 10 years ago and that those same radical Muslims are still trying to attack us, such concerns are eminently reasonable. When you take Williams' comments in context, however, the ironic thing is that Williams was actually challenging O'Reilly to be more careful and more sensitive in his statements about Muslims.

However, context, honesty, and reasonableness don't matter in the least to the political correctness police, which is becoming stronger and stronger in our country and is threatening to stamp out any kind of honest discourse in the name of "sensitivity." Free speech is being muzzled in the name of tolerance. The left has succeeded in putting numerous topics off limits for debate for anyone who wishes to avoid being labeled as bigoted. Gay rights is one such area. Dare to deviate from liberal orthodoxy on this topic in any way, and you are guaranteed to be branded as a hate-filled anti-gay bigot. Even to advocate for something as reasonable as keeping the traditional definition of marriage, which seemed to be a point of universal agreement in our society just 10 or 15 years ago, now is considered intolerant and homophobic by "polite society." Preaching from the Bible against homosexuality is already illegal under hate crimes legislation in Canada. Does anybody doubt this will happen in the U.S. within a few years as well?

Another area that is off-limits is race relations, especially if you are white. Almost anything you say regarding race and race relations in this country, no matter how innocent, is likely to be taken out of context and used against you. I have been watching Bill O'Reilly for years and I guarantee there is not a racist bone in his body. I remember how viscerally angry he became a few years ago when covering a story about an alternative, non-school sponsored high school prom in Georgia where blacks where prohibited from attending. Bigotry is something he hates with a passion. And yet, this man has been called a racist repeatedly for daring to have honest discussions about race relations on his program. In trying to brand Rush Limbaugh a racist last year, liberals completely manufactured a quote out of thin air, despite the fact that two black men frequently fill in for him on his program and his long-time radio assistant is black. Even Bill and Hillary Clinton were accused of racism back in 2008 for daring to campaign against a black man for president. Liberals deduce all kind of racist code in simple anti-Obama slogans such as "take our country back," a phrase that has nothing to do with race and was used by Howard Dean against the Republicans a few years ago.

Islam is yet another area that is increasingly becoming off-limits for civil discussion. Left-wing editorial after left-wing editorial declared opposition to the Ground Zero mosque (supported by 70% of Americans) to be bigoted and xenophobic. Two members of The View walked off the set when O'Reilly made the undeniably true statement that the Ground Zero mosque should not be built because "Muslims attacked us on 9/11." They claimed his statement was bigoted because he failed to identify these Muslims as "extremists." You see, in today's PC world, it doesn't matter whether what you say is true if it's perceived as insensitive. Facts and truth must take a back seat to tolerance. Of course, tolerance is not really so tolerant after all, since it declares whole categories of speech and thought to be off-limits. Such "tolerance" is the reason that Major Hasan was able to shoot up Fort Hood last year. His military peers and superiors knew that he was a ticking time bomb, but were afraid to say anything negative about him because he was a Muslim and they didn't want to run afoul of the PC police.

Juan Williams is a liberal, but he is an honest liberal and deserves better than how he was treated by NPR. It is scandalous that this left-wing outfit is getting taxpayer money. The Republicans should cut off all taxpayer funding for NPR if they take control of Congress next year. Williams' article about his firing is on foxnews.com and is well worth reading. Check it out here. And I would urge all of my readers: please don't give in to the PC police. It is time that all of us as Americans stood up against this increasing threat to free speech in our country. Don't be afraid to speak out on the issues and to say what you believe. Don't lend your support in any way to politicians and journalists who peddle this pseudo-tolerance.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Updated Predictions for Senate and Governor Races

I've just updated my Senate and governor's race predictions, for any political junkies who are interested.... You can get to them by clicking on the links on the left side of the page.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Favorite Election Experts

For you political junkies out there...

There are three political experts out there that I really like. I think these three individuals are unmatched when it comes to knowledge of American politics and the ability to effectively analyze polls and election data. They are:

1. Michael Barone of The Washington Examiner.

2. Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard.

3. Sean Trende of realclearpolitics.com.

I will be relying on the insight of these brilliant analysts on election night and in the days leading up to the election. I think they are the best conservative-oriented number crunchers out there. There are some good liberal-oriented number-crunchers too, like Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com.

Friday, October 8, 2010

In Case You Hadn't Noticed, There's An Election Coming Up....

Over the past few weeks, I've been spending a lot of time that I usually spend blogging reading about the 2010 elections, which explains why the posting has been light lately. I think Sean Hannity is not too far off the mark when he says that this is the most important election in our lifetimes. It is incredibly vital that we the people send as strong a message as possible to our government that we will not tolerate the Obama/Reid/Pelosi agenda of reckless spending, higher taxes, ballooning deficits, and socialized health care. In order to send that message, Republicans must perform well on Election Day. They must at least meet, if not exceed, expectations. Anything less than taking over the House represents failure, and I think they also need to at least make it to 49 or 50 seats in the Senate. I would strongly urge my readers not to sit this election out. Vote -- and encourage your family, friends, and co-workers to vote as well. If you have the ability and inclination, donate to or volunteer for competitive races in your state or district. And, most importantly, pray for God to give us wise and honest leaders that will take our country in the right direction.

To me, this election is less about rewarding Republicans and more about punishing Democrats for their massive overreach. The Democrats in Congress, led by President Obama and Speaker Pelosi, have deliberately moved forward on a radical big government agenda, despite a staggering national debt and the strong opposition of a clear majority of the American people. They were warned over and over again, through townhall meetings, polls, rallies, and an overwhelming wave of letters and phone calls from constituents -- yet even many supposedly moderate Blue Dog Democrats ignored the voice of the people. And Obama's deliberate strategy has been to demonize that voice, accusing Tea Partiers and townhall activists of being racists and extremists (not to mention ignorant and stupid). I have not been around the block that many times, but I have never seen such blatant disregard for the will of American voters. Members of Congress need to know that there are consequences for this arrogance. If voters do not send a stinging rebuke on November 2, this disregard for the will of the American people will only get worse in the future. For the sake of our future, we must prove that we are not as stupid and uninformed as they think and that we are prepared to hold them accountable for their actions. Certainly Republicans will disappoint us from time to time if they regain the majority, but we can at least be sure they will stand against the excesses of the Obama Administration and bring back a desperately needed balance to our government.

It is interesting to note how this election is shaping up. By and large, Republicans are the only ones running on issues. They are talking about reducing the deficit, repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with free market solutions, opposing cap-and-trade, reducing taxes and regulations to stimulate the economy, controlling our borders, finding solutions to Social Security, and many other substantive solutions. What are the Democrats running on? Well, individual candidates are not running on their support for ObamaCare, or their support for cap-and-trade, or their support for more spending and higher deficits. Most of them are running away from their records as fast as possible. The only House Democrats talking about ObamaCare and cap-and-trade are the ones who voted against those bills. And of course, they can't run on how they've improved the economy, or created jobs, or fixed the illegal immigration problem, or drained the ethical "swamp" in Washington, or improved partisan gridlock. Instead, by their own admission, the Democrats' almost exclusive strategy is to try to tear down and destroy their GOP opponents in any way possible. They are digging up all sorts of dirt from the past, in some cases turning to stories decades old, and saturating the airwaves with personal attacks. Some of them have been blatantly false, such as Alan Grayson's infamous "Taliban Dan" ad. They can't run on their record, so they are opting for the scorched earth strategy.

Of course, the Obama Administration has not been idle either. Their "strategy" is also to demonize the opposition, and their attacks have become increasingly shrill and partisan as well. The only problem is that they can't seem to decide who the target of this opposition is. It changes on a weekly basis. Over the month or two, they have focused their firepower, in rapid succession, on...John Boehner, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, the Tea Party movement, and, most bizarrely, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (an organization that supports Democrats as well as Republicans). Their claim that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is "threatening democracy" by funding election campaigns with foreign money is so completely devoid of proof that even liberal Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation asked in astonishment, "Three weeks from election day, is this the best you have?" Of course, these attacks are only resulting in increased publicity and fundraising for Obama's targets -- Karl Rove's organization raised more than $14 million in the week following the President's attack. These attacks are doing nothing to help their precarious situation, because they are not talking about what the American people are concerned about. Voters don't care about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or Karl Rove, or Fox News. They care about jobs and the economy and the deficit and taxes and spending and health care. Obama just looks increasingly partisan and even irrelevant, and is making it next to impossible for Democrats to win over the very independents and moderates they need to be successful in swing districts across the country.

Even Obama and Biden's appeals to their base seem to fall flat. Obama comes across as a lecturer, telling Democrats that "they'd better be motivated" and that he "needs them to be fired up" and saying that if "folks want to take their ball and go home, that just tells me they weren't serious in the first place." Meanwhile, Biden calls out partisan crowds for not showing enough enthusiasm (while also saying he wants to "strangle" Republicans for talking about balancing the budget). Uh, I have news for the White House crowd. You don't get your base excited by telling them to be excited. Passion isn't a switch to be turned off and on at will. Voters are passionate when you give them a reason to be passionate about. They get excited when they see results. And frankly, it's pretty hard to get excited about a 9.6% unemployment rate.

So, yes, the Republicans are going to win big this year. I will be updating my detailed Senate and governor's predictions soon, but suffice it to say that the Republicans will probably at least come close to taking the Senate, and will probably gain around 10 governor's seats as well. Almost all of the nonpartisan forecasters agree that the Democrats will lose the House, and the only question is the margin. I think the margin could be sizable. It's going to get nasty at the end, and Obama and his party are going to do everything possible to destroy GOP candidates, but in the end the "cake is baked." I can't wait for November 2!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The FBI Is Compromising Homeland Security

There are many challenges facing our country today. Unemployment sits at nearly 10%, our deficit and national debt are exploding, our businesses are being taxed and regulated to death, and our first-rate health care system is being taken over by incompetent government bureaucrats. Yet, for all these domestic policy and economic challenges, I feel that the greatest challenge we face as a country is the threat of radical Islam. A bad economy makes our lives miserable and an ever-encroaching federal government reduces our liberties, but radical Islam threatens our very lives and the very existence of our country.

The thing that frustrates me the most about this issue is that so many politicians don't seem to recognize the seriousness of the threat -- or worse, don't seem to feel there is a threat at all. National security should not be a partisan issue. Whether Republican or Democrat, we should all stand united to fight terrorism and radical Islam. Yet, over and over again, terrorism issues become Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal -- when they should be America vs. Islamic terrorism. If conservatives are the only ones serious about fighting Islamic terrorism, then we have no chance of winning the fight.

The latest outrage comes from the FBI. Recently the FBI granted a VIP tour of our country's top-secret counterterrorism facilities to Sheikh Kifah Mustapha -- a man with close ties to Hamas and deeply involved in terrorism financing. Apparently this is part of our country's "outreach to the Muslim community." You probably haven't heard anything about this on the news, because the media has been blacking out this story. In fact, an ABC reporter accompanied Mustapha on the tour and filed a report about it, completely omitting any reference to Mustapha's radical terrorist connections. I only found out about it through email updates from Act for America, a grassroots organization founded to fight radical Islam in America. You can read more about this on bigpeace.com (a project founded by Andrew Breitbart) here and here.

I can't say how angry this makes me. Our country's national security is being compromised in the name of tolerance. And no one seems to care -- at least none of our elected officials or media reporters. According to my email from Act for America, many of their members called the FBI to express their concern. The FBI responded rudely and claimed that the story was a lie. Good to know that the FBI not only lets terrorist sympathizers into their top-secret facilities but also lies about it to concerned Americans. Folks, someone at the top approved Mustapha's access, and we need to find out who and why. Here is the letter I sent to my congressman and senators regarding this issue:

I am writing to ask you and your [House or Senate] colleagues to investigate why the FBI invited Sheikh Kifah Mustapha on a VIP tour of the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center. Mustapha has close connections to Hamas, was named an unindicated co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, is at the top of our terrorist watch lists, and recently was dismissed from the Illinois State Police chaplaincy program after failing a background check. There is no way a man like this should be given access to a top-secret counter-terrorism facility. Please encourage your colleagues to speak out on this issue and to launch a congressional investigation to determine how this happened and who is responsible for approving it. I feel strongly that the security of our country MUST be a top priority, and I know you feel the same way.

Sadly, I don't think anyone in the Obama Administration is losing any sleep over this. In fact, I doubt that Obama would have any problem with this. He might have personally approved it, for all I know. Just consider the behavior of Obama and his administration over the past two years when it comes to Islamic terrorism:

1. Attorney General Eric Holder launched an investigation into the CIA for their enhanced interrogation techniques against known terrorists -- techniques that saved thousands of American lives and that were legal at the time they were used. The Obama Administration has made any aggressive forms of interrogation against terrorists illegal. That should help our ability to prevent future terrorist attacks.
2. Obama is trying to shut down our top-notch terrorist facility at Guantanamo Bay, either releasing the terrorists held there or bringing them to the U.S.
3. Attorney General Eric Holder decided to bring Khaleid Sheikh Mohammed to the U.S. to provide him with the full rights of American citizens and a civilian trial in New York City, despite the fact that he had already pleaded guilty in a military tribunal.
4. Obama's Department of Homeland Security stopped using phrases like "acts of terrorism" and "radical Islam," preferring instead more politically correct terminology like "man-caused disasters." How can you defeat an enemy when you won't even acknowledge who you're fighting?
5. Obama's government failed miserably in stopping the Christmas Day bomber. Once he was apprehended, thanks to the fact that his bomb did not detonate as intended, he was interviewed by the FBI for 45 minutes and then was read his Miranda rights, despite the fact he was not an American citizen and the fact that he had current information about terrorist activities. He then clammed up and refused to talk to the FBI or CIA for many weeks.
6. The Fort Hood shooter should have been kicked out the military months earlier due to his radical Islamic beliefs, but his superiors would not take action against him because of a rigorous "tolerance" policy enforced by the top military commanders appointed by Obama. After the massacre, top Obama administration members denied the shooter had connections to radical Islam and said it was an isolated incident. You know, like the Times Square bomber, the Christmas Day bomber, and all those other isolated incidents.
7. Obama spoke out forcefully in favor of a grand Islamic center right next to Ground Zero, despite the fact that the imam behind the project has radical pro-terrorist and anti-American views. In fact, that imam works for our government as part of our "outreach" to the Muslim world.
8. Obama has gone around the world apologizing for America's supposed offenses against the Muslim world under his predecessor.
9. Obama has tied the hands of our troops in Afghanistan. Their restrictive rules of engagement make it next to impossible to aggressively go after Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and a fixed departure date emboldens terrorists even further.
10. Obama has refused to take any action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons - even tough sanctions. He has continually tried to appease their radical leaders, with no result. He even refused to speak out against their rigged election last year or to defend and support the Iranian citizens protesting for freedom.
11. Obama has openly sided with Palestinian terrorists over our democratic ally Israel. One of Obama first official overseas speeches was to Hamas. His representatives have refused to defend Israel in the U.N., and he has openly snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

I could go on and on, but I don't have time. The point is, Islamic terrorists don't fear Obama. In fact, they probably think he secretly sympathizes with them. They are emboldened here and abroad, knowing that there will be no consequences for their actions. Terrorist activity has significantly increased on our soil since Obama took office, including one successful and two nearly-successful attacks. Increasingly, our government associates with "moderate" Muslim leaders and organizations that are actually very radical and militant in their views. Congress hasn't held Obama accountable either. It's only going to get worse, unless we as citizens and voters speak out and make it clear to our elected officials that the War on Terror is a priority for us.