Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obama Outscores but Romney Wins Debate

Obama was a transformed candidate in last night's 2nd of 3 presidential debates. The President came out swinging and with the aid of yet another liberal moderator, turned in an "aggressive" performance that at least tied the Governor's less dominant appearance, and may have even edged him out; at least in the eyes of pundits and committed voters. It may have been enough to stem the tide, but was it enough to turn it?

I don't think so. President Obama, like Joe Biden, shored up his demoralized base, but it's doubtful that he won over any independents or undecided voters. To the contrary, what remains of the "mass in the middle" are seeing a president who is inconsistent, often unpresidential, and offers no vision as to why one should expect the next four years to be any different--any better than the years just passed.

Governor Romney, on the other hand, again showed himself as a serious, competent, experienced executive with an actual plan to turn the tide of decline in the US. Independents looking for a viable alternative to the failed policies of BHO, saw that possibility in Mitt. His reassuring declaration that, "we don't have to settle for what we have today" will have resonated with these swing voters, while Obama's deflecting of economic challenges, excuse-making, and hollow assaults on Romney's plan and character will continue to be a turn off among the undecided.

Obama further damaged his own credibility--perhaps beyond repair--with respect to the Lybian crisis by suddenly claiming to have identified the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi as "an act of terror" in a Rose Garden speech the day after a US Ambassador and three other Americans were killed in a likely Al Queada military assault. While the President took great delight in how the audacity of the shocking claim struck Governor Romney, and the support he gained from "neutral" moderator, Crowley, this could prove fatal to the President's re-election bid in the coming days. His Clintonesque parsing of his own speech to change its meaning, and his disingenuous offense at the "politicizing" of the Benghazi attack, while great political theatrics, itself, will not stand scrutiny.

So while liberal pundits and Obama supporters revel in the "points scored" by their guy, I would expect the quiet shift toward Romney to continue as the governor is seen as a bona fide US Presidential leader. Romney will likely add to his gains after this debate, mirroring the direction of change demonstrated in the Frank Luntz focus group in Las Vegas where former Obama supporters felt confident that Romney offered a better alternative for the future of America. That's rational. And that's a Romney WIN!

If you saw it differently, please comment and explain why.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Trouble" is Obama's Middle Name

Barack "TROUBLE" Obama
Barack Obama should never have been elected President. His election in 2008 was the perfect storm of a destabilizing economy, Chicagoland politics, Bush hate, and America's desire to make history by crowning the first black President. All this in a context of media malpractice, willing ignorance, and misinformation.

As a result, the nation is now saddled with the least experienced, least qualified, least competent, least vetted, and therefore least prepared Chief Executive perhaps ever to have occupied the Oval Office. He has created far more problems than he has solved and his supporters are now in the unenviable position of having to defend the indefensible.

President Obama's abysmal record speaks for itself. After almost 48 months of his regime--2 years of which he was buttressed by control of the entire government--America is actually worse off than it was when he took office.
  • Unemployment is now ostensibly at the same level as when Obama was inaugurated after TRILLIONS in deficit "stimulus" spending. Except it's not. Real unemployment stands at about 14% and growth is SLOWING.
  • Unemployment among blacks and younger Americans, those who were supposed to benefit disproportionally from Obama's policies, stands at record highs. Where's the beef? 
  • The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare was wrangled and rustled to passage in the most shameless display of hardball partisan politics ever witnessed by the American public--this despite the bill's continued unpopularity among voters. Even with some of the bill's most popular provisions in place 52% of Americans still want it repealed. It has also proven to be a job killer.
  • Gas prices have more than doubled since Obama's election. Drilling permits on public lands are at 30-year lows, the job-creating Keystone Pipeline has been denied, and hundreds, if not thousands of jobs died when Obama spoke and the drills in the Gulf were stilled.
  • Simultaneously, Obama's corrupt and misguided public "investments" in alternative "green" energy have withered on the vine, costing taxpayers over 90 billion dollars. 
  • GM and Chrysler still languish after their $50 billion bailout. The federally mandated Volt has no juice whatsoever and since GM's fundamentals are still bad with the Unions in charge, there's no there, there.
  • Obama promised to be above politics, a great uniter, post-racial, transparent. Even the rising seas would begin to fall. His administration, so far, has been the most divisive, partisan, and least transparent in modern times. And I don't know about the seas, but the world's supply of BS has done anything but fall since Obama took office. The manufactured wars on women, the middle class, and constant wolf-cries of "racism" are cases in point.
  • The President's flip-flop on traditional marriage won him the support of social liberals, but cost him the support of some socially conservative blacks, Hispanics, and others. Gays may feel more free, but the faithful feel far more oppressed.
  • Despite his reluctant elimination of Osama bin Laden, Obama's Middle East policy is a disaster. Though he imagined he had "burnished" America's image abroad, it's actually never been more tarnished. The Commander-In-Chief has spurned our allies while emboldening our enemies sending mixed signals that have fundamentally weakened our posture, prestige and positive influence around the world.
  • The Obama Administration is riddled with scandal--you just don't hear much about it. From ACORN to Solyndra; the passage of ACA to the fight with Arizona on Immigration enforcement; from the death of a border control agent and Mexican Nationals via Fast & Furious to the terrorist killings of a US Ambassador and his compatriots in Lybia; from the appointment of the card-carrying communist, Van Jones, to the deliberate refusal of the justice department to prosecute voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers and the coddling of big union bosses, Obama showers favor on his cronies and brings the weight of Federal force and intimidation down upon his foes with near reckless abandon. 
  • Energy, food, and commodity prices rise on the falling value of the dollar. After 3 episodes of "Quantitative Easing" designed to stimulate the economy, little stimulus has resulted. Though the stock market has been propped up, its fundamentals are weak and experts expect another corrective fall. Meanwhile, inflation, the cruelest tax on the middle class, robs Americans of their buying power even as household incomes tumble. 
The bullets could continue to fly but you get my point. Obama appoints commissions then ignores their advice. He skips his security briefings, but makes his Tee-times. He's absent on policy debates, but omnipresent with executive orders and regulatory Czars. He can't produce a budget, but scoffs at those who do. He has no time for world leaders but has plenty for his pals on The View, Letterman, and a host of puffy talk shows. He blames everyone but the family dog for his failures but takes immediate and full credit for others' achievements. He barks from the head, but leads from behind.

It's understandable that Americans want him to succeed. He IS after all the first black President. As historically important as that is, he is also a man, a politician, and a partisan. He's an ideologue who is out of sync with American ideals--even the ideals of many who support him. In only one sense is BO truly non-partisan: The misery he and his policies inflict affect all of us; regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status or political persuasion.

Barack Hussein Obama is simply not up to the task. Inadequately prepared, insufficiently vetted, unwittingly supported and unwisely elected, however noble the intent, Obama is trouble. And America is in trouble with this unfortunately incompetent governor at the helm. It's time to see him for who he isn't and vote for the kind of honest change that could just help us turn the corner and restore America and her people to the place of leadership, strength, and greatness that is both the example and the envy of the world. That's rational!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Biden vs. Ryan or He Who Laughs Last...

"When a wise man debates with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet." ~Proverbs 29:9

It's fair to say that Joe Biden got the first laugh in his 90-minute confrontation with his would-be successor, Congressman Paul Ryan in last Wednesday;s debate. The Vice President managed to escape without any major gaffes besides his odd demeanor. The gas-bag-in-veep appeared as something of a cross between Alfred E. Neuman and Archie Bunker in what was possibly the most obnoxious display of condescension and pure rudeness ever witnessed in a Vice-Presidential debate. In fact, had it not been for his non-verbal antics, the Democrat might have scored a solid victory over his Republican rival.

That said, conservatives who expected Paul Ryan to walk all over the Prince of Gaffes were sorely disappointed. Biden's penchant for blowhardmanship against Ryan's reputation for policy acumen set some conservatives up for the fall. While Ryan comported himself well and displayed the kind of seriousness and command of the issues one would expect in a Vice President, he spent most of the evening on defense and was not overly forceful in either his criticisms of the current administration or in selling his alternatives.

In fairness, debate moderator and Obama BFF, Martha Raddatz helped stack the deck against the VP hopeful. She conveniently steered the conversation away from Obama/Biden's monstrous Achilles heel, THE ECONOMY in favor of the more tedious and less differentiating details of foreign affairs. This played to Biden's limited strengths, and narrowed Ryan's target. Raddatz provided additional cover for Biden by allowing his 82 interruptions in 90 minutes and by shifting topics whenever Ryan began to take off.

At the end of the day, this debate wasn't a game changer. But if I had to pick a winner, I'd give it to Biden by a sneer--at least on Wednesday night. Despite his obnoxious and condescending style, "Old Joe" did an effective job of shoring up his base. He polished up the old collectivist vision about as pretty as it gets and advocated passionately and almost convincingly for the campaign's meaningless slogan about "growing the economy from the middle out." Try explaining that one after a beer or two.

By brute force, Biden controlled the debate, frequently interrupting Congressman Ryan, and putting the Republicans' agenda on defense according to plan. He struck all the familiar chords; class warfare and the 47% and the assault on Romney's lack of specifics. Meanwhile, he offered NO PLAN OF HIS OWN to address the mounting debt, deficits, the approaching insolvency of social programs, or the sustained high unemployment that has left millions of Americans--particularly the minorities and young folks that put Obama in the White House--broken down on the shoulder of the nation's economic bridge to nowhere. Despite the size of the target, Ryan failed to strike a forceful blow.

On foreign policy, Biden seemed vastly more in command of the issues as a matter of debate than his administration obviously is in command as a matter of practice. He spoke in familiar, if tedious detail about international policies and personalities, including his old pal "Bebe" (Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli PM) and reassured the nation that, in effect, "despite what you see, we've got this! Don't sweat the small stuff!" While his confidence was strangely reassuring, his "facts" don't seem to be standing the test of post-debate scrutiny. So this may come back to bite him.

His greatest FAIL of the evening was his inability to explain the current scandal surrounding the assassination of Ambasador Stevens in Lybia. Although she opened the debate forcefully on this topic, Raddatz clipped Ryan's onslaught multiple times and let Biden off fairly easily on this devastating issue. Score: Biden--for now. But as the debate deconstruction has commenced in the media, Biden may not be laughing anymore.

Still, Biden did effectively challenge the challenger saying "what would you do differently?" Other than a few uninspiring talking points about not slashing the military budget (most Americans think could stand some judicious cuts), supporting our more traditional allies, and bringing tougher sanctions against Iran, Ryan's rhetorical dip-stick came up pretty dry.

On the downside for VP Biden, his incongruous Cheshire grin, obnoxious laughter, and constant interruptions may have pumped up his deflated base but they're unlikely to win many converts from among undecideds. Joe's disingenuous "my friend" and genuine disrespect for his opponent made it clear that the senior statesman was not the grown-up in the room. In fact, if the winner were decided solely on "Who do you think is more equal to the dignity of the office?" Ryan takes it in a landslide!

For his part, Paul Ryan showed Presidential gravitas. He was poised, dignified and articulate. The Congressman demonstrated that he had a strong grasp of issues facing the nation, both foreign and domestic. He effectively underscored the fact that this election represents a clear choice between top-down collectivism ("trickle-down government") under an increasingly oppressive federal bureaucracy, versus a return to more traditional American ideals of individual rights, responsibility, and opportunity under a smaller, less intrusive federal government. Ryan wasn't the forceful or feisty champion of these ideals that we had hoped for (I found myself wishing the Mittster were in the room to speak for himself), but you can chalk that up to youth and inexperience. Of the two, however, he was the guy most Americans would probably rather have sitting in the Oval Office chair should it unexpectedly be found even emptier than it is today.

Biden had a few laughs Wednesday night. But he may not want to take them to the bank. In a digital world of fact-checkers and Monday morning quarterbacks, the twinkle in Joes manic eyes could turn to tears on November 7th. We'll see who's laughing then!