Views on the News
January 16, 2010
Views on the News*
Less than a year in, Americans have already lost faith in President Obama and most had already lost faith in Congressional Democrats, and before that, Congressional Republicans. The essential insincerity of Obama's former good-government purism is on display with: 1) the pledge to take public funds in the general election (abandoned when the vista of mounds of private dollars beckoned), 2) the pledge of post-partisanship (abandoned when it might constrain his ambitions), and 3) the promise of open negotiations (abandoned on first contact with reality). Barack Obama, was insincere to the point of cynicism, especially about the process issues that were so central to his new-politics appeal. The point of promising to put it on C-Span was to prevent precisely the dirty backroom deals that have now insolently been stuffed into the legislation. Since this would afford Republicans further opportunities to highlight embarrassments and to delay, Democrats have decided on a more hurried, informal process for the most complex and significant legislation to pass Congress in decades. He lied to voters to make them believe he represented a new way of doing business, before immediately embracing the old practices on behalf of a very old agenda of state aggrandizement. This truth has consequences: We cannot trust our new President or our new Democrat Congress. The public's dawning awareness of this lack of trust explains the Democrats' race against time to pass the unpopular health care reform and other major leftist initiatives.
(“Obama’s Transparent Insincerity” by Rich Lowry dated January 9, 2010 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/01/09/obamacare_transparent_insincerity_99827.html
“Not another party” by Paul Jacobs dated January 10, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/PaulJacob/2010/01/10/not_another_party )
Obama has given so many speeches that, his oratory which was considered as his greatest political strength, but now seems a serious weakness since audiences’ first reaction is to question how much of his words are true and how much does Obama really believe? Obama's speeches to Congress and the American people have generally been explanatory rather than inspirational. Even Obama's well-constructed lectures are marred by a transparent rhetorical ploy. In Obama's running seminar, a flawed thesis and a flawed antithesis are always resolved by the synthesis of Obama himself -- the speaker as Hegelian culmination of history. In this way, Obama manages to be both academic and arrogant. Instead of exploring the genuinely historic nature of his time, he veers toward “messianism.” Obama's largest rhetorical failure has come at times of crisis, when a President's words matter most, and the time to craft them is most limited. His reactions to the Fort Hood murders and the Christmas Day attack were oddly disconnected from the emotions of the country he represents. His speech at Fort Hood was strong on paper but delivered with all the passion of remarks to the Chamber of Commerce. His recent White House speech on the terrorist threat was bureaucratic and bloodless. Obama's model, instead, is the coolness of Coolidge, but it appears old-fashioned. It may even be admirable, but it is hard to call it effective. Meanwhile Obama has not held a full news press conference since July 22nd, avoiding reporters and their pesky questions. With every speech, a realization grows: A President lacking in drama may also be lacking in inspiration.
(“Obama’s Speeches Become a Weak Point” by Michael Gerson dated January 13, 2010 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/01/13/no_inspiration_obama_99870.html
“Obama Gives Speeches, Interviews But Few Press Conferences” by Karen Travers dated January 14, 2010 published by ABC at http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-barack-obama-helda-press-conference-months/story?id=9549859 )
During the campaign Obama's team earned a reputation for skill and discipline in dominating the communications wars with opponents, but once in office virtually the same team has struggled, spending much of the past year defending the administration's actions on the two biggest domestic issues: the economy and health care. The White House has sought to sell health-care reform as a way to make coverage affordable and accessible to middle-class families. The White House also presented at various times as a cost-containment measure, a restraint on greedy insurance companies, a moral imperative to cover the uninsured and, to Democratic lawmakers, as a "can't fail" enterprise. The President and his aides sent mixed signals on the "public option" as well, voicing support for a government-run plan while signaling their willingness to see it die to get a bill passed. On the economy, administration officials put themselves at a disadvantage with faulty projections of the jobless rate and an overly rosy prediction of how many jobs the stimulus package would create or save. Once they had put in place policies to deal with the worst of the crises Obama inherited, they moved on to health care and later to Afghanistan. The result was a perceived loss of focus in addressing public unrest about unemployment that has prompted a shift back to the economy recently. Obama's advisers have learned what previous White House teams came to realize when they arrived in Washington, which is the vast difference between campaigning and governing. Double-digit unemployment colors public opinion, and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the continuing threat of terrorism frame the challenging foreign policy environment. But other factors also affect the White House's message management. Governing lacks the singular focus of a campaign. A White House must manage multiple issues on any given day, can rarely pick and choose its battles, and must speak to many audiences at the same time. Successful campaigns maintain control of their message most of the time. Even the best of White House operations struggle to maintain a semblance of control in the face of competition from allies on Capitol Hill, the bureaucracy and the opposition party. Obama's major speeches on health care are complex and forced to deal on a number of fronts, but public support for the overall initiative declined through the year. White House officials question whether anyone else could have delivered a more effective message about the administration's economic policies, given the steps they decided were necessary to combat the deepest recession since the Depression. As much as they try, White House officials cannot ignore events, as campaigns often do. When you're president of the United States, you have a responsibility to deal with the problems as they come. Critics of the administration say Obama has taken on so much that his message lacks a singular focus. White House officials acknowledge that internal assessments have led them to conclude they have been too reactive and too tactical. The White House is planning on the antidote to all the criticisms and to declining poll numbers will be a genuine turnaround in the economy. It is sad that the primary reason the Democrats have for passing the very unpopular health care reform bill is to have some “accomplishment” to hype in Obama’s State of the Union address, before his political window of opportunity slams shut.
(“For Obama, a tough year to get the message out” by Dan Balz dated January 10, 2010 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/09/AR2010010902198.html?hpid=topnews )
Obama is asking Americans to “trust me” as justification to pass his leftist programs, when the Democrat party track record on social transformation legislation is littered with unsuccessful, inefficient, and ineffective programs. All of these programs were put forth by liberals, now calling themselves "progressives," initiated by Democrat administrations to advance "social justice:"
· Social Security, a cornerstone of FDR's administration, was established in 1935. After 74 years it is on the brink of insolvency because Congress gave itself access to its funds.
· Fannie Mae was established in 1938 to facilitate home ownership. It has been around for 71 years. Congress has had to seize control of it and of Freddie Mac, established in 1970. Together, they presently own or guarantee about half of the United States' $12 trillion mortgage market.
· The War on Poverty started in 1964. One trillion dollars has been transferred to "the poor" and it has just institutionalized being poor.
· The Department of Energy was established in 1977 to lessen dependence on the import of foreign oil. With 16,000 employees and an annual budget of $24 billion, the United States has imported more oil with every passing year while denying U.S. oil companies access to vast national reserves in ANWR and off our continental shelf. It is an abysmal failure.
· The Obama administration is hell-bent on "health care reform" that will put one-sixth of the U.S. economy under the control of the federal government whose interventions in the free market have been the cause of the previous recessions.
The common thread in all these programs is that the “progressives” embrace failed ideas of the past (“regressive”) and assert that today’s leaders know better and have learned from mistakes of the past. About a year ago Obama said: "The first job of my administration is to put people back to work and get our economy moving again. That's why I've moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an 'American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan' that will immediately jump-start job creation and long-term growth." Notice he said "immediately," because a year later unemployment is stuck at 10% after Obama promised it wouldn't exceed 8%. Instead of apologizing for his failed program, he wants a second “stimulus,” on top of his nationally bankrupting health care and cap-and-trade plans. Obama has the audacity to demand $75 billion more to stimulate construction jobs. Obama's top economic advisers also said at the time that his stimulus package would create mostly private-sector jobs, but we now know how that turned out: just the opposite. There is no reason to believe that any new Obama programs will be any more successful than the “regressive” ideas of the past.
(“The Lies about Green Jobs” by Alan Caruba dated January 12, 2010 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2010/01/12/the-lies-about-green-jobs/
“Obama Must Know His Spending Yields Bankruptcy, Not Growth” by David Limbaugh dated January 12, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/DavidLimbaugh/2010/01/12/obama_must_know_his_spending_yields_bankruptcy,_not_growth )
After 12 straight months of being “surprised” about the unemployment numbers, what sort of hallucinogenic drug is Obama taking to now assert the economy has “saved or created” over 2 million jobs as a result of the failed “stimulus” spending? Proponents of President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill continue to insist that the massive government bailout played a decisive role in moving the economy out of the recession. The Keynesian idea that increased deficit spending can cure recessions has been tested repeatedly, and it has failed repeatedly. Yet assuming no destructive government actions, the economy's self-correction mechanism was widely expected to move the economy out of recession in 2009 anyway. However American employers eliminated 4.2 million jobs in 2009 and sent unemployment soaring into double digits for the first time in more than a quarter century, with the unofficial rate (taking in the severely underemployed and those who have given up looking) over 17%. Employment in the U.S. is now down from the peak of 146.5 million reached back in November 2007 which translates into a loss of 8.5 million jobs in two years. In contrast the Bush recession of 2001-02 only 2 million jobs were lost, a mere scratch compared to the gaping wound in jobless Obama America. Analysts had predicted that December layoffs would number around 8,000, but instead, the figure was more than ten times higher: 85,000. Unemployment held steady at 10% – not because the job market is stabilizing but because tens of thousands of Americans gave up looking for work and are no longer counted among the unemployed. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has calculated jobs that are “saved or created” by the Recovery Act through non-existent congressional districts, phantom ZIP codes, and questionable accounting practices. The American people don’t experience government statistics; they experience the reality of not working. The sharp drop in the labor force is not merely an indicator of the real unemployment rate, but it is a confirmation of the mounting hopelessness in vast stretches of the United States, particularly in California, southern New England and the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes States, where communities are being devastated by a federal auto-industry "bailout" that continues to encourage carmakers to shutter factories in U.S. cities and to relocate production to Mexico and China. The new unemployment numbers are devastating, and they should send up red flares in Washington, a city where officials have so far has been absurdly neglectful of the most serious social, economic and political crisis facing the country. The Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress are pouring a great deal of energy into trying to salvage something acceptable from the health-care reform debacle and, in the aftermath of the Christmas Day flight scare, they are increasingly focused on "war-on-terror" issues. The stimulus has been such a grand failure that the OMB has stooped to unabashedly cooking the books, but moving the goal posts and tinkering with math formulas won't put the country back to work. They may even be starting to recognize the extent to which the White House bungled things by spending a fall focused on Afghanistan when potential threats were elsewhere. There is no question that health-care policy and homeland security are serious matters, but the most serious matter facing this White House and this Congress is mounting unemployment. President Obama and the Democrats in Congress face the prospect of serious setbacks in 2010 congressional and state races if they do not recognize that there is a disconnect between their focus and that of the American people who will decide the political direction of the country in November. Unemployment is a devastating social reality for those experiencing it, and unemployment is a frightening economic reality for those who still have jobs but who wonder whether their jobs are threatened – and who constrain their spending and lifestyle choices accordingly. We will see in 2010, as Obama's increasingly desperate attempts to jump-start the economy intersect with the impatience of the voters, just how badly the President has failed the American people by favoring liberal pet projects over the basic needs of the American people.
(“The 2010 Political Timebomb is Unemployment” by John Nichols dated January 9, 2010 published by The Nation at http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/514394/the_2010_political_timebomb_is_unemployment
“Obama’s Job Hole” by Christopher Chantrill dated January 12, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/obamas_jobs_hole.html
“OMB’s Fuzzy Math” by Jillian Bandes dated January 13, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/JillianBandes/2010/01/13/ombs_fuzzy_math
“Why Government Spending Does Not Stimulate Economic Growth: Answering the Critics” by Brian M. Riedl dated January 8, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/bg2354.cfm )
An expansion of the U.S. economy will certainly continue into 2010, supported for now by the Federal Reserve’s near-zero interest rate and a major swelling of the federal government. This should be enough to get us through the many debt restructurings that will be needed in 2010, and to survive the derailment risks relative to the public-sector expansion and the continued fiscal chaos. Historically speaking, after a deep recession, inventories rebuild, pent-up demand appears, and output partially catches up to the previous trend line, all of which propel above-average growth. So far, inventories have declined and sales have recovered to the point that the inventory-to-sales ratio has dropped toward historical lows. The still-low level of auto sales, and even lower level of domestic auto production, means there is a good potential for sharp gains in this important category. Passage of a bad health care bill (one that forces pronounced federal intrusiveness) could set a precedent for an anti-growth tax hike in 2010; the financial and regulatory reforms now being discussed in Congress are unattractive from an economic-growth standpoint; the tenuous U.S. debt position looms large, with Congress having extended the debt ceiling only through February 2010; and some risk of retroactive tax increases persists. Meanwhile, at the state and local levels (just like the federal level), the path of least resistance for the moment is toward higher tax rates. Uncertainty about future tax rates will impact growth for the next year but real economic growth around 3% for 2010, along with higher-than-necessary unemployment, seems a realistic bet.
(“Somewhere Short of a V” by David Malpass dated January 11, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NmQ0NDNkYWI0NTBjMmU5NmY1ODZkMTdjMmI0Mzk0Njc= )
Barack Obama's health care plan ensures spiraling costs and will convert health insurance companies into cost-plus health reimbursement utilities, or else bankrupt them completely, and health insurance as we know it (think home/auto/life) will no longer exist. A key insurance concept is the need for a large, diversified pool of policyholders so that the insurance company can predict the pool's catastrophic events, and so that such events will be rare. Any concentration of risk in the insurance pool will increase premiums, given the negative impact of those excess payouts on the insurance company's bottom line. Obama and Reid have produced a bill that turns this insurance concept on its head by preventing underwriting based on medical risk and requiring citizens (and employers) to purchase insurance or pay a fee. This combination guarantees an adverse selection problem whereby healthy people will pay the cheaper fee until sick and in need of insurance, whereupon they will enroll for non-deniable insurance. Risk pools will become sick pools, and insurance will become a pass-through vehicle for the cost of sick policyholders. The benefit of healthy participants, formerly shared by all policyholders, will be eliminated. Risk-sharing is another key insurance concept. The policyholder and the insurer share risks and costs, but in exchange, the policyholder is mostly or fully protected against catastrophic economic loss (a home burning down, death, or expensive illness). When the policyholder retains non-catastrophic but more frequent expenses, the cost of the insurance (the premium) is reduced because the insurance company need charge less to make the same shareholder return. Obama and Reid have produced a bill that must raise policyholder premiums because it increases insurance company expenses by 1) taxing drugs, devices, and policies; 2) eliminating "unreasonable" annual or lifetime limits on insurance company payouts; and 3) establishing maximum out-of-pocket limits for policyholders. Obama and Reid reassure us that profits will be regulated through state exchanges, cost incurrence mandated, and minimum policy standards established. In other words, health insurance pricing, profits, and products will be governmentally determined. That's a regulated public utility, a framework typically used to address monopolistic situations (not the case with health insurers and potentially unconstitutional). There is little difference between numerous companies whose pricing, profits, and products are determined by the government and one government-run company. Public utilities have historically raised prices through "rate cases," wherein the utility presents evidence that operating costs have risen, resulting in unacceptably low shareholder returns and thus the need for higher rates. This bill's expensive adverse-selection problems and cost increases must result in an escalation of premiums if insurance companies are to remain in business and earn utility-type returns. Obama's and Reid's plan not only increases costs as described above, but also by requiring coverage of numerous non-catastrophic items such as abortion, prescription drugs, lab services, wellness and preventative services, oral care, and vision care. For all these reasons, the bill will dramatically increase insurance company costs with one of only two possible conclusions -- premiums will increase commensurate with costs through the utility model (government-controlled health care), or government-imposed price controls will drive private sector players out of business (government-owned health care). Obama and friends have created a moral, social, and economic abomination that is a lie and a violation of their duty to the electorate and the unborn. The Senate bill eliminates insurance as we know it, guarantees escalating costs for many reasons, inserts the government into private health care, funds costs on the backs of the elderly, and sends us to work to pay for someone to abort their child (opposed 3 to1 in recent surveys).
(“The End of Insurance” by Keith Riler dated January 10, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/the_end_of_insurance.html )
Over the past several years, the president has repeatedly vowed to make the United States less dependent on foreign sources of oil, but the actions of Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar make it seem that the main mission is to reduce domestic energy production. Salazar recently announced that his department intends to slow the permitting process for energy projects on federal lands. The "fast-track" procedures approved by Congress in 2005, lauded by consumers as a way to increase production and reduce costs, are now to be replaced by the requirement of more paperwork, inspection, and layering of bureaucratic approval. As our economy recovers, we are going to need cheap and reliable sources of energy. Almost providentially, at the very moment in our nation's history when this supply is most in need, a solution has presented itself: vast new discoveries of shale gas, and the development of the technology to release it. With the discovery of enormous fields of natural gas in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and New York, as well as in other states and offshore, America is now the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. If the administration truly wished to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign energy, the only requirement would be for government to step aside and allow the free market to develop these remarkable reserves. Unfortunately, this is the last thing we can expect from the Obama administration, which has been busy from day one tightening restrictions on domestic production of oil and gas. Just as he has done with health care suppliers, Obama is putting the squeeze on domestic energy producers by tightening regulation and raising taxes and royalty fees. The intent of this shakedown is two-fold. first, by threat and intimidation, Obama hopes to stifle political opposition from a powerful industry group; and second, by confiscating profits, government will increase revenue with which to expand its client base of voters. The Chicago shakedown is crude but effective: intimidate those who are productive, force them to hand over a portion of their earnings, and redistribute those funds to those who are not productive but who nonetheless vote. Energy and health care are key targets of Democratic "reform" -- not because they need reforming, but because they present an opportunity for extortion on an unprecedented scale. This is why Obama has declared the need for "comprehensive" health care reform and "a comprehensive energy plan." Once the revenues of these companies are under the control of government, they can be exploited for political purposes. For Obama and his Chicago cronies, shakedown is business as usual. Under the pretext of reform, the Democrat Party is attempting to take over every major sector of the economy and to manipulate it for political gain. The cost of health care, energy and other basic needs are to be increased for one simple reason: to seize the profits of private businesses and redistribute funds to political supporters.
(“Shake and Take” by Jeffrey Folks dated January 13, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/shake_and_take.html )
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said President Obama does not consider the fight against terrorism to be war since he has done virtually nothing so far in his Presidency other than give speeches and extend empty offers of peace. However Cheney can be forgiven for demanding better proof of Obama's seriousness about combating terrorism than a speech he once gave. The Obama administration response is to attack the criticism as symptomatic of "the inflammatory rhetoric, hyperbole and intellectual narrowness" that supposedly characterized the Bush administration. Obama has quietly adopted many of his predecessor's responses to terrorism, such as authorizing intercepts, wiretaps and Predator attacks. Unfortunately in crucial respects the Obama administration's actions are inconsistent with the idea that the United States truly is at war with terrorism and the militant Islamists who engage in it. Foremost among them is its treatment of captured terrorists such as the Obama administration placing the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the criminal justice system, rather than treating him as an enemy combatant and detaining him at a military facility for intensive interrogation. Obama's policy with respect to releasing existing detainees has also been inconsistent with the view that we are at war with terrorism. Obama's eagerness to negotiate with regimes that are key participants in the "network of violence and hatred" also undercuts his claim that he is at war with those forces. Being at war with terrorism does not necessarily require a shooting war with sponsors of terrorism, since it may even be possible to be at war with terrorism while negotiating with its sponsors. Obama's effort to sweet-talk Iran into negotiations with no preconditions, coupled with his tepid support for those who would overthrow the regime that sponsors so much terrorism, demonstrates an undue and even craven desire to accommodate that regime. This is inconsistent with being at war against the "network of violence and hatred." Finally, even in Afghanistan, where Obama has stepped up the shooting war, his seriousness is questionable. At the same time he announced the long-awaited troop surge, he informed the American public, as well as the enemy, that we will begin withdrawing troops by July 2011. Throughout 2009, whether the issue was interrogating and sidelining terrorists, fighting them on the battlefield, or dealing with the states that support them, Obama acted without the urgency and seriousness that characterizes a President at war. It is no accident that, until the Christmas near-catastrophe and for an uncomfortable period thereafter, the Obama administration was reluctant to speak of being at war, either with terrorism or with the militant Islamists who engage in it. We can only hope that, having narrowly avoided disaster, Obama will step up tangible and visible actions to engage in all aspects of the “Global War on Terror” in 2010.
(“Why it’s time to return to war against terrorism” by Paul Mirengoff dated January 10, 2010 published by The Washington Examiner at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Sunday_Reflections/Why-it_s-time-to-return-to-war-against-terrorism-8738496-81015022.html )
Al-Qaeda's newfound vitality is the product of a fresh strategy that plays to its networking strength and compensates for its numerical weakness. Al-Qaeda last month launched two separate attacks less than a week apart, one failed and one successful, triggering the most extensive review of U.S. national security policies since 2001. In contrast to its plan on Sept. 11, which was to deliver a knock-out blow to the United States, al-Qaeda's leadership has now adopted a "death by a thousand cuts" approach. There are five core elements to this strategy:
o First, al-Qaeda is increasingly focused on overwhelming, distracting and exhausting us. To this end, it seeks to flood our already information-overloaded national intelligence systems with myriad threats and background noise.
o Second, in the wake of the global financial crisis, al-Qaeda has stepped up a strategy of economic warfare. Over the past year, the group has issued statements, videos, audio messages and letters online trumpeting its actions against Western financial systems, even taking credit for the economic crisis.
o Third, al-Qaeda is still trying to create divisions within the global alliance arrayed against it by targeting key coalition partners. During the past two years, serious terrorist plots orchestrated by al-Qaeda's allies in Pakistan, meant to punish Spain and the Netherlands for participating in the war on terrorism, were thwarted in Barcelona and Amsterdam. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, suicide bombers and roadside explosives target contingents from countries such as Britain, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, where popular support for deployments has waned, in hopes of hastening their withdrawal from the NATO-led coalition.
o Fourth, al-Qaeda is aggressively seeking out, destabilizing and exploiting failed states and other areas of lawlessness. The terrorist network sees failing states as providing opportunities to extend its reach, and it conducts local campaigns of subversion to hasten their decline in places such as Pakistan, Algeria, the Sahel, Somalia and Yemen.
o Fifth, al-Qaeda is covetously seeking recruits from non-Muslim countries who can be easily deployed for attacks in the West. The group's leaders see people like these -- especially converts to Islam whose appearances and names would not arouse the same scrutiny that persons from Islamic countries might as the ultimate fifth column. Al-Qaeda has become increasingly adept at using the Internet to locate these would-be terrorists and to feed them propaganda.
In adopting and refining these tactics, al-Qaeda is shrewdly opportunistic. It constantly monitors our defenses in an effort to identify new gaps and opportunities that can be exploited. The "systemic failure" of intelligence analysis and airport security that Obama recently described was not just the product of a compartmentalized bureaucracy or analytical inattention, but a failure to recognize al-Qaeda's new strategy. The U.S. national security architecture built in the aftermath of September 11th addresses yesterday's threats, but not today's and certainly not tomorrow's.
(“Al-Qaeda has a new strategy, Obama needs one, too” by Bruce Hoffman dated January 10, 2010 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/08/AR2010010803555_pf.html )
If the GOP wants to take back the House and perhaps the Senate in 2010, not just do well, will require winning back voter trust lost between 2000 and 2008. A party platform must be crafted based on three clear, focused, and memorable objectives: 1) shrink the role of government; 2) defeat Islamic fundamentalism; and 3) recapture the traditional American culture. Here are the top 10 specific actions the GOP must do to win in 2010:
· Face up to why the party lost in 2006 and 2008. Defined by attitudes rather than demographics, voter problem wasn't with Iraq, as the media imagined, but with the increase in federal domestic spending and deficits.
· Don't lose sight of why support for Democrats is tanking. What spending-sensitive voters didn't anticipate were trillion dollar bank and auto bailouts, trillion dollar deficits, a trillion dollar health-care overhaul, and a trillion dollar stimulus bill.
· Face the fact that many swing voters who want Democrats out of power don't particularly want Republicans in. Whatever their declared party affiliation, these voters are anti-establishment and party is secondary to them. They are not yet convinced that, if returned to power, the GOP will deliver the cheaper, more limited government it has long promised.
· Fight for spending cuts now. The GOP’s nearly united front against the stimulus bill and complete unity against the health-care overhaul were good initial steps. The GOP should resist increases in domestic spending on every parliamentary front, and more importantly should renounce earmarks, leaving Democrats alone to defend this symbol of Congress' degeneracy.
· For the midterm election, unite around a clear agenda of repeal. The party should give its candidates a list of programs and spending that will be up for cancellation the hour a Republican Congress is sworn in. At the top of the list should be the Troubled Asset Relief Program, unspent stimulus funds, and the health-care overhaul.
· Add in an agenda of market-freeing reforms in health care, energy, environmental and education policy. Scholarly centers such as the Hoover Institution, the Pacific Research Institute, and the Manhattan Institute have developed market-freeing solutions to health inflation, energy dependence, real and immediate environmental challenges, and education quality.
· Add to that a serious plan for moving to a surplus and reducing federal debt. Critics noted that the government can't fix the budget my focusing on minutia, so a definite plan is needed.
· Start talking about the need to reform Social Security and Medicare. Swing voters know these programs could devastate federal finances. Politicians must assure voters that they are committed to fixing them. Talk of reforming these programs is no longer the third rail of politics.
· Tax cuts must be part of the answer. The surpluses of the late '90s were a product of the growth in revenues that came after the capital gains tax was cut. Campaign for immediate renewal of the 2003 cuts as the first step, with a path to an eventual flat tax as the next step.
· Take a lesson from Ronald Reagan and emphasize that your programs are based on consistent principles leading to a hopeful future for all Americans. Reclaim the party's franchise for economic growth, entrepreneurship, personal liberty, and spending restraint.
These actions are is the route to a big victory in November—and a true service to the nation. The GOP needs to demonstrate that they can learn from their past mistakes and can reassert national leadership based on core conservative principles and policies.
(“10 Tips for the GOP in 2010” by Clark S. Judge dated January 10, 2010 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704842604574642440064128138.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion
“A Flight of Fantasy: What Conservatives Should Do When They Regain Power” by Ron Lipsman dated January 14, 2010 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2010/01/14/a-flight-of-fantasy-what-conservatives-should-do-when-they-regain-power/ )
* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news. I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning. Individual issue updates this week include:
· Civil Rights at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/civilrights.php
· Energy at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/energy.php