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Views on the News

Views on the News*

October 19, 2013

 

Frustration with Republicans has led to talk, for the umpteenth time, of starting a third party, and nothing would delight the forces of Big Government more.  When Tea Partiers behold a Republican Party so eager to surrender, and that doesn't even know "what we would insist upon," they can't be blamed for considering flying the coop.  When Gallup's monthly tracking poll finds only 28% of Americans happy with the GOP, the lowest for either party since 1992 when they first asked the question, no one should be surprised at the media stirring up the idea of a centrist third party being formed by anti-Tea Party Republicans.  The biggest victim of a third party, whether it be oriented toward the right or the middle, is going to be the right, and possibly for a very long time.  The last third party movement, for instance, gave us Bill Clinton.  When Ross Perot ran on an anti-deficit platform in 1992, he got 19% and nearly 20 million votes.  Clinton's margin of victory against President George H.W.  Bush was less than 6 million votes, winning 43% to 37.5%.  "If we conservatives don't bury the Republican Party I'm afraid the Republican Party is going to bury us," declared National Review publisher William A. Rusher, as he and other lifelong Republicans briefly began organizing a third party in 1975.  Yet five years after that pronouncement of death, Ronald Reagan was nominated and elected, a President who would drastically cut, then reform, income taxes; preside over the longest-sustained economic expansion ever; rebuild the Pentagon and win the Cold War; leave a lasting mark on the Supreme Court; and get re-elected in a 49-state landslide.  The GOP remains the proven vehicle for reform, so why sink it rather than make sure the right captain and crew are on board?

(“Third Party Would Keep Democrats in Power Indefinitely” dated October 11, 2013 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/101113-674905-forming-third-party-would-give-left-blank-check.htm )

"Jacksonian tradition" in American society is to embrace a distinctive code, whose key tenets include self-reliance, individualism, loyalty and courage, and the tea party is Jacksonian America, aroused, angry and above all fearful, in full revolt against a new elite that threatens its interests and scorns its values.  They are suspicious of federal power, skeptical about do-gooding at home and abroad; they oppose federal taxes but favor benefits such as Social Security and Medicare that they regard as earned.  Jacksonians are anti-elitist; they believe that the political and moral instincts of ordinary people are usually wiser than those of the experts.  That is why the Jacksonian hero defies the experts and entrenched elites and "dares to say what the people feel" without caring in the least what the liberal media will say about him.  Supporters of the tea party, he finds, see President Obama as anti-Christian, and the President's expansive use of executive authority evokes charges of "tyranny."  Obama, they believe, is pursuing a conscious strategy of building political support by increasing Americans' dependence on government.  A vast expansion of food stamps and disability programs and the push for immigration reform are key steps down that road.  ObamaCare is the tipping point, the tea party believes that unless the law is defunded, the land of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility will be gone forever, and the new America, dominated by dependent minorities who assert their "rights" without accepting their responsibilities, will have no place for people like them.  According to two benchmark surveys by the New York Times and the Public Religion Research Institute, tea-party supporters espouse an ensemble of conservative beliefs with special intensity.  Fifty-eight percent think that minorities get too much attention from government, and 65% view immigrants as a burden on the country.  Most of the respondents see President Obama as someone who doesn't understand them and doesn't share their values.  In their eyes, he's an extreme liberal whose policies consistently favor the poor.  In fact, 92% believe that he is moving the country toward socialism.  Many frustrated liberals, and not a few pundits, think that people who share these beliefs must be downscale and poorly educated, but the New York Times survey found just the opposite. Only 26% of tea-party supporters regard themselves as working class, versus 34% of the general population; 50% identify as middle class (versus 40% nationally); and 15% consider themselves upper-middle class (versus 10% nationally).  Twenty-three percent are college graduates, and an additional 14% have postgraduate training, versus 15% and 10%, respectively, for the overall population.  Conversely, only 29% of tea-party supporters have just a high-school education or less, versus 47% for all adults.  Although some tea-party supporters are libertarian, most are not.  The Public Religion Research Institute found that fully 47% regard themselves as members of the Christian right, and 55% believe that America is a Christian nation today, not just in the past. On hot-button social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, tea partiers are aligned with social conservatives.  Seventy-one percent of tea-party supporters regard themselves as conservatives.  Nor, finally, is the tea party an independent outside force putting pressure on Republicans, according to the survey.  Fully 76% of its supporters either identify with or lean toward the Republican Party.  Rather, they are a dissident reform movement within the party, determined to move it back toward true conservatism.  It's hard to see how the U.S. can govern itself unless America pushes the Republican establishment to fight back against the tea party or embraces them.

(“The Tea Party and the GOP Crackup” by William A. Galston dated October 15, 2013 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303376904579135231053555194 )

 

The government shutdown is two weeks old and default is two weeks away, and Washington is wondering why more people aren’t paying attention, but the reason is as old as the story of the little boy who cried “wolf” too many times.  When the wolf finally came, the people had stopped listening.  Once again, Washington is on the brink, only this time, it is different Yet as focused as Washington appears to be on fighting, America appears relatively unfocused on the fight.  There are many reasons why the nation has crisis disinterest right now.  First, there has been no shortage of past shutdowns or debt limit deadlines. Seventeen times from 1976 to 1996, the government shut down.  As for raising the debt limit, it has happened 53 times from 1978 to 2013.  Familiarity may breed contempt eventually, but it spawns apathy first.  Second, there is the question of the impact. America has been here before. Remember the ballyhooed $85 billion sequester earlier this year?  Although billed as the apocalypse, the sequester’s lower spending levels are now the norm and people have moved on.  The shutdown’s effects are far less at this point and no one expects the shutdown to last for as long as the sequester.  As of now, America has not felt the crisis.  Nor does it help the credibility of the “crisis culture” when rhetoric and reality so often significantly diverge.  When crisis and reality diverge, people invariably choose reality and leave with the feeling: Why should I listen?  However, the biggest problem is with “crisis messaging” itself and the media’s dissemination of it.  Everything in America is now a “crisis” – nowhere more so than in Washington and to no one more than the media.  The problem is that when everything is a “crisis,” nothing is.  The “crisis” sequence is numbingly familiar.  The crisis message becomes noise.  The crisis impact then does not equal the alarm.  The impact quickly becomes a new normal.  Then, normal becomes life and people just go about it.  The media that so quickly declare crises also desensitize us to them.  Over-billed to get short-term attention, this simultaneously undermines the subject’s ability to hold our attention long-term.  The same fate appears to have befallen this crises’ protagonist: Obama.  Just as Washington lives in a perpetual crisis, the President lives in a perpetual campaign.  The problem is that it too soon loses its efficacy.  It does not simply become nonproductive, but counter-productive.  Not only does the subject of the campaign come to be quickly ignored, but the campaigner himself does as well.  The continual nature of the campaign process dissipates what had been his strength and dissipated strength translates into weakness. Before very long both audience and opponent feel comfortable ignoring campaign and campaigner alike.  All this spells real trouble for Washington, a town that only functions by crisis. Sometimes, even a crisis cannot help it function.  What Washington desperately needs is for America to save Washington from itself, but first it needs America to really pay attention. However Washington’s problem is that it is the town that has cried wolf too many times, and like the boy in the fable, America is not listening, just when Washington most needs it to be.

(“Washington, D.C. Is Crying Wolf Yet Again, But No One Is Listening” by J.T. Young dated October 12, 2013 publishing by Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/10/12/washington-d-c-is-crying-wolf-yet-again-but-no-one-is-listening/ )

The hallmark of the Obama era is government of, for and by crisis.  Elected amid (or possibly because of) a financial crisis, the Panic of 2008, President Obama has spent his time in office lurching from disaster to disaster.  Obama’s reflexes, praised instinctive timing and audacious as a candidate, turn out to be poorly suited to high office.  Obama has been mostly reactive and mostly captive to events.  Veering here and there is part of being president.  The world is big and dangerous and governance is hard.  Some of the crises have been self-inflected, and sometimes even intentional. Obama’s signature health law, for example, was born of a crisis in Congress.  As support for the entitlement long sought by liberals was fracturing, even with Democrats in complete control of Washington, the President jammed the throttle down. The crisis of confidence demanded that a poorly constructed law be passed.  In an era of divided government precipitated by Obama’s crisis-based strategy for enacting a sweeping new health entitlement, Obama has remained crisis dependent to keep the government operating.  In the 34th consecutive month of fiscal cliff diving, Obama is a self-described hostage.  He vows he won’t negotiate, but then he does.  He vows there will be no concessions on ObamaCare, and then lays the groundwork for accepting changes.  Wishful thinking on both sides of the Republican divide has left the GOP in the unhappy position of reacting to the man who is perhaps America’s most reactive President.

(“President Crisis and the Wishful Thinking Brigade” by Chris Stirewalt dated October 15, 2013 published by Fox News at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/15/president-crisis-and-wishful-thinking-brigade/ )

Nobody expected that Barack Obama would be so inept.  His blatant reluctance to govern, his open disdain for Congress and the Constitution, his ill manners hardly befitting a national leader and reeking of a street tough, his open preference for infantile fun over grown-up duty, the arrogance he doesn't even try to hide, his whoppers, so numerous and blatant he could give the Clintons a run for their money.  We were promised the moon and the sky, let alone receding oceans -- and got a big, fat dud instead.  Watching all these unmistakable signs of a man way in over his head, it is tempting to suspect it's all an act.  Surely Obama only pretends to be a clown; there must be a method to this madness.  Rush Limbaugh is the most visible exponent of the theory that Obama knows exactly what he is doing, that his real goal is to ruin America as we know it, and everything he does is strategically geared to his destructive objective.  Obama is a revolutionary communist, and of course, his aim is to demolish the capitalist system of which America is the foremost exponent. Everything we know about him, everything he does, points in this direction.  To radically transform the country after extolling it, on the campaign trail, as the envy of the world means exactly that -- to destroy it.  Obama's pratfalls are calculated ploys, means to the heinous end and evidence of his diabolical cleverness.  I can see no contradiction between Obama's destructive goal and his stupendous incompetence.  While clearly harboring evil designs, Obama is genuinely inept in implementing his plans.  His Presidency looks like a new installment of the Keystone Kops.  Sure, creating chaos is part and parcel of the revolutionaries' rulebook.  They aim to bring down the power structure, create an atmosphere of total lawlessness, scare the populace into clamoring for a strong hand capable of restoring order, and, under the cover of chaos, storm the ramparts and seize the levers of power, but Obama IS the power structure.  He doesn't need chaos.  In fact, chaos is inimical to his objective as it raises alarm and breeds resistance.  Obama's antics woke up the "silent majority", frightening and infuriating a large segment of the middle class. Instead of wielding a scalpel, he took a sledgehammer approach to health care reform and stampeded the electorate.  Obama paid a stiff political price for his ineptitude; he lost the House and as a result his agenda ground to a halt amid the hopelessly divided government.  This is not to say that Obama's failure as chief executive should come as a surprise. Revolutionaries, and he is unmistakably a dyed-in-the-wool revolutionary, are never good at governance, or at any other form of constructive endeavor, for that matter.  They are a specialized breed adapted, by dint of temperament and inclinations, to breaking things and to nothing else.  They incessantly prattle about compassion and justice, but the lofty slogans are merely a smokescreen disguising their obsessive lust for power.  They are driven by outsized capacity for envy and hatred; power for power's sake is their only true goal.  Their ideology and ambition blind them to reality and shut off whatever remnants of common sense might still linger in their minds.  That single-minded pursuit of power is a recipe for failure once they achieve their dream.  Having seized power, they suddenly find out that they just don't know what to do with it other than luxuriate in the loot.  They lurch from blunder to blunder, while inexorably leading the captive country down the path of disaster.  Barack Obama does indeed yearn to destroy America, no question about it, but at the same time, he is flagrantly incompetent in going about it, no question about that either.

(“The Revolutionary as Halfwit” by Eugene Ostrovsky dated October 16, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/10/obama_the_revolutionary_as_halfwit.html )

 

On health care, the President's pile of broken promises keeps getting higher, and is topped by his gem from August 20, 2009: “Let's be clear about the fact that nobody has proposed anything close to a government takeover of health care.”  President Obama is well on his way to orchestrating the federal government's takeover of Americans' health care.  Commandeering the resources of major federal departments, particularly the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS, the administration and its allies in Congress have created numerous federal bureaus, commissions and programs and have issued thousands of pages of rules, regulations, guidelines and directives, all reinforced by unprecedented mandates and new taxes, fees, fines and penalties. Central planning and coercion holds this sprawling thing together.  Virtually all key health care decisions will be made by government officials.  Beginning January 1st, government officials will require you to buy a federally approved health plan or pay federal fines or tax penalties.  They will define and redefine, at their pleasure, the content of your health benefits package, meaning the medical treatments and procedures you must have; the kind and level of preventive health care services you must have; the level of coverage you must have; the level of cost sharing, deductibles and co-payments that are acceptable - to them, not you.  You will get what government officials say you will get.  Because the statutory language is often vague, “experts” at HHS and the IRS are free to write detailed regulations that cover a multitude of thorny items, such as the definition of “quality care” or “value” in doctor- or hospital-care delivery.  Of course, officials who make the rules can make exceptions to the rules, issuing waivers, or exemptions, or securing special treatment for favored groups.  The most obnoxious example is the Office of Personnel Management's decision to give hefty taxpayer subsidies to members of Congress and congressional staff to offset their premium costs in the new health insurance exchanges next year.  Those special subsidies are bereft of statutory authority.  Government officials will exercise more control over the flow of your health care dollars and subject you to mandates and penalties. Your personal freedom will be curtailed by those who claim to know what is best for you.  Meanwhile, the President and his allies will insist that what you are witnessing firsthand is not a “government takeover” of health care, but you can either believe them or your own eyes.

(“ObamaCare: It’s all about control” by Robert E. Moffit dated October 11, 2013 published by http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/4859597-74/health-care-government?printerfriendly=true#axzz2hVMJFPIw )

 

I cannot, for the life of me, understand those Americans who would like the US to no longer be a super power and/or a world leader.  There are some in former and current Presidential administrations espoused this belief, and it is utterly astounding.  The US has its problems.  There is no denying that; and we don’t.  We also don’t sweep them under the rug, either.  We deal with them; right out in the open; for the world to see.  Which country, exactly, would those who apparently do not care for their country’s world leadership, want to see leading the world?  France, Germany, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, Italy, Greece, Spain, or some of the lesser known tiny principalities?  The envy of countries like France is palpable.  France was, until the financial bottom fell out, bent on becoming the leader of what some Europeans had hoped would become the United States of Europe.  The vast numbers of the countries mentioned above are socialist countries, welfare states.  Their economies are in bankruptcy, or one step from bankruptcy, at all times.  They have no capable militaries to defend themselves and are at the mercy of predator states… except for the protection rendered by the US.  We are the world’s policeman, again… by default.  We have the only country capable of providing for ourselves and for much of the world, as well.  We made the hard decisions and we stuck by them; right up, that is, until WE decided to taste socialism.  Today, only half the people of America support the path of socialism the US government has chosen.  The nation is split, right down the middle.  We are weighted down with concern as to whether we will survive as a constitutional republic or survive only as a socialist dung heap.  America has rushed to help her neighbors, all over this planet, when they are threatened.  We respond to world disasters all the time.  It is to the US that all eyes turn for leadership…especially when they are in trouble.  Even though America is going through a rough patch, the eyes of the world are still on her, imploring her to heal herself, so she can save the remainder of the world from itself.  First we must clean out our own house, and that is already underway, so, like it or not, America is still the world leader and we’re likely to be IT for a very long time!

(“If Not America – Who?” by J.D. Longstreet dated October 15, 2013 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/58572 )

 

* 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.  Updates have been made this week to the following issue sections:

·  Welfare at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/welfare.php

·  Latin America at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/latinamerica.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com