October 19, 2010

Democrats Confounded by Voter Frustration

Mere weeks ahead of the congressional midterms elections in November, many Americans are no longer able to "think clearly" because of the economic malaise they are suffering. According to President Barack Obama the burden is on Democrats "to break through the fear and the frustration people are feeling."

"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hardwired not to always think clearly when we're scared," Obama said on Saturday during a fundraiser event, Politico reports.

The president and his party have been lambasting the opposition for supposedly tapping into that fear. "The biggest mistake we can make right now," said Obama, "is to go back to the very same policies that caused this mess in the first place." With the economic recovery stalling and Democratic candidates across the country distancing themselves from the administration's landmark legislative achievements---health care and financial reform---its new message of "hope" is apparently that Republicans will do even worse if elected.

There is certainly a lot of anger on the right. The huge electoral defeats of 2006 and 2008 left the Republican Party rather without direction, allowing loud and controversial opinion makers as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin to fill an ideological void.

What restored coherence to conservative America was the interventionist economic agenda of the Obama Administration. Tea Party activists rallied against health care reform. Stalwart Republicans once again championed constitutional conservatism. Libertarian candidates and congressmen as Rand Paul of Kentucky and Paul Ryan of Wisconson won primary elections and crusaded for less government in the immediate aftermath of a crisis that Democrats blamed on the free market.

Presuming that unbridled greed and unregulated capitalism caused the downturn, it is difficult for Democrats to understand why millions continue to oppose their Big Government solutions. Even BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico this summer wouldn't convince tea partiers. White House chief of staff at the time, Rahm Emanual alleged that Republicans saw BP as the aggrieved party under the circumstances, not local fishermen. "They think that the government's the problem," he exclaimed in disbelief.

The whole Tea Party phenomenon was not taken very seriously by Democrats initially. Since it became evident that the Tea Parties were a force to be reckoned with however, as they marched by the hundreds of thousands and helped elect populist candidates in GOP primary elections, the left has been quick to label them as radical and extremist.

Since the start of this year, different commentators and lawmakers have alleged or suggested that the Tea Parties are racist. A recent study by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which is an organization critical of fringe and racist movements, entitled Tea Party Nationalism, "found Tea Party ranks to be permeated with concerns about race and national identity and other so-called social issues," contrary to the movement's self proclaimed focus on government excess. "Tea Party organizations have given platforms to anti-Semites, racists, and bigots," according to the report. The MSNBC documentary Rise of the New Right further tied anti-government protests to militias and fanatics, conveying the notion that the whole of this "new" right is inclined to violence or at least willing to sanction it.

On the campaign trail in April 2008, Obama said that he understood how people could become embittered and "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them" in times of economic hardship. Since then, millions more Americans have lost their jobs while government stimulus measures have delivered little more than trillion dollar deficits.

Democrats meanwhile continue to blame Republican policies for the "mess" America is in and warn that their return to power will only herald greater inequity and despair. The White House is now theorizing that "secret foreign money" is paying for Republican campaign advertisements and the president himself doesn't even talk about health care anymore.

Less than two years after promising "hope and change," Obama and his party don't appear to have much of a message, let alone vision, for the upcoming elections anymore---which are a referendum on the presidency whatever the administration may like to pretend. Democrats' inability and unwillingness to defend their own policy record of the past two years is a dismal sign of weakness and failure, one Republicans eagerly exploit. Democrats don't seem to understand why people are so upset. The president said it best in April of this year when he talked about Tea Party protesters. "I think they should be saying thank you."

Originally published at the Atlantic Sentinel, October 9, 2010.

October 15, 2010

Napolitano Breaks it Down

The judge appeared on Glenn Beck's show recently to talk about what's wrong with America and why November's elections are so important.

October 8, 2010

How to Balance the US Budget

A message from Cato's Daniel Mitchell:

The political establishment in Washington wants everyone to believe that there is no way to balance the budget without higher taxes.

This new video debunks this myth, using Congressional Budget Office numbers to show that it is simple to get rid of red ink if politicians restrain the growth of federal spending.

October 5, 2010

Another Company Feeling the Pain of ObamaCare

The Wall Street Journal reports that manufacturing company 3M Co. will stop offering its health insurance plan to retirees, citing the federal health overhaul as a factor.

The changes won't start to phase in until 2013. But they show how companies are beginning to respond to the new law, which should make it easier for people in their 50s and early-60s to find affordable policies on their own. While thousands of employers are tapping new funds from the law to keep retiree plans, 3M illustrates that others may not opt to retain such plans over the next few years

Whereas the administration previously insisted that retiree plans would remain largely exempt from the health insurance overhaul, an internal 3M memo states that "health care reform has made it more difficult for employers like 3M to provide a plan that will remain competitive." The company didn't specify how many workers would be impacted. It currently has 23,000 American retirees.

October 4, 2010

O'Donnell: China Conniving to Take Over USA

I like the Tea Party. Really. But Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell from Delaware is making it harder every day for me to take her seriously.

From Politico:

Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell once claimed to have classified information showing that China was plotting to conquer the United States.

China had a "carefully thought out and strategic plan to take over America" O'Donnell said during a 2006 Senate primary debate [...]

When her opponent pointed out that China and the US were so economically interdependent that an aggressive move of that kind on the part of China would make no sense, O'Donnell accused him of appeasement.

"A country that forces women to have abortions and mandates that you can only have one child and will not allow you the freedom to read the Bible, you think they can be our friend?" she said. "We have to look at our history and realize that if they pretend to be our friend it's because they've got something up their sleeve."

Such fantasies are no more than silly in the average person but a United States Senate candidate should know better. Christine O'Donnell should not be elected.

Are Islam Bashers to Blame for Terror Threat?

Whatever happened to Newsweek? In a recent article two of the magazine's contributors suggest that the rise of anti-Islam parties throughout Europe is somehow connected with the raised terror alert on the continent. Not only do the authors fail to explicate a connection between the two; they fail even to substantiate this assertion.

According to the magazine, people in Europe are "afraid, caught between terrorists who are plotting attacks against them and politicians who are not only exploiting the public's fears but, in some cases, openly taunting the terrorists." I can't speak as to the mood in every part of Europe, but in general, there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of fear around. Indeed, American news media have been more anxious to report on the terror plot that Al Qaeda affiliates were or are supposed to planning against France, Germany and the UK than their European counterparts.

The authors conveniently glance over the near absence of extremist parties in those countries though. They point out that "from Sweden and Denmark to Italy, Holland and Hungary" anti-immigration parties are on the rise (which is true), and they conclude that "It's been years since the clash of civilizations seemed so real and so imminent" (which is preposterous).

If the mounting popularity of Islam bashers in the aforementioned countries were to incite terrorism, why aren't those countries targeted? The answer, of course, is that unlike those countries (with the exception of the Netherlands), Britain, France and Germany have actually fought terrorism instead of Islam, from Western Africa to Afghanistan. That's why terrorists are attempting to strike against them.

Muslim extremists make a lot of fuss when someone like Geert Wilders declares Islam a "fascist ideology" and suggest that the Qur'an should be outlawed, but Geert Wilders isn't taking the war to them. France, Germany and the United Kingdom are.

October 3, 2010

ObamaCare Forces Insurer Off Market

Cato @ Liberty reports that financial services provider Principal Financial Group is exiting the health insurance business as the impact of the Democrats' health insurance overhaul becomes clearer.

By forcing the exit of Principal Financial Group---which ran a profitable, $1.6 billion health insurance business---ObamaCare has now left 840,000 Americans to find another source of coverage.

And Principal is not the only one. Many small health insurers are struggling to meet the new requirement to spend at least 80 percent of their revenue on actual health care.