Views on the News – 8/25/2012
By: David Coughlin
In the first week since Paul Ryan joined Mitt Romney on the Republican ticket, something subtle yet fundamental has happened to the country, the mantle of leadership has shifted. Barack Obama and Joe Biden (certainly the latter) occupy office but cannot be said to govern in any meaningful way beyond formalities. Obama avoids the media; Biden has been sent back to Delaware; and their vast auxiliary army of super PACs and community organizers is reduced to petty sniping and personal attacks. No one expects any truly new ideas or proposals to come out of the Obama campaign anymore. The honest reflections of the more thoughtful voices on the American left confirm that Romney and Ryan are, in effect, leading the country. In choosing Ryan, what Romney showed above all was courage, or, more precisely, the absence of fear. There was a telling moment, shortly after he was chosen, when Paul Ryan faced reporters on the campaign plane and said simply: “We’re going to win this campaign.” It was not bluster; it was simple self-assurance. There is a long way to go on this campaign trail, and Romney and Ryan will have to fight for every vote, but now they will be tested not as candidates, but as leaders of the nation and that is what they have already won.
(“The Mantle of Leadership has Shifted: Romney, Ryan Govern in All but Name” by Joel B. Pollak dated August 17, 2012 published by Breitbart at http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/08/18/The-Mantle-of-Leadership-Has-Shifted-Romney-Ryan-Govern-in-All-but-Name-Only )
By any objective standard, Barack Obama’s Presidency must be judged a failure since it is undeniable that the hope for positive change that he inspired has not been fulfilled. Obama promised the American people that he would deliver: 1) a more prosperous future, 2) a more transparent government, 3) a country that would be respected worldwide, 4) a more equitable society and 5) a more united body politic. Not only has he failed to deliver on any of those five promises, but the case is easily made that he has moved the needle in the opposite direction in every one of those areas:
· Obama’s Keynesian economic policies have forestalled the robust economic recovery that normally follows a steep recession, sustaining high unemployment, financial uncertainty and a diminished standard of living.
· His “Chicago-style” of governing is characterized by ramming through major legislative measures without widespread citizen assent, bottling up of America’s energy resources under insurmountable red tape, a bigoted Justice Department, executive orders that violate legislative intent, and recess appointments when Congress is not in recess.
· Obama pursues a warped and cowardly foreign policy that subverts US allies while rewarding its enemies, and meanwhile orchestrates a dangerous drawdown of the country’s military assets.
· Obama’s attempt to redistribute wealth has been partially “successful,” if success is measured by increasing the number of Americans on food stamps.
· Perhaps his greatest failure is his inability or unwillingness to function as the post-partisan, post-racial unifier that he promised to be, but instead pitting rich against poor, business against consumers, citizens against illegal immigrants, religious against secular, and even whites against minorities on occasion.
The harsh assessment above is certainly shared by a great many Americans. Progressives believe that the founding principles of the United States, as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, were wrong and that America could be converted into a more just, humane, equitable and fairer society if it adjusted its principles to more closely match those of John Dewey, Herbert Croly, Woodrow Wilson and even Karl Marx. However, the progressive victory is not yet complete. Obama is the fulfillment of that vision. Actually, only 20% of the country openly professes allegiance to the progressive program. It is well-known that virtually all of the opinion-molding organs of American society are firmly in the hands of the leftists, including: the media, public schools, academia, legal profession, foundations, seminaries, libraries and, sadly, many major corporations. For the last 30-50 years, the children of America have been subject to a relentless barrage of left-wing propaganda that is strongly reinforced by what their parents see and read on TV, in the movies and in the newspaper. The pernicious efforts of the mainstream media and the education establishment have rendered at least a quarter of the population into mindless robots who serve the progressive cause. Therefore, these robots will favor Obama, despite his manifest failures and despite the fact that their support runs counter to their own self interest. Added to the 20% hardcore liberal population, one obtains Obama’s 45% approval rating. Thus the election is neck and neck and the polls seem stuck on a roughly 45-45 split. That leaves 10% undecided, who historically break nearly unanimously against the incumbent. Thus, it really is 55-45 for Romney, which would match the 10 point spread between Reagan and Carter in 1980, so maybe an election slaughter is in the offing after all and one can only hope.
(“Why Isn’t Romney Slaughtering Obama?” by Ron Lipsman dated August 17, 2012 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://intellectualconservative.com/index.php/why-isn-t-romney-slaughtering )
The mainstream media does not want to admit Obama looks like a loser, one who deserves to lose as badly as Carter did, because his policies have been disastrous, and his executive skills reflect his complete lack of experience running anything bigger than his mouth before entering the Oval Office as President. The American mainstream media (MSM), including most polling organizations, are continuing to present the story that this is a close race, or even Obama’s to lose, because of his sheer personal wonderfulness. The facts on the ground, such as the poor turnout for Obama rallies contrasted with the large and enthusiastic crowds greeting Romney and Ryan, are generally downplayed or completely ignored, while polls which oversample Democrats are pumped out. Once the labels “failure” and “loser” start to attach themselves to Obama, it will become far more difficult for the Democrats to drive turnout among their base voter groups. Even Newsweek has put Obama on their cover with the lead story “Hit the Road, Barack – Why We Need a New President.” Enthusiasm is difficult to manufacture when the stink of failure is wafting through the media air. The Presidential campaign may have finally entered a “news stage” as the MSM is forced to report the unvarnished truth and conservative critiques of Obama must be acknowledged as worthy of attention, if they want to survive.
(“Obama’s MSM shield starts to crumble” by Thomas Lifson dated August 20, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/08/obamas_msm_shield_starts_to_crumble.html )
The American success story represents over 250 years of free enterprise based on an ideology of individual freedom with limited government interference, but the American people will face a defining choice between the two ideologies this November. Since his election, Barack Obama has engineered a success story based on implementing Marxist ideology of forced wealth redistribution and central government control which now clearly shows potential to overwhelm private enterprise as we know it. The concept of success as a confluence of preparation and opportunity does not represent some grand new thought, it does lie at the heart of “The American Dream.” Preparation is key, be it from school, parental guidance, self-generated study, or on-the-job training, because it sets one’s mind to recognize an opportunity, and it steels resolve to work toward making the most of that opportunity. The same concept of success applies to Barack Obama and far-left elements of the today’s Democrat Party. The events of the last 44 months are no accident. The state of the current economy does not represent the unintended consequence of a well-intentioned leader “in over his head.” Clearly, the newly elected President Obama had a lifetime of preparation. All he needed for implementing his political policies was the opportunity. That, of course, came with the housing and banking crisis in 2008 as the Presidential election approached. Aided by nearly two years of unstoppable Democrat voting majorities in the House and Senate, Obama and his allies went to work. Following implementation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), with government purchase of equity interests in several banks, General Motors, and Chrysler, came the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The so-called “stimulus” bill distributed $840 billion across the country, including direct money transfers and tax credits to low-income individuals, to states to retain public sector employees, and to fund approved “alternate energy” endeavors — many of which have since been lost to bankruptcy. Even more troubling was that ARRA became a major basis of the 2009-2010 federal appropriations spending, setting the “baseline” for continued federal discretionary funding each year. Refusal by the Democrat-controlled Senate to produce any subsequent federal budget has enshrined continuation of “stimulus” spending levels via simple budget resolutions ever since, creating a giant, multi-year slush fund to promote Obama’s agenda, increase welfare spending, and reward supporters. Again, using the opportunity afforded by unstoppable vote majorities in the House and Senate came the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), a Democrat dream in preparation for decades. Signed into law in March 2010, the legislation offers financial incentives to eventually abandon private-sector insurance in favor of a government-administered single-payer system to control dispensation of health care. The impact of this Obama “success story” leaves much to be desired:
· Unemployment among those looking for work has remained above 8% for longer than any period since the Great Depression.
· 45 million people now receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food stamp benefits.
· The official poverty rate for 2011 will rise above 15.1%, putting poverty at the highest level since 1965 and erasing all gains from the War on Poverty initiated in the 1960s.
· Over 100 million Americans now receive federal welfare.
· The nation has just 1.65 employed persons in the private sector per 1 person on welfare.
These numbers clearly reveal the Obama plan for America. By making no serious effort to grow the private-sector economy in the midst of a serious recession, he seeks to get as many people as possible relying on government welfare to ease the pain. To pay for this redistribution of wealth, he seeks to raise taxes on all successful individuals and businesses. The coming election will be a referendum on clashing worldviews involving the conflict between freedom for individual wealth creation at all economic levels against government-enforced wealth redistribution. The depressed state of the nation’s economy would play a role, to be sure, but only as a means of providing evidence that the Obama view doesn’t work. Meanwhile, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has signaled with his choice of Paul Ryan for a running mate that he intends to defend the free-enterprise model as the solution for the nation’s malaise. The coming debate of clashing ideologies will intensify in the days ahead. The stakes are high. Just days before his election, Obama promised to “transform America,” and it is now clear what he intended. Voters must decide whether they want a return to self-reliance with freedom or accept life as determined by their welfare payments and entitlements – two ideologies locked in defining conflict affecting the nation’s future.
(“The Coming Battle of Ideologies” by John McLaughlin dated August 18, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/08/the_coming_battle_of_ideologies.html )
The Obama administration claims that the middle class is mounting a comeback yet unemployment continues above 8%, and all signs point to further middle class pain during the Obama recovery. Prices are up - The average American family is spending an extra $40 per month on food under Obama; gas prices have also skyrocketed since 2008: college tuition has jumped 25%; and health care costs continue to rise. Savings are down – Americans are struggling to manage their day-to-day expenses, leading many to abandon the savings that have been an entryway to the middle class, with nearly 1 in 4 Americans have reported no savings. Record-high handouts – Nearly half of all Americans (49.1%) received some form of government assistance, including unemployment, Medicaid, and welfare; food stamp recipients jumped 45% over the past three years. Wealth has vanished – Median income has plummeted since the start of the recession; wages remain stagnant; average wealth fell 40%; and nearly one in three mortgages are now underwater. Joblessness continues – Unemployment has remained above 8% for the past 42 months; people are staying unemployed for longer periods of time; and the average jobless person can expect a nearly 40-week wait in between jobs. Maybe one day soon the Obama administration will admit that their policies have failed and different solutions are needed, and a new (Republican) administration is needed to implement these new policies!
(“Five Ways Obama is Hurting the Middle Class” by Bill McMorris dated August 22, 2012 published by The Washington Free Beacon at http://freebeacon.com/five-ways-obama-is-killing-the-middle-class/ )
David Coughlin is a political pundit, editor of the policy action planning web site “Return to Common Sense,” and an active member of the White Plains Tea Party. He retired from IBM after a short career in the U.S. Army. He currently resides with his wife of 40 years in Hawthorne, NY. He was educated at West Point (Bachelor of Science, 1971) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Masters, Administrative Science, 1976).