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Archive for August, 2010
August 31st, 2010 at 4:22 pm
The Obama Effect: GOP Achieves Widest Lead Ever on Generic Ballot
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

During the national debate over ObamaCare earlier this year, President Obama attempted to soothe Congressional Democrats worried about their reelection prospects by proclaiming an enormous difference between November 1994 and November 2010.  In his ever-humble words, Obama assured them, “you’ve got me.”

Replace “you” with “they,” and Obama had it just about right.

Today, even The Washington Post acknowledged that Republicans have achieved their largest lead ever on Gallup’s generic Congressional ballot (which asks respondents which party they support generally).  According to Gallup, 51% of registered voters support Republicans, whereas 41% support Democrats.  That marks the widest GOP margin in the history of Gallup’s generic polling, which began in 1942.  By comparison, 1994 and 2002, years in which Republicans achieved substantial gains, the margin was only 5%.  Even more ominously for Obama and Democrats, Gallup polled registered voters, as opposed to “likely voters.”  This is a year in which Republicans and their supporters are much more motivated to vote, meaning that the electoral margin is probably even wider.

How ironic that Republicans are now the ones assuring themselves, “we’ve got Obama.”

August 31st, 2010 at 11:35 am
Marco Rubio Is In a Class By Himself

Three Freedom Works-backed U.S. Senate candidates sent videotaped messages to the 1,000+ gathering of grassroots activists last Friday night.  The differences in quality and presentation were noticeable.

Dino Rossi (R-WA) stands in front of a campaign banner dressed in slacks and an open collar, long-sleeved shirt.  He thanks Freedom Works and the crowd for its hard work, and gives an earnest, seemingly impromptu riff on the problems facing Washington State and America.  Good, but not great.

Next was Rand Paul (R-KY).  Seated in an office environment surrounded by book shelves, Paul also sports an open collar shirt.  Like Rossi’s video, Paul’s looks and feels like a candidate taking a few moments out of a busy day to look directly into a camera held by a campaign operative, and doing his best to stay on message.

Then Marco Rubio’s video begins.  After the fade-in, Rubio (R-FL) appears leaning forward on a stool with one foot on the ground as if ready to walk forward and greet the viewer.  He’s dressed in a crisp dark suit and power tie.  His mannerisms give the subtle impression he’s studied how to interact with a camera.  His delivery is smooth and unhurried.  Unlike Rossi and Paul, Rubio doesn’t just talk to the audience members; he connects with them.  His video is certainly shot in a studio, and his communications team took pains to mold his stump speech to fit this grassroots crowd.

Judging by the audience’s reaction after each candidate’s video, Rubio won the straw poll. No wonder the Freedom Works organizers chose to end with his submission.

August 31st, 2010 at 11:10 am
Two Congressional Candidates to Watch This November

At the Freedom Works get-out-the-vote event last Friday night, several conservative luminaries inspired the audience with their speeches.  Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Freedom Works chairman Dick Armey and pastor-turned-Tea Party activist C. L. Bryant delivered rousing red meat remarks.

The show stealers, though, were two congressional candidates vying to become part of the freshman class of 2010.  Charles Lollar is a Maryland businessman, Major in the Marine Corps Reserves and Republican nominee to challenge House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).  Lollar’s easy smile and personable air are making him a rising star in GOP circles, even if he fails to unseat the multi-term incumbent.

Morgan Philpot is another candidate to watch.  A former member of the Utah legislature, Philpot is known for holding a copy of the U.S. Constitution in one hand and the Communist Manifesto in the other on the floor of the Utah House of Representatives.  Before voting on a bill he asks his colleagues to which of the two documents the proposed bill moves the Utah body politic.

CFIF will be keeping an eye on these two candidates in the run-up to the November midterm elections.  Check back for updates.

August 31st, 2010 at 10:28 am
Another Consequence of ObamaCare: Public Hospitals Closing as Mandates Loom
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As ObamaCare’s new mandates and costs approach, public hospitals that often constitute healthcare of last resort are closing.

Over 1,000 of the nation’s 5,000 hospitals are publicly owned, established by philanthropic contributions in order to provide free or reduced-cost care to the poor.  Unfortunately, as noted by The Wall Street Journal, these caregivers simply do not possess the scale to withstand ObamaCare:

Local officials also predict an expensive future as new requirements – for technology quality accounting and care coordination – start under the health care law enacted in March.  Moody’s Investors Service said in April that many stand-alone hospitals won’t have the resources to invest in information technology or manage bundled payments well.  Many non-profits have bad credit ratings and in a tight credit market cannot borrow money, either.  Meanwhile, the federal government is expected to cut aid to hospitals…  ‘By the nature of their small size, their independence and their political entanglements, they are poorly equipped to survive,’ said James Burgdorfer.”

So once again, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime collides with the law of unforeseen and unintended consequences, at the expense of Americans already stretched thin.

August 30th, 2010 at 6:54 pm
John Bolton Preparing for Presidential Bid?
Posted by Troy Senik Print

In a new interview with The Daily Caller, former U.N. Ambassador and one-time Disney Star John Bolton (up until now unnoticed by “The Great Mentioner“) curiously declines to shut the door on a presidential bid. Consider:

Not shy about his position on a wide range of issues, would this critic-in-chief consider a run for commander-in-chief in 2012? Bolton didn’t reject the idea out of hand.

“[I]t is a very great honor that anybody would even think of asking. I’m obviously not a politician. I’ve never run for any federal elective office at all and, you know, it is something that would obviously require a great deal of effort,” he said. “What I do think, though, and what concerns me, is the lack of focus generally in the national debate about national security issues. Now, I understand the economy is in a ditch and people are concerned about it, but our adversaries overseas are not going to wait for us to get our economic house in order.”

When pressed as to whether that means he would consider a run, Bolton seemed to suggest that he might do it, at the very least to help put national security issues at the top of the debate agenda.

“In the sense that I want to make sure that not only in the Republican Party, but in the body politic as a whole, people are aware of threats that remain to the United States. You know, as somebody who writes op-eds and appears on the television, I appreciate as well as anybody that…there is a limit to what that accomplishes,” he said. “Whereas, some governor from some state in the middle of the country announces for president they get enormous coverage even if their views are utterly uninformed on major issues.”

When pressed a third time about running, he said that while “he is not going to do anything foolish,” he added, “you know, I see how the media works…you have to take that into account.”

Again, not a no.

This is a long way from the denials (or near-denials) that we’ve seen from the likes of David Petraeus, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Christie. And it could be fun just to see Bolton run circles around the rest of the field on foreign policy. Get ready for the 2012 fireworks to start soon.

August 30th, 2010 at 10:03 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Another “Perfect” Drive
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 27th, 2010 at 11:44 am
This Week’s Liberty Update
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

This week’s edition of the Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, is out.  Below is a summary of its contents:

Senik:  Obama Should Address the Nation on Iran, Not Iraq
Ellis:  John Boehner is Right; Obama’s Economic Policies Have Failed the American People
Lee:  While Members Suffer, Unions Waste Millions on Political Campaigns

Freedom Minute Video:  Standing Up for Israel
Podcast:  League of American Voters’ Bob Adams on Need to Extend 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts
Jester’s Courtroom:  A Real Lawsuit from the Virtual World

Editorial Cartoons:  Latest Cartoons of Michael Ramirez
Quiz:  Question of the Week
Notable Quotes:  Quotes of the Week

If you are not already signed up to receive CFIF’s Liberty Update by e-mail, sign up here.

August 27th, 2010 at 10:53 am
Video: Standing Up for Israel
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

The Obama Administration has gone out of its way to turn up its nose at America’s allies.  In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino says, “No nation has felt the sting of this rejection quite as severely as Israel. … What is at stake is the very future of that nation and its people.”

 

August 27th, 2010 at 10:20 am
Liberal Hypocrisy: Eugene Robinson Praises NYC Mosque, But Beck Rally Is “In-Your-Face Provocation?”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Are liberals becoming so desperate and deranged that they’re no longer intellectually capable of recognizing their comic hypocrisy?  Exhibit A:  The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson.

Opponents of the proposed Ground Zero mosque in New York accept proponents’ right to build there, but correctly point out that having a right to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.  According to Robinson, however, opponents are guilty of “lies, distortions, jingoism, xenophobia.”  Robinson also claims that “opportunistic” mosque opponents “obviously do not” understand that “we have a Bill of Rights that protects our freedoms against the whims of public opinion.”

That was Robinson on Tuesday, August 17 – just last week.

Fast forward one week, and Robinson is singing a different tune.  Perhaps what remained of his intellectual hard drive was wiped clean.  In his commentary today, Robinson labels Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally this weekend on the national mall in Washington, D.C. an “in-your-face” event, and says it “is obviously intended to be a provocation.”   And just like the mosque opponents he demonizes, he suddenly emphasizes the difference between having a right and doing what’s right:

Let me state clearly that Glenn Beck has every right to hold his absurdly titled ‘Restoring Honor’ rally on Saturday.  But the rest of us have every right to call the event what it is:  an exercise in self-aggrandizement on a Napoleonic scale.”

Obviously, Robinson’s substantive critique of the Restoring Honor rally is no more rational than his attacks on Ground Zero mosque opponents.  It’s remarkable, however, how quickly Robinson began to distinguish a right to do something versus doing what he considers to be the right thing.  It’s possible, of course, that Robinson suddenly saw the light and understood the folly of his attacks against Ground Zero mosque opponents.  Unfortunately, it’s more likely that he merely suffers from hypocrisy and severe intellectual vertigo.

August 27th, 2010 at 9:24 am
Podcast: With the Economy Struggling, Can the Nation Really Afford Massive Tax Hikes?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In a recent interview with CFIF, Bob Adams, Executive Director for the League of American Voters, discusses the need for Congress to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of the year. Failure to extend those tax cuts would cripple the nation’s already struggling economy. 

Listen to the interview here.

August 26th, 2010 at 4:13 pm
The Commerce Clause and the Erosion of American Liberty
Posted by Troy Senik Print

As a longtime fan of the video work done by our friends over at Reason, I have to admit astonishment at a video that surpasses even their usually high standards.

Check out the latest from the West Coast libertarians on how an expansive judicial interpretation of the Commerce Clause has become a blank check to Congress (skeptics take note: Erwin Chemerinsky, the UC-Irvine Law School dean featured here is not a liberal straw man dug up for the purposes of this video. He’s a highly regarded intellectual on the legal left — which ought to make his closing comments even more disturbing).

 

August 26th, 2010 at 9:39 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Recovery Summer…Recalled
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 25th, 2010 at 7:14 pm
The Palin Effect

It’s always great to see conventional wisdom types baffled when someone shuns their advice and proves successful anyway.  This week’s example is Sarah Palin, the political icon who continues to irk the government-media establishment by endorsing people she thinks should govern – not those whom others think should win.

No other likely 2012 GOP presidential candidate has been as outspoken in endorsing 2010 candidates.  True, Palin doesn’t always taste victory (see Washington state’s Clint Didier), but she wins way more than she loses.    According to Time, she’s 8-3 this cycle.  Even more impressive that record was made in 11 tightly contested races where many of Palin’s endorsements went to underfunded long-shots.

Time will tell if Sarah Palin can muster enough support to win the GOP presidential nomination, and after it, the presidency.  But for now, she is the unquestioned difference maker in tight GOP races.  Come 2012, there will quite a few people owing her their support.

August 25th, 2010 at 6:27 pm
Vladimir Putin, Action Star

You can tell a lot about a man from his pastimes.  According to the Associated Press (with associated photos), the former Russian president shot a gray whale with a crossbow from a rubber speed boat in choppy arctic waters.

This isn’t Putin’s first brush with staged danger.

He has been photographed fishing bare-chested in Russia’s Altai region, and was shown on television diving into an icy river and swimming the butterfly stroke.

In April he attached a satellite-tracking collar on a tranquilized polar bear. He also has shot a Siberian tiger with a tranquilizer gun and released leopards into a wildlife sanctuary.

While there’s no need for President Obama to wrestle an alligator or box with a grizzly bear, it would be nice if our dear leader could compensate by showing a bit more backbone in the foreign policy arena; especially towards Iran and the country that built its new nuclear facility.  (I.e. Russia)

August 25th, 2010 at 1:06 pm
A Tea Party Victory in the Last Frontier?
Posted by Troy Senik Print

That’s the way it looks after last night’s Republican senate primary in Alaska. Despite plenty of polling that showed him out of striking distance, attorney Joe Miller now looks poised to take down incumbent Lisa Murkowski once the final votes are tallied in the great untamed north.

Miller should be an interesting candidate to watch. He’s a true constitutionalist, calling for the abolition of the Department of Education and the phasing out of Medicare and Social Security.

Those positions, combined with his endorsement from Sarah Palin in the primaries, are going to lead the press to paint him as some sort of unhinged reactionary. That’s going to be tough, however, considering that Miller is a West Point grad with a master’s in economics and a law degree from Yale.

We noted last week that Tea Party activitsts are going to have to focus on ideas in addition to elections, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t savor victories when they can get them. Joe Miller could be a great addition to Washington — especially if he reverses the Senate’s longstanding hostility to unshaven legislators.

August 25th, 2010 at 9:19 am
Ramirez Cartoon: It’s the Economy Stupid…
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 24th, 2010 at 5:01 pm
Conservative Ammunition for the Health Care Debate
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Unless they’ve got a job at a Washington think tank, it’s difficult for conservatives (a tribe best known for working hard and supporting their family) to find the time to rebut every piece of misinformation coming from the left and their allies in the mainstream media. Thus, when you hear about the wonders of socialized medicine in Canada or Great Britain, you may instinctively know that the claims are inaccurate but not immediately be able to rebut them. This is why God created Thomas Sowell.

In his newest column, the Sage of Palo Alto takes aim at some of the most pernicious health care fallacies. Consider for instance, his rebuke to misinformation on American life expectancy:

… the media spin is that various countries with government-run medical systems have life expectancies that are as long as ours, or longer. That is very clever as media spin, if you don’t bother to stop and think about it.

Author Sally Pipes did bother to stop and think about it in her book, “The Truth About ObamaCare.” She points out that medical care is just one of the factors in life expectancy.

She cites a study by Professors Ohsfeldt and Schneider at the University of Iowa, which shows that, if you leave out people who are victims of homicide or who die in automobile accidents, Americans live longer than people in any other Western country.

Doctors do not prevent homicides or car crashes. In the things that doctors can affect, such as the survival rates of cancer patients, the United States leads the world.

Sowell’s ability to pierce liberal shibboleths through sheer empiricism is second to none. Read the whole column and then consider picking up a copy of his “Economic Facts and Fallacies” to further build your arsenal for your next encounter with a liberal friend.

August 24th, 2010 at 4:49 pm
The Real Deficit in D.C.

It’s hard to appreciate the consequences of government policies when you’ve never had to make a payroll.  Noting that the Obama Administration has no person in senior management with business experience, AOL contributor Marty Robins says the most troubling deficit in Washington, D.C. is a lack of ideas from people who’ve actually had to work in a free market economy.

What we need more of in Washington are those who combine a broad understanding of the nuances and “macro” implications of public policy with an appreciation of what makes the private sector tick on a “micro” level, and what constitutes good and bad assistance and incentives.

We need those who have successfully built or built up businesses and been personally invested — in a financial and an emotional sense — in such efforts, so that they can appreciate what government can and cannot do.

August 24th, 2010 at 3:46 pm
Say Hello to Politizoid

With all the craziness coming out of Washington, D.C. these days it’s a joy to find political commentary that uses humor – and politicians’ own words – to make devastatingly accurate points.  Such is the case with Politizoid.com, an online creator of digital cartoons that use actual sound bites of elected officials.

Check out this episode called “Obamafeld,” a segment introduced with the caption: “The endless banter, the self-absorbed complaining it sounds like Seinfeld but with our liberal leaders it’s just another day of the politics of meaninglessness.”

View more videos here.

August 24th, 2010 at 10:10 am
Reagan Recovery Slashed Unemployment From 10.8% to 7.4% in 18 Months
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In CFIF’s Liberty Update last week, we highlighted how President Obama isn’t so much “pulling us out of the ditch,” but rather setting our nation’s car on fire.  Instead of spending his time claiming credit for our inevitable cyclical rebound, Obama should recognize that his policies of higher spending, taxation, regulation and debt are only subduing it. To illustrate, we contrast the remarkable gross domestic product (GDP) growth during the Reagan recovery delivered by tax cuts, reduced regulation and a stronger dollar versus our current stagnation and possible “double-dip” recession.

Comparing unemployment trends then versus now provides another vivid illustration of the toxic effect of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid economic agenda.  From December 1982 to June 1984 – the first 18 months of the Reagan recovery – U.S. unemployment plummeted rapidly from 10.8% to 7.2%.  In contrast, over 13 months since our current economic rebound commenced in July 2009, U.S. unemployment has stagnated from 9.4% to its current 9.5%.  Of course, it is theoretically possible that unemployment will plummet by three percentage points over the next five months to match the Reagan recovery, but not even Joe Biden is silly enough to predict that.

It’s no mystery how to unleash America’s economic vigor and bring recovery:  less government and more economic freedom.  It’s just a matter of electing leaders who will actually pursue it.