Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Two Edged Sword - Senate Democrats Craft A Budget

The good news - the Democrat controlled Senate is finally going to publish a budget. The bad news - the Democrat controlled Senate is finally going to publish a budget chock full of all the crap you would expect from the far left - tax more, spend more, and prevaricate about the deficit.

We haven't seen it yet, but Politico tells us that the expected budget will look like. The Senate Democrates would do away with the sequester spending limits, They would add an additional trillion dollars in new taxes based on an overhaul of the tax code, with the new revenue going to spending, not a reduction of the tax rates. And there will be a trillion dollars in spending reductions - mostly based on smoke and mirrors:

[C]ritics are certain to jump on what they believe are gimmicks in the Democratic budget plan. As part of the $975 billion in spending cuts, Democrats will count $240 billion in savings by reduced war spending from drawing down military personnel from overseas. And it counts $242 billion that would be saved in reduced interest payments under the proposal.

For the Democrats to put this out in a budget proposal, at this point, with our economy in trouble and our nation hurdling towards fiscal insolvency, is just criminal. It also highlights another systemic problem in government - our budgeting and accounting processes. Both are full of gimmicks and would land the purveyors in jail if they tried them in the private sector. This is yet another area that we must reform if our nation is to survive in the form envisioned by our founders.


Friday, March 8, 2013

NYC & The Benefits Of A Unionized Public School Education

This from Breitbart:

According to officials from City University of New York, a full 80 percent of high school graduates in New York City can’t read when they graduate. . . . And that’s for the students who graduate. New York City has the lowest graduation rate for black and Hispanic male students in the nation, with only 37 percent graduating. But teachers start off making $45,530 with benefits, and max out at over $100,000.

It’s not just Bloomberg and New York. In the city of Los Angeles, according to The Education Trust-West, just one in every 20 black kindergarteners will graduate from a four-year California college. Overall, a whopping 40 percent of high school students entering public colleges across the country require at least one remedial class in reading, writing or math.

This is the legacy of a teachers union-driven system in our major cities. And it is minorities who pay the highest price.

As IBD pointed out in 2011, spending on public school education in the U.S. increased 375% between 1970 and 2010. For that investment, our nation received a massive increase in unionized teachers, but no increase whatsoever in student performance in math or reading, and a slight decline in student performance in science.

Public schools are failing our children, and in particular, minority children. This is a travesty, and teachers' unions are at the center of perpetuating this failed system. The left refuses to do anything to remedy this situation, irrespective of how much it is hurting their constituencies, because the teachers unions are close to, if not the largest contributor to the Democorat party. And equally maddening is the fact that the right does not use this as part of a full court press to win minority voters. Public schools that are failing minority students are, as many black luminaries have noted, the "civil rights issue of our time."

Related Posts:

1. Public Sector Unions: A Toxin, A Crisis & An Opportunity
2. Read'n, Writ'n & Unioniz'n
3. What, Marx Or Lenin Weren't Available?
4. Gov. Chris Christie, What Leadership Looks Like
5. California: From Riches To Public Sector Unions To Ruin
6. Detroit's Public School System, School Board & Teachers' Union
7. Unions & Teachers: The Alpha & Omega
8. Living With Public Sector Unions
9. Public Sector Unions
10. Obama, The Stimulus & Teachers' Unions
11. Yet Another Reason Why Public Sector Unions Should Be Done Away With
12. Grand Theft Democrat
13. Another Win For Teachers Unions, Another Defeat For DC Students
14. Reason 10,001 Why Public Sector Unions Need To Be Outlawed
15. Public Sector Unions Go To War To Prevent Democratic Change In Wisconsin
16. Change You Can't Have: Obama & The DNC Interfere In Wisconsin State Politics
17. Do Public Sector Workers Have A Fundamental Right To Organize?
18. An Instant Classic
19. Boehner, Obama & The DNC: The State Public Sector Union Issues Gets Nationalized
20. Wisconsin - What's At Stake 21. A Democrat & Former NYC Schools Chancellor Condemns Teachers' Unions
22. For The Children? Really?
23. All Of The Stars Align - Time For Republicans To Court The Black Vote
24. NYC & The Benefits Of A Unionized Public School Education


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Obama's Lawfare Insanity - The Capture & Planned Civilian Trial Of Suleiman Abu Ghaith

Here we go again. The far left is utterly determined to conflate warfare with criminal law. In this instance, the U.S., with the help of Turkey and Jordan, recently captured Suleiman Abu Ghaith, bin Laden's son in law and a man who took part in al Qaeda's war on the U.S. both before and after 9-11. Further, it is believed that Ghaith may have information about al Qaeda ties to Iran. And yet, Ghaith was taken in by the FBI, not the CIA, with preliminary indications being that the capture occurred in the past week. Eric Holder announced today that Ghaith is already in the U.S., that will be arraigned Friday in a NY District Court - where he will of course lawyer up - and that Ghaith will be tried in that court on federal criminal charges.

Ghaith is not an American citizen, nor was he captured in America. The violent acts in which he took part were not criminal acts, they were acts of war against our nation. He is a very high value target, likely of great intelligence value. We have an entire system set up for such individuals, or at least we used to have one.

Step one would be to take all the time necessary to interrogate this individual over a matter of weeks or months. Intelligence is the life blood of any war, and it is of particular importance to a shadow war against an amorphous enemy spread across numerous countries.

Step two, only to be taken when the individual is of no more intelligence value, would be to plant him in Gitmo and subject him to a military tribunal if and only if the government considers that he deserves punishment beyond holding him until the end of hostilities.

All of the arguments for NOT trying a foreign terrorist for acts of war in our civilian courts apply in full force to this act of treachery from Obama and his DOJ. One, this man should be being interrogated by the CIA for all he is worth, not discussing his case in comfort with his private attorney. Two, our Courts are not set up handle cases involving secret - and possibly top secret - evidence, nor are they set up to receive testimony from individuals whose identity must remain unknown. Three, conflating criminal law with the law of war sets a dangerous precedent. The laws that govern war are set out internationally and are based in part on recognition of the practical realities of war. Federal criminal law places much greater restraints on our government in recognition of our unique Constitutional protections. Ghaith has no claim whatsoever to rights based on our Constitution.

This is just insanity. Thankfully, the budget is coming up shortly. The House should defund the Justice Department until Ghaith is sent to Gitmo and his case transferred to the military tribunals.

Just a final note. The hypocrisy and false moralizing of the Obama regime on virtually everything to do with the war on terror is stomach turning. We can't do enhanced interrogations on terrorists, but Obama claims unilateral authority to assassinate such people. We can't try terrorists through the military tribunal system, even though using the civilian courts would pose dangers to our intelligence gathering. The only thread that ties these policies together is that they are the most politically palatable for Obama, not that they are in any sense what's best for our country.


Rand Paul's Filibuster - Great But Wrong-Headed Political Theater

Sen. Rand Paul's filibustering of the vote of Charles Brennan for CIA Directer has been great political theater. It is the type of emotion laden act of, in this case, formal outrage, that the right desperately needs to internalize across the entire spectrum of political argument (see the Horowitz essay below).

The basis for Paul's angst - a question he put to the DOJ, whether the President could unilaterally order the murder of an American citizen on U.S. soil with a drone strike. Eric Holder that the President could, assuming a set of circumstances similar to 9-11 or 7 Dec. 1941. Looking strictly at Constitutional rules of due process, Paul is absolutely right that this response is dangerously wrong.

But as Jon Yoo points out, (h/t Powerline), Eric Holder is ultimately right, but for the wrong reasons. Holder is trying to shoehorn war into criminal law standards. It is both a dangerous and ill fit, rightly raising the hackles of Sen. Paul. But under rules of war, Holder's position is right:

Holder’s first mistake is that he thinks that the use of force by drones, no matter where or against whom, is governed by due process. Recall the Justice Department white paper on drones, which asserted that lethal force could not be used against al-Qaeda members unless they could not be captured, harm to the United States was imminent, and due process allows the attack — concepts that govern law-enforcement officers who might need to shoot an attacking criminal, but have never governed the use of force by the military in wartime. Drones don’t change this equation — the same rules should govern snipers, artillery, aerial, and missile attack, which all also attack the enemy from a distance and often by surprise. But since Holder has made the claim that the drone attacks abroad somehow meet law-enforcement standards, it is an easy step for him to say that those same diluted, weakened standards don’t pose much barrier to the use of drones at home.

Instead, what Holder should have said is that the U.S. would only be able to use drones on U.S. soil under the same conditions it might use military force domestically — to stop an invasion by a foreign country or an attack. And it is not because due process somehow allows it, but because the nation is entitled to use military force against foreign attack. So it is not just December 7 or September 11 that uniquely call for military force because the U.S. is responding to an attack on the nation. What about an invasion, as in the War of 1812, or the Civil War, or, on a smaller scale, a situation like the Mumbai terrorist attacks where groups of heavily armed terrorists attacked high-profile, civilian targets not with airliners, but with light arms? If the federal government can use military force, such as troops or helicopters to stop those kinds of attacks, surely it can use drones. But where Holder and this administration are causing fear is because, if they believe the use of drones now, abroad, meet law-enforcement standards, then they believe they could use drones in similar situations domestically to enforce the laws, not to respond to attack. And that is manifestly wrong as a legal matter as well as mistaken as a matter of policy.


The Girls Of Fox News

Austin Cunningham has written a paean to the girls on Fox News, complete with "more cowbell." Heh. My favorite line: "They got your blondes and brunettes, even red heads too, which proves that they're the only ones with fair and balanced news."


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Republican Election Strategy - Horowitz

Powerline recently posted a long essay from David Horowitz, one that is so spot on that I am shamelessly going to reprint in toto here.  Virtually everything Horowitz expounds upon are things that I have been screaming about - in apparently, a sound proof room (actually on my blog, but same thing) -  for years.  We are in an existential war for our nation with the left.  Facts matter, but emotion matters more - and within that context, we are completely and utterly losing this war.  If we do not improve how we communicate and if we don't address all demographic groups, we are doomed to failure.  This from Mr. Horowitz:


After voters re-elected an administration that added five trillion dollars to the nation’s debt, left 23 million Americans unemployed, surrendered Iraq to America’s enemy Iran, and enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to gain control of the largest country in the Middle East, the one lesson Republicans should agree on is that elections are driven by emotions, not reason. Moreover, when it comes to mobilizing emotions, Democrats beat Republicans hands down.

Worse, Republicans appear unable to learn from their losses. Year after year, Democrats accuse Republicans of the same imaginary crimes – waging wars on women, not caring about minorities, and inflicting pain on working Americans to benefit the wealthy. And year after year, Republicans have no effective responses to neutralize these attacks. Or to take the battle to the enemy’s camp.

In the 2012 election, Democrats attacked Republicans as defenders of the wealthy who are not paying their “fair share.” Republicans responded by deploring “class warfare rhetoric,” which does not answer the charge that Republicans are defending the wealthy and are uncaring. There are plenty of answers to these libels but Republicans don’t have them.

“Caring” is not one among many issues in an election. It is the central one. Since most policy issues are complicated, voters want to know above everything else just whom they can trust to sort out the complexities and represent them. Before voters cast their ballots for policies or values they want a candidate or party that cares about them.

How crucial is this concern? In the 2012 election, 70% of Asian Americans cast their ballots for Obama, even though Asians share Republican values, are family oriented, entrepreneurial, and traditional. Asian Americans voted for Obama because they were persuaded that he cared for minorities – for them, and Romney didn’t.

The Republican response to the Democrats’ attack (that’s “class warfare rhetoric”) doesn’t work because it’s an abstraction. “Class warfare rhetoric” has no human face; it’s about a political style. Criticizing the wealthy for “not paying their fair share” is a direct attack on an easily identified target, which is why so many wealthy taxpayers – including entertainment figures who are normally Democrats –were outraged by the slander. More importantly, the Democrats’ attack on the rich is an emotional appeal to those who are not rich. It tells them that someone cares about them.

Using the term “class warfare” is a polite way of discussing a problem, a habit Republicans seem unable to break. It avoids finger pointing – naming an adversary and holding him accountable. Elections are adversarial. They are about defeating opponents.

Elections are necessarily about “us” and “them.” Democrats are as adept at framing “them,” as Republicans are not. Democrats know how to incite envy and resentment, distrust and fear, and to direct these volatile emotions towards their Republican opponents. Meanwhile, Republicans are busy complaining about the style of the Democrats’ argument.

Republicans are defending the rich at your expense. Democrats are employing class warfare rhetoric. Which argument is going to grab voters more effectively? Which is going to make voters believe the candidate cares about them.

An exit poll conducted by CNN asked, “What is the most important candidate quality to your vote?” Among the four choices were, “Strong Leader,” “Shares Your Values,” “Has A Vision for the Future,” and “Cares about People.” Romney won the first three by more than 54%. But he lost “Cares About People” by 81-18%. That says it all.

The margin Romney lost by wasn’t insurmountable. He had the advantage of a good election year for Republicans. Every activist on the right thought the fate of the country hung in the balance. By contrast, Democrats went into the campaign having disappointed a signficant segment of their political base. They continued wars they had promised to terminate; and they presided over an economy with high unemployment among key constituencies — women, Hispanics and African Americans. Yet they were able to marshal enough fear and anger towards the Republican rich who were outsourcing jobs and allegedly not paying their fair share to energize their base and produce a win.

Behind the failures of Republican campaigns lies an attitude that is administrative rather than combative. It focuses on policies rather than politics. It is more comfortable with budgets and pie charts than with the flesh and blood victims of their opponents’ policies. When Republicans do mention victims they are frequently small business owners and other “job creators” – people who in the eyes of most Americans are rich.

To counter the Democrat attacks on them as defenders of the comfortable and afflicters of the weak, Republicans really have only one answer: This is a misunderstanding. Look at the facts. We’re not that bad. On the infrequent occasions when they actually take the battle to their accusers, Republicans will say: That’s divisive. It’s class warfare.

Even if voters were able to “look at the facts,” these are not exactly inspiring responses. They are defensive, and they are whiny, and also complicated. Of course elections are divisive – that is their nature. One side gets to win and the other side loses. But even more troublesome is the fact that responses like this require additional information and lengthy explanations to make sense. Appeals to reason are buried in the raucous noise that is electoral politics. Sorting out the truth would be a daunting task, even if voters were left alone to make up their minds.

But voters are not left alone. They are barraged by thousands of TV and electronic media messages, which confront them with contradicting data and malicious distortions. These deceptions are not inadvertent. They are the work of the professionals who run political campaigns and who are hired because they are experts in disinformation and misrepresenting the facts. In the world outside politics this is called lying; in politics it’s called spin, and to one extent or another everybody does it. But Democrats do it far better and far more aggressively than their Republican targets.

Democrats Are Different

There is a reason for this, and it affects everything that goes on in political campaigns. Republicans and Democrats are not similar people who make opposite judgments about common problems and their solutions—spending is good, tax hikes are bad. Republicans and Democrats approach politics with fundamentally different visions of what politics is about. These visions color not only the way each side thinks about questions of policy, but how they enter the arena to face their opponents.

The Democratic Party is no longer the party of John F. Kennedy, whose politics were identical to Ronald Reagan’s (militant anti-­Communist, military hawk, for a capital gains tax cut and a balanced budget). It is not even the party of Hubert Humphrey, who supported the Vietnam War – a war that every contemporary Democratic legislator and operative opposes in retrospect, and many, like John Kerry and Bill and Hillary Clinton, opposed at the time. The Democratic Party has been moving steadily to the left since the McGovern campaign of 1972. It is now a party led by socialists and progressives who are convinced that their policies are paving the way to a “better world.”

This vision of moral and social progress has profound consequences for the way Democrats conduct their political battles. Unlike Republicans, Democrats are not in politics just to fix government and solve problems. They are secular missionaries who want to “change society.” Their goal is a new order of society— “social justice.” They think of themselves as social redeemers, people who are going to change the world. It is the belief in a redemptive future that accounts for their passion, and their furious personal assaults on those who stand in their way. When he was president, Bill Clinton once told Dick Morris he had “to understand that Bob Dole” – a moderate Republican – “is evil.” It is the same missionary zeal that allows Democrats to justify a campaign ad accusing a decent man like Mitt Romney of causing the death of a female cancer victim.

Republicans see Democrats as mistaken. Democrats see Republicans — whatever their individual intentions and behaviors—as enemies of the just and the good. Republicans have no parallel belief that drives them and their agendas, and no similar cause to despise and hate their opponents.

If Democrats’ priority was fixing government problems would they have failed to produce a budget for four straight years? If Democrats were pragmatic politicians, when they came to power in the face of a national crisis like the 2008 financial collapse, their first step would have been to seek bipartisan support to fix the most pressing problems: jobs and reviving the economy. This is exactly what Obama promised during the campaign and is one of the reasons why he was elected. But this was just a campaign promise and is not what he did. He spent his first two years in office pushing a massive new entitlement program. If Obama and the Democrats were interested in addressing the immediate economic crisis they would not have used their monopoly of power to pursue a trillion dollar new social program opposed by half the nation and by every Republican in Congress.

The reason the Democrats made Obamacare their priority is because they are social missionaries whose goal is to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America, as Obama warned five days before the 2008 election. Creating a massive new government program that would absorb one-sixth of the economy and make every American dependent on government for his or her health care was the true order of their business. This was a program they saw as a major stepping-stone on the way to the fundamental transformation of American society.

That’s the way progressives think and Republicans had better start understanding just what that means. Progressives are not in politics to tinker with the existing system, although they understand that tinkering and fixing problems along the way gets votes. They are in politics to achieve “social justice” – to transform the system and the way Americans live.

Why do progressives not see that the future they are promoting – with its socialist “solutions” – has already failed elsewhere, and particularly in Europe? Because in their eyes the future is an idea that hasn’t been tried. If socialism has failed in Europe it’s because they weren’t in charge to implement it and there wasn’t enough money to fund it.

It is the very grandeur of the progressive ambition that makes its believers so zealous in pursuing it. Through government programs they are going to make everyone equal and take care of everyone in need. They are going to establish social equality and create social justice. It is an intoxicating view and it explains why and how they are different from conservatives. It doesn’t matter to them that the massive entitlements they have created — Social Security and Medicare — are already bankrupt. That can be taken care of by making more wealthy people pay more of their fair share. In their hearts, progressives believe that if they can secure enough money and accumulate enough power they can create a future where everyone is taken care of and everyone is equal. Everything Democrats do and every campaign they conduct is about mobilizing their political armies to bring about this glorious future, about advancing its agendas one program and one candidate at a time. No Republican in his right mind thinks like this.

The vision of the glorious future puts urgency into their crusades and encourages them to hate their opponents. A Republican like Mitt Romney may be a decent person, but he stands in the way of their impossible dreams. Therefore, he is hateful. The very grandeur of the dream – guaranteed health care for everyone, guaranteed housing for everyone, guaranteed incomes for everyone – is so inspiring it motivates them to seek the promised land by any means necessary. If this requires lying, voter fraud, or demonizing their opponents as racist, selfish and uncaring, so be it. The beautiful ends justify the not-so-beautiful means.

When Democrats demand free contraceptives and claim that their opponents are conducting a war on women, Republicans shake their heads in disbelief. How could any sane person believe that? The Republicans are missing the point. The issue for progressives is never the issue. The issue is always the transformation of society that they are hoping to achieve. As Sandra Fluke herself put it, the issue of providing free contraceptives is not just about contraceptives, it’s about the whole range of changes that will liberate women (the more government provides for them, the freer they become) and that Republicans oppose.

Progressives’ hatred for conservatives is thus not a reaction to a particular issue, or a particular slip of the tongue. It is a hatred for what conservatives are. Conservatives are people who believe in limited government. By its very nature, limited government means the death of progressive dreams. In progressive eyes, conservatives and Republicans actually are anti-woman, anti-minority, and anti-poor. Republicans oppose the very idea that government should function as a social savior.

Republicans are reactionary and hateful because they stand in the way of a society that can and should care for every man, woman and child from cradle to grave. Republicans take a view of politics that is fundamentally different. Republicans do not aspire to change the world. They want to repair systems that are broken. They are not missionaries, and they are not selling a land of dreams. Such practical agendas do not inspire them to despise their opponents or regard them as evil. Republicans think of their opponents as mistaken about how to fix particular problems.

Because Republicans are mindful of the past, they are uncertain about the future, and therefore wary of impossible dreams. They hope for a future better than the present but they are mindful that things could be even worse. Many problems are intractable and will not go away. Because this is their attitude, conservative emotions can never be as inflamed as their progressive opponents’.

Their instinct is to come up with practical plans and explain how specific problems might be solved. That is why they reach for facts and arguments, and spend a lot of time explaining things to voters. But voters have already been told not to trust their arguments because they are the arguments of enemies of women, children, minorities and the middle class.

The only way to confront the emotional campaign that Democrats wage in every election is through an equally emotional campaign that puts the aggressors on the defensive; that attacks them in the same moral language, identifying them as the bad guys, the oppressors of women, children, minorities and the middle class, that takes away from them the moral high ground which they now occupy. You can’t confront an emotionally based moral argument with an intellectual analysis. Yet this is basically and almost exclusively what Republicans do.

A Winning Strategy for Republicans

1. Put the aggressors on the defensive.

2. Put their victims — women, minorities, the poor and working Americans -­-­ in front of every argument and every policy in the same way they do.

3. Start the campaign now (because the Democrats already have).

The Weapons of Politics Are Hope and Fear

The weapons of political campaigns are images and sound bites designed to inspire the emotions of fear and hope. Obama won the presidency in 2008 on a campaign of hope; he won re-election in 2012 on a campaign of fear.

Hope works, but fear is a much stronger and more compelling emotion. In a political campaign, it is directed at one’s political opponent. Democrats exploit this emotion to the hilt; Republicans often seem too polite to even use it.

The other emotion, hope, is not only weaker, it is at odds with conservatives’ basic pessimism, and their skepticism about political solutions. Unlike progressives, conservatives don’t expect cosmic results from political programs – saving the planet, creating a just world. Consequently, for Republicans, hope is less effective as a political appeal.

Republicans seem to think the way to inspire hope is by offering voters practical solutions, such as Paul Ryan’s plan to balance the budget. Paul Ryan is a smart conservative and the Ryan Plan is probably a good one. But with control only of the House, Republicans had no chance of implementing it when they voted on it. Worse, in the real world of political combat, facing an unscrupulous opposition, a plan offered by a party with no means of implementing it is a self-­inflicted wound. You can’t put the plan into effect to show that it works, and no one besides policy wonks is going to even begin to understand it. All the plan does is provide the spinners with multiple targets to shoot at – something they will do by distorting the specifics and ignoring the plan itself. For virtually all voters, the plan will be so complicated and its details so obscure that it will remain invisible. Only those who already trust its designers will be persuaded that this is a reason to vote for them.

Hope in politics is an appeal to the heart, not the head; to emotions, not reason. Since it is an appeal to emotion, it is normally based on large quantities of hot air. In the 2008 election, hope was the first black man running for president with a serious prospect of winning. It was Obama making an empty promise: “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is a United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America, a Latino America, an Asian America, there is a United States of America. No blue states or red states but the United States.” All Obama had to do to inspire hope was to be black, speak standard English and make this gesture – dishonest and empty as it turned out to be – that promised to unite Americans and move the country past its racial divisions.

The Campaign Narrative

The two emotions that drive politics — hope and fear — are tied together by a narrative that underlies all American political contests. This narrative is the story of the underdog and his triumph over odds. Both Democrats and Republicans shape the narratives of their election campaigns using this story, but do it in dramatically different ways.

When Republicans use the underdog narrative it is mainly as a story of opportunity, of Americans rising from humble origins. This was a principal theme of the Republican presidential convention in 2012 and of keynote speeches by Ann Romney, Governor Christie, Marco Rubio, Susanna Martinez and Condoleezza Rice. It was an appeal to voters to protect and/or restore the values and the institutions that provide such opportunities.

This is a good story of hope, and was effective in the hands of speakers like Rice. But it is not very strong on promoting fear, or in directing that fear towards political opponents in a way that maximizes its emotional impact. Insofar as there is any negative side to the Republican narrative, it is policies rather than a human actor that stands in the way of opportunity. Higher taxes and too much regulation—too much government — will stifle opportunity for Americans who are on the way up.

Here is how Obama dismissed the Republican argument in his acceptance speech at the Democrats’ convention: “All [Republicans] have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years: Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”

The Republican narrative is an abstraction. It’s about policies and prescriptions, over which reasonable people can disagree: How much opportunity will a three or four percent higher tax rate — the rate that prevailed in the prosperous Clinton years — stifle opportunity?

The entire argument remains intellectual until Democrats enter it, and then it becomes emotional. Democrats present themselves as champions of the powerless, the American underdogs. Their counterargument is that government is required to provide opportunity for those who lack it – whatever the tax rate. In the Democrats’ narrative the private sector doesn’t provide enough opportunity for those left behind, and government programs are necessary to fill in the gap. Democrats want to help people who need help. That is a powerful emotional appeal to all Americans, even Republicans. The Republican argument looks selfish by contrast: Republicans care for helping themselves (don’t raise taxes on the rich) — or helping people who can help themselves — people who can take advantage of opportunities without government help. Unless you understand how the economic system actually works, that’s a tough position to sympathize with.

When Democrats tell their underdog story it is not an abstraction but a powerful, polarizing, emotionally charged attack on their Republican adversaries. In the Democratic narrative, Republicans are cast as oppressors. They are the enemies of hope, and in particular, the hopes of America’s underdogs for equality, a fair share, and a helping hand when they need it. While Republicans set their narrative in a land of peace, Democrats place it on the frontlines of a nation at war. Here is a dispatch from the Democratic convention, September 2012:

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) – Two dozen Democratic women from the U.S. House of Representatives brought the charge that Republicans are waging a “war on women” to the party’s convention stage on Tuesday with sharp denunciations of Republicans on healthcare, equal pay and domestic violence. Led by Nancy Pelosi of California, the only woman to serve as speaker of the U.S. House, the women pressed the party’s argument that the Democrats will protect women’s interests against what they described as Republican attacks.

This staged declaration of war was led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Its purpose was to jump start the campaign’s central narrative: Republicans are waging “war” on women, minorities and the middle class. The Democrats’ narrative centered on how these victim groups were oppressed — or in the case of minorities suppressed — by evil Republicans seeking to turn back the historical clock, denying the powerless and those in need of their shot at the American dream. This is a powerful emotional message.

But there is nothing new about this Democratic strategy. Here is a call to arms from the 1996 Democratic convention: “We need to work as we have never done before between now and November 5th to take the Congress back from … the Republicans, because ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, the Republicans are the real threat. They are the real threat to our women. They are the real threat to our children. They are the real threat to clean water, clean air and the rich landscape of America.”

Republicans are the enemies of women, children and the environment! The speaker of this anathema was New York governor and presidential prospect Mario Cuomo. This declaration of war was made 16 years ago. Republicans have been the target of this kind of attack through at least four presidential elections. Yet they haven’t begun to answer it, and in particular, respond to it in kind.

To this day, no Republican speaks like that about Democrats, and certainly no Republican who is a national figure and party leader. The 2012 Democratic Convention was all about the victims of Republican policies, and about casting Republicans as their victimizers. Democrats had been in power four years, but at the 2012 Republican convention, there was almost no mention of the victims of Democrat policies.

At an election post-mortem, Romney’s deputy campaign manager analyzed the defeat this way: “The bottom line is that the Obama campaign [had] a candidate that was very hard to lay a glove on because [he] was somebody that the American people, by and large, had decided that they just liked.”

This is classic excuse making. That’s what campaigns are supposed to do: make the other candidate unlikeable. The Obama campaign devoted itself to doing just that to the Republican candidate. They defamed a decent, hard-­working American as a dishonest, untrustworthy predator. It was the failure of the Romney campaign to lay a glove on Obama that was the reason he was still liked.

Obama’s campaign manager was at the same conference. His team did not have the view that their candidate was so likeable Romney couldn’t lay a glove on him. Quite the opposite. Their view was that “they would lose the election if it was a referendum on the president.” They chose a strategy of diverting attention from their candidate by attacking Romney as a member of the wealthy uncaring class who fired people mercilessly, shipped jobs overseas and was too rich to care about other people.

Taking A Page From the Democrats’ War Plans

Throughout the Republican campaign, there was a lot of talk about “job creators.” There were a lot of defenses of “job creators,” whom Democrats quickly redefined as rich people who don’t pay their fair share. That’s the problem with playing a “prevent defense.” Most Americans see job creators – employers – as rich people. If you’re defending the top dogs, you’re losing. If you’re fighting for the underdogs, you have to go on the attack.

What about job destroyers? What about Democrats who are killing the jobs of ordinary Americans — not just failing to create them—which is an antiseptic, bloodless way of putting it?

Democrats, who understand the psychology of the underdog, accused the Republicans of just that – destroying jobs. They targeted Mitt Romney with a $300 million ad buy as the nation’s number one job destroyer victimizing working Americans.

Job destroyer was a description ill–suited to a man whose business was reviving bankrupt companies. But it was — or should have been — a perfect fit for his Democratic opponent. How many jobs did America lose under Obama’s anti­business reign?

How many unemployed did Obama create among African Americans, Latinos, women? The official unemployment rate in Detroit after 50 years of Democratic rule and four years of Obama stimulus was 19% but actually 45% were unemployed.

Thirty-­five percent of Detroit’s citizens are on food stamps. Democrats destroy jobs and make people poor. Why wasn’t there a $300 million Republican campaign saying this?

Why are Republicans so reluctant to name the victims of Democrat policies, particularly the victims among America’s minority communities and working classes? Why don’t Republicans identify Democrats as a threat to those communities as Cuomo declared Republicans a threat to women? How can you win a war when the other side is using bazookas and your side is using fly swatters?

Defending the victims of job destroyers is morally and emotionally stronger than defending rich “job creators.” It creates sympathy and arouses anger. It inspires concerns about justice. It’s how the Democrats’ recruit and energize their troops. It’s the way — the only way — Republicans can neutralize the Democrats’ attacks on them as defenders of the rich, and return their fire: by framing them as the enemies of working Americans and the middle class.

During Obama’s four years in office, African Americans – middle-class African Americans – lost half their net worth as a result of the collapse of the housing market. That’s one hundred billion dollars in personal assets that disappeared from the pockets of African Americans because of a 25-­year Democratic campaign to remove loan requirements for homebuyers. Yet in 2012, Republicans were too polite to mention this!

The fingerprints of Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barney Frank were all over the subprime mortgage crisis. The campaign to remove loan requirements for African American and other minority borrowers started with Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act. It snookered thousands of poor black and Hispanic Americans into buying homes they couldn’t afford, which they then lost. How traumatic is the loss of one’s home?

By securitizing the failed mortgages, Democratic bundlers on Wall Street who had poured $100 million into the 2008 Obama campaign made tens of millions off the misery of those who lost their homes. In other words, with the help of Clinton, Frank and Obama, Wall Street Democrats made massive profits off the backs of poor black and Hispanic Americans. But Republicans were too polite to mention it. Here was a missed opportunity to neutralize Democrat attacks on Republicans as the party of the rich and exploiters of the poor. It was an opportunity to drive a giant wedge through the Democratic base.

The bottom line is this: If Republicans want to persuade minorities they care about them, they have to stand up for them; they have to defend them; and they have to show them that Democrats are playing them for suckers, exploiting them, oppressing them, and profiting from their suffering.

Large populations of the African American and Hispanic poor are concentrated in America’s inner cities – Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Harlem, South Central Los Angeles. In these inner cities the unemployment rates are off the charts, the school systems so corrupt and ineffective that half the children drop out before they graduate and half those who do are functionally illiterate. They will never get a decent job or a shot at the American dream.

In these inner cities, every city council and every school board and every school district are 100% controlled by Democrats and have been for more than 70 years. Everything that is wrong with the inner cities and their schools that policy can affect, Democrats are responsible for. Democrats have their boot heels on the necks of millions of poor African American and Hispanic children and are crushing the life out of them every year. But Republicans are too polite to mention it.

In the middle of the 2012 campaign, a teachers union strike shut down the schools in Chicago, Obama’s home town. The issue was not pay but the union’s refusal to allow teacher rewards to be connected to teacher performance. African American and Hispanic children were the true victims of the determination to protect bad teachers and not to reward good ones. Yet Republicans ignored the strike, and never put a face on its victims.

At the Republican convention, one keynote speaker referred to the teachers unions and the issue of teacher rewards and union obstruction. This was Governor Chris Christie, probably the most aggressive and articulate Republican warrior. But here is how Christie framed the Democrat/union atrocity:

We believe that the majority of teachers in America know our system must be reformed to put students first so that America can compete….We [Republicans] believe that we should honor and reward the good ones while doing what’s best for our nation’s future — demanding accountability, higher standards and the best teacher in every classroom.

They believe the educational establishment will always put themselves ahead of children. That self-interest trumps common sense. They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children. They believe in teacher’s unions.

And that’s all he said. The issues are there – accountability, standards and rewards for teacher performance. The policy is there. But the moral outrage is missing. The victims are missing and the culprits aren’t named. It’s not the “educational establishment” that’s ruining the lives and blocking the opportunities of African American and Hispanic children. It’s the Democrats – they are the educational establishment in every failing public school district. The Democrat teachers unions and the Democrat Party that supports them are destroying the lives of African American and Hispanic students whose parents are too poor to put them in private schools – the same private schools where Democrat legislators and union leaders send their own children.

Democrats will fight to the death to prevent poor parents from getting vouchers to provide their children with the same education that well-heeled Democratic legislators provide for theirs. This is a moral atrocity. This is an issue to get angry about and mobilize constituencies over. This is an issue that could drive a Gibraltar-size wedge through the Democratic base. But Republicans are too polite to do that.

This is merely the most obvious atrocity that Democrats are committing against America’s impoverished minorities. Subverting family structures through a misconceived welfare system, encouraging food stamp dependency, providing incentives to bring into this world massive numbers of children who have no prospect of a decent life just to earn a welfare dollar. These are the corrupt fruits of Democratic welfare policies which are spiraling out of control. Republicans criticize these programs as “wasteful.” They need to start attacking them as destructive, as attacks on the human beings who are ensnared by them.

The way for Republicans to show they care about minorities is to defend them against their oppressors and exploiters, which in every major inner city in America without exception are Democrats. Democrats run the welfare and public education systems; they have created the policies that ruin the lives of the recipients of their handouts. It’s time that Republicans started to hold Democrats to account; to put them on the defensive and take away the moral high ground, which they now occupy illegitimately. Government welfare is not just wasteful; it is destructive. The public school system in America’s inner cities is not merely ineffective; it is racist and criminal.

Democrats regard politics as a war conducted by other means. Their agenda is not to seek compromise over practical solutions to complex problems. It is to achieve power to dictate the fundamental transformation of American society into a socialist-redistributionist state. Democrats regard Republicans as enemies standing in the way of social justice and social progress. Every issue for them is a means to a greater end, which first of all is power, and beyond that the transformation of American society into a socialist-redistributionist state.

Because Democrats regard politics as war conducted by other means, they seek to demonize and destroy their opponents as the enemies of progress, of social justice and minority rights. Republicans can only counter these attacks by turning the Democrats’ guns around — by exposing them as the enforcers of injustice, particularly to minorities and the poor, the exploiters of society’s vulnerable and the reactionary proponents of policies that have proven bankrupt and destructive all over the world.


Comments On The Gingrich 2014-2016 Republican Strategy Memo

I posted below, without comment, the entirety of a memo from Newt Gingrich passed out as part of a briefing to Republican Congressmen and staffers in reference to the next election cycles. I would like to comment on a few of Gingrich's points here.


It is clear President Obama has decided that he can win a decisive realignment in 2014 and then consolidate his party in power in 2016. To achieve that he will implement six specific strategies:

1. There will be a permanent 24/7 campaign to dominate the media.

That's been true for most of the past decade, ever since the far left completed their take over of the Democrat Party. The right has completely and utterly failed to match this. The rule of thumb should be simple. For every statement made by the President or a left wing congresscritter, there should be a near immediate response (within hours) made and offered to the same media outlets. Moreover, such must be concise, passionate and vociferous. Moreover, as discussed in the Horowitz column blogged above, it must be emotional. If the above does not happen, we can toss in the towel now.

3. Relentless cynicism will characterize the manipulation of facts, the choice of issues and the willingness to harm the American people and American institutions ("maximum pain for political gain" is the underlying system).

The lesson of the 2012 election is that intellectual honesty and facts are utterly meaningless to the left. Emotion will always win. We have the facts and intellectual honesty on our side, but lack virtually any emotional appeal. If you don't know what I am talking about, look to Andrew Breitbart or, for that matter, Newt Gingrich - and again, see the Horowitz column blogged above. We need emotional appeal, intellectual honesty, and an all hands on deck effort to immediately respond.

4. The entire coalition of left wing allies will be mobilized over and over to overmatchthe Republicans ( think Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, unions, gay rights groups,etc etc).

Look at the groups Gingrich points out. Not listed are hundreds of others, the vast majority of which share a common trait - they are all funded in whole or in large part by our tax dollars. One of the major systemic problems of our form of government has been the growth, over the past four decades, of dedicated progressive groups who the left have figured out how to place on the public tit. These groups than turn around use our tax dollars to advocate for the left.

Planned Parenthood, public sector unions, Acorn and its affiliates are merely the most glaring tip of the iceberg. As to the Sierra Club and other green groups, they make a fortune suing the government under laws that allow private groups to sue under our environmental laws and to recover attorney's fees. The whole system is corrupt beyond measure. This is something the right should be attacking daily - not the least of which because many of these interest groups stand at direct odds with the victim groups the left claims to represent. The teachers unions are the single greatest millstone around the neck of blacks and, indeed, the American middle class. Radical green groups are a mortal threat to the middle class. I could go on but you get the idea. This is fertile ground that the right has not, to my knowledge, even touched upon.




9. Including minorities is a key to success. This will be challenging, at times confusing,and fraught with frustration. Every Republican incumbent, leader and candidate should allocate one third of their time meeting with minority Americans. The first goal has to be to practice listen-learn-help-lead as a model. As Jack Kemp used to say "they have to know that you care before they care that you know". This one principle is an absolute key to any Republican hope to be a majority party.

This is one I've been screaming about for years also. The right can no longer afford to write off any demographic group - blacks in particular. Virtually every victim group the left claims to champion is screwed by them. The most egregious example was when Obama first came into office and, in response to the teacher's unions who form the financial foundation for the Democrats, Obama shut down a voucher program in DC schools that allowed some of the poorest in our Capitol to attend the same private school Obama's children attended. Obama consigned all of DC's poor - and mostly black - to the worst performing school system in the nation. Yet another example is the Lilly Ledbetter Act, something which purports to champion equal pay for women, but which would be a huge drain on the economy and hurt the employment prospects for women. The economic drain would not be because of equalizing pay, we already have laws on the books that do precisely that, but rather because it would create a class action litigation bonanza that would make employers reticent indeed to put women into any position that could possibly invite such litigation. Yet a third example is Obama's green energy madness - something which presents an existential threat to the poor and middle class as energy prices effect the price of all goods and services in our nation.

The bottom line is that we need to be going after every demographic group with a concerted effort that combines honesty and emotion. Just because they might resist the message at first is no reason not to make the effort.


Friday, March 1, 2013

The Gingrich Election Strategy Memo

Newt Gingrich met with Republican leaders the other day to discuss their systemic problems going into the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. Someone sent Hot Air a copy of Gingrich's briefing paper. It is well worth reprinting in full. I will comment on it in future posts:


FEBRUARY 28,2013

Newt Gingrich



Someone playing chess will always beat someone playing tic tac toe. Strategy beats tactics.


It is clear President Obama has decided that he can win a decisive realignment in 2014 and then consolidate his party in power in 2016. To achieve that he will implement six specific strategies:

1. There will be a permanent 24/7 campaign to dominate the media.

2. There will be a constant issue focus shifting to topics which isolate Republicans andarouse the President's allies at the grassroots.

3. Relentless cynicism will characterize the manipulation of facts, the choice of issuesand the willingness to harm the American people and American institutions ("maximum pain for political gain" is the underlying system).

4. The entire coalition of left wing allies will be mobilized over and over to overmatchthe Republicans ( think Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, unions, gay rights groups,etc etc).

5. The Republican Party will be relentlessly attacked and defined in extremist language ( anti-immigrant, homophobic, racist, waging war on women, etc) so the collapse and isolation of the brand makes candidates unacceptable and unelected with no regard for their personal characteristics.

6. The 2012 turnout mechanisms will be modernized, improved and strengthened to try to make 2014 turnout resemble 2012 rather than 2010.



1. The GOP has to admit that it is currently incapable of moving at the speed and intensity of the Obama system, with the scale of the Obama system, or with depth and technological capabilities of the Obama system. Until Republicans understand how big the gap is they will continue to lose ground.

2. A new model Republican doctrine and system has to be developed capable of matching the Obama strategy and system.

3. Virtually every element of the GOP, party leaders, incumbents, staffs, candidates,consultants, pollsters, need to be trained into the 21st century new model GOP.

4. Metrics have to be developed for measuring performance.


1. The system of planning has to be:


2. There has to be a vision focusing on a better American future not on an anti-Obamamessage.

3. There is no red and blue. There are 311,000,000 Americans who deserve a better life than the Obama big government redistributionist model can give them. This will require an even bigger, better data system than the Obama machine built.

4. The GOP has to match or surpass the combination of data and behavioral science which the Democrats have developed since 2004.

5. Republicans have to build a system for a permanent campaign with a 24/7 strategy and media capability.

6. If you aren't on offense you are on defense. There are no time outs. Every morning you know your status. If you aren't on offense you are on defense. If you don't win the argument you won't win the vote (a Margaret Thatcher rule).

7. Republicans simply must learn to communicate effectively, emotionally and in a compelling human way.

8. Republicans have to learn to compete in the entire media culture including entertainment media and Internet based media. Republicans have to go where the voters go.

9. Including minorities is a key to success. This will be challenging, at times confusing,and fraught with frustration. Every Republican incumbent, leader and candidate should allocate one third of their time meeting with minority Americans. The first goal has to be to practice listen-learn-help-lead as a model. As Jack Kemp used to say "they have to know that you care before they care that you know". This one principle is an absolute key to any Republican hope to be a majority party.

10. This scale of change requires systematic leadership, metrics for achievement, and encouragement for those willing to take the risks, spend the energy and lead the way. It is a direction not a structure and it will inevitably have some chaotic, imperfect and even confusing moments.

11. Every Republican activist would do well to read California Lieutenant Governor (and former Mayor of San Francisco)' s new book Citizenville. While we will disagree with some parts of it, it is the best description I have found of the potential for a citizen-centric model of civil society to replace the Washington centered bureaucratic model which is currently serving a so badly.

12. Humor can be an enormous advantage, especially at a time when people are anxious about the economy, tired of the political fighting, etc. Note Reagan and Lincoln used media constantly.

Ed Morrissey ads:

Demographics are a big concern with Gingrich, and the only path to success is broadening the GOP’s brand to minority voters. “Every Republican incumbent, leader and candidate,” Gingrich advises, “should allocate one third of their time meeting with minority Americans,” and be accountable to that in measurable data. That doesn’t just mean face time, either, but a “listen-learn-help-lead” model that requires real engagement and long-term commitment to constituencies on which the GOP gave up years ago.

This isn’t new, of course; Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan have urged the Republican Party to start going back to the urban centers that Democrats have had by default for decades, and I wrote after the election about the need to provide real solutions based on conservative principles that will actually help ordinary voters in these communities and address their concerns. That’s the “listen-learn-help-lead” model; if all we ever do is the first stage, it’s not much of a mystery why we fall behind. Gingrich put this into a concrete model for the GOP to follow in his briefing yesterday, and we will see whether anyone chooses to put this into action.