18 June, 2011

Obama’s Israel Ultimatum

This was a news story that didn’t seem to gain much traction last week, which I think is wrong. In my mind it shows just about the same amount of cluelessness as President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) remark about ATMs did.

What am I talking about? This.

Israel Radio Reported Sunday that The United States gave Netanyahu an ultimatum on renewing negotiations with the Palestinians.

According to the ultimatum, Netanyahu has to decide within a month whether he agrees to accept US President Obama’s proposal and resume talks based on 1967 lines.

Washington is pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accede to its proposal to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on the basis of U.S. President Barack Obama’s May 19 speech.

This is just mind bogglingly stupid. Let me translate the sequence of events for you into non-politician speak.

Obama: We want to resolve the Palestinian/Isreali situation, and we think we should start the negotiations with the 1967 borders, and give and take from there.

Netanyahu: You can forget that idea. It’s never going to happen. We will never negotiate with Hamas (governing party of the Palestinians), and the 1967 borders are off the table in any event. Starting there amounts to a suicide pact for Israel.

Obama: Ok, so I’m gonna need a decision on this whole 1967 borders and negotiation with the Palestinians thing within 30 days.

How in the world is Israel supposed to respond to this? Every time I think about it I get the picture of this in my head.

Seriously, it’s as if the Obama administration is trying to pretend that Netanyahu never came to the United States last month, or that he never made any public statements while he was here.

Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for patience with fools. I imagine that either Israel will either give no response at all or will send a very tersely worded one, something along the lines of “Israel has already made its position on this issue quite clear.”

Liberalism And Robin Hood

A lot of people don’t understand Robin Hood. I think that statement applies almost equally to the left and the right. Perhaps it’s tilted more to the left though. I’m not sure.

Anyway, the left likes to portray Robin Hood as their hero, and the right lets them get away with it. We’ve all heard “Robin Hood robbed from the rich and gave to the poor”, as if such a thing would somehow be heroic. At least the right seems to get that such a thing is not heroic at all, but liberals don’t. It’s their core philosophy. That’s what their fantasy of income redistribution is all about. They want to rob from the rich and give to the poor. They want to keep doing it until no one is rich and everyone is poor. I’m not sure who they’ll rob after that, but I imagine they’ll find someone.

However, anyone who has ever really paid attention to the Robin Hood story knows that, in fact, that’s not what it’s about at all. Robin Hood fought an oppressive, corrupt, and over taxing government, in order to give the money back to the people who had been crushed by this oppression and taxation. This storyline appears in just about every version of the Robin Hood tale.

So, here’s a question for you. If you fight against an oppressive and corrupt government that is taxing the citizens into the poorhouse, in order that these citizens might be able to keep their own money and live fruitful lives, are you a hero of the left, or the right?

Or, put another way, who is more like Robin Hood, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), or President Barack Obama (D-USA)? And which one is more like the Sherriff of Nottingham, or Prince John?

If you’ve been paying attention, you know the answers to these questions and don’t need me to point them out. The sad thing is that Obama probably thinks he’s like Robin Hood, and DeMint probably doesn’t. Not that DeMint doesn’t understand the Robin Hood tale. He may very well. But I don’t think he thinks of himself as a hero of the people. He’s just doing his job. Note: that’s not a sad thing.

So, the moral of this story is, as it often is when dealing with the left, don’t let the left control the narrative. Robin Hood is no more about “robbing from the rich to give to the poor” than it is about war against aliens in outer space. It is about fighting against a tyrannical government, intent on destroying the freedoms of the people.

UPDATED: Had promoted Prince John to King John (it is that way in some of the older versions of the tale). Fixed.

June 18, 1940

Winston Churchill gives his “Their Finest Hour” speech. It concludes with this amazing summation (God, he was a fantastic orator):

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.

Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'

I can see former President George W. Bush (R-USA) saying that. I can’t picture President Barack Obama (D-USA) saying that.

17 June, 2011

June 17, 1972

Five men were arrested for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel. The resulting investigation and cover up would lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon (R-USA) just over one year later. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, reporters for the Washington Post became household names during the investigation. They eventually wrote a great book called “All the President's Men” on the subject, and were portrayed in a mediocre film of the same name by Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford.

16 June, 2011

June 16, 1858

On this day in 1858, then private citizen Abraham Lincoln gave one of his more famous addresses, the House Divided Speech, in his campaign for IL state Senate against Stephen Douglas. This speech became a rallying point for Republicans in the north, who used it to declare that either the United States must accept slavery everywhere, or nowhere (their choice, and Lincoln’s, and mine, for what it’s worth).

The argument turned out not to be a successful one, at least immediately. Douglas believed the opposite, and it was his view that was accepted later that year when Douglas was elected to the Senate.

The best known passage:

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

Your Lemonade Stand & The Government

Hopefully Janie Johnson won’t be offended by me taking her lemonade stand example. This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post on corporate taxation inspired by a Twitter conversation. It offers a specific, simple, and yes, somewhat silly example of what I was discussing yesterday.

Here’s the scenario:

You create a lemonade stand business. You figure it will cost you $4 to get started, and another $1 to operate for a day, so you get the $5 in an interest free loan from Mom. You sell 12 glasses of lemonade at $1 each. Woohoo! Capitalism at its finest. You pay back the $5 to Mom, and your business is still left with $7. Since you worked so hard on the lemonade stand, you pay yourself a $2 salary.

Now your business has $5 left and you have dreams of expansion. You figure you can double your capacity for an additional $5 ($4 startup, $1 operating), and you still need $1 to operate your existing business.  That totals $6. That’s more than you have left, but you’re willing to take $1 of your salary and invest it into your business to get this expansion off the ground. So, you’re off and running.

Then Dad comes by. Dad mentions that he’s been protecting you and providing you with free housing, meals and healthcare. So, to fund his governing, he demands 25% of your profits. You hire your sister for $1 to handle the necessary paperwork and make sure that you’re in compliance with all of Dad’s regulations. You now have $4 left, and Dad gets $1 of that.

So, how much did the taxation cost your business? If you said $2 ($1 tax + $1 for your sister’s accounting), then you understand that the corporate income tax costs your business money. Congratulations. If you don’t understand that the corporate income tax costs your business money, then stop now. There’s no point in reading any further until you do.

Your business now has $3 of profit to reinvest in itself, but that’s not enough to cover the cost of expansion, and your dreams of growing your business are over, at least for now. So, this taxation has definitely hurt your business.

But Dad’s not done yet. He also takes 25% of you and your sister’s income for a total of $1.75.  This leaves you with $1.50, so even if you wanted to put your entire salary back into the business, you still don’t have enough to expand, and Mom has already said “no” to the idea of another loan. You’ll probably be able to afford to expand after tomorrow, but this corporate tax is definitely hurting your growth potential.

Now let’s look at a slightly different example. This time around, Mom doesn’t just give you an interest free loan. She invests in your business and wants a share of the profits. Also, every kid in the neighborhood has seen your success, and now there’s a lemonade stand in every driveway. You’re not going to be able to charge $1 per glass anymore.

So, here’s how your first day of business goes.

In order to deal with competition, you lower your prices, and you get a bigger pitcher. So, this time you sell 14 glasses of lemonade at $.50 each. You didn’t sell out because you spent so much time managing your business. There’s at least 4 glasses left over, but they’ll go bad by tomorrow, so you throw them out. Your business still made $7, which wouldn’t be so great if you had to give $5 back to Mom, but you don’t have to do that. You just have to pay her a dividend. You plan on a $2 dividend. But first, you pay yourself your $2 salary, and then there’s Dad with his hand out again. So, once again, you pay your sister $1, and pay your Dad $1 in taxes. Like last time, Dad takes an additional $.75 from you and your sister in personal income tax. Including your sister’s salary, your corporate taxes still cost your business $2.

Now, this time, rather than expanding your business, you just want to hire an additional employee. That will enable you to have more time to seek out new investors, figure out new ways to expand and increase profits, and possibly come up with new product lines like pink lemonade. You figure that a new employee will cost you $1. But if you pay Mom her $2 dividend, that only leaves you $1, which is what you need to cover the next day’s operating costs. So, either you’ll have to pay Mom a lower dividend, or you’ll have to cut back on your hiring plans. Note that either of these will negatively impact how much tax revenue Dad can collect.

We’ll say that you forgo the hiring of an additional employee and pay the $2 dividend to Mom. Dad gets $.50 of that, bringing his revenue up to $2.25. Yay, tax revenues are up! At the expense of crushing your business’s growth potential. Eventually, if you want to keep growing the business, you’re going to have to pay less in salaries or dividends.

Remember what I said were the three ways corporate taxes were passed on to others?

They pass the tax burden on to their customers in terms of higher prices, their employees in terms of lower wages and benefits, and their stockholders in terms of lower dividends.

Well, we’ve just seen two of them. Not hiring is the same thing as passing it on to employees. Your presumed new employee would have made $1. Since you won’t hire him, he’ll make $0. Or, to hire him, you’ll have to cut your own salary. Or Mom’s dividend.

Now, if you had raised your prices to $.75 a glass at the beginning, you’d have enough to pay your shareholder, Mom, her dividend, and hire a new employee. Assuming that your higher price didn’t cut into sales, that is. Probably an unrealistic assumption in this neighborhood, but we’ll go with it. And now you’ve done the third method of passing your tax burden on to others.

However, lemonade is used up pretty quickly. That’s the cornerstone of your business idea. You want to be able to sell new lemonade to your customers each and every day. The problems is that even if your higher prices don’t have an immediate impact, they definitely have a long term one. Your customers only have a certain amount of discretionary income available to pay for summer beverages. You’re going to make them run out of money sooner, and they will be forced to stop buying your product.

Since she’s an investor now, not just a banker, Mom might be willing to help you out more. Suppose she invests half her dividend, after taxes, back into the company. Now you’ll be able to hire that additional employee! Err...no. She only has $1.50 after taxes, so she only reinvests $.75. Unfortunately, that still isn’t enough for you to hire. This corporate tax thing is really screwing your business (bonus points if you noticed that a capital gains tax screwed your business too, but that’s beside the point right now).

Guess what? Dad has created some new financial regulations that might help you out! Rather than starting this lemonade stand business as a traditional corporation, you can form this thing called a scorp. Scorps allow you to avoid the corporate income tax. How? By passing it on to your shareholders. But wait, we already said that’s one of the ways corporate taxes are paid, so how does this change things? It doesn’t, all that much. And it doesn’t change the initial premise at all, which is that corporations don’t pay taxes. In fact, it reinforces it.

Using the previous example again, when Mom invested the $5 in your business, you sold her a 50% share of the company. You kept 50% for yourself, since the business idea was yours. You still sold 14 glasses of lemonade at $.50 each.

But, this time you had to pay your sister an additional $1 up front to file all the scorp paperwork. So, you need another $1 from Mom. Her investment is now up to $6. And you still had to pay your sister another $1 to handle the accounting showing that you stayed within scorp regulations and don’t owe any corporate income tax. You paid your own salary of $2. That leaves $4. You split the money with Mom, paying her $2, and bringing your total income to $4.

So, Dad gets $.50 from Mom for her $2 (yes, I know that it’s sometimes possible to offset capital gains with capital losses, but I’m trying to keep this simple), $.50 from your sister, and a whopping $1 from you for a total of $2. Your business has no capital, so you reinvest your $2, leaving you with $1. Mom only reinvests half of her post tax dividend, which is again $.75. You can finally afford to hire somebody, but at what cost? Well, it cost an additional $1 from Mom initially, and you only have $1 left of your $2 salary. Your sister is happy because she made an additional $.75 after taxes, but Mom is not. She invested an additional $1 and got nothing to show for it. You have less money in your pocket, too. This is hardly a win-win scenario. And it still cost your business $2 just to avoid paying anything in corporate taxes. In other words, the corporate taxes cost you $2, even though you didn’t pay any.

Now, what if there was no corporate tax? You sell your 14 glasses of lemonade for $.50. Mom gets her $2 dividend. You get your $2 salary. You get to keep your prices low enough to ensure a constant revenue stream. There’s $3 left over, so you pay yourself a $1 bonus for being such a good businessman, and you can still afford to hire someone.

And Dad? Dad gets $.75 from you and $.50 from Mom for a total of $1.25. Tax revenue is down initially, but starting tomorrow he’ll get an additional $.25 each day from your new employee. Your sister is mad because she didn’t get the $1 for accounting, but you hire her as your new employee. This is a good thing because she’s now part of production and sales, and not just overhead like she was before. Because of that, starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to sell all 18 glasses of your lemonade each day, bringing you an additional $2 in revenue, which you can use for dividends, higher salaries, or expansion. Dad will like the increased tax revenue from that.

And, since you have this extra employee, you have all this extra time and money to figure out how to make your business grow. You’ll soon be able to double capacity, hire another employee (fortunately, you have lots of siblings), perhaps even expand over to the next street. All these people you’re hiring have to pay personal income taxes, so pretty soon Dad’s not missing his corporate tax income at all (if he is, he can always raise the personal tax rate a bit to compensate, but since everyone’s making more money, that won’t hurt them nearly as badly). And GDP growth for your neighborhood is through the roof. Everybody wins.

15 June, 2011

What Do You Call A 20% Reduction In The Corporate Tax Rate?

I know what you’re thinking. “Oh boy, Chris is going off on taxes again. Where’s the snooze button?” But if you want to fix our economy, with a lasting fix, it’s going to take fixing our taxes.

Anyway, back to the question. What DO you call a 20% reduction in the corporate tax rate?

Liberals call it a “fantasy”. I call it a good start.

Former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) released his economic plan last week. Neal Boortz has a good summary.

As we gear up for the Republican debate tonight, here’s a look at Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan that has some liberal’s tight-chested.  He believes that he can implement a national economic growth goal of 5%.  Here’s how:

  • Take the business tax rate all the way down to 15% from 35%
  • Get rid of all the deductions and quit taxing foreign earnings of American companies
  • Make small-business S-Corps or LLC partnerships eligible for the new low corporate rate
  • Simplify our income tax to two rates of only 10 and 25%
  • Abolish taxes on capital gains, interest, dividends and estates
  • Sunset all economic regulations
  • Apply a "Google test," whereby if you can find a federal government good or service on the Internet, the federal government doesn't need to run it.

I’m on board with all of this. I’d prefer the FairTax over his two tiered flat income tax, but I’m not a purist. Right now as long as it cleans up the tax code I’m happy. His elimination of investment taxes is fantastic. The part about elimination of deductions appears to only apply to the corporate tax and not the individual, which is unfortunate, but again, it’s a good start. The “Google test” is a terrific idea.

But…about that corporate tax rate. 15% is still at least 15% too high. I don’t agree with the people who say we need to eliminate corporate tax breaks. We just need to give them all to everyone. Let me be blunt. Corporate taxes accomplish no good purpose. All they do is obfuscate the tax code unnecessarily and prevent business from using their resources to produce their goods and services. They are always a net drain on business productivity.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it. Businesses don’t pay taxes. Never have. Never will. They pass the tax burden on to their customers in terms of higher prices, their employees in terms of lower wages and benefits, and their stockholders in terms of lower dividends. There are conflicting studies on which of those three groups tends to get stuck with the highest percentage of the bill, but in the end it doesn’t matter. All three of these are a drain on the economy.

  1. Higher prices means fewer goods and services are sold.
  2. Lower wages and benefits for employees means they won’t buy as many goods and services from other companies.
  3. Lower dividends means less investment or reinvestment. Less capital for businesses means less investment in their future in terms of research and personnel.

Here’s something else I’ve been saying since 2008. You want to end this “economic downturn” we’re in (I can’t call it a recession right now…not until it’s formally declared a recession again), then eliminate the corporate income tax. Yes, you have to do a little more work than just that or every person in the country will immediately incorporate, but compared to reinventing health care in the United States, this is easy. Do just this one thing and we get to positive and sustained economic growth starting almost immediately. Yes, it really is that easy.

I linked this article by Megan McArdle at the top of the page, but it’s worth re-linking. She goes into far more detail about how corporate income taxes negatively effect business growth and investment. She also examines why progressives should be for it as well. Read the whole thing, but I’m just going to grab her last point, because it brings up something I haven’t mentioned even tangentially.

Without the corporate income tax, a lot of the incentive for lobbying would go away  Not all of it, by any means--I am not trying to paint some halcyon future here.  But an enormous amount of effort goes into lobbying for tax laws, and politicians often reward favored constituent businesses with little sweetheart fillips to the tax code. Conversely, apparently neutral changes to the tax code often turn out to be excellent ways to hamstring your competition, particularly small businesses who cannot afford a huge tax department.

Want to get corporate money out of politics?  Want to erode the power of the Chamber of Commerce?  Take away one of their primary motives to get involved.

We’ve been hearing a lot about corporate money in politics recently and about crony capitalism from both sides of the aisle. If you really think that either or both of these are problems, then you should be in agreement with me about corporate taxes.

June, 2000

Several interesting web domains were registered this month in 2000. All expired in June, 2001. These included:

attackamerica.com, attackonamerica.com, attackontwintowers.com, august11horror.com, august11terror. com, horrorinamerica.com, horrorinnewyork.com, nycterroriststrike.com, pearlharborinmanhattan.com, terrorattack2001.com, towerofhorror.com, tradetowerstrike.com, worldtradecenter929.com, worldtrade-centerbombs.com, worldtradetowerattack.com, worldtradetowerstrike.com, and wterroristattack2001. com

14 June, 2011

My Romney Conversion

I have a whole list of things I wanted to blog about this week. This wasn’t one of them, but my Twitter feed today makes it necessary.

People who have followed my writings on this blog and elsewhere over the years know my feelings about former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA). I am on record in several places, as recently as April, saying that he will never receive my vote. In fact, I have said that if he’s the nominee that I would stay home, vote third party, or even vote for President Barack Obama (D-USA). Yes, I dislike Romney that much.

I had three basic reasons for this:

  1. I don’t trust him, and I believe strongly in the phrase “better the devil you know”. That tweet appeared in my Twitter timeline today, and was the one that probably pushed me over the edge into writing this post.
  2. I’ve voted in every single Presidential election since 1988, and every single candidate I’ve voted for has been to the left of me. Some very far to the left of me. I’m pretty conservative, but there are issues that I’m more centrist. It’s amazing to me that I never get a chance to vote for a candidate who represents my views. Romney is another in that mold, and I’m frankly tired of voting for candidates like him. After 2008, I vowed that I’d never do it again.
  3. While I admire many things about President George W. Bush (R-USA), I feel that his brand of big government conservatism nearly destroyed the Republican party. I am fearful that another President like Bush would complete that destruction. We may end up with a third party, and a “40 year rule” by the Democrats. Since I believe that Democrat rule will destroy the country as we know it, anything that destroys the Republican party, also destroys the country.

With me so far? Have I traveled too far off the deep end yet?


Now let me explain why I’ve changed my mind.

Yes, I am willing to break my 2008 vow.

I still believe that a Romney Presidency may destroy the Republican Party. I still believe that the destruction of the Republican party will likely  lead to Democrat rule and hence the destruction of the country as we know it within 30 years.

Notice the bold words “may” and “will likely” in the paragraph above. That’s part of it, but here’s the clincher.

I truly believe that if Obama is re-elected, the U.S.A. as we know it will cease to exist within 4 years. Perhaps I’m going a little over the top, but I don’t think so. I am certain that 2016 will be too late to undo the damage he’s doing to this country. Or at least to undo it in my lifetime.

So, I will vote for Romney if he’s the Republican nominee. Now, he won’t get my vote in the primary. Of the declared and rumored candidates who have a legitimate shot at the GOP nomination, he’s probably my last choice. And I don’t believe that GOP control of the House or even the Senate is enough to stop Obama from creating his warped view of what America should be. If this was 1996, and it was a choice between Romney and someone like former President Bill Clinton (D-USA), I might stick with my vow. But that’s not the choice. The choice is between the United States of America and the United Socialist States of America.

That’s an easy choice for me to make. If Romney is the nominee, I go into the voting booth next November and I pull the lever for him, and I won’t feel bad about it at all.

Want To See LBJ’s “Great Society”?

Watch this. The most depressing video you’ll see this week year.


Think Crowder was just picking out the few things that supported his story? Think again.


I hate to sound heartless, but the question must be asked. Is it time to essentially raze Detroit?

Think this can only happen in Detroit? No. This is where we’re all headed if President Barack Obama (D-USA) is re-elected. This is where progressivism leads. It’s the only possibly destination on this road.

The Obligatory ‘Mourdock Aide “Assaults” Citizen Journalist’ Post

I’m always harping on those Peaceful Green Hippies and I have been at least moderately supportive of Richard Mourdock (R-IN) in his bid to unseat Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN), so it would be hypocritical of me not to mention this.


This is disappointing to say the least. I don’t think that what happened here was quite as over-the-top as what we’ve seen at other venues with Democrats, but I’m splitting hairs. It shouldn’t happen, regardless.

Richard Mourdock was on the Dana Loesch show yesterday afternoon doing damage control, and he did apologize and own up to the mistakes by his campaign. Good. The blogger in the video added this to his blog post as well:

UPDATE: An apology for what occurs in the video below has been issued by Treasurer Mourdock today on the Dana Show. An apology has also been received from Deputy Treasurer Jim Holden. Both explained they believe this was a case of mistaken identity.

At Rebel Pundit, we do accept the apologies offered. However we do feel after this unfortunate event, it is important to remember, this type of behavior is something we hope to never see at a Tea Party or conservative rally of any kind. Regardless of who is questioning a candidate, be it a main stream media reporter, blogger, average citizen, or an opponent, candidates and their staff must be held to a higher standard, if they seek to represent us.

I’m still not happy about it, but I’m less unhappy than before. And I am encouraged that Mourdock quickly made the effort to get out in front of this issue.

Loesch has more at BigJournalism, including Mourdock’s response during a phone call with her (but not the audio from her show, shame on you, Dana).

The Obligatory ‘Bachmann Is In’ Post

Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06) announced her candidacy last night, stating that she’d filed the necessary paperwork. I think that was a spontaneous moment, as she has no accompanying vid, and her website is pretty barren.

I still think she’s too much of a hardliner and too much of a firebrand to be President. And I still don’t like legislators as Presidents. I’d rather see her run for Governor of her state, or even my state. I’d vote for her for that. Still, she’ll be a formidable candidate.

Anyway, you can check out what there is of her site at www.michelebachmann.com. Remember, one “L” and two “N”s.

June 14, 1928

Che Guevara is born. Intelligence of our nation’s youth hardest hit. Seriously, read up on the guy, if you can find something that’s even close to objective. He’s not someone to be admired or emulated. He should be ridiculed and loathed.

June 14, 1777

Stars & Stripes was adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.

Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.


Happy Flag Day! Interestingly, only PA has Flag Day as a state holiday, establishing it on this day in 1937.

GOP Debates: Round 2–New Hampshire

Last night, the leading declared contenders for the GOP nomination for President squared off in New Hampshire. If you missed it, you’re not alone. The only people that tune in for debates like this in the middle of June the year before the election are people that are paid to do so, political junkies like me, and people with money to drop.

If you’re interested, you can find my thoughts on the first debate here.

The night had some clear winners and losers, and some people who got stuck in the mud in the middle. Overall, I was impressed. Even the weakest of the candidates had some good moments. And, just to be balanced, I don’t think anyone was pitch perfect through the entire night.

The strongest performance of the night was by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN-05). She was solid from beginning to end, only stumbling a little bit on the follow-up question on gay marriage (she’s for a Constitutional amendment, and for states rights—that’s not impossible, but it is confusing). Maybe a couple of her answers seemed a little over-rehearsed, and she dropped to talking points once or twice, but that’s nit picking. I was impressed with her, as I always am when I see her interviewed.

She had the strongest performance, but she wasn’t the “winner”. Last time I thought former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) had the strongest performance, but Herman Cain (R-GP) might have been the winner, due to making himself known. Similarly, I think former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) was the winner last night. As the perceived frontrunner, what he has to do is show up, look Presidential, not screw up, and not get hammered too much by the other candidates. He cleared that bar easily. He had a couple of weaker answers, but  think you’d have to be a conservative policy wonk to really catch that. In short, he showed why he’s the frontrunner.

The biggest losers of the night were CNN, the moderator John King, and former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK). I thought during the first debate that Palin really needed to be there. Last night that felt even more true. The field is starting to look set now, and those in the field are going to be gaining momentum and attention from those with money and political pull. She’s starting to hurt her chances by not declaring. A lot of this is true for Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) as well, but I think all of the Texas references last night help him a bit. Texas is about the only thing keeping America’s economy afloat at the moment, and that’s hard to hide.

As for CNN and King, neither should be allowed to ever do a Presidential debate again. The format was awful, not giving candidates time to answer detailed policy questions with the necessary details. King was rude and annoying, constantly interrupting with “uh” to get the candidates moving or back on topic, sometimes before they’d finished a single sentence. I could deal with all of that, though, but there were subtleties that were even worse. The entire debate seemed designed around protecting President Barack Obama (D-USA) and Mitt Romney. There were very few questions on topics that harm either of them. What about jobs, inflation, foreign wars, $4 gas, cap and trade, energy subsidies, and entitlement reform? There was one question early on about the Ryan plan, and another directed at Pawlenty regarding his ObamneyCare statement this weekend. I know having 7 people there makes it challenging, but surely it’s possible to better than that. The debate was painful to watch, and not because of the candidates.

Speaking of which, here’s a friendly word of advice to GOP Presidential candidates. I know all about President Ronald Reagan’s (R-USA) 11th Commandment, and I know that we need to make this election a referendum on Obama, but unless you want Romney to be the nominee, you’re going to have to take some shots at him as well. And when the moderator gives you a nice slow pitch right down the middle of the plate, you need to hit that one out of the park. Yes, I’m talking to you, Tim Pawlenty. Why couldn’t you back up your ObamneyCare statement? Surely you had to expect a question about this? Awful. Truly awful.

As much as I was impressed with Pawlenty during the first debate, his performance last night, especially during the first hour, was a huge disappointment. He did seem to gain strength as the night wore on, something he shared with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA-06), and Herman Cain. I thought all three stumbled early, but picked up in the second hour. Newt fumbled again discussing his position on the Ryan plan. He needs to figure out how to answer this question, or just drop out.

Cain’s biggest problem, though, wasn’t himself, but that for long periods of the night, he was basically ignored by King and the questioners. I think former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) also suffered from this to a lesser degree. What I saw of Santorum impressed me much more than last time around. He seemed much more relaxed and composed. I just wish I’d seen more of him.

Ok, have I left anyone out? Oh yes. My statement about Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX-14) from last time still applies. He was Ron Paul. Brilliant about some things and frighteningly scary about others. Fortunately for him, since the debate topics shied away from foreign policy to such a degree, he didn’t get as many chances to show just how scary he can be. In fact, on most of the domestic policy questions he made good points and good sense. His one answer on Social Security and Medicare may have been the right one “shut them all down”, but it’s not going to win over many voters, even in the GOP.

Overall, I was impressed with the field. Any of these people would be a great improvement over the current occupant of the White House. I have some more thoughts on the candidates themselves, but that’s a topic for another post.

If you missed the debate or just want to watch it again, here’s the vid, courtesy of The Right Scoop.

13 June, 2011

June 13, 1967

President Lyndon Johnson (D-USA) nominates Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall becomes the first black justice for the Supreme Court in October. Marshall was known for his persuasive arguments (as an attorney before the Court) in Brown v. Board of Education, and was known as a broad supporter of civil rights.

12 June, 2011

June 12, 1987

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

June 12, 1942

Anne Frank receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday. Those who do not understand Jewish persecution and do not believe that it still exists today, should read it.


Historian Dr. Jan Romein had this to say about it:


This apparently inconsequential diary by a child, this "de profundis" stammered out in a child's voice, embodies all the hideousness of fascism, more so than all the evidence of Nuremberg put together.

A Point About Palin’s Potential Presidential Prospects

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for some time. Larry Sabato pushed me over the edge. I have nothing but respect for Mr. Sabato. He is the guru of election prognostication. But there’s been a common meme appearing about former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) lately, and I’ve always felt it’s nonsensical. Sabato repeated it in his last column, and it didn’t sound any better even coming from him.

Ultimately, we don’t believe she’s running for two reasons. She has more influence and a far higher income outside of elective politics than in it.

I’ll address the latter first, because it’s the easiest to destroy. The problem with that statement is that it’s essentially true for just about every single person in the field. You think former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) can’t make more money outside of politics? Former CEO Herman Cain (R-GP)? Ridiculous. But this point is continuously brought up about Palin and only Palin. When I see this as a criticism, I know the analysis is unserious.

Now, regarding influence. This part of the statement also does not stand up under any serious scrutiny. Let’s look at some scenarios.

  1. She runs, wins GOP nomination and takes out President Barack Obama (D-USA) in 2012. You think she’ll have less influence from the White House? You’ve got to be kidding me. So, first, this narrative about how much influence she’ll have presupposes that she’ll lose. Again, no other speculation about other potential candidates presupposes that they’ll lose.
  2. She runs, wins GOP nomination and loses to Obama in 2012. Ok, here she’ll take a hit in influence, especially as there will be some that will say “if we’d nominated Romney, he would have won”. But it probably won’t be too much of a hit, as she will still be the de facto voice of the GOP for the next four years, by virtue of winning the GOP nomination. And she’ll still be able to attack Obama, and will likely still be the loudest voice for conservative principles. Certainly losing the White House bid in 2000 has done little to reduce former Vice President Al Gore’s (D-USA) influence within his party.
  3. Someone else wins the GOP nomination and defeats Obama in 2012. Here her influence will certainly drop, but it will do so regardless of whether she runs or not. There will be a Republican in the White House. S/He will be the voice of the party. Also, she does best attacking the opposition. Can you imagine the Facebook posts, “I support President Z on Y”? Zzzzz. Occasionally, she’ll disagree and toss out another zinger, but those will be few and far between. So, yes, she’ll lose a ton of influence here, but again, as I said, the influence lost is because there’s a Republican in the White House, and would be lost whether she runs or not.
  4. Someone else wins the GOP nomination and loses to Obama in 2012. I’m not sure how this one plays out. She would not be the de facto voice of the opposition, but she hasn’t been for the last three years either. That would be Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and that hasn’t slowed her down any. I really don’t see much of an influence level change here either, and again, it doesn’t seem to matter whether she runs or not.

So, that’s all the possible scenarios. Which ones did she lose a lot of influence that she would not have lost by staying out of the race? Yeah. None of them.

Now perhaps Mr. Sabato is not thinking long term but is instead thinking short term? That might be it, as I’ve also heard that Palin is better suited to being a kingmaker right now.

Well, she can certainly be a kingmaker. There’s no doubt about that. In fact, one would have to say that at this point, the three most sought after endorsements will be Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, and Mike Huckabee. The three of them together have appeal strengths that map to pretty much the entire GOP base. However, will her endorsement mean any less if she enters the race, than if she stays out? The only way that her endorsement becomes relatively meaningless upon entering the race is if she blows up and is a total dud in the primaries. Of course, that would mean that she doesn’t really have any influence now, either. So, again, this argument doesn’t hold water.

Now, I believe she’s running. But, there certainly are reasons to speculate otherwise. It’s true that she hasn’t done much of the standard political moves necessary to start a national campaign. Frankly, that’s the biggest reason to speculate that she isn’t, not the junk analysis at the top of this post.