Scott Spiegel


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4 Out of 5 Presidential Election Voters Prefer Governors

October 22, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2016

Republican_Governors_Association_Logo-500I used to think Republicans needed to run either a governor or a senator as our next presidential nominee, but after studying the electoral history, I’ve decided that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is right—it’s gotta’ be a governor.

Or at least it does in 2016, given that the senatorial map is much more favorable to Democrats in 2016 than in 2014, and that Republicans’ likelihood of keeping the Senate (assuming they grab it in 2014) skyrockets if Republican senatorial candidates are able to run on the coattails of a strong Republican presidential candidate.

And consider the following facts about strong presidential candidates:

Forty percent of all presidential winners in U.S. history have been former or current governors, including Jefferson, Monroe, and Tyler (Virginia), Van Buren, Cleveland, and both Roosevelts (New York), Polk and Andrew Johnson (Tennessee), Hayes and McKinley (Ohio), Wilson (New Jersey), Coolidge (Massachusetts), Carter (Georgia), Reagan (California), Clinton (Arkansas), and George W. Bush (Texas). A similar percentage—thirty-seven percent—have been former or current senators.

But twenty-one percent of all winners ran for president while sitting governors. In contrast, only three winners—seven percent of the total—ran while senators, including Harding, Kennedy, and Obama.

If you count only elections after 1854, the year the Republican Party formed, thirty-one percent of winners were sitting governors, compared to only ten percent who were sitting senators.

So we’ve elected as president former or current governors from New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia, California, Arkansas, and Texas. If we’re trying to repeat history, Christie (New Jersey) and Rick Perry (Texas)

In an intriguing analysis, Patrick J. Egan recently identified Republican governors John Kasich (Ohio), Bill Haslam (Tennessee), Robert Bentley (Alabama), Brian Sandoval (New Mexico), and Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota) as having higher-than-expected support in the polls in their current reelection bids, controlling for statewide factors such as party control of the legislature and percentage of voters who usually choose the Republican presidential candidate. Egan suggested that these governors’ higher-than-predicted popularity margins make them especially strong potential candidates in a general election.

A few Republican governors have been getting presidential buzz—Christie, Rick Perry (Texas), Scott Walker (Wisconsin)—but most haven’t, including Rick Scott (Florida), Mike Pence (Indiana), Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), Susana Martinez (New Mexico), Nikki Haley (South Carolina), Sean Parnell (Alaska), Rick Snyder (Michigan), Jan Brewer (Arizona), Nathan Deal (Georgia), and a dozen others I haven’t mentioned.

Why aren’t more of these governors household names, at least among Republicans? Do we want to learn something from electoral history and win the 2016 presidential election or don’t we?

I’ve argued that the executive branch may be a more natural fit for the Republican Party, and less suitable for Democrats, because governors have more “actual responsibilities” such as balancing budgets, making unpopular decisions without being able to hide behind 99 weasels or vote “Present,” and fighting sleazy opposition party opponents who file baseless accusations that risk embarrassing entire states. This suggests that the best route to the presidency for Republicans is through governorships.

The directive that we choose a governor as our 2016 nominee does rule out some fantastic Senatorial candidates—such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee. But let’s save these politicians—each just 43 years old—and others in the adolescent stage of their careers for an election in which the Senate map is favorable to Republicans again, or at least until these candidates have served as governor.

And just because Christie is on the warpath demanding a gubernatorial nominee doesn’t mean he’s the one we should pick. I’d be equally happy with Walker, Perry, or former Governor Mitt Romney.

Radio host Mark Levin, willfully misinterpreting Christie’s remarks (as usual), recently cited the counterexample of Abraham Lincoln, one of only three presidents whose highest elected office attained was U.S. Representative. But clearly Lincoln is an exception that proves the rule. (And remember that only three sitting senators have ever been elected president.) Nominating a sure-thing liberal Republican rather than taking a chance on a viable conservative candidate would be a betrayal of principles. But why can’t we aim for a conservative and someone with governing experience?

If we acknowledge which high-profile office is most commonly held by those elected president, then the first stage of our 2016 nomination process is clear: We’ve got to choose a Chief Executive as our next nominee for Chief Executive.

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Nobel Peace Prize Committee Still Lauding Frauds

October 15, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

tumblr_mjgwj3FzTe1qzxm3co1_500Conservative sites have been posting joint portraits of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Malala Yousafzai and former winner President Barack Obama with captions implying that one of the photo’s subjects deserved the award and the other didn’t.

They’re right that one of the two winners is more deserving than the other. Unfortunately, he doesn’t much deserve it, either.

As no one has been reporting in the press, education activist Malala Yousafzai may hold the distinction of being the youngest hit speaker on the international Marxist convention circuit.

Last year Malala prepared remarks for the 32nd Congress of the Pakistani branch of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT). In her statement, which was read in her absence by “Comrade Javed Iqbal, a Pakistani comrade,” she gushed, “First of all I’d like to thank [Pakistani Marxist organization] The Struggle and the IMT for giving me a chance to speak last year at their Summer Marxist School in Swat and also for introducing me to Marxism and Socialism.”

While other teenage girls idled away August making crafts and learning to swim, Malala spent her summer at a camp studying Lenin and Trotsky.

In her statement Malala declared, “I would like to send my heartfelt greetings to the congress. I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.”

Yes, this is the same Malala who was shot in the head on a school bus by the Taliban in 2012, endured a long and painful recovery, and resumed her work as an education activist.

This Malala promotes an ideology that was responsible for the deaths worldwide of 94 million people in China, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, Africa, Afghanistan, and Cuba.

Malala merely rejected one murderous totalitarian ideology—radical Islam—to flirt with another, even more murderous totalitarian ideology—Soviet-style Marxism. Applause, please, comrades.

Officially, Malala’s cause is the transformative power of education to improve people’s lives and the eradication of disparities in girls and boys’ education in hard-line Islamic societies. Yet if her ideal communitarian society came into being, then people’s intellectual and economic power would be diminished even further, and the sexes would be equal only in that their educational opportunities would be equally stifled and impoverished.

If Malala preaches that Marxism and socialism are the only way forward, then she doesn’t believe a word she says about freedom, dignity, or respect.

Some might argue that Malala’s dalliance with totalitarianism is a mere schoolgirl crush, a regrettable youthful phase she’ll grow out of once she experiences more of real life. Great—but then why are we giving Nobel Peace Prizes to naïve children with no understanding of the world? (The same question could be asked about Obama.)

Others have suggested that Malala is a mere mouthpiece for her father’s communist propaganda—an even more damning indictment of her worthiness of the prize.

It’s clear that a big reason the Nobel committee was delighted to give Malala the award alongside Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi is that it allows them to go around cheering about some supposed symbolic unity in the Indian-Pakistani conflict.

But such a mentality assumes that India and Pakistan—proxies for the West and radical Islam—are on an equal moral playing field and share culpability for prolonging their ideological struggle. Yet India and Pakistan don’t have the same moral weight: one is a pro-Western, pro-democracy, free economy that assists with the war on terror; the other is an anti-Western, anti-Israeli theocracy that gives comfort and aid to those perpetrating that war.

Satyarthi, who is sixty years old, has been a child labor and anti-human trafficking activist for decades, and actually deserves the prize. Like Malala, he survived physical attacks and improved the lives of tens of thousands of children—yet unlike Malala has not gone on record extolling the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Should anyone be surprised that one of Nobel’s 2014 co-winners has such a background? This is the same committee that lauded former Al-Jazeera owner Al Gore, anti-Semite Jimmy Carter, modern terrorism founder Yasser Arafat, Marxist terrorist and liar Rigoberta Menchu, and white-haired commie Nelson Mandela.

It would have been shocking if the committee hadn’t granted the award to someone with loathsome political credentials. When I first heard they had given it to Malala (before I knew she was a Red), I was suspicious about why they had chosen such an honorable recipient.

If the committee wanted to grant the Peace Prize to an anti-Taliban activist who has risked his life, why not honor Malala’s fellow Pakistani Zahid Khan, founder and head of Swat Quami Jirga, the anti-Taliban tribal council, who was also shot in the head, survived three assassination attempts, but has yet to endorse the ideology that brought us forced collectivization, great famines, and the gulag?

As Khan graciously put it, “Malala is a talented girl, no doubt… I have been attacked. Shot. Almost killed. But no one is honoring me. The state hasn’t given me a cent in compensation.”

In addition, dozens of other anti-Taliban activists have been shot and killed in recent years, but apparently their stories didn’t incorporate a politically correct feminist slant, and therefore weren’t enticing enough to the committee.

Hard as it is to believe, the committee has honored someone even less deserving of the Peace Prize than Obama. Obama’s mentors may have been Saul Alinsky, Frank Marshall Davis, and Jeremiah Wright, but give him credit—at least he’s not an avowed Marxist.

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Treat Potential Ebola Carriers Like Terrorism Suspects

October 08, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

chemicalWhile armchair security experts and Pollyanas-in-power battle it out on the airwaves, the real solution to the Ebola threat is so elusive because it’s already out there—and it’s already been rejected.

After 9/11, sensible Americans demanded more aggressive airline passenger screening measures that discriminated in extremity of application among the most likely terrorism suspects and those who were literally incapable of committing such attacks.

For example, no one was complaining about the general public having their suitcases run under an X-ray, but some suggested that perhaps we didn’t need to feel up 90-year-old great-grandmothers in wheelchairs with oxygen tubes and terrified toddlers in training paints. Perhaps it would be wiser and more efficient, they suggested, to give a touch extra scrutiny to passengers who possessed many terrorist-aligned characteristics: male, foreign, twentysomething, Middle Eastern, bearded, Islamic-garb-clad.

But the left screamed about racial profiling, and wimpy Republicans who didn’t want to seem Islamophobic placated them, and soon Amish, Hindu, and Wiccan citizens alike were pointlessly taking off their shoes, belts, and coats, packing 3-oz. toiletries in Ziploc bags, and submitting to invasive body scans.

Now the country is panicking about a threat to the homeland from another continent, in the form of an infectious disease that has stricken two U.S. victims—Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Duncan and Dallas County Sheriff Deputy Michael Monnig.

The left is urging us to stop stereotyping and admit all and sundry who want to gatecrash the U.S. from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, while conservatives are panicking and demanding that we seal the borders.

If we had learned our lesson on passenger screening during the most acute phase of the Islamic terrorism threat, we’d know how to deal with Ebola now, but since we haven’t, here are the steps we must take to prevent it from entering the country:

  • The most likely Ebola suspects get the most scrutiny.

If you want to find Ebola carriers without banning everyone from traveling internationally, you have to look for signs of infection, and there’s no way to screen for deadly contagious diseases in a politically correct manner. The characteristics we should look for are country of origin, country from which one is traveling, high body temperature, other signs of illness, and whatever additional characteristics reliable medical agencies tell us are Ebola indicators. If the presence of these factors is correlated with certain races or accents, too bad.

  • Those who cannot possibly have Ebola do not receive extra inspection.

Not being politically correct means targeting likely candidates for extra investigation, but it also means not turning airport security queues into Soviet-style breadlines by forcing everyone to endure the tedious battery of physiological tests and intense questioning that genuine Ebola candidates should undergo for the sake of fairness.

  • Screening happens before boarding and after deplaning.

Screening after passengers deplane is even more important than screening before they board. Ebola is not an airborne disease, and co-passengers aren’t at risk unless a carrier has a fever of 101.5° F or higher. Due to Ebola’s prolonged incubation, a carrier could board without showing symptoms, yet start showing them before the flight is over.

  • Authorities do what’s in the public interest.

Just as transportation security officials who run background checks and find evidence of a terrorist threat pull suspects aside and turn them over to law enforcement, those who discover Ebola warning signs must refuse potentially afflicted passengers the right to board and direct them to the appropriate medical personnel.

So if the politically correct, left-wing solution is a failure, why shouldn’t we ban flights from Liberia and other affected African nations?

Conservatives’ Ebola hysteria reflects their recent frenzy over immigration. You can tell, because they’ve been framing their proposals for combating Ebola as “securing the border.”

But in the same way that we shouldn’t ban all flights from the Middle East to prevent terrorism, we don’t need to ban all flights from Africa. Amazingly, as with terrorism, the free market will take care of the situation.

Do you think airlines will continue to route hundreds of flights through Ebola-stricken African countries without taking precautions to prevent victims from sweeping into this country and spreading the virus—a public relations disaster that would bankrupt them? Unlike secretly protectionist conservatives, airlines don’t want flights banned, because they’ll lose business. So their next-most-favored course of action is to go overboard on security procedures, such that people will want to keep flying even if they’re inconvenienced.

The left is correct about one thing: the best way to prevent the spread of Ebola to the U.S. is to end the outbreak at its source, i.e. West Africa—which means we can’t start banning travel to and from the continent. I don’t like the fact that Obama was quicker to send troops to Africa to deal with Ebola than to Iraq to deal with ISIS, but—as with terrorism—it’s better to control the situation there than to use a piecemeal solution to address it as it trickles across our borders.

Both extremes—turning a blind eye to the problem and banning intercontinental travel—can be avoided by adopting the strategy we should have assumed after 9/11: not being afraid to identify high-risk targets and screen them without fear of being labeled politically incorrect.

After all, dealing with Ebola and terrorism may someday involve not only the same tactics, but the same suspects.

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Voting Isn’t a Right, It’s a Privilege

October 01, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

nr.granderson.opinion.cnn.640x360All these recent voter disenfranchisement charges, lawsuits, and Supreme Court cases are baffling to me, because not only are their rationales specious, but they’re predicated on the hilarious premise that we need more people voting. In fact, we need fewer.

Can you imagine what our Founding Fathers would think about how the practice of voting is carried out today, given the current makeup of the electorate, and given how politicians manipulate uninformed Americans by building “coalitions of voters” like Lego blocks, or how celebrities sway them by fetishizing the act of voting? Do you think the likes of Sam Adams and Noah Webster intended for people who don’t know what the two political parties stand for, which parties the candidates belong to, or who the major candidates are, to decide our country’s future?

As suggested by Massachusetts Provincial Governor and TMZ prognosticator James Warren, “Let the youth of America… instead of indulging a rapturous admiration for the modern superficial speechifyers in favor of an American monarchy [aka Obama]… before they embrace the chains of servitude [aka Obamacare], let them scrutinize their own hearts, and inquire, if their pride and their independency of spirit, will suffer them to lick the hand of a despotic master.” Why yes, I believe they will! Even back in the 18th century, our Founding Fathers predicted Obama Girl.

Think about all the voting rights movements throughout our nation’s history—for African Americans, women, young adults. Those movements were led and fought for by groups that were committed to, interested in, and knowledgeable about the political process and what was at stake in the next election. Most of the activists pushing for voting rights for blacks, women, or 18-year-olds probably could have blown the average voter out of the water with their political savvy.

Nowadays it isn’t knowledgeable, principled groups agitating for changes to voting laws so their voices can be heard. In fact, it isn’t even the groups themselves advocating for changes.

It’s liberal organizations hoping to swell their party’s ranks who are the ones pushing for polling places to be prohibited from requesting photo identification from voters who are supposedly too lazy or dumb to fill out a form. It’s racial grievance-mongers and ethnic balkanizers demanding that ballots, polling place instructions, and election flyers be printed in 9,000 languages so that native Catalonian and Hmong speakers can choose the next leader of the free world without having to know what he stands for.

It’s Democratic Congressmen arguing that states that haven’t been racist hotbeds since—well, since they were governed by Democrats—should be forced to abide excessive federal oversight of their redistricting processes for all eternity. It’s left-wing front groups claiming that not letting felons vote is a barbaric human rights violation.

Most recently, it’s unions crying that not allowing people to “early vote” 24-7 from Labor Day to Election Day in Ohio is insensitive to the unpredictable work schedules of single black mothers, even though the latter are free to request absentee ballots like everyone else.

Note that opposition to the entire sea of humanity showing up on Election Day to metaphorically throw darts at a piece of paper so they can feel like they’ve fulfilled their civic duty has nothing to do with wanting to disenfranchise minorities—unless you count the uninformed as a minority. I may hold divergent views on their politics, but I’d rather have Neil deGrasse Tyson voting for President than Snooki.

Exactly what purpose is served by pushing people who know or care nothing about the issues or candidates to vote? Sure, they can, but should they? In our country, anyone who was born in the United States and is 35 years of age or older can run for President. Does that mean he should?

Some political scientists have argued that ignoring politics is rational, because the average person has so little influence on the political process that it’s a waste of time for him to become so informed. That makes some sense—but then why do those same people who have declined to become politicos trudge out on Election Day every two or four years and screw things up for those of us who care about the issues?

I’m not arguing that we need to legally prohibit ignorant people from voting, as one commentator has suggested. Tying the U.S. Naturalization Test to voter registration is one way to take care of the matter, but I think a little social pressure on ignoramuses to stay home on Election Day should do the trick.

If you’re not into politics, that’s fine. Really! There are lots of other potential pursuits for you out there, like real estate and macramé. But please have the courtesy to leave the voting to the experts—i.e. people who can name the two candidates on Election Day.

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Liberal Immodesty on Climate Change Threat Sets Record Highs

September 24, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

????????????????????????????????According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, summer 2014 was the hottest on record—a claim that President Obama gleefully trumpeted at the United Nations’ Climate Summit on Tuesday. Major news outlets have uncritically repeated the refrain.

NOAA reported, “The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for the June-August period was [a] record high for this period, at 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), beating the previous record set in 1998.”

Interesting. Did NOAA’s analysis highlight all the cold records broken this past summer, this past year, and in recent years, globally and regionally? Did the mainstream media hype all of those records when they were broken?

For example, the U.S. had its coolest summer in five years, and New York City its coolest in a decade. The UK and Austria saw their coolest Augusts in 21 and 8 years, respectively. New England recently experienced record early frost.

Even NOAA’s report inadvertently admits, when it cites 2014’s second-, third-, and fifth-place finishes in various warming categories, that the planet isn’t warming.

For example, their admission that “The global land surface temperature was 0.99°C (1.78°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F), the second highest on record for August, behind 1998 [emphasis added]” reveals that the Earth has been cooling since 1998.

Their claim that “The June-August worldwide land surface temperature was 0.91°C (1.64°F) above the 20th century average, the fifth highest on record [emphasis added]” discloses that there were four separate years when this period was hotter than summer 2014—which again means that the Earth has cooled since then.

Yet none of the global warming computer models that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cited in its late 20th/early 21st century reports predicted zero global warming over the next decade and a half, which is what we’ve seen since 1998. Not one.

Note that all of the above evidentiary exceptions to the global warming hysteria were cited by either NOAA or mainstream publications hyping the NOAA announcement. We haven’t even gotten to data reported by global warming skeptics, i.e. real scientists.

For example, Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That—the most popular climate skeptic site on the Internet—notes that record low temperatures were twice as frequent as record high temperatures in the U.S. this year, and three times as frequent in July. similarly documents the large number of all-time cold temperature records broken in the U.S. over our cooler-than-average summer.

And although shills for the NOAA report point out that summer 2014 was cool on the East Coast but warm on the West Coast, the winter of 2013-14 was the 34th-coldest on record nationally. Doesn’t anyone remember that painful phenomenon we experienced known as the polar vortex?

In addition, weather disturbances such as hurricanes and tornadoes—which climate change proponents claimed were increasing due to global warming—have been at record lows.

And we’re not even addressing the growing body of evidence, increasingly infiltrating the mainstream media, that factors other than anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are primarily responsible for global warming. We’re just trying to get some honest data on whether the globe is even warming—and, to put it mildly, environmentalists aren’t helping.

The lesson to be learned from all this partisan hype is that you can’t just pick the records you want to report on and ignore the rest, as liberals always accuse the right of doing on climate matters. You can’t arbitrarily decide on the timeframe and location to be examined, then crow because some record was set there. From 9am on March 4 until 3pm on July 15 in the Northeastern corner of Siberia, record high temperatures were recorded!

Honest metrics must be chosen and agreed upon beforehand—prior to a single measurement being taken—and assessed without bias, with no flashing quirky extreme results that you found after weeks of fishing through the data. In fact, real scientists try to disprove a phenomenon’s predominantly accepted explanation, even—or especially—if they espouse it, so they can see whether it survives rigorous scrutiny.

But according to liberal logic, if tank top sales are up in West Hollywood while the Antarctic witnesses record icecap growth, then the latter can be safely ignored while the former can be hyped as rock-solid proof of our urgent need for climate justice.

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Hillary’s Steak-Out

September 17, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2016

hillary-clinton-iowa-videoSixteenByNine540How many lies can Hillary tell at one Steak Fry?

At a recent popular annual event in Indianola, Iowa hosted by retiring Senator Tom Harkin, the nation was reminded of just what we’re in for when Hillary 2016 starts barnstorming hamlets and state fairs across the country in support of the candidate’s lifelong goal—connecting on an emotional level with even a single voter.

Before Hillary and Bill fake-grilled steaks in front of supporters, the potential candidate stuffed us full of the following whoppers:

  1. “Good to see you! You guys having a good time? We’re having a good time today.”

No, you’re in the ninth circle of Hell, slumming it with ordinary folks and begging for their votes due to an American electoral quirk that crowns Iowa’s caucus as the first unofficial national Presidential primary. It’s a good thing your dais was so far from the crowd, because if you were any closer, folks’ jaws would drop at the disconnect between your fake grin and your contemptuous eyes.

  1. “Hello, Iowa! I’m back!”

Hillary makes it sound like she was ever really there, or like she ever wants to recall her time in Iowa rather than obliterate it from memory. She was trounced and humiliated by a junior Senator and a pretty-boy philanderer in 2007, and she’d rather be sewing Monica Lewinsky knee pads than revisiting Iowa.

  1. “It really does feel like just yesterday when I was here. As I recall, there was a young senator from Illinois there, and I wonder whatever happened to him.”

Of course Hillary has been thinking nonstop about Obama, grinding her teeth over the fact that the notoriously inexperienced community organizer—who her husband once claimed should be getting real politicians coffee—beat her to the punch solely because she’s so hideously unlikeable. After reluctantly joining his administration, Hillary started counting the days till she could resign as Secretary of State and hop aboard the coattails of the second Commander-in-Chief she’s tried to ride to the Presidency.

  1. “We [Obama and I] went from rivals to partners to friends.”

No, you went from smug condescension toward Obama to venomous enemies to using him as a stepping stone to further your ambitions. You were never partners except in advancing your political careers; and you were never friends, because you’ve never had any real friends, only people you use, people who fawn over you, and people you throw lamps at.

  1. “Under President Obama’s leadership, our economy is on the road to recovery.”

If by “recovery” you mean historic withdrawal of able-bodied workers from the labor force and miserably low levels of job creation, then yes!

  1. “I’ve got a few things on my mind these days.”

You’ve had only one thing on your mind since the day you graduated from Wellesley, which is to be President, President, President, even if you have to eke out victory on your deathbed and run the country for 200 days like President James Garfield, just so you can go down in history as the woman who cracked the glass Presidential ceiling.

  1. “First, and most importantly, Bill and I are on constant grandchild alert.”

First and most importantly you’re on constant alert for Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden to get caught up in massive scandals. But perhaps Chelsea’s offspring is second!

  1. “And then of course there’s that other thing. Well, it is true. I am thinking about it. But for today that is not why I am here. I’m here for the steak.”

This may be true. Hillary probably does love steak, or some equally hearty fare.

  1. “Too many people only get excited about presidential campaigns. Look, I get excited about presidential campaigns, too.”

You don’t get excited about Presidential campaigns, you run your marriage, your life, and your hairstyles around them, and your plea to Iowa fans to get excited about the midterms is genuine only in that you care if they’ll help you get elected. If your political strategists calculate that you’ll be more likely to win the Presidency in 2016 with Republicans taking the Senate, then you’ll be scheming behind the scenes to bring about that outcome.

10. “Let’s not let another seven years go by.”

You’d let eternity go by if you never had to walk in a pantsuit through grassy, tick-filled plains with tacky middle Americans gawking and screaming while your husband captures all the attention.

Politicians are by definition artificial, but Hillary Clinton would hold the distinction of being the fakest President ever elected.

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It Takes a Village to Clear the Field for Hillary

September 10, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2016

130220_christie_kasich_martinez_scott_jindal_haley_mcdonnell_perry_apSuppose you and your buddies were high-ranking political operatives, and you also happened to be a bunch of sleazy Democrats who were desperate for power (but I repeat myself), and you decided to orchestrate a campaign to take out the top Republican contenders for the 2016 Presidential election, one at a time, by making spurious charges that would taint them in the public eye.

You’d want to focus primarily on governors, who have a huge electoral advantage over other officeholders.

Who would you start with? Perhaps you’d pick pension reform pioneer Governor Chris Christie, a moderate Republican who still polls well in his home state of New Jersey and nationally, and who some operatives believed at one point posed the greatest threat to Democrats retaining the White House in 2016.

By and large, though, you’d focus on the more conservative potential candidates, especially popular Republican governors who have had success in their states and built respectable national profiles while more troubled states look to them as governing models.

You might, for example, target Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who—after being elected in 2010 and enacting union reforms that saved his state billions of dollars—survived a recall election in 2011, and then won reelection in 2012 by a bigger margin than in his initial victory.

Or you might target Texas Governor Rick Perry, who presided over 14 years of explosive economic growth and watched residents of neighboring states flock to live and work there, while Democratically-controlled California saw its population dwindle.

While you’re at it, you might set your sights on governors whom the public doesn’t view as top-tier Presidential candidates, but whose besmirching will help sully the GOP’s national image and give you cover for your strategy of clearing the field for 2016. You might, for example, target outgoing Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who was voted in during the pre-Tea Party Revolution in 2009.

But which trumped-up charges would you saddle these straight-shooting governors with? Well, if you’re like most Democrats, you’d project your own sins onto your political targets, both because you lack imagination and because you want to throw people off your trail when you perpetrate the exact same crime.

Namely, you’d accuse these governors of political conspiracy.

You’d insist, for example, that Chris Christie just had to have known about the George Washington Bridge lane closings between Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey back in September 2013, which a couple of untrustworthy aides orchestrated as retribution for Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor’s not endorsing Christie. You’d remain unmoved when, after a year of New Jersey and New York District Attorneys and state lawmakers poring over every call and email of Christie’s from the previous year, investigations turned up zero evidence that Christie knew anything about the plot.

Or you might fling convoluted, labyrinthine conspiracy charges at Scott Walker, while hiding under the protection of a “John Doe” investigation that kept your identity anonymous, all while preventing Walker from speaking out to defend himself. You’d accuse him of talking to people who work for groups who do fundraising for organizations that air election ads, or something like that, and you’d expect the charges to stick—even though Walker wasn’t even running in the election in question.

Perhaps you’d launch a successful push to indict Rick Perry, whose crime was refusing to allot taxpayer funds to a Democratic state prosecutor after video surfaced of her being arrested for drunken driving and then harassing and physically abusing police offers and police property while they tried to contain her in her holding cell. Never mind that Perry knew that if he ousted her, she would simply be replaced by another Democrat, and that Perry therefore couldn’t possibly have been plotting to get a Republican into her position.

Then again, maybe you’d sue Bob McDonnell for conspiring with his wife to accept lavish gifts from a Virginia businessman in exchange for political favors. If the jury didn’t buy McDonnell’s defense that he and his estranged wife weren’t on speaking terms, let alone conspiring terms, then they might not take pause at the fact that the businessman in question never even received the favors he was angling to get from McDonnell.

Suppose that you and your left-wing conspirators…

You know what? Don’t suppose. I’ve got no specific evidence of high-level Democratic operatives conspiring to take down prominent GOP Presidential candidates to clear the field for their preferred candidate. But unlike my liberal counterparts, I won’t lob out official accusations of conspiracy until I have evidence for my charges.

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Stay Tuned for Obama’s Strategy on How Best to Label ISIS

September 03, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

Obama-and-ISIS-GOLFIf only ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi came out with a public statement against raising the minimum wage for fast food workers. President Obama might finally get around to forming a strategy to defeat the terrorist organization.

Last week at a news conference, Obama raised Americans’ hackles and U.S. generals’ blood pressures when he casually announced that more forceful military action against Syria-based terrorist group ISIS was not imminent, because “we don’t have a strategy yet.”

This surprised defense officials who have spent the last year giving Obama daily briefings on the growing threat of ISIS and recommending that he authorize one of the numerous military operations they have diligently prepared for him. Multiple sources have testified that the classified intelligence Obama has received has been—unlike the vague hearsay President George W. Bush’s administration intercepted about bombs-or-something in New York prior to 9/11—strong, “granular,” even “exquisite.” One source insists that the President “could not come away with any other impression: This is getting bad.”

Military officials in Obama’s own administration are “apoplectic” over his remarks—understandably so, given that they foresaw the ISIS threat long ago and have been trying in vain to get the President to do something about it. According to NBC Chief Correspondent Richard Engel, the threat was “entirely predictable,” if not a year ago then at least by June when ISIS swept through northern Iraq capturing U.S.-liberated cities.

Commentators have been debating which explanation—incompetence or malice—best explains Obama’s inaction. Noemie Emery, for example, thinks that Obama is overwhelmed by his responsibilities and is entering a phase of malaise similar to the one President Jimmy Carter suffered near the end of his term.

In contrast, Thomas Donnelly argues that Obama is rigidly set in the ideological stance that the world is a better place without forceful U.S. intervention, and that we’re more effective when “leading from behind.” Obama believes that Americans are tired of war after a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, and no conceivable string of atrocities such as mass use of chemical weapons and beheadings of journalists will change his mind.

I’m leaning toward malice. This is, after all, the same President who worked to establish the meme that his foreign policy motto is “Don’t do stupid sh*t.” The implications of this cliché are clear: Bush did stupid sh*t by going to war; Obama will avoid going to war so as not to be caught doing stupid sh*t like that idiot who preceded him, the nation’s security be damned.

Obama has rattled off numerous other self-effacing, confidence-sapping slogans, from his weak foreign policy aspiration of hitting “singles” and “doubles” to his minimization of the U.S.’s role in foreign affairs as expressed in this metaphor: “At the end of the day, we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.” Those don’t sound like the sentiments of a Commander in Chief who wants his country to maintain its dominant influence in the world, but just hasn’t yet fine-tuned the optimal approach to doing so.

Obama’s ideological rigidity has also trickled down to his spokespersons and supporters, who refuse to make moral judgments on ISIS or speculate on whether the U.S. under Obama will act alone if necessary.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki gets the moral relativism award for her response to a FOX News reporter who asked whether the recent beheadings of journalists constitute an act of war: “I’m not going to put any labels on this.” Psaki dodged another reporter’s query on whether the State Department has revoked the passports of Americans who have gone to Syria to fight with ISIS: “It’s not as black and white as that.”

And Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk recently told Christiane Amanpour “Stay tuned” in response to the reporter pressing him on when nervous Americans would find out what the administration’s ISIS strategy is: “We are putting the features in place, developing a broad regional coalition, a broad international coalition, working to get a new Iraqi government stood up, working to get our plans in place. So stay tuned.” But what if we don’t get a “broad international coalition” or a “new Iraqi government stood up”? Does Obama have the moral confidence to authorize the U.S. to go it alone?

Similarly, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman claims to support using military power to root out ISIS, “but only as part of a coalition, where everybody who has a stake in stability there pays their share and where mainstream Sunnis and Shiites take the lead by demonstrating that they hate ISIS more than they hate each other.” Sounds nice, but what if that doesn’t happen? Will Obama acknowledge the U.S.’s singular responsibility to stand up for justice in the world and order our military to destroy ISIS?

Obama may be incompetent, divisive, tin-eared, and appearance-challenged, but the best explanation for his disastrous foreign policy record in Syria, the Middle East, and elsewhere isn’t his inability to get things done. It’s his morally relativistic refusal to distinguish between good and evil and use the United States’ power to support our allies over our enemies.

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Are Clogged Arteries and Type 2 Diabetes Patriotic?

August 27, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

Fast-FoodsWhen you look at it one way, conservatives are absolutely correct to defend Burger King’s right to move its headquarters to Canada to avoid crippling U.S. corporate tax rates, and to call out liberals who label such decisions “unpatriotic” as economically illiterate.

On the other hand, Burger King and dozens of fast-food chains like it contribute to the alarmingly rapid rise of obesity and associated diseases that cut people down in the prime of their lives and disproportionately hit Republican-leaning states. So there’s that.

On Monday, Burger King Worldwide Inc. announced its plans to bid on the $8.4 billion Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons. The move would allow BK to merge with Hortons, reposition its headquarters north, and capitalize on Canada’s 15% corporate tax rate, which is well below the U.S.’s 35% rate. Other companies around the world have been seeking similar moves in a recent trend known as “tax inversion.” (This should not be confused with what the Obama administration has been doing to our economy, which is a recent trend known as “prosperity inversion.”)

Democrats like Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and pseudo-conservatives like Joe Scarborough predictably accused Burger King of “abandoning their country,” called for a boycott, and threatened new regulations that would crimp such deals, including a “minimum global corporate tax rate.” (Wouldn’t a minimum global tax rate agitate major contributors to Democratic presidential campaigns?)

In contrast, Republicans correctly defended the fast food chain’s proposed acquisition and merger as being in the economic interest of the shareholders to whom it has a duty to make money.

That’s all well and good; Republicans have been consistent in defending such principles. Bravo for them.

But can I ask about something that’s been bothering me: Why are conservatives always so quick to jump to the defense of companies that push mass-produced, preservative-laden, artificially-flavored, nutritionally-stunted, lowest-common-denominator fare? (Or, as it’s also known in other settings, “Democratic policy proposals”?) Can we Republicans support the right of businesses to sell whatever products they want and express whatever political views they hold, without leaping to champion the virtues of low cuisine?

According to a recent Experian survey, conservatives support the following right-leaning companies that dump artery-clogging garbage on the public: Chick-fil-A, whose CEO has supported anti-gay groups; Domino’s Pizza, whose former CEO funds pro-life groups; McDonald’s, which has ignored criticism from workers protesting for higher wages; Waffle House, which donated to Karl Rove’s group American Crossroads; Wendy’s, which used to belong to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council; and White Castle, which donated to House Speaker John Boehner’s Super PAC.

Right-wingers flock to feed on the hefty fare offered by gut-busting outfits like Carl’s Jr., Dairy Queen, Denny’s, Hardee’s, KFC, Outback Steakhouse, and Steak’n Shake. They gush over politically incorrect, obesity-glorifying joints like Arizona’s Heart Attack Grill and Delray Beach’s Heart Stopper Grill with the rebelliousness of a mulish teenager who gets his nose pierced just to anger his parents.

The free market-embracing Burger King, for its part, recently announced its plan to offer cheeseburgers, Whoppers, chicken sandwiches, fries, and apple pies… on its breakfast menu.

Meanwhile, liberals frequent the (relatively) healthy Au Bon Pain, Chipotle, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Jamba Juice, Panera Bread, Panda Express, P. F. Chang’s, Qdoba, Quiznos Sub, Starbucks, and Subway, all of which are lower on the heart-attack-causing and heart-stopping indexes.

The healthy/unhealthy pattern also holds for supermarkets: Liberals get their groceries at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods; conservatives slum it at Foodtown and the Piggly Wiggly.

Is there something inherently, shamefully liberal about having refined or healthy tastes? Is it essential for conservatives’ pride in their country to uphold the stereotype that our version of haute cuisine is carnival food?

Dying of a heart attack in one’s 40s doesn’t strike me as an effective way to bolster Republican voting rolls. Are we determined to let aging hippies vote into their ninth decade while we remain planted on our extra-wide, steel-reinforced sofas watching FOX News?

Conservatives pride themselves on thinking long-term, exercising self-discipline, and doing the right thing even if it doesn’t feel good in the here and now. Why does this sensible ideological stance never apply to food?

I think it’s possible to oppose Michelle Obama’s poorly conceived, excessively intrusive overhaul of America’s school lunches without dismissing its goal of helping fewer children get fat in their preteen years and die prematurely of painful and expensive diseases.

If that’s too much to ask, could conservatives at least admit that bacon and kale taste delicious together?

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The Perverse Political Calculus of the Race-Baiters

August 20, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Racism

MIKEBROWN1Continuing the theme of my column last week on the perverse moral calculus of the Israel-bashers, I thought I’d highlight parallels between that warped mindset and the twisted PR campaign racial agitators are staging in Ferguson, Missouri over the shooting death of Michael Brown, since the two phenomena have so much in common.

In assessing the culpability of two parties in a racial conflict, several factors should be considered. Unfortunately, race-baiters don’t give a damn about any of them.

First and foremost is whether the victim threatened the other party. Did Trayvon Martin jump George Zimmerman and start beating him? Did Michael Brown punch Officer Darren Wilson and charge toward him? Those who leap to defend the victim and indict society as racist don’t care. They selectively interpret evidence to favor their position or dismiss the question of threat as immaterial.

Also relevant are the two parties’ moral character, which helps us infer intent. Does the accused party have a record of treating people fairly? Do witnesses attest that he was not a prejudiced person? Is the injured party of questionable character, having demonstrated immaturity or poor impulse control via a criminal record, substance abuse, or an affinity for violent cultural tropes?

According to the race-baiters, none of that matters, either. Because this is an inherently racist society, they argue, even people who don’t usually display racist behavior are secretly seething over the prominence and autonomy of black people, and are just waiting to pounce on the nearest innocent victim as payback. Meanwhile a history of truancy, theft, or misogyny reveals nothing about a black victim’s character, because such behavior is a mere surface reaction to oppression by a hostile culture.

Forensic evidence disconfirming the racial narrative certainly doesn’t count. Recall how racial agitators irresponsibly asserted that Zimmerman had called Martin a “coon” until closer analysis of the 911 audiotape demonstrated otherwise. Remember how some liberals claimed that Zimmerman had faked his broken nose and the grass stains on his back? Race-baiters are always ready to explain away inconvenient testimony or evidence.

If self-defense, character, and evidence don’t matter, what does?

As with the Israel-bashers’ outrage over casualties resulting from Israel defending itself against daily barrages of Hamas rockets, what gets race-baiters riled up is the mere extremity of the act committed. It doesn’t matter why the assailant acted—whether he felt threatened or feared for his life or thought a suspect was getting away. A fatal shooting, completely justified or not, is all that’s required to start the race-baiters swooning over a victim.

Also linking the Israel-bashers and race-baiters is faux concern for the weak and oppressed—which actually reflects their distaste for the strong and self-sufficient. The left shows more respect for a victim who’s strung out on an addictive substance, comes from a broken home, and takes out his frustrations by harming others than they would a healthy, productive member of society. Would liberals be as enraged over Michael Brown’s death if Ferguson were an upper-middle class enclave with mostly college-going black residents? Would anti-Semites be as furious with Israel if it had a second-rate military and a third-world economy?

The left so loves a good sob story that we’re now witnessing Amnesty International representatives filing into Ferguson to mediate the situation. Never mind that half of Africa is riven with violence and desperately craves international aid. The fiction that blacks are as oppressed in Middle America as they are under Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is too good (and safe) for AI to pass up.

(As further proof of the Israel-bashing/race-baiting connection, many of the AI mediators in Ferguson just got back from stints in Gaza tending to wounded Palestinians, many of whom voted Hamas into power in 2006 and still support its mission.)

As with the Israel-bashers, race-baiters play up the extremity of the defensive measures used against aggressors, such as the shots Wilson fired at Brown or the riot control techniques Ferguson police are using against looters. According to the race-baiters’ political calculus, if the measures that defenders of the social order adopt are more extreme than those aggressors use, then the gun- and tear gas-holders are the ones who are the monsters. All we need be concerned about is the “militarization” of the police and the imposition of late-night curfews—not whether the techniques police use are warranted by the circumstances.

Note how all of the things that should matter in evaluating cases like Martin’s and Brown’s—reconstructing the crime scene, interviewing acquaintances, processing physical evidence—take time. But waiting until the public’s potential to be emotionally manipulated has dissipated is unacceptable, because it neutralizes the race-baiters’ tactics.

No, the tools racial agitators use are always immediately available—simplistic media reporting on a sensationalistic case, the public’s readiness to have their opinions shaped by anyone savvy enough to take control of the narrative, mobilization of angry mobs whose noisiness lends credibility to their cause.

Has there ever been a case in which an allegation of racially motivated violence was made and members of the mainstream media reacted more strongly in favor of the victim after the evidence was scrutinized than when they first reported the story? I’m waiting for the day when a New York Times columnist writes, “I was skeptical about the claim and refused to get emotional—but now, six weeks later, after the police have sketched a timeline and collected DNA and ruled out the accused party’s defense as preposterous, I’m outraged for the first time!”

Such a reaction would never occur, because it would require left-leaning reporters to sacrifice the propaganda value of race-baiting for open-minded journalistic integrity.

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