Scott Spiegel


Michele Bachmann’s Official Stance on Gays: “Yawn!”

August 17, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Gay Rights


Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

Maybe Michele Bachmann is reluctant to elaborate on her views on homosexuality with reporters because—gasp!—she doesn’t care.

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, host Dick Gregory badgered Bachmann about comments she had made seven years ago on her interpretation of the Bible’s statements on homosexuality.

Since 2004, the country has radically evolved in its understanding and acceptance of homosexuality, including its approval of same-sex couples getting married and adopting.  Gay marriage is legal in six states plus D.C. and available to 11% of the country’s population.  Gay marriage was used as a wedge issue in many states in the 2004 Congressional elections, but in 2008 it was used as such primarily in the context of California’s Proposition 8.  Prominent Republicans who now support same-sex marriage include Dick Cheney, Laura and Barbara Bush, Cindy and Meghan McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, S. E. Cupp, Margaret Hoover, Ted Olsen, and Vaughn Walker.  Countless other prominent Republicans favor gay civil unions; most didn’t back in 2004.  Even Ann Coulter was recently appointed Honorary Chair of the Advisory Council for gay conservative group GOProud.

Bachmann’s views on gay issues have also presumably evolved since 2004, or else she would have racked up a lot more anti-gay statements since then.  All of the Bachmann homosexuality quotes the media have been broadcasting appear to have emanated from just two sources: a two-part March 2004 interview she gave on the local Minnesota radio program “Prophetic Views Behind The News” and a November 2004 address she delivered at the EdWatch National Education Conference.  That’s it.  If Bachmann had truly been waging an anti-gay jihad for the past seven years, liberals wouldn’t have had to dig up archives of obscure evangelical talk shows and one-off education conferences from George W. Bush’s first term to find recordings of self-incriminating statements.

Bachmann’s position on gay marriage roughly mirrors President Obama’s.  Like Republicans Rick Perry and Herman Cain, she prefers allowing states to implement gay marriage if they choose—a position even Obama has barely uttered his support for.  She favors a constitutional amendment defining marriage as opposite-sex, which Obama opposes—though she well knows that such an amendment has little chance of becoming law.

If Bachmann weren’t too polite to share it, her response to repeated questions on her views on homosexuality would be, “Oh, God… not again.  Really?”

Bachmann clearly cares first and foremost about federal spending and national defense.  She became a conservative rock star two years ago as the most prominent elected official to spearhead the nascent Tea Party movement, with its primary goal of stopping ObamaCare and runaway government spending.  She has voiced vociferous, well-informed support of Israel and our military missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran to stop the threat of Islamic terrorism to the U.S.  These are the things that keep her awake at night—not whether Ellen DeGeneres gets a marriage license instead of a domestic partnership.

On Meet the Press, Bachmann addressed Gregory’s questions on homosexuality by insisting that she is not one to “judge” anyone.  She affirmed that she would not use sexual orientation as a criterion in hiring for positions in her administration or for judgeships.  Why wasn’t that a good enough answer for Gregory, who continued to hound her on her theory of human sexuality?  What was she supposed to do—declare herself a True Blood fan and invite Gregory out for cosmos?  Why don’t reporters grill Obama about his opposition to gay marriage, bludgeoning him with the same boring questions and refusing to accept his self-protective platitudes on his eternally “evolving” stance?

Liberals call Bachmann a hypocrite and claim they object to her “double-talk” and dodging questions.  They declare that they would have more respect for her if she simply endorsed her past statements point-blank.  What if she doesn’t quite believe them anymore?  What if the issue isn’t as important to her, or wouldn’t be a legislative priority for her if she became president?  Bachmann repeatedly responded to Gregory’s questions by reminding him that she is running for the presidency of the United States.  If she believes gay marriage should be dealt with by the states, then why would a President Bachmann staring down a $14 trillion deficit and a hostile Middle East worry about Neil Patrick Harris’s love life?

Liberals aren’t upset about a Bachmann presidency because they fear she would roll back gay rights or slow the national tide of increasing acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage.  As with Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, and Sharron Angle, the left are using a few nutty, outdated statements to stop a genuine reformer and charismatic populist, whose views on social issues are probably evolving like everyone else’s, from getting into office.  Liberals can’t stand the fact that Bachmann might effect real change on causes that are anathema to them, such as slashing unsustainable entitlement spending and stopping the worldwide spread of Sharia.

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Investors Downgrade S&P to Junk Bond Status

August 10, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy


Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

The new meme on the left, helpfully demarcated on social media sites like Twitter via such catchphrases as #TeaPartyDowngrade, #HeckuvaJobTeaParty, and the trending #TeabaggersArePoopyheads, is that Standard & Poors’ downgrade of the U.S. long-term credit rating is due to the Tea Party’s push for spending cuts in the debt ceiling battle.

Never mind that S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch are the same agencies that thought Democrats’ Community Reinvestment Act and government-mandated subprime housing loans were a peachy idea; maintained top ratings for most securities backed by subprime mortgages; and thus contributed to the meltdown.

Never mind that S&P, headed by English lit major John Chambers, made a $2 trillion error calculating the U.S.’s debt-to-GDP ratio over time, then rewrote its justification for the downgrade to fit its already formulated decision.

Never mind that in the past five years, betting against S&P’s recommendations would have given you a better return on your investment than betting for them.

To the extent that one trusts S&P, its report gives a decidedly different impression of their reasons for the downgrade than those claimed by the left.

The report cites “difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about… a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government’s debt dynamics…”  S&P is obviously trying to be nonpartisan and spread the blame around.  It would help if they displayed less vagueness about where responsibility lies for the U.S.’s financial problems.  But I read that last bit as clearly highlighting Congress’s refusal to cut spending on items that make a real dent in our budget, which is largely the fault of Democrats, at least this time around.

S&P notes: “We could lower the long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years if we see less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures…”  There is nothing in there about future debt ceiling inflexibility, extremist conservative posturing, or the intransigence of jihadist Tea Partiers.

The report continues: “[W]e believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed.”

Any liberals looking at this stopped reading that last paragraph after they got to “prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling.”  The Tea Party held America hostage—S&P said so!

In fact, the agency stated that the prolonged debt ceiling debate was of concern, because the gap between the parties foretells difficulty in reining in entitlement spending.

Let’s see: which party favors reducing entitlement spending, and which is reflexively, dogmatically opposed to it?  If the two parties face gridlock on the entitlement cuts S&P is eager to see, which party is therefore more at fault for Congress’s failure to cut entitlement spending?  Why, I believe that would be the Democrats!

As for the claim that S&P was upset because Congress didn’t raise taxes, the agency explicitly took no position on what combination of spending cuts and/or tax increases, if any, should be adopted.

One very specific request S&P did indicate, however, is that an ideal deficit reduction deal should cut about $4 trillion over the next decade.  The plan Congress agreed to cuts $2.4 trillion.

So Tea Partiers were pushing for bigger cuts than Democrats and even House Republican leaders were willing to consider, and S&P wanted cuts twice as big as those Congress agreed on.  How is it again that pushing for cuts was the Tea Party’s mortal sin?

The only other crime for which the Tea Party might be to blame in S&P’s eyes is “brinkmanship” in using the debt ceiling as a negotiating tool to bring down spending.  But if a good chunk of the reason for S&P’s downgrade was the U.S.’s refusal to rein in entitlement spending, and Democrats are congenitally opposed to all entitlement cuts, then what other bargaining chip did Republicans have to work with besides the debt ceiling?

Anyway, it is logically impossible for S&P to have downgraded the U.S. out of fear that the debt ceiling standoff would result in our creditors not being paid.  The U.S. spends less than 10% of its revenue servicing our debt.  We failed to raise our debt ceiling in time on nine occasions in the past, and our debtors always got their interest payments.  How could there have been even a remote chance we would have defaulted?

If S&P really thought the U.S. was at risk of default, then they owe the American people an explanation of how exactly this might have happened.  An S&P downgrade, if any, should have taken place entirely because of our enormous debt, not our debt ceiling.  The fact that S&P refuses to make it clear which one is the cause for their downgrade shreds any credibility they have.

S&P’s downgrade is either entirely the fault of Democrats who refuse to cut entitlement spending or pass a budget, or S&P’s willful obfuscation of the difference between raising our debt ceiling and servicing our debt.  Either way, the Tea Party is utterly blameless.

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CDC Prepares for Outbreak of Bachmann Derangement Syndrome

June 29, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012


Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

If there’s an 80% chance President Michele Bachmann would repeal ObamaCare, enact entitlement reform, and prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, I’m sold.

Whatever trivial misstatements she’s made in her political career, this three-term Minnesota Representative is the strongest nominee the GOP has seen so far this campaign season.

Fox News host Chris Wallace recently demonstrated his journalistic integrity and respect for women in politics by asking Bachmann, “Are you a flake?”

There’s more evidence that Barack Obama isn’t a capitalist than that Bachmann isn’t a serious candidate, though I don’t recall any journalist asking candidate Obama, “Are you a socialist?”  If this is how Fox treats Bachmann, one can only imagine how the mainstream media will treat her.

Fortunately, Bachmann appears quite capable of defending her record.

Unlike candidate Obama, Bachmann has a real work history, with actual responsibilities, including five years’ tenure as a tax attorney, and experience running two mental health clinics, a charter school, and a family farm.

Unlike Senator Obama, Bachmann productively used her time in Congress, taking leadership roles on allowing drilling in ANWR, repealing the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, and replacing ObamaCare with free market reforms.

Bachmann has labeled herself a “constitutional conservative”—precisely the correct label to use in this bizarre era of pay czars, light bulb bans, and trillion-dollar deficits.

Bachmann is a more seasoned version of Sarah Palin and an excellent substitute for Palin fans who believe the former governor unelectable.  (And if depicting Bachmann staring off-camera is the best Saturday Night Live can do to mock her, the 2012 election is going to be no career-booster for Kristen Wiig.)

Bachmann may not have extensive foreign policy experience, but she’s clearly capable of fighting the United States’ gravest enemies, as evidenced by her having survived growing up in a Democratic household.

America’s favorite Tea Party hostess stands up to powerful RINOs in the House who refuse to get serious on spending.  She organized and chairs the vital Congressional Tea Party Caucus.

To top it all off, she’s electable, as evidenced by her recent dead heat showing with Mitt Romney in Iowa, her first-place finish in a national Zogby poll, and her winning performance in the New Hampshire GOP primary debate this month.

Naturally, liberals have temporarily recovered from their Sarah Palin hysteria and are developing a creeping case of Bachmann Derangement Syndrome.

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, for example, branded Bachmann a conspiracy theorist for her claim that Obama wants Medicare to go broke so seniors will be forced to rely on ObamaCare.  Bachmann was in fact mistaken: She failed to note that Obama also wants all private insurers to go broke so the whole country will be forced to rely on ObamaCare.

Benen called Bachmann’s concern that federal voluntary “community service” might lead to mandatory service “obvious madness.”  Apparently Benen was unaware that the original version of the GIVE Act authorized a “Congressional Commission on Civic Service” to address “whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented…” (p. 267 in a 275-page bill).  No mandatory service here—move along!  The Commission was eliminated from the bill after conservative uproar, but this incident highlights Democrats’ modus operandi for sneaking unpopular provisions into legislation: First they tuck something objectionable deep into a bill where few will read it; then Republicans find it and raise objections; and finally Democrats remove it, deny it was ever there, and scoff at Republicans for “fear-mongering.”

As another example, Washington Post “Fact Checker” and partisan hack Glenn Kessler derided Bachmann’s claim of $105 billion in implementation funds being “hidden” in the ObamaCare bill as “ridiculous,” giving it a maximum rating of “four Pinocchios” on his truthfulness scale.  In fact, former Appropriations Committee member Ernest Istook confirmed that the authors’ act of authorizing so many new programs and funding them in the same bill was highly unusual.  The legislation isn’t clear on what the money will be spent on, and Obama-appointed bureaucrats are unlikely to be held accountable for it.  Neither the Washington Post nor any other major news outlet reported on the $105 billion implementation sum—probably because, as Bachmann noted, it was broken into small pieces and scattered throughout the 2,000-page bill.  But because the provisions weren’t written in invisible ink, Kessler claimed Bachmann was lying through her teeth.

The liberal site Think Progress blasted Bachmann as being crassly calculating for observing that Democrats hope to transform American society into one that’s more dependent on government, thereby securing a permanent “power base.”  In liberals’ projection of their own vile behavior, Republicans preventing Democrats from buying votes via taxpayer-funded entitlement programs is somehow the equivalent of Republicans buying votes.  This is like saying that Republicans’ efforts to prevent Democratic voter fraud is Republican voter fraud.

In Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi claimed that on Hardball, Bachmann had demanded McCarthy-style investigations of Congress to determine which of our leaders are anti-American.  In fact, Bachmann was merely responding to an endless, tiresome line of questioning from host Chris Matthews, who had introduced the label ‘anti-American’ and was trying to get Bachmann to pin it on her colleagues.  Matthews whined, “How many Congresspeople… There’s 435… How many are anti-American?… How many people in the Congress… How many do you suspect?”  After fending off his badgering for several minutes, Bachmann finally replied, “You’d have to ask them, Chris,” and added, “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?”  Not exactly the Salem witch trials.

These are just a few threads in the tangled web of “conspiracy theories,” “lies,” and “gaffes” that supposedly disqualify Bachmann from office.

Bachmann may not be the perfect candidate—who is?—but she’s the best conservatives have among those currently in the race.  I’d rather have a president with 80% of the facts at her command than one who governs according to 100% discredited crackpot redistributionist economic theories.

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Punching Back Twice As Hard

January 12, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

What do the following quotes have in common?

If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.

If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.

I don’t want to quell anger.  I think people are right to be angry.  I’m angry.

I want you to argue with them and get in their faces.

I’m itching for a fight.

Fight for it!

We’re gonna punish our enemies.

Our job is, keep our boot on [their] neck.

We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.

[Republican victory would mean] hand-to-hand combat.

That’s right—they were all shouted at Tea Party rallies by Sarah Palin supporters resentful over a black President!

Actually, they were all uttered by our Commander-in-Chief or members of his administration in reaction to electoral, ideological, and other political opponents.

All are also apparently examples of the “civility” Democrats keep demanding conservatives display when engaging in political discourse.  This command was most recently circulated after Jared Loughner attempted to assassinate Representative Gabrielle Giffords and killed six people at an event in Tucson, Arizona.

Liberals are up in arms because last year Sarah Palin’s website featured a map pinpointing the locations of Democrats in conservative districts who voted for Obamacare, with a crosshair symbol over each one.  Giffords was one of the Democrats Palin targeted.

The map was accompanied by a pep talk from Palin that included such violent, blood-soaked rhetoric as “Let’s not get discouraged.  Don’t get demoralized.  Get organized!”  (Palin considered putting Hello Kitty images over her targets, but her handlers decided crosshairs would better fit her brand.)

To make the case that Palin/Tea Party rhetoric inspired Giffords’ shooter, a thinking person would ask whether Loughner was a Palin/Tea Party follower, and thus whether he could possibly have been inspired by them.

Anyway, moving on to what Democrats did, they instinctively shrieked that the right wing was creating a “climate” of vitriol and hate that was erupting in spontaneous acts of violence.  (We know how good Democrats are at making climate predictions!)

In fact, what we learned about Loughner is that he “favorited” a creepy YouTube video showing a terrorist lookalike burning the American flag.  (Remind me: Is flag-burning one of the major planks of the Tea Party platform or just a minor recommendation?)

Former classmate Caitie Parker wrote of Loughner, “As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy.”

Loughner’s favorite works of literature include The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.

Some commentators have argued that Loughner was not consistently right-wing or left-wing, since the Manifesto is left-wing but Kampf is right-wing.

In fact, Kampf’s author—Adolf Hitler—and his party were dyed-in-the-wool socialists, as in Nazism = Nationalsozialismus = National Socialism.

Closer to today’s liberals than today’s conservatives, the Nazis believed in an all-powerful government with centralized power held by smarter-than-everyone-else elites, not a limited government distributed among many sources and concentrated on the local level.

Chapter 12 of Volume One of Kampf is called “The First Period of Development of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.”  Volume Two is titled “The National Socialist Movement.”  The Nazi platform included such gems as “That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished,” “We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions,” and “The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.”  I think it’s safe to classify Kampf as a left-wing publication.

Maybe Loughner’s mental illness led him to embrace such extremist works.  But I notice that paranoid schizophrenia somehow never induces people to become feverishly obsessed with The Road to Serfdom or the collected works of Milton Friedman.

Unlike what the more honest elements of the mainstream media have been telling us, Loughner isn’t a random crazy—and he’s not even a random crazy leftist.

Just during Obama’s time in office, we’ve been subjected to:

•    A leftist anti-Semite opening fire in D.C.’s Holocaust Museum

•    A posse of union thugs beating up a black Tea Party supporter at a town hall meeting

•    A liberal biting off a conservative’s finger at a health care protest

•    A left-wing Obama supporter and biology professor shooting three fellow professors in Alabama

•    An anti-corporate Obama voter crashing his plane into an IRS building

•    A liberal Ground Zero Mosque supporter stabbing a Muslim cabdriver in lower Manhattan

•    An environmentalist trying to blow up the Discovery building in Maryland

•    A 9/11 Truther opening fire on policemen in the Pentagon

At this moment, spoiled leftist thugs are torching Greece, France, Great Britain, and half of Western Europe, upset that the socialist way of life their governments promised them is unsustainable and must be scaled back ever-so-slightly.

But according to liberals, we’re suffering from a deluge of conservative hate speech that’s derailing public discourse and sparking acts of violence.

Our own President’s dearest friends, mentors, and idols have called for violent overthrow of the government, and in some cases actually committed such acts, including: William Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Frank Marshall Davis, Mark Rudd, Van Jones, Andrew Cloward, Frances Fox Piven.

Meanwhile, the Tea Party’s most violent association is Sarah Palin clubbing fish with her children on “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”

If Democrats wanted to claim that every act of political violence is committed by a disturbed, nonpartisan nut job, fine.  Republicans would be classy enough not to attribute the actions of an admittedly long string of psychotic lone wolves to the entire population of liberals.

But if Democrats keep trying to pin these acts on right-wingers, we will punch back twice as hard.

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America to Dems: We’re Just Not That Into You

November 10, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2010

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

In a NewsRealBlog post last week, I wrote about the top 10 excuses Democrats will make for why they were destroyed in Tuesday’s historic midterm elections.  Apparently I gave Democrats too much credit.  I was assuming they would accept the fact that they had been defeated.

Any self-respecting coach who boasted a season average loss of 65 points would consider letting someone else take charge.  As Michael Tomasky observes of midterm elections, “[Y]ou lose 65 seats, you resign.  Period.  There should not be a question.”  But Congressional Democrats have expressed so little interest in replacing House Majority (soon to be Minority) Leader Nancy Pelosi that you might be forgiven for thinking she were a Republican plant.

(Perhaps liberal columnist Susan Estrich is also a Republican plant; see her hilarious but non-satirical column, “Nancy Pelosi, Superhero.”)

Pelosi plans to celebrate the wild success of the 111th Congress with a swanky soiree in the Cannon House Office Building.

Let’s catalogue the damage from Tuesday’s elections.  Approximately 40% of incoming House GOP freshmen are affiliated with the Tea Party, and five (six if Joe Miller wins) of the seven Senate pickups are for Tea Party candidates.  This is to say nothing of reelected incumbents who are already Tea Party luminaries, such as Representative Michele Bachmann and Senator Jim DeMint.

Not only did Republicans net more than 60 House seats, 7 Senate seats, 7 governorships, and dozens of state legislatures—which should be a strong enough signal to Democrats that America is sick of their policies—but these candidates are on average more conservative and less likely to vote for Democratic legislation than Republicans in the current Congress.  Reelected incumbent Tea Party Congressmen are also more likely to pick up key chairmanships and leadership posts and exert greater influence over Congress.

But of the incoming GOP freshman class, the website cries, “91% have sworn to never allow an income tax increase on any individual or business… 79% have pledged to permanently repeal the estate tax… 48% are pushing for a balanced budget amendment”—as though the American people weren’t wildly in favor of all of these proposals.

Paul Krugman hasn’t stopped his wailing for more federal stimulus spending and currency manipulation.  His latest diatribe, one week after the election, is indistinguishable from his diatribes from one week or even three months ago.  On Monday he proposed “weakening the dollar” and “leading people to believe that we will have somewhat above-normal inflation over the next few years,” citing as supporters of his crazy policies “many economists, some regional Fed presidents and the International Monetary Fund”—by which he means “discredited Keynesians, the people responsible for the mess we’re in, and the organization that has destroyed economies worldwide from Indonesia to Ireland.”

Apparently liberal commentators don’t just want surviving Congressional Democrats to commit suicide again.  Evidently they’d also like it if our Commander in Chief did so as well.  Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich advises President Obama to dig in like FDR in 1936, rather than move to the center like Clinton in 1994.  Frank Rich recommends that Obama dare Republicans to enact the tax and spending cuts they propose, and suggests that if the GOP does this, the Democratic Party will come roaring back in 2012 like Harry Truman in 1948.

Dan Froomkin of the Huffington Post muses, “[T]he big question will be what lesson Obama takes from Tuesday’s election results.  If he and his advisors are finally ready to acknowledge that the source of voter unhappiness was government ineffectiveness—rather than government overreach… then there’s plenty of room for him to maneuver on his own.”  Wrong lesson!  Try again.

Froomkin continues: “Indeed, progressives are urging him to seize the opportunity to take a more muscular approach with his executive powers…  They also hope Obama will use his regulatory authority, his enforcement powers, and his prerogatives as commander in chief to make decisive moves that can’t be sabotaged by Congressional Republicans.”  Wow—it’s as though Froomkin is directly channeling the collective will of American voters!

DeWayne Wickham of USA Today declares, “Don’t wave a white flag; hoist the battle flag.  That’s what Barack Obama should do…  The lesson to be learned… is not that Democrats should surrender to the right wing.  It is that they should put up a better fight to move their agenda.”  These cute sentiments are almost excusable in the waning weeks and days before an election—who doesn’t like an optimist, a persistent fighter, an underdog—but a week after the Democrats were destroyed?  Reality hasn’t sunk in for these people yet?

Sensible Toby Harnden of the UK Telegraph predicts, “Obama is not about to move to the centre…  Nothing in his career indicates he is ready to cut deals with political opponents.  He is sure what he believes is right; if you don’t agree with him, he pities you for being so slow to understand…  Last Tuesday was a setback like nothing else he had experienced in life and it appears to have left his enormous sense of self-assurance undiminished.”

And Wesley Pruden notes, “President Obama thinks nobody is really mad about what he’s done—they just want a little soothing syrup on it.  He promises better speeches to describe the same old soggy dish the dogs won’t touch.”

Please note that all of this Democratic blindness is occurring despite a marked absence of gloating on the part of the GOP, who recognize that the Tea Party threw them a lifeline and that they had better hold onto it tight if they want to survive the next election cycle.  Democrats are arguably no less triumphant about their performance last Tuesday than Republicans.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week, “[T]he White House has a choice: they can change course, or they can double down on a vision of government that the American people have roundly rejected.”  Alas, it appears that Democrats are choosing the latter.

To paraphrase an oft-cited definition of insanity: being a Democrat means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different electoral results.

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Top 10 Most Remarkable 2010 Midterm Election Results

November 03, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2010

2010 Midterms
Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

My, what a difference two years make!

Namely, a 50% jump in the unemployment rate, a tripling of the federal budget, and a tenfold increase in the annual deficit.  But who’s counting?

Behold the 10 most remarkable outcomes from yesterday’s historic midterm elections:

1. Illinois Senate:

This one says it all.  Amidst allegations of corrupt and incompetent business dealings and public program administration, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias couldn’t stave off the GOP tsunami and retain Senator Barack Obama’s former seat.  Fiscally conservative, socially moderate Representative Mark Kirk ran on his votes against the stimulus bill and ObamaCare and eked out the most important symbolic victory of the evening.

2. Florida Senate:

George Hamilton lookalike and lizard descendent Charlie Crist disingenuously switched parties in May to become an Independent, rather than risk facing a primary loss, and after the primaries promised to caucus with Senate Democrats.  Marco Rubio was an early Tea Party darling the mainstream media labeled unelectable; Rubio overcame a last-minute race-baiting dirty trick by Bill Clinton and received nearly as many votes as his Independent and Democratic opponents combined.

3. Kentucky Senate:

Jack Conway stooped almost as low as Florida’s Alan Grayson by cutting last-minute ads implying his opponent wasn’t a true Christian because of a college prank 27 years ago.  Rand Paul unapologetically espoused radically libertarian, small-government positions, wisely endorsed more aggressive and active foreign policy positions than his isolationist father Ron Paul, and was brave enough not to back down from saying government should not interfere with private hiring decisions.

4. Pennsylvania Senate:

Arlen Specter swayed back and forth with the political winds for two years until he was uprooted like a weed and blown into disgraced retirement.  Democrat Joe Sestak not only didn’t hide from his embarrassing support for the lethal Big Three signature Obama policies—the stimulus bill, cap-and-trade, and ObamaCare—but argued all should have been bigger and more government-heavy.  In contrast, Club for Growth President Pat Toomey was an unabashed fiscal conservative and Tea Party favorite who won despite an unfavorable blue-state climate.

5. Wisconsin Senate:

Russ Feingold was a long-term incumbent and influential, far-left scourge of conservatives in the Senate, due to his cosponsorship of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act and solitary losing vote in the Senate’s initial 98-1 vote on the PATRIOT Act.  Businessman Ron Johnson was a Tea Party conservative, unapologetic global warming skeptic, and ardent offshore drilling supporter who fought long odds and an opponent with a massive campaign war chest to achieve another important symbolic victory.

6. Ohio Governor:

Six-term former Representative and incumbent two-term governor Ted Strickland couldn’t hold his seat due to his support for Obama policies and his role in Ohio’s miserable economic conditions.  Former Representative and House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich ran on his conservative record in Congress and took over an office that will be crucial in managing campaign finance operations in the 2012 presidential election.

7. Arkansas Senate:

Blanche Lincoln paid for her support for ObamaCare and couldn’t extend her long-term incumbency despite her Blue Dog Democrat status.  John Boozman hammered home his opponent’s ideological similarity to Obama, reiterated his opposition to ObamaCare and cap-and-trade legislation, and destroyed Lincoln by a whopping 20 points.

8. Florida House 22:

Ron Klein defeated Republican Colonel Allen West in 2008 and voted with Democrats 98% of the time in the 111th Congress.  This year West got his revenge by defending himself against smears about his service in the Iraq War and fearlessly fighting back claims of Uncle Tomism to become the nation’s most prominent black Tea Party elected official.

9. South Carolina Governor:

State Senator Vincent Sheheen tried to hide his liberal record but couldn’t sway South Carolina voters, even after Governor Mark Sanford’s sex scandal.  Nikki Haley came back from last place in the Republican primary, fought disgusting allegations of extramarital affairs, and rode the Sarah Palin/Jim DeMint/Tea Party wave to become the nation’s second Indian American governor.

10. Colorado House 4:

Incumbent Representative Betsy Markey floundered after her support for ObamaCare, cap-and-trade, and the stimulus bill.  “Young Gun” State Representative Cory Gardner defeated Markey due to his vocal support of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan’s radical, fiscally austere Roadmap for America.

As for dear Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Linda McMahon, John Raese, Carly Fiorina, Carl Paladino, Meg Whitman, Charles Baker, and Sean Bielat: Better luck next time!

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Bigotry In Between Every Line

October 13, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Racism

“I’m particularly offended by these people who want to take the nation back…  If you read the Republican Contract with America, you can see the bigotry in between every line.”Maida Odom, “One Nation Working Together” rally attendee, October 2, 2010

In a desperate, last-ditch attempt to salvage their miserable midterm election prospects, Democrats have been tarnishing Republicans and Tea Partiers with the smear of—wait for it… racism!

Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth…

At a recent rally in Philadelphia, President Barack Obama warned the audience, “They’re counting on young people staying home and union members staying home and black folks staying home.”  Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Harold Jackson declared that the Tea Party is the ignorant, Negrophobic reincarnation of the pro-slavery wing of the Know Nothing Party.

Zora Neale Hurston, Ida B. Wells, Roy Innis, Eldridge Cleaver, Samuel B. Fuller…

Actually, Democrats have been crying racism throughout Obama’s whole presidency.  For example, New York Times columnist Frank Rich has been using this trick to try to fool Americans into thinking conservatives oppose ObamaCare because they don’t like black people such as bill architects Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  Maureen Dowd proposed that Joe Wilson’s exclamation regarding coverage for illegal Mexican immigrants was… anti-black.  Leftist civil rights leaders sullied their reputations by falsely accusing Tea Party protestors of calling Representative John Lewis the N-word and spitting on Representative Emanuel Cleaver.  Obama supporter Henry Louis Gates, Jr. falsely accused a poor working-class cop in Massachusetts of racial profiling.

Martin Luther King, Sr., Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Alveda King…

Democrats have been playing the race card since even before Obama was elected, as in their ludicrous claim that failure to elect Obama would lead to race riots.  Such efforts have done miracles for Obama’s promised improvement in race relations: Rasmussen recently reported that perceptions about black-white relations have gotten much more pessimistic since Obama took office.

Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Larry Elder, Shelby Steele, Mychal Massie, Deroy Murdock, John McWhorter, Erik Rush…

To hear Democrats tell it, you would think there were no African American historical figures, civil rights leaders, commentators, politicians, judges, authors, athletes, or celebrities who are Republican, conservative, libertarian, right-leaning, or Tea Party supporters.  Or if there are, that they’re all misguided, brainwashed Uncle Toms.

Armstrong Williams, Lloyd Marcus, Stanley Crouch, Angela McGlowan, Amy Holmes, Sonja Schmidt, Alfonzo Rachel…

You might also be forgiven for thinking that such organizations as the National Black Republican Association and The Alliance of Black Republicans were apocryphal, mere fictional entities.

J. C. Watts, Gary Franks, Alan Keyes, Lynn Swann, Ken Blackwell, Rod Paige, Allen West, Star Parker, Tim Scott, Ryan Frazier, Isaac Hayes, Robert Broadus…

Because Democrats view individuals as voting blocs and interest groups to be Balkanized along racial and ethnic lines, they’ve been caught engaging in some appalling acts in recent years.  Since Obama took office, we’ve been treated to the spectacle of the NAACP applauding Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod for reporting that she had once racially discriminated against a white farmer; Barbara Boxer condescendingly lumping ideologically opposed black groups together based on skin color; and Bill Clinton defending Robert Byrd’s Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops positions as necessary for getting elected to public office as a Southern Democrat.

Clarence Thomas, Janice Rogers Brown, Ward Connerly, Colin Powell, Michael Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Michael Steele…

It’s hard to discern who exactly is supposed to be offended by these smears.  Any thinking black person is surely aware of the black conservative movement, and any unthinking black person is clearly uninterested in the movement and mindlessly committed to the Democratic Party.

Jackie Robinson, Don King, Ernie Banks, Karl Malone, Jerome Bettis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Herschel Walker…

And any thinking non-black person waits for leftists to produce actual evidence of conservative racism and reserves judgment until that time.  Any non-thinking non-black person is happy to accept lies about Republicans spread by race hucksters and reject evidence to the contrary.

James Earl Jones, Jimmie Walker, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, L. L. Cool J, 50 Cent…

When accusations of racism are thrown around often enough, with as little evidence as they typically are, in place of discussion of the issues people really care about, the net effect can only hurt one-trick pony politicians who know that running on their record and their positions will hurt rather than help them.

…and on and on and on and on.

But if Democrats want to spend their dwindling political capital on a charge so old and worn-out even they don’t believe it, hey—I won’t let myself be prejudiced against their strategy.

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SNL Mocks Obama, Pelosi for Their Eloquent Grace Under Fire

September 29, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Media

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin (left) and Amy Poehler...
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Saturday Night Live (SNL) is held up by “television historians” as a paragon of insightful, ruthless satire of the political scene.

Whatever merits SNL might have once had in that department, lately its level of political analysis has been about as deep as the shot glasses its writers undoubtedly empty before they pen each week’s program.

In its recent season opening skit—which was overlong and dolefully unfunny, like the rest of the show these days—SNL mocked Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell over—wait for it… her wacky background!  The tasteful, thoughtfully written sketch included an O’Donnell impersonator admitting that she masturbates constantly and an interlude in which the onanist pleasured herself off-set and returned to ask fellow performers for snacks.

Two years ago, during the 2008 presidential election, Tina Fey’s impression of Governor Sarah Palin was a hit, not because it was especially accurate, but because (1) it was amusing to watch the antics of this colorful, clueless, moose-hunting politician Fey had created out of whole cloth who bore no characterological resemblance to her real-life model, and (2) there was schadenfreude in seeing the snarky Fey gussy herself up and try but fail to imitate the classiness and charisma of the real Palin.

In a similar display of what passes for the evidentiary basis for Democratic public policy nowadays, comedian Stephen Colbert testified before the House last week on the plight of migrant workers.  Colbert cited as firsthand experience the publicity stunt whereby he recently spent a few hours in comfy upstate New York being photographed loading crates of vegetables for the United Farm Workers.  Colbert bored and abused committee members with his bottomless ego, then demonstrated his pro-gay credentials by telling a charming joke about Iowan “corn packers” that caused his audience to groan in revulsion.

Even Democrat John Conyers, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, had to ask Colbert to leave the hearing during the middle of his testimony, though his sponsor—nutty California Democrat Zoe Lofgren—urged him to stay.  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was later shamed into calling Colbert’s testimony “an embarrassment.”

And Jon Stewart, the number one hard news source for leftists under 40, is bringing his oh-so-clever Rally to Restore Sanity to the National Mall next month, where it will compete with Colbert’s isn’t-it-ironic March to Keep Fear Alive.  Both are supposed to be satires of Glenn Beck’s recent Restoring Honor rally and the massive Tea Party gatherings held in D.C. the past two Septembers.

So millions of sincere and patriotic Americans travel hundreds of miles to the nation’s capital on a heartfelt quest to show solidarity with fellow citizens who are disgusted with unprecedented government spending, regulations, and deficits—and the brightest and most influential minds on the left respond by pointing fingers and giggling at protestors’ clothes.  How about a Stewart rally defending the merits of the stimulus bill or ObamaCare instead of one poking fun at people for wearing tri-corner hats or dressing up like Benjamin Franklin?

Contemporary leftists have learned that one way to avoid sober analysis is to ridicule one’s opponents for personal quirks and fringe elements in their followings.  It’s true that laughter can be used to draw in an audience or emphasize a genuine point, but it can also be used to sidetrack discussion and win over sympathizers via a superficial, crowd-pleasing style rather than through probing facts and penetrating arguments.  As political communication expert and professor Lauren Feldman reports, “[P]olitical comedy suppresses argument scrutiny.  What this means is that when audiences are exposed to political humor or satire they are less likely to counter-argue the information contained in the message or question the fairness or accuracy of the message, relative to a non-humorous message.”

If comedy’s what the public wants, then a truly astute, non-PC SNL political satire would, say, chronicle the addle-headed trillion-dollar stimulus bill and its ludicrous, disproven Keynesian assumptions; the administration’s risible invention of the “jobs created or saved” metric; its snail-paced implementation of projects, tongue-tied lies about funded projects, and use of funds for ridiculous pork projects; and the bill’s predictably laughable failure to bring down the unemployment rate.

A series of hilarious sketches might skewer ObamaCare proponents’ side-splitting claim that the law will cover 30 million more Americans yet somehow bring down the cost of care; the preposterous Wile E. Coyote schemes Democrats plotted to pass the bill such as reconciliation, “deem and pass,” the Christmas Eve vote, and the Cornhusker Kickback; and Democrats’ kamikaze obduracy in passing the bill against the public’s wishes.

But no: having Kristen Wiig don a witch’s hat and fly away on a broomstick—now that’s getting to the heart of what’s wrong with the political system in America!

Since they’re so obsessed with the backgrounds of Tea Party candidates, let’s consider the history of various storied SNL actors’ fates: died from drug overdose (John Belushi), died from drug overdose and obesity (Chris Farley), murdered by drug-addicted wife (Phil Hartman), committed suicide (Weekend Update anchor and Reagan impersonator Charles Rocket), for starters.  These are part of the cadre of fine, upstanding thespians lecturing O’Donnell for having friends who dressed as goths in high school.

Republican politicians need SNL, Colbert, Stewart, Bill Maher, and other leftist chuckleheads like an elephant needs a flock of blue-footed boobies picking nits off its backside—less, actually, since the birds provide a useful function by keeping the elephant clean.  These “comedians” feed on the right-wing political class like parasites, then pass off their antics to rubes on the left as serious political discourse.

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O’Donnell vs. O’Donnell

September 22, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2010

O'Donnell Bewitches GOP
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Once upon a time, there was a fantastic Tea Party candidate for the U.S. Senate from Delaware who promised to reduce the size and scope of government and adhere to constitutional limits on its power—and, as a bonus, did not tell Bill Maher that when she was in high school some friends had experimented with “witchcraft,” did not express mixed feelings about masturbation 14 years ago on camera, did not default on her mortgage in the middle of the housing crisis, did not misstate the number of counties she won in her prior run for Senate, and did not take more than four years to graduate from college.

Unfortunately that candidate doesn’t exist.  A candidate who was the real Christine O’Donnell’s primary opponent, however, does exist: he voted for the Democrats’ cap-and-trade legislation, bank bailout, and stimulus bill, and has refused to support repeal of ObamaCare; his name is Mike Castle.  O’Donnell’s general election opponent Chris Coons supports all of the above and more, and is also Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s self-described “pet.”

Similarly there’s a candidate for governor of New York named Carl Paladino who has promised to cut state spending by 10% and taxes by 20%, reduce economically crippling state pension obligations, and cut 60,000 positions held by workers deemed incapable of executing their responsibilities.

You may consider Paladino unfit for office, because he had an extramarital affair and also forwarded some e-mails he had received with offensive jokes in them—until you consider his general election opponent Andrew Cuomo, who as President Bill Clinton’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary played a key role in the subprime mortgage crisis that led to the financial collapse of 2008.

Then there’s Sharron Angle, who’s running for the Senate in Nevada: she wants to abolish the bankrupt Social Security program, the meddlesome Federal Reserve, the intrusive Internal Revenue Service, the worthless National Department of Education, unconstitutional gun control restrictions, pointless offshore drilling bans, useless global warming regulations, and the U.S.’s embarrassing membership in the United Nations.  But—detractors have accused her of having ties to celebrity Scientologists Kelly Preston and Jenna Elfman!

Angle ran against primary opponent Bob Bennett, one of two cosponsors of the failed 2008 Healthy Americans Act—precursor to ObamaCare—which likewise would have required all Americans to purchase government-approved health care plans.  Angle’s general election opponent Harry Reid was instrumental in getting ObamaCare passed in the Senate.

Let’s not forget Rand Paul, Senate candidate from Kentucky and self-described constitutional conservative, who opposed the free-speech-limiting McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act, the wasteful bank and car company bailouts, and ObamaCare.  His great flaw is that he was politically incorrect enough to state that, had he been in Congress 50 years ago, he would have supported only 9 of the 10 Civil Rights Act titles, and would have contested the one prohibiting discrimination in private hiring and lending.  Oh—and he was involved in a college prank 27 years ago!

Paul is running against general election opponent Jack Conway, who supported ObamaCare, favors the union “card check” bill, and is open to cap-and-trade legislation.

How about Joe Miller, who’s running for Senate in Alaska?  He favors reclaiming unspent Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to help cut the deficit, repealing ObamaCare, and enacting a balanced budget amendment.  His Achilles’ heel is that he’s never held elective office before.

On the other hand, Miller’s primary opponent Lisa Murkowski has been in office for nearly a decade, and she opposes repealing ObamaCare and bucked the majority of Republicans to vote for the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

And on and on it goes for the Tea Party candidates: South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley had unproven extramarital affairs, Florida House candidate Daniel Webster supports covenant marriage, Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck was rude to birthers at a Tea Party rally.

Regardless of whether these Tea Party candidates are electable—and most of them are—fair-minded independents who seek outsiders to rein in government but are concerned about some of these mavericks’ personal quirks should focus on the big picture.

As The Intellectual Activist’s Robert Tracinski noted, “If you think a Christine O’Donnell has a lot of personal ‘baggage’ and that her personality makes her unelectable, fine—then send us someone better who stands for the same principles.  But our principles are the one thing we’re not going to bend on.”

Here’s a request for the mainstream media: as soon as we’re allowed to focus on Tea Party candidates’ substantive merits and faults relative to their opponents’, rather than whether they played Dungeons & Dragons 30 years ago, please let us know.

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When $814 Billion Just Isn’t Enough for a Guy

September 08, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy

WI: Milwaukee Laborfest & Obama rally, Septemb...
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The stimulus bill Congress passed in February 2009 was supposed to be spent predominantly on infrastructure rebuilding projects.

At an address to AFL-CIO members at Laborfest in Milwaukee on Monday, President Barack Obama pushed an additional $50 billion-plus stimulus bill designed to fulfill the novel task of… rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.

Obama warmed up his working class audience by wearing an open-collar shirt with rolled up sleeves, referring to his listeners as “folks,” and reminding them of the miserably unprosperous Reagan years, when unemployment plummeted from a Carter-induced 10% in 1982 to 5% by the end of Reagan’s second term.

The President’s proposed infrastructure spending aimed to rebuild roads, railways, and runways, not to mention public union coffers and Democratic Congressional reelection campaigns.

The bill would be paid for by eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies, also known as “raising taxes.”

In addition, the President proposed a new federal Infrastructure Bank of unspecified cost and scope that would use tax dollars to borrow private funds to fuel future projects.  You know—sort of a cross between Amtrak and Fannie Mae, with all the efficiency of the former and all the transparency of the latter.

Chastising Republicans for their platform of “No, We Can’t” and their propensity to oppose everything he suggests, Obama declared, “If I said the sky was blue, they’d say no.  If I said fish live in the sea, they’d say no.”  Actually, if he said never-ending Keynesian spending orgies stimulate long-term economic growth, we’d say no.  But close!

Obama announced that he would “keep fighting, every single day, every single hour, every single minute to turn this economy around.”  (He did not say “every single second”—a guy does need time to get in some golf swings and order shrimp baskets in between bouts of pondering the economy.)

Behold a president whose economic ideas are so muddled that he could pronounce, in his speech, “[A]nyone who thinks we can move this economy forward with a few doing well at the top, hoping it’ll trickle down to working folks… just [hasn’t] studied our history”; and then, a few paragraphs later, brag, “[W]e’ve given tax cuts to small business owners…  [W]e’re cutting taxes for companies that put our people to work here at home.”  Gee—I wonder how giving tax breaks to companies helps the middle class?  Perhaps, when taxes are lowered, wealthy company owners have more money to hire workers?  You might almost say that tax cuts cause jobs to “trickle down” to the working class.

When the stimulus bill failed to reduce unemployment last year, liberal commentators snickered at how dumb conservatives were for expecting the bill to have an effect right away.  In late spring 2009, when unemployment was at 8.5%, they said, Just wait a few more months.  At the end of the summer, when unemployment was at 9.5%, they said, Just wait till the end of the year.  At the end of the year, when unemployment was over 10%, they said, The stimulus could actually take years to lay bare its brilliant results.

Eighteen months after the stimulus bill was passed, the House Ways and Means Committee reported that more than 2.5 million jobs had been lost.

In order to minimize the egg on their faces a year from now, the Obama administration simply refuses to estimate how many jobs its new not-a-stimulus stimulus bill would create.

Obama’s announcement represents a perverse stubbornness to acknowledge that his party’s economic ideas simply aren’t working.  The one thing that might save his presidency would be for him to turn into President Bill Clinton and start governing from the center, but then he would have to admit that he was wrong, which he refuses to do.

The clincher that liberals know they should be following conservatives’ advice always comes when they trot out the old canard that “Republican leadership hasn’t brought any helpful ideas to the table.”  That’s what they said when conservatives rejected their nationalized health care scheme last year.  The claim was belied by dozens of innovative health care reform bills Republicans had introduced in the House that never even left the referral stage.

The Tea Party’s Contract from America, for starters, lists 10 fantastic ideas for strengthening the economy and creating an environment favorable to growth and development, such as simplifying the tax system, imposing caps on annual federal spending increases, and permanently extending the Bush tax cuts.  In other words, “no helpful ideas.”

Obama’s latest tin-eared proposal is final proof, in 12-foot tall, blood-red, block letters, for those who still need it, that he doesn’t get it: Americans are furious and terrified about the mountains of debt he has piled on top of us, and don’t believe any of his spending programs have done a thing to help the economy.

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