Monthly Archives: November 2012

Prediction: XX for Defense

What better way, if you’re President Obama, to enact yet another social-engineering “transformation” and name the country’s first female secretary of defense?  Michele Flournoy?  Jane Harman?  Jamie Gorelick?  Janet Napolitano?  Claudia Kennedy?  Not that there would be anything inherently wrong with that (and, if it means that John Kerry doesn’t get the job, god bless him), unless it’s like most other liberal staffing decisions that prioritize demographics over merit.  I’m sure that the White House has its binder ready.


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Romney lost because Americans like their big government

In looking for a silver lining, conservatives seem to be spinning the election result as follows:  the electorate still supports small government (as in exit polls reported all night by Fox News and cited, for example, by Investors Business Daily) and believes that the country is going in the wrong direction (same exit poll results).

So Romney lost, the explanation goes, because the Obama campaign did a better job turning out its supporters, boosted by demographic trends over the past decade that are unfavorable to the Republicans.  Maybe a few voters held their noses and stayed home or voted Obama anyway for a variety of reasons ranging from evangelical anti-Mormon bias (VA and CO) to long lines at the polls (FL) to memories of George W. Bush (OH and MI and PA).

These issues are fixable by [somehow] redoubling focus on the ground game (see the comments by the “sick” Florida campaign), by [somehow] increasing appeal to Hispanic voters, and [somehow] taking advantage of different demographic trends that fracture the Democrat coalition (such as insatiable appetites of over-65s to appropriate more of their children’s, grandchildren’s, and future descendants’ money, e.g., as cited by Taranto).  Yet these solutions are analogous to running a tight draw play as if it were fourth-and-goal from the one, when it’s actually more like fourth-and-twenty from the Republicans’ own territory.

Our take is that respondents who tell pollsters that they favor small government are lying, perhaps even to themselves.  Democrats’ electoral strategy has always been to assemble coalitions of people who depend on government in one way or another, but 2012 is perhaps unprecedented in the nakedness of this approach.  Maybe they favor small government in the abstract, but voters—from those whose jobs were saved by the auto bailout in Michigan and Ohio, to upper-middle-class women in Colorado and Virginia who want free birth control pills, to young slackers who can now stay on their parents’ health insurance—apparently responded to the campaign’s explicit appeal to their greed for other people’s money.  Obama has been laying this groundwork since he was inaugurated.  Of course Democrats’ ideology drives them toward redistribution anyway, but this administration has concentrated the largesse on swing constituencies with an expert focus (which, sadly and perhaps reassuringly, no Republican administration could know how to achieve).

The incumbent might have won the turnout battle, but it’s not because of demographics per se, but rather that enough Americans were afraid of losing their government-provided goodies.  Even worse, we are losing the aspirationalism that has been perhaps America’s most exceptional cultural trait:  most Americans, especially young people, don’t even have a favorable view of capitalism anymore.  This problem is only going to get worse as the strain on entitlements grows, as Ron Paul points out.  It is now certain that our government will pay for them with taxes on the upper-middle-class and wealthy and with more debt, probably until such time as the dollar collapses, inflation explodes, and the economy is in depression.

This election proves the grotesque poignancy of Mitt Romney’s “47%” remark.  Democrats have now succeeded in their 80-year effort to increase that percentage high enough to institutionalize the government-centered society.

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NYT gleefully belittles Netanyahu on Romney ties to help Israel opposition

An International Herald Tribune story on the day after the election, “Having bet on Romney victory, Netanyahu acts to repair ties,” breathlessly accuses the Israeli prime minister of “scrambling” to “repair his relationship” with President Obama after he had “bet heavily” on a Romney victory.  (A shorter version of the article appeared under the headline “Netanyahu Rushes to Repair Damage With Obama” in the domestic New York Times.)

The IHT/Times engages in its usual practice of projecting its own views on the subjects of its article—delving starting with the first paragraph (in the IHT version) into domestic Israeli politics and positioning Obama’s victory as a rebuke to the Israeli government and a benefit to the opposition.  By the fifth paragraph, the article cites an Israeli pollster saying that “Netanyahu is not the right guy” to “handle the U.S.-Israel relationship.”  The article quotes one opposition party statement after another:  “Fixing the damage caused due to his irresponsible behavior is Israel’s top interest.”; “I really hope that Obama will be generous enough so that Israel does not have to pay the price for that dangerous and failed gamble.”; Netanyahu’s “‘brazen involvement’ in the U.S. election was a ‘terrible mistake.'”

In the Times‘s alternate reality, Netanyahu endorsed Mitt Romney, forcefully campaigned for him, assumed he would win, and now must sheepishly save face by grovelling to the Obama administration (starting by “summoning the U.S. ambassador for a ceremonial hug”).

In the real reality, Netanyahu did nothing of the sort, despite his longtime association with Romney.   Of course, the article does not mention how exactly Netanyahu was guilty of any “brazen involvement” in the campaign; all that it could muster is that he was “seeming this fall to support” Romney.

Netanyahu was naturally very careful to avoid any statements or actions during the campaign to betray his preference.  Mitt Romney is his long-time friend, and he obviously would have preferred a Romney administration (more on that later), but he is way too smart to have “bet” on the election, made an endorsement, openly campaigned, or tilted any of his governance levers on the assumption of a Romney victory.  (He avoided that trap many times.)  He even was careful to moderate his criticisms of American foreign policy under President Obama, legitimate as they may have been.

The Times is all too eager to do the bidding of its dovish comrades in Israel and the U.S. to help the opposition score cheap political points by tying Netanyahu to Romney.  Such editorializing would have been more appropriate for the opinion page than the news page, though even there its sloppy conclusions wouldn’t meet much of a journalistic standard.

The article fails to consider an alternative explanation:  Netanyahu has said some of the same things as Romney, for example about Iran, because Netanyahu believes that he shares with Romney a vision for American foreign policy that is relevant to the survival of his country.

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Another MSM case study concluding that government is the solution

Typical story in the San Francisco Chronicle citing the economic woes of the Central Valley and concluding that the solution to all economic woes is more government.  The protaganists are a single father who fears his city government job as an arborist “getting ripped from” him, a “family counselor at a nonprofit agency” who lost his job “two years ago when federal funding was cut,” a single mother of five whose “welfare and disability payments were cut last year,” and an elderly woman who had to move into “government-subsidized housing” because she couldn’t afford a private alternative.

Among the demands of the community, according to the article, are “jobs, occupational training and housing assistance.”  The area also suffered from the closure of an Air Force base and housing bubble fueled by the construction of UC Merced.  And, to add insult to injury, the area lacks a Congressman to bring home the bacon, since the erstwhile Blue Dog Democrat heroically resigned—as a stand against “The constant focus on ‘screamers’ and the ‘horse race’ of elections . . . smothering useful discourse and meaningful debate of public policy”—to take a job as “managing director of the government affairs and public policy areas” in a beltway law firm (after his seat was jeopardized by redistricting).

The local mayor was quick to say that the federal, state, and local governments were to not to blame, or maybe they were:  “Not Sacramento or Washington for slashing funding, not the City Council for not raising water rates in two decades. Faul rants sometimes about how the region and its problems have been ignored by President Obama and Mitt Romney, but quickly catches herself.

“‘You just have to assume the responsibility, and that’s what I’ve had to do as mayor,’ she said.”

The article at least provides some paeans to self-reliance, neighborly cooperation, and private charity, and cites some local criticism of politicians for “backing the ‘high-speed rail boondoggle.'”  And there is some good news:  the city government employee’s job was saved, and the new government university should continue to bring educated residents and jobs.

As we pondered in a post about a similar story set in rural Indiana, we wonder whether these types of stories are nakedly meant to advance the media’s big-government agenda, or whether they reflect a true government-reliant mindset in the heartland.

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