sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

October 4, 2012

Amatuer Psychology

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:18 pm

On October Julianne Moore sent me an email on behalf of President Obama’s campaign titled “making our voices heard”.  Evidently this 1%-er thinks that me and her are part of the same herd.  B-listers must feel so ignored.

A day earlier I got an email from the One titled “I want to win”.  Curious title, considering that that he wants to win is supposed to be obvious.  I always had my doubts about him wanting another term because, prior to being elected the United States president, the guy never held a job, let alone a demanding job, for four years.  He must be tired by now.

Our future President champions the idea that Obama is a nice guy, just out of his depth.  I don’t think Mitt himself believes O is a nice guy, but by now it should be painfully obvious to everyone that he is, in fact, out of his depth.  It’s not just that Obama lost all the arguments in last night’s debate, but the “atmospherics” were so awful.  His smirking, looking down at the audience, refusal to look at his opponent, not knowing how to approach the podium — all of it was horrible.  One really has to be true blue obamamaniac to watch that debate and not think “This is not the leader of the free world”.  Reagan stumbled in his first debate in 1984, but came back swinging in the following round.  I somehow don’t see Obama capable of doing it.  I doubt he will relish the opportunity to explain to the American people what happened in Benghazi.

Right now Obama is looking at two more nights of humiliation on national television.  He doesn’t like his job, he doesn’t want it, but what can he do if Michelle is having so much fun?

Michelle Obama national convention

Fabulous: Michelle appears at DNC last month in a sleeveless special occasion dress

UPDATE: Related Potluck graphic here.

October 3, 2012

Look Who’s Clinging to Guns and “Religion”

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:15 am

It’s Barack Obama who’s on record clinging to guns and religion — if by religion we mean Marxism of sorts.  Via Legal Insurrection comes the following MLK Day remarks:

Transcript:

he philosophy of nonviolence only makes sense if the powerful can be made to recognize themselves in the powerless. It only makes sense if the powerless can be made to recognize themselves in the powerful. You know, the principle of empathy gives broader meaning, by the way, to Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but rich people are all for nonviolence. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got what they want. They want to make sure people don’t take their stuff. But the principle of empathy recognizes that there are more subtle forms of violence to which we are answerable. The spirit of empathy condemns not only the use of firehoses and attack dogs to keep people down but also accountants and tax loopholes to keep people down. I’m not saying that what Enron executives did to their employees is the moral equivalent of what Bull Connor did to black folks, but I’ll tell you what, the employees at Enron feel violated. When a company town sees its plant closing because some distant executives made some decision despite the wage concessions, despite the tax breaks, and they see their entire economy collapsing, they feel violence . . . [emphasis Patterico's]

I have a feeling he’s no fan of MLK.  Well, to be honest, I had that feeling for a very, very long time.

I don’t like the sloppy reasoning that imagines everything unpleasant to be violence, but ‘Bamster was onto something when he said that rich people being non-violent because they already have everything they want.  That’s why so many upper middle class Americans are pacifists: they are well off, and although their fortunes are protected by cops and soldiers, they easily ignore that, and insist that everyone should embrace pacifism, just like they do.  It’s all very self-serving.

How do you square this rhetoric with his bitter clingers remark?

September 18, 2012

Lets Talk About the 47%!

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:05 pm

That 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax has long been discussed in conservative circles.  The mainstream media, on the other hand, is not interested in bringing up the fact that nearly half of us don’t pay our fair share.  Now that Jimmy Carter’s grandson recorded Romney’s comments about it, newsmakers are trying to turn the remarks into a gaffe of “bitter clingers” magnitude (via Instapundit) — except that they swept the “bitter clingers” story under the rug.

What about the substance of Romney comments?  Did you drive to work this morning?  Do you know that every other motorist you encountered on the road contributes nothing for that road’s maintenance?  If you turned on the news, you might have heard about the defense cuts that seem all but inevitable, even as our troops are fighting Islamists.  Is it because one in two don’t pitch a penny towards the common good?

It’s not just that they don’t contribute, but they take, and they’ve been taking more and more since Obama was inaugurated.  The number of Americans receiving foodstamps skyrocketed.  When in 2008, 30 million took advantage of the entitlement, today the number is 46 million — and don’t forget, the federal government is actively recruiting recipients.  The “low”-”income” residents of the country qualify for numerous other federal freebies, like cell phones and paid-for preschool.  And coming soon: free birth control for middle age college students.  Sandra Fluke, I wish I had your problems.

The country does look like it’s heading in California’s direction.  So few people her pay state taxes, voters have very little incentive to consider the costs of extravagant experiments, like the notorious SF to LA bullet train.  The fact that said extravagant experiments are bankrupting the state is conveniently overlooked by the free-loading masses — note the 2010 midterm Democratic electoral victories.

On the other hand, by a 54 to 39 percent margin American voters prefer smaller government (via Instapundit).  That’s just 39% who want a bigger government.  Granted, that’s a poll of voters, not the general population, and voters are more likely to be taxpayers than free-loaders.  Still, that 54% must include a fair number of patriotic Americans who want to pay their fair share, but currently do not.  Perhaps they would like a job, not a hand-out, and they agree with the GOP nominee.

July 30, 2012

Is Barack Obama Trying to Define a New Baseline of Support for Democrats?

Filed under: politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 8:48 am

After the election of Barack Obama, a book called “The Emerging Democratic majority” was the talk of the town.  Written in 2004 by John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira, the book predicted that the growth of black and “Hispanic” voting blocks as well as the leftward shift among the highly educated will give Democrats a natural permanent majority.  November 2008 seemed to be the proof, but the “emerging” majority went bust two years two years down the road with the rise of the Tea party.  Demographic shifts are not to be taken lightly, and we might yet hear from that “emerging majority” at some pint in the future.  Right now, however, it seems like Barack Obama is trying to see how well he can do while screwing up badly.

BO is weakest on all matters relating to the economy.  He probably thought that he’d ram through his agenda, and, given that he took stewardship of the country at the bottom of the recession, the economy would recover on its own.  Instead, we are talking of a double dip and the unemployment rate hovers over 8%, and no President was ever reelected with unemployment numbers that high.  This one also ran up a potentially devastating deficit.  Please visit King Shamus to see the chart that should win Republicans this election.  Voters who do not follow the news might not have heard that for the first time in history Canada surpassed the US in household wealth (as they might not know about Fast and Furious or Solyndra), but they still feel uncertain about their and their kids’ future.

Obama has a strange relationship with the Democratic base.  On the one hand, he’s pandering, and everyone knows it.  He declared that he’s “evolving” back to his earlier position of personally supporting gay marriage, only he won’t do anything about it.  Hollywood posers ate it up, but the polls didn’t move.  Gay marriage is supposed to be a hip issue with gays, young voters and miscellaneous social liberals, but maybe not at the time of economic uncertainty.

On the other hand, Jews constitute an important voter and donor base of Democratic party.  Yet he demands that Israel returns to the ’67 borders, slights Benjamin Netanyahu and gives away details of a possible Israeli strike on the Iranian nuclear facility.  Result: Jews might deliver Florida to Romney.

This administration sure has a way to ensure that the opposition will make it to the polls.  Aside from treatment of Israel, a partial list of his offenses includes ramming through Obamacare, record deficits, poor economy, complete disregard for the rule of law, enemies lists and the clandestine Fast and Furious.  It’s a very partial list, to be sure.  There is something to add to it every week, if not twice a week.  Then he goes out and insults middle of the road voters with comments like “you didn’t build that”, and lets miscellaneous little errors pile up , like getting Joe Biden to campaign or having Vogue editor Anna Wintour record a campaign video.

BO is most certainly not running your typical Presidential campaign.  When all is said and done, we’ll see how low his support can drop.  If Romney doesn’t win by a landslide, however, we should panic a little.

March 22, 2012

Vote for a Non-Paul

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:40 pm

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to vote.  Living in deep blue Alameda County in deep blue California, I know that my vote won’t matter much.  Public opinion is more or less unanimous here, and in most cases the voters chose opposite of what I want.  But this Primary season I feel empowered.  Even if Mitt Romney will emerge as a clear winner before the California Primary, my voice will matter.  I will be voting for anybody but Ron Paul.

I am very interested in libertarian economics, and find Thomas Sowell’s argument for ending the Fed persuasive.  But Thomas Sowell endorsed Gingrich for President (h/t Uncle Samuel).  Like Sowell and many other conservatives, I think that Paul’s foreign policy views are at best naive and at worst bigoted.

It’s naive to think that the world will be a better place if the US would pursue a policy of non-intervention.  We are a force of good in the world full of genocidal tyrants.  It’s short-sighted to expect that if we don’t engage our enemies at an opportune moment, they will not attack us when convenient to them.  We all but ignored Al Qaeda when it was at war with us in the last decade of the 20th century — until the country woke up on 9/11.  If we recall, Paul spent that last decade of 20th century courting Neo-Nazis.  His campaign video smearing our armed service members is pure bigotry.

Beyond foreign policy matters, on issues like immigration, extension of constitutional protection to terrorists and legalization of heroin, Paul is squarely outside the conservative mainstream.  (I actually agree with some of ideas he champions, in theory at least.  For instance, entitlement reform will take care of immigration reform because illegal labor is subsidized through various federal, state and local channels.  But who are we kidding?  California might be well on the way to bankruptcy, and we will not touch the welfare state we created.)

As was the case in 2008, Ron Paul is not running to win the GOP nomination.  In ’08, Paul wanted to built a political movement, which he did, gaining about 10% of the popular vote at the primaries and coming up in the 4th place by the number of delegates.  That year he refused to endorse the Republican candidate, and although he didn’t actively campaign for President, Paul amassed tens of thousands of write-in votes.  His relative success at the primary elections reflected the fact that the good doctor remained in the contest long after John McCain had won it, when the Republican primary became a two-person non-race and turnout was low.

Ron Paul’s support has grown dramatically since November ’08.  Paul capitalized on the libertarian-minded Tea Party movement, although the Tea Party appears to be lukewarm to his foreign policy ideas.  Here he is being booed at the CNN Tea Party Presidential Debate:

Ron Paul’s campaign is courting disaffected Democrats.  See here, for instance, the Paul campaign crediting their success in Vermont where he got 1/4 of the vote, the state that sent a socialist to the United States Senate, to the Taxes Republican’s appeal to Democrats and independents.  According to the Iowa Primary exit polls, Paul won about 40% of participating moderates and liberals.  He did better than anyone else with people who never attended a caucus.  Likewise, in New Hampshire Primary he won the largest share of self-identified  liberals, and second smallest of the very conservative demographic.  This is two states where Paul did very well, ending up with more than 20% of the vote.

Pundits agree that Paul’s 2012 game plan is to come up with the largest number of delegates possible to secure a prominent place at the Republican National Convention and force his agenda on the Republican party.  It’s his version of the Gramscian Long march, if you will.  While, as I said, I am very open to many Libertarian ideas, his foreign policy position alone should disqualify him from speaking at the national convention.  I fail to see how having Paul speak at the convention will help the Republican brand.  Somewhere between the Ron Paul Newsletter and legal heroin he will turn off most of the country.  Plus, considering that Paulistas caused a ruckus in the recent Missouri caucus, can we expect them to behave on national television?

The Republican establishment will be in a dire straits trying to placate Paul in order to secure his endorsement of the Republican nominee and keep the convention palatable to both the conservative base and the mainstream of the country at the same time.  Because Paul’s son is now building his own career within the Republican party, Paul will probably be a good sport and endorse the winner.  But why tempt fortune?  I don’t want him to be in a position to bargain.  I expect Mitt Romney to solidify his lead by the time of the California primary.  Although I doubt I will be determining the winner, I will turn out to vote for a non-Paul.

February 22, 2012

A Classic History 101 Question

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:23 pm

Do people make history or does history make people?  Was the rise of Napoleon a natural outcome of the French Revolution because all revolutions end in dictatorships, or did Napoleon emerge as a dictator bending history to his will?

If history makes people, we’d see a genuinely conservative candidate emerge in 2012, right?  Because conditions for his election are there: a weak incumbent, a restless base and a country ready for change.  While we have a few promising conservatives waiting down the line — I’m thinking Rubio and Ryan — they are not ready quite yet.  Rich Perry made a mess of his campaign — better luck next time.

Here is King Shamus on not having a Ronald Reagan this time around:

I know that there are no Republicans running for President in 2012 who are even in the same galaxy as President Reagan.  Ronaldus Ultra Magnus has been called a once-in-a-lifetime politician.  Modern conservatives are starting to see just how painfully singular Reagan really was in America’s history.

But would Ronnie want us to just let Barack Obama win this election and drag the country even further into a statist death-hole?  No.  Reagan would tell us to do the right thing and vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.  Emphasis on ‘vote’.

Also remember Operation Counterweight to keep the next White House occupant in check.

But if the current lack of convincing conservative leadership illustrates the importance of personality in history, it can be a cause for optimism.  Someday soon we  will have a leader like Reagan again.  Lets not screw things up in the meantime.

February 1, 2012

Barack Obama: Man of the People?

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 3:04 pm

For reasons beyond my understanding,  The American public continue to believe that Barack Obama can relate to them:

  • 55% say he relates to the needs of average people fairly or very well. Not bad, next to 39% for Mitt Romney and 36% for Newt Gingrich.
  • Some 41% of those polled say Obama doesn’t understand average problems well or at all. Asked the same about Gingrich, 51% agreed; 48% gave the same answer about Romney.
  • Among independent voters, 53% call Obama empathetic, while only 38% and 37% say the same of Romney and Gingrich, respectively.

If so many adults believe that the compulsive golfer who held a real world job briefly and didn’t like it, can relate to their concerns, then Obama needs to be attacked on this issue.  Perhaps the video of the President finding it “interesting” that people can’t find jobs should be played more often:

And maybe there should be more discussion of lavish White House parties off-limits to press and public, and where the First Lady is more likely to shop, Target or Agent Provocateur.

Michelle Obama $450 sneakers

FLOTUS wears $450 sneakers to a soup kitchen

I don’t think this discussion will hurt Republican contenders because the general population perception that they are able to relate to ordinary people is not their strong suit.  For that reason I have a hard time believing that the latest gotcha on Romeny will have much of an effect.

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