Tuesday, October 31, 2006

This is one of those days...

...that I look a how good the KvM guys are and ask myself "Why do I bother doing this?"

So let's ask them.

An interesting line from the Kerry ‘self-swift-boating’ statement caught my brain:

“The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney…”
I got an idea…let’s go ask the troops…who owes you an apology, Kerry or Bush/Cheney?

…and the President’s praise.

One would hope that the following sentiments expressed by President Bush were universal.
“....I cannot tell you how proud I am to be the Commander-in-Chief of such incredibly brave men and women who have volunteered to wear the uniform of the United States. And even in the midst of a heated campaign season, there are still some things we should all be able to agree on – and one of the most important is that every one of our troops deserves our gratitude – and respect….

…Whatever party you belong to, whatever you think about the war in Iraq, we should all agree that our troops deserve our unwavering support. And when it comes to supporting our men and women in uniform, I don’t have any doubt where Mac Collins is going to land. He is a strong supporter of the military. And he knows what I know: Any time you have American troops in harm’s way, they have the right to expect the full support of the American government.”
Too many among us do not feel this reverence. Sadly, many politicians are found in the latter group. Is Amy Klobuchar among them? We may never know, but given the company she keeps, I think we can guess.

The Colossal Kerry Ka-boom…

Allow me to say something slightly at odds with the Republican blogosphere this evening…I do believe that John Kerry was trying to tell a joke. If you’ve been under a rock today and don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the full coverage by Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, and Powerline (and YESSSSS!!! The Kerry Spot is back!!!).

The quote in question:

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
The problem for Kerry is that the idea for the joke had to percolate through his anti-military mind. Thus the attempted joke lost any political references to the White House while picking up residue of his actually held beliefs of those in uniform (but remember…in the liberal mind it’s the intent, not the actual result that matters).

If you doubt my assertion of his “actually held beliefs” recall his previous assertions to the average solder as war criminals like Ghengis Khan and terrorisors of Iraqi women and children, both with zero supporting evidence.

A bow must be given to a couple comments on Miss Malkin's site:

“...He has no idea what he is saying until bloggers spell it out for him.”…“those men and women know that the majority of Americans are a damned sight more grateful for their sacrifices than a has-been war protestor still trying to score cheap political points.”

Is it any wonder why the Democrats tried to suppress the Florida military absentee vote in the 2000 presidential election?

Kerry’s attempt at an explanation (no apology contained therein) shows him to be a disgusting individual.

I suppose Kerry can be forgiven for thinking the military is filled with those of a lesser intelligence. After all, they did award him some purple hearts for a couple scratches.

But never, ever question his patriotism. I won’t. I’ll simply say it. John Kerry is no patriot.

The envelope please...

Apologies for the late awards for last week…

Counterpunch of the Week – Lynn Cheney for her deft and devastating response to Wolf Blitzer of CNN. He invited her on his show to talk about her new children’s book about the 50 states, only to grill her on V.P. Cheney and torture, and to try and equivocate some of her books with that of the more disgusting aspects of Senate candidate Webb’s publications.

Campaign Slogan of the Week – “Punch Foley for Joe.” Foley resigned too late for the Republicans to get the name of his replacement, Joe Negron, on the ballot. Under Florida law, citizens who want to vote for Negron will have to do it under Foley’s name. If Negron wins, it just may be solely due to this very clever slogan.

Mark’s latest ad.

Mark Kennedy has a new ad out supporting the recent tax cuts. Although not as good as his ‘Security’ ad it definitely makes clear the case that, contrary to the DNC mantra, taxes cuts increase revenue, improve the economy and create jobs.

This is two good, solid ads in a row, but probably comes too late to put Kennedy over the top. He needed to start rolling out ads like this a week before he did with a solid series of four quality ads to make up for his earlier bad media work.

However, IF Minnesotans are paying attention to these two ads and IF Minnesotans get an earful for Kerry-Gore talk and IF Minnesotans get a good whif of Kerry’s magnificent anti-soldier gaff yesterday…who knows?

But that’s a lot of ‘IFs.’

The company you keep.

As I mentioned before, Amy Klobuchar did a fair job of sounding like a moderate during the last debate. This is in sharp contrast to the two big guns she’ll be wheeling out during this final week of the campaign…John Kerry and Al Gore.

Now I’ve never been of the opinion that sharing a stage, just once, with a particular person of a particular stripe marks one for life. But to invite two of the most hard-left of the Democrat party come in and speak for you as the race closes? Has to mean something. I mean, why not Joe Lieberman? Ok. I know the answer to that.

So who’s she playing to? Certainly not the average ‘middle of the road’ Minnesotan. No, she’s going after the rabid loonies on the far left of the DFL base (pardon the redundancy).

I hope the Kerry-Gore speeches get lots of airplay. That should be good for at least a couple points for Mark Kennedy…especially after Kerry’s wonderful final week gaff on how stupid our soldiers are.

Monday, October 30, 2006

On the other hand...

They pay closer attention to debates over at Let Freedom Ring, so I’ll refer you to their more positive remarks on Kennedy's debate performance last night between him and Klobuchar and some other guy.

The KvM guys call the debate “…Amy Klobuchar’s thorough clock-cleaning …” I will continue to politely demure.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Debatable value

I really dislike debates. I rarely learn anything of ‘positive’ substance from them. They’re uninformative, contrived, and can be rather embarrassing to watch.

Still, I forced myself to watch portions of the two debates tonight for Senate and Governor.

Let’s start with the Governor’s debate. Of the two this forum had the most polish. As such it was predictable and low on the ‘embarrassment’ quotient. The only thing of real interest I saw was the Independent candidate still promising to steer government from hard issues that the people want addressed, or what he called “the 7 Gs.” I wrote about this before ("Independant Thoughts - 10/01) and can’t believe that he hasn’t figured out that this is a losing position to take. Tim Pawlenty had an excellent response to this assertion that good government means avoiding divisive issues.

I also loved the contradiction by Hatch and Hutchenson that we need to make higher education more affordable by…covering more college expenses for more students! Gee, like that’s going to help keep state expenses down. In Mr. Hutchenson’s case, this includes footing more of the bill for illegal aliens as well.

I saw less of the Senate debate, because I really couldn’t take too much of it. The candidates were amateurish, yielding high embarrassment. The independent candidate, Fitzgerald, was the most professional looking on stage. To bad his answers lacked any link with reality (illegal aliens need full participation in our democracy, or else we have an apartheid government? Please…)

Klobuchar gave answers that were goal-driven, with no process to reach them. She did an excellent job giving answers that belied the liberal label, like support for the patriot act. To be honest, though, she’ll be just another ‘empty suit’ filled by the likes of Clinton, Leahy and Schumer.

My guy Kennedy was a disappointment. We may not need more lawyers in D.C. but they sure do better asking and answering questions during a debate. And he looked terrible. Whatever boost Kennedy got from his ‘Security’ ad, it wasn’t added to tonight, and he may have lost ground by hitting that note one too many times. I have to say, though, he had the best closing remarks.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Too little too late

Mark Kennedy’s ‘Security’ ad hit all the right notes. It injected substance into a race that sorely needed it. Heads swiveled around the nation as it resonated across the state and beyond. Numbers turned.

But as good as it was, it was not enough to reverse a lackluster campaign. The final nail for me was the Rasmussen numbers that were released late this week; Klobuchar 53%, Kennedy 39%. Jim Geraghty at National Review repeated one tale of Minnesota woe from a north metro GOP area:

“I was out door-knocking with our local State Representative candidate…we mostly got the polite brush off...This year, some homes that would normally have a Republican sign politely said no. I think this will be the worst election for Republicans since I’ve been involved in politics. I’m guessing somewhere between 92 and 74.”
Now I don’t believe his will be the final numbers, but a pollster as good as Rasmussen just isn’t off by enough to give Kennedy much of a chance. Yes, the unforeseen is possible but where it would come from, I can’t say. I’m willing to be wrong, especially if I have such good company as Rasmussen.

On November 8th it’s going to be Senator Amy Klobuchar. Get used to it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Powerline over-reaches?

A little review of recent history:

- On October 6th I asked if the Democrats had jumped the shark.
- Last week there were inklings of a shift in the winds as the Foley scandal burned itself out.
- That trend continues this week as poll after poll is released showing improving odds for Republicans.

Minnesota bloggers have caught the fever. Over at Kennedy vs. The Machine there’s news of a tracking poll, tidings of great joy (though unrevealed) for Kennedy supporters. Powerline agrees, stating that the Klobuchar lead has been cut in half in the most recent internal poll.

Count me as skeptical. Not that I don’t wish for the 2006 GOP version of Miracle on Ice, but I tend to be a Doubting Thomas at moments like this; I’ll have to see some evidence with my own eyes that there’s been a fundamental shift in the electorate’s equation.

Powerline’s John Hinderaker uncharacteristically overplays the hand:

One more thought: yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the Wellstone plane crash that, together with his subsequent funeral, was one of the decisive events in the 2002 campaign. Recall how much changed after that tragic accident, which happened just eleven days before the election. We are now twelve days out from November 7. Momentum is flowing in the right direction, and there is plenty of time for Mark and other Republican candidates to close gaps and cement leads.

Except for one thing…Mondale was defeated in 2002 by his party’s unbelievable show of bad taste and lack of grace. There hasn’t been any equal to the ‘funeralconventionrally’ moment that would radically change the course of Minnesota’s Senate election.

I am more than willing to be wrong. I am ready to learn. In that same Powerline post a reference is made to John Podhoretz and “…the difference between that he calls ‘Mainstream Media Time’ and ‘Blog Time’," that the electorate’s focus is moving at the rate of the internet, not the snails pace of the old media.

Podhoretz may be on to something; should Kennedy pull this race out and win, it will point to a paradigm shift much more profound than can be blamed on mere bad prognosticating. Rather, that the Minnesota electorate has gone through a radical change in how it plods through the process, and every future candidate had better learn from it.

Welcome Reason readers!

Welcome to Lazy Gopher Pachyderm!

Reason writer David Weigel posted a response to my critique of his comments about KvM. He responded here and many of you have been thoughtful enough to follow the link he provided.

Given that David's response has provided a 'target rich environment,' rest assured that a response (and necessary defense) is forth coming.

But be patient...this isn't LAZY Gopher Pachyderm for nothing!

A response to Captain Ed

Captain Ed of the Blogging Pantheon has reached out to all and sundry to participate in an energy debate

On May 25th, 1961, President John Kennedy told the nation that America would go to the moon… Kennedy recognized the importance to economics, national security, and national morale of the space program. He foresaw that the mission would outlast his presidency, and that the benefits would far outlast the age…. So I ask CQ readers: is it time for a moon-shot on energy, and if so, what would it take?
Interesting question, but it totally misses political reality. There are two critical differences between the moon-shot and energy self-sufficiency. The former was a technical hurdle never before attempted. The latter is a political hurdle that has been purposefully created under the guise of environmental activism.

Let’s look at a few facets of the issue:

Nuclear power – As Capt. Ed implies this would have to be the lynch-pin of any near-term energy independence project. But normally sane people still react (no pun intended) to fission energy the same way Klansmen did when the first non-wasp moved into the neighborhood. While strides in production and waste issues have been made, don’t expect a rational debate on the subject, making this a non-starter.

Use of present domestic reserves – Yes we easily have “15 years” of reserves, if not more, to help bridge the gap between the present day and the arrival of an independent, low-use fossil fuel economy. But there are many roadblocks to this as well. First, the ‘global-warming-caused-by-man’ religionists will not stand idly by for the years Capt. Ed suggests. Like the child in the high chair, they want their fossil fuel reductions <*bang!*> NOW! Damn the consequences!

Second, it may take 15 years to ramp up the refining and delivery infrastructure to handle all the oil and gas we would produce internally in order to be fossil fuel independent.

Third, if modern day environmental sensibilities won’t allow drilling in an easy call like ANWR because me may <*gasp!*> disturb a polar bear, what chance do he have of any meaningful nation-wide recovery efforts?

Those nasty, big oil companies – Energy is not a mom-n-pop business. It will always require huge capital expenditures and infrastructure, as well as long-term (read multi-decade) foresight and planning. A national policy spanning just 15 years will have to work hand-in-glove with the Exxons and Chevrons of the world. I don’t see a political party with leaders like Howard Dean and Chuck Schumer buying into that without heavy government manipulation of the energy market…which would render the whole project moot, of course.

And it’s not just Democrats…Minnesota’s own Senate candidate Mark Kennedy (R) has been eagerly pandering to the anti-corporate environmental left (note that it hasn’t helped him any).

If I had dedication to writing like a Captain possessed (this blog ain’t “Lazy” for nothin’) I could go on, but I think I’ve already pointed out enough political Berlin Walls to show that Captain Ed’s exercise is an interesting idea for rational minds, but there are too many nutters in positions of power and influence to make it happen.

Oh…one last thing…JFK presented his vision to a nation that believed in itself, our moral foundations and strived for its continued existence. The boomers and gen-X-ers ignorantly dismiss all such ‘jingoisms’ amid a brain-wash of relativism and historical unconsciousness.

Besides, didn’t Bush already present a plan with many of these elements, but without the moon-shot rhetoric, only to have it crash and burn on lift-off?

Day by Day

If you've never read it, do so! It's a great web cartoon.

You can see the best summary of the Democrat position on Iraq in this installment.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

ABCs remarkable bias

I haven’t watched ABC nightly news for some time, if for no other reason, there’s nothing to be learned. By the time I watch it, I’ve already read or heard just about everything they have to say…in more depth, too (Rush’s term ‘drive by media’ is quite apt).

Tonight ABC decided to concentrate on the Tennessee Senate race between Corker (R) and Ford (D). The first thing they mentioned is that Corker is behind an ascendant Ford in this state that voted twice for Bush, the second that the GOP effort is tainted by racism as evidenced by a commercial run by the RNC.

The bias of the first point is that ABC gives no support for the ‘Corker is behind’ contention. In fact five polls have been released in the last week. Four show Corker ahead and one is a tie, a decided shift in Corker’s favor.

The bias of the second point is that there is no racism in the commercial, unless you really, really are digging for ways to be offended. My wife and I both viewed the ABC presentation of the ad and couldn’t understand where the ‘racism’ came into play.

But ABC DID miss actual racism on display by Ford’s father outside one of his campaign offices as he referred to a Corker supporter as a “cracker.”

Finally, while not related to the two events above, ABC did not bother to report Ford’s major gaff last Friday as he crashed a Corker press conference (perphaps this evenings piece was ABCs attempt at damage control).

ABCs desire to make Ford look like a winner in control and Corker a struggling second placer was all too obvious, particularly in light of a couple of easily researched facts.

Kline runs the ad Kennedy needed.

Last Friday it looked like Kennedy found some campaign footing at the last possible minute by airing a substantive ad on Iraq. I commented on it here. It was a wonderful chance to turn his flagging campaign around, but alas, it looks as if the moment has slipped by due to the lack of follow through.

The one ad wasn’t enough. Kennedy needed to make a series of bold pronouncements on other current issues to contrast substantive policy with Klobuchar’s vacuity. The Kline ad on immigration is exactly what he should have put out as a follow-up no later than this last Monday. But with only 12 days left and no evidence to contradict the unanimity of the polls, something big better happen within the next 48 hours.

Revisiting that Zogby Poll

Last week there was great excitement (here and elsewhere) over the new Zogby poll numbers that placed Mark Kennedy just 7.5 points behind Amy Klobuchar.

In retrospect, that excitement was premature. Looking at the Zogby polls throughout this year for the race we find that they’ve been very consistent, ranging from +6 to +9 for Klobuchar (for the mathematically disinclined, 7.5 splits that range perfectly). In other words, Kennedy 'marking time' at best. Far from positive news, this is bad, particularly with both Rasmussen and Survey USA polls trending deep against Kennedy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No Longer Reasonable

I suppose it’s a badge of honor when a national magazine mentions your local blog. No, not LGP here, but KvM has apparently earned the ire of Reason magazine; the latter calling the former a blog that “[pushes for] Mark Kennedy by... bashing state and national Democrats.”

The KvM guys respond, of course. They give Reason high marks and ‘good vibes (quite undeserved in my opinion), more or less debunking the Gillespian shroud that has been draped over them. But like Reason, they never quite come to the heart of the issue. Is KvM’s support of Kennedy nothing more than DFL/DNC bashing? They sorta say so without really making the case. Personally I would substitute the word ‘unmasking’ for ‘bash.’

Let me enter an aside here…I used to be a faithful Reason subscriber. My time with them spanned more than 10 years, mostly during the Virginia Postrel incarnation. I even contributed to the Reason Foundation. My agreement with their editorial positions was never complete, but they were an interesting read on whatever they covered.

I dropped the magazine during a time when my reading hours were greatly reduced, only to return after Nick Gillespie had taken full control and fashioned it in his own image. It was a tremendous let-down. Depth and insight was replaced with ‘attitude’ and mockery. Not completely, but enough to cancel my fledgling re-uppance after a few short months.

David Weigels piece blasting KvM is a case in point. Three paragraphs are spent roasting Hugh Hewitt for uncritically blessing very move by Bush and the GOP. Weigel’s supporting arguments? Well, none really. We just have to take his word for it. Proof that Hewitt is barking up the wrong tree? Amazon’s discount price for ‘Painting the Map Red.’ Like that never happened before.

That’s about it; that’s what passes for ‘thinking’ in Reason’s world. But anyone who has heard Hewitt’s show knows that the Weigel charge is fraudulent. Yes, Hugh does preach vociferously during this election season that “Republicans are better than Democrats.” Yet any honest libertarian (and I have been known to vote that ticket) would grudgingly agree. And therein lies my beef with today’s Reason; they’ve discarded a measure of thoughtfulness for “’tude, dude!” Weigel has produced a screed that is symptomatic of his publication’s inability to, oddly enough, ‘reason.’ What probably really irks them about Hewitt is his assertion that to vote libertarian is to vote “losertarian” (as he said on his show this evening), and that he’s launched more ‘National Review’ type thinkers than Reason could ever dream of producing for their world view. But such an admission would require a level of honesty that seems to have dissipated since the Postrel era.

So back to KvM; they should not be in any way dismayed or mislead by Reason’s assessment. KvMs Gary Miller still “strongly recommends” Reason. I no longer do. Gentlemen can disagree agreeably. That’s the upside of thinking.

Playing the political markets

I think I'd be buying the 'GOP Holds the House' contract right about now...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ask and ye shall receive

Yesterday I ended one of my blog posts by saying “Getting out a well done national security ad just might delay [my Kennedy pre-mortem] post an additional week all by itself…”

Well lo and behold today the Kennedy campaign released a national security ad. Now I’ve been pretty tough on Kennedy’s ads. Impressed I’ve not been. So I was very pleasantly surprised at this one called ‘Security,’ his best ad so far. It zeros in on one of Klobuchar’s weakest points; the willingness to abandon military action against, in favor of diplomacy with, those whose ‘afterlife bliss’ depends on them killing us.

It’s not a home run. I would have tweaked the script just a bit, but on the whole it’s very well done; a serious ad on a serious issue where before I saw too much fluff ‘n nonsense and gimmickry.

If this weeks Zogby poll is correct, that Kennedy has closed to 7.5 points away from Klobuchar, this ad will no doubt continue the momentum.

Heck, I just might get off my duff and do some GOTV work for him.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Anti-Strib goes Anti-Anti-Strib?

The blog Anti-Strib has taken the unusual step of role reversal…applauding (rather than chastising) the silliness of the Star Tribune, particularly on the editorial page. At issue is the STRIBS ‘Letter of the Day’ for October 17th:

According to the media, a conservative -- or a Republican, for that matter -- has to be someone who is a white Evangelical Christian who cannot stand the "immorality" of the left, and is a champion of government advocating spirituality and "values."

I am a conservative, and I am a Republican. Yet I am none of the above. I am a Barry Goldwater conservative. I value limited government. I don't care whether you are gay and want to get married because I value a limited government. I do not care what name you call God and how often you go to church, because I value a limited government.

Goldwater had it right when he said that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell need "a swift kick in the ass."

I value the free market and the entrepreneur. Lower taxes are the way to achieve this. Low taxes are the essence of the limited government that I value.

I also value a strong national defense. I value an engaged foreign policy in a post-9/11 world. We cannot sit idle while others think of ways to attack.

These are my core Republican "values." I want my party back.


Anti-STRIB, which bills itself as a conservative blog, praises this letter as “A Letter Of The Day That I Think We Can All Agree With!!!”

What follows is the response I posted in their comment section. I reproduce it here, since I’ve seen this rather strange sentiment before…

Garrick's letter is nonsensical; it can be summed up thus; the GOP will be "back" once they embrace gay marriage like they used to.

Trouble is, the GOP Garrick (and apparently Anti-STRIB) pines for never existed. It's historical ignorance to insist that the GOP, or for that matter the pre-80s Democrat party, was not guided by "values." HHH extolled rhapsodically on the value and virtues of the nuclear family. Neither party would have supported gay marriage; the unanimity prevented it from becoming an issue. Goldwater didn't support it either during his political life. All the other issues Garrick wants are still part and parcel of the GOP (except for the Chafee wing, of course, which is hardly 'conservative'...)

Perhaps his error is rooted in the faith that "the media" is giving out the straight (no pun intended) story. No wonder the STRIB called it The Letter of the Day. What is confusing is why 'Anti-Strib' thought it worthy of praise...

Itchy trigger finger....

About a week ago I wrote a ‘pre-mortem’ for Mark Kennedy’s U.S. Senate campaign. After putting on the finishing touches I decided, for some reason, to give Mr. Kennedy one more week to come up with SOMETHING to indicate a reversal of his flagging fortunes before calling the race ‘over and done.’

Today a Zogby poll came out showing that Klobuchar’s lead over Kennedy has dropped to 7.5 points. Now the race was never going to be a 15+ pointer as polls have indicated up until now, and such a narrowing was to be expected in the final days. But to suddenly be within 8 points with three weeks left to go…that’s enough to give one pause. It’s still an up-hill battle for Kennedy (historically a late closer), but I’ll hold off on that post for one more week.

Getting out a well done national security ad just might delay that post an additional week all by itself…

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Looking at the Wetterling numbers

To expand on my previous post, one can certainly find polls showing Democrat leads that are questionable at best. Let’s take the Wetterling poll released by the STRIB today showing an 8 point lead over Bachmann.

First, if that’s all the lead the STRIB gives Wetterling, I consider it good news for Bachmann. Second, the poll weights the male/female split at 42%/58%. That hardly sounds representative of the district demographics, or the historical voting split. Third, the poll samples by party affiliation at 30% GOP, 34% Democrat, and 36% Independent. Given the district’s history, I don’t see any reason for such a split. Here’s the result from the last two Congressional races:

2002: 57 35
2004: 54 46

In order for the poll to be reliable there has to have been a huge swing away from the tendency to vote Republican. I live in the 6th and just don’t see any reason to think the district has become that big of a Democrat/Independent bastion.

Jeff Kouba over at the blog Bachmann vs.Wetterling points out that all previous non-STRIB polls had an even mix of male/female voters as well as a max of 28% independent and minimum of 37% Republican; Bachmann was ahead in all of them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Surfing the Polls

Captains Quarters (here) and KvM (here) each think they have found a silver lining in the cloud of bad polls for Republicans. CQ leans on a New York Times article that shows the GOP very much in the thick of things, while KvM is trusting the word of Klobuchar’s campaign manager (!) that there are still too many undecideds to assure victory for Klobuchar’s Senate race.

Before we get all cozy and warm about these two examples, let us take a lesson from this week’s Monday Night Football game between the Bears and the Cardinals. The Cards had a commanding lead going into the 4th quarter, but for some reason let down while the Bears defense and kick-return unit scored two touchdowns (the offense produced squat!).

The Democrats know they’re leading, but are running the risk that their base may take a win for granted, perhaps to the point of not showing up when it comes time to actually vote. The Democrats will try to paint a not-so-rosy picture so the base doesn't get complacent

Monday, October 16, 2006

The envelope please…

Winner of the Week – The Nobel committee actually made an excellent choice for the Peace Prize this year. Not some failed American president or mindless pacifist, but Muhammad Yunus, founder of the microcredit revolution. Media details were sketchy but I learned more from financial guru Mark Skousen, a free-market thinker; “A former professor at the Chittagong University in Bangladesh, the world's poorest country, Yunus founded the Grameen Bank to provide small loans (usually only $200-$300!) to needy entrepreneurs. His bank is not a charity. It charges 18% interest on its micro-loans but it only has a 5% default rate. It's an incredible story of how the non-government private sector can solve the poverty problem.”

Idiot quote of the Week - “If fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and bearing a cross.”

This was seen by a friend on a bumper sticker but I discovered after quick research that his is actually a quote of Sinclair Lewis. I’ve always distained his works, and now I have a better inkling as to why; only a twisted view of the world could embrace such an absurd conclusion. I followed a few other web links that contained the quote and was immersed in world of utterly insipid leftist blather.

A weekend away

Sorry for the dearth of posts since last Thursday. I found myself out of town for the duration. I'll try to make amends shortly...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Difference like Night and Day

A great visual posted over at KvM presents proof that collectivism doesn't work.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Time to dig in on REAL issues

Last week I suggested a response to the Foley kerfuffle; Republicans should go on an issues offensive and talk about War on Terror, taxes, economic growth, and border protection. I notice that one GOP candidate has cut an apology commercial (I wish I could remember who). I’m willing to bet that this will not placate any who might be detractors, nor will it shore up his base.

Bill Krystol has an excellent comparison of the two choices facing the American voter this fall. One the one side is our own Patty Wetterling continuing to spout her trifecta lie that GOP leaders “…admitted to covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the internet to molest children.” On the other side is Nancy Johnson (CT) broadcasting a serious ad on a serious issue, listing to calls from Al Qeada into the U.S.

There are four weeks left in the campaign. That’s enough time for every GOP candidate to make and broadcast ads that show that the GOP is serious when it comes to global terror, the economy, and border protection where the Democrats are not. It’s the only way put the Foley matter to rest and steel ourselves for at least one more Democratic media bombshell.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"

I was all set today to write a piece on how losing seats in an off-year is, historically speaking, no reason to throw over House Speaker Hastert. No matter now. Today Hastert gave us reason enough not to elect him to a leadership post in the next Congress.

While the North Korean ‘nuclear test’ pushed the Foley kerfuffle off the front pages, Hastert brought it right back by calling a news conference to discuss it! The only word for this is ‘stupid.’ It is politically dim-witted beyond belief. When the club you’ve been bashed with is dropped, you don’t pick it up and give it back to the assailant.

In positions of high-stress, it’s not unusual for people to ’snap.’ It doesn’t have to be a violent or radical display, but simply an obvious inability to further cope with the slings and arrows. Hastert has snapped.

Should he announce his intent not to seek leadership now, or should the GOP caucus start talking about throwing him over? That would almost be in the same league; not matter what the reason, such an announcement or action would be reported as resulting from the Foley kurfuffle, thus keeping the story in the front pages for additional days. Save it for after the election.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What did Rahm know and when did he know it?

Rahm Emmanuel (who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) was on ABCs This Week hosted by former Clinton advisor George Stephonopolis. Twice during a short time Emmanuel was asked 'Did you know about the Foley’s messages to or behavior?' Both times the answer was evasive; “I never saw them.”

That’s a clever side-step. He was asked about what he knew or had heard, not what he had seen. The Democrats have pretty much said that this was a scandal going deep and wide involving practically the entire GOP caucus. All that under their very noses...and they hadn't a clue until last Friday? Extraordinary!

Careful, Ms. Pelosi...if just one House Democrat had any inkling of Foley's behavior, the entire party will be hoist in its own petard.

The Envelope Please...

Sage Observation of the Week - “…[The Foley incident is] a marginal improvement on last week's big controversy, which was which particular Virginia Senate candidate used the N-word in 1927, or whenever it was. I mean, this is not the behavior of a mature democracy at a time of profound international challenges.” – Mark Steyn

(Please read the above quote a second time before continuing...)

Quote of the Week – “Not being debated, though, is what the status of the war in Iraq might be today if Democrat leaders and the media had conducted themselves differently. If all the successes of American troops in Iraq had been reported as studiously as the setbacks, would terrorists have been able to convince their young, impressionable followers that they were winning? If it were clear to the Iraqi people that politicians in D.C. were committed to finishing the mission in Iraq, would the attitude of the people there be different? If politicians and anti-war activists had not accused our own troops of engaging in torture, and worse, would world opinion, and specifically the opinion of the Iraqi people, be different?” - Lorie Byrd

Should Speaker Hastert Signal his Resignation?

Not too long ago I crossed swords with Gary at Kennedy vs. The Machine over Speaker Hastert and the Foley resignation. While he has re-thought his position on immediate resignation, Gary still calls for Hastert to announce that he will not seek re-election as speaker in the next Congress.

With regret, I have to say once again that I’m not on Gary’s side in this. And again, he relies on a commentator who spins the story wrong (Salina Zito); there’s no appearance that Republicans “put politics first and consequences second.” let alone allowing Foley to “…have carte blanche access to abusing his power…”

Gary’s argument is based on the fact that Hastert has been losing seats in the House, but even that reasoning circles back to the Foley revelations. To wit:

“Scarcely 10 days ago it seemed probable the GOP would keep its losses to high single digits. The much-ballyhooed wave we had been told to expect since late spring had dissipated. Check that — it was never there. Hastert’s lack of oversight in the Foley matter, however, will put at least an additional half-dozen House seats at risk. It is, in the words of John McGlaughlin, a near “ontological certainty” the Democrats will gain a narrow majority.”
Gary is quite correct in the first two sentences. Where he goes wrong, in my view, is what he says in the next phrase. There is little in the time-line of the Foley e-mails and I-Ms that indicate a lack of oversight on Hastert’s part. In my view Hastert acted correctly given the information he received. And when the lascivious I-Ms came to his attention, the same day they did for the rest of us, Hastert told Foley ‘Resign or be tossed out’ even before the public at large knew what was going on (something the Democrats have not shown they would be willing to do).

So what would be the effect of a pre-election announcement by Hastert that he would not seek re-election?

First of all, it would not take the Foley events off the front page. On the contrary, it would extend the headlines. Democrats and the media (pardon the redundancy) are already swimming like sharks in blood-filled waters. Such an announcement would only ratchet up the frenzy. Witness the media now trying to continue the story over Foley's contact with a consenting adult!

Second, the Democrats owe what success they’ve had in blocking House GOP efforts to one very important strategy…decapitating the GOP leadership. To signal such weakness ahead of time unnecessarily gives them a victory that would build their momentum. Rather than staunch the bleeding, such a move would likely tip the balance of an additional House seat or two against Republicans.

I personally think very little of the civic mind that allows a vote to be determined by the Foley escapade. It’s been blown so far out of proportion that it’s difficult to take seriously anymore. I commend to Gary the recent column by Mark Steyn for perspective.

Should the GOP lose the house, Hastert should not seek any caucus leadership. But if the GOP retains the majority, his choice would depend on how many seats were lost, and who the alternative would be.

The biggest problem for the House Republicans over the years is loss of leadership at the top. When will we learn to stand by our guys?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Have the Democrats Jumped the Shark?

(for an explanation of 'Jumping the Shark' click here)

It’s really too early to say for sure, but let’s tick off a few observations:

1) Patty Wetterling continues to peddle ads that even the media consider provably false or have no basis in fact.
2) Republicans are beginning to recover from the Foley fallout. Witness the Iowa electronic market; the GOP is back to the 50% mark for keeping the House after reaching a low of 43%.
3) Sen. George Allen has now grown a double digit lead in his Virginia re-election race. The ‘n-word’ smear isn’t sticking.
4) The Ohio Senate race has pulled into a tie.
5) The Missouri Senate race has pulled into a tie, perhaps with a small lead for Talent (R).
6) Over at the Daily Kos, Kos himself is not only ‘factually challenged’ on the Foley case (to put it mildly), but has lambasted former Democrat, now Independent, Senate incumbent Joe Lieberman for supporting an approach to the incident that doesn’t involve partisan ranting and raving.
And let’s add a surmise to the mix; the public, perhaps, is beginning to figure out the Democrats. They have no ideas or counter-proposals. All they have is attempted smear and scandal launched during October Surprises. Witness the last minute DUI charge against George Bush in 2000, the ‘fake-but-true’ National Guard memos hawked by Dan Rather and CBS in 2004, now the perfectly timed Foley IMs.

There’s an obvious pattern here than even the most politically disinterested American can begin to appreciate; slime seems to be the only election weapon that the Democrats seem to want to use. I’m certain that the Foley incident isn’t the only non-issue based smear the Democrats will try to ride. But it will be interesting to see if the public, even the media, have the stomach for another round like this.

If the Republicans are smart, they’ll start speaking in a unified voice about the War on Terror, taxes, economic growth, and border protection.

Let’s watch over the next week and see what happens.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

This is STUNNING....If True...

Holy Shamoley!


Matt Drudge is reporting that the I-Ms that got Foley to resign and the Republicans in hot water were part of a PRANK run by the pages themselves! Read the report here...

Drudge tends to be quickly dismissed, but he was the one who broke and stood by the 'stained dress' story. At least here in the U.S.

The by-line to Lazy Gopher Pachyderm says, among other things, "...ignore the babble, and wait for the other shoe to drop." How true in this case...

Watch this developing facet of the whole developing story closely. The possible ramifications are too immense to imagine right now...

Patty Wetterling’s Dishonesty, the Star-Tribune’s Complicity.

This is a tale of two Patty Wetterling TV ads forming a trend.

Ad number one claims that her opponent for the 6th district House seat, Michelle Bachman, is for a national sales tax that would ad 23% to the cost of just about everything you buy, resulting in a much higher tax burden for everyone. This was so misleading that WCCO and even DNC-fax-machine Star Tribune had to take note.

Wetterling’s ad falls on two critical points: 1) that the tax would REPLACE the existing income tax, and 2) Candidate Bachman hasn’t endorsed the tax proposal as presented, simply calling it “worthy of debate.”

Now Wetterling has an even more egregious ad claiming that House Republican leaders have “…admitted to covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the internet to molest children.”

This, of course, is a lie. The same STRIB reporter in his blog says that he can find no support for such a statement. Yet in a story about the Wetterling ad, the STRIB fails to mention that there is absolutely no evidence for the claim (although a small change is made at the end of the web edition of the story).

Given the two back-to-back ads, I think we can say that Patty Wetterling is not a very honest person. This is a tragic down-fall for someone who once had the moral high-ground through the abduction and disappearance of her son. Maybe that’s why the STRIB is not reporting what it should.

Hugh Hewitt’s blog is all over this here, here and here.

Thoughts from Captain’s Quarters are here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Kennedy vs. The Machine Imitates Amy Klobuchar

The guys over at Kennedy vs. The Machine have gone loopy. They’ve joined with the Washington Post’s incomprehensible call for Speaker Hastert to resign.

According to The Post, “The facts of the disgrace of Mark Foley, who was a Republican member of the House from a Florida district until he resigned last week, constitute a disgrace for every Republican member of Congress.” Nonsense! The Post reaches this 'guilt by party affiliation' verdict by massively over-blowing the contents of the e-mail made known to the speaker. The editorial gets the initial facts wrong and spins wildly out of control from there.

It’s tough to take seriously any Republican who so easily steps into a Democrat-Media trap. Given the known timeline of events, Hastert did the right thing. KvM’s call shatters their credibility.

Interestingly enough, their comment option has been ‘disabled’ since Monday afternoon. Hmmmm…..

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Envelope, Please…

Sorry these are late for last week. Time for a little catch-up.

Quote of the Week - "The implication that if you stop killing or capturing people who are trying to kill you, that therefore the world would be a better place is obviously nonsensical." - Donald Rumsfeld.

History lesson of the week - “The Bush Cheney Adminstration not only failed to stop 9/11 from happening, but for five years failed to bring Osama bin Laden to justice even though they had him cornered at Tora Bora --they yanked our special forces out of there to send them into Iraq.” – Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT)

Um…Senator…Tora Bora took place in December of 2001…? And the resolution to invade Iraq was introduced in October of 2002…? And troops weren’t sent for invasion until 2003…?

Monday, October 02, 2006

A ‘Must Read’…the real Guantanamo Story.

Legal blogger Patterico will be presenting a series of interviews about what really happens at Guantanamo. His subject was not only willing to talk with him, but is responding to posted comments.

But why do members of the military talk to blogs and not the ‘regular’ media? In the subject's own words:

“I don’t trust them to factually report anything I say. I’ve read you and trust you.”
Start your education here.

A bad week for the Democrats on policy, for the GOP on media fronts.

The Democrats got nailed in the Congressional chambers last week. On the detainee issue, Bush pretty much got what he wanted, a fair approximation of what has always been done. But when listening to the irrational rantings and historical/military revision of Democrat Senators Pat Leahy, Ted Kennedy and Bob Kerry, one shudders at the thought of them actually setting policy in the General War on Terror. Republicans can pretty much use this as campaign fodder for the undecideds or unenthused who understand the war on terror. From my Minnesota perspective, I care more now about the race between Kennedy and Klobuchar than I did last week. I’ll be making my first contribution to his campaign.

The second issue was the vote for 700 miles of fence on the Mexican border. This will help bring the base back home as it has been very dissatisfied with the DC GOP’s lack of action on this issue.

This was overshadowed - heck, shoved into non-existance - by two media plays. The first was the release of the Bob Woodward book that claims to detail how dissenting voices on Iraq were squashed in the administration so the American people could be lied to. The ‘other shoe’ is beginning to drop here and we’ll cover more on this later, but suffice it to say that the principles quoted in the book are crying foul, and that 'secret information' claimed by Woodward were never secrets. In the plus column on this one is that the Republicans seem to playing a bit of offense on this issue, with Andrew Card giving interviews saying that, among other things, Woodward took him “completely out of context” over his comments on Rumsfeld to President Bush.

The second was the resignation of Florida Congressman Mark Foley, which the media and the Democrats (sorry for the redundancy) are trying to leverage into a representation of the entire Republican party. Again, other shoes are dropping, but the media will use this to keep real news off the front page and nightly news. I've already seen a couple very biased reports on the issue; it will keep the GOP off-balance for this week, maybe more. As above, more on this later.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Independant Thoughts

Another bit of information I picked up at the Minnesota State Fair this year was some of the pitches by the Independence Party of Minnesota. They have this idea that Jesse Ventura started a political movement that only need be built upon. The party symbol, buy the way, is the buffalo; “Strong. Agile. Hardworking. And able to thrive in almost any conditions.” (But don’t these ‘independent’ creatures also move only in herds?)

Anyway, about that ‘thrive’ part, I don’t think they’ll be able to build on Jesse’s previous accomplishment, a governorship that was so successful that he didn’t bother to run for a second term. Not to mention that his win was almost completely personality-based. None of this year’s candidates are really turning anybody’s crank.

What sticks out to me is their general pitch. They’ve managed to take what has become known as the ‘three Gs’ of southern campaigning (God, guns and gays) and morphed it into 7. To wit: they want to move the state “forward” by brushing aside “…issues on which Minnesotans will not agree like the 7 Gs: guns, gays, God, gambling, gynecology (abortion), green cards (immigration), and gladiators (stadiums).”

Whew! In other words, we’re going to avoid the HARD issues and only work on those that have massive public support. Now that’s LEADERSHIP!

So what’s an Independent platform that causes no significant disagreement? Well, for one, “Fix the long-ignored problems with our roads and get serious about transit.” Another… “Double the odds of Minnesota students getting a college degree – and being able to afford it.” Or “Cut the cost of health care 20%, triple the odds of getting best [sic] care, and assure coverage for every Minnesotan.”

Gee. I can’t imagine there would be any disagreement over those goals. Unless, of course, it had anything to do with how to go about achieving them. Therein lies the great untold story that, once told, will no doubt become additional issues that “divide Minnesotans.”

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