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January 26, 2012

Ridin' High In Florida

Shot down in South Carolina he's back on top in Florida.  Mitt Romney has shown that he can win a debate. 

A poll by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research for Newsmax put Mr. Romney ahead with 40% compared with Mr. Gingrich’s 32%. Rep. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum picked up 9% and 8% respectively. The earlier survey, taken after Mr. Gingrich’s surprise win in South Carolina, showed Mr. Gingrich ahead by eight points. Until Mr. Gingrich’s strong showing in South Carolina, Mr. Romney had been ahead in the Florida polls.

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey found Mr. Romney in the lead, 39%-31%, with Mr. Santorum at 12% and Mr. Paul at 9%. Electability was a factor, the pollsters found. At the start of the week, 42% of those surveyed said Mr. Gingrich would be the stronger candidate against President Barack Obama. But after a nationally televised debate and intense campaigning, 49% now think Mr. Romney would more likely to unseat the president while 34% pick Mr. Gingrich. The poll’s margin of error is four percentage points

I think the Tea Party is finally sobering up, and lest anyone be offended I include myself in that group.  All along we've been hoping for the perfect conservative candidate and the fact is, we'd never agree on what that is.  It's becoming clear in Florida is that Newt might very well become this year's Christine O'Donnel, knocking out the reliably conservative Mitt Romney so that he can lose in the general election to Barack Obama.  It's time to stop fooling around.

Mitt is our guy.  Newt Gingrich disqualified himself when he attacked Mitt's record at Bain Capital.  That is precisely what this election is all about.  Are we going to promote free markets, or should markets be more tightly controlled by the federal government?  By attacking Bain, Newt has come down on the side of more federal control.  That's the same side as Obama, but that's not the important thing.

Tea Partiers are terrified at the prospect of four more years of Barack Obama.  It's becoming quite clear that Newt needs debates with plenty of applause to be a successful candidate, because he really doesn't have much else.  He won't have such a sympathetic audience when he's debating Barack Obama.

He has grand ideas but grand ideas aren't enough.  You gotta get things done, and he didn't get himself on the Virginia primary ballot.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 05:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Obama's Fair Share

I didn't bother to watch Obama's State of the Union address.  It would have annoyed hell out of me.  All too predictably it was a campaign speech and nothing more.  Obama's campaign speeches invariably appeal to envy.

We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.

As always, Obama's call for everyone to do their fair share is really an accusation that somebody is not.  Who could that be?

How embarrassing this must be for President Obama, whose major speech theme so far this campaign season has been that every single American, no matter how rich, should pay their "fair share" of taxes.

Because how unfair -- indeed, un-American -- it is for an office worker like, say, Warren Buffet's secretary to dutifully pay her taxes, while some well-to-do people with better educations and higher incomes end up paying a much smaller tax rate.

Or, worse, skipping their taxes altogether.

A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that 36 of President Obama's executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes. These people working for Mr. Fair Share apparently haven't paid any share, let alone their fair share.

Obama stokes the engine for his re-election with envy and jealousy.  It's his his plan for deflecting blame from how own policy failures, and unfortunately there might just be enough people willing to accept his easy answer:  The rich — that would be the Republicans — are to blame.

To some extent he's been successful.  The Occupy Wall Street crowd listens to him.  They are his creatures, the ones most receptive to his message.  They heard it and rushed out into the street to demand answers.  How is it possible that somebody has something and that they don't have.  Somebody must be made to pay. 

But it turns out that Obama's people do pretty well, yet somehow they've been reluctant to pay their fair share.  No surprise there.  Taxes are for the little people.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 01:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 20, 2012

Here's Where I'm Confused

Watching Newt Gingrich take down CNN's John King was refreshing, even invigorating.  It would have been even sweeter had Gingrich asked King whether or not he was aware of the affair between John Edwards and Reille Hunter at the time he was reporting on the 2004 Presidential campaign.  If yes, why didn't you ask him about it?  If no, how do you call yourself a journalist?

But here's where I'm confused. 

Gingrich finally got around to declaring Marianne Gingrich's allegations “false” and said that his campaign had offered several mutual friends who could disprove the charges but that ABC declined to use them.

How would a mutual friend be able to disprove Marianne Gingrich's allegations?  Were any of them present for the conversation that she described in her interview?  Seems unlikely, unless maybe Callista was hiding in the closet at the time.  But then how would Callista qualify as a "mutual friend" to Marianne Gingrich.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 08:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Santorum's Last Gasp

Santorum's only hope for winning the nomination is if nobody was watching last night's debate.  His was a cringe-worthy performance, as described by Michael Medved.

The big loser: Rick Santorum, whose insufferably sanctimonious demeanor answered all questions about why social conservatives have begun to coalesce around Newt Gingrich rather than the former Pennsylvania senator. His decision to issue smug, full-bore attacks on every one of his rivals backfired badly. He ended up playing the role of skunk at the garden party, more eager to snicker at opponents than to make an emotional connection with the electorate. Any chance for Santorum to reverse recently plummeting poll numbers vanished with this debate.

I just wanted to tell Santorum to wipe that smirk off his face.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 06:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2012

Look What You Made Me Do!

Obama has rejected construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

President Barack Obama said the decision, which put the pipeline on hold following a review that began in 2008, "is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline" and criticized next month's deadline as "arbitrary." The administration suggested that the pipeline's builder, TransCanada Corp., could reapply.

Under review since 2008 and it's the Republicans' fault because the Obama administration doesn't have time to make a decision?

Posted by Tom Bowler at 06:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Importance of Bain Capital

Casting Bain Capital as metaphor for the period of American economic history between 1980 and 1989, Daniel Henninger credits it with rescuing the U.S. economy.

Arguably, the primary force that set off the 1980s upheaval in U.S. corporate restructuring was the deregulation begun by Jimmy Carter and continued by Ronald Reagan. Airlines, ground transportation, cable and broadcasting, oil and gas, banking and financial services all experienced regulatory rollback. Meanwhile, a competitive, globalized marketplace was rising. Management at some of America's biggest companies, confused by these rapid changes, found themselves sitting on huge piles of unused or poorly deployed cash and assets.

Thousands of Mitt Romneys allied with huge pension funds representing colleges, unions and the like, plus a rising cadre of institutional money managers, to force corporate America to reboot. In the 1980s almost half of major U.S. corporations got takeover offers.

Singling out this or that Bain case study amid the jostling and bumping is pointless. This was a historic and necessary cleansing of the Augean stables of the American economy. It caused a positive revolution in U.S. management, financial analysis, incentives, governance and market-based discipline. It led directly to the 1990s boom years. And it gave the U.S. two decades of breathing room while Europe, with some exceptions, choked.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 06:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2012

Misreading The Tea Leaves

Two items:

Rasmussen reports that Obama loses in a match up against "the generic Republican."

A generic Republican candidate now holds a five-point lead over President Obama in a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 15.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters would support the generic Republican candidate if the presidential election were held today, while 42% would vote for Obama.  Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.

Nancy Pelosi says that she knows Mitt Romney can't win against Obama.

“If the far right thought that Romney could win, they might be more enthusiastic about him,” Pelosi told POLITICO’s Mike Allen during Tuesday’s Playbook Breakfast. “But they question what he stands for and they don’t think he’s going to win. So what’s the sell? I’m not sure he knows what he stands for, and that makes it harder too.”

But according to the most recent CBS poll, among primary voters nationwide Romney draws slightly more support from the Tea Party than from non-Tea Party voters.  On top of that he draws more Tea Party support than any of the rest of the Republican candidates.

Pelosi doesn't understand that Mitt Romney is "the generic Republican."  Romney is not the Tea Party's ideal candidate.  So, why does he get more Tea Party support than any of the rest of the field?  It's precisely because Tea Partiers believe he can win.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 08:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2012

Help Wanted: Straw Men Needed For Progressive Campaigns

Demand is on the upswing among progressive's for any issue, however remotely plausible, with which to bludgeon Republicans.  Peter Beinart is quick to the market with an innovative approach to playing the race card.  After watching the Myrtle Beach GOP presidential debate Beinart concludes that the GOP is "ill prepared to compete in an increasingly nonwhite America."

Gingrich’s problem isn’t racism; it’s ignorance. Only someone profoundly ignorant of African-American politics would suggest that black Americans have spent the past few decades seeking food stamps, not jobs.

I should point out that in no way did Gingrich suggest that African-Americans might prefer food stamps to jobs.  That invention belongs to Beinart.  And while he was busily setting up and knocking over his straw man, he managed to miss the core issue.  And I do believe he missed it.

The number one problem facing black Americans is the same one facing the rest of America.  There aren't enough jobs.  Obama's crony capitalism, his heavy handed regulations, and his taxation policies are strangling the economy and obstructing the private investment needed for creating jobs at any kind of a substantial rate.  Unemployment has recently fallen to 8.5% only because a huge number of people simply gave up trying to find jobs.  The Obama economy is that bad, and bad as it is for white Americans, it's worse for non-whites, especially blacks.

But rather than focus on the central issue of our day, which is jobs, Beinart buries himself in the minutiae of politically correct protocols.  He concocts a reason for African Americans to be offended.

...for Gingrich—a veteran politician from the state of Georgia, speaking at a debate in South Carolina on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday—not to understand why calling the first African-American in the Oval Office the “food stamp” president would offend African-Americans is simply amazing. The most plausible explanation is that Gingrich inhabits a cultural and intellectual bubble. A bubble called the Republican Party.

Obama is, in fact, the "food stamp" president, and the statistics prove it.  But within Beinart's restrictive little intellectual bubble, the sin is for anyone, particularly a Republican, to draw attention to it. 

Posted by Tom Bowler at 04:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 13, 2012

A Little Clarity

I find a certain humor in the sequence of articles posted here on Memeorandum.  It's about the assault from Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry on Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital.  Their attack and the subsequent piling on by lefties has had the unintended consequence of uniting an array of conservatives in Romney's defense.  Here's Rick Klein of ABC News.

...if you need evidence that the attacks on Romney’s record at Bain have backfired, and may be doing more to unite conservatives behind Romney more than anything Romney himself could have done, consider this partial list of those who are defending him — and chastising Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry for their “vulture capitalist” attacks:

Rush Limbaugh

Sean Hannity

Laura Ingraham

Jim DeMint

Karl Rove

Mike Huckabee

Rudy Giuliani

The US Chamber of Commerce

The Club for Growth

The Wall Street Journal editorial page

That’s quite the conservative Murderers’ Row, to borrow a baseball term, that’s lining up in an aggressive defense of capitalism, coming in the context of the attacks on Romney’s business record.

Naturally, as lefties joined the chorus against Bain and Romney, others like John Hinderaker of Power Line Blog began looking into what really happened to one of the center pieces of the anti-capitalism campaign — Bain's closing of a Gaffney, South Carolina picture frame factory.  In the lefty version Bain took over the company for the purposes of shutting it down to sell off the assets for a profit.  It turns out, the factory that was shut down as part of a cost cutting effort under Bain Capital, was also opened under the management of Bain Capital four years earlier while they were trying to grow the company.

In the late 1980s, Holson was in deep trouble because of competition from cheap imports. Bain helped to save the company, then encouraged its merger with Burnes:

Partly because of the import problem, the Holson family sold out to Bain Capital in 1986; however, the Holson Company, which was still managed by family members, continued to have problems under the Bain umbrella. To return the organization’s competitive edge, Bain called in a series of consulting teams, including one from Price Waterhouse. Among the members of the Price Waterhouse team was Hoffmeister. Bain asked Hoffmeister to join Holson as head of the company in 1988 to effect a turnaround.

In the same year, 1988, Holson opened a factory in Gaffney, South Carolina, where photo albums were produced. The factory initially employed 100 people and eventually around 150–all brand-new jobs that were created by Holson under Bain’s guidance.

Unfortunately, the new company, Holson Burnes, was losing money, suffering net losses in both 1991 and 1992. The new management “worked to streamline the company, eliminate overlap, cut production costs, and jettison poorly performing units.” Those efforts succeeded in making Holson Burnes profitable; they also resulted in closing the Gaffney plant in 1992, after four years of operation.

Generally speaking, accuracy is the last thing on lefty minds when conservatives offer a juicy target.  Generally, but not always.  Oddly enough though, as the left leaning Huffington Post finds occasion to offer a defense of the man bankrolling Gingrich's attack on Romney and Bain Capital, we find HuffPo reporter Jon Ward taking extra care to provide clarity.

WASHINGTON -- A source close to wealthy donor Sheldon Adelson, who is under fire for giving $5 million to a pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC that began running TV ads attacking Mitt Romney's career in private equity, distanced the Las Vegas casino magnate from the ads on Thursday.

"Some people have made this leap that Sheldon Adelson gave $5 million and every penny of that is being used to hit Mitt Romney over Bain Capital," said the Adelson source, who asked not to be identified in order to more frankly discuss Adelson's thinking on the subject. "Aren't people getting in a tizzy here about something that maybe isn't completely accurate?"

Funny you should ask.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 11:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 12, 2012

Obama Digging Into The Exit Polls

The Obama campaign has been studying the exit polls from the New Hampshire primary and they find that Romney doesn't do well among lower income voters.

The Obama team is watching those independents carefully, as well as other key demographic groups. They’re focused on how former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney performs, since he’s the candidate they’ve long been convinced will win the GOP nomination.

Members of Team Obama say that current exit polls indicate that:

* Mitt Romney lost to Ron Paul by four points among self-identifying independents — Paul 31%, Romney – 27%;

* Romney finished a distant fourth among voters who thought “Strong Moral Character” is the most important candidate quality, losing to Paul by 21 points.

* Romney won the wealthy, but lost the middle class. His biggest margin was among those making over $200K followed by those making $100-200K but he lost those making under $50K by 4 points.

“So he loses independents and low income voters,” says a top Obama campaign official. “His right-turn isn’t going to help these things.”

What a happy coincidence for Obama that his policies dovetail so nicely with his campaign strategy.  Crony capitalism, the imposition of stifling federal regulations, Obama's war on domestic energy production, and his incessant promises to raise taxes everybody who is successful have all served to drive more people out of the workforce and increase the number of people in poverty.  He isn't called "the food stamps president" for nothing.  Could there be a method to his madness?  By expanding the under $50K demographic he may think he's building a voting block that will get him re-elected.  Good luck with that one.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 08:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack