Monday, August 22, 2011

Snatching Victory?

With Libyan leader Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi in hiding, it appears America...I'm sorry, NATO, may have scored a victory in Libya. Yet, I can't help but feel something's not quite right with the celebrations going on in Obamaville right now. Some would chalk it up to right wing disappointment at the victory, but they'd be wrong.

Back in 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter achieved a victory over the Shah of Iran. For those who don't remember or never learned, the Shah was an Islamic leader who was by most standards more moderate than his counterparts. However, Carter undertook the overthrow of the Shah, which opened the door for the Ayatollah Khomeini, an Islamic leader who was more radical. This, in turn, caused American-Iranian relations to deteriorate, leading to the Iran Hostage Crisis that ultimately doomed Carter to being a one-term President.

Call it deja vu, but I get a feeling President Obama has repeated the Carter mistake by siding with the rebels in Libya. You may not get it from the mainstream press, but the rebels are more radical than Qaddafi was. Whether this leads to another hostage crisis, time will tell. However, it cannot be ignored that again a Democrat President sided with a more radical group of Muslims than advisable. If America "wins" anything in this venture, it may be more contempt from the radical Muslim community worldwide for letting us do their dirty work for them.

There is one additional thing to consider, one that might make the Left put down their champagne glasses for a minute.

With the fall of Jimmy Carter came the rise of Ronald Reagan.

And that's one bit of history the Left doesn't want to repeat.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Iowa Straw Poll - Winners and Losers

Now that the dust has settled in Ames, let's take a look at the winners and losers.


Michele Bachmann:
Although this one could have been considered a lay-up for her, the victory at the Iowa Straw Poll gives her two things she needs at this stage: momentum and credibility. Bachmann has been maligned and disregarded as a serious candidate by a lot of people (namely the Left), but it's hard for them to make that argument now she's had such a high profile victory, especially over the more established Ron Paul. And speaking of Dr. Paul...

Ron Paul: For better or worse, Ron Paul has a following in Iowa. He has the same issues Bachmann has, but on a wider scale. His second place showing in Iowa shows he still has the groundswell of support for his candidacy, which will help him stay in the race longer.

Herman Cain: Cain had a pretty good showing at the Iowa Straw Poll, even in "predominantly white" Iowa, as the media loved to state in their reporting. He may not have fared as well as he would have liked, but he's showing more than a little financial acumen with how he fared. While others spent and spent, Cain didn't, and still managed to come in a respectable fifth place with a shade under 9% of the votes tallied.

Sarah Palin: Yes, she's not an official candidate, but she did wind up having an impact on the Iowa Straw Poll. The media coverage she received from merely hinting at coming to the Iowa State Fair was enough to draw attention away from some of the candidates who needed the attention (see Tim Pawlenty). She wound up being a king (or should I say queen) maker in Iowa, that's for sure!


Mitt Romney:
He shows up for a debate before the Iowa Straw Poll, and yet he bails on the Iowa Straw Poll itself? Granted, it's a fundraising event, but it doesn't bode well for the Romney campaign to ignore one of the early states in 2012. And as an Iowan, I know there will be a lot of Republicans with long memories. Then again, after he blew an easy question at the Iowa State Fair and got visibly upset, he might not have wanted to face people who could have handled the question better than he did.

Tim Pawlenty: With two people from Minnesota in the same race, Iowa voters were split. Typically, Iowans will throw their support behind a candidate from a neighboring state, and Pawlenty was counting on a better turnout than he received, which was a distant third behind Bachmann and Paul. Of course, anyone who followed Pawlenty's campaign honestly knew he wasn't lighting things up on the GOP side. His attacks on Michele Bachmann didn't help either because, unlike TPaw, Bachmann connects with Iowans on fundamental levels. That was his third strike, and as of today, he's out of the race he was never really in to begin with.

Rick Perry: He's in officially, and...not many people care. Announcing his candidacy this weekend was a major stumble on Perry's part, and it could have been avoided if his campaign had given more thought to the announcement. Granted, there's good strategy in not announcing before an event where one of his rivals was presumed to walk away with it and his non-appearance at the debate prior to the Iowa Straw Poll left him safe from scrutiny for now. Having said that, to make the announcement when he did when the media attention was elsewhere? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Rick Santorum: Like it or not, Santorum impressed a lot of people with his performance at the debate prior to the Iowa Straw Poll. That translated into a fourth place victory for him, edging out Herman Cain. So, why is Santorum with the losers? Because he hasn't run as solid a campaign as the frontrunners. On top of that, he's going to be going for the same voters as Michele Bachmann, but she's been out there stumping on her conservative beliefs, while Santorum hasn't. Assuming people know you isn't a good way to win over the hearts and minds of voters.

Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman, and Thaddeus McCotter: Collectively, the three of you got less than 3% of the votes at the Iowa Straw Poll. Mitt Romney, who didn't even show up, got 3.4% of the vote. Pack it in, guys, and leave it to the real candidates, okay?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tell Me What Democracy Looks Like

This is what democracy looks like...

Of course, it's being bandied about by the Left that the Wisconsin GOP rigged the election (which would, of course, explain why 2 Democrats won instead of 0). Isn't it funny how the will of the people is paramount when it's something the Left agrees with, but insignificant when it's something the Left doesn't like?

On a larger scale, the failure of Wisconsin Democrats to get the 3 seats they needed to take over the Senate may resonate until next year, when these same Wisconsin Democrats vowed to recall Governor Scott Walker. It's a long time from now until January 2012, and this setback may take the wind out of the sails of the "Recall Walker" crowd. A lot will depend on how Walker rules and how motivated the Democrats are to recall him.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Budget Deal - Winners and Losers

Since there are so many people trying to figure out who won and who lost with the recent budget battles, I figured I'd throw in my two cents' worth.


- "Moderate" Republicans
: When things looked bleak, moderate Republicans stepped in and appeared to be leaders. Of course, their idea of leadership was to disregard the TEA Party movement and the American people who said they wanted a balanced approach and gave us...something that allows us to spend more in the short term and maybe kinda sorta get some of it back later. Thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, we're still spending with the hopes we won't later. That's a victory, pyrrhic though it may be.

- Rep. David Wu (D-OR): With all of the talk surrounding the budget, his sex scandal got very little coverage. When asked about it, Anthony Weiner said, "Sonofa..."


- President Barack Obama:
Not only was President Obama AWOL from the bulk of the discussions, when he was involved both parties wanted him out of the room. For the budget issue to get this heated and this bogged down is a failure of leadership. This was another missed opportunity for the President to lead. Instead, he went out, did some fundraising, and attacked Republicans for trying to bring spending under control.

- Speaker of the House John Boehner: Boehner got streamrolled, first by the TEA Party, and then by the Democrats and moderate Republicans. Instead of leading the charge, he looked more like a middle manager trying to move up the ladder by kissing up to people he thinks will get him ahead. The Right had a golden opportunity to make positive change and live up to its rhetoric, and they squandered it for a deal that doesn't help the problem.

- The American people: Lost in all the partisan back-and-forth was what impact any deal would have on the American people. The economy stinks, we've had out-of-control spending for decades, and the working people of America are on the hook for whatever plan comes out of Washington. And what's come out of Washington so far is...we get put on the hook for more.

Too Close to Call

- The TEA Party:
Although the TEA Party members in the House and Senate didn't get the end result they were hoping for, I feel if they weren't in power at this point in time we wouldn't have had a debate over the debt ceiling or budgetary matters. It would be business as usual. The numbers weren't with them, but to overlook their impact on this situation would be foolish.

- The Democrats: The Democrats clearly didn't bring their A-game to the table this time around, but it's too soon to tell how much of an impact it will have on their electoral future. One thing is for sure. They ratcheted up the heated rhetoric as the budget battle went on. Calling the TEA Party "terrorists" and saying they "held the country hostage" is rather extreme, and it will certainly energize the Democrat base. Whether it will play to a larger audience remains to be seen.