If You Only Read One Political Column All Month…

….make it this one by my old boss, David Horowitz. It’s lengthy, but worth reading in full and distributing to as many people as possible. Many have tried to diagnose why Republicans lost in 2012 and what they can do to win again, but Horowitz has written the definitive assessment on the subject, and laid out what I believe to be the only likely path to saving the country from liberal ascendance. 
In a nutshell, Horowitz contends that the Democrats won because they know how to manipulate emotion, and Republicans have no idea how to respond. The solution is essentially to recognize what the Democrats really are and develop the fortitude to respond with the appropriate level of bluntness and moral outrage, demonstrating and standing up for the victims of the Left’s policies. Some representative quotes from the piece:
“An exit poll conducted by CNN asked, ‘What is the most important candidate quality to your vote?’ Among the four choices were, ‘Strong Leader,’ ‘Shares Your Values,’ ‘Has A Vision for the Future,’ and ‘Cares about People.’ Romney won the first three by more than 54%. But he lost ‘Cares About People’ by 81-18%. That says it all.”

[…]

“Behind the failures of Republican campaigns lies an attitude that is administrative rather than combative. It focuses on policies rather than politics. It is more comfortable with budgets and pie charts than with the flesh and blood victims of their opponents’ policies. When Republicans do mention victims they are frequently small business owners and other ‘job creators’ – people who in the eyes of most Americans are rich.

“To counter the Democrat attacks on them as defenders of the comfortable and afflicters of the weak, Republicans really have only one answer: This is a misunderstanding. Look at the facts. We’re not that bad. On the infrequent occasions when they actually take the battle to their accusers, Republicans will say: That’s divisive. It’s class warfare.

“Even if voters were able to ‘look at the facts,’ these are not exactly inspiring responses. They are defensive, and they are whiny, and also complicated. Of course elections are divisive – that is their nature. One side gets to win and the other side loses. But even more troublesome is the fact that responses like this require additional information and lengthy explanations to make sense. Appeals to reason are buried in the raucous noise that is electoral politics. Sorting out the truth would be a daunting task, even if voters were left alone to make up their minds.”

[…]

“The only way to confront the emotional campaign that Democrats wage in every election is through an equally emotional campaign that puts the aggressors on the defensive; that attacks them in the same moral language, identifying them as the bad guys, the oppressors of women, children, minorities and the middle class, that takes away from them the moral high ground which they now occupy. You can’t confront an emotionally based moral argument with an intellectual analysis. Yet this is basically and almost exclusively what Republicans do.”

[…]

“Republicans seem to think the way to inspire hope is by offering voters practical solutions, such as Paul Ryan’s plan to balance the budget. Paul Ryan is a smart conservative and the Ryan Plan is probably a good one. But with control only of the House, Republicans had no chance of implementing it when they voted on it. Worse, in the real world of political combat, facing an unscrupulous opposition, a plan offered by a party with no means of implementing it is a self-­inflicted wound. You can’t put the plan into effect to show that it works, and no one besides policy wonks is going to even begin to understand it. All the plan does is provide the spinners with multiple targets to shoot at – something they will do by distorting the specifics and ignoring the plan itself. For virtually all voters, the plan will be so complicated and its details so obscure that it will remain invisible. Only those who already trust its designers will be persuaded that this is a reason to vote for them.”

[…]

“The way for Republicans to show they care about minorities is to defend them against their oppressors and exploiters, which in every major inner city in America without exception are Democrats. Democrats run the welfare and public education systems; they have created the policies that ruin the lives of the recipients of their handouts. It’s time that Republicans started to hold Democrats to account; to put them on the defensive and take away the moral high ground, which they now occupy illegitimately. Government welfare is not just wasteful; it is destructive. The public school system in America’s inner cities is not merely ineffective; it is racist and criminal.”
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The Obama Administration in Their Own Words

Politics is a messy, convoluted affair, and understanding its many debates and controversies usually requires steady news consumption, a working knowledge of dueling philosophies, and familiarity with a daunting array of statistics, laws, background, and mechanics that just don’t lend themselves to 5-second sound bites and 30-second TV spots.

But often, the offensiveness, idiocy, and hypocrisy of politicians’ words speak for themselves, and homework isn’t necessary for the average American to see how wrong they really are. The Obama Administration has many, many such quotes just waiting to scare voters into the waiting arms of Mitt Romney…if only Team Romney would have the good sense to use them.

If I were running Mitt’s campaign, one of the many things I’d do differently would be to take the below quotes (many of which come from John Hawkins’ excellent list), develop TV ads based around some of them, and list the rest in full-page newspaper ads, with one simple message:

“They don’t respect your values, your freedoms, your judgment, your lifestyles, your struggles, or your country. It’s time for leaders who do. Romney-Ryan 2012.”

Driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” – Barack Obama

“The way I think about it is this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft, and we didn’t have that same competitive edge we needed over the last couple of decades.” – Barack Obama

“We’ve lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country.” – Barack Obama

“I don’t believe it is possible to transcend race in this country.” – Barack Obama

“White folks’ greed runs a world in need.” – Barack Obama, quoting sentiments candidate Obama claimed to have never heard Rev. Jeremiah Wright express

“After my election I have more flexibility.” – Barack Obama, to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them […] And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” – Barack Obama

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times…and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.” – Barack Obama

Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” – Barack Obama

“Whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.” – Barack Obama

I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process.” – Barack Obama

“Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” – Barack Obama, to a woman whose mother was initially denied a pacemaker

“I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something: there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” – Barack Obama

“I do think that at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” – Barack Obama

“I actually believe in redistribution.” – Barack Obama

“We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.” – Barack Obama

“Answering that question [when babies get human rights] with specificity is above my pay grade.” – Barack Obama

I’ve got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” – Barack Obama

In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” – Barack Obama

“‘You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.” – Joe Biden

“You share a similar concern here in China. You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand – I’m not second-guessing – of one child per family [through forced sterilization and abortion].” – Joe Biden

Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy.” – Joe Biden

In things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.” – Attorney General Eric Holder

“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe.” – Energy Secretary Stephen Chu

“We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.” – Energy Secretary Stephen Chu

“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act.” – Energy Secretary Stephen Chu

“It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society.” – Science Czar John Holdren

“Sounds like a dumb law…but I think that the question of whether it’s a dumb law is different from the question of whether it’s constitutional, and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless.” – Justice Elena Kagan, on whether Congress has the power to force people to eat vegetables

America is “just downright mean.” – Michelle Obama

“For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country.” – Michelle Obama

“Sometimes it’s easier to hold on to your stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. That’s America.” – Michelle Obama

“What I notice about men, all men, is that their order is me, my family, God is in there somewhere, but me is first.” – Michelle Obama

Rick Santorum for President

In August, I wrote that I considered Rick Santorum the best potential president in the Republican field, but that his campaign just didn’t seem to be going anywhere, so I endorsed Michele Bachmann, who was just as conservative, a fighter, and (implausible as it seems now) had real traction. As Bachmann’s chronic foot-in-mouth disease proved terminal, I withdrew my support for her, but declined to pick someone else. I flirted with the idea of a conscience vote for Santorum in the Wisconsin primary, but overall had resigned myself to the likelihood that I’d end up voting for Mitt Romney again (who, for the record, I still prefer to Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry).
Well, I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong. Santorum surpassed expectations in Iowa this week, winning just eight votes fewer than Romney with far less money. And while an Iowa win is hardly determinative of how the rest of the campaign will pan out, and Santorum will certainly face an uphill battle, it was important for two reasons: it proved that his campaign organization is the real deal, and it forced lots of people to really look at Santorum for the first time. And this is what they saw:

An articulate, likeable figure who oozes confidence and conviction, and who displays a deep understanding of the challenges facing America and concrete ideas about how to solve them. A full-spectrum conservative with a record of credibility and leadership on economics, foreign policy, and social issues. A man who has lived his public convictions in his private life. A man of deep faith who isn’t afraid to oppose his faith’s leaders when they’re wrong. And a man whose record of success is better than you may have heard.
A perfect candidate? Not at all. But his mistakes are forgivable, and they pale in comparison to those of his competitors.
Santorum will still face a tough fight for the nomination, but hardly an unwinnable one. His team is efficient and effective. Rasmussen already has him in second place nationally. His newfound attention and momentum could very well translate to the financial boost he needs to compete on a larger scale. He’ll have talk radio giants like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Glenn Beck boosting him far earlier than the Right’s talkers took sides in the race last time around. Gingrich probably won’t be making many new friends. A Perry rebound is possible, but I doubt it. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman aren’t even worth mentioning. I just don’t see where else those desperately seeking a more conservative candidate than Romney would logically go.
As for the general election, Santorum actually has arguably the best chance to defeat Barack Obama. His case against the incumbent will be bold and eloquent. The above video demonstrates his ability to naturally connect with working-class voters. No sex or corruption scandals will be dug up. All three legs of the conservative stool will be energized. The Left will deploy grotesque caricatures of Santorum’s moral views, but as long as his campaign refutes them promptly, visibly, and succinctly, they won’t work – being pro-life is a net political gain, and while things could change, it’s not for nothing that Obama still can’t bring himself to embrace gay marriage.
Ladies and gentlemen of the conservative movement, it’s been a long, frustrating, demoralizing haul, but there’s no need for pessimism anymore. We finally have our standard-bearer, and Barack Obama has met his match. Vote Rick Santorum for President.

The Trump Factor

His naked transformation into a full-spectrum right-winger, sudden professions of religiosity, and weird dive into the fever swamps of Birtherism definitely seem to indicate that Donald Trump’s serious about seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Some are tempted to dismiss him as another Ross Perot, but I think John Ziegler hits the nail on the head as to why his candidacy is resonating with conservative voters:

Trump is now in a position where he could be extremely dangerous. Conservatives are aching for someone with the gonads to take it to Obama and really shake things up in Washington if he happens to win. Many are so fed up that they are willing to jump on almost any bandwagon that even appears to be headed in that direction, even if the driver, like Trump, is totally unreliable.

Despite all the substantive reasons Trump shouldn’t be the nominee, he’s gaining traction because he’s got the presentation – gutsy, bold, aggressive – that the right kind of nominee should have, which puts the rest of the mostly-milquetoast field to shame. Conservatives know that we’re in perilous times, and they’re looking for a leader who seems to get the stakes and doesn’t care whether or not the bad guys say mean things about his tone.
 
If the rest of the nominees are smart, they’ll take notice, and draw the right lesson. But I’m not holding my breath.

Herman Cain for President?

The popular, charismatic conservative businessman and radio host announced today that he’s forming an exploratory committee to assess his electoral prospects. At RedState, he’s a hit:

In 1977, at age 29 he had a MS in Computer Science. He joined Pillsbury, and within 5 years became VP of Corporate Systems and Services. He quit that post after 2 years, and joined Pillsbury’s Burger King division, learning from the ground up as a burger flipper. Nine months later, he was in charge of 400 stores in Pennsylvania, BK’s worst performing region. in three years, it was the company’s best.

THAT is when Pillsbury sent him to the rescue of their failing Godfathers Pizza chain in 1986. In fourteen months it was profitable and in another year he led his executive team to a buyout of Godfathers from Pillsbury. It gets better but I’ll stop there. You get an idea of the kind of man we are talking about […]

“How’s all that political experience working out for you?” Seriously, name me a government system that is not bloated, broke, or broken. The entitlement system? No? OK, how about those bureaus. Are you pleased with the EPA, FEC, FCC, FDA? How about the Education Department. State Department? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

Call it a stretch, but maybe Washington DC crammed full of career politicians and bureacrats is not made of pure awesome. Maybe bold, hard-nosed, results-oriented, problem-solving business sense is the kind of thing you want at the top.

Imagine a president with the grit, the tenacity, the pragmatic, practical, no-nonsense, clear-thinking approach that Cain took with Burger King, Godfathers Pizza, and cancer. Then imagine the same guy is a movement conservative. Then imagine the guy actually ran for president.

What I know about his views on the issues is all promising. And Cain certainly interests/excites me more than the rest of the assumed 2012 field (well, with one exception). But I’m not endorsing him yet. Why? It’s simply too early.

As I’ve discussed extensively before (see here, here, here, and here), the Right has an annoying, counterproductive tendency toward anointing heroes prematurely, and getting burned and making fools out of ourselves when the reality falls short of our high expectations.

We’ve got about two years ’till the next election; can we at least wait until after a debate or two before issuing endorsements for anyone? Instead of latching onto someone right away and making him the standard-bearer for all our hopes and dreams, let’s discuss the qualities and principles our next president should ideally have, and then strive to impartially compare all of our choices (including how they campaign and what they promise) to our ideals, to each other, and then make a commitment.

Rand Wins, America Loses

I’ve put a lot of effort here and on NewsReal into defending Sarah Palin from various attacks.

Tonight, I regret every word of it.

Thanks in no small part to her endorsement (as well as that of James Dobson, Jim DeMint, & Erick Erickson), the deranged Rand Paul won the Kentucky GOP’s Senate nomination (more on Paul’s hideous record here and here).

Palin’s celebration of Paul’s victory on tonight’s “Hannity” consisted entirely of empty blather straight out of the Paul camp’s press releases: the grassroots are rising up, the establishment better take notice, blah blah blah.  Does she know anything about Paul’s record?  About how he’s diametrically opposed to her own views on national security?

Some of you who don’t share Paul’s affinity for appeasement or his tolerance of bigotry might nevertheless think Paul’s win is no big deal, because he only has one vote and most foreign policy will be set by the executive branch.  But first, consider that Democrats campaign for keeps – we all know the lengths to which Democrats will go to falsely smear conservatives as extremists; just imagine the field day they’ll have with all of the real dirt in Rand’s closet.  I predict a Democrat victory in the general election.

Second, odds are that more than a few mushy Republican pols and would-be candidates will interpret Paul’s win, and his legitimization by other mainstream “true” conservatives, as an indication that it’s okay and/or smart politics to tack left on defense issues.  Do we really want two pro-appeasement political parties?

I hope Jim DeMint is rewarded with the primary challenge of his life.  And Sarah Palin has proven that she does not deserve the presidency.

The Paul File Continued (Updated)

The following is an addendum to my recent NewsReal posts about Ron & Rand Paul’s disgusting relationship with radicalism and their dangerous misrepresentation of facts on all things national-security and foreign-policy related:

During the 2008 Republican National Convention, Ron Paul held a counter-event, & the campaign invited crackpot Jesse Ventura to speak there. Ventura’s tirade about what “really happened” on 9/11 was met with wild applause by Paul’s audience.

On 9/11 Truther Alex Jones’ show in 2007, Paul claimed, “if you have a 9/11 incident or something like that, they use that to do the things that they had planned all along.”

In January 2008, Paul’s Midland County, MI, campaign coordinator was one Randy Gray, who happened to moonlight as “a longstanding active and vocal organizer for the Knight’s Party faction of the Ku Klux Klan.”  The campaign did not comment on the controversy, but did scrub all traces of Gray from their websites. Continue reading