Obama Dragged Down By Chaos At Home And Abroad, Not By The Economy

Photo credit: Barack Obama (Flickr)

“Why do you think President Obama’s job rating is falling, even though the economy is recovering?” the interviewer asked.

It’s a fair question, even though the economy declined 2.9 percent in the first quarter, even though most jobs created in June were part-time, and even though labor force participation remains low.

The fact is that the economy is growing, however slowly; jobs are being created, and the unemployment rate is heading down toward what economists consider full employment. And still, the president’s job rating languishes.

What’s wrong with the question is an assumption embedded within it, that what voters seek most from government and political officeholders is economic growth. I think there’s something they value even more: the maintenance of order.

This isn’t what I was taught in political science classes. Political scientists who had grown up in the 1930s Depression taught that politics was about “who gets what, when, and how.”

Operating on that assumption, political scientists developed rules that explained past election outcomes as a function of economic variables — how much the economy grew in the second quarter of the election year, for example.

Those rules generally worked pretty well at predicting future elections — until they didn’t.

What they don’t explain very well are the political upheavals that come when voters perceive that the nation and the world are in disarray. Americans, blessed with a mostly happy history, tend to take fundamental order for granted. They recoil and rebel when things spin out of control.

Example: The political scientists taught that the big shift toward Democrats in 1874 was a response to the financial panic of 1873. Sort of like the Great Depression.

But further study convinces me it was a rebellion against Ulysses Grant’s military occupation of the South to protect blacks’ rights. Voters tired of violence voted for the anti-black Democrats, who held House majorities for 14 of the next 20 years and won the popular vote for president in five of six presidential elections in those years.

Or consider Republicans’ “back to normalcy” victory in 1920. This was a response to disorder at home (dizzying inflation and depression, waves of strikes, terrorist bombings) and abroad (Communist revolutions, continued fighting in Russia and the Middle East, rejection of Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations).

Closer to our times, Jimmy Carter was rejected in 1980 as the nation faced not only stagflation (inflation-plus-recession) at home but also an “arc of instability” abroad.

Americans, unlike voters in many other countries, demand the maintenance of order in the world as well in their own nation. From the early days of the republic, there has been an unspoken awareness that what happens in the world affects their own lives.

In the 19th century, American merchants went out into the Mediterranean, American whalers to the Pacific, and American missionaries to China and the Middle East.

American troops followed. The Navy and Marines went after the Barbary pirates on the shores of Tripoli. American gunboats opened Japan to the world in 1854 and were stationed on rivers in China from the 1840s to the 1930s.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

BREAKING: Federal Appeals Court Just Dealt A Major Blow To Obamacare

Photo credit: Ken Durden / Shutterstock.com

Weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Barack Obama’s healthcare law cannot force closely held corporations to violate the religious liberty of their owners by demanding they provide abortifacient drugs, a federal appeals court took another bite out of the troubled legislation.

Upon dissecting the convoluted law, the court decided by a 2 to 1 margin that ObamaCare does not, in fact, allow the federal government to provide subsidies to low-income enrollees. The majority found that the law only allows for state exchanges to provide such assistance.

Specifically, plaintiffs cited a phrase found in the law declaring that subsidies may only be afforded “through an Exchange established by the State” pursuant to Section 1311 of the law. The case comes after the Internal Revenue Service asserted in 2012 that ObamaCare enrollees could qualify for tax credits even if their state only participates in a federal exchange.

Judges ultimately found that the federal government was unable to adequately refute the plaintiffs’ case.

“We conclude that appellants have the better of the argument: a federal Exchange is not an ‘Exchange established by the State,” the decision states; “and section 36B does not authorize the IRS to provide tax credits for insurance purchased on federal Exchanges.”

If ultimately upheld, the decision would disrupt the exchanges set up in a majority – 36 – of U.S. states.

Obviously, the Obama administration is displeased with the ruling. According to a source contacted by Business Insider, the federal government plans to appeal the decision before a D.C. Circuit Court presided over by a clear majority of judges appointed by Democrat presidents.

Emily Pierce of the Justice Department declared that the ruling was “incorrect” and “at odds with the goal of the law,” assuring current subsidy recipients enrolled in the federal exchange that they can basically disregard the decision.

“The government will therefore immediately review the court’s decision,” she said. “In the meantime, to be clear, people getting premium tax credits should know that nothing has changed, tax credits remain available.”

As parties on both sides of the issue ramp up for yet another ObamaCare showdown, potentially at the Supreme Court level, opponents of the law are celebrating yet another court decision that seems to legitimize their concerns.

On the same day, however, an appeals court in Richmond, Va. issued its own ruling on the issue, finding that the federal subsidies do not violate the law.

Photo credit: Ken Durden / Shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Watch: Sarah Palin Just Laid The Smack Down On Eric Holder With This Epic Rant


Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin dedicated much of her speech at the recent Western Conservative Summit to Attorney General Eric Holder, who used his position to lambaste Palin during an interview last week.

“I don’t need a lecture from Eric Holder,” she said, “a guy – get this – so incompetent that he denied voter fraud existed even after someone claimed that they were Eric Holder and they got his ballot and they voted in D.C.!”

She went on to point out that he is one of a very few presidential cabinet members in American history to have been found in contempt of Congress.

“If he wants to weigh in,” Palin suggested, “maybe he can tell his boss [to] get out of the bubble, go to those border towns, working class communities, see the consequences of deliberately not enforcing the law.”

Holder’s common refrain, she noted, is to label his political adversaries as racists, which she called “a disgusting, false charge.”

According to Palin, the only reason the administration uses such divisive language is to end a debate it would otherwise lose on merit.

“He needs to use his noggin,” she said of Holder, “and answer what’s to account then for the anti-Obama policy protests going on today in black communities and Hispanic circles and on reservations and in my own home!”

Photo credit: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

In Just One Terrible Night, This Guy’s Views On Gun Control Were Changed Forever


James Dittrich was immediately thrust into a terrifying situation when a pair of thugs followed him home, robbed him, and forced him into his own apartment at gunpoint. The commotion woke his sleeping fiancé, Meredith Duffy, who was then sexually assaulted by the armed intruders.

“He just grabbed the back of my shirt, pulled me off of the bed, put the gun back on me, said ‘Get your purse,’” she recalled. “Then he told me, ‘Just dump it out.’ My phone fell face down on the couch and I remember thinking, ‘There’s my phone. It’s right there.’”

A quick-thinking Dittrich saw an opening to grab the burglar’s gun.

“I couldn’t wrestle it free,” he said, “but I knew, with both hands on it, I had control of it and that was the opportunity that she needed to call. And I just, I really just hoped I could keep control of it for her to make that call.”

As Duffy called for help, she was forced to witness Dittrich withstand a brutal beating that left his face battered and broken.

“And the one kept yelling, ‘Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him,’” she said.

Though the intruders ultimately fled the scene before killing either of the victims, Dittrich and Duffy are left with the harrowing memories of that tragic day. The two burglars remain at large.

“You’re always looking around,” Dittrich explained. “You see somebody who looks like they remind you of the people and you just immediately get a sense of dread.”

Following the incident, the couple moved from East Orange, N.J., to their hometown in Ohio.

Not only did the vicious attack cause them to rethink their living situation; it also led to an about face regarding gun control.

“I didn’t want a gun,” Dittrich said of his opinion prior to the burglary. “I specifically didn’t want one.”

After realizing how helpless he was without some means of protection, however, he left his anti-gun philosophy behind.

Dittrich concluded that he was forced to recognize that the police are not going to be immediately available to protect his family in the face of such a threat.

“They can respond,” he reasoned; “and they can protect you once they get there. But, you’re on your own.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Here’s How Much Money Hillary Clinton Has Made Since Leaving The State Department

Photo credit: Frederic Legrand / Shutterstock.com

According to Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton has made a whopping twelve million dollars since she left the Department of State 16 months ago. This comes from three primary sources: her latest memoir, her speeches, and her appearances for companies.

Commenting on her success on the Daily Show, Clinton said:

Bill and I have worked really hard and we’ve been successful. We believed we could pretty much make our way up the ladder. Now, I think a lot of young people don’t believe that anymore.

Has her financial success, like Mitt Romney’s, come at a political cost? Given that Clinton has received millions from financial firms, liberal Robert Reich raises the question:

The real question behind the question is: Are you going to be fighting for average working people? It’s doubly important for her to show that even though she may take money from Wall Street, she won’t allow Wall Street to dictate what she says or the policies she will advocate.

Hillary Clinton brushed off Romney comparisons in an interview with PBS last month, labeling them a “false equivalency.” She stated:

I’m fully comfortable with who I am, what I stand for and what I’ve always stood for.

How does her income over the last sixteen months break down according to Bloomberg? She made at least $6 million on her latest memoir Hard Choices and has made at least $200,000 per speech for at least 27 speeches.

What do you think? Has Hillary Clinton’s massive income over the last 16  months disqualified her from the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination?

Follow F. Peter Brown on Twitter. 

Photo credit: Frederic Legrand / Shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom