That Was No SOTU – It Was A Populist Campaign Speech

obama

It is regrettable that we no longer have a true “State of the Union” (SOTU) speech. Rather than hearing a recapitulation of the condition of the nation and where it’s headed, we get what appears to be little more than another campaign speech replete with a veritable Christmas-list of populist proposals and recommendations. Predictably, there were errors, omissions, and outright prevarications, and very little mention of the problems that have been exacerbated over the past several years, in the president’s speech last week.

First, however, a confession of sorts is in order. I didn’t watch the speech. When I was in college, I loved being lectured to by my ISU professors who were knowledgeable, competent, and capable. After all, that’s what I paid them for. Likewise, we pay our governmental leaders to be knowledgeable, competent, and capable and to keep their oath of office, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. When all they do proves their incompetence, and they obviously lied when they took the oath, I’m not going to subject myself to their self-aggrandizing propaganda. After all, I’m not a masochist; and I find it increasingly difficult to resist the impulse to throw things at my TV in response to superfluous rhetoric, grandstanding, self-congratulations, and mendacity. So I read his speeches, instead.

Much of Obama’s lecture Tuesday night was dedicated to his inexorable class warfare theme, pitting the middle class (who have been most adversely affected by the policies of the past six years) against the wealthy (who have done better than anyone during this administration). In advance of the delivery, the media had hyped this iteration of the SOTU as his “Robin Hood” speech. The metaphor hardly seems appropriate since Robin Hood stole from the Sheriff of Nottingham (not the rich from whom the sheriff had extorted the funds). As the head of the government, the President is essentially the Sheriff of Nottingham, who’s doing the extorting.

The President said, “Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.” It would be wonderful for the nation if his policies had been conducive to our economic recovery and accelerated job growth. However, as we’ve documented before, these are occurring in spite of his policies, not because of them. It’s amazing what capitalistic economies can do when new obstacles are no longer being hurled in the way to thwart and stymy them!

“We are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years. … Today, America is number one in oil and gas. … And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save about $750 at the pump,” Obama declared. Again, this is with no help from his administration. The massive growth in domestic oil production has been primarily on state and private lands, while his administration has done everything possible to curtail it on federal ground and waterways. And it’s been primarily with technology opposed by his party and his administration. And there’s the power of capitalism again – simple supply and demand benefiting the consumer with increased competition.

Enigmatically, the President queried, “Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another? Or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward? … A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other.” It’s pretty difficult to take this counsel from one who has spent the past six years polarizing and dividing, based on income, party affiliation, ideology, and color.

“In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan,” he said. This is encouraging. If he comes through on the promise, it will be the first time he’s offered anything to Congress in six years that isn’t partisan. We won’t hold our breath.

“In the past year alone about 10 million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage.” This reminded me of an email I received from a friend last year that summarized the 2700 page ObamaCare legislation in four simple sentences: “A. In order to insure the uninsured, we first have to un-insure the insured. B. Next, we require the newly un-insured to be re-insured. C. To re-insure the newly un-insured, they are required to pay extra charges to be re-insured. And D. The extra charges are required so that the original insured, who became un-insured and then became re-insured, can pay enough extra so that the original un-insured can be insured, free of charge to them.” That explains a great deal of the President’s “10 million” figure.

“I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero.” I’m always amazed at the liberal mind that struggles with economic realities. The cost doesn’t go away; it’s just redistributed, or paid by someone else. And to the liberal politician, it’s always the taxpayer! Never mind that the cost is a scant $60 billion. What is that to a politician who can make a grandiose promise – and make someone else pay for it?

It really would have been nice to hear an actual analysis of the State of the Union. But alas, we just got another populist campaign speech. And even as such, it wasn’t much different than the hand-dryer in the lavatory that had a sticker attached which declared, “Press button for a speech from the president.”

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

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

New Startup Says Rand Paul Is Most Conservative Candidate

Photo credit: circulating (Flickr)

A new startup ranks potential 2016 presidential candidates as the most conservative and the most liberal based on their donors, what they have said, and their issue positions. The startup ranks Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. as the most conservative and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as the most liberal.

Crowdpac was founded by researchers at Stanford University. Their mission is to categorize candidates based on these publicly available criteria: money, speech (what the candidates actually say), and voting history. From their site:

In analyzing the patterns of who gives to whom, our data model is able to make inferences about the issue positions of both candidates and donors. Additional information on candidates’ personal contributions made to other campaigns are incorporated to improve the model’s predictions.

 “To calculate scores on specific issues for incumbent candidates, we use congressional voting records,” the group adds. “For non-incumbent candidates with no voting record, we compare their donors with the donors of incumbents.”

The scale is rated left to right – 10L to 10C – with moderates receiving a zero in the middle. Paul is the most conservative with a score of 10+C, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with 9.7C. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin scored a 7.8C, followed by former Governors Rick Perry of Texas and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas with 6.9C and 6.2C, respectively.

Former Governors Jeb Bush of Florida and Jon Huntsman of Utah are towards the moderate end of Crowdpac’s scale, scoring 4.2C and 3.0C. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie received a 2.5C

Sanders is the most liberal with 8.3L. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was close behind with 8.2L, though Warren recently stated she will not seek the Democratic nomination in 2016. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scored a 6.4L, while former Governor Martin O’Malley received a 5.3L. Vice President Joe Biden scored a 4.4L.

Photo: Crowdpac

Photo: Crowdpac

h/t: The Daily Signal

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

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Photo credit: Senate Democrats (Flickr)

On the eve of her election defeat, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) appeared as a guest on my radio program, Ringside Politics, on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans.

Over the past 16 years as host of Ringside Politics, I have interviewed Senator Landrieu over a dozen times. In the past, she would call in to promote a particular issue or cause, usually engaging in pleasant conversation or good-natured debate.

Our relationship certainly changed in our last radio interview, which occurred over a year ago on the contentious topic of Internet taxes. It was a testy exchange as the Senator and I clashed on whether the government should extend its reach into Internet commerce and tax consumers who purchase goods online.

After our on-air tax debate, the Senator refrained from appearing on my program, even though she had an open invitation. She finally relented on election eve and called in for an interview, which was a sign of her last minute desperation facing a major political loss. At the time of the interview, no respectable political analyst gave her any chance of winning re-election.

With her losing badly and battling a cold, it was clear from the beginning of the interview that Senator Landrieu was unhappy.

Initially, we discussed her infamous decision to support Obamacare–and later her 97% support for President Obama and finally the shocking allegations made by State Senator Elbert Guillory (R-Opelousas) that there was rampant election fraud in her last election. In fact, Guillory alleged that 10% of Landrieu’s votes were fraudulent in the last election.

The Senator abruptly left the conversation before I could ask the dozens of questions submitted by listeners, who wanted to know why she supported the President on issues such as gun control, amnesty for illegal aliens, higher spending, more taxes, etc.

In our 11 minute exchange, she had to defend her vote on Obamacare and was unable to engage in her favorite topic of recent days: Bill Cassidy’s LSU payments and potential billing discrepancies.

Here is a link to the heated interview, which showed how much pressure Senator Landrieu felt with her 35 year political career ending. However, she had no one to blame but herself for her political downfall.

While she was surely abandoned by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and her fellow Democratic Senators on the Keystone Pipeline issue, she would not have been so vulnerable if she would have listened to the people of Louisiana.

In the end, she was too invested in liberalism to connect with the voters of her state. She supported President Obama 97% of the time, while Louisiana voters only give President Obama a 37% approval rating; so it was clear she did a very poor job of representing her constituents.

She has a lifetime American Conservative Union voting record of only 20%. While that might work in Vermont, it is miserably out of step in the red state of Louisiana.

The majority of Louisiana voters were very motivated to vote against Mary Landrieu and Barack Obama for a variety of reasons, but the most important one is Obamacare. During the deliberations on the legislation, voters throughout the state bombarded Landrieu’s office with postcards, emails, and calls demanding that she vote no on the bill.

Instead of listening to our concerns, she voted with President Obama. The result has been much worse than a billion dollar waste of a website; it has been massive job losses, work hours being cut, many Americans losing their doctor, and millions of people facing higher insurance premiums. Today, doctors are fleeing an industry in turmoil thanks to Mary Landrieu and President Obama.

Sadly, Senator Landrieu was irritable on the air last Friday. It was not the way she should have ended her political career. Maybe she had regrets about her poor decisions in office, or maybe she was just upset that her privileged lifestyle will be coming to an end. Either way, it was a good lesson for Bill Cassidy.

Hopefully, our new Senator will never forget that he works for the people of Louisiana, not a political party–and certainly not a politician or a President.

Photo credit: Senate Democrats (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

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

Which Are More Important: Local Or National Elections?

obamapointing

Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” That may have been true in Tip O’Neill’s day, but some elections are decisively on national issues — and the Congressional elections this year are overwhelmingly national, just as the elections of 1860 were dominated by one national issue, namely slavery.

In 1860, some abolitionists split the anti-slavery vote by running their own candidate — who had no chance of winning — instead of supporting Abraham Lincoln, who was not pure enough for some abolitionists. Lincoln got just 40 percent of the vote, though that turned out to be enough to win in a crowded field.

But what a gamble with the fate of millions of human beings held as slaves! And for what? Symbolic political purity?

This year as well, there are third-party candidates complicating elections that can decide the fate of this nation for years to come. No candidate that irresponsible deserves any vote. With all the cross-currents of political controversies raging today, what is the overriding national issue that makes this year’s Congressional elections so crucial?

That issue is whether, despite all the lawless edicts of President Obama, threatening one-man rule, we can still salvage enough of the Constitution to remain a free, democratic nation.

Barack Obama will be on his way out in two years; but if he can appoint enough federal judges who share his contempt for the Constitution’s limits on federal government power in general, and presidential powers in particular, then the United States of America can continue on the path to becoming another banana republic, even after Obama has left the White House.

President Obama understands how high the stakes are, which is why he is out fundraising all across the country — seemingly all the time — even though he has no more elections to face himself. Obama came to power saying that he was going to fundamentally change the United States of America — and he intends to do it, even after he is gone, by giving lifetime appointments as federal judges to people who share his view that this country’s institutions and values are fundamentally wrong, and need to be scrapped and replaced by his far left vision.

If only Obama’s critics and opponents understood this momentous issue as clearly as he does!

The issue is whether “we the people,” as designated by the Constitution, continue free to live our own lives as we see fit, and to determine what laws and policies we want to live under.

President Obama’s vision is very different. In his vision, our betters in Washington shall simply order us to live as they want us to live — telling us what medical insurance we can have, what doctors we can go to, what political groups shall be favored by the Internal Revenue Service, with more of the same coming in the years ahead, long after Obama has left the White House.

Critics who deplore President Obama’s foreign policies in general, and his weak response to the ISIS threat in particular, as showing incompetence — and who see his incessant fundraising as just a weird distraction — fail to understand how different his priorities are from theirs.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

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

Here’s How America Could Take A Lesson On Border Security From Israel

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[On-Location in Jerusalem]

On the O’Reilly Factor in early July of this year, Charles Krauthammer said, “If fences don’t work, why is there one around the White House?”

Krauthammer always has a way of getting right to the point in a brilliant way.  The United States has lost control of its southern border - on purpose I might add.  We now have a situation where if you arrive via airplane into this country, you are thoroughly checked out but the border with Mexico is so porous, thousands are getting through and we don’t even know who they are.  Have we not learned anything from 9/11?  Or do our politicians just not care?  They prefer to take chances with the American public’s safety to score political points.

We all know the Democrats won’t secure the border as they want more illegals to eventually gain citizenship and vote Democrat.  Republicans are scared to death to secure the border as they don’t want to alienate the future Hispanic vote.  If the Republicans can retake the Senate later this year and gain the presidency two years later, it seems there is one last chance to force our government to finally secure the border, then the country can deal with the illegal immigrants already here.

But how would you actually do this in practice?  I agree with Krauthammer.  We can put men on the moon; therefore, it seems to me we could build a fence or barrier that would work.  Yes, it would be expensive but with this barrier in place, we could save millions on other border enforcement costs.  The argument that a fence is not secure and able to be defeated by a simple ladder is simply not a true statement.  But since when has truth mattered to the Left?

Technology and multiple layers of defense can and will stop the flow of illegal immigrants across the border.  In fact, where the small portions of fencing have been put in place on the southern border of the United States, illegal immigration has been radically reduced and has shifted to other portions of the border where there is no fencing.

Today, I visited the barrier Israel constructed between the West Bank and the Israeli.  It is an imposing structure that has reduced terrorist attacks inside Israel by over ninety-nine percent.  It is keeping out people who have a much higher motivation to kill Israelis than migrants wanting to cross the border for a minimum wage job.  Palestinian terrorists have no fear of death; in fact, they seek it out.

The bottom line is the West Bank fence is working to keep these people out for almost a decade now.  Ask any Israeli living in Jerusalem if he wants the fence removed.  When there are terrorist attacks, they tend to be low grade incidents like today when a man used a backhoe to attack a bus in Jerusalem.  They are not the deadly mass casualty suicide bombs that Israelis had to deal with in the past.

The obvious conclusion is that to secure the border, Congress needs to authorize the money to build a barrier along most of the border with Mexico.  It will be much cheaper in the long run than housing and caring for immigrant children and building a small army to patrol the border.  If your politicians won’t make this happen, they need to be removed from office.  My children’s future depends on it.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

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