Sunday, October 31, 2010


WHAT SPECIAL INTEREST is spending the most money to influence the 2010 election? The answer isn't the US Chamber of Commerce, notwithstanding President Obama's recent attacks on the Chamber's campaign contributions. Nor is it the Karl Rove-backed network of pro-Republican campaign organizations, including American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, that have also been assailed by the White House and the focus of critical media attention.

In reality, the biggest outside spender is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which is pumping almost $88 million into TV commercials, phone banks, and mailings to promote Democratic candidates.

"We're spending big," AFSCME President Gerald McEntee boasted to The Wall Street Journal. "And we're damn happy it's big. And our members are damn happy it's big -- it's their money."

AFSCME isn't the only public-sector union "spending big" to influence the vote on Nov. 2. So is the National Education Association (NEA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), respectively the nation's largest and fastest-growing unions. Together, the three government-employee unions will have spent nearly $172 million campaigning for Democrats in the course of this election cycle. That outstrips by more than $30 million what the Chamber of Commerce and the Rove network combined are pouring into the 2010 campaign.

I have no objection to close media scrutiny when business-linked organizations spend heavily on campaign ads. But it should be a far bigger story when public-employee unions do so. Indeed, it should be serious cause for concern.

"It's their money!" the president of AFSCME declares, and the heads of the NEA and SEIU would presumably agree, but where does "their money" come from? From satisfied customers paying for goods and services they voluntarily purchased? From profits earned by building better mousetraps, designing safer cars, serving tastier meals, developing cleaner fuels? From investing prudently in the marketplace? From risking their savings to launch a new company -- or to keep a going concern competitive?

Of course not. Every dollar the government pays its employees is a dollar the government taxes away from somebody else. As it is, public employees generally make more in salary and benefits than employees in the private economy: For Americans working in state and local government jobs, total compensation last year averaged $39.66 per hour -- 45 percent more than the private sector average of $27.42. (For federal employees, the advantage is even greater.) Which means that AFSCME and the other public-sector unions are using $172 million that came from taxpayers to elect politicians who will take even more money from taxpayers, in order to further expand the public sector, multiply the number of government employees, and increase their pay and perks.

Campaign contributions from public-sector unions, National Review editor Rich Lowry writes, drive "a perpetual feedback loop of large-scale patronage." Not only don't the unions deny it, they trumpet it. "We're the big dog," brags Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME's political operations. "The more members coming in, the more dues coming in, the more money we have for politics."

Unlike labor unions in the private sector, government labor unions can reward politicians who give them what they want and punish those who don't. The United Auto Workers has no say in hiring or firing the president of the Ford Motor Company, but public-sector unions like AFSCME and the NEA can use the political process to help elect the "management" that will have to negotiate with them. The unions flex their political muscle to push not only for ever-more-lavish wages and benefits (including the exorbitant pensions and health plans that are devouring government budgets), but also for more government hiring and bigger government programs.

The cost of government has thus soared in tandem with the growth in public-sector unions -- and those unions make no bones about their reliance on politics to enlarge their wealth and power. "We elect our bosses, so we've got to elect politicians who support us and hold those politicians accountable," AFSCME's website proclaims. "Our jobs, wages, and working conditions are directly linked to politics." That is exactly the problem.

Public-sector unionism has been unhealthy for American democracy. The power to "elect our bosses" has turned government employment into a rigged game -- rigged in favor of ravenous government growth and against the private-sector taxpayers who pay for it. AFSCME may be "damn happy" at the impact it has on US elections. But the rest of us ought to be alarmed.

The 'big dog' of campaign spending

by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
October 30, 2010

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


THE HILLS ARE ALIVE with the sound of liberal Democratic contempt for the electorate. So are the valleys, the prairies, and the coasts. For months, voters have been signaling their discontent with the president, his party, and their priorities; in less than a week, they appear poised to deliver a stinging rebuke. Yet rather than address the voters' concerns with seriousness and respect, too many Democrats and their allies on the left have chosen instead to slur those voters as stupid, extremist, or too scared to think straight.

At a Democratic fundraiser in Newton this month, offering what he called "a little bit of perspective from the Oval Office," President Obama gave this diagnosis of the American political scene:

"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared."

The smug condescension in this -- We're losing because voters are panicky and confused -- is matched only by its apparent cluelessness. Does Obama really believe that demeaning ordinary Americans is the way to improve his party's fortunes? Or that his dwindling job approval is due to the public's weak grip on "facts and science" and not to, say, to his own divisive and doctrinaire performance as president?

Perhaps he does. Or perhaps he just says such things when speaking to liberal donors. It was at a San Francisco fundraiser in 2008 that Obama described hard-pressed citizens in the small towns of Pennsylvania as "bitter" people who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them . . . as a way to explain their frustrations."

Obama is far from alone in looking down his nose at the great unwashed. Last month, Senator John Kerry explained that Democrats are facing such headwinds these days because voters are easily swayed dolts: "We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth."

Meanwhile, the rise of the Tea Party movement, one of the most extraordinary waves of civic engagement in modern American politics and a major driver of the 2010 election season, has drawn no end of scorn from Democrats and their cheerleaders in the media.

In Massachusetts, state Senate President Therese Murray calls Tea Party members "nutcases," while ABC's Christiane Amanpour is aghast that the grassroots movement has "really gone to the extreme" and is "not conservatism as we knew it." Rob Reiner even smears the Tea Party as Nazi-esque: "My fear is that the Tea Party gets a charismatic leader," the Hollywood director said on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" last week. "All they're selling is fear and anger and that's all Hitler sold." And the crop of citizen-candidates running for Congress this year, many of them with Tea Party backing? A "myriad of wackos," sneers the influential liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas.

The Republican surge is a backlash to nearly two years of Democratic arrogance and overreach.

Trashing conservatives as "nutcases" and "wackos" -- or worse -- is par for the course among left-wing pundits and politicos. But the electorate isn't buying it. "Likely voters in battleground districts," reports The Hill in a recent story on a poll of 10 toss-up congressional districts across the country, "see extremists as having a more dominant influence over the Democratic Party than they do over the GOP." Among likely voters, 44 percent think the Democratic Party is overpowered by its extremes (37 percent say that about the Republicans). Even among registered Democrats, 22% think their party is too beholden to its extremists.

Heading into next week's elections, Americans remain a center-right nation, with solid majorities believing that the federal government is too intrusive and powerful, that it does not spend taxpayer's money wisely or fairly, and that Americans would be better off having a smaller government with fewer services. Nearly halfway through the most left-wing, high-spending, grow-the-government presidential term most voters can remember, it shouldn't come as a surprise that so many of them are rebelling. The coming Republican wave is an entirely rational response to two years of Democratic arrogance and overreach. As the president and his party are about to learn, treating voters as stupid and confused is not a strategy for victory.

Condescension and comeuppance

by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
October 27, 2010

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe).

Saturday, October 23, 2010


THIS ARTICLE was written by Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title 'C'ntarea Americii, meaning 'Ode to America ') in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei 'The Daily Event' or 'News of the Day'.

~ An Ode to America ~

Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if you painted them all one color!
They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs.
On 9/ll, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the Army, or the Secret Service that they are only a bunch of losers.
Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about.
Instead the Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.
After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a government official or the president was passing.
On every occasion, they started singing: 'God Bless America !'
I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.
How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being?
Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes.
And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put into collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy.
What on earth unites the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their history? Their economic Power? Money?
I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace,
I thought things over, I reached but only one conclusion...

Only freedom can work such miracles.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


File:James Madison.jpg



Third Party Conservatives: Fixers or Spoilers?

“What is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue … the Constitution and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning, I answer the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them … a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the elections of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers.” –James Madison

In the years following the resolute conservative leadership of Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party became indolent, more reactive than proactive. Making matters worse, the party supported the infiltration of so-called “big-tent moderates,” those whose policy positions are almost indistinguishable from their Democrat challengers. Consequently, conservative third-party candidates have become significant players in national and state elections.

Conservatives voters have mixed opinions on support for third-party candidates. Thanks to the Tea Party movement, the question ofconstitutional integrity has been reinvigorated, and there are more outstanding third-party candidates in this midterm election than ever before.

Many Patriot readers have asked: “How should one vote when a third-party candidate is more conservative than the Republican offering? Should one vote for the lesser of two evils on the major party tickets? Is a vote for a third-party conservative a wasted vote or, worse, one that takes votes from a moderate on the ticket, and seats a Leftist?”

The answers, of course, depend on one’s affinity for purism versus pragmatism, and the particular circumstances and consequences of each political contest.

Purists are those who rigorously and steadfastly adhere to established traditions and principles in the conduct of their affairs, in application both to individual and societal matters.

Pragmatists, on the other hand, are those who take a practical approach to arriving at solutions, even if that means supporting the lesser of two evils. They thus try to strike a balance between principles and practicality rather than take a strict ideological line.

So, how to vote? By way of an answer, let’s consider the following.

One of the issues challenging some incumbent Republican candidates is their vote for the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which many conservatives begrudgingly supported and which was signed into law with similar enthusiasm by George W. Bush at the end of his second term.

A conservative purist would argue that the government should have no role in the regulation of free enterprise, other than ensuring the exercise thereof, and that the economy, if left to its own devices, is self-regulating, and that self-regulation is the most efficient means to achieve economic prosperity. In the case of TARP, the purist objects to the intervention, and if the economy collapses as a result, the notion is that it will eventually recover and be stronger for what it was allowed to endure.

The conservative pragmatist, on the other hand, while concurring with the academic principles held by the purist, understands the consequences of the purist’s position, and weighs that outcome against the consequences of striking a compromise. Thus, the pragmatist holds his nose and votes for TARP, understanding that averting an unprecedented economic collapse is more important than upholding an academic principle.

I consider myself a purist in regard to the government’s TARP intervention, disagreeing with it in principle. However, while I did not live through the Great Depression, I have learned much about its causes and consequences from those who did, and thus I supported a pragmatic compromise in the matter of government intervention to prevent the cascading failure of our banking system, assuredly taking the economy down with it.

Now, whether you agree or disagree with this compromise, the bottom line is that government intervention created the crisis of confidence that led to the near collapse of our economy and, in my humble opinion, government intervention was the solution.

I will always be conflicted over my position on TARP. Fortunately, however, the original bailout cost to taxpayers, estimated to be $356 billion, has proven to be less than 10 percent of that loss and, in terms of our GDP, less than a third the loss due to the savings-and-loan crisis of the late 1980s. TARP should not be confused with Obama’s so-called “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” which isgoing to cost taxpayers more than a trillion dollars. (Many thanks to the Red Chinese for underwriting this DemoDebt, while growing their own economy at a 10 percent clip.)

How does this help answer the questions about voting for third-party candidates?

The purist will vote for the most conservative candidate on the ballot, regardless of the consequences. The notion here is that if such votes end up seating a liberal (as votes for Ross Perot may have done for Bill Clinton in 1992), this ultimately will be for the good of liberty.

The pragmatist will vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the liberal, even if that candidate does not comport with all, or even most of, the purist’s principles. The pragmatist thus believes that the consequences of seating a liberal will be more injurious to freedom and liberty than seating a moderate.

The above debate is as contentious as the consequences of each approach, and it has been raging for as long as third-party candidates have been on ballots.

The consummate conservative protagonist, William F. Buckley, concluded that the best rule was to vote for the most conservative electable candidate.

A case in point would be last month’s Delaware senate primary.

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer, a pragmatist, wrote that the election of third-party conservative candidate Christine O’Donnell “was a bad day not only for Republicans but for conservatives.” He doubts that O’Donnell can defeat her liberal opponent in the upcoming general election, but believes her moderate Republican opponent Mike Castle would have.

“The very people who have most alerted the country to the perils of President Obama’s social democratic agenda may have just made it impossible for Republicans to retake the Senate and definitively stop that agenda,” argues Krauthammer.

“Of course Mike Castle is a liberal Republican,” he says. “What do you expect from Delaware? A DeMint? Castle voted against Obamacare and the stimulus. Yes, he voted for cap-and-trade. That’s batting .667. You’d rather have a Democrat who bats .000 and who might give the Democrats the 50th vote to control the Senate? Castle wasn’t only electable. He was unbeatable.”

Whether Krauthammer is right about O’Donnell’s electability is yet to be determined, but his conclusion should be weighed carefully by all of my likeminded conservative purists.

To be sure, we are in a unique political cycle this year. Other third-party candidates have already defeated numerous establishment Republican Senate candidates in the primaries. Joe Miller defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska. Marco Rubio so frightened Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida that Crist became an “independent” and now stands to be pounded by Rubio in the general election. And there are strong conservatives running with an “R” next to their name: Rand Paul in Kentucky, Mike Lee in Utah, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado.

Additionally, post primary, there are almost 20 House seats with strong Republican contenders in which third-party conservative challengers are pushing those Republicans to the right. Will those challengers split the conservative vote and give the seat to Democrats in the process?

There’s plenty of consternation within the ranks of the Republican establishment as to what to do with third-party conservatives. Here’s one idea for the GOP: Back strong conservative candidates on the big ticket so as to obviate the need for third-party candidates.

In Tennessee’s 3rd congressional district where I will vote, we face a dilemma similar to that in many House districts. I supported a longtime colleague and strong conservative primary contender, Robin Smith, an outspoken advocate for the Rule of Law, with a proven political record. Yet one of Robin’s six Republican opponents, wealthy lawyer Chuck Fleischmann, a political unknown, defeated her by 1,409 votes. He did so by infusing his campaign with more than $100,000 of his own money, running negative ads and landing a last-minute endorsement from populist Fox News infotainer Mike Huckabee. (Fleishmann’s campaign manager had run Huckabee’s abysmal presidential bid and called in a political favor.)

It was a stinging defeat for Robin and all conservatives in our district. But, hey, I’m not bitter.

In the upcoming midterms, I must decide whether to support Fleischmann, whose campaign tactics were abysmal but who promises he’s a conservative, or vote for one of his authentic conservative third-party opponents and risk giving the seat to Fleischmann’s ultra-Leftist Democrat opponent.

What criterion will I use?

Fleischmann has a strong lead over his opponent and none of the third-party contenders are polling beyond single digits. So I will likely cast my vote for Savas Kyriakidis in order to fire a round across Fleischmann’s bow, and give him notice that if he breaks his conservative promise, he will serve only one term. Of course, if things change over the next two weeks and I detect a risk of seating the Leftist, I’ll hold my nose on Election Day, knowing that this election marks but one battle to restore constitutional integrity, not the end of the war.

My advice to our readers: Vote, and make your vote count! If you are faced with a choice between a third-party conservative and a Republican moderate, and you can vote for the most conservative candidate without seating a Leftist as a consequence, do so. If not, hold your nose and vote for the most electable conservative on the ticket.

(Footnote: Regarding all the media polling in the final weeks of this midterm election, don’t be lulled into overconfidence. Resolve to vote on 2 November, and bring your like-minded friends and family with you to the polls. In the meantime, please revisit the essay “Pollaganda — Political Polling as Propaganda for a full understanding on how the media uses polls to influence elections.)

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post


It Is Over

WASHINGTON -- The Democrats are about to be beaten by something that they do not in their heart of hearts think exists, a huge national majority. At this late hour, with the storm clouds gathering and the livestock getting restless, they see only sunshine. Yes, there is "foreign money" out there. Yes, the media has bungled broadcasting the purity of the Democratic message. And naturally angry voices can be heard. Yet surely there is no majority gathering to unseat the party of decency and good deeds. Well, there is, and it is nothing like the Democrats describe it.

That majority is amiable, sensible, and believes in limited government. It is convinced that we face a catastrophic budget crisis, and that measures must be taken against the spending and on behalf of growth. Furthermore, many of these friendly Americans would be delighted to give our President a ride home if they found him on a street corner, though they would be a lot happier if he did not live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. They doubt he would ask them in for a drink. After all, to him they do not exist.

Many of these people are Tea Partiers. Now they certainly do exist. Yet they are nothing like the Democrats believe them to be. They are not angry and warlike. They are concerned about what the Democrats have done these past months, but they will retire them the old fashioned way, through the ballot box.

Our President has a difficult time conceiving of this growing majority who oppose him. Apparently in May, President Obama asked a group of presidential historians over to the White House to discuss history and to inform him of any historic movements comparable to the Tea Party Movement in all of American history. The historians told him what he wanted to hear. As Peter Baker wrote in the New York Times Magazine, the President wanted to know whether there were "precedents for this sort of backlash against the establishment? What sparked them and how did they shape American politics." Reportedly the historians spoke of the "Know-Nothings" of the 1850s, the Populists of the 1890s, and the Coughlinites of the 1930s. Thus our President was reassured. They were racists and fruitcakes. He heard nothing to challenge his smug sense of history.

Yet, once again he was misinformed by his experts. Michael Barone speaks more accurately of the historic precursors to the Tea Party Movement. He says voters concerned about limited government and federal spending were forming a prodigious movement toward the end of the 1930s. The movement in his mind might have successfully challenged President Franklin D. Roosevelt by 1940, but the rising threat of Nazism intervened. Doubtless there have been other precursors to the Tea Party Movement, for instance the original Tea Partiers back in colonial Boston. The truth is there has been a tug between big centralized government and local government since the founding of the Republic.

Reading the piece by Baker was an odd experience. It was talking about a president who in less than two years has lost the trust of the American people, especially Independents. It quoted soaring rhetoric from Obama in June of 2008 when he said, "we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet [the whole planet!] began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth." After that there will be nothing to do, so we can all play golf or read a good book.

There was also this: "Obama's team takes pride that he has fulfilled three of the five major promises he laid out as pillars of his 'new foundation'... -- health care, education reform, and financial reregulation." So what? Education reform is a nullity. Ten years from now, test scores will still be in the drink. As for the other monstrosities, they are a large part of the Obama disaster. The growing majority that is about to retire Obama's Democratic majority in the House and possibly in the Senate knows this. The Ruling Class, including Baker, seems to be oblivious of it, but the rest of the nation knows it.

Socialism is another of the gods that have failed. If you balk at my use of the word socialism, how about if I say Liberalism is another of the gods that have failed? What is astonishing is precisely how extreme the Liberalism practiced by Obama and the Democrats has been. Well, it has failed. The Liberals show no hint that they realize this, but the American majority does. Now that majority has to deal with the mess we are in. As for the Liberals, they have to explain why they are summarily leaving office.