Something tells me that this ad could be run in a lot of places.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Something tells me that this ad could be run in a lot of places.
An admission made on the Colbert Report, no less:
The Vice President made an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” where he delivered a message to former President George W. Bush.
“Mr. President, Thank you. You have honored these guys, you have honored these women, you’ve honored these troops and I have known you your entire eight years as President. I’ve never known a time when you didn’t care about what happened, we’ve disagreed on policy, but you deserve a lot of credit Mr. President,” Biden said.
From Power Line:
Sarah Palin has endorsed Christine O'Donnell in the Delaware primary. Apparently, she did so on Sean Hannity's radio program.
Delaware may or may not be Palin country. However, the endorsement figures to improve O'Donnell's chances of capturing the nomination. It therefore also figures to improve the chances that the Dems will hold a seat they had all but written off in the expectation that Mike Castle would be the Republican candidate.
Speaking of Sean Hannity, he is one of the prominent talk-show hosts who (inadvertently, I'm certain) has incorrectly described Castle's voting record. Last night Hannity said "Mike Castle voted for Obamacare, TARP, cap and tax, the establishment wants him. What can we interpret from that?" Actually, Castle voted against Obamacare.
Along the same lines, Rush Limbaugh said yesterday that Castle voted for the stimulus. In fact, Castle voted against the 2009 stimulus bill, which is what people understand "the stimulus" to mean. Castle did vote for 2008 stimulus legislation in 2008. However, as Jim Geraghty points out, that bill passed by a vote of 81-16, with the votes of solid conservatives like Richard Burr, John Thune, David Vitter, Jim Bunning. Mitch McConnell, Sam Brownback, Saxby Chambliss, and Orrin Hatch.
As one of our readers wrote to me after watching Hannity's show last night, "Wouldn't it be terribly disappointing if the GOP knocked off such liberal stalwarts as Boxer, Murray, and Feingold but failed to gain control of the Senate because they blew an eminently winnable pickup in Delaware?"
I think so, especially if incorrect information about Castle's record plays a role.
But before the incorrect information about Castle's record came the lies from Christine O'Donnell.
Not about Mike Castle, mind you. About her own past election results.
In a recent interview, O'Donnell claimed to have carried two of Delaware's three counties in one of her prior bids for office. In fact, she lost both, and one by 14%.
Readers of this blog know I am no great fan of moderate Republicans, and there's no doubt that Mike Castle is a very moderate Republican.
But there's plenty of evidence of his positions and his record without the need for conservatives to put forward misinformation. Period.
And a serious and viable candidate wouldn't lie about their past election record, or delve into rediculous conspiracy theories about every misfortune to fall her (including accusing someone of interviewing her of taking bribes from her opponent while sitting in the interview).
A candidate who doesn’t like the questions she’s being asked should always tell the host that there are rumors he’s taking bribes from the other campaign. When she says she won two out of three counties, no one should acknowledge that she lost both, one by 14 percentage points. Conservatism is best served when we all close our eyes and pretend we don’t see a false statement by a candidate we prefer!
Now, I’m not going to tout Mike Castle as anything other than what he is. He has a lifetime ACU rating of 52.49. That’s pretty darn “meh” for conservatives. But the moderation of the other guy isn’t sufficient reason to give a thumbs-up to a candidate who makes blatantly, easily verified false statements on the trail, nor to countenance her attacks on those who have the audacity to bring her the bad news.Asked about a financial disclosure showing that O’Donnell only had $5,800 of earned income last year, O’Donnell told me that she actually made more but didn’t have to and wouldn’t disclose how much. “The only thing they can use against me is that I’m not a multi-millionaire,” said O’Donnell.
It says on the Senate financial disclosure report that O’Donnell filed and signed, ”Any individual who knowingly and willingly falsifies, or who knowingly and willfully fails to file this report may be subject to civil and criminal sanctions. See 5 U.S.C. app 4, 104, and 18 U.S.C. 1001.” The only listed exceptions are for amounts less than $200 and spousal income, although the employer of the spouse must be listed. (O’Donnell is not married.)It’s fascinating that Levin and others lament the “backstabbing” among conservatives. I wonder how they would characterize the O’Donnell campaign’s response to Rasmussen polls showing her losing to the Democrat quite badly:
There haven’t been any recent public polls on the Castle v. O’Donnell primary, though an August 5 Rasmussen poll showed Castle leading Chris Coons, the Democrat, 49 percent to 37 percent, while O’Donnell was trailing Coons 36 percent to 46 percent.
O’Donnell’s campaign manager Matt Moran thinks that this poll isn’t accurate, calling it “more of a push poll.”
“Scott Rasmussen has to pay his bills,” says Moran. “We understand that the RNC and NRSC have long tentacles.”
I see. You’re suggesting RNC and NRSC pressure prompted Scott Rasmussen to change his results. If O’Donnell is losing, it must mean the numbers have been fudged.
I wouldn't vote for this woman for dog catcher, let alone for the United States Senate. She obviously has trouble with the truth and likes to make outlandish attacks whenever confronted with facts that don't suit her.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
From the Wall Street Journal:
Ronald Reagan enjoyed telling of the elderly Blitz victim rescued from her demolished London flat in World War II. A fireman found a bottle of brandy under the ruins of her staircase and offered her a nip for her pain. “Leave it right there,” the matron ordered. “That’s for emergencies.”
A look around the American economy suggests that it’s time to break out the brandy. By any measure, growth is anemic—alarmingly so for this time in what is supposed to be a recovery period. The administration’s wild foray into trickle-down government spending has clearly failed. Funneling borrowed billions to government workers hasn’t stimulated anything where it counts, in the private sector.
Moreover, the administration’s big-government policies—most notably health-care reform—are holding back job creation. Drowning in new or pending regulations and taxes, businesses, banks and investors are understandably sitting on dollars that could be putting Americans to work.
Especially ominous are the implications of slow growth for the nation’s burgeoning debt. The government’s projections, which already point to national bankruptcy, rely on growth assumptions we aren’t even close to achieving. They say the economy must grow at an average rate of 3.4% for 10 years—better than any previous decade in a half century. And that is just to achieve disaster, with debt rising to as much as 90% of GDP. To stave off catastrophe, nothing short of a truly vibrant, extended boom will do.
Most Americans don’t know these figures in detail, but they have a strong sense that we are in a dangerous place. As I was leaving a small-town Indiana diner a couple weeks ago, a local said to me, “When the boys in there are discussing Greece, and it doesn’t refer to the cheeseburgers, something is different.” Odds seem strong that a degree of balance is about to be restored to the currently lopsided Congress.
Republicans may not reach a majority, but they will be looked to for constructive answers to this central dilemma of our era. A time-limited, emergency growth program aimed at triggering new private investment should be a primary goal of the next Congress, one hopes on a bipartisan basis.
What might such a project comprise? Here are a few suggestions:
• Payroll tax holiday. Suspend or reduce for the emergency period, say one year, the Social Security payroll tax on workers. Offset the revenue loss twice over through a combination of the following four policies.
• Impoundment power. Presidents once had the authority to spend less than Congress made available through appropriation. On reflection, nothing else makes sense. Plowing ahead with spending when revenues plummet is something only government would do. In Indiana, we are still solvent, with no new taxes, money in reserve, and a AAA credit rating only because our legislature gave me the power to adjust spending to new realities. I promise you that a president who wanted to could put the kibosh on enormous amounts of spending that a Congress might never vote to eliminate, but the average citizen would never miss.
• Recall federal funds. Rescind unspent Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds and any unspent funds from last year’s $862 billion “stimulus” package, as well as large amounts of the hundreds of billions of “unobligated funds” unspent from previous appropriations bills.
• Federal hiring and pay freeze. Better yet cut federal pay, which now vastly outstrips private-sector wages, by 10% during the emergency term, and freeze it after that.
• A “freedom window.” Might we try some sort of regulatory forbearance period in which the job-killing practice of agonizingly slow environmental permitting is suspended, perhaps in favor of a self-certification safe harbor process? Businesses could proceed with new job creation immediately based on plans that meet current pollution or safety standards, or use best current technology, subject only to fines and remediation if a subsequent look-back shows that the promised standards were not met.
• Accelerated or full expensing of business investment. Economists differ about its success on past occasions, and certainly it involves a degree of pulling forward investment that would have happened eventually. But it seems well matched to the current situation where so much money is cowering on the sidelines, and a burst of new investment might jump-start growth that enables more investment in the future. (Reports indicate that the administration is about to propose this very idea. If so, good.)
Surely there are better ideas or variations on these suggestions that a jobs-minded Congress could fashion. And clearly permanent tax and regulatory moderation is vastly superior to temporary. But to have a prayer of avoiding fiscal ruin, we need to go to economic general quarters immediately.
It may be fanciful to imagine that the Obama administration, chastened by economic reality and an election setback, might join or even champion such a plan. But no one has a bigger stake in the kind of private-sector growth it would attempt to generate. Any hopes of paying for their health-care and other spending schemes depend on it.
With or without Democratic help, Republicans should step forward with these or superior ideas. A stagnant, impoverished America will not be a greener or safer or fairer place. Grown-ups make trade-offs. Pass the brandy, then let’s get busy.
All of his suggested courses of action are typical Mitch: tight on the spending, less on the government and taxes, and heavy on being thoughtful.
Is it just me, or does our governor sound more and more like somebody running for President?
The story of Ronald Reagan's life -- from boyhood to Hollywood actor to leader of the free world -- is about to spill out on the big screen in a way quite different from the miniseries that caused such a stir seven years ago.
The feature film, titled "Reagan" and sporting a $30 million production budget, is set for release late next year and will be based on two best-selling biographies of the 40th U.S. president by Paul Kengor: "The Crusader" and "God and Ronald Reagan."
Mark Joseph, who optioned the books four years ago, is co-producing with Ralph Winter and Jonas McCord wrote the script.
Winter's producing credits include four "X-Men" movies, two "Fantastic Four" movies and the 2001 remake of "Planet of the Apes." Joseph, a marketing and development executive, worked on "Ray," "Holes," "Because of Winn-Dixie" and "The Passion of the Christ."
McCord, whose credits include "Malice" and "The Body," said he wasn't a fan of Reagan but was drawn to the project as he researched the former president's upbringing.
"I was of the opinion that at best he was a bad actor and at worst a clown," McCord said.
But that sort of less-than-reverential treatment has been done before, as in the 2003 miniseries "The Reagans." That will have little in common with the feature film, which begins with the 1981 assassination attempt and tells Reagan's story through flashbacks and flash-forwards.
McCord describes Reagan's childhood as "a surreal Norman Rockwell painting with his alcoholic Catholic father, devout Christian mother, Catholic brother and ever-changing boarders the family took in."
Said Joseph: "This is a great story. I'm just glad no one else in Hollywood thinks so, or they'd have made this film by now."
"Only in Hollywood could you make an insulting, condescending movie about a much-loved historical figure, hire an actor who loathes the man, watch it flop and then somehow conclude that Americans don't want to see a movie about him," Joseph said. "I watched Americans line up and wait for 10 hours for the simple privilege of passing by his closed casket. They love this man."
They even have a poll up about who you think should play the Gipper.
You sort of have to see the original befor the edited version to understand the context, but if you know even the slightest bit about Charlie Crist, it's hilarious even without seeing the original.
Best part of all is the disclaimer at the end: "Approved by self-serving politicians and those that elect them."
From The Atlantic:
Even more striking was something he said at lunch on the day of our first meeting. We were seated around a smallish table; Castro, his wife, Dalia, his son; Antonio; Randy Alonso, a major figure in the government-run media; and Julia Sweig, the friend I brought with me to make sure, among other things, that I didn't say anything too stupid (Julia is a leading Latin American scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations). I initially was mainly interested in watching Fidel eat - it was a combination of digestive problems that conspired to nearly kill him, and so I thought I would do a bit of gastrointestinal Kremlinology and keep a careful eye on what he took in (for the record, he ingested small amounts of fish and salad, and quite a bit of bread dipped in olive oil, as well as a glass of red wine). But during the generally lighthearted conversation (we had just spent three hours talking about Iran and the Middle East), I asked him if he believed the Cuban model was still something worth exporting.
"The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," he said.
This struck me as the mother of all Emily Litella moments. Did the leader of the Revolution just say, in essence, "Never mind"?
I asked Julia to interpret this stunning statement for me. She said, "He wasn't rejecting the ideas of the Revolution. I took it to be an acknowledgment that under 'the Cuban model' the state has much too big a role in the economic life of the country."
The whole thing is Castro unplugged.
In an earlier installment of The Atlantic series on the interview with Castro, he basically tells Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stuff it when it comes to anti-Semetism, and he says that he worries about nuclear war between Iran and Israel and the U.S.
He also says he was wrong to push the Soviets for a nuclear attack on the United States during the Cuban missile crisis.
And he likes to watch dolphin shows (the veterinarian for the dolphins at the show attended during the interview was Che Guevara's daughter--it's a small world after all--and the head of the aquarium was a former nuclear physicist).
Pretty impressive, given that her day job keeps her plenty busy.
From the Indy Star:
Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman is using the recent earning of her first college degree to urge others to do the same.
Skillman received an associate's degree with a concentration in business from Indiana Wesleyan University last month at the age of 59. She's taking this semester off, but plans to continue taking classes toward a bachelor's degree.
Skillman tells The Times of Munster that she took some college classes over the years, but concentrated after high school on her jobs in local government in southern Indiana's Lawrence County and her family.
Skillman says the world has changed from the time when she was young and a high school diploma was enough education to get a good job.
I suspect that not having a college degree could have been a hindrance in a potential bid for governor; that obstacle has now been cleared out of the way.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Iowahawk is, as always, hilarious:
Barack, can we, uh, talk for a few minutes?
Oh, nothing. It's just that it just seems we haven't had a chance to talk for a while. I mean, I know we've both been busy for the past year or so. You with your fundraisers and golfing and stuff, and me with all those appointments at the unemployment office. But you know I think it's important in a relationship like ours to keep the lines of communication open.
So anyway, I've been think that... look, this is really hard. God. Do you remember when we met at that big party in Denver back in 08? I mean when I saw you across that crowded convention floor, it was like, Oh My God. I don't think I ever saw anything like you before. I was on the rebound from a bad relationship and you were so tall and articulate and, well hot. And then I couldn't believe that of all the democracies in the room you picked me out!
Yeah I know my some of my friends warned me you were trouble, and that it was the alcohol talking. But I knew that if we gave it a chance we could make it work. You and me, together. And after you moved in, I really think we did for a while. I mean, you've really helped me get over my inhibitions and hangups, and I like to think I've really helped you grow and discover yourself. Like last year when I lent you $800 billion to pay for your demo tape and new rims for the Cadillac.
No, no. I'm not asking for the money back now, Paul Krugman told me you're good for it. And please don't think I don't appreciate all the constructive criticism. It's important for me to know when I'm not meeting your needs and when I'm holding you back. Look, I know I'm not the prettiest democracy in the hemisphere, and I really can't blame you when your eyes wander to Spain or Venezuela. It's just been kind of hard to pay attention to my appearance since losing my job.
Speaking of that, Mr. Hu called again today about the rent. I don't mean to be a nag, but did you get a chance to drop my check off? Oh yeah, the baillout thing with Goldman Sacks. Yeah, I guess you did mention that. Oh well, I'll call Mr. Hu and see if he'll take another IOU till the 15th.
Where was I? Oh yeah. I guess what I was trying to say is that those early days were magical. But, well, maybe magic isn't the best basis for a... Shit. Look, maybe the best way to do this is just come out and say it. I think it's best if we take a break.
There, I said it.
Come... come on Barack, please don't be that way. And don't act so surprised, I mean you must have at least seen some of the approval rating signs. Tea Party? No, Tea Party didn't put me up to this. Yeah, sure I've see him around the neighborhood. I mean, what am I supposed to do while you're off vacationing with your friends? Sit around this place without a job and watch MSNBC? No, it's platonic. So far. And for your information, Tea isn't the retarded Nazi racist loser your friends are always painting him to be. And guess what? He listens to me and seems to like me for what I am, and doesn't expect me to wear that stupid complicated Scandinavian nurse outfit like you gave me for Christmas. By the way, the charge card bill from Frederick's of Stockholm just arrived yesterday. $1 trillion, Barack? Really?
Look, let's be civil adults and not let this descend into yelling. It's really not you, it's me. We both know you deserve a better democracy than me. I mean, let's face it - you're cool and urbane and Euro and sexy; I'm frumpy and overweight and not that bright. You've said so plenty of times yourself. And you're probably right that I'll never quite understand you. But I think I know you well enough now to understand you'd be happier with a different country to govern.
Tax cut? Please Barack, I appreciate the gesture, but it's a little late for romantic gifts. Don't embarrass both of us. Let's just go on from here and remember the good times. Don't worry about me. I know it'll be hard, but I need to show myself I can make it without you. Somehow.
In the meantime, we'll always have Denver.
Jim Shella notes this about franked mail:
Last year the Indiana House spent a little over $3 million dollars on mail. The figures for this year aren’t available but the last of the franked mail has gone out. House rules prohibit mailings after July 30th in an election year.
Staff members for both the Republicans and the Democrats approve every piece of mail that goes out.
If this is the case, then why did I get a piece of franked mail just last week from State Senator Richard Young?
And, since the mail piece refers to Young's priorities in the upcoming 2011 legislative session and Young is up for reelection this November, which staff members approved that piece of mail?
Brad Ellsworth will be thanking him later, I'm sure.
The good part is early on, but if you watch to the end you can hear him talk about what a bad idea ObamaCare turned out to be. (Just don't think about the fact that he voted for it.)
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Thus Power Line reviews Obama's speech this evening:
President Obama's speech from the oval office, only the second of his presidency, was surprisingly limp. With three momentous subjects to cover - Iraq, Afghanistan, and the U.S. economy - Obama struggled to say anything new or interesting. It isn't just that the soaring rhetoric of 2008 has disappeared; Obama is now affirmatively boring.
In "turning the page" on Iraq, the Great Speechifier could find no words with which to give meaning to our epic struggle there. Let's give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume this is because he thinks the struggle had no meaning, except as it related to domestic politics in the U.S. But then why give a speech about it?
Perhaps the idea was to signal our resolve going forward. The best he could do on this front was to say that after our troops leave at the end of 2011, we'll still have diplomats, aid workers, and advisors on the scene. But we have diplomats, aid workers, and advisors all over the world; what if Iraq needs more than that, given all of its challenges? If Obama signaled anything in this speech, it was his lack of interest in Iraq's past (Saddam who?), present, and future.
Despite the fact that Afghanistan has become Obama's war in a way Iraq never did, the president displayed no great interest in, or true sense of commitment to, that action either. In ten short months, Obama once again pledged, we will begin pulling out of Afghanistan too. These words can only comfort our terrorist enemies and cause sleepness nights for anyone in Afghanistan who has ever supported us.
When it came to the economy, Obama had nothing new to offer. So instead, he provided America with a pep talk, exhorting us to "honor" our troops by "coming together" with a great sense of urgency to "restore our economy."
Presumably, this means rallying around Obama's unpopular domestic agenda. In any case, Americans are unlikely to be impressed by a president whose answer to our economic woes sounds something like "hug a soldier and hope that some of his grit rubs off."
Pundits will debate whether the crowd at Glenn Beck's Saturday rally in Washington was the largest in recent political history, but it was certainly among the most impressive.
Mr. Beck is a television host and radio broadcaster with a checkered past and a penchant for incendiary remarks. But if he's judged by the quality of people of all colors that he attracted to the Lincoln Memorial, his stock can't help but rise.
One would not be able to find a more polite crowd at a political convention, certainly not at a professional sporting event, probably not even at an opera. In fact, judging by the behavior of the attendees following the event, you'd have a tough time finding churches in which people display more patience as others make their way to the exits.
This army of well-mannered folks that marched into Washington seemed comprised mainly of people who had once marched in the U.S. Army or other military branch, or at least had a family member who had. Perhaps that's not surprising, given that the event was a fund-raiser for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships to the children of elite troops killed in the performance of their duty. The day was largely devoted to expressions of gratitude for the sacrifices of U.S. soldiers, for great men of American history like the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and for God.
But it didn't end there. Dave Roever, a Vietnam veteran, offered a closing prayer in which he thanked the Lord for the president and for the Congress. Despite the unpopularity of the latter two, no booing or catcalls could be heard.
Perhaps feeling defensive about how they would be portrayed in media reports, various attendees wore t-shirts noting that they were "Not violent" or "Non-violent." For other participants, there was no need for an explicit message. Relaxed young parents felt comfortable enough to push toddlers in strollers through the crowded areas along the memorial's reflecting pool.
Not only was the rally akin to a "huge church picnic" (in one Journal reporter's description), but one had to wonder if the over-achievers in this crowd actually left the area in better shape than they found it.
After the event, walking from the Lincoln Memorial's reflecting pool through Constitution Gardens, this reporter scanned 360 degrees and could not see a scrap of trash anywhere. Participants and volunteers had collected all their refuse and left it piled neatly in bags around the public garbage cans. Near Constitution Avenue, I did encounter one stray piece of paper—but too old and faded to have been left that day.
Given the huge representation of military families at the event, maybe it's not surprising the grounds were left ship-shape. A principal theme of the day was that attendees should restore the country by making improvements in their own lives—be the change you wish to see in the world, as Gandhi once put it.
Most of the participants were strictly amateurs in the business of activism. For many, it was their first appearance at a public demonstration. Their strikingly mild-mannered nature might inspire even Mr. Beck to acknowledge that in a crowd estimated at 300,000, the craziest person at the event might have been the one with the microphone. While he admits that he's part entertainer and prone to over-the-top comments, his followers appear to be sincerely responding to his message that Americans need to cling to their best traditions. (Mr. Beck's program appears on the Fox News Channel, which is owned by News Corp., which also owns this newspaper.)
The conservative Mr. Beck's ability to draw this many people to Washington may suggest enormous gains for Republicans come the fall. But the GOP shouldn't expect voters to simply hand them a congressional majority without making them earn it. If pregame chatter and off-season optimism translated into victory, the New York Jets and the Washington Redskins would meet in the Super Bowl every year.
Between Saturday's crowd in Washington and the tea partiers agitating for limited government, we may be witnessing the rebuilding of the Reagan coalition, the "fusion" of religious and economic conservatives that political theorist Frank Meyer once endorsed. Reagan always believed that the Republican Party was the natural home for this movement, but GOP leaders in Washington need to prove they are worthy of it.
Aw, poor Brad Ellsworth. His pretty face just isn't enough to convince Hoosiers to overlook his horrible liberal voting record.
From the Washington Post comes this interesting catalogue of failure that has been the Ellsworth campaign:
When Brad Ellsworth won his U.S. House seat in Indiana four years ago, he was hailed by Democrats as the future of their party: a telegenic former sheriff with moderate instincts and an ability to appeal to a diverse electorate.
It was candidates such as Ellsworth who enabled the Democrats to conquer frontiers that mostly seemed beyond their reach, places such as Evansville and Terre Haute, which stuck with the party in 2008 and enabled President Obama to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Indiana in 44 years.
Today, those gains are in jeopardy, with Democratic prospects following the downward trend of the economy and Obama's approval ratings. Ellsworth is running well behind in the race to replace Sen. Evan Bayh and has now become the face of the Democrats' reversal of fortunes across the Midwest. The state's two other vulnerable House Democrats, Reps. Joe Donnelly and Baron P. Hill, are battling to hold their seats, and Republicans could reclaim the district Ellsworth has represented for the past four years.
The dynamics raise a question larger than any one race - whether new Democrats have succeeded in expanding the political map in any sort of lasting way or whether candidates such as Ellsworth were just in the right place at the right time.
Regardless, Ellsworth's 2010 challenges are proving as formidable as the 2006 landscape was beckoning.
When Bayh announced his retirement in February, state party leaders rallied around Ellsworth for his potential to win support across the state, from the small-town social conservatives of southern Indiana to the more traditional union Democrats of Hammond and Gary.
"The same things that made him an appealing recruit in '06 makes him appealing for a Senate seat, especially in this year," said Dan Parker, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. "He's a regular guy who is grounded in Indiana."
But Ellsworth is battling low name recognition at a time when voters aren't much interested in Democrats of any variety. In a poll conducted by Ellsworth's campaign and released last week, he trailed his Republican opponent, Dan Coats, by 11 points, though Democrats attributed much of that to the fact that many voters don't know Ellsworth.
As Ellsworth strolled the grounds of the Indiana State Fair last week, one of the few people who recognized him was the architect of the jail in Vanderburgh County, where Ellsworth served as sheriff for eight years.
The candidate wore nothing on his crisp white shirt, not a button, sticker or pin, to identify him as the Democratic Senate nominee. Ellsworth introduced himself to Dave Forgey, a dairy farmer from Logansport, and was met by a blank look. "Who are you running against?" Forgey replied.
The answer to that question is Coats, possibly the year's most unlikely Senate front-runner. Coats's resume reads like a list of everything voters have frowned upon this year - he served in the House and Senate before becoming a lobbyist for oil companies, health insurers and Wall Street banks. Until recently he was a resident of Northern Virginia, and he had purchased a retirement home in North Carolina.
But Coats is also known for his interest in fiscal issues, and he is counting on Indiana voters to care more about his ideas for lowering the deficit than his client list. Despite the anti-Washington sentiment that has hurt establishment candidates in other races, Coats is selling his government experience as an asset.
"As people look at the magnitude of the problems we have, it's not something we can continue to kick the can down the road to another Congress and another president," said Coats spokesman Pete Seat. "He's been there. He can hit the ground running on Day One. Hoosiers respect experience, and they respect someone who wants to leave a better legacy for the next generation."
In 2006, Ellsworth's policy record was a blank slate. He'd spent a quarter-century in law enforcement and had never taken a position on a controversial national issue. Now Coats is portraying him as a liberal appendage to Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Countering that perception, while recasting Coats as a special-interest pawn, will require a costly television ad campaign that Ellsworth and his party may not be able to afford.
“Unfortunately, there still is a great deal of confusion about what is in [the reform law] and what isn’t,” Sebelius told ABC News Radio in an interview Monday.
With several vulnerable House Democrats touting their votes against the bill, and Republicans running on repeal, Sebelius said “misinformation given on a 24/7 basis” has led to the enduring opposition nearly six months after the lengthy debate ended in Congress.
“So, we have a lot of reeducation to do,” Sebelius said.
The administration is particularly concerned about the views of senior citizens – who “have been a target of a lot of the misinformation,” according to the health secretary.
We're just too dumb to know what's good for us. Dear Leader apparently always knows best. And, now, they apparently want to "reeducate" us about what's best, too.
Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the "bitter" people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging "to guns or religion or" -- this part is less remembered -- "antipathy toward people who aren't like them."
That's a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.
Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the tea party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president. Disgust and alarm with the federal government's unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism. Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia. Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.
Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Majorities -- often lopsided majorities -- oppose President Obama's social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, Obamacare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a Ground Zero mosque.
What's a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that pre-empts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument. The most venerable of these trumps is, of course, the race card. When the tea party arose, a spontaneous, leaderless and perfectly natural (and traditionally American) reaction to the vast expansion of government intrinsic to the president's proudly proclaimed transformational agenda, the liberal commentariat cast it as a mob of angry white yahoos disguising their antipathy to a black president by cleverly speaking in economic terms.
Then came Arizona and SB 1070. It seems impossible for the left to believe that people of good will could hold that: (a) illegal immigration should be illegal, (b) the federal government should not hold border enforcement hostage to comprehensive reform, i.e., amnesty, (c) every country has the right to determine the composition of its immigrant population.
As for Proposition 8, is it so hard to see why people might believe that a single judge overturning the will of 7 million voters is an affront to democracy? And that seeing merit in retaining the structure of the most ancient and fundamental of all social institutions is something other than an alleged hatred of gays -- particularly since the opposite-gender requirement has characterized virtually every society in all the millennia until just a few years ago? And now the Ground Zero mosque. The intelligentsia is near unanimous that the only possible grounds for opposition is bigotry toward Muslims. This smug attribution of bigotry to two-thirds of the population hinges on the insistence on a complete lack of connection between Islam and radical Islam, a proposition that dovetails perfectly with the Obama administration's pretense that we are at war with nothing more than "violent extremists" of inscrutable motive and indiscernible belief. Those who reject this as both ridiculous and politically correct (an admitted redundancy) are declared Islamophobes, the ad hominem du jour.
It is a measure of the corruption of liberal thought and the collapse of its self-confidence that, finding itself so widely repudiated, it resorts reflexively to the cheapest race-baiting (in a colorful variety of forms). Indeed, how can one reason with a nation of pitchfork-wielding mobs brimming with "antipathy toward people who aren't like them" -- blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims -- a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it succinctly, "just downright mean"?
The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama overread his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them.
As they say, what goes around, comes around.