If He’s Winning The Debate, Why Are His Numbers Eroding?

Ace reports some under-reported news from Gallup’s latest poll:

Forty percent of Americans approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president in Gallup’s three-day rolling average for July 26-28, a new low for him by one percentage point. His overall approval rating essentially matches his recent rating for handling the debt ceiling negotiations.

I think one reason this debate is bleeding off President Obama’s support among the general population is that it emphasizes one of his greatest liabilities.  The President is incapable of leading.  There isn’t a single issue, in fact, on which this President has shown any inclination or ability to lead.  His mis-handling of the debt-ceiling debate is a stark example. 

Obama has been talking just about every day, but about . . . what, exactly?   If the debt-ceiling is so damn important — and it very well may be, for all I know — where is the President’s plan?  If he’s the adult in the room, where is his plan?  If he is the voice of centrism, bipartisanship, and reason, where is his plan?  If he is a leader, where is his plan?

The reason this debate is so debilitating for the President is that it further reinforces an image that is rapidly cementing — the man holding title of leader of the free world isn’t a leader at all.

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Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tour de France Podium Finishers Set To Race In Colorado

This is cool

Cadel Evans, who won the Tour de France on Sunday, is scheduled to race in Colorado’s inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge, race co-chairman Shawn Hunter said Thursday.

Evans’ entry means the Cycling Challenge will likely have the top three finishers from this year’s Tour de France, marking the first time in American cycling history that an entire Tour de France podium competed in an American race in the same year.

Three-time runner-up Andy Schleck and his brother, Frank, who finished second and third in France, will compete, according to a Versus network report Sunday.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is a cycling stage race set in the beautiful Colorado mountains running August 22-29, 2011.  Although U.S. mountain roads are typically not as narrow or steep as those in Europe, they go up to lung-busting altitude through equally breath-taking terrain.

I have long thought that the U.S. needs a great cycling tour, and we certainly have the geography for it in Colorado.  I hope this tour succeeds.

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Dems’ Next “Big Idea” — Jobs

Really.  That’s what Eugene Robinson says:

People may dislike paying taxes, but they dislike unemployment more. Progressives should talk about bringing the nation back to full employment and healthy growth — and how this requires an adequately funded government to play a major role.

The next time Moe asks about the big idea, Democrats, say “jobs.” You might avoid a slap on the noggin and a poke in the eyes.

Here’s the problem.  The Democrats have been throwing money and government programs at the “jobs problem” since Obama came into office.  Their policies have been an economic disaster.  So what does Robinson want?  More of the same, of course!

That is not a “Big Idea,” to use Robinson’s phrase.  It is a Bad Idea. 

Government intervention in the economy is strangling it.  The reason we are not drilling for oil in the U.S. is government.  The reason businesses are not hiring is government.  The reason people bought houses they couldn’t afford (or were unwilling to pay for) was government.  The reason health care costs are predicted to skyrocket over the next few years is, you guessed it, government.

The Democrats controlled both houses of congress and the presidency for two full years.  They pursued their progressive agenda with abandon and tried to “bring[ ] the nation back to full employment and healthy growth” through a massively funded government playing a major role in the economy.  What has that brought us?  Nothing good.  Instead of a vibrant economy we have a stagnant one.

The solution to failures of government intervention is not more government intervention.  And the solution for what ails progressives is not a bumper sticker that says “Jobs.”

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Who’s To Blame?

James Fallows at The Atlantic offers five reasons, in his view , that it’s the fault of the GOP.  Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

1) The debt-ceiling showdown represents hostage-taking, plain and simple. This is a “crisis” that need never have happened, regardless of which party controlled the White House. 

You wouldn’t know it from most news coverage, but there is no logical or legislative connection between the House Republicans’ stated object of concern, the future budgetary path toward national solvency, and the bonds and notes the Treasury must keep issuing for programs this and previous Congresses have already voted into law.

Not true.  Part of it deals with current debt — a massive chunk of which was piled up in the first two-and-a-half years of the Obama Administration, but I digress.  But the Democrats are insisting — dare I say, holding the entire deal hostage for — a debt ceiling that will allow them to pile up additional debt through to 2013.  Why?  No other reason than politics.

2) The House GOP position fails the test of basic knowledge. Last night I listened to a Tea Party member from the House explain why there could be no tax increases as part of the deal — raising taxes is the last thing you need in a recession. In the next sentence, he said that the main virtue of a proposed GOP plan, versus Harry Reid’s, is that it made deeper budget cuts right away, though even deeper short-term cuts were essential.

No one had pointed out to him, or he had forgotten, or he didn’t realize, that during a recession, raising taxes and cutting budgets are bad for the same reason. They both reduce demand and make a recession worse.

Not true.  If Keynesian economics worked, then Mr.  Fallows would have a point.  But the current Administration has rather effectively disproven that.  Massive increases in deficit spending by the government have strangled the economy, not stimulated it. 

So how about signalling to job-creators that they need not fear being sacrificed further to feed the government beast bu cutting spending and holding the line on taxes?  Better yet, cut and simplify them to diminish the opportunities for rent-seeking.  Then, the trillions in investable dollars sitting on the sidelines will come back into the game and, voila!, real growth will resume.

3) It fails the test of basic logic. Or perhaps basic knowledge part #2. If you look at the numbers, like the chart after the jump, you can see that budget-balancing involves a threshold choice. You can be for preserving tax cuts in toto, or you can be for cutting the deficit. But because the tax cuts have played such a major role in creating the deficit, if you have any regard for math or logic you really can’t be for both. But most House Republicans are.

Again, not true.  here’s a chart of federal spending as a percentage of GDP 2000-2011:

We have a spending problem, not a “revenue” problem.

4) It displays a lack of tragic imagination. Many on the right have talked themselves into the view that it would be no big deal for the U.S. to go into technical default for a while. And I am sure that the “disaster strikes at midnight!” scenarios about what would happen on August 2 are way overblown. But anyone who thinks this controversy has had no effect on America’s standing and assumed credit-worthiness, or that an actual default, whenever it occurred — in late August, in September —  would not hurt us in the short and long run, needs to get out more. Out into the world, where assessments of basic American steadiness are now being recalibrated.

Actually, I think that default would be bad, though the effects would be largely temporary.  But see the above chart.  Does anyone — other than the President, who proposed a budget way back in February of this year that would have accelerated the climb — think that ski slope of federal spending can continue? 

A technical default is not a good thing.  But continuing the current binge of spending on an unsustainable course will cause structural instability.  And that is a very, very bad thing.  The liberals who can’t see that, or who think we can tax our way out by confiscating the income of high-earners while regulating the hell out of the American economy, are delusional.

5) It has turned into zealotry, by which I mean utter disregard for the practical consequences of acts.

I must have missed the part where the Democrats put ObamaCare on the table.  Oh, they didn’t?  Silly me, they are so non-ideological and reasonable I just assumed they did.  By the way, the “practical consequences” of ObamaCare can be seen here:

Fallows is simply channelling Obama here.  President Present simply decides — does that mean he’s “The Decider”? — that his position is reasonable and everything else is a political talking point, ergo, he is being reasonable and everyone else is partisan or ideological in pursuing their own goals.  See how that works?  Actually, it only works with a supine media.

 

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 10:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Spenditol!

Jennifer Rubin has posted a great ad by the group Concerned Women for America that is a must see.  It is effective because it is so low key, and almost sweetly takes the wood to big spenders in Washington without mercy.  If I were running a campaign for a conservative candidate anywhere, I would be itching to run this ad.  Good stuff.

By the way, the reaction by the campaign of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is classically stupid.  Take notes, champ — do some investigation before attacking those who run ads against you.  This is NOT the kind of response a competent campaign draws from third party advocates:

“The Tester campaign’s assertion that CWA lobbied Congress against child pornography protection is absolutely false. To the contrary, CWA strongly supports tough penalties for those who peddle in child pornography. And Senator Tester should have known better—it is publicly known that I was personally the victim in an attempted sexual attack by a suspected pornography addict while I was pregnant with my daughter. I was rescued by a passing motorist, and have spent the last 15 years as a champion against child pornography and indecency—including more than 3 years of public service working on this issue at the FCC. Concerned Women for America demands an apology from Senator Tester for this false and unseemly attack.”

Ouch, and well-deserved.

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment  

The Rise And Fall(?) Of Boehner’s Bill

Stacy McCain reports, you decide.  My guess is that he will be able to whip the caucus into line overnight.

Published in: on July 28, 2011 at 5:10 pm  Comments (2)  

More Trouble For Global Warming Alarmists

First, “NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. . . . In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.” 

Why does this matter?  Because global warming alarmism is based almost entirely on computer climate models rather than, you know, actual scientific observation.  The models have already been shown to be unable to accurately predict historical climate changes on a backward looking basis for periods in which we have observational data.  Now, they are once again proven wrong.  Garbage in; garbage out.

Second, “[a] federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.”  No conclusions yet, but it certainly fits the pattern.

Published in: on July 28, 2011 at 10:03 am  Leave a Comment  

The Best Excuse Ever

Not that I need much of an excuse to drink beer, but it would be nice to have one, just in case.

Published in: on July 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Choice Is: Some Pain Now, Or Much More Pain Later

In a post about the debt ceiling debate at NRO’s The Corner, Michael Cannon makes a point in parentheses that instead deserves emphasis:

As a policy matter, I want to cut the federal government’s claim on the people’s economic resources by much more than 40 percent. (Dear critics, please note that it’s no kind of objection to say that cuts of that magnitude would cause vulnerable people pain. The alternatives — higher taxes or a Greek-style debt crisis — would also cause vulnerable people pain. In my estimation, they would cause more pain to greater numbers of vulnerable people.)

Precisely.  The Democrats wail that any spending cuts will necessarily harm certain folks.  That’s likely true, although I would argue that properly targeted cuts would mostly remove undeserved subsidies rather than impose true hardship.  But whether or not, for example, farmers deserve subsidies that cost tax dollars and increase the cost of food for the rest of us, cutting subsidies people have relied upon for years will cause hardship.

But what is the alternative?  Continuing their spending binge will only bring greater pain tomorrow, and grasping after additional tax dollars will only prolong the hangover. 

The problem is, you eventually run out of other people’s money.  What’s their plan then?  It is, unfortunately, the same as the President’s plan now.  There just isn’t one.

Published in: on July 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Obama Economy In Action

An Alabama coal miner goes Galt.

My name’s Ronnie Bryant, and I’m a mine operator…. I’ve been issued a [state] permit in the recent past for [waste water] discharge, and after standing in this room today listening to the comments being made by the people…. [pause] Nearly every day without fail — I have a different perspective — men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just … you know … what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I don’t know. I mean, I see these guys — I see them with tears in their eyes — looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.

When you make it too expensive and too difficult to operate a business, businesses will shut down.  And then the President will lecture you for not risking your money on an enterprise the government has made too risky to warrant the investment.

Published in: on July 27, 2011 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment  

It’s Not The Crime That Gets You. . . .

It’s the cover-up.  “[A] key ATF manager told Congress [today] he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010.”  Drip, drip, drip. 

Published in: on July 27, 2011 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  

The guys at The Other McCain demonstrate that they are not fans of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.):

Jim Moran: proudly combing the ideological rigidity of Barack Obama, the intellectual flair of Joe Biden, and the BAC of a Kennedy.

Ouch.

Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm  Comments (1)  

Obama’s “Veto Threat”

Former WH adviser Yuval Levin has some interesting thoughts on the most recent Obama Administration threat to veto debt ceiling legislation.  The take-away, “It’s an empty threat.”  I kind of guessed that too, but the inside baseball stuff in Levin’s post is interesting.

Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rules Are For The Little People

Hedge fund manager — and liberal cause financier — George Soros has announced that he will close his hedge fund to outsiders.  The reason is what matters — he is doing it to avoid the Democrats’ new financial regulations that require any hedge fund “with more than $150m under management to report details about investments, employees and investors, and makes them subject to possible inspections by the SEC.”

Of course, Soros and his pet politicians are all in favor of the regulations when applied to others.  Funny how that works.

 

Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Being Poor In America

As the President continues with his ideological (and illogical) insistence that private jet owners — you know, everyone with an income topping $250,000/year — pay even more in taxes to pay for payments to those less fortunate, NRO’s Robert Rector reminds us of the state of poverty in the United States:

The most recent government data show that more than half of the families defined as poor by the Census Bureau have a computer in the home. More than three of every four poor families have air conditioning, almost two-thirds have cable or satellite television, and 92 percent have microwaves.

How poor are America’s poor? The typical poor family has at least two color TVs, a VCR, and a DVD player. One-third have a wide-screen, plasma, or LCD TV. And the typical poor family with children has a video-game system such as Xbox or PlayStation.

* * *

Liberals use the declining relative prices of many amenities to argue that it is no big deal that poor households have air conditioning, computers, microwaves, and cable or satellite TV. They contend that even though most poor families have a house full of modern conveniences, the average poor family still suffers from real deprivation in basic needs such as food and housing.

Really? Let’s look at housing.

The typical news story about poverty features a homeless family with kids sleeping in the back of a minivan. But government data show that only one in 70 poor persons are homeless.

* * *

How about hunger? . . . During the full course of the year, only one child in 67 was reported “hungry,” even temporarily, because the family couldn’t afford enough food. Ninety-nine percent of children did not skip a single meal during 2009 because of lack of financial resources.

As Rector also notes, that doesn’t mean the American poor are living in the lap of luxury.  But when they have more housing square-footage than non-poor Europeans and obesity is a far greater problem than hunger, the term poor has taken on a very different meaning thanit once had. 

Couldn’t we do a whole lot more to feed the 1% who go hungry, shelter the 1 in 70 that are homeless, and invest in infrastructure, defense, environmental protection, public lands, and other essential government responsibilities, all without crippling the country with debt, if certain politicians were not obsessed with fleecing the most productive among us to make transfer payments to “poor” persons that can afford video games, plasma TVs, and microwaves?

Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment