I’m not there yet

Facebook was an interesting place today – far from being devoid of political posts, my feed still ran a full gamut of opinions, celebrations, critiques and gnashing of teeth.

As for me, right now it is 6:30 pm on the night after the election. I am not yet at a point where I can shrug my shoulders and say, “Ah well, it’s over, just let it be, life goes on.” For you see, it is not just about America having this wonderful system of free elections, bought and paid for with the blood of patriots. It is about what we *do* with that system – how we honor that sacrifice. In my heart, I believe we honor it by choosing people to lead us who truly have our nation’s best interest at heart. Not just here at home, not just in terms of our own economic well-being, or our individual issues… but in terms of who we are at our core as a nation and our role on the world stage.

I voted not for the man who shared my views on specific questions or issues – but for the man who, I believed, truly had America in his heart. I will never apologize or be shamed for having supported Mitt Romney – a good and decent human being who could have done great things for this country – and I will never accept anyone else’s interpretation of what my vote “meant” when compared to their agenda or their own wishes and desires. (And yes, there were those tried to tell me what a vote for Romney “meant.”)

My vote was my own and I did not take the process or my choice lightly. I have serious concerns about the direction Mr. Obama is taking this country, and I will not be silent in my criticism or – should he earn it – my praise.

I believe that I will eventually cheer the hell up. For now, I need a drink. And some chocolate.

Oh and P.S. – Dick Morris can officially suck it.

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Des Moines Register begrudgingly endorses Romney; first Republican endorsement in 40 years

This week the Des Moines Register surprised almost everyone by publishing its official Presidential endorsement for Mitt Romney. Prior to this race, the last time the Register endorsed a Republican was when they picked Nixon for re-election in 1972. And even then, they had picked the Democrats in the two cycles prior to that.

The actual endorsement is what I would call lukewarm. The paper rightly assessed that the election is primarily about fixing the economy, and finding bi-partisan support in Congress to take the needed steps toward robust recovery. “When the question is framed in those terms,” the paper said, “Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate.”

I don’t think “emerges” really convinces me that the paper stands fully behind its decision. It feels more like they’re saying, “We sifted the cat litter and this is the turd that was left in the slotted spoon when we were done.”

The Register also did its best to prop up its 2008 pick, Barack Obama. The Romney endorsement said, “Longer term, looming deficits driven by Social Security and Medicare pose the single greatest threats to the nation’s economic security” – thus completely ignoring the disastrous effect that Obama’s signature and namesake legislation (Obamacare) will have on our debt and deficit.

And they said, “Early in his administration, President Obama reached out to Republicans but was rebuffed. Since then, he has abandoned the effort, and the partisan divide has hardened.” I am not entirely sure what effort the President made to reach out to Republicans early in his administration. Perhaps it was the Apology Tour, or perhaps it was when he referred to Republicans as “our enemies.” Or maybe it was the way he shoved Obamacare down everyone’s throat, bi-partisanship be damned. Anyway, yes he very publicly abandoned the effort to “reach across the aisle” at an early juncture and the partisan divide has hardened because of him.

Finally, the Register takes the milquetoasty “It’s okay to admit you were wrong in 2008″ tack by stating, “The president’s best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short. Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House.” Yes, Obama gave his “best effort.” Yes, we all were fooled by his brilliant smile and soaring rhetoric in 2008. But it’s okay, we gave him a shot and now we can admit that he is a failure. Here the Register simply absolves itself of its prior endorsement – I can just see the editorial board shaking its collective head sadly and saying, “We’re sorry Readership, we have to do this for your own good.”

Bottom line: I don’t believe that the Register really believes in its own endorsement. And, while it may be true that newspaper endorsements overall have declined in their impact over the past few years, I wish we could have had the firm, forceful and enthusiastic sort of endorsement that Virginians got when the Richmond Times-Dispatch said:

“…it is difficult to recall a campaign less truthful than President Obama’s in 2012…”

And,

“Obama has proven, in Americans’ real-world experience, that massive government spending, suffocating regulatory expansion, feckless diplomacy and exploding debt do not foster peace and prosperity. Quite the opposite. It is — with considerable urgency — time to change.”

And,

“Mitt Romney has succeeded as a family man, governor, entrepreneur, Olympic leader. He is a man of character, a problem-solver, a turnaround specialist. He has earned our enthusiastic endorsement. America needs President Romney.”

Now that, people, is an endorsement. What we got here in Iowa was simply a heavy, defeated sigh. And I wanted so much more from the “newspaper Iowa depends upon.”

###

Footnote: Despite my disappointment in the tepid writings of the Register‘s editorial board, I am excited to point out that I actually predicted their choice. Now I don’t mean to say that at this time last year, I was gazing into my crystal ball and seeing something everyone else was missing. But, recently, there were a few clues swirling around that seemed to me to be pointing to a Romney nod. As I thought about them, and threw in a heaping helping of “maybe this paper still has a shred of intellectual honesty to it,” I decided to actually put my prediction out there. So on Friday morning I tweeted the following:

Then a bit later:

And again on Saturday morning:

At 7:01 p.m. on Saturday night, when the story appeared in the online Register, I was elated – not because I suddenly loved this ultra-liberal biased rag of a newspaper (which is quite honestly a shadow of its former self), but because my little nagging gut feeling was right on the money. Call it selfish if you must – I was right, and that made me happy.

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Cry all you want, it was indeed an ‘apology tour’

We learn as children the importance of saying “I’m sorry.” They’re words of contrition that can heal a real or perceived wrong, even unblock a stalled relationship.

And “I’m sorry” is where the left is stuck following Monday night’s third Presidential debate: they can’t accept that words can be an apology even if they don’t include the phrase “I’m sorry.” And so they are unhinged-adamant that the world tour Obama took in 2009 cannot be called an Apology Tour because he never actually said “I’m sorry.” This was a hot button for the President Monday night: making a larger point, his challenger referred to the trip as an Apology Tour and the President got mired down in the label itself and insisted that it was not an Apology Tour.

So let’s play along for a moment.

First of all, I think even Democrats would agree that the purpose of the President’s trip in early 2009 was to travel to key regions of the world and assure them that it was a new day for America and that she was going to change her ways on the world stage. At least this seemed to be the message when Obama spoke at the G-20 Summit in London, saying: “I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we’ve made, that you’re starting to see some restoration of America’s standing in the world.”

So, if the President was wanting to make a change in America’s standing, by changing her behavior, then that means he had a problem – or at least perceived that some other countries had a problem – with the behavior he felt needed changing.

Secondly, let’s do just the most cursory bit of parsing:

apology: (n) – a written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another.

Notice what’s missing from the definition? The requirement that the words “I’m sorry” be included in the written or spoken expression of regret.

Here is a just a small sampling of the statements Obama made during his round-the-world trip after first taking office:

  • “There have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”
  • “While the United States has done much to promote peace and prosperity in the hemisphere, we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms.”
  • In May of 2009 Obama referred to Arizona’s immigration reform law “a misdirected expression of frustration.”

So really, all you have to do is read each statement and compare it to the definition of the word ‘apology.’ Like this:

“There have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”

Taken in context with the purpose of the President’s travels, which was to promise a change in America’s behavior on the world stage, is this statement “a written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another”?

You bet your ass it is. It’s an apology. And making similar critical statements about America’s past behavior in country after country justifies calling the whole trip an Apology Tour even if the words “I’m sorry” were never uttered. The President and the left can argue otherwise, but to do so is intellectually dishonest and a further insult to the American people.

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“Foreign Policy debate is where Obama will shine,” said no one ever

As we head into the third and final Presidential debate, the latest Gallup poll has Romney leading 52% to Obama’s 45% of the vote. Several swing states are also leaning toward Mr. Romney at this crucial time, with only a couple of weeks to go until election day.

With the upcoming debate focusing on foreign policy, Obama will have his work cut out for him: he’s battling his own lethal policies complete with death, destruction, and a way-worse-than-Watergate coverup in Libya; encroachment on American sovereignty from the United Nations; and the awkward news of receiving endorsements from reviled socialist leaders Chavez, Putin and Castro, just to name a few hot buttons.

I don’t think there’s reason for Obama supporters to panic at this point, however. Although Romney got a big poll bounce after the first Presidential debate, his poll bounces after the next two debates were only minor upticks rather than actual surges. All Obama has to do to win the Foreign Policy Competition is to root around in his desk drawer and find his foreign policy, and clearly articulate it for the people.

But I digress.

Admittedly I’m pretty shallow when it comes to Foreign Policy. But I’m smart enough to know that a decision in one region can have implications all around the world, and I’m intuitive enough to get that “hey, that’s bad, mm-kay?” feeling in my stomach on certain issues. So here are the questions I would ask our Presidential candidates – if for example I had them over for dinner, since I’m 99 percent sure I’ll never be invited to moderate a foreign policy debate.

  • What should be America’s role, going forward, in the UN?
  • Do you support Obama’s invitation to the UN to monitor our elections?
  • Do you support Obama’s invitation to Iran to sit down for talks/bargaining on nuclear weapons?
  • Do you support the UN’s recent action to impose a worldwide tax the internet?
  • Do you support the UN’s demand that hate-speech against Islam be criminalized worldwide?
  • Mr. Obama – If we accept your interpretation of your Rose Garden remarks on September 12, which is that you called the Benghazi incident a terrorist attack at that time, then why did members of your Administration – including yourself, the Secretary of State, the UN Ambassador and your press secretary – persist for two weeks with the narrative about the offensive Youtube video? And, relatedly, please answer the Libya question from the last debate: Who in your Administration denied Ambassador Stevens’ requests for additional security in Benghazi? Mr. Romney – How would you have handled the Benghazi incident differently?
  • Specifically, where in the world currently is the biggest threat to America’s national security and what are your thoughts on how we should handle that specific challenge?
  • Do you support the classification of the Ft. Hood massacre as workplace violence, and do you understand that until it is reclassified as terrorism, our servicemen and -women cannot get combat benefits? What plan do you have to address the ex post facto needs of the victims at Ft. Hood?

Feel free to add your questions in the comments – maybe I’ll pack ‘em all up and send them to Jon Stewart and Joy Behar, since they host the shows Obama will be visiting in the last two weeks before the election.

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Et tu, Iowa?

I was speculating on Twitter recently about why Iowa, according to mid-October polls, was still leaning toward Obama for President when much of the Midwest was beginning to tilt toward Romney. My gut reaction was to say that Iowa’s economy has not taken the major hit on key measures that the rest of the country has taken, and since Romney is essentially running on the economy, we don’t feel the same sense of urgency as our neighboring states.

I decided to do a little research to see if the facts would bear out my hunch. Using the metrics of unemployment rates, home value trends, and the cost of living index (COLI), I’ve compared Iowa’s figures nationally and to the state of Michigan – an unscientific selection, to be sure, but a Midwestern state which my gut tells me has had a pretty rough time economically speaking.

Here’s what I found.

1. Unemployment – Iowa’s unemployment rate is low compared to both national and Michigan figures. We started 2008 at 3.9%, peaked at 6.3% in January 2010, and ended September 2012 at 5.2%. Michigan started 2008 at 7.1%, peaked at 13.8% in January 2010, and ended September at 9.3%. Nationally, the US started 2008 at 5%, peaked at 10% in November of 2009, and ended September 2012 at 8.1%.

2. Home values – I know that Iowa’s home values took a big dip in 2009, because we bought a new house in the capital city of Des Moines in late 2008. The seller took a bath in our low-ball offer and myriad demands for repairs, closing costs, etc. (to the point where I felt kinda bad, but, oh well)… and I remember after the holidays that year saying, “Looks we got this place just in time.”

I didn’t immediately find 2008 data, but in September, 2009 the Iowa average home value was $134,900; as of September, 2012 we’re at $149,500. In Michigan the 2009 year-end average home value was much lower than ours at $99,100; they are currently $109,700. Both of these are showing slow upward trends. It’s hard to compare this to national numbers because so many states have significantly higher costs of living than Iowa or Michigan. But in September 2009 the national average home value was $221,024 and as of January 2012 it was $204,187. Of the three (Iowa, Michigan and national), the US number is the only one that didn’t creep upward between 2009-2012.

3. Cost of Living Index (COLI) – The cost of living is measured as a percent against the national average, expressed as 100. Iowa and Michigan are virtually equal in cost of living figures, with Iowa at 89 percent of the national average and Michigan at 88 percent.

Analysis: While it costs just about the same to live in Iowa as it does in Michigan, with a few variances in certain product/service categories, home values are lower and unemployment is almost double in Michigan. Nationally, the COLI in Iowa means our average home values are lower than the national average, but unemployment is significantly lower. These statements bear out the notion that Iowa has not had the major economic problems that have plagued other Midwestern states.

While Fall polling consistently showed Obama leading Romney in Iowa, an October 19 poll by Public Policy Polling actually showed 49/48 favoring Romney. If that polling becomes a trend, then debate-filled October will have been a very significant month indeed.

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How Romney should respond when the 47 percent comment comes up… and it will

There’s a lot of talk about what’s to be expected at the Presidential debate on October 16. Chief among the possibilities is that President Obama will be more aggressive against Governor Romney, saying the things his supporters wish he’d said the first time around. While I personally feel that the moment has passed to address Romney’s “47 percent” remark that came to light earlier this Fall, it’s highly likely it will resurface in the second debate.

For the record, the moment the President brings this up I think Romney should strike back forcefully. So here’s my “fantasy transcript” that I hope to see following the first mention of the “47 percent” line after the October 16 debate:

Thank you, Mr. President for the opportunity to explain what the press has dubbed my ’47 percent’ remark. A couple of comments if I may.

First of all, polls show that you currently have support from about 47 percent of likely voters. You’ve been hovering around this number for several months now, within a few percentage points in poll after poll. So, 47 percent is a fairly accurate statement of the level of support you have, and historically have had, throughout this campaign.

Secondly, as you know from having listened to the unauthorized recording of my remarks, I was speaking to potential donors about how our campaign resources would be allocated. When I said that it wasn’t my job to care about these voters, I meant only that I would not be focusing my resources on them because they are wholly committed to you and your programs. I’m certain there are entire voting blocs to whom you have likewise not targeted your resources for the same reason: because you believe them to be solidly in my camp.

Where I was wrong in my remarks, was to say that the whole 47 percent are entirely dependent upon our government for their quality of life and have lost the motivation to take action that might lift themselves out of the entitlement culture. You know as well as I do, Mr. President, that this core exists. They have lived their lives – probably from the beginning – in a state of hopeless dependence. They are conditioned by decades of entitlement to only ask, ‘What can my country do for me?’

The good news is that I was incorrect to suggest that the entire 47 percent of Americans who support you fall into this category. While it is a tragic situation no matter what the number, this is in fact only about (10) percent of our population. I not only sincerely apologize for that error, but I vow to do everything in my power to restore hope and re-instill for these Americans the fierce desire for independence.

So, Mr. President, if you wish to go down the road of claiming that my remarks were anything other than what I have clarified here, that they were somehow coldly spoken to divide our nation, hear me now: I am prepared to offer up example after example of your own hateful, divisive rhetoric from the past four years, where you have done nothing but wage class warfare, pitted Americans against Americans, and ensured that everywhere you go, people are left with the message that success is to be punished, wealth is to be seized, and that the wealthy are somehow shirking their duties in caring for their less-successful brethren.

If you want to go there, I am ready. If not, I simply say this to the American people: wherever you fall in the socio-economic spectrum, it will be my life’s highest honor to represent you as your President.

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Senate races are key to Romney success

In all the excitement of seeing an October surge for Romney, the serious ass-whooping delivered by Romney in the first debate, and the glee taken as Joe Biden made a complete and utter ass of himself in the VP debate, there’s one topic that seems to me is still running under the radar of discourse at a crucial time: Congressional races.

Especially the Senate.

Because let’s face it, if Romney wins the presidency, and assuming Republicans retain the House, there is still the matter of the Democrat-controlled US Senate. Republicans need the trifecta that Obama enjoyed for his first two years – control of the House, Senate and Presidency – in order to achieve anything significant.

The Senate has 100 total seats, and currently the mix is 51 Democrats and 47 Republicans, with 2 Independents. This year, 21 Democratic seats are up for re-election; 10 Republican; and both Independents. My home state of Iowa doesn’t have a dog in the Senate hunt this time around*, but Senate races elsewhere around the country are critical.

Here are a few of the more interesting ones in my estimation:

Virginia – A swing state with unemployment over 10 percent in some areas, a retiring incumbent, and a really close Senate race in 2006. Republican Governor Bob McDonnell once enjoyed approval ratings over 60 percent and was entertained as a potential Romney VP, but now he’s back down in the low 50′s at least in part because Democrats seized an opportunity to hammer on a specific legislative decision involving abortion.

Wisconsin - Republican Senator Herb Kohl won big in 2006, but he’s retiring which means his seat is up for grabs in a swing state with a controversial Republican governor in a nationally televised battle with organized labor.

Ohio - A large swing state with a Democrat incumbent where Obama currently leads in a better-than-regional economy, but where people have been turning out in droves to meet-and-greet with Romney in a mid-October surge. The experts say Romney can’t win the White House without winning Ohio.

Florida – Interesting/important primarily because it’s the largest swing state. Romney is leading in the Presidential race, but the incumbent Senator was a big-win Democrat in 2006.

Missouri - Republican challenger Todd Akin had a rough summer because he dared to answer a question about abortion with some erroneous information, but he is within six percentage points of the Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill, whose victory margin in 2006 was minimal.

Connecticut - Independent incumbent Joe Lieberman is retiring after 24 years in the Senate, and Republican Linda McMahon is saying she’ll bring the same independent thinking to the seat. While Obama leads Romney here by a wide margin, McMahon and Democrat Chris Murphy are in a five-point contest.

Massachusetts - The home state of the Kennedy family dynasty has been solidly Democrat for decades, but the entrenched left got a big surprise in 2010 when the late Ted Kennedy’s vacated seat was narrowly won by Republican Scott Brown. While Brown has a relatively moderate Senate record with no big mis-steps, challenger Elizabeth Warren is well-supported by an angry Democratic machine.

Make no mistake, the Republicans need to do more in their Senate races than just get a slim majority – they need to win BIG so there’s no chance that an occasional rogue vote could undercut key legislation. Unless Republicans take control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency, there is no hope of repealing Obamacare or of achieving much else on the immediate agenda. And that, my friends, is simply setting Mr. Romney up for failure.

*Iowa has no Senate races this year, but we are seeing two interesting challenges in the House: Democrat lifer Leonard Boswell is up against experienced Republican challenger Tom Latham; and long-time Republican incumbent Steve King is having his ankles bitten repeatedly by bleeding-heart Democrat Christie Vilsack, former Iowa First Lady and wife of Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, who held a rally this past week in Sioux City that was ONLY attended by Slick Willy Bill Clinton because it was held within shouting distance of a strip club.

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The Million Mover March

Speaking of frivolous “Million” ideas, I had a doozie this morning. I am thinking that it would be completely, utterly AWESOME if one million Americans showed up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, 2013, to help the Obamas move OUT of the White House, and the Romneys move IN! And I further think it would double the awesomeness if they were joined by an ARMY of moving vans representing this nation’s business owners! HAHA, what a message that would send, no?

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The pawns are revolting

It’s refreshing to see and hear about people standing up and refusing to be used as pawns by the increasingly dishonest Obama campaign and its many supporting factions. Here are a few examples from just the past few days that really stand out:

Linda Morrison – an Illinois woman who asked a simple question of Paul Ryan at a rally in Iowa, and got a straight answer that satisfied her… but who was then characterized as having called Ryan out by the Obama campaign. Linda responded with a letter to the editor of the Quad City Times, and appeared on “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren, to clarify what really happened.

Sesame Workshop – While an administration-wide cover-up of the terrorist attack on our embassy in Benghazi is unraveling right before their eyes, the Obama campaign spends precious time and resources focusing on a trumped-up war on Big Bird. They even go so far as to use clips of the popular Sesame Street character in an anti-Romney ad. But the non-profit organization that actually owns Sesame Street, Big Bird, and all associated characters trademarks asks them to knock it the hell off, since they are a non-profit organization that doesn’t participate in political campaigns. (Kinda have to wonder why Planned Parenthood hasn’t managed to distance itself in a similar fashion.)

Stacey Dash – Miss Dash, an actress and reality television celebrity, recently Tweeted her support for Mitt Romney and was immediately vilified by Obama supporters who told her – among other things – that she wasn’t black enough, that she should kill herself, and much much worse. Miss Dash quietly stood above the fray, and simply reiterated that she was entitled to her opinion, even in the face of comments like this: “YOU MAKE ME SICK U A NIGGA IN A COWBOY HAT DON’T SEEM LIKE YOU CARE ABOUT BLACKS EITHER. GODDAMN TRAITOR.”

I would love to be able to add a fourth example here – I’d like to see the AP photographer who was shooting Romney’s impromptu visit with Virginia school children call out the photo editor for gross malpractice.

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Twitter needs a ‘like’ button

I’ve recently launched another Twitter account (for this very blog! www.twitter.com/rightthkgblog) and have been making a very conscious effort to use it. I often come across some interesting links worth following, and frankly I enjoy the challenge of expressing myself within the 140-character limit. But, something is missing from Twitter – something that would make my experience a lot more convenient, enjoyable and valuable.

Twitter needs a “Like” button.

And here are four instances where I’d use it:

1. Someone says something really clever, or “right on,“ but it’s several hours before I see it. I want them to know I liked their thought, but I don’t want to compose a whole tweet referencing “that thing you said 14 hours ago.” (Because that phrase in itself takes up 32 of my 140 characters!)

2. And even if I see it right away, I might want to acknowledge that I saw it without a re-tweet (RT) and without remarking on it.

3. Someone replies to one of my tweets, but it’s several hours before I see it. I just want to acknowledge the fact that they spoke back to me, without rehashing the point.

4. Someone posts a link and I want them to know I liked it, even though it’s not something (for whatever reason) I would RT to my own followers.

In all of the instances above, I just want to be able to acknowledge something someone tweeted without getting into a conversation about it and without making it a “favorite.” (Favoriting a tweet hardly EVER makes sense to me – except maybe when saving links.)

So how about it, Twitter – give us a LIKE button!

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