Sunday, October 31, 2010

George Will on election factoids to whet any palate

During the Tuesday evening deluge, pay particular attention to these stories:

-South Carolina Rep. John Spratt, second-ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, is seeking a 15th term. Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of Armed Services, is seeking an 18th term. Texas Rep. Chet Edwards, 13th-ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, is seeking an 11th term. Minnesota Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is seeking a 19th term. In 2008, they won by 25, 32, 7 and 36 percentage points, respectively. In 2010, all are vulnerable, so voters in four districts could subtract 118 years of seniority.

-For 55 years, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), 84, has occupied the seat his father held for 22 years before him. The son received 71 percent in 2008. His district includes Ann Arbor, which requires conservatives to leave town at sundown. (Just kidding. Sort of.) He beat his 2008 Republican opponent by 46 points. Dingell probably will win while setting the 2010 record for the largest shrinkage of a 2008 majority.

-Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), who got 75 percent in 2008, voted against Obamacare and is the only Democrat who has signed the discharge petition that would allow the House to vote on repealing the law. He lost his house to Hurricane Katrina and may lose his quest for a 12th term.

-Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.), whose younger brother was a Colorado senator before becoming interior secretary, won in 2008 by 22 points. In Congress, Salazar has opposed cap-and-trade and TARP and supports a one-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts. The National Rifle Association has endorsed him. Nevertheless, he may lose.

-At age 10, in 1975, Van Tran escaped from South Vietnam the week before Saigon fell. Now he is running against Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), who seems to think immigration has gone too far: "The Vietnamese and the Republicans are, with an intensity, trying to take away this seat." Polling is difficult in this district, where many speak scant English, but the fact that Sanchez, who received 70 percent in 2008, has played the ethnicity card suggests a highly competitive contest.

-Marco Rubio will be the next senator from Florida. Susana Martinez probably will be New Mexico's next governor. If so, the two freshest Hispanic faces in national politics will be potential Republican vice presidential nominees.

Charlie Crist, giving political expediency a bad name

How Ron Johnson beat Feingold: "This is not my life's ambition"

While much of the political world has been obsessing over the troubles of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, or the sparring over Rand Paul and "Aqua-Buddha" in Kentucky, or the controversies surrounding Sharron Angle in Nevada, another Republican newcomer has been running a quiet, direct, and devastatingly effective campaign. Here in Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, a businessman who has never before run for public office, appears poised to pick up a Senate seat for Republicans, defeating Democratic legend Russell Feingold and becoming the first GOP senator elected from the state since 1986.


"This is not my life's ambition, not by a long shot," he tells the Chamber. "But the fact is, I'm 55 years old. I grew up in America that valued hard work, that celebrated success. Remember that? We weren't demonizing doctors. We were putting them up on a pedestal. We were telling our kids, 'Look at that person, emulate them.' Work hard, this is the land of opportunity, you can be anything you want to be. And unfortunately in my lifetime, what I have witnessed has been a very slow but sure drift, and I would argue in the last 18 months just a lurch, toward a culture of entitlement and dependency. It's not an America I recognize. It's not an America that works."

"America is exceptional, and that's being squandered," Johnson concludes. "So if there's one little phrase that tells you why I chose this path, I decided to run for the U.S. Senate because I think we're losing America. I don't think that's overdramatic. I don't think I'm overstating the case. And I'm just a guy from Oshkosh, a husband and a father. We're a group of people who refuse, absolutely refuse, to let America go without a knock-down, drag-out fight."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Diana West on the U.S. in Afghanistan: What price suckerhood?

Last Sunday, the New York Times described a crude scene that smacked of not exactly petty graft. There was Afghanistan’s presidential plane on the Tehran airport tarmac, waiting for one last passenger before wheels up to Kabul. The missing passenger was Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan. The ambassador, Feda Hussein Maliki, climbed aboard and took his tardy seat next to Umar Daudzai, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s chief of staff and closest adviser. Maliki then presented Daudzai with a plastic bag bulging with about $1 million in packets of euros.

From Iran with love.

This, the Times reported, was “part of a secret, steady stream of Iranian cash intended to buy the loyalty of Mr. Daudzai and promote Iran’s interest in the presidential palace” in Kabul.

Bad enough, but it gets worse.

On Tuesday, the New York Times revealed that it wasn’t just the infamously anti-American Afghan chief of staff trucking home with mullah moolah as originally reported. Karzai himself was in on this fix. Answering a question at a press conference on Monday about whether his chief of staff had indeed received Iranian cash, Karzai replied, matter-of-fact, the practice was government-wide, “transparent” even: “They do give us bags of money — yes, yes, it is done. We are grateful to the Iranians for this.”

Welcome to transparency, Afghanistan-style: payola in plain sight. And why not? In that wonderful bazaar that is Afghanistan, as Karzai put it, “Patriotism has a price.”

But what price suckerhood? I regret to say this is the only spoil left in Afghanistan for the United States. Iran, a global sponsor of jihadist terror long before al-Qaida attacked the United States on 9/11, has simultaneously spent most of the past decade buying, cajoling, pressing, weaseling and forcing its influence into the highest circles of our so-called Iraqi and Afghan “allies” even as it fights American troops on those very same Iraqi and Afghan battlefields. This most recent spate of news stories about our Afghan “ally” is just the bag of cash that broke the sucker’s back — or should have. The question is, how do we ask the American military to fight and possibly die for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan when that same Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s government is unabashedly in Iran’s pocket even as Iran is simultaneously training Taliban fighters to bring it down? Also this week, the Washington Examiner reported Iran is training Taliban fighters on the use of surface-to-air missiles. Aside from NATO forces fighting alongside the United States in Afghanistan, is there an ally left in Afghanistan?

Kudlow: 2% growth is "the final nail" in the Democrats' coffin

On the eve of the midterm elections, a third-quarter GDP report showing a meager 2 percent growth rate is the final nail in the Obama Democrats' political coffin.

The economic nails slowly have been hammered into that coffin all summer and fall. A spate of subpar economic statistics has shown the failure of the fiscal-stimulus spending program. And myriad tax and regulatory threats produced by new government policies have created a massive uncertainty overhang and a dismal jobs outlook. American businesses have gone on an investment-capital and hiring strike.

For a White House that bet the ranch on a massive government pump-priming plan, it has all turned out to be a complete failure. The scheduled economic recovery has simply not occurred.

And that's why a Republican Tea Party tsunami lies just over the horizon. That tidal wave could be even greater than current polling suggests.

It should have been recovery summer, according to the president and his followers. But it is now officially a recovery slump. The entire command-and-control economic philosophy of the Obama Democrats has proven to be a big bust. And they'll pay a very big price for this.

In fact, the last two GDP reports have averaged less than 2 percent growth, something that qualifies as a growth recession, not a recovery.

Cllinton and Bush acknowledged their electoral defeats before fleeing to refuges in Asia; will Obama do the same?

Barack Obama is fleeing the United States after the Republican landslide. But hold the excitement conservatives. It's only temporary.

Winners might go to Disneyland. But defeated presidents seemingly favor Asia.

Bill Clinton fled to Asia not long after Democrats suffered their historic blowout in 1994. George W. Bush was Asia bound following his famous declaration of the GOP's "thumpin'" in the 2006 midterm election. Now Obama shall do the same. And in record time.

A mere three days after Tuesday's election, President Obama leaves for a 10-day sojourn abroad. Obama's taking more time away than Clinton or Bush. But Obama will likely have more to recover from. Tuesday's election could be the largest landslide since FDR's day.

White Houses dependably claim these trips are coincidence. It's pro forma spin. Administrations cite this occasion or that summit. But more is always at play.

In March, amid the brutal healthcare fight, Obama postponed his Asia trip until June. Obama postponed it yet again in June. It was the BP oil spill then. The president cannot be abroad when his signature legislation is on the line. Nor when there is a crisis at home. It's poor political theatre. But the long-foreseen wave comes next week. The president's party is to be swept. No president wishes to prolong that narrative.

But will Obama first recognize the event? Both Bush and Clinton stood before reporters the day after. They took the hard questions.

Obama inspires a Nixon comparison, crossing another marker on his slide from The One to The One We Want Out of Office

In a Univision interview on Monday, the president, who campaigned in 2008 by referring not to a "Red America" or a "Blue America" but a United States of America, urged Hispanic listeners to vote in this spirit: "We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us."

Recently, Obama suggested that if Republicans gain control of the House and/or Senate as forecast, he expects not reconciliation and unity but "hand-to-hand combat" on Capitol Hill.

What a change two years can bring.

We can think of only one other recent president who would display such indifference to the majesty of his office: Richard Nixon.

We write in sadness as traditional liberal Democrats who believe in inclusion. Like many Americans, we had hoped that Obama would maintain the spirit in which he campaigned. Instead, since taking office, he has pitted group against group for short-term political gain that is exacerbating the divisions in our country and weakening our national identity.The culture of attack politics and demonization risks compromising our ability to address our most important issues - and the stature of our nation's highest office.

Indeed, Obama is conducting himself in a way alarmingly reminiscent of Nixon's role in the disastrous 1970 midterm campaign. No president has been so persistently personal in his attacks as Obama throughout the fall. He has regularly attacked his predecessor, the House minority leader and - directly from the stump - candidates running for offices below his own. He has criticized the American people suggesting that they are "reacting just to fear" and faulted his own base for "sitting on their hands complaining."

Obama is walking a knife's edge. He has said that the 3.5 million "shovel-ready jobs" he had referred to as justification for the passage of the stimulus bill didn't exist - throwing all the Democratic incumbents who had defended the stimulus in their campaigns under the proverbial bus.

Obama adds another specialty to his repertoire - fight promoter

In a radio interview that aired Monday on Univision, President Obama chided Latinos who "sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.' " Quite a uniter, urging Hispanics to go to the polls to exact political revenge on their enemies - presumably, for example, the near-60 percent of Americans who support the new Arizona immigration law.

This from a president who won't even use "enemies" to describe an Iranian regime that is helping kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. This from a man who rose to prominence thunderously declaring that we were not blue states or red states, not black America or white America or Latino America - but the United States of America.

This is how the great post-partisan, post-racial, New Politics presidency ends - not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a desperate election-eve plea for ethnic retribution.

Palin goes after Murkowski on Facebook

Yesterday, Lisa Murkowski’s hired guns threatened radio host Dan Fagan, and more importantly, the station that airs Fagan’s show, with legal action for allegedly illegal “electioneering.” The station, unlike Murkowski, who is flush with millions of dollars from vested corporate interests, does not have a budget for a legal defense. So it did what any small market station would do when threatened by Beltway lawyers charging $500 to $1000 an hour – they pulled Dan Fagan off the air.

Does all this sound heavy handed? It is. It is an interference with Dan Fagan’s constitutional right to free speech. It is also a shocking indictment against Lisa Murkowski. How low will she go to hold onto power? First, she gets the Division of Elections to change its write-in process – a process that Judge Pfiffner correctly determined had been in place without change for 50 years. She is accepting financial support from federal contractors, an act that is highly questionable and now pending before the FEC. And today, she played her last card. She made it clear that if you disagree with her and encourage others to exercise their civic rights, she’ll take you off the air.

Want Pelosi out of office and off your tv? Vote against Dems

As Nancy Pelosi goes, so might a generation of her colleagues.

If Democrats lose control of the House of Representatives next week, as most political observers expect, there is a good chance that the House Speaker will opt to spend time with her eight grandchildren rather than toil in the relative obscurity of the minority. Even if she wanted to stay on, it's not at all clear that she would win the position of minority leader: seven Democratic incumbents and several candidates oppose her leadership — on Wednesday, North Carolina Representative Heath Shuler suggested he might challenge Pelosi for the spot — and another 20 have refused to say one way or another. Pelosi is more likely to leave gracefully, trading the red-eye slog for the pleasant commute between her San Francisco and Napa homes, and leaving the caucus in the hands of majority leader Steny Hoyer, who has been chafing in her shadow for decades.

A quick retirement is not an uncommon choice for the boss of the losing party; Newt Gingrich stepped down three days after losing five seats in 1998, saving his party a potentially divisive leadership election he could well have lost. And the only reason Denny Hastert (who succeeded Gingrich) lingered for more than a year after shedding his Speaker's mantle in 2007 was to keep his Illinois seat warm for his son, who never made it past the primary.

Other Democrats are sure to follow Pelosi out of the Capitol. After the GOP lost the House in 2006, 27 Republicans called it quits. But in the case of Pelosi's Democratic cloakroom, the exodus could be deeper: five of the 20 current committee chairmen are her allies from California. Without their champion, some veterans such as Education and Labor Committee chairman George Miller, who has been in Congress since 1975, may be inclined to leave. Even if they don't head for the exits, they might choose to abandon their gavels: Standards Committee chair Zoe Lofgren, also of California, is serving at Pelosi's request and has made no secret of her distaste at being her colleagues' ethical watchdog.

Others are older — Rules Committee chair Louise Slaughter and Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers, both 81, know that life in the minority holds less appeal for octogenarians. And, in any case, it might be time for some fresh blood. The average age of Democratic House chairs is nearly 70, while top Republicans are, on average, a decade younger — thanks, in part, to the 2006 spate of retirements. Democratic chairs have spent an average of 13.5 terms, or 27 years, in office, compared to Republicans who average 9.5 terms, or 19 years, in office.

Two chairmen have already retired: Appropriations Committee chief David Obey of Wisconsin and Tennessee's Bart Gordon, the top Dem on the Science and Technology Committee. Both seats look likely to fall into GOP hands next week.

Another five chairmen are endangered. Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts last week loaned his campaign $200,000 as his race unexpectedly tightened. A recent poll showed Budget Committee chairman John Spratt trailing by 10 points in his South Carolina district. And Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton, Transportation Committee chairman Jim Oberstar and Natural Resources Committee chairman Nick Rahall are all in the toughest races of their careers.

All told, half or more of the top Democrats on the House's 20 committees might lose, quit or retire.

160 file as Alaska write-ins, diluting Murkowski's insurgency

In an apparent effort to damage the write-in campaign of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), more than 70 Alaska Republicans have filed to run as write-in candidates in Tuesday's election.

Conservative activists encouraged backers of Republican nominee Joe Miller to file as write-ins over the past two days and dozens have heeded the call.

Along with the slew of new GOP write-in candidate, dozens of others filed to run as Democrats or independents, bringing the total number of write-in candidates for Tuesday's Senate race to 160.

After losing the GOP primary to Tea Party-backed Joe Miller earlier this year, Murkowski decided to wage a write-in bid, setting up a three-way race with Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams.

Alaska radio host Dan Fagan was one of the voices encouraging Miller backers to run as write-ins.

"Rush on over there before 5 o’clock and register as a write-in candidate. Especially if your last name is Murkowski. That would really help the cause," the host urged his listeners Thursday, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Unions going all out for Bennett, Manchin to get pension bailout

Big Labor is pouring money into two Democratic U.S. Senate races, attempting to secure a union pension bailout during a lame duck session of Congress.

As previously reported on HUMAN EVENTS, new Federal Accounting Standards Board rules set to take effect on Dec. 15 threaten to shake up unions and the businesses entangled in multi-employer union pension plans that have been mismanaged and underfunded well before the 2008 financial upheaval. The economic downturn has only exacerbated the problem.

Recent reports show hundreds of thousands of dollars in union cash pouring into races for Democratic Senate candidates Michael Bennet and Joe Manchin. Both have publicly backed away from their support of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), more commonly known as “card check,” which would, among other things, ban secret-ballot voting for workplace unionization.

Big Labor long ago warned it wouldn’t support any candidate who failed to toe the line. Yet the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has spent more than $1.2 million in Colorado alone attacking Bennet’s opponent Ken Buck.

Unions such as the Communications Workers of America and the United Mine Workers Union are also pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Manchin race in West Virginia.

How GM generates fabulous gas mileage for the Volt

Soon the vaunted Chevy Volt will be introduced to the market, and so in “celebration” I ask that you read the two paragraphs below by Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute:

“Drive the Chevy Volt more than 30 or so miles and it will be powered by a generator — not a motor — inefficiently powering a 3,500-pound car. No one knows the true fuel economy, but it's not even likely to beat the Prius in real-world driving. That leaves us a long way from 80 mpg.

“The above information about the Volt was what I was told by a GM engineer at the Detroit auto show last January, while sitting in the very car. GM revealed on Oct. 10 that the internal combustion engine indeed will drive the wheels at high speed. This is no breakthrough automobile; on the freeway it is a conventional hybrid.)”

Indeed, regarding the political motivation of facts and figures, GM announced in October 2009 that the Chevy Volt would get an astounding (and disingenuous) 230 mpg. Alas, this hyperbolic mpg rating was borne of politics, based upon a driver consistently driving only 47 miles per day.

This enables the driver to get an imaginary 230 mpg, because he gets his first 40 miles for “free”, and then only uses the internal combustion engine (ICE) for the other 7 miles. So while the 230 mpg figure is perhaps mathematically correct, it represents a huge waste of resources to lug around a 1400 cc ICE for such minimal use.

Michelle Malkin watches "The View" so I don't have to

My military friends have a favorite saying: "If you're not catching flak, you're not over the target." This campaign season, conservative women in politics have caught more flak than WWII Lancaster bombers over Berlin. Despite daily assaults from the Democratic machine, liberal media and Hollyweird -- not to mention the stray fraggings from Beltway GOP elites -- the ladies of the right have maintained their dignity, grace and wit. Voters will remember in November.

When "comedian" and "The View" co-host Joy Behar lambasted GOP Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle this week as a "b*tch" who would be "going to h*ll" for using images of illegal alien gang members in a campaign ad, Angle responded by sending a lovely bouquet of flowers and a good-humored note: "Joy, Raised $150,000 online yesterday. Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Sharron Angle."

Outgunned in the comedy department, Behar sputtered nonsensically and with bitter, clingy vulgarity: "I would like to point out that those flowers were picked by illegal immigrants and they're not voting for you, b*tch." Illegal aliens are not supposed to vote at all, Miss B. But why let such pesky details get in the way of a foul-mouthed daytime TV diatribe?

Just a week earlier, Behar delivered a hysterical rant against GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, accusing the mother of five and foster mother of 23 of being "against children" for opposing the expansion of federal health care entitlements for middle-class families and children (the SCHIP program) and for opposing the costly Obama takeover of health care. Behar merely parrots the demagoguery of Democratic leaders in Washington, who have ducked behind kiddie human shields to avoid substantive debate about the dire consequences of their policies.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Murkowski pushed for an official list of AK Senate write-ins; she may have thought she'd be the one but got lots of company

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The number of write-in candidates for Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat has swelled to about 150 amid an effort by conservatives to target the write-in candidacy of GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The number by Thursday’s write-in deadline had grown from just a handful earlier this week.

Murkowski mounted her bid after losing the primary to tea-party backed Joe Miller, and some conservatives have urged Alaskans to make their own write-in runs

Those conservatives include Dan Riehl, who issued a call on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website to “highlight the chaos brought about by Lisa Murkowski’s seemingly unending quest for power” with her campaign.

It’s not immediately clear how many of those running did so because of the effort, though the write-in list includes people who’ve openly supported Miller.

Schumer, Durbin quietly jockeying to replace Reid as leader

WASHINGTON — Senator Charles E. Schumer shipped $500,000 to Nevada in recent weeks to help Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader and Mr. Schumer’s political patron and close friend, as he fights for his political life.

At the same time Mr. Schumer, a New York Democrat, made out a smaller check, for $20,000, to the Democratic Party in Vermont, where the gift earned him the good will of Senator Patrick J. Leahy, even though Mr. Leahy is not believed to be in any serious re-election jeopardy.

“Senator Leahy takes no election for granted and is grateful for Senator Schumer’s support,” said Carolyn Dwyer, campaign manager for Mr. Leahy.

The two donations underscore the excruciatingly delicate position Mr. Schumer finds himself in these days. He is doing everything he can to help his friend Mr. Reid fend off a challenge from the Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle and prevent the embarrassing ouster of the party leader.

Yet given his own deep political ambitions and drive, Mr. Schumer is also very carefully laying the groundwork to move on a moment’s notice to try to secure the top Democratic job if Mr. Reid is defeated on Tuesday.

The situation for Mr. Schumer is further complicated by the fact that his partner in the Senate leadership and Capitol Hill housemate, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, is also positioning himself in the underground campaign to replace Mr. Reid, though both men have made it clear they would greatly prefer that Mr. Reid return. The senators and their aides declined to comment for this article.

Chicago Sun-Times blasts Obama for cynical leftist agenda

Decision time looms for the American voter. And the choices couldn't be clearer:

At the national level, it's whether to reward or rebuke a Democratic president and majority in Congress that ignored the will of the American people to pursue a liberal agenda at the expense of economic recovery.

At the state level, it's whether to reward or rebuke one-party rule by Democrats in Springfield that has spent Illinois into a $130 billion financial hellhole.

It's hard to fathom how President Obama so connected at an emotional and inspirational level with the voters in 2008 but managed to so misjudge what they wanted from him. Obama was essentially running even in the polls until the economy collapsed and the nation turned to the charismatic but relatively inexperienced junior senator from Illinois to resolve the economic crisis.

Instead, the new administration and liberal leaders of Congress decided to use the crisis to push a left-wing agenda on health care, energy, spending and aid to government employees. A politician who campaigned against cynicism in politics cynically used the nation's economic predicament to advance liberal political causes.

The result has been a train wreck: A health-care plan that is increasing insurance costs, prompting companies to look at dropping coverage for employees, and hampering employee tax-free and health-savings accounts for medical spending. A combination of Federal Reserve moves and regulatory reform that was supposed to rein in Wall Street is putting free bank checking for the middle class on the road to extinction. A stimulus package promising to keep unemployment below 8 percent left 14 million unemployed and the jobless rate at 9.6 percent. And, by the way, housing prices are showing signs of weakness again, and economists fear that they could end up being below the already depressed levels of 2009.

Obama inspiring buyer's remorse among suburbanites

Ideologues may set the tone for the national debate, but geography and demography determine elections.

In America, the dominant geography continues to be suburbia – home to at least 60 percent of the population and probably more than that portion of the electorate. Roughly 220 congressional districts, or more than half the nation’s 435, are predominately suburban, according to a 2005 Congressional Quarterly study. This is likely to only increase in the next decade, as Millennials begin en masse to enter their 30s and move to the periphery.

Now the earth is shaking under suburban topsoil -- in ways that could be harmful to Democratic prospects. “The GOP path to success,” according to a recent Princeton Survey Research Associates study of suburban attitudes, “goes right through the suburbs.”

The connection between suburbs and political victory should have been clear by now. Middle- and working-class suburbanites keyed the surprising election win of Republican Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts in January. Suburban voters were also crucial to the 2009 Republican gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey, two key swing states.

Nationally, suburban approval for the Democrats has dropped to 39 percent this year, from 48 percent two years ago. Disapproval for President Barack Obama is also high --- nearly 48 percent of suburbanites disapprove, compared to only 35 percent of urbanites. Even Obama’s strong support among minority suburbanites, a fast-growing group, has declined substantially.

Many suburban voters, notes Lawrence Levy, executive director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, appear to be undergoing “buyer’s remorse” for backing Obama and the Democrats last time around .

Sowell: "We have a strange man in the White House"

The headstrong, know-it-all willfulness of this administration, which threatens our freedom at home, also threatens our survival in the international jungle, because Obama seems determined to do nothing that will stop Iran from going nuclear.

The Obama administration goes through all sorts of charades at the U.N. and signs international agreements on sanctions that have been watered down to the point where they are not about to bring Iran's nuclear weapons program to a halt. The purpose is not to stop Iran but to stop the American people from realizing what Obama is doing or not doing.

We have a strange man in the White House. This election is a crossroads, because either his power will be curbed by depriving him of his huge Congressional majorities or he will continue on a road that jeopardizes both our freedom and our survival.

Hot Air: Feds find political appointees at Justice intervened on behalf of New Black Panthers in voter intimidation case

The US Civil Rights Commission has concluded in an extensive report that the strange decision to dismiss a case the Department of Justice had won by default against a New Black Panther Party activist for voter intimidation came after the involvement of political appointees. Furthermore, and most embarrassing, the 131-page report accuses the Department of Justice of attempting to cover up that involvement, and that the cover-up came from “high-level” officials in the DoJ. The USCRC concludes that the Civil Rights Division is “at war with its core mission”:

The Justice Department has tried to hide the involvement of high-level political officials in the dismissal of a controversial voter-intimidation lawsuit against members of the New Black Panther Party, a federal commission concluded in a draft report.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said the department’s reversal in the case, which drew criticism from conservatives, indicates that its Civil Rights Division is failing to protect white voters and is “at war with its core mission of guaranteeing equal protection of the laws for all Americans.” …

The commission’s draft report said the department’s “repeated attempts to obscure” the involvement of political appointees in the dismissal “raise questions about what the Department is trying to hide. ”

The report accuses the Justice Department of stonewalling the commission’s investigation and of failing to turn over key documents and make witnesses available. Schmaler disputed that, saying the department provided more than 4,000 pages of documents.

The news comes at a particularly and obviously bad time for the White House. One of the more secondary messages this election cycle from Democrats was a claim that a new Republican majority in the House would do nothing but conduct vendettas against the Obama administration. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) would become the chair of the Oversight Committee and already has this case on his radar. This report strongly suggests that Congress needs to start demanding accountability from the executive branch, and that Democrats have utterly failed in their constitutional duty to provide it.

Too good not to see again

Amy Kremer had an "empty space" in her life; she filled it by co-leading an insurrection that has rocked American politics

Less than two years ago, Amy Kremer and Jenny Beth Martin were 30-something suburbanites in metro Atlanta, frustrated by recession, dismayed by the election of Barack Obama and waiting for the next chapter of their lives.

Ms. Kremer, a former Delta Air Lines flight attendant, had quit her career to raise her daughter. The child had grown up and just moved out, and now Ms. Kremer was filling her time with two blogs—one on gardening, one on politics.

"I had this empty space in my life," Ms. Kremer recalls.

Ms. Martin, a software manager by training and part-time blogger, was cleaning houses to help pay the bills after her husband's temporary-staffing business collapsed. They were in danger of losing their home.

As her family's fortunes crumbled, Congress—including Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), for whose campaign Ms. Martin had volunteered—voted for President George Bush's bill to bail out the big Wall Street banks.

Ms. Martin was enraged. "It wasn't because the government didn't bail my husband's business out," she says. "Sometimes it stinks when your business goes bad. But it's part of our system.… The government doesn't need to come in and hold a business up and keep it from failing."

In the span of a few weeks in February and March 2009, the two women met on a conference call and helped found the first major national organization in the tea-party movement. Within months, they became two of the central figures in the most dynamic force in American politics this year.

Ms. Kremer, 39, currently chairs the political action committee known as the Tea Party Express. It has raised millions of dollars for upstart candidates and engineered the campaign that threatens Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Once shy about public speaking, today she crisscrosses the country addressing thousands at a time. "Are you ready to fire Harry Reid?" Ms. Kremer bellowed to a crowd of 2,000 in Reno, Nev., this month.

Ms. Martin, 40, is national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group claiming affiliation with nearly 3,000 local groups around the U.S. Leaving her young son and daughter at home, she is on a 30-city tour, revving up activists for the victory she is counting on next Tuesday.

"This was something I had to do," Ms. Martin says. "There were just so many of us who were fed up with the Republican Party."

Times graphic shows demographic shifts away from Democrats

Dennis Prager cuts through the fog of American unease

Click on this headline for a penetrating look at Euro economics

Colleges get paid when students open credit card accounts

NEW YORK—Colleges, alumni associations and related groups were paid $83.5 million last year under agreements with credit card companies.

There were 1,004 such agreements in 2009, according to a Federal Reserve report released Monday.

The agreements vary, but may have been to issue cards bearing a school's name or to allow issuers to market to the school's students.

Under the agreements, schools and affiliated groups were generally paid for each account opened.

Of the agreements reported, about 40 percent were with colleges and 33 percent were with alumni associations. The rest were with foundations and other organizations affiliated with universities.

The agreements resulted in the opening of about 53,200 accounts last year. In total, the issuers reported having about 2 million accounts open under such agreements.

The report does not specify how many accounts were opened by students; some or all may have been opened by alumni or faculty, the Fed notes. The report also does not include credit card accounts opened by students independent of the agreements.

The three agreements that resulted in the largest number of credit card account openings were with:

--The Penn State Alumni Association at 1,600 account openings. The association was paid $2.8 million by the card issuer FIA Card Services, a unit of Bank of America Corp.

--The Harvard Alumni Association at about 1,300 account openings; the group was paid $1 million by Barclays Bank.

--The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan at about 900 account openings; the group was paid $1.5 million by FIA Card Services.

On Halloween eve, Coburn recklessly goes after benefits for dead

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn wants to knife federal spending for dead people. It’s not like they’ll be hurt by it, right?

Just in time for Halloween, Coburn on Friday is releasing a report entitled, “Federal Programs to Die For: American Tax Dollars Sent Six Feet Under.”

Coburn’s office says that since 2000, at least $1 billion in taxpayer money has gone to 250,000 dead people.

Here are highlights of the report, in its own words:

• The Social Security Administration sent $18 million in stimulus funds to 71,688 dead people and $40.3 million in questionable benefit payments to 1,760 dead people.

• The Department of Health and Human Services sent 11,000 dead people $3.9 million in assistance to pay heating and cooling costs.

• The Department of Agriculture sent $1.1 billion in farming subsidies to deceased farmers.

• The Department of Housing and Urban Development overseeing local agencies knowingly distributed $15.2 million in housing subsidies to 3,995 households with at least one deceased person.

• Medicaid paid over $700,000 in claims for prescriptions for controlled substances written for over 1,800 deceased patients and prescriptions for controlled substances written by 1,200 deceased doctors.

• Medicare paid as much as $92 million in claims for medical supplies prescribed by dead doctors and $8.2 million for medical supplies prescribed for dead patients.

• Congress has established HIV/AIDS funding distribution based on historic numbers of deceased HIV/AIDS patients, while many individuals living with AIDS desperately wait for medical care.

Essentially, the report is a journey through the haunted house of government waste, Coburn’s office says.

As the House veers to the right, the Dem caucus will move left

Democrats can keep their big tent after the election. There just won’t be anybody on one side of it.

While members of the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus are relatively safe in a tough year for Democrats, the more moderate Blue Dog Democrats in the House will be on the endangered species list after Tuesday’s election.

In fact, a Daily Caller analysis of House races shows that a member running in a Blue Dog district is about five times more likely to be at least somewhat vulnerable than a Progressive Caucus member.

Based on the RealClearPolitics ratings of House races, 62 of 76 seats held by a member of the Progressive Caucus are “safe.” For the Blue Dogs, the picture is much more bleak. Of the 54 districts held by a member of that caucus, only six are “safe.”

With moderate and conservative Democrats in much greater trouble than progressives, it is a virtual certainty that the “average House Democrat” will be much more liberal when Congress reconvenes next year.

“You can call it the ideological paradox,” said Isaac Wood, the House race editor for Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “If Republicans clean up in the elections next week, the House will become more conservative, but the Democratic Caucus will actually become more liberal. The ranks of the Blue Dogs will be decimated, but the Progressive Caucus will be largely untouched.”

Union poll finds Republican Joe Miller in trouble in Alaska Senate campaign; nevertheless, Miller appears to be in trouble

Republican Joe Miller is in real trouble in Alaska’s Senate race, after a series of missteps has opened the door for a write-in challenge from Sen. Lisa Murkowski and maybe even Democrat Scott McAdams.

Miller rallied supporters Thursday night in Anchorage at a rally with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd, seeking to reenergize his campaign. Palin called Murkowski an “out of touch liberal” and said the Republican’s questioning of Miller’s qualifications was “beyond shameful.”

But a poll out Thursday showed Murkowski ahead of Miller 34 to 23 percent, with the Democrat McAdams at 29 percent. A second poll released by a political action committee supporting Murkowski showed her up 43 to 29 percent over Miller.

“Our campaign is not concerned with the polls,” Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto told TheDC. “The dynamics of this election are very unique so you’ve seen some pretty wild variations on the data. Regardless of the polling, we’re running the campaign the way we need to in order to win.”

Miller supporters dismissed the poll as unreliable, and Nate Silver of the New York Times agreed that a union-sponsored poll could not be viewed as dependable.

The Murkowski campaign also agreed that polling can be erratic in Alaska, though they and others pointed out that most polling does not usually survey the state’s many rural villages, which are made up mostly of Alaska Native Eskimos and Native Americans, are strongly supporting Murkowski.

Nonetheless, in conversations with several people in Alaska and in Washington, it was clear there has been a dramatic turnaround from earlier this fall, when Miller was thought by most to be a lock for the next senator from Alaska. But in the last few weeks, he has been badly damaged by a string of mishaps and disclosures.

As the nation prepares his political grave, a Harvard historian puts out an adoring treatise on our "philosopher president"

Said William Buckley for the ages, "I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."

In his forthcoming biography, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition, Harvard historian James T. Kloppenberg shows the timelessness of Buckley's wisdom. Although the Kloppenberg book is not yet on the shelves, he gives enough away in a recent New York Times article for me to dismiss it for the blathering nonsense it promises to be.

In New York last week to lecture on the book, Kloppenberg insisted that President Barack Obama was a true intellectual, a rare "philosopher president," one that he classed with the likes of Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Wilson.

If this were not removed enough from reality, Kloppenberg doubles down on his obliviousness by insisting that the philosophy guiding Obama, according to the Times, "is pragmatism, a uniquely American system of thought developed at the end of the 19th century by William James, John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce."

To be sure, Kloppenberg dismisses outright those conservatives like Dinesh D'Souza and Stanley Kurtz who argue that Obama is either an anti-colonialist or a socialist. "Adams and Jefferson were the only anti-colonialists whom Obama has been affected by," Kloppenberg told his audience in New York. "He has a profound love of America."

To make his case, Kloppenberg would seem to have ignored everything we know about Obama's leftist, anti-American influences: his secular humanist mother, his communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis, his radical Hyde Park pals Bill Ayers and Rashid Khalidi, and, of course, his deranged pastor Jeremiah Wright.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What ails the flailing and failing Democrats? Obamacare

Election Day isn’t until Tuesday, but the postgame spin has already begun. Conventional wisdom is blaming Democrats’ expected poor performance on the lousy economy. Democrats blame the influx of outside money. And Republicans are thanking Nancy Pelosi.

But the reality that Democrats hate to discuss – and even some Republicans have been hesitant to fully embrace – is that the party’s signature health care law is what’s turning a bad election year into a disaster of potential history-making proportions.

It was the debate over health care that propelled now-Sen. Scott Brown’s unlikely special election victory in Massachusetts back in January. And it’s the growing unpopularity of the new law that’s fueling Republican energy, turning off independents and jeopardizing the prospects of dozens of Democrats who looked like locks for reelection just a year ago.

There’s no doubt that the health care bill is unpopular. A new Battleground Poll shows 54 percent opposed to it, 40 percent strongly. This weeks' Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted with the Pew Research Center, showed voters favor repealing the law by a 10-point margin, 51 to 41 percent. Republicans have been hammering Democrats across the country over their votes for the legislation, even in solidly Democratic states and districts. Of the many Democratic lawmakers in trouble, only a brave and principled few, such as Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Scott Murphy, D-N.Y., have even mentioned their support for the bill – and the latest polls have both trailing in their reelection bids.

By contrast, Democrats who opposed the bill are in surprisingly decent shape, given the lousy political environment. Many of the anti-health care Democrats hail from Southern districts that John McCain comfortably carried in 2008. And while many of them still face tough races, members like Bobby Bright of Alabama, Travis Childers of Mississippi, Ike Skelton of Missouri, and Larry Kissell of North Carolina find themselves with a fighting chance despite the deeply conservative nature of their districts.

Outside the South, Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-N.Y., looked like toast after he was one of the few Democrats who flipped his vote to oppose the health care bill, against the advice of Democratic strategists. Now he finds himself with a chance to survive in a neck-and-neck race, with him touting a message of independence from Democratic leaders – in a district that Obama carried.

The picture is not so bright for the Democrats who went along with the White House. Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., a founding member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs, never faced a close race in his 14-year congressional career. But after he flipped his position from opposing to supporting the president’s health care bill – one of eight Democrats to do so - he barely survived his own primary. Now, his prospects for reelection are dim.

Of the eight who flipped their votes to support the bill, two announced their retirement (Bart Gordon and Brian Baird) and five others are in tough races. The other is Dennis Kucinich, who initially opposed the bill because it didn’t have a public option.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Insiders dumping stocks considered leading indicators of market

The overwhelming volume of sell transactions relative to buy transactions by company insiders over the last six months in key leading sectors of the market is the worst Alan Newman, editor of the Crosscurrents newsletter, has ever seen since he began tracking the data.

The strategist looked at insider trading activity amongst the top ten companies that make up the Nasdaq such as Apple [AAPL 307.83 -0.22 (-0.07%) ], Google [GOOG 616.47 -2.13 (-0.34%) ] and Amazon [AMZN 167.51 -2.44 (-1.44%) ].

Then he analyzed the biggest members of the Retail HOLDRs ETF like Gap [GPS 19.34 -0.34 (-1.73%) ], Target [TGT 52.73 -0.41 (-0.77%) ] and Costco [COST 62.98 -0.70 (-1.1%) ], as well as the top insiders in the semiconductor industry at companies such as Altera [ALTR 31.04 0.71 (+2.34%) ], Broadcom [BRCM 41.56 4.34 (+11.66%) ] and Sandisk [SNDK 37.87 0.68 (+1.83%) ].

The largest companies in three of the most important leading sectors of the market have seen their executives classified as insiders sell more than 120 million shares of stock over the last six months. Top executives at these very same companies bought just 38,000 shares over that same time period, making for an eye-popping sell to buy ratio of 3,177 to one.

The grand total for the three sectors are “as awful as we have ever seen since we began doing this exercise years ago,” said Newman, who was ahead on such trends as the dangers of high-frequency trading and ETFs before the ‘Flash Crash’. “Clearly, insiders are seeing great value only in cash. Their actions speak volumes for the veracity for the current rally.”

But the overall market doesn’t seem to care. The S&P 500 is up 16 percent since its 2010 low hit on July 2nd on the back of strong earnings driven by cost-cutting and the hopes for even more quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve.

The insider data “is good reason for considerable caution once the price action fades,” said Simon Baker, CEO of Baker Asset Management. Still “insiders normally buy early and sell early too. Longer term -- 12 months out -- it is more of a red flag.”

Newman isn’t alone in warning about insider selling. The latest report from Vickers Weekly Insider, a publication that makes investments based upon these transactions, shows that total insider sell transactions relative to purchases on the New York Stock Exchange are running at a ratio of more than four to one over the last eight weeks. The normal reading, because of options selling and other factors, is about 2 sales for every buy, according to Vickers.

This malady is so expensive it must be cured whatever the cost

Researchers have determined that genetics could matter when it comes to some adults' political leanings.

According to scientists at UC San Diego and Harvard University, "ideology is affected not just by social factors, but also by a dopamine receptor gene called DRD4." That and how many friends you had during high school.

The study was led by UCSD's James Fowler and focused on 2,000 subjects from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Scientists matched the subjects' genetic information with "maps" of their social networks. According to researchers, they determined that people "with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to be liberal as adults." However, the, subjects were only more likely to have leanings to the left if they were also socially active during adolescence.

"It is the crucial interaction of two factors -- the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence -- that is associated with being more liberal,” according to the study.

"These findings suggest that political affiliation is not based solely on the kind of social environment people experience,” said Fowler, who is a professor of political science and medical genetics.

The researchers also said their findings held true no matter what the ethnicity, culture, sex or age of the subjects were.

The "bitter clingers" are about to decide who stays and who goes

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, 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.’’

80% of likely voters say most congress members should lose

Here's more evidence that it is a dire year to be an incumbent running for re-election: A new CBS News/New York Times poll taken shortly before the midterm elections finds that 80 percent of likely voters say that most members of Congress should be replaced with someone new.

Just 8 percent say most members deserve re-election.

While Congress has long been unpopular, the numbers are worse for incumbents than they were in the 2006 midterm elections. Then, 16 percent said members deserved re-election while 69 percent wanted someone new.

Voters are somewhat more positive about their own member of Congress - but perceptions are still negative. Just 34 percent say their representative deserves re-election, while 58 percent say their representative does not deserve two more years in office.

In 2006, by contrast, roughly one in two said their member deserved to keep his or her job, while 42 percent said it was time for a replacement.

In a troubling sign for Democrats, it is Republican voters who appear to be paying more attention to the campaign. Sixty-four percent of Republican likely voters say they are paying "a lot" of attention, compared to 47 percent of Democrats (and 51 percent of independents).

Overall, 54 percent of likely voters say they are paying a lot of attention to the campaign. Thirty-four percent say they are paying some attention, and 11 percent say they are paying little or no attention.

This is an early release of a portion of the poll of 1,189 adults nationwide, which was taken between October 22nd and 26th. The full survey will be released at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

The odds of a Reid comeback just went up; in the Las Vegas region, the voting machine techs belong to the SEIU

UPDATE: Americans for Limited Government have jumped on this issue and are pushing the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Nevada State Attorney General to get to the bottom of it, and now:

It is positively outrageous that in Clark County, Nevada, the SEIU Local 1107, which supports Harry Reid, controls the ballot boxes by contract through their representation of the voting machine technicians. It is not surprising that Senator Harry Reid’s name was automatically checked off on the ballot when individuals went to vote.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Nevada State Attorney General, and the U.S Marshalls need to act now to ensure that the SEIU does not continue to compromise the integrity of ballots in Nevada, and anywhere else in the country. The democratic process is too precious to be tampered with and abused.

Did you know that the SEIU represents the voting machine technicians in Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada? Is it any surprise, as we noted earlier today, that there was a voting glitch in Clark County, Nevada? The glitch caused Harry Reid’s name to be automatically checked on the ballot before voters had indicated who were they were supporting.

According to Joyce Ferrara who was an eyewitness to this strange ballot ordeal, the problem was widespread, “One person that’s a fluke. Two, that’s strange. But several within a five minute period of time — that’s wrong.”

It is particularly troubling that Clark County has put the uber left-wing SEIU Local 1107 in charge of their voting machines.

The agreement between the SEIU and Clark County specifically puts all voting machines under the control of the SEIU. See the collective bargaining agreement:

As election nears, majorities view Reid and Pelosi unfavorably

With midterm congressional elections just a week away, the number of voters who view Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Very Unfavorably have reached their highest levels yet.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 60% of Likely Voters have an unfavorable impression of Pelosi, including 52% who hold a Very Unfavorable opinion of her. That’s her highest Very Unfavorable rating since regular tracking began in early February 2009. Only 33% share a favorable impression of the California Democrat, including 16% who view her Very Favorably.

Fifty-four percent (54%) view Reid unfavorably, including 41% with a Very Unfavorable opinion, also the highest finding since February of last year. Twenty-nine percent (29%) hold a favorable view of Reid, who is struggling for reelection in Nevada. That includes just seven percent (7%) with a Very Favorable regard for him.

Of course, Pelosi and Reid are the most visible congressional leaders at a time when opinions of Congress are so low that 62% of voters think it would be better for the country if most congressional incumbents are defeated this November.

More fraudulent voting charges in Sen. Al Franken's base

Thirty-four more people will be charged with voter fraud in Hennepin County in the 2008 election, County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday, bringing the total cases of alleged abuse to 47 for that election year.

Freeman's office announced the decision a week after the county sheriff announced voting-related charges against seven people, most of whom are accused of registering to vote while ineligible.

Dan McGrath, executive director of Minnesota Majority, a group dedicated to traditional values, said the organization forwarded 450 names of felons who voted. Freeman's investigation determined that 47 of them should be charged.

McGrath is pleased with the progress but said "we still think there's more to it."

All of the alleged fraudulent voting occurred in Hennepin County, which had 665,000 ballots cast in 2008.

The rate of alleged fraud amounted to about 0.00006 percent of ballots case, Freeman said.

"There was no evidence of any organized effort to enable or promote this activity," he said.

Of the 47 cases, 43 are alleged to be felons who voted and four are cases in which people voted twice. Santo Cruz, spokesman for the county attorney's office, said no more charges will be filed from the 2008 election.

Democrat governor of WV runs classic Republican race, even shooting cap-trade bill; will it be enough to overcome Obama?

NEWELL, W. Va. — Governor Joe Manchin is running what seems to be a classic Republican campaign for the US Senate in West Virginia.

He blasts “Obamacare,’’ files a lawsuit against environmental laws, and — literally — fires a bullet at a mock-up of climate-change legislation. He boasts of his endorsement by the US Chamber of Commerce, his A rating from the libertarian Cato Institute, and his conservative fiscal credentials.

The catch: Manchin is the Democratic nominee. And even this effort to distance himself from President Obama and his own party hasn’t assured him of victory in the Mountain State.

Republican nominee John Raese, meanwhile, is so determined to be seen as the most conservative candidate that he has said he is running to the political right of the Tea Party movement. The businessman and former state party chairman wants to eliminate the minimum wage, calls global warming a myth, and says the health care bill is the worst piece of legislation ever passed by Congress.

While the tight contest here hasn’t received as much publicity as Tea Party-infused races elsewhere, it could be pivotal in the broader bid to control the Senate. A recent CNN/Time poll found the race tied at 44 percent, with a candidate from the liberal Mountain Party, Jesse Johnson, favored by 5 percent, which could take away votes from Manchin.

If Manchin loses the special election for the seat long held by the late Robert C. Byrd, it would mark the first time Democrats have failed to control both of West Virginia’s Senate seats in 50 years. Because it is a special election, the winner will be seated immediately, meaning a Raese victory would boost the GOP during the lame-duck session that could decide the fate of the Bush-era tax cuts.

Obama's view of the U.S. as just another country is catching on

Optimism in the country's system of government has dropped to a new low when measured against polls going back 36 years, and the public's belief that America is the greatest nation on earth, while still high, has fallen significantly from its level a generation ago.

These results from the latest ABC News/Yahoo News poll, coming before next week's midterm elections, suggest that public disenchantment extends beyond its economic and political roots to broader questions about the country's governance and American exceptionalism.

The bottom hasn't fallen out of national pride: Seventy-five percent call the United States "the greatest country in the world." But that's down from 88 percent when the same question was asked in 1984. And nearly a quarter, 23 percent, now take the alternative view, saying America used to be the greatest country "but isn't anymore." That's up from 9 percent.

Optimism about the system has taken an even bigger hit in this poll, produced for ABC and Yahoo News by Langer Research Associates. Back in 1974 – shortly after Richard Nixon's resignation in the Watergate scandal – 55 percent of Americans were optimistic about "our system of government and how well it works." Today, 33 percent say that, the lowest number in nearly a dozen measurements taken across the decades. (None, though, were taken in the early 1990s, the last time economic disgruntlement was as high as it is now.)

ACORN's demise has been exaggerated; the dead will soon vote

Like a zombie in a horror movie, ACORN is alive! Even worse, it’s still in the business of registering Mickey Mouse and dead people to vote—and the person running its get-out-the-vote operation is under indictment for felony voter registration fraud.

But first, some background.

The radical group staged an elaborate prank on April Fool’s Day by pretending to die. That’s when chief organizer Bertha Lewis said ACORN would dissolve its national structure. But the group still exists and continues to send out direct mail solicitations for funds.

Disturbingly, Project Vote, ACORN’s scandal-plagued voter registration and mobilization division, remains open for business. Project Vote has been part of the ACORN family since at least 1992 when Barack Obama ran a successful voter drive in Illinois.

Although legally separate entities, in practice the two are the same, as the congressional testimony of former ACORN/Project Vote employee Anita MonCrief can attest. They share office space, employees, and budgets. Project Vote continues to operate out of ACORN’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Even worse, its voter drive is being run by Amy Busefink, an ACORN employee under indictment in Nevada for violating election laws. It might be understandable for an employer not to fire an employee until she is actually convicted of a crime, but this is ridiculous. Busefink should not be running a voter drive.

After another brawl over the 1st amendment's purpose and meaning, a winner is dclared, and it's Christine O'Donnell

...the “wall of separation” then erected wasn’t between government and religion, but between the federal government and the states. This was the point Thomas Jefferson would make in 1802 in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, saying that via the First Amendment the American people had prevented “their legislature”—Congress—from interfering in matters of religion. He re-emphasized this point in his second inaugural address, saying that he had left religion “to the discipline of state” or religious societies and in 1808, asserting that as no power over religion had been given the “general government” it “must thus rest with the states” as far as any human authority could wield it.

It’s also worth noting that, even at the federal level, there was then no strict separation between government and religion as modern secularists define it. Witness the existence in Congress of tax-supported prayers, chaplains and Thanksgiving proclamations, practices that of course continue to this day.

Among the more ironic illustrations of the Founders’ views about these matters were the actions of the Congress that adopted what would be the First Amendment religion clauses. These were voted by the House of Representatives on Sept. 24, 1789. The very next day, the House approved a resolution of prayer and thanksgiving, acknowledging “the many signal favors of Almighty God” in helping establish their new political system, and requesting that President Washington issue a proclamation to this effect, which he proceeded to do forthwith (the origin of our present Thanksgiving holiday).

In sum, liberal teachings on this subject are a farrago of ignorance, bias and disinformation. Christine O’Donnell, by contrast, knows whereof she speaks, whereas her opponents all too clearly don’t.

The Hill poll indicates GOP pickup of at least 50 House seats

Republicans are headed for a blowout election win that seems certain to seize more than enough seats to knock out the Democrats and take control of the House.

The Hill 2010 Midterm Election poll, surveying nearly 17,000 likely voters in 42 toss-up districts over four weeks, points to a massive Republican wave that, barring an extraordinary turnaround, will deliver crushing nationwide defeats for President Obama’s party.

The data suggest a GOP pickup that could easily top 50 seats (the party needs 39 for control of the House).

Of the 42 districts polled for The Hill, all but two of which are currently Democratic, 31 had Republicans in the lead. Democrats were up in just seven, and four were tied. In addition, there are some 15 Democratic districts that are so far into the GOP win column that they weren’t polled. That would suggest at least 46 GOP pickups, plus whatever the party gets out of another 40 or 50 seats that some experts believe are in play.

“We didn’t even poll in about 15 districts that are already too far gone for Democrats,” said Mark Penn, whose firm, Penn Schoen Berland, conducted the poll. “So that, along with our entire series of polls, points to something in the range of a 50-seat gain for Republicans.”

Republican voters are also more likely to have made up their minds, sccording to the data.

Though a minority, Republicans could run the table in Florida

TAMPA -- When the votes have been counted next Tuesday, Florida will almost certainly have come up R -- not roses, Republicans. And conservative Republicans at that.

In a state where Democrats have about five percent more registered voters than Republicans, those outnumbered Republicans are early-voting at a rate 20 percent higher than Democrats. And there's no end of the "enthusiasm gap" in sight here. Republicans also out-voted Democrats in the primary here in August.

Polls show Republicans with statistically significant to comfortable leads in every state-wide race save that for governor, where Florida CFO Alex Sink and former health care executive Rick Scott are within the margin of error. Even in this race the latest Rasmussen Poll, an outfit which had a good record of predicting races in Florida in 2008, gives Scott a six-point lead.

Republican candidates for all four Florida cabinet posts, all of whom are running on conservative platforms, are taking poll leads into the final week of the campaign. If they win, they will work with a Florida Legislature that now sports Republican advantages of 26 to 14 in the Senate and 76-44 in the House, and shows no signs of being bluer after next Tuesday.

Republican strength is being felt down the ticket as well. Two east-coast liberal Democratic Congressmen are getting strong competition from conservative challengers. Even Florida's 11th Congressional District -- Tampa and bits of St. Petersburg and Bradenton -- is in play this year. This is remarkable as Florida 11 was drawn by the Republican state legislature to be a sump to pour Democratic voters into so the adjoining districts could remain comfortably Republican. No Republican has ever represented Tampa in the U.S. House since this seat was created in 1962.

To win in Florida 11 a Republican must get all the Republicans to the polls, virtually run the table with independents, and convince some moderate Democrats to go R. Normally this would be out of the question. But 2010 is not a normal political year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Obama's speeches are now "insufferable, devoid of charisma"

The erosion of President Barack Obama's popularity has lessons in it for every American who wishes to remain interesting and current, both professionally and personally.

The real story in this election is not that America has no jobs, that the economy continues to falter or that the national debt continues to balloon. While all three are true and, more importantly, Obama has failed to fix them, it is also true that these conditions existed prior to Obama's election. Yet somehow his personal charisma and captivating charm elevated the electorate.

The real story of campaign 2010 is how boring Obama has become.

Obama, who had never run anything except a campaign in his entire life, performed an almost unprecedented conjuring act in 2008, getting the electorate to embrace him regardless of the utter absence of managerial skills.

They believed not necessarily in Obama's capacity to fix America's transient problems but in his ability to focus us on more eternal, upbeat themes like hope, faith and the future. Yet, this time his very presence seems irritating. A man whose oratory lifted him to earth's highest office can't seem to deliver a single uplifting speech.

As a connoisseur of great oratory, I used to love hearing Obama's staccato delivery, perfect timing and mesmeric self-confidence -- the mark of any great speaker -- even as I disagreed with him on many of the issues. But Obama's speeches have now become insufferable, devoid of charisma and personal magnetism.

Reid staffer entered bogus marriage to admit Lebanese immigrant, then lied to feds, but was never charged with a crime

An aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid repeatedly lied to federal immigration and FBI agents and submitted false federal documents to the Department of Homeland Security to cover up her illegal seven-year marriage to a Lebanese national who was the subject of an Oklahoma City Joint Terror Task Force investigation, has learned.

Diana Tejada, Reid’s Hispanic Press Secretary, admitted to receiving payment for “some of her expenses” in exchange for fraudulently marrying Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini in 2003, strictly so he could obtain permanent U.S. residency, according to court documents.

Tarhini, now 37, was held in jail and at an immigration detention center in connection with his 2009 indictment on felony charges, documents show. He pleaded guilty to entering a fraudulent marriage to evade immigration laws — a Class D felony — in November 2009, and he was deported in March 2010.

Tejada, now 28, was never charged for her role in the crime.

“We did not charge the woman, and of course we don’t discuss the reasons we don’t charge people,” said Bob Troester, spokesman for the Western District of Oklahoma U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case, which began as an FBI investigation out of the Oklahoma City Joint Terrorism Task Force.

“There’s multiple factors that go into charging decisions. She wasn’t charged and we can’t go beyond that.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not comment on why it took five years to investigate the couple's marriage.

As recently as five weeks ago, on Sept. 21, 2010, Tejada appeared as a guest on a Spanish-language radio program in her official capacity as a spokeswoman for Harry Reid.

Monday evening, Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley said Tejada was no longer employed by Reid’s office. When asked when Tejada left Reid’s services, the spokesman had no comment.

Abysmal governance drives U.S. optimism to 36-year low

Optimism in the country's system of government has dropped to a new low when measured against polls going back 36 years, and the public's belief that America is the greatest nation on earth, while still high, has fallen significantly from its level a generation ago.

These results from the latest ABC News/Yahoo News poll, coming before next week's midterm elections, suggest that public disenchantment extends beyond its economic and political roots to broader questions about the country's governance and American exceptionalism.

The bottom hasn't fallen out of national pride: Seventy-five percent call the United States "the greatest country in the world." But that's down from 88 percent when the same question was asked in 1984. And nearly a quarter, 23 percent, now take the alternative view, saying America used to be the greatest country "but isn't anymore." That's up from 9 percent.

TARP's overseer rips its failures and lack of accountability

A new report from Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program in the Treasury Department, says it all: Americans have "entirely legitimate concerns about the lack of transparency, program mismanagement and flawed decision-making processes that continue to plague the program." Under President Obama and his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the department's management of TARP has made a mockery of the Freedom of Information Act, even as the program has clearly failed to accomplish its stated purposes. Barofsky cites numerous failed TARP goals, including increasing lending, alleviating unemployment, and preserving home-ownership against the foreclosure meltdown. With those failures, the public's confidence in Treasury's ability to repair the economy is sinking faster than the dollar against foreign currencies.

That should be no surprise. Barofsky's blistering report released Monday ticks off a list that would make readers' heads spin: "When Treasury refuses for more than a year to require TARP recipients to account for the use of TARP funds, or claims that Capital Purchase Program participants were 'healthy, viable' institutions knowing full well that some are not, or when it provides hundreds of billions of dollars in TARP assistance to institutions, and then relies on those same institutions to self-report any violations of their obligations to TARP, it damages the public's trust to a degree that is difficult to repair."

A very real question is whether Obama, Geithner or their Treasury accomplices care about repairing public trust. Bloomberg News said yesterday that it asked in a January 2009 FOIA request to Treasury for information on $301 billion in securities owned by Citigroup Inc. that the government had agreed to guarantee. The department gave Bloomberg 560 e-mails so heavily redacted that the legible messages are limited to those saying things like "Did you just try to call me?" and "Monday will be a busy day!" Treasury repeatedly declined to provide more explanation to taxpayers whose money it shoveled to Citigroup, while claiming that disclosure would reveal "trade secrets, personnel rules and practices, memos subject to attorney-client privilege and violations of personal privacy."

2/3 of Americans, 1/3 of Democrats, thumbs down on Obama

NEW YORK , N.Y. - October 25, 2010 - President Obama is spending the next week crisscrossing the country in support of Democratic candidates before this year's midterm elections. While the president may do a great job of energizing the base, he may not be able to convert any Independents who have yet to decide for whom they will vote. Currently, two-thirds of Americans (67%) have a negative opinion of the job President Obama is doing while just over one-third (37%) have a positive opinion. This continues the president's downward trend and he is now at the lowest job approval rating of his presidency.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 3,084 adults surveyed online between October 11 and 18, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

It's perhaps not surprising that nine in ten Republicans (90%) and Conservatives (89%) give the job the president is doing negative ratings. What may be surprising is that one-third of Democrats (34%) and Liberals (33%) also give him negative ratings, as do seven in ten Independents (70%) and six in ten

New Jersey teachers caught off-guard, boasting of job security

Conservative activist James O’Keefe released two new videos in Monday in which unionized New Jersey educators appear to boast about how it’s virtually impossible to fire tenured teachers, even those who make racist statements to students.

O’Keefe, best known as the force behind last year’s ACORN scandal, said the first video was shot at a meeting of the New Jersey Education Association in August. Entitled Teachers Gone Wild, the tape shows people identified as teachers speaking in what appears to be a hotel lounge, as well as in a conference room. O’Keefe says the video was gathered by a “team of videographers,” whom he and his colleagues at Veritas Visuals hooked up with hidden microphones and cameras. O’Keefe says the journalists “weren’t in costumes.”

In one video, Alissa Ploshnick, who is identified as a special educator at Passaic Public Schools, seems to verify the worst suspicions of education reformers. “It’s really hard to fire a tenured teacher,” she says. “It’s really hard – like you seriously have to be in the hallway fucking somebody.”

Tea Party is a force that has had impact and has staying power

Right now, the tea party has higher favorability than either the Democratic or Republican Party. Forty-four percent of likely voters now say they are favorable to the tea party movement, compared with 38 percent for the Democrats and 30 percent for the GOP, according to a recent Zogby national poll.

More than one-third (36 percent) of Americans say that they have taken active steps to support or learn about the tea party movement, our polling revealed, one-quarter (25 percent) say they are supporters, 23 percent have attended a rally and 24 percent have given money or have friends who have given money.

These are extraordinary numbers that speak to a movement with staying power. In fact. three-quarters (75 percent) of the electorate expect the tea party movement to continue to have an active role indefinitely, and two-thirds (67 percent) say it has already had real impact on the political process.

Independent estimates have shown that the movement has the potential to elect up to 100 House members and at least potentially six new senators, from Florida, Utah, Kentucky, Colorado, Alaska and maybe and Nevada.

It is clear from our polling over the past 18 months – and certainly during this campaign – that rather than being a flash-in-the-pan, the tea party movement has the potential not only to play a big role in November, but to be decisive in the Republican nominating process in 2012. As well as in electing the next president.

Monday, October 25, 2010

WikiLeaks: Iraq did, indeed, have chemical weapons and labs

By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction.

An initial glance at the WikiLeaks war logs doesn’t reveal evidence of some massive WMD program by the Saddam Hussein regime — the Bush administration’s most (in)famous rationale for invading Iraq. But chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam’s toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict — and may have brewed up their own deadly agents.

In August 2004, for instance, American forces surreptitiously purchased what they believed to be containers of liquid sulfur mustard, a toxic “blister agent” used as a chemical weapon since World War I. The troops tested the liquid, and “reported two positive results for blister.” The chemical was then “triple-sealed and transported to a secure site” outside their base.

Three months later, in northern Iraq, U.S. scouts went to look in on a “chemical weapons” complex. “One of the bunkers has been tampered with,” they write. “The integrity of the seal [around the complex] appears intact, but it seems someone is interesting in trying to get into the bunkers.”

Meanwhile, the second battle of Fallujah was raging in Anbar province. In the southeastern corner of the city, American forces came across a “house with a chemical lab … substances found are similar to ones (in lesser quantities located a previous chemical lab.” The following day, there’s a call in another part of the city for explosive experts to dispose of a “chemical cache.”

Nearly three years later, American troops were still finding WMD in the region. An armored Buffalo vehicle unearthed a cache of artillery shells “that was covered by sacks and leaves under an Iraqi Community Watch checkpoint. “The 155mm rounds are filled with an unknown liquid, and several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance.” Initial tests were inconclusive. But later, “the rounds tested positive for mustard.”

In WikiLeaks’ massive trove of nearly 392,000 Iraq war logs are hundreds of references to chemical and biological weapons. Most of those are intelligence reports or initial suspicions of WMD that don’t pan out. In July 2004, for example, U.S. forces come across a Baghdad building with gas masks, gas filters, and containers with “unknown contents” inside. Later investigation revealed those contents to be vitamins.

But even late in the war, WMDs were still being unearthed. In the summer of 2008, according to one WikiLeaked report, American troops found at least 10 rounds that tested positive for chemical agents. “These rounds were most likely left over from the [Saddam]-era regime. Based on location, these rounds may be an AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] cache. However, the rounds were all total disrepair and did not appear to have been moved for a long time.”

A small group — mostly of the political right — has long maintained that there was more evidence of a major and modern WMD program than the American people were led to believe. A few Congressmen and Senators gravitated to the idea, but it was largely dismissed as conspiratorial hooey.

Examiner: "The interests of government employee unions are inextricably opposed to the public interest"

With the 2010 midterm congressional election campaign entering its final week, the fundamental divide in American politics has rarely been defined with more raw clarity than it is now.

On the one side are voters representing a vibrant private sector that creates jobs, builds prosperity and throbs with opportunity. Here are found the Tea Party movement, most congressional Republicans and a few of their Democratic colleagues, millions of independent voters, Main Street and small-business associations, and, increasingly, seniors. The other side is led by government employee unions who take from the private sector to further enrich and empower themselves and their political allies, including President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the Democratic majority that has controlled both chambers in Congress since 2007. The unions' supporting cast includes radical Big Green environmentalists, trial lawyers, most precincts of the mainstream media, and college professors.

Obama and company have been on a demagogic spree in recent weeks, attacking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a host of shadowy, unnamed "foreign interests" for allegedly pumping millions of anonymous dollars into U.S. politics to buy the election. The charge is demonstrably false, but that doesn't prevent its endless repetition. On Friday, however, we learned courtesy of the Wall Street Journal that the biggest political spending in 2010 is by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. AFSCME will have funneled an estimated $87.5 million into the campaign by Nov. 2, all of it going to Democrats and an amount far exceeding the chamber's $75 million. More millions are being poured into Democratic campaign coffers by other public-sector unions. On Friday, for example, the National Education Association spent $500,000 on ads aimed at helping Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak defeat former Rep. Pat Toomey, the Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate contest.

But there is a fundamental problem here that FDR understood years ago and that AFSCME President Gerald McEntee inadvertently highlighted when he told the Journal: "We're spending big. And we're damn happy it's big. And our members are damn happy it's big -- it's their money." Actually, it's not simply "their money." Every dollar paid to a unionized government worker was taxed away from somebody who earned it in the private sector. So when these unions spend millions to elect Democrats who will vote for bigger government, they are literally using money from the productive part of America to enable more government taxing and spending. FDR might well have had this inconvenient fact in mind when he wrote in 1937 that "meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government ... the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service."

The interests of government employee unions are inextricably opposed to the public interest. It's time campaign finance law recognized this truth.

Public employee unions underfund pensions and give lavishly to Democrat campaigns in expectation of pension bailouts

Public employee unions are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on political campaigns while estimates of underfunded rank-and-file public employee pension plans reach a staggering $3 trillion dollars.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has to date spent $87.5 million this election cycle, according a Wall Street Journal report, and has spent a total of nearly $360 million since the 1997-98 election cycle.

"We're the big dog," said Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME's political operations. "But we don't like to brag."

Scanlon has run AFSCME election programs for nearly 15 years and readily admits the connection between the number of government jobs and the union's political clout.

"The more members coming in, the more dues coming in, the more money we have for politics," Scanlon told the Journal.

When Democrats in Congress sent more than $160 billion in bailouts to states over the past 20 months, as much as $100 million went to union dues from public sector employees, according to Brett McMahon, spokesman for Associated Builders and Contractors, a trade organization.

"We borrowed money from the Chinese again in order to give Democrats extra campaign help," McMahon told Human Events.

McMahon believes this sort of "hand-in-glove interest" would result in a bribery prosecution in the private sector.

"It's a really a unique situation where you have these contractual obligations that state officials negotiate with people who have supported them directly," McMahon said. "In business, for example, if I sent a big contribution to one of my customers and said, 'Hey, you think I'm going to get that job I just bid on?' I'd actually probably have to talk to a prosecutor pretty quickly after that because that would be considered bribery."

The non-partisan taxpayer watchdog group, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), noted that state and local government pensions are underfunded by a staggering $3.04 trillion when applying private-sector accounting practices to state pension funds.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

For a popular WV Democrat, Obama is an obstacle to overcome

Political careerists will still infest Michigan's legislature

One oft-repeated rap against term limits is that the legislature now consists of inexperienced "amateurs." In fact, from top to bottom, those who preside over Michigan's government establishment are political careerists. This reality is illustrated by an analysis of candidates running for the 81 open seats in the state Legislature this year: 72 of the likely winners are already members-in-good-standing of the bipartisan political class.

Here are the details: Of the 78 Democrat and Republican candidates who have at least some chance of winning one of the 52 open state House seats this year, 60 are individuals who have been immersed in government to some degree. Among these 60 are 33 current or past officeholders (five mayors, six city council members, nine county commissioners, six township trustees or supervisors, and seven school board members); eight current or past congressional, legislative or Detroit city council staffers; three relatives of current or former legislators; and one termed-out state senator. Eight more are current or past local government appointees or managers, four are current or past public school employees, and three are former state employees.

Twenty-two of these government-oriented House candidates are virtually guaranteed general election winners in "one-party" districts. In 13 of 26 competitive House races both candidates have previous government involvement, and in approximately nine of the rest the government candidate is the front-runner. That adds up to 44 open House seats where it's likely the next representative will be a government insider even before going to Lansing. (District-by-district matchups here.)

On the other side of the Capitol, at least 28 of the 29 new state Senators will also fit that description (27 of the likely winners are current or past state representatives.)

The defining characteristic of political careerists is an ambition to avoid the hard accountability of a "real job" in the private sector for the rest of their working lives. Instead, they seek to live comfortably, feel important and enjoy social benefits by progressing from one elected or appointed government position to another until retiring sometime in their 50s with a nice taxpayer-funded pension. (Note that 9-to-5 civil service jobs are not a preferred-part of this personal agenda.)

"Airplane" director cuts ad spoofing Barbara Boxer's vanity

Pew Research finds huge GOP swings by 82% of voter groups

It’s a chart to make a Democrat’s blood run cold.

Page eight of a new poll out this week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows which party 28 different categories of voters supported in 2006 – the last midterm election – and who they favor now.

In 2006, 17 categories favored Democrats, which helped them take control of the House and Senate from Republicans. Democrats picked up six Senate seats and 30 House seats.

In the Pew Poll, 23 of the 28 categories of voters now favor Republicans. What’s more, 22 of the 28 categories support the GOP by 49 percent or more. There are only four categories of voters that are under 40 percent: those making less than $30,000 a year, at 39 percent; voters who are unaffiliated with a religion, at 37 percent; black voters, at 10 percent; and Democrats, at 8 percent.

What is most remarkable is how far some categories have swung away from Democrats and toward the GOP.

Democrats have lost a significant advantage with women voters, who supported Democrats by a 48 to 41 percent margin in 2006, but who have now flipped to supporting the GOP by 49 to 43 percent.

Voters over 65 years old were for Democrats by a 48 to 42 percent margin four years ago. They now favor Republicans by 52 to 38 percent. That’s a 20 point swing.

Perhaps most damaging for Democrats, they have suffered huge losses among Independents. Democrats were up 7 points in 2006, by 42 to 35 percent. They now are down 19 points, 49 to 30 percent. That’s a 26-point swing.

That point movement matches exactly what’s happened with white voters in mainline Protestant denominations. Democrats were even with the GOP among these voters in 2006, but are now down by 26 points, 58 to 32 percent.

Geographically, the biggest swing has been in the Midwest, where voters have come back to the GOP in droves. Democrats had an 11-point advantage in the Midwest in 2006, 51 to 40 percent. This year, Republicans are up 16 points, 53 to 37 percent.

The smallest swing of any group away from Democrats – besides black voters, where Democrats have seen only a one point loss – is out West, where they were up 47 to 44 percent in 2006 but are now down 45 to 43 percent.

Even in those four categories under 40 percent support for the Republicans, there has been massive movement away from Democrats.

P.J. O'Rourke on what drives Democrats: "They hate our guts"

Perhaps you’re having a tiny last minute qualm about voting Republican. Take heart. And take the House and the Senate. Yes, there are a few flakes of dander in the fair tresses of the GOP’s crowning glory—an isolated isolationist or two, a hint of gold buggery, and Christine O’Donnell announcing that she’s not a witch. (I ask you, has Hillary Clinton ever cleared this up?) Fret not over Republican peccadilloes such as the Tea Party finding the single, solitary person in Nevada who couldn’t poll ten to one against Harry Reid. Better to have a few cockeyed mutts running the dog pound than Michael Vick.

I take it back. Using the metaphor of Michael Vick for the Democratic party leadership implies they are people with a capacity for moral redemption who want to call good plays on the legislative gridiron. They aren’t. They don’t. The reason is simple. They hate our guts.

They don’t just hate our Republican, conservative, libertarian, strict constructionist, family values guts. They hate everybody’s guts. And they hate everybody who has any. Democrats hate men, women, blacks, whites, Hispanics, gays, straights, the rich, the poor, and the middle class.

Democrats hate Democrats most of all. Witness the policies that Democrats have inflicted on their core constituencies, resulting in vile schools, lawless slums, economic stagnation, and social immobility. Democrats will do anything to make sure that Democratic voters stay helpless and hopeless enough to vote for Democrats.

Whence all this hate? Is it the usual story of love gone wrong? Do Democrats have a mad infatuation with the political system, an unhealthy obsession with an idealized body politic? Do they dream of capturing and ravishing representational democracy? Are they crazed stalkers of our constitutional republic?
No. It’s worse than that. Democrats aren’t just dateless dweebs clambering upon the Statue of Liberty carrying a wilted bouquet and trying to cop a feel. Theirs is a different kind of love story. Power, not politics, is what the Democrats love. Politics is merely a way to power’s heart. When politics is the technique of seduction, good looks are unnecessary, good morals are unneeded, and good sense is a positive liability. Thus Democrats are the perfect Lotharios. And politics comes with that reliable boost for pathetic egos, a weapon: legal monopoly on force. If persuasion fails to win the day, coercion is always an option.