Friday, December 16, 2011

The Final Five: December 16, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
December 16, 2011

Thought of the Day:
Democrats are using fast and furious as a means to pass new gun control regulations. Perhaps we should go to the real problem and pass new government control regulations instead.


News of Note:

- Click censorship or protecting property?

- Using "Fast & Furious" to promote gun control

- Hezbollah Laundered Millions of Dollars Into U.S.

- School fights for nativity scene

- Google patents driverless car technology

- Donors pay Kmart layaway accounts

- China orders Twitter users to register


Tonight's Crazy Story:
Police Say Fake Bills Were Simple Photocopies
A man passed off over $200 of photocopied bills as real by using them with real money and rushing out the door before they were discovered. However, his joy came to an end when he was arrested inside the hotel room he paid for with some of the fake bills.


The Final Five: Number 5
Today Is Bill of Rights Day
The CATO Institute's Tim Lynch analyzes the ten portions of our Bill of Rights in honor of "Bill of Rights Day." Looks like we're doing real good on the third, but not so good on the rest. "It’s a disturbing snapshot, to be sure, but not one the Framers of the Constitution would have found altogether surprising. They would sometimes refer to written constitutions as mere “parchment barriers,” or what we call “paper tigers.” They nevertheless concluded that having a written constitution was better than having nothing at all. The key point is this: A free society does not just “happen.” It has to be deliberately created and deliberately maintained. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"According to a new CBS poll, 33 percent of Americans say they won't have enough money to cover their holiday spending. I believe these people are called Congress."
-Jay Leno, 12/15/11


The Final Five: Number 4
Too Many Debates?
Alana Goodman at Commentary Magazine makes the argument that the tight debate schedule hurts those running. "As the candidates prepare for the debate in Iowa tonight, Karl Rove outlines how the nonstop debates may actually be detrimental to the race: Each debate kills at least three days: one day (and sometimes two) to prepare, the day of the debate, and the day after, spent dealing with the fallout from the night before. This late in the process – there are 19 days left until Iowa and 26 days until New Hampshire, with Christmas and New Year’s holidays eliminating crucial campaign dates – many candidates might want to chart their own schedules and set their own message priorities. But the debates won’t allow for that. Debates transfer power to the media, draining it from the campaigns. Moderators and their news organizations – through questions they frame or select – have more impact than candidates on what’s covered and discussed."


Debt Watch:
On Thursday, our government made up for Wednesday's thrift by going on a spending binge, increasing our debt by $46,812,289,639.03. This brings the total national debt to:
$15,098,098,486,788.82


The Final Five: Number 3
So This is It?
RedState's Daniel Horowitz presents his complaints about the Republican majority in the House caving on the Omnibus. "This is what we get from a new House Republican majority? Call me naive, but from the onset of this legislative session I really expected we would witness some transformational change in the way Washington does business. That was obviously a foolish expectation."


Tweets of the Day:
Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty): You know, if Rick Perry had the Broncos defense on stage for half of these competitions, he would indeed win these debates like Tebow.


The Final Five: Number 2
On Medicare, Save Money Now
National Review Online's Josh Barro makes the case that the Ryan-Wyden Medicare reform proposal is good, except it should be implemented immediately instead of in 2022. "The United States needs Medicare reform for the same reason Rhode Island needed pension reform–without adjustments, Medicare will eat the budget and make the rest of government dysfunctional. Fixing that problem should be a winning proposition, but you can’t fix it if reform is always something that has to happen “later.” Wyden and Ryan have hit upon a good structure, but they should seize the moment and urge its implementation today, not in 2022."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"I own myself the friend to a very free system of commerce, and hold it as a truth, that commercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive and impolitic — it is also a truth, that if industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out."
-James Madison


The Final Five: Number 1
How to Shut Down the Welfare State
Richard Jones at American Thinker makes the case that the best think to do in the "War on Poverty" is to eliminate welfare. "Welfare workers are constantly trying to figure out how to make their jobs effective, how to do something to actually combat poverty. Their jobs are very high-stress, so they often meet after work on Fridays, when happy hours encourage them to philosophize. If only the clients had to look for work -- no, they're already under such a requirement. If the government built more public housing so the slumlords didn't grab every increase in benefits -- no, that's been tried. If food stamps and cash assistance were combined into one check -- no, that resulted in a class action suit, and threatened the criminal economy. There must be some way the welfare system can actually assist the poor. Happily, there is an answer: shut it down."


Tomorrow in History
December 17, 1957 - The first intercontinental ballistic missile, the SM-65 Atlas, is successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.


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Ranking the Republicans: 1) Rick Perry

This is the seventh article in a seven-part series ranking the Republican candidates for President. You can read the past articles in the series here:
2) Rick Santorum
3) Michele Bachmann
4) Newt Gingrich
5) Jon Huntsman, Jr.
6) Mitt Romney
7) Ron Paul

Rick Perry is the top candidate in the Defense of Freedom Blog candidate rankings. I have selected Perry because of his unparalleled conservative record and experience, his record of creating jobs, and his courage to address issues of religious freedom. Rick Perry has demonstrated that he is a solid conservative on almost every issue, and it is for this reason I feel he is the best candidate to lead our nation.

As governor of Texas, Perry signed many pro-life bills. Among other legislation, he signed bills banning late-term abortions, defunding Planned Parenthood, and requiring parental consent for minors. Perry also oversaw agreements to allow licensed residents of 40 other states to carry concealed weapons in the state of Texas. Perry has also not been afraid to show his faith. His call to prayer saw 30,000 people come to Houston to join him, and it was certainly supported by many others who could not make the trip.

On the economy, Perry has a very strong record of job creation. Almost half of all net new jobs created have been in his state. Some may attribute this to other factors--such as oil--and they would be partially correct. However, there is not a single state in the nation that has enough of these "outside factors" to counteract the type of job loss our nation experienced without sound fiscal policy from the state's leaders. Furthermore, while some might argue that the governor does not create private-sector jobs, it is ironic that many of the people making that claim also supported the stimulus packages that were supposed to allow President Obama to create jobs. They cannot have it both ways: if Obama gets the credit for jobs the stimulus package supposedly created, then Perry's policies must also be given some of the credit for Texas's job creation.

Perry has also identified three pillars of big government that need to be eliminated: overtaxing, overspending, and overregulation. In Texas, Perry showed that he can accomplish the elimination of these pillars: he signed numerous tax cuts during his ten years in office, saving the residents of Texas money while also increasing revenue. His Cut, Balance, and Grow plan would help our economy experience a true recovery rather than the "slight recovery" we are now experiencing.

Perry also has a life story that stands opposed to the message Obama will be pushing during the general election. Obama has already hinted in his speeches that his message will be centered around government intervention to fix our flawed free-market system. As RedState's Erick Erickson described Perry's story, "I suspect you might agree with me that the best person to put up against a man arguing that the government should pick winners and losers is the guy who grew up dirt poor on a farm without indoor plumbing who joined the military, served his country, became a farmer, and then got into government culminating in the most impressive job creation record of any Governor in America at this time." Perry's life story speaks for itself against the campaign that Obama plans to wage.
I certainly do not agree with Perry on everything. His plan calls for a balanced budget by 2020, which would be his final year in office if elected to two terms. I understand that a balanced budget by the end of the first year may not be possible, but our nation cannot continue to use its credit card for another eight years without facing serious consequences. Slowing down the deficits would be a start, but eliminating them and using the surplus to pay down the debt must be a priority for the immediate future, not a long-term goal. I also disagree with his call for a part-time Congress. While it sounds great on the surface, the effect of it will not benefit America. A part-time Congress will make it difficult for congressmen to maintain any kind of job that would allow them to miss periods of time for legislative sessions. The net effect is that only the wealthy will be able to afford to serve in Washington.

One of the main issues that caused many conservatives to lose their faith in Perry was immigration. He opposes a fence spanning the entire border, but he does support strategic fencing in areas with heavy traffic. It is understandable why some conservatives might be opposed to Perry for his immigration stance, and there are certainly arguments against Perry's stance on these issues. However, Perry's current job is governor of the state with the longest border with Mexico. I do not think anyone could serve as governor of a border state and not understand the need to secure the border, and even though I may think there are better ways of securing it, I am willing to trust Perry's plan for border security.

Finally, Perry's debate skills and other speaking issues do cause reason for concern. However, there is also reason to reconsider this argument. Perry has performed better in more recent Republican debates, and his response to forgetting the third department he would cut shows that he has a team that can effectively deal with problems that may arise. I also believe that Perry will do better debating someone with a diametrically opposite ideology than he has done in the Republican debates. The former allows each candidate to lay out a plan for the nation, but the latter only leads to nitpicking amongst the various candidates as they try to explain the one or two small areas that make them different from each other. Even if he does not improve, I would gladly take Perry's lack of debate skill over a moderate social stance or support for individual health care mandates.

In July, I stated that I currently supported Michele Bachmann, and there were only two people who could change my mind: Mitch Daniels (who had already said he was not running) and Rick Perry. Despite all the changes in the "frontrunner" status since, I still stand by that statement. By no means is Perry the perfect candidate, but he is definitely the best candidate.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Final Five: December 15, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
December 15, 2011

Thought of the Day:
Microsoft's co-founder recently unveiled his plans to participate in private spaceflight. Hopefully their planes won't crash as much as Windows.


News of Note:

- 'The Protester' named Time's Person of the Year

- Half of schools failed federal standards

- Oh, the horrors! Government shutdown looms

- Michigan legislature approves expansion of charters schools

- Unemployment benefit applications drop to lowest point in three years

- Gun laws disregarded in online sales

- Boxer: GOP bill will lead to 8,000 deaths

- Walker recall supported by Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler


Tonight's Crazy Story:
Yuletide Cheer Takes Over the Senate As Lawmakers Demonstrate the Joy of Giving ... and Receiving
The US Senate held a "Secret Santa" gift exchange this week. FOX News awards 'Best in Show' to Sen. Joe Manchin, who gave Sen. Chuck Schumer ... coal!


The Final Five: Number 5
Obama's Job Description
Cindy Simpson argues at American Thinker that Obama suffers from the problem of not understanding the role of the President. "Garfield would be shocked to see the level of derangement produced by our government today. And he likely would never have dreamed that the burden of taxes are borne by only around half of the country, with a large proportion going to programs that redistribute to the other half or to pork-barrel spending. And if Garfield was concerned about the engagement of the constituency in his day, imagine his horror at the realization that today's electorate would likely never vote against the hand that feeds it, a hand that under the guise of governmental authority takes wealth out of the pockets of others. Rather than considering "cutting taxes" or "gutting regulations" to boost our lagging economy, Obama instead has dug in his heels and demanded that wealthy Americans "do their fair share" plus "a little bit more." And if he lacks support, he asserted: "We're just gonna keep on looking for specific things that we can do without congressional cooperation.""


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"Some people say that Mitt Romney isn't the most consistent candidate, because he's changed his mind about big, important issues over the years. You know, that's one of the things that I like about him, because he's been consistent since he changed his mind."
-Jimmy Kimmel, 12/14/11


The Final Five: Number 4
The “Do-Nothing” Senate?
Commentary Magazine's Alana Goodman argues that President Obama's "do-nothing Congress" claim is backfiring because the "do-nothing" group is the Senate. "All of President Obama’s denunciations of the “do-nothing Congress” and fiery appeals for lawmakers to “pass this jobs bill now” may be blowing up in his face. Yesterday, the House approved one of the key pieces of Obama’s jobs bill, but also inserted a provision that would greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline construction. Now it’s the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama (who vowed to veto the legislation if its passed) standing in the way of the jobs bill."


Debt Watch:
On Wednesday, our leaders brought in more than they paid out, reducing the debt by $8,987,885,149.09. This brings the current debt to:
$15,051,286,197,149.79


The Final Five: Number 3
5 Reasons Why Obama Wants to Double U.S. Tax Rates
James Pethokoukis at The Enterprise Blog gives five reasons why Obama would want tax rates to hit 70 percent. "To fund a federal government where Obamacare is fully operation, Social Security is fully solvent and domestic “investments” are fully financed, the Obamacrats need dramatically higher tax revenue. And they think sharply higher income tax rates on the “rich” — and eventually hitting everybody else through a value-added tax — is how to get their hands on the dough. So there’s no way Obama could have supported the Bowles Simpson plan and the lower tax rates it recommended. Think this high-tax scenario could never happen? Liberals sure believe this is America’s fiscal endgame and time is on their side. If the U.S. should face its own sovereign debt crisis, you’ll surely hear Democrats say “all options should be on the table.” And you’ll know exactly what they mean."


Tweets of the Day:
Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer): Today's a fitting day 2put 2rest myth that Bush lied. He faithfully said what CIA told him. So 2 did both Clintons, Gore, & Kerry. France, Egypt, and Israel also thought Saddam had WMDs. France opposed going to war, so why would they "lie"?
(Actually two tweets, but intended as one message!)


The Final Five: Number 2
Obama: Please Give My Drone Back
Commentary Magazine's Max Boot agrees with my "Thought of the Day" that appeared here earlier in the week: Obama's request for the captured drone was pointless. "I am pretty sure, however, that the president’s request the Iranians return the drone was dopey and humiliating. Especially because there was no “or else” appended to the demand. Predictably, the Iranians are making propaganda fodder out of the president’s request. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman is demanding the U.S. apologize for violating Iranian airspace while the semi-official Fars News Agency has a headline crowing: “Obama Begs Iran to Give Him Back His Toy Plane.”"


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?"
-Alexander Hamilton


The Final Five: Number 1
Regulation for Dummies
An editorial in The Wall Street Journal argues that regulation is stifling our economy today. "The evidence is overwhelming that the Obama regulatory surge is one reason the current economic recovery has been so lackluster by historical standards. Rather than nurture an economy trying to rebuild confidence after a financial heart attack, the Administration pushed through its now-famous blitz of liberal policies on health care, financial services, energy, housing, education and student loans, telecom, labor relations, transportation and probably some other industries we've forgotten. Anyone who thinks this has only minimal impact on business has never been in business. Mr. Obama can claim he is the progressive second coming of Teddy Roosevelt as he did in Kansas last week, or he can claim to be a regulatory minimalist, but not both. The facts show he's the former."


Tomorrow in History
December 16, 1773 - Members of the Sons of Liberty protested the Tea Act by disguising themselves and Mohawks and dumping crates of tea into Boston Harbor, an event which was later called the "Boston Tea Party."


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Ranking the Republicans: 2) Rick Santorum

This is the sixth article in a seven-part series ranking the Republican candidates for President. You can read the past articles in the series here:
3) Michele Bachmann
4) Newt Gingrich
5) Jon Huntsman, Jr.
6) Mitt Romney
7) Ron Paul

Following the allegations of sexual impropriety against Herman Cain and the subsequent failure of the Cain campaign team to handle them properly, I began to search for a candidate that I felt I could wholeheartedly support. The one candidate that captured my attention was Rick Santorum. Santorum has based his campaign on the idea of being the "family values" candidate, and he certainly has the right to make that claim. There is no other candidate with a conservative record on social issues like Santorum.
As a senator, Santorum proposed many pieces of legislation and amendments to legislation in an attempt to advance social conservatism. He proposed including intelligent design alongside evolution in educational standards under the No Child Left Behind Act. Santorum also played a huge role in the Senate's actions to help save the life of Terri Schiavo. Along with fellow Senator John Kerry, he introduced the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for religion in the workplace. He also opposes abortion under almost any circumstance.

Santorum's record on fiscal issues is not quite as strong, but this is partially because fiscal issues did not play as large a role in the political landscape during his time in the Senate. Santorum did co-sponsor the Balanced Budget Amendment and a line item veto provision during his time in Washington, and he helped expose corruption in the House Bank. He supported the Bush tax cuts, believing that tax cuts help spur economic growth, and he helped lead the fight for a privatization of Social Security, one of the only solutions that would guarantee the solvency of the program for future generations.

However, Santorum has endorsed candidates who do not share his views. Santorum twice endorsed Arlin Specter, Pennsylvania's "Republican" turned Democrat, first for President in 1996 and then again for the Senate in 2004. The general consensus is that this was a kickback for Specter's assistance in Santorum's first election, but this detracts from his claim as the "values" candidate. Then, in the last election cycle, Santorum endorsed Kentucky's Secretary of State Trey Grayson over the more conservative Rand Paul. Santorum began promoting the spin coming from the Grayson camp, even when it was false. While I do believe that Santorum would support strong values in the nation, his endorsements do call into question just how strong a role his values play in his life.

Also, in the debates, Santorum has come across as being very dry. While this does not affect his views, a major part of campaigning is being able to present your views effectively. To me, Santorum has been unable to do this so far. While I would gladly support him over the moderate candidates in the race, I do consider that to be another liability for him.

Even though his poll numbers do not reflect this, Santorum is among the best candidates in the Republican field. However, he has repeatedly gone against his values system in supporting moderate candidates, and he has failed in his attempts to get his message to the nation effectively. Santorum certainly has shortcomings, but they are much less significant than many of the other candidates.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Final Five: December 14, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
December 14, 2011

Thought of the Day:
President Obama is heartbroken that families are having to feed their families at food banks. Of course that's heartbreaking to him! Every piece of food given through the food bank is one less that is provided through government food stamp programs.


News of Note:

- Microsoft co-founder to build spacecraft

- Atheists win "random lottery" for Christmas display places

- Egyptians vote in second round of elections

- GOP wants to change mandatory defense cuts

- Postal Service won't make cuts until May

- The government knows what's best for you: NTSB wants national cell phone driving ban


Tonight's Crazy Story:
Pennsylvania Man Has Fake Obituary For Mother Published To Get Time Off Work
Imagine opening the paper and reading your own obituary. A Pennsylvania man had a fake obituary published so that he could get paid bereavement leave at work. At least since he loves his job so much, he will get some more time off: he now faces charges of disorderly conduct.


The Final Five: Number 5
How is New Poverty like New Coke?
Mickey Kaus at The Daily Caller explains the ridiculous nature of the new poverty calculations. "Specifically, he notes, the New Poverty Line line isn’t really a measure of what people “need.” For one thing, it starts its calculations at “the 30th to 35th percentiles of spending on food, clothing and shelter by two-adult, two-child families,” who are among the most prosperous families, compared with say, one parent, two child families–indeed, even at the 33d percentile their income is apparently above the median income for all families of all types. (There seems to be some complicated fiddling with this measure to bring it a little more back in line with reality, which only adds to the New Poverty Line’s incomprehensibility.)"


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"According to a new survey, some people are waiting until after Christmas to do their holiday shopping. Yeah, these people are known as men."
-Conan O'Brien, 12/13/11


The Final Five: Number 4
We Need More Fighters in Congress
Daniel Horowitz explains at RedState why the conservative/tea-party movement is failing in Congress: there are not enough conservative fighters. "The defeat of Ron Johnson for a leadership post in the Senate should serve as a wakeup call to conservatives. Despite our hard work during the 2010 elections, we have not done enough to elect conservative warriors to Congress. Too many people assume that we have successfully flushed the Senate of liberal Republicans, with the exception of a few senators from the northeast. The truth is just the opposite. With the exception of a few fighters such as DeMint, Paul, Lee, Toomey, Johnson, Rubio, and a handful of others, we have no one who is willing to fight day and night to reverse the inexorable tide of statism."


Debt Watch:
On Tuesday, the federal government only spent $6,255,804,729.87 over its income, bringing the national debt at the end of business yesterday to:
$15,060,274,082,298.88


The Final Five: Number 3
They Mean Well. Really?
American Thinker's Victor Volsky explains why conservatives should not be so quick to believe that liberals "mean well." "...liberals never feel bound by any moral constraints dealing with conservatives. In any war, the enemy must be dehumanized so as to stiffen the warriors' resolve and inure him to the bloody task at hand. So liberals feel no compunction lying and cheating to bring down the conservative enemy -- after all, the holy cause justifies any means, however reprehensible they may be otherwise. Until conservatives understand the ruthless mindset of their "friends across the aisle," they will continue to operate at a huge disadvantage in the political arena."


Tweets of the Day:
Chris Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo): #tsa - 1 guy checking ID's at JFK. 100 in line. 4 other tsa's doing diddly. This is why gov gets a bad name.


The Final Five: Number 2
Obama Knew the Depth of the Economic Problems
Stephen Hayes from The Weekly Standard argues that Obama did know the extent of our economic problems, despite his claims to the contrary. "President Obama used this line Tuesday in an interview with KIRO in Seattle, saying that he wished he understood just how deep the economic problems were when he took office. Obama said: “I think we understood that it was bad but we didn’t know how bad it was.” He added: “I think I could have prepared the American people for how bad this was going to be had we had a sense of that.” So was Barack Obama surprised by the seriousness of the economic problems in 2008, as he now claims? In a word: No."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"History by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views."
-Thomas Jefferson


The Final Five: Number 1
Obama is the Jobs Grinch
American Thinker's Jeffrey Folks argues that Obama has gone out of his way to kill good jobs. "By every objective measure, the Obama presidency has been a failure. Had the president simply stood by and done nothing, the economy would have done better than it has. Instead, Obama has gone out of his way to kill off jobs. The NLRB attempt to block Boeing from building the 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina is a good example. That outrageous attack on the right of a company to do business where and how it sees fit sent a chilling message -- not only to Boeing, but to every employer in America. That message was that government can deploy its "protection squadrons" of lawyers and bureaucrats to crush any private enterprise that gets in the way of the social good, as defined by The Leader. That has been the message to Boeing, to Gibson Guitar Company, to AT&T (in its proposed merger with T-Mobile), to America's health insurance companies in the run-up to passage of ObamaCare, to the Big Banks, and to Big Oil."


Tomorrow in History
December 15, 1791 - The Virginia General Assembly ratifies the United States Bill of Rights, giving ten amendments enough support to officially be added to the Constitution.


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Ranking the Republicans: 3) Michele Bachmann

This is the fifth article in a seven-part series ranking the Republican candidates for President. You can read the past articles in the series here:
4) Newt Gingrich
5) Jon Huntsman, Jr.
6) Mitt Romney
7) Ron Paul

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is one of the three candidates in the race that I would consider to be a true conservative. Throughout her political career, she has shown the ability to stand against even her own party in support of family values and conservative principles. As a Minnesota state senator, she fought to amend the Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, even though the state had already passed a law prohibiting it.

After being elected to the US Congress in 2007, Bachmann continued her defense of conservative principles. She fought against a bill that made changes in the student loan and grant programs, she introduced the "Lightbulb Freedom of Choice Act" which would give Americans the freedom to choose the lighting product being used in their homes, and she has called for increased drilling in ANWR in order to reduce the cost of gasoline. She has led the fight against Obama's health care reform, the Dodd-Frank financial reform, and cap and trade energy policy. On the vast majority of issues, Michele Bachmann has a solid stance on the right side.

Furthermore, Bachmann has shown great leadership capability. From the time she was inaugurated as a congresswoman, Bachmann has spoken her mind and voted according to her views, regardless of how her party wanted her to act. She has constantly opposed moderate legislation endorsed by the Republican leadership, and she has been on the front lines fighting Obama's progressive agenda. Earlier this year, she ran for a leadership position within the House Republican Caucus, but she ultimately dropped out of the race. However, the number of endorsements she received was much higher than one would expect for a third-term congresswoman, showing that despite her limited time in the House, she has earned the respect of many of her fellow legislators.

However, there are two reasons why I find it hard to support Bachmann for president. First, she has shown that she has the tendency to speak rashly. Her comments about the HPV vaccine and mental retardation made national headlines in a bad way, and it turned out that her statement was based on the unproven claim of one mother. While this claim may or may not have been true, it was unnecessary and it ultimately distracted from the real point of the debate over the HPV vaccine.

Bachmann also claimed that if elected, gasoline would drop to $2 per gallon. While her energy plan is excellent and two-dollar gasoline is certainly possible, saying that it will drop to that price and then follow it up with the sentence "It will happen" was a poor move. As I mentioned already on this blog, there are too many other factors influencing the price of oil and gas that a president has no control over. If Bachmann were elected and gasoline only dropped to $2.50 per gallon, "It will happen" could become the new "Read my lips" in 2016. It would be one thing to say, "Under President Bachmann, you will see an American energy policy that would lower the price of oil. $2 per gallon gas would certainly not be out of the question during the Bachmann Administration." However, to promise a particular price and say, "It will happen" was a very foolish move.

Second, Bachmann has failed to express her own views and what sets her apart from the other candidates. She has spent the majority of her time in the debates focusing on attacking other candidates, and while that has led to some great soundbites (such as her recent "Newt Romney" comment), it does not give us an idea of how she would govern. Knowing that Bachmann opposes Perry's mandatory HPV vaccination proposal or that she thinks Gingrich and Romney are both moderate candidates in the race gives me no idea of what Bachmann would actually do if elected. Although Bachmann's website does clearly state her views on many important issues, Bachmann seems more interested in using her debate time to attack her opponents rather than explain her views.

Michele Bachmann is one of the few candidates in the race who truly has the right idea on most issues. There is no doubt that America's economy would improve during a Bachmann Presidency, and America would be much better off with her in the White House than with many of the other candidates in the race. However, Bachmann's main problem seems to be with her communication, something that will be vitally important in the general election. There is no doubt that I would vote for Bachmann over Obama next November if that were the choice, but in the primary election, there are simply better choices available.

Mid-Week Media: Outrage, Apologies, Protection, Seals, and Reindeer

It's Wednesday! That means it's time to take a look at some of the best videos, pictures, and cartoons put out over the last week.

Bill Whittle's Afterburner discusses the idea of outrage in the light of several news events.


The RNC put out this ad about Obama's threatened veto of the payroll tax cut over its Keystone Pipeline provision.


Allen West gives a speech on the floor of the House apologizing for the government's failure.


Who needs the Secret Service when you have this kind of protection?


Perhaps this would be better with the President on the golf course, but still...


Obama has put his seal on the Keystone Pipeline.


Finally, 9 reindeer got together on Facebook to complain about someone.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Final Five: December 13, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
December 13, 2011

Thought of the Day:
The dispute between the US and Iran over returning the captured drone sounds like two kids arguing over a piece of candy. Except in this case, some of our military secrets are at stake.


News of Note:

- Our procrastinating Congress

- Shocking News: A federal program that has problems

- The Obama Administration: Doing what it takes to cut the deficit by less than one percent!

- FCC gets involved with TV volumes

- Fear of government nears record

- 'Trump debate', now without Trump

- Occupy DC wastes $400,000 of taxpayer money


Tonight's Crazy Story:
Los Angeles County Schools Hit by Rash of Tuba Heists
You read that right! LA County Schools can't seem to find at least five tubas. It's not exactly like someone could stick it in their pocket on the way out the door.


The Final Five: Number 5
Obama Administration Coordinating with Left-Wing Groups on Voter Fraud
John Hinderaker at Powerline Blog explains how the Obama administration could work with left-wing groups to increase voter fraud in 2012. "So you can see how this will all come together. The Democrats will use their constituent organizations to whip up a frenzy of opposition to “voter suppression,” while DOJ launches, or threatens to launch, legal challenges to selected state statutes. This will energize the Democrats’ base by pretending that Republicans are trying to disenfranchise voters. It also may succeed in increasing the illegal votes that Democrats rely on at the margins of close elections."


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"A lot of packages this time of year get lost. That's awful. You’re promised something great. You wait and wait and wait. But nothing good ever comes. It's like voting for Obama."
-Craig Ferguson, 12/12/11


The Final Five: Number 4
A Broken System for Choosing the Nominee
Gregory Farrell at American Thinker explains why the Republican debates and primary system has become ridiculous. "The debates in the Republican presidential primaries amount to a relatively cheap to produce reality game shows. All the participants have a chance to win the big prize, and you need to include the celebrity moderator/panelists from the news media as the possible show's real winner. You can't have a real debate with eight candidates on the stage. These so-called debates are really a question and answer session with a little "I've been attacked" rebuttal time thrown in for the candidates to use if they get attacked by another candidate."


Debt Watch:
On Monday, the government only spent $1,573,853,846.20 over what it took in, bringing the national debt to:
$15,054,018,277,569.01


The Final Five: Number 3
The Real Threat to Peace is Western Support of Palestinian Rejectionism
Commentary Magazine contributor Evelyn Gordon explains why Israel is not the real threat to peace. "It is, of course, problematic that Palestinian authors refuse to even sit in the same room with Israeli authors, who as a group (and Sakal is no exception) are overwhelmingly critical of Israeli government policy and consistently advocate greater concessions to the Palestinians. If Palestinian intellectuals won’t deign to talk even with the Israelis most supportive of their cause, it’s hard to see how a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace could ever emerge. Far more problematic, however, was the response of Darwish’s Western enablers: Instead of telling him that such boycotts won’t be tolerated, the conference organizers cravenly capitulated to his demands. ... And as long as such Palestinian rejectionism continues to receive Western support, Palestinians will have no incentive whatsoever to abandon it."


Tweets of the Day:
Jay Smooth (@jsmooth995): The 99% just need to understand that if they work hard enough, they all have a one-in-a-hundred chance! #GeneMarksLogic


The Final Five: Number 2
Obama and the Special Interests
Timothy Carney at the Washington Examiner explains why--despite his rhetoric on eliminating special interests--Obama has increased the influence of special interests in Washington. "His stimulus set off a lobbying free-for-all. His health-care, which was a big giveaway to the drug industry (which spends more on lobbying than any other), bill has made health-care lobbying a chronic condition and spurred the Great Health-Care Cashout in which the bill's authors monetize their experience writing the bill. Dodd-Frank not only spurred a similar boom in revolving-door action it also provided the opportunity for Jon Corzine's cronyism-fueled rise and fall. And all those measures Obama is claiming to have implemented to crack down on lobbying -- they're toothless. He's hired more than 50 lobbyists to senior positions, a handful of his top appointees are now on Wall Street, and his bundlers and donors include big-time lobbyists by any normal definition of the word."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"It is the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the SUPREME BEING, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping GOD in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship."
-John Adams


The Final Five: Number 1
3 Weeks And Counting. Are We In a Suicide Pact?
RedState's Erick Erickson raised the question of who the Republican nominee should be, and who it will be. "If you were to look at the candidates on the Republican side, I suspect you might agree with me that the best person to put up against a man arguing that the government should pick winners and losers is the guy who grew up dirt poor on a farm without indoor plumbing who joined the military, served his country, became a farmer, and then got into government culminating in the most impressive job creation record of any Governor in America at this time. The problem is that candidate, Rick Perry, has failed to convince people he is capable of the task at hand, though he still has the time, money, and poll trends in an upward direction in Iowa to do it. ... Now, if you are foolish, given that the President intends to campaign on a moral case against success and a lot of people are receptive to it, you might want to put up a candidate who made his money doing leveraged buy outs, laying off people, and restructuring companies. That’s precisely why Mitt Romney is such a terrible fit for the zeitgeist of this election season."


Tomorrow in History
December 14, 1911 - A team of five people, led by Roald Amundsen, become the first explorers to reach the south pole.


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Ranking the Republicans: 4) Newt Gingrich

This is the fourth article in a seven-part series ranking the Republican candidates for President. You can read the past articles in the series here:
5) Jon Huntsman, Jr.
6) Mitt Romney
7) Ron Paul

At last Saturday's debate, Michele Bachmann referred to Gingrich and Romney as "Newt-Romney." Although I believe that Gingrich and Romney do have enough differences of opinion to distinguish them from each other, Gingrich and Romney both fail in the area of consistency. Just like Romney, Gingrich is being forced to run from many of his past political statements.

Gingrich now calls cap-and-trade policy an "energy tax," but he supported it in the past as a means to curb man-made global warming. He now questions the existence of man-made global warming, despite his past affirmations of it. In 2008, he supported individual health insurance mandates; now he says they are unconstitutional. Even this year, he changed his opinion on Libya. First he stated that we should protect the citizens of Libya from Gaddafi and then, less than three weeks later, he stated that the US should not have been involved in the situation at all. As I mentioned when discussing Mitt Romney, there is a question about whether we will be electing the Gingrich that is currently campaigning or the Gingrich from the past decade.

However, Gingrich does have some very important strengths. His debate performances have shown that he is the most intelligent candidate, and he has shown an unmatched ability to think on his feet during the debates. Gingrich has shown that he is bright enough to solve complex problems and that he could definitely debate with Obama. However, Gingrich has another even more important characteristic.

Gingrich showed immense leadership during his years as Speaker of the House. He not only pushed many conservative policies through the House, but he also worked with President Clinton to see them enacted into law. Gingrich was able to see two large pieces of conservative legislation enacted: welfare reform and a balanced budget. This is two more pieces of legislation than President Bush enacted in six years with a Republican House and Senate. Although Gingrich has no executive experience, he does have experience negotiating with the Executive on behalf of the Congress.

Finally, I know many people are probably expecting to see a comment on Newt's "baggage," so here it is. While I do believe that cheating in one area of life makes it more likely that a person will cheat in other areas, I also understand the power of God to transform a person's life. The last (known) affair is over 12 years old, so unless a new allegation comes out, I see this as a non-issue, even if the only reason is that there are plenty of better reasons to argue against voting for Gingrich than his personal life.

Gingrich has the skills and the leadership necessary to be President, but like Mitt Romney, there are questions about what type of President he would be. His record in the House is certainly much more conservative than Mitt Romney's record as governor, but his statements since seem to indicate he has moved to the left. While I would gladly take Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney, I would much rather cast my vote for someone with a pure conservative record.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Final Five: December 12, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
December 12, 2011

Thought of the Day:
President Obama says that those who support Israel should support him because he opposes the "zeroing out" of foreign aid to Israel. He is partially right. President Obama doesn't support the "zeroing out" of foreign aid to Israel; he supports the "x-ing out" of Israel from the world map.


News of Note:

- UK Bank has "anti-jerk" policy for employees

- Is this Obama's second Middle Eastern war?

- Obama says he doesn't want to redistribute wealth, then talks about redistributing wealth

- Schumer and NY lawmakers call for passenger advocate at TSA checkpoints

- Britain considers mandating financial education

- Occupy shuts down west coast ports

- Then they really shouldn't need any more US money, right?

- San Francisco to mandate $10+ minimum wage

- Congress to authorize spending $1 trillion in one bill


Tonight's Crazy Story:
Squirrel Sets Off School Fire Alarm, Gets Busted On CCTV
A school's surveillance video saved it from having to pay a fee when it was discovered that a squirrel set off the false fire alarm. I don't think I'd want to eat food from that kitchen, though!


The Final Five: Number 5
A Pentagon the Country Can Afford
Shocking, I agree with the above New York Times editorial, which describes that the Pentagon can weather the cuts mandated following the failure of the super committee. When the US spends almost as much as the rest of the world combined on military spending, there are ways that we can cut. "The Pentagon has had a blank check for most of the last 10 years. Last year’s basic budget of $530 billion (not counting the costs of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan) was about $140 billion higher, in inflation-adjusted terms, than in 2001. This year’s base budget is expected to be about $526 billion, which is still excessive. Besides the nearly $500 billion in cuts that are supposed to start in January 2013, the budget act that created the supercommittee mandated an initial cut of roughly $450 billion in defense spending, spread over the next decade. According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, that would put basic defense spending for 2013 around $472 billion — about the same, in inflation-adjusted terms, as what was spent in 2007. ... If the cuts do go forward, Congress and the administration need to find a way to give the Pentagon some flexibility to choose between high-value programs and those that can be ended, scaled back or delayed. Lawmakers should consider phasing in the cuts somewhat more gradually, so the choices can be smarter and disruption minimized."


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"A global study released just today found that happiness does not increase with the rate of economic growth. To which President Obama said, 'See? That's what I’ve been trying to tell people.'"
-Jay Leno, 12/9/11


The Final Five: Number 4
Voter Fraud for the Complete Idiot
Jon Hall at American Thinker explains why arguments that claim voter fraud does not exist are wrong. "The left-wing quotes above don't even rise to the level of speculation; they're part of a deliberate concerted effort to deceive -- a propaganda campaign. Alleging that voter fraud doesn't exist is a straw man designed to divert attention away from other more pressing election problems. Alleging that an undetectable fraud doesn't exist draws attention away from the frauds that can be detected, but aren't. Alleging that voter fraud doesn't exist whitewashes America's voter registration mess. ... America is fast approaching what some think is the most important election in our lives, an election that will determine what kind of nation we are going to be. And yet we come to this critical decision with election systems that can be gamed."


Debt Watch:
On Friday, the government only spent $1,283,433,784.58 over what it took in, bringing the national debt at the end of last week to:
$15,052,444,423,722.81


The Final Five: Number 3
Is Job Loss Economically Damaging?
James Miller from American Thinker argues that Paul Krugman is wrong to claim that layoffs resulted in job creation at Bain Capital or other companies. "When Krugman claims that leverage buyout firms are job destroyers, he too misses the unseen. If a company reliant on profitability is experiencing inefficiencies, it's better to vet them out sooner than later. Companies like Bain Capital provide this service in order to lay the groundwork for increasing productivity. Cost cutting, though it appears damaging initially, is merely a reaction to changing market conditions and previously unsustainable labor costs. Businesses striving to out-compete their competition do so by attracting better workers through bidding up wages and producing more efficiently to offer lower prices. While downsizing is detrimental to workers in the short term, there is reason to conclude that those jobs would have been lost anyway in the long run. Freeing up once used capital ultimately leaves it available for more profitable endeavors."


Tweets of the Day:
Charles Raasch (@craasch): Eternity in politics? 4 years ago Fred Thompson vied for prez nomination. Now he pitches reverse mortgage in ads during GOP debates


The Final Five: Number 2
Why Americans no Longer Trust Washington
A Washington Examiner editorial explains some possible reasons why Americans no longer trust their politicans in Washington. "Survey after survey in recent months has shown an alarming decline in public confidence in the nation's chief federal institutions, as well as a deepening pessimism about America's future. ... Anybody puzzled by these trends, however, need look no further than the performance of some of our leaders in recent days. ... Last year alone, according to the New York Times, federal officials sealed 77 million official documents. Something else was recently sealed -- the court records concerning Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder. Washington's solution is to bury potentially embarrassing documents. No wonder America no longer trusts Washington."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."
-George Washington


The Final Five: Number 1

American Thinker's Deane Waldman makes the case that health care costs are already under control, but they are being controlled in the wrong way. "When the PPAHCA reduced Medicare "costs" by 21%, it cut Medicare payments (to providers). Thus, such cost-cutting actually cuts services to patients. As Robert Moffit of the Heritage Foundation testified before Congress, 'you cannot get more of something by paying less for it.' Meanwhile, PPAHCA increased the costs of the federal healthcare bureaucracy by six whole new agencies, hundreds (perhaps thousands) of bureaucrats added to the payrolls, and many thousands of new rules and regulations. So the government controls and increases spending to/on itself while controlling and decreasing spending on patients."


Tomorrow in History
December 13, 2003 - Saddam Hussein surrenders to US troops outside of his hometown of Tikrit.


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Ranking the Republicans: 5) Jon Huntsman, Jr.

This is the third article in a seven-part series ranking the Republican candidates for President.
Click here to read about our seventh-ranked candidate, Ron Paul.
Click here to read about our sixth-ranked candidate, Mitt Romney.

I was asked by one person why I would rank Jon Huntsman above Mitt Romney. My answer is simple: Huntsman has at least a conservative fiscal record as governor; Romney has a progressive record. As governor, the CATO Institute gave Huntsman a B on fiscal policy, including an A on tax policy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Utah first in job growth and fourth in job creation during Huntsman's tenure. I believe that President Huntsman would be able to turn the nation's economic situation around.

On foreign policy, I believe that Huntsman's experience is unrivaled. Huntsman spent two years working in Taiwan. He then served as Ambassador to Singapore and Commerce Representative for East Asia and the Pacific during the first Bush administration. Finally, following time in the private sector and as Utah's governor, he was appointed Ambassador to China under the Obama administration. While some might criticize him for his work in the Obama administration, I do not believe that this is a fair criticism. He was not in a position where he influenced the administration's policy (except as it related to China), and as Huntsman has put it, "I'm not going to turn down an opportunity to serve my country." With the exception of Huntsman, there is no candidate with any experience in foreign relations, and this would likely be the strength of a Huntsman administration.

However, Huntsman's record on social policy shows that he is not a complete conservative. As governor, he supported cap-and-trade legislation for the state, he believes that humans contribute to global warming, and he wanted the federal government to increase the minimum wage. However, he does claim to be pro-life. (Although he did not have any significant pro-life achievements as governor, there is also nothing to indicate that he would be pro-choice.) He also implemented the largest school-choice program in the United States, offering private-school vouchers to all parents of children in public schools and even extending it to the parents of students already in some private schools, as well.

Overall, I believe Huntsman is a man who will stand by his word. Unlike some of the other candidates in the race, he does not seem to be running from his record as governor. While I may not agree with all of the stances Huntsman takes, I do believe that the Jon Huntsman we hear on the campaign trail will be the same as the Jon Huntsman that would govern should he be elected next year.