(Centennial Fellow) Good grief, says an Obama campaign struggling to regain its footing after a bad debate stumble, Mitt Romney said he wants to strip Big Bird of federal funding, and that would be awful. What could really be awful -- a tipping-point calamity for this country of ours -- would be a second Obama term in which the White House continues its politically convenient fiscal negligence.
It's that prospect that was most dramatically exposed in Romney's remarks and then underlined again in the trivializing response that a chubbily successful "Sesame Street" operation needed welfare.
The subject came up after Romney was asked what he would do about deficits. He said first off that the extent of our spending had been immoral. The government was adding $1 trillion a year to a debt that would be "passed on to the next generation," he said, explaining that those victims would "be paying the interest and principal all their lives."
The Republican presidential candidate said one way to address that issue was to get sufficiently serious about spending, to ask of any program whether it was "critical" enough to justify "borrowing money from China to pay for it." As an example, he mentioned stopping subsidies to the Public Broadcasting Service, home of Big Bird, but first mentioned repealing something else, something much bigger, something that sums up Obama's first term: "Obamacare," introduced on formal occasions as the Affordable Care Act.
We'll get back to Obamacare in a moment, but first let's talk about the core issue here, a national debt of $16 trillion that may not even wait until the next generation to visit ruin upon us. Short of serious remedies, the debt will keep the economy in a slow-motion, scarce-jobs mode with the possibility of crises that would make our current struggles seem a mere "ouch" moment in comparison.
The driving force of ever-increasing debt is entitlements, mainly Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which of and by themselves eat up better than half of all federal outlays. As economics columnist Robert F. Samuelson points out, they will do far more chomping than that as the elderly population gets twice as large over roughly the next two decades. There is no tax solution that would be less than devastating for younger workers paying the bill.
This hazard did not appear yesterday. We've known about it for years, but almost every time some bold statesman has suggested a solution, an opportunistic demagogue has risen up to charge that the plan would condemn the elderly to misery. One such statesman was Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), now candidate for vice president, who came up with a plan to save both Medicare and the nation and was then put down by one such demagogue, none other than President Barack Obama, who treated his substantive proposals as mean-spirited imperilment.
It's true the president made his own Medicare cuts -- lower fees to hospitals and doctors that will result in reduced treatment options for patients -- but did not thereby help solve the debt problem. He made the cuts to help finance Obamacare. Even though he himself concedes something must be done about entitlements, his only concrete answer to date is to give us another entitlement.
And this particular entitlement happens to be a doozy -- a massively interventionist, bureaucratically cumbersome, still-developing surprise a day that does nothing good that could not have been achieved more cheaply and simply. It meanwhile does a lot that's bad. Just one example lately in the news concerned the Darden restaurant chain experimenting with making full-time employees part time to escape Obamacare costs under coming rules that could endanger its future.
Back to Big Bird and PBS. They won't go away if subsidies go away. They do very well, thank you, and can almost surely pull in more money if that becomes necessary. This country, however, will cease to do well if the desperate need to shrink government continues to be met with a compulsion to expand.
Friday, 28 September 2012 12:29 by Admin
Forty days from the presidential election, conservative Republican John Andrews and liberal Democrat Susan Barnes-Gelt went up on Colorado Public Television with another round of Head On mini-debates over the politics of 2012, especially the race for the White House. Starting off with foreign policy, newly prominent in the campaign, Susan lauds Obama for having "kept our country safe for four years," while John says his failed policies are "killing us... this appeaser has to go." Their disagreement on the merits of Romney vs. Obama on domestic policy is equally sharp. Here's the script:
1. PRESIDENTIAL RACE / FOREIGN POLICY
Susan: Voters must think about whom they want answering the phone at 3 AM, in the White House Residence? Mitt “Russia’s-our-greatest-threat” Romney? Or President Obama, who killed Bin Laden and his key operatives, ended the war in Iraq and has kept our country safe for four years?
John: It was Hillary Clinton who warned of Barack Obama’s unfitness to deal with that 3am foreign policy crisis, back in 2008. We now know from the recent 9/11 debacle in Egypt and Libya that both are unfit. Obama’s Muslim appeasement policy has collapsed. Voters should dial a call to Mitt Romney.
Susan: Romney has NO foreign policy experience – to wit: his diplomatic gaffs at the London Olympics; his uninformed reaction to the attack on the Libyan consulate and murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens; including injured veterans in the 47% of victims who refuse to accept responsibility? PULEEZE!
John: Reagan had no foreign policy experience either. All he did was win the Cold War without firing a shot. Because he had what Gov. Romney also has – proven ability as an executive and a leader. Obama has neither, and it’s killing us around the world. This apologizer, this appeaser, has to go.
2. PRESIDENTIAL RACE / DOMESTIC POLICY
John: Here's all you need to know about the presidential race. Any incumbent with a failing economy and a foreign policy meltdown is an underdog. Obama's only hope against Romney is to lie, distract, and change the subject. He’s doing that, and the media are helping. I think it won’t work.
Susan: What’s not working is Romney’s duck and dodge on every issue: domestic policy, foreign policy, Medicare reform, tax reform, education reform, balanced budget, student loans, the deficit, healthcare, climate change, fiscal policy, immigration, the dream act, women’s health, energy dependence, human rights – You name it. He dodges.
John: Romney will get government out of the way so free enterprise can put Americans back to work. Romney will respect the constitution and religious freedom and stop the war on churches, war on unborn babies, war between income groups. Romney will stand up for Israel and stand against Iran. America needs Mitt.
Susan: Which Mitt? The moderate, pro-choice, pro-affordable healthcare, pro-gay marriage former governor of Massachusetts? Or the elitist rich guy whose written off seniors, single moms, working people and minorities – nearly half the voters. If he governs with the same clumsy incompetence that he’s running his campaign – BIG TROUBLE!
We need to spread the word about getting Obama out of office. People are not terribly happy with Romney, neither am I. But I think the best advice we can start to push now is control of the Supreme Court.
Antonin Scalia is 76, Anthony Kennedy is 76, Clarence Thomas is 64, Ruth Ginsburg is 79, Stephen Breyer is 74, and Samuel Alito is 62. The rest are younger than we are. The current makeup of the court is approximately five conservative, four liberal. If Obama wins and Ginsburg retires we will get a liberal candidate, possibly far left, depending on what the makeup of the new Senate is. This small shift will change the balance of the Court for the next four years.
Kennedy will be 80 toward the end of Obama's last (hypothetically) year of rule. The three young ones, Sotomayor, Kagan and Obama's final appointee will be around for another generation. They will all be, not just liberal but left to far left. It is reasonable to assume that adding another leftist to the Court will necessarily change the nature of decisions into the lives of our grandchildren.
The only way to preserve the America we know is to have Republican presidents appointing moderate Supreme Court justices. Therefore, no matter how much you dislike Romney, in the final analysis the vote this year is easy. In this case all the palaver about the economy and Islam and all the other secondary issues must take a back seat to our real future – the nature of the Supreme Court.
(Centennial Fellow) After Harry Reid said Mitt Romney went for 10 years without paying taxes, one Republican spokesman called him "a dirty liar," which was true enough and perfectly apt, but was the tiniest part of the story. As surely one of the worst Senate majority leaders in U.S. history, this bumbling, fumbling mishap of a Democratic legislator has helped set the country up for a mighty fall.
The accusation against Romney, which Reid said was whispered to him by "an extremely credible source," was more an indictment of the prosecutor than the prosecuted. Meant to force the Republican presidential candidate to reveal tax returns that maliciously minded Democrats can then misinterpret to their advantage, the smear is unforgivably nasty even as it also does something Reid should not want.
It puts him in the spotlight.
We stare for a moment and then quickly recollect how this relentlessly snarling, ceaselessly irresponsible partisan has been a key player in debt malfeasance, fiscal chicanery and the risk of 2013 becoming one of the unluckiest numbers in the nation's history. I have it from extremely credible sources, including The New York Times, that a congressional failure to prevent automatic tax hikes and spending cuts at the start of next year could lead to economic mayhem.
Reid is not the only one responsible for laxity on the issue, of course. The Republicans have contributed their share to the danger, and the biggest miscreant on the block is President Barack Obama, who thinks it more important to play nonsensical re-elect-me games about the rich not paying their fair share of taxes than to seek out real answers to real issues. Reid has been an Obama sidekick doing more to gouge Republicans than to seek a coalition preventing $399 billion worth of Bush-era tax cuts from expiring in January while also stopping automatic, mostly unwise spending cuts.
The Congressional Budget Office has said an already shrinking economy will shrink more if the worst happens, and the Times reports that major manufacturers are right now nixing new hires in anticipation of the double whammy. The issue is not that spending reductions are a bad idea or that reforming taxes to raise revenues would be loutish behavior. The issue is that these things must be done carefully and gradually as lawmakers take the necessary steps to prevent immediate catastrophe while integrating their decisions into an overall, coherent spending and taxing plan. In other words, they need to adopt a yearlong, future-looking budget instead of hop-scotching along with stopgap measures.
The Republican House passed a budget this year. The Democratic Senate has incredibly failed to pass one since 2009, and Reid says there's no reason it should. There is plenty of reason. Budgets are like rules of the road that prevent accidents. They are like maps that get you where you want to go. They establish priorities and outline limits. If you don't have one, you are wandering haplessly about as error doggedly pursues you.
So why don't we have one? It's mainly that Democrats who control the Senate do not want to be pinned down on exactly where they stand and thereby upset some voters here and there. If Reid had the right stuff, he would get this job and other jobs done. Instead, he gives us gaffes – remember the one about the war in Iraq being lost? – and baffling orations about the need for the government to support cowboy poetry.
It's probably unfair to compare Reid to one of the great congressional leaders, Sam Rayburn, who became Democratic speaker of the House in 1940 and served in that position off and on for 17 years. He is reported to have understood legislation inside and out. He accomplished what was most needed. Some of my political beliefs are different from what his were, but I love it that he refused any financial dealings as a lawyer with anyone who might have interests in legislative action. Reid could at least live up to that, but in fact had profitable land dealings with someone who would have benefited from legislation Reid subsequently introduced.
A lie about Romney was to be expected.
Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso and Denver, is now a columnist living in Colorado and a Centennial Institute Fellow. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay@aol.com.
Thursday, 19 July 2012 09:29 by Admin
(From where else, the Internet) 1. With a gracious, statesmanlike aura, he looks like every central casting’s #1 choice for Commander-in-Chief. Too good looking for the job especially since.......
2. He's been married to ONE woman his entire life. And he has been faithful to her, including through her bouts with breast cancer and MS. What's a good solid, muck raking journalist got to write about here?
3. Boringly he has no business scandals or skeletons in his closet that can stick. Folks are trying hard to make them up using the word Bain and Felon in the same breath, but it doesn't seem to work because of those damn facts that keep getting in the way.
4. Can’t 'get down' in a fake, southern, “black preacher voice” when necessary. There are 'g's ' at the end of the words he uses that end in 'ing'. See what I'm sayin?
5. Highly intelligent. Graduated cum laude from both Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.. Kind of embarrassing. Why then does he have to rub it in and release all that information to the public?
6. Doesn’t smoke or drink. Has never done drugs (though we can expect Ms. Felony F. Cutter to call for a drug test any day now). Not even part of a 'choom gang' in college. He actually did missionary work and tended to the needs of other people while in school. How silly is that?
7. Represents an America where people believe in God, go to Church and do hard work. Not everyone, but still most. So when he does these things, it's like pandering. Like when he worked hard to achieve his successes and takes responsibility for those things he did that didn't work out. Really kind of old fashioned, no?
8. Has a family of five sons, none of whom have police records, rap sheets or are in drug rehab. Mitt's wife is a stay-at-home mom, a family “choice” that deserves our scorn.
9. And then there's the MORMON thing. We need to be very afraid of any religion that teaches its members to be clean-living, patriotic, fiscally conservative, charitable, self-reliant, and honest. How low can you get?
10. And one more point…..pundits say he can’t relate to ordinary Americans and that is probably because he is so wealthy. And he doesn't even acknowledge the role of government in helping him get what he's got. The roads and bridges and all. He'd be much more likable if he won the lottery, married the money or inherited it all from Dad. Many Americans could identify with that. And then there's that charity thing. With him giving so much away, it just makes the rest of us feel guilty. The Clintons, Kerrys, and Gores are rightfully enraged.
and two more for good measure...
11. Sort of rubs it in when he doesn't take a government salary. He took no salary as Governor.| He took no salary as CEO of the Olympics. How can you like a guy like that? He should at least have an EBTcard or get paid in scratch tickets. He doesn't understand that actually working at a job and earning your own money makes you unlikable to so many lethargic Americans.
12. Hasn't written one autobiography yet, let alone two or three. uses the words I and me sparingly. Hard to figure out what he's done. We need more direction on this count. See what I'm sayin?
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE
(Centennial Fellow) Many conservatives (Christian or otherwise), me included, are disappointed that Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate for President. They lament that a more principled conservative (such as Michele Bachmann, or, to a lesser degree, Rick Santorum) was not selected. Perhaps they stand for the libertarian principles of Ron Paul. Whatever the case, many will be tempted to not vote at all or to cast a protest vote. This is a deep mistake, based on faulty ideas about politics and the meaning of a political vote. In this short essay, I will labor to convince fellow conservatives, whether Christians or not, to support and vote for Mitt Romney for President. I have waited to endorse Romney until all the other competitors have been eliminated. I do not expect to convert political liberals to this cause, which would require much more argumentation. (For starters, see Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn's Leftism and William F. Buckley's Up From Liberalism.)
First, many demur from voting for Romney because of his less-than-stellar conservative bona fides. I share their concern. RomneyCare influenced ObamaCare, however much Romney now opposes ObamaCare. He has not always been pro-life, but now seems to be. One could go on. But we should remember that politics is not the church. It is the art of the possible. Often we must choose the lesser of two evils, which is also the evil of two lessers. We reside in a fallen world. Get over it. We should be romantic and optimistic in the primaries (as I supported Michele Bachmann, read her book, Core of Conviction, and contributed to her campaign), and then get realistic when things narrow down. You are not appointing a pastor but voting for a president. A vote is neither a letter of reference, nor an unqualified endorsement, nor an act of worship. A vote is the exercise of the franchise, one part you play in our Republican form of government. It is a right, a responsibility, and a privilege that should not be squandered.
Second, protest votes are pointless. Many say, "If my candidate is not the one, I opt out. I am above all that." This is wrongheaded. Protest votes send no message, except that you have robbed the better of the two candidates of a vote. Like it or not, we are stuck with a two-party system for the long haul. (On this, see Michael Medved's chapter on the failure of third parties in The Ten Big Lies about America.) If you are a conservative, you vote for the more conservative candidate who can win, as William F. Buckley said. Writing in Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul does no good whatsoever—except to aid the Obama campaign.
Third, the essential principles between the two parties, however each candidate may vary from them, are sharply divided. Democrats support a larger government and heavier taxation and regulation. They view the Constitution as a wax nose they twist any way they want (progressivism), pit corporations and "the wealthy" against "the common man" (call it class warfare, a holdover from Marxism), and support a weakened national defense (the only area of the federal government Obama is trying to cut). They do not support religious liberty, and they are pro-abortion with a vengeance. Under ObamaCare, every American would be subsidizing the killing of innocent human beings with their own tax dollars. Ponder that, for God's sake. It denies the First Amendment (by requiring many religious people to violate their religious principles) and sets a dangerous precedent for state intrusion into matters of religious conscience. Further, the Democratic party in general, and now Obama very pointedly, do not respect heterosexual monogamy as the norm. They favor same-sex marriage, which is not marriage at all.
Republicans support smaller government, lighter taxation and regulation, a higher view of the Constitution as a body of objective truths to be applied rightly today, and the opportunities allowed by a basically free market. They advocate a strong national defense (or "Peace through strength," in Reagan's formulation) and are much more pro-life. This means a Republican president is far more likely to appoint Supreme Court justices who honor the Constitution and oppose Roe v. Wade; to appoint dozens of federal judges with great influence, all of whom are likely to have a high and proper view of the Constitution; and to use executive orders (whether or not they are constitutional; they probably are not) in the pro-life cause, such as refusing to give foreign aid in support of abortions abroad and refusing to fund abortions in the military. While there are exceptions, Republicans support the historical and traditional family. While they grant all citizens the rights enumerated in the Constitution, they do not support same-sex marriage.
Fourth, Romney is far preferable to the alternative. There are, to be sure, significant weaknesses in Candidate Romney. He is 1) not a principled conservative, with a very mixed track record, 2) not particularly charismatic or eloquent, and 3) a Mormon.
I have been involved in counter-cult apologetics and evangelism for thirty-five years. Mormonism is a deviation from Christian orthodoxy on titanic theological issues such as the nature of God (or gods, in the case of Mormonism), the identity of Christ, and salvation, to name a few crucial issues. Yes, there has been some movement back to the Bible among some Mormons in the last twenty years, and some Mormons may be Christians in spite of what their church officially teaches. However, Mormonism as Mormonism is heretical. No one should be a Mormon. It is "another gospel" (see Gal. 1:6-11). I learned this in 1977, when, as a young Christian, I read Walter Martin's modern classic, Kingdom of the Cults. Nothing since has convinced me to the contrary.
If Romney is elected president, it would give Mormonism a platform it has never enjoyed before. That is bad, very bad. However, the president is neither Theologian-in-Chief nor Pastor-in-Chief. He is Commander-in-Chief. Moreover, Mormons have every right the Constitution affords our citizens, and conservative Christians can and should be co-belligerents with Mormons (and others) in political causes. Ecumenism religiously is another matter entirely.
But more soberly, the alternative to Romney is, truly, the end of America as it was founded and as we know it. The alternative to Romney is a state modeled after European democratic socialism: massive taxation, cradle-to-grave statist "security," and a more secularized culture. This is not the America envisioned by our founders. This is not the city set on a hill.
In Romney's favor, he has been a very decent man, who has given much of his income to charity. He is an accomplished businessman who (unlike Obama) knows how to solve problems. For example, in 1999, he volunteered to save the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He did what he intended to do. He understands and respects the vital role of business to create jobs and create new products, unlike Obama, whose idea of job creation is endless "stimulus packages," laden with pork and barren of economic hope.
Obama, while not a Mormon, has no credible Christian testimony. Consider his twenty-year membership in Rev. Jeremiah Wright's racist, ultra-liberal, Nation-of-Islam-supporting church. Ponder his stance on abortion and same-sex marriage. He was one of only a few politicians not to oppose partial-birth abortions, which are cases of infanticide, the murder of an infant. (See David Freddoso's The Case Against Barak Obama for the documentation.) He took this outrageous stand because he was afraid it would chip away at Roe v. Wade, which he supports completely. Obama is far more sympathetic to Islam than he is to Christianity. I did not say that Obama was a Muslim, but that he is deferent to Islam and seems oblivious (or indifferent) to the dangers of Sharia law (see Robert Spencer's Stealth Jihad). This is urgent, since Sharia law is already being implemented on American soil.
Under another four years of Obama, we would experience more "historic" changes, such as:
1) The federal takeover of health care, leading to rationing, inefficiency, and a loss of personal freedom. You will be paying for abortions. Some would rather go to jail than submit to this. I imagine that Catholic priests would lead the way.
2) A growing and perhaps insurmountable debt, mortgaging our future and making us like the disaster that is Greece.
3) Further evisceration of our military and cut-backs in military benefits.
4) The continued deconstruction of the Constitution, thus removing us from the Rule of Law and putting us under the Rule of Man: One man, the man who would be King: Barack Obama.
For these reasons and many more, I, Douglas Richard Groothuis, will vote for, support, and pray that Mitt Romney becomes the next President of these United States. I hope you will join me. So much is at stake.
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary, a Centennial Institute Fellow, and the author of Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. His views do not represent Denver Seminary.