Monthly archives "October 2011"

West on Economic Freedom for Black Americans

Michael Ramirez is my favorite political cartoonist.    I have heard some GOP law makers say the same.    His work is featured regularly in The Weekly Standard.  His offering in the 10/31 issue has two frames.   In the first a cartoonish President Obama stands behind a microphone under the very large words TAX & SPEND with “The Old Obama Job Plan,” printed below.   The second frame has the same Obama look under equally large words SPEND & TAX with “The New Obama Job Plan” printed below. 

Under Obama blacks have especially been hard hit economically.   Unemployment in the black community stands at 16.6 % and it is 40% for black youth.  It is true that the economy had soured when he came in.   But George Bush inherited a Clinton recession that his policies turned around.   President Obama has had plenty of time to do the same and the economy is now his–not Bush’s.

 Florida Congressman, Allen West, has a feature in the November issue of The American Spectator  entitled “Economic Freedom for Black Americans.”  He asks some powerful questions beginning with why do so “many black Americans still find themselves spiritually and economically enslaved on a 21st century plantation.”

And why do blacks vote so heavily Democrat?   Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and an Ohio Republican, Representative James Mitchell Ashley brought forth the bill to end slavery throughout the United States.   Republicans supported the 1964 Civil Rights bill while 18 Southern Democrats argued fervently against it.

Representative West sees two reasons for blacks remaining frustrated in their efforts to find economic freedom.   First, the liberal  progressive policies of Democrats and,  second, the socialist ideology espoused by prominent blacks such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. 

Welfare policies devised to help single mothers have perversely incentivized young women to have children out of wedlock.  Some 75 % of black children do not live with their biological fathers.  

High minimum wages advocated by labor unions mean employers are less apt to hire entry level black youths or any other young people.

For the Left spending on education means job protection and benefits for teachers rather than improvement in our public schools where blacks and others can build a foundation for economic advancement.

But Allen West notes that while these policies are damaging they are not as toxic as the noxious rhetoric of “leaders” such as Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright.  A desperate President Obama now joins these gentleman in reinforcing a victim mentality and generating class hatred and jealousy.    

Representative West is a retired United States Army Colonel.   He sees no reason to sugar coat and closes with a powerful paragraph that the “welfare state. . .is a virtual plantation where black Americans remain enslaved to damaging economic policies and poisonous attitudes of the rhetorical ‘overseers’ who continue to reinforce exploitive, negative mindsets.”  He calls for black Americans to abandon liberal progressive policies and seek the individualism and self-determination exemplified by true black leaders like Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington.    Only by throwing off the shackles of a victim mentality can black Americans finally be “free at last.”

With the emergence of such black leaders as Allen West and Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas well established on the Supreme Court perhaps a new day is dawning for black  Americans and others as well.   We also have an ally in the policies of Tax and Spend and Spend and Tax Barack Obama.  An increasing number of Americans of every background are asking, “Just who is is this man in the White House and why did we elect someone with no real life experience?”   November 6, 2012 anyone?


Taking Idiocy Seriously

The late Jerry Rubin was one of the infamous Chicago Seven at the 1968 Chicago Democrat Convention that nominated Hubert Humphrey for the Presidency.   This protest was fueled by the Viet Nam War and had some identifiable goals.   Rubin  (who became a successful businessman as an early investor in Apple) however called at the time for “Revolution for the hell of it.”

Most of the Occupy Wall Street crowd seem to have adopted this philosophy.   A woman giving a pep talk to a new recruit said, “It doesn’t matter what you are protesting.   Just protest.”    It is pretty hard to take this seriously as there seems little purpose in “just protest.”   At the same time former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi,  wishes to embrace the effort.   The lovable Vice President Joe Biden has a similar approach.  As we said, it is hard to take this seriously.

The more cautious Barack Obama is like the man at the edge of the party deciding whether to ask this bunch to dance.   He also knows that to some extent they are protesting him as they have signs with such captions as “No more Democrats or Republicans.”   It is seldom in Obama’s nature to lead so he hangs back and lets others take the risks.

What about the conservative response?  These protests are relatively small and are likely to fade with winter on the horizon.   It is a little harder to stand on concrete in freezing weather.
They are also more likely to go after Republicans than Barack Obama.   But should conservatives simply identify their more extreme elements with the Democrats or offer alternative solutions?

Richard Nixon took this approach with 60’s radicals and rode it into the White House.   He mobilized middle America against the spoiled rich kids and identified Humphrey with LBJ and the Radical Left.   But Nixon did not advance any sort of bold conservative agenda.   In fact, he gave us the EPA.

Ronald Reagan, by contrast, channeled discontent into big reform.  His alternative to left wing economic demagoguery was tax cuts and tax simplification.   Interestingly, one of the biggest beneficiaries of Reagan economic policies was Bill Clinton.   President Reagan also attacked the pathologies of the big government welfare state.    His response to the nuclear freeze movement was SDI (Star Wars) which led to the collapse of the Soviet Empire.   In short, Reagan was a leader with a real agenda.   He went on offense.

Let us learn from Reagan rather than Nixon.      The Occupy Wall Street crowd doesn’t like crony capitalism?    Neither do conservatives so let conservatives offer bold proposals to reform it.   Don’t like Wall Street?   Offer policies to benefit Main Street that curb Wall Street abuses.   In short, don’t leave the protest street dance.   Ask them to make it a sensible waltz.

But right now the GOP is like a strong football team without a quarterback.   Once the Party has one let us go on offense–whether it be a traditional drop back qb like Mitt Romney or a scrambler like Herman Cain–and let us move the ball down the field on all fronts.    Let us put Obama and his Donkeys on the bench where they and their policies belong.



Obama is Overrated

Noemie Emery is a gifted essayist for The Washington Examiner.   She has an incisive piece in the October 10 issue of The Weekly Standard magazine titled “Overrated.”   Her theme is that Barack Obama’s political skill is greatly exaggerated.   Maureen Dowd of The New York Times is known to have said that, “Obama isn’t the one for whom even he was waiting.”   What went wrong for our man child President?    Emery sees three areas where Obama is lacking in governing skills.

First, good politicians create coalitions and then draw people in from the other party making their own party bigger and different from what it was before.   Ronald Reagan was such a politician.   Barack Obama inherited a coalition by chance due to the financial crisis of 2008 and dismantled it in his first years in office.    Newsweek proclaimed us all socialists and red states like Virginia were said to have turned blue.   But had they?  

An astute politician would have realized he had a frail coalition that had to be carefully nurtured.   Instead Obama assumed the nation had turned hard left and he governed accordingly.   Thus, his coalition shattered in less than 9 months.   His coalition (which never really existed) took its first hit with the nearly l trillion dollar stimulus.   Next they decided to bail out homeowners behind in their payments.   With this the Tea Party was born which Obama, in his typical brilliance, dismissed.   But the great blow was Obamacare.   This drove the centrists out and set the stage for the 2010 elections.  

A preview of the bath Obama and his Party would take was the election of Chris Christie in blue state New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in purple Virginia.   Then came the election of Scott Brown in deep blue MA.    The 2010 midterms followed and wiped out the Democrat gains in their wave elections of 06 and 08.    Obama, who made seasoned anchors weep in 2008 and the silly to feel a tingle in the leg, authored this for the Republicans.   Noemie is right.   Good politicians create coalitions.   Sorry politicians destroy them.

She goes on to note that good politicians are in sync with their times.   But Obama is at odds with his.   While Europe cuts back in the face of the debt crisis, the President is undeterred  as he pushes for ever greater spending.   The public revolted against his policies and he called for more of the same in his State of the Union address.   Great Presidents like Reagan know how to transform their times.  Good Presidents like Kennedy understand them.   Poor Presidents like Carter are overwhelmed by them.    Obama is different.   He defies the times as if he remains right and the rest of us (bitter clingers) are too dense to understand them.   All this makes Obama look comical and incompetent–which he is.

Finally, Ms. Emery notes Obama’s third flaw is his failure to sense the importance of moral legitimacy.   Moral legitimacy is what sensible Presidents gain when they champion reforms with a broad base of public support.    Barack Obama threw away any legitimacy when he rammed Obamacare through after Scott Brown’s election.   FDR and LBJ worked months building support for their programs which had some GOP support.   No Republicans voted for Obama’s take over of healthcare.    And 34 House Democrats voted against it.   Democrat pollster, Pat Caddell said the way Obamacare was passed was “a crime against democracy and the country has simply not accepted it.”  

An exceptional politician like John Kennedy made a practice of making sure that in victory he always gave opponents something to take home.   Thus, he promoted good will and avoided angering the other side.   Good politicians like Ike and Bill Clinton also understood this.   But Obama, the good candidate, is not a good politician, and he has no talent for governing.    A strange convergence of events brought Obama the Overrated into the Presidency.   Now he is paying a heavy price for being in a role that is beyond him.   Unfortunately so are we.    Bring on 2012.