Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Ted Cruz victory isn't all that far-fetched

George Will recently published an interesting critique of Republican Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. In it, he writes that Cruz can't win without going after what Cruz has called the "mushy middle" (based on a piece from Politico). Will says, 
"The Republican nominee must crack the ice that has frozen the electoral map. Cruz cannot do that by getting more votes from traditional Republican constituencies."
While I would say that the people quoted by Politico don't have things quite right, they could win in spite of themselves, depending on just what the "mushy middle" turns out to be. They say he will target tea party and evangelical voters, as if he intends to ignore everybody else. That would likely be a recipe for disaster. But could he really mean to do that? I don't think so.

Two goals

From Will,
"Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center identifies “four faces of the Republican Party” — evangelical Christians, very conservative but secular voters, somewhat conservative voters and moderates. He says the largest group, about 35 percent to 40 percent of the national party, are the somewhat conservatives. And in presidential years, moderates are the second-largest (25 percent to 30 percent). The somewhat conservatives “are found in similar proportions in every state” and “always back the winner.”"  [emphasis added]
There are two objectives of any campaign. (1) Convince people you are the best person for the job, and (2) get them to actually vote for you. The interview in Politico was primarily about the strategy to achieve the second goal, specifically among conservative voters who didn't vote for Romney in 2012. But it's possible to attack both goals at the same time. The common knowledge that he's too far right to win because he can't achieve the first objective can be challenged. 
First, he is already in position to bring back those conservatives who failed to support Romney. They are believed to be evangelicals and the very conservative "tea party faithful." And they are professed to be the primary target of goal number 2.
Second, somewhat conservative center-right and many moderate Republicans would not have a problem with his philosophy of government and principles, and they could accept his tactics, given that Republican senior tacticians have failed miserably for about 10 years. Most of them would be enthusiastic about it. He can succeed with both groups.
It seems to me that Cruz is uniquely situated in the coming primary and Presidential campaigns. Compared to many other candidates, current and prior, he can run with the same messages in both of them. He doesn't need to run to the right in the primaries and to the center in the general. He can campaign "as is" to achieve the goal of convincing voters that he has the right ideas for the country. 
Using Olsen's four categories, Cruz's advisors seem to believe he needs to get the evangelicals and very conservative secular voters to the polling place, rather than to convince them. Still, all four of those categories of Republican voters are the ones he needs to convince to nominate him. If Olsen is right, the somewhat conservatives must be addressed during the primaries, but they will support whomever is the eventual candidate.

So the remaining moderates and left-centrists, whether Republicans or not, are the additional constituency he really needs to get on his side in both campaigns, and as Reagan showed, they CAN be got. But how?

Voters compare candidates. Give them substance, style, and performance, and you can convince them to choose you. They compared their experience with Carter to the promise of Reagan, and they chose Reagan on all three criteria. They effectively did the same with McCain and Obama, with substance almost being a non-factor. IMHO, Romney simply came up too short on campaign performance to outweigh Obama's style and incumbency, even though he was way ahead on substance.
If I'm right, what is there about Cruz (or any Republican) to convince centrist Reagan Democrats and even other frequently left-of-center voters, to pick the Republican? These voters recognize that politicians from both sides pander to them, so phony promises and posing doesn't work. If we call our general target "uncommitted voters," what might they be looking for?


Appearance counts, but not much can be done to spruce up an already presentable candidate. Cruz, Rubio, and Walker are all a bit ahead of the rest in this area, probably not least because they're younger. It's part of style, which of course includes demeanor, presence, speaking ability and apparent competence, and personal behavior during the campaign and during debates. Cruz holds up well in the style criterion. Edge: Cruz.


Performance means "performance during the campaign." We've seen Cruz can win competitive elections, which is more than his known likely Presidential competition can say. It definitely includes the instinct to recognize and attack Democrat weaknesses, which our last two candidates have been loath to do. Even his critics say Cruz does a fine job of laying out his ideas understandably and debating the shortcomings of opponents effectively. Edge: Cruz.


That brings us to substance, which is also where the Wills of the central-right punditry find him wanting. "Too extreme. He shut down the government. Too uncompromising. Poor tactician. Too smart for his own good."
But what if many of the uncommitted voters are that way because they've been given nothing to commit to? Shifting positions, unclear positions, hidden agendas (once exposed), are what make commitment impossible. Voters will even opt for imaginary positions if they think they mean something. Hope and Change, anybody? 
Cruz has been laying down a consistent record of upholding his professed conservative principles, even in the face of adverse publicity and resistance from establishment Republicans. Voters can appreciate courage and firmness, even if they differ with the direction. While this may or may not give Cruz an advantage over a given Democrat, his substance may be nowhere near the impediment Will and others presume.
It also seems that Reagan Democrats can agree with his principles and may prefer them to the failings of the current Progressive Democrat administration, as they did with Reagan v. Carter. There are more conservative-leaning voters than there are progressives, and they will appreciate what his positions are. Edge: That's the question, isn't it? Cruz.

Will it work?

Reagan was elected in a different era, but there is evidence that American voters still honor, respect, and will vote for a candidate who can convince them he says what he means and means what he says, even if they disagree with him on some details. If so, Cruz doesn't have to target anybody. He just has to continue being himself.

If Will is right, and Cruz addresses only evangelicals and very conservative Republicans, his candidacy is probably doomed from the start. But if Cruz presents himself reasonably to the somewhat conservative and moderate voters (including Democrats), the list of five big competitive states that Will described (Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Virginia) can be made to grow, and what is considered by common knowledge to be his certain failure can be averted.

We've been exploring whether Cruz can attract enough somewhat conservative and moderate voters to win. A question that hasn't been covered:  Can any other Republican candidate win without bringing evangelicals and very conservative Republicans out to the polls? Can they win without having firm conservative positions on the major issues?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beginning the Decline of the United States?

British standing in world politics had already weakened by the end of WWII, but it had fallen out of "leading power" status by only twenty years later, partly by its own choices, and partly by circumstance. One of those choices was a change of leadership. Is the United States at an earlier point in our own decline, not just as a world power, but as a great nation?
Our current leader has made the word "feckless" part of everyday conversations. Our military has been (perhaps) stretched beyond the point at which we can do anything about the Russian invasion of Ukraine alone, and our erstwhile allies judge there is too much risk in joining us in any military action, even if thousands of lives (including theirs) may be at risk, and they are completely uninterested in preventive military measures, partly because they have good reason to mistrust our leader and our commitment to our word. Among our enemies, the previous accepted belief that we would defend ourselves and our allies if threatened has been replaced by the near certainty that will will do neither. A strident claim that we will "follow [our enemies] to the gates of Hell" is ratcheted back by statements of what we will NOT do, as if a war could be won by half measures. The threat to destroy them is modified into a promise to make their threat "manageable," which is like promising nothing at all.
Economically, we are fading away. We have only slightly more people employed today than we had at the depths of the recent recession; on average they are being paid less and working fewer hours, and there are millions more who have dropped out of the work force. Those people are dependent on an economy supported by (and taxes paid by) the remainder who are still at work. The Labor Participation Rate is significantly lower than it was six years ago.  Regulatory excess exacerbates the problem, often handcuffing business innovation unnecessarily. Overreach by the EPA has become legendary.
We have turned our health care system over to a Rube Goldberg set of often contradictory rules that on the face of it can't work, and which is based on the European health model that has already proven to be a failure in large, heterogeneous populations. It institutionalizes one of the very evils it was supposed to eliminate, "free riding."
We face real enemies with the money and ability to do real damage if they can get close enough to attack us, yet the government refuses to secure a 2000 mile long border through which millions of unknown aliens have already entered, and through which millions more will inevitably come. Ordinary citizens who recognize that the first order of immigration business should be to get that border under control are derided as xenophobes, while politicians argue about what level of amnesty should be granted to those people already in the US illegally.
Our tax system is designed to drive multi-national corporations offshore, to penalize thrift and investment, and to support non-producers. Tax revenues are spent on speculative ventures for dubious goals, which often further enrich the already rich at the county's expense. Solyndra comes to mind.
Our President has taken actions which either skirt or outright trample the Constitution, modifying laws without Congressional participation; and the government watchdog, the Constitutionally protected free press, has decided it's more comfortable being a government lap dog instead.
Court decisions boggle the mind. We are told to believe that the plain words of the Fifth Amendment, "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation," include selling the property to another private entity as a meaning of "public use." And that we all can be Constitutionally forced by law to buy a commercial product because the penalty for failure to do so is a "tax," and for no other reason. That is, without the penalty, the mandate would be unconstitutional, but with it, it is. And that people can Constitutionally be forced against their will to work for other people.
We have a citizenry that knows exponentially more about pop culture figures--singers, actors, 'personalities'--than about the people they elect to represent them and to lead them. They don't notice that their freedoms are being taken away from them, and when it's pointed out they don't see any problem with it. They seem to accept the lies of political leaders as a fact of life, partly because of the complicity of the previously mentioned 'free press.' They have no clue that the same press is being used to minimize important issues and to distract them with shiny objects. Benghazi is blamed on a video, a transparently false claim. When questioned about it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exclaimed, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" as if the passage of time had turned official dishonesty into irrelevance. Presidential promises, lies, are passed off as simple inaccuracies, when they were clearly told to get legislation passed that would not pass if the truth were told.
And all too frequently, free expression of unpopular, contrary, or otherwise 'politically incorrect' speech is suppressed, even to the point a sports announcer was recently suspended by his employer for observing that a battered girlfriend who marries her batterer is not acting rationally. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is threatening to investigate a sports league (for what?) because of public outcry by pressure groups with an agenda, yet it can't bring itself to honestly investigate the IRS for illegal official behavior, because the offense was committed on behalf of Democrats against ordinary citizens who opposed them.
This is not an optimistic view of today's United States, but it is a realistic one. I don't claim that further and precipitous decline is inevitable, but it's already begun.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Brief and Direct: Public Program vs. Private Product

A thought experiment.

What would have happened a few weeks ago had Obamacare been a product offered for sale by a private company, rather than by the government? I don't mean 'who would be fired,' although we could ask that, too. I mean, what would the company have done in the face of an obviously disastrous rollout? And how does it differ from what the Obama administration has done?

First difference: It would not have been rolled out with so many known problems. That's one reason companies don't announce big new product introductions or upgrades months in advance. They announce them officially as they roll them out. The Obama administration in contrast continued headlong over the cliff.

Second, had major problems been discovered after rollout, the product would have been pulled back immediately, and the website access to it would have been closed for remodeling. Obama chose to keep it open and insist it just has a few "glitches."

Third, the questions being asked would not have stopped with "Whose fault is it," but would have included "Why has so much gone wrong so fast? What do we have to CHANGE to fix the problems? Are the factors behind the problems incidental, or intrinsic to the product?" The Obama administration's response has been to assume they are incidental problems that can be solved by 'more of the same' and working harder and longer. No thought has been given to intrinsic problems with the underlying product. 

Finally, there would be an all-out attempt to fix what went wrong, no matter what it was, and a decision would be made to make small changes, big changes, or to scrap the product.  With Obamacare, the only object of attention has been the website and its developers and the Secretary of HHS.  No attention has been directed at whether the program itself is ever going to be workable, or whether it even can be workable.

Think back to the introduction of New Coke, and the Edsel, and bacon added to almost anything. The first two were launched with every expectation of success, yet they failed rather quickly and were cancelled because consumers weren't receptive. The third just sort of snuck up on us, and in the face of all the fear of fattening, 'bacon-y goodness' caught on and spread. Now there are even bacon-maple donuts and bacon-flavored ice cream, with their own fans.

The point: Private enterprise can react quickly in the face of adverse customer reaction. Government enterprises are authorized by legislation and funded by more legislation. They are extremely slow to change. They are staffed by (sometimes) huge bureaucracies that have a vested interest in keeping the program alive, and a significant ability to affect the 'keep or kill' decision, if such a decision can even be considered.

A private firm can react quickly. Governments can't. The private firm has one goal--to be financially successful. When a new product has trouble, the trouble isn't just blamed on the delivery method--the product itself is examined. The government has many conflicting goals. There is a strong incentive to find a simple, impersonal aspect of the product and blame everything wrong on that, and there is practically no incentive to examine the program itself. The result is slow and ineffective reaction to both adversity and success. The Obamacare website is still in the same state of disarray it was weeks ago, and now the promised November 30 fix deadline is expected to be adjusted backward.  But the website is just the delivery vehicle; the real problem lies within the product that defines the size and shape of the box.

Obamacare is a perfect example of why government enterprise is an oxymoron, and it's a perfect illustration of why most all parts of American life and business should be left in the private sector. The public sector, by it's very nature, can't avoid doing it worse.

Cross-posted at RedState

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

When a President Lies

How can we have confidence anything else he says is true?

At this point, although they are very bad spots on Obama's record, the IRS, Benghazi, NSA internal spying, interfering with local authorities and state authorities, Fast and Furious, Egypt, Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood, border control, green energy cronyism, Obamacare, incompetence in general, inability to develop a website for $600,000,000, and all the rest of it, are all beside the point.

We have a president who stood in front of us, looked us in the eye, and lied to us. The way he phrased the lie left no doubt that he intended to convince us that his law would be beneficial, by his very sincerity in taking care of our misgivings. We had no reason to fear his giant new law, because we would be protected from its possible side effects.

There is no reasonable doubt that he knew he was lying, unless one believes he was simply being directed by his staff to follow the script without knowing whether it was accurate or not. (If that is true, we have an even bigger problem than a lying President--we have a Robot-in-Chief.) He didn't just make a misstatement once while speaking extemporaneously, he lied from a prepared script, repeatedly.

Claims that it was just 'political spin' or 'accurate but not precise enough' are nonsense, in the strictest meaning of nonsense. It was a direct, clear, unambiguous statement, a personal promise from him to each of us, to You, individually, that you "could keep your insurance and your doctors. Period."

We have a president who lied to us. He lied multiple times. He lied with a purpose. He lied in order to pass a law that would not have passed without the lie.

President Nixon was drummed from office for the same transgression. Essentially, President Clinton was impeached for it. President George H. W. Bush didn't even need to lie; he was not re-elected simply because he changed his mind during his only term and didn't veto a tax increase.  But they, too, are irrelevant.

Our current President lied to us, personally. The words amounted to, "I promise You." Multiple times. How many times does it take before we remember that it's not just a rhetorical tactic, it's a character flaw? It's part of a personality. It may be the most important thing we can know about anybody--is he honest? Can we trust his word? It is the most important thing we can know about a politician.

The MSM has done all it can to protect him, and it may work. But would you buy a used car from the man? He has already lied to us many times. Why should we believe anything he says or has said; future, present, or past? Why trust him about anything?

"Once a liar, always a liar." What more do we need to know?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

9/11/2012 -- One Year Later, Still No Answers

September 11, 2013

One year ago today, an organized mob of terrorists attacked a US diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.  The Ambassador had previously asked for increased security, and it was denied.  The attack lasted for about six hours.  The Ambassador and Sean Smith were killed in the "safe room" soon after the attack began; security operatives Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed on the rooftop of one of the buildings in the compound by enemy mortar fire several hours later, near the end of the attack.  

Almost immediately, the Obama Administration's official position was that the attack grew out of a demonstration against the existence of an internet-based video that appeared to demean the prophet Mohammed.  The maker of the video was arrested and jailed in Los Angeles, ostensibly for a parole violation.  President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton pointedly promised to bring the actual killers to justice.  Some days or weeks later the Administration announced that the video was not to blame, but that a terrorist attack was.  More than thirty other American State Department employees and American operatives were present during the attack, and they escaped with injuries of varying severity.  The video maker was recently released from jail.

These are almost the only aspects of the incident that everyone agrees on, even though there have been several Congressional hearings attempting to learn more about what happened, and an Accountability Review Board investigation was commissioned by the Administration to look into the matter as well.

Doesn't the fact that all these investigations can't fill in the rest of the picture tell us that something is very wrong?

The unanswered questions boil down to these:  

  • Who refused to provide more security when the Ambassador insisted it was needed.  Why was his request denied?  
  • Who carried out the attack?  What was the reason behind it?  
  • Who was tracking the incident in the White House?  
  • Who was making decisions and giving orders throughout the night, and who was carrying them out?  
  • Why was there no significant attempt to make any kind of response to the attack when it began?  
  • Where was the President during the attack?  What was he doing? 
  • Why did he not think an attack on a diplomatic post required some of his personal attention?
  • Who decided to blame the attack on the video, when the evidence is that everybody involved knew that wasn't the case?  And why?
  • Who ordered that the survivors be kept away from the Congressional investigators, even keeping their names secret, and why?

These questions have all been asked by various people in various venues, some of them many times, but none of them have been answered credibly by those who know the answers.

And three questions unasked by the traditional media:

  • Why was the Ambassador put in that position in the first place?  
  • How can anyone look at this list of unanswered questions and not conclude that the Obama Administration is executing a cover-up of something by stonewall?  
  • What is being covered up?

The primary question in every case starts with "Who?"  Until that's answered, the rest remain speculation.  "Who" can tell us "why," and nobody else.

President Obama has called this a "phony scandal."  His surrogates appear on television regularly to repeat that claim, and if they want to engage at all on the subject, they fall back to the law-enforcement approach--"We are working every day to identify who the killers are and to bring them to justice," as if that were the only fact and action yet to be known and taken, as if the only reason to ask questions is to "make sure it never happens again."  But in the greater scheme of things, the much more important questions all have to do with actions in Washington, not in Libya.  And because of that, the next favorite statement from those surrogates is "Republicans are just on a witch hunt to get dirt on the President."

But wasn't that exactly the motivation behind the 1973 Watergate hearings?  Certainly they weren't held just to make sure another hotel room break-in would never happen.  Even if placing blame is the motive this time, the best response is to show the dirt is not to be found at the President's door.

The President has told us that he wants to get to the bottom of things, but today we still have most of the same questions we had a year ago.  And supporting the suspicion of a stonewall cover-up is the fact that almost all of those questions could be answered easily with three short sentences from the President to his immediate subordinates--"Answer the committee's questions and tell the truth.  If you don't know the answers, find them.  If you can't do that, please find another line of work."

I wonder why he hasn't spoken them.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What Will President Obama Do About Syria?

Why does the Syrian situation seem so much more difficult than that of Libya, for instance, or than Egypt was?  Why didn't Obama just handle it the same way, instead of making threats to attack Syria unilaterally?  Syria comes with some built in problems that didn't apply to those two countries and their uprisings and revolutions.

The Practical Problems

We have problems with our intelligence. That is, the people whom we count on to give us accurate information don't seem to be in agreement about the situation in Syria. We don't know the makeup of the anti-Assad groups, for instance. We may not truly know whom to support against Bashar al-Assad, although they claim they do.

Even with perfect intelligence, the future isn't just unknowable, its degree of uncertainty is extremely high and many-faceted. Among other things, we don't know how our action or inaction will affect the civil war, or how it will be perceived by either our adversaries or our friends. We don't know what the consequences will be, intended or unintended. We don't know who will end up controlling the ChemWeapons, nor how we can insure the threat level will be lower after an attack than it is now. How can it be better if they remain in the hands of ANY Syrians? How can we get them out of their hands without putting our soldiers into the action on the ground?

We don't know how big our involvement will eventually become. Will it stop with the "shot across the bow," or will it by necessity of circumstance grow into a full invasion?

What is our objective? Is it to deter future use of ChemW's on the part of Syria, or of other countries? Is it to affect the course of the war itself? Do we take different actions for one that we wouldn't take for the other? Some "experts" tell us that it will be unacceptable for Assad and his Hezbollah supporters to eventually prevail, creating a situation ripe for Iranian hegemony in the Middle East, at Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia's (and our) peril. That tight connection with a much stronger nation, Iran, was missing from the other revolutions, and it matters a lot.  Yet that doesn't seem to be what the President is talking about.

And we can't forget both the cost of the operation and the drain on our military resources.  We have been stretching the limits of our capabilities for ten years, and the Obama Administration has been quietly cutting the Pentagon's budget for several years now.  We have less capacity to engage in foreign wars now than we did in 2003.  If we were to put the burden of a new campaign on our military, it might have a tremendously demoralizing effect in all the services, which would in turn further degrade our ability to fight, which is ironically one of the objectives President Obama has laid out for the attack--only he says his intention is to degrade Assad's capabilities, not ours.  Consequently, any attack at all should be one that is absolutely necessary for our own national security.

An operation with so many unknowns and such a high degree of uncertainty is simply begging to either go wrong (the Carter debacle in the desert) or more properly, be canceled.

The Political Problems

We are told that we MUST react to the use of ChemW because we (President Obama) said we would, and/or because if we don't, we're inviting the next use of it. That our threat of force followed up by our use of force gives credibility to the policy of deterrence. If we don't follow up on our warnings, that policy will be nullified.

Our President is in an unenviable position. He has essentially made threats that he doesn't seem now to want to carry out. Does he need to do something just to maintain some measure of credibility?

Congress has been asked to pass judgment on the military option. If it says "No," should the President back off, and if so, should it be philosophically or acrimoniously? Or if he goes ahead with an air strike, what will that do to his relationship with Congress, and how will the people take it politically?

The people are overwhelmingly against attacking Syria. This is a political problem for some of those in Congress who believe a strike is necessary to maintain the credibility of the US in the world community of civilized nations. Simultaneously, the people don't have access to all the facts about the situation. Maybe we, the people, shouldn't have the last word. Or maybe we should be told more of the facts so that our last word is more likely to be right.

A different type of political problem is faced by the President. His approval ratings have recently been at low tide so he doesn't want to take any political chances, yet he is already on record as favoring an action the electorate dislikes. He isn't up for re-election, but he needs his popularity to help him get more of his policies in place. Yet if he backs out of the strike, he looks weak on the world stage, which also hurts him politically at home.

The Presidential Problems

The President isn't getting much traction for several reasons. He isn't really out there selling his program. He talks about it, but he doesn't say enough about why it's better than some other program, or even about why it's necessary. He can send out his emissaries to talk to us, and John Kerry could be effective at it, but the President undercut his Secretary of State last week, and that cost Kerry a lot of credibility on his own right.

The President's indecisiveness hurts him tremendously. He says he doesn't need Congress and he will strike quickly. Then he thinks it over, and decides to ask for the blessing of Congress.  This in turn makes him seem to be too quick to threaten and too slow to act.

He can't convince our traditional good allies to help him with the job. Why?

He has no personal credibility with about half of the population, and about half of the rest are skeptical. He said he intended to make just a one-day air strike. Senator John McCain also assures us there will be no "boots on the ground." But the Pentagon has estimated it would take 150,000 boots on the ground (75,000 troops) to secure Assad's ChemW's. And he can't honestly rule out the possibility of the need for those soldiers, because he hasn't convinced anybody that he doesn't really want to remove Assad and secure the ChemW's.

He compounded his credibility problem by claiming that HE didn't draw any red lines, everybody else did, even though the video is right up there for everybody to see. That's inexplicable, because it's unnecessary.

He announced his battle strategy two weeks ago (firing a warning shot), which made it immediately ineffective and meaningless. His eagerness to tell us the good ideas he has leads him to tell everybody everything about them. This trait doesn't inspire confidence in his judgment.

He has no experience as a leader of large operations, and he doesn't project the image of a man who can do it the first time he tries. He is looked upon as particularly unsuited for the task he is setting up for himself. In fact, there may be a majority of Americans who think he's incapable of pulling it off, and they don't want to have a military operation that is destined to fail from the start, costing us even more lives.

And finally, among and beyond those who don't believe in the President's ability to successfully lead our military in battle, there are more than a few who don't trust the man, Obama.  They don't trust his words, they don't trust his motives, and they don't trust his wisdom. They may not be a majority, but their numbers aren't small and they are vocal, and they are gaining adherents. It behooves this President to give them nothing to hang their suspicions on.

Putting it together

We have a situation with a great number of unknowns and very few knowns. The situation may be critical, but it hasn't been convincingly explained as to why it's critical.

Absent the explanation, there is little public support for the action.

Absent a track record on the President's part, with a widespread lack of confidence in his military leadership abilities, and without a pressing need for immediate action, this operation seems unlikely to proceed.

I believe it's much more likely that the President will change direction again before Tuesday, September 10, 2013, and that he will start a new initiative of some kind, perhaps diplomatic, perhaps through the U.N., and he will tone the belligerent rhetoric way, way down.  The speech Tuesday night could kick that off.

Cross-posted at RedState.

Brief and Direct: Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood

From the morning paper--Eugene Robinson of the WaPo Writers Group, regarding Egyptian turmoil:
The interior minister's claim that soldiers did not use live ammunition was the kind of bald-faced lie that only repressive governments think they can get away with; Western correspondents described seeing protesters cut down by sniper fire....
I say a regime with the press in its pocket thinks the same way. If those correspondents didn't report it, they would get away with it. How about the following gems from somewhere closer than Egypt? Is the government that issued these bald-faced lies "repressive"? I think it's getting there:

Black Panthers with clubs outside polling places? Nothing to see there. No prosecution necessary.

We have to give millions of dollars to companies like Solyndra to "jump start" the Green industry.

The Keystone pipeline would only create 50 permanent jobs.

The border has never been as secure as it is today.

The shooting at Fort Hood is an example of "workplace violence."

It's Bush's fault.

The president was closely involved in the capture/killing of bin Laden.

We've created 9 million new jobs.

The attack at Benghazi was caused by an objectionable video posted on the Internet.

The decision to sidetrack Tea Party groups' legal applications for educational tax status was made by "rogue agents" in a regional office.

Liberal groups were targeted by the IRS just as Tea Party groups were.

The President can't comment on the attempts to deport a family who had been granted asylum from German religious persecution. This isn't the seventeenth century.

We had to tell the judge that James Rosen was suspected of being a conspirator to leak secrets. Otherwise, he wouldn't have granted the warrant to tap Rosen's phones and emails. But we "never intended to prosecute him for being a reporter."

We are storing pictures of every piece of mail sent in the US, and we retain copies of the metadata associated with every phone call made and every email sent, and we can access the contents of many or all of them, but we would never look at any of them without a properly executed and justified warrant.

Spending hundreds of millions of dollars for the President and his family to vacation in Europe, Africa, and Asia is completely justified by his position.

We have a deficit because too many people are not paying their fair share of taxes.
It's Bush's fault.

I have doubled the national debt because Congress wouldn't cooperate with me.

We think the actions of the perpetrators of (Benghazi, Ft. Hood, Fast and Furious, IRS malfeasance, GSA overspending, NSA privacy and procedure violations) are unconscionable and unacceptable.

We won't stop until we bring the perpetrators of (Benghazi, Ft. Hood, Fast and Furious, IRS malfeasance, GSA overspending, NSA privacy and procedure violations) to justice.

Benghazi, Ft. Hood, Fast and Furious, IRS malfeasance, GSA overspending, NSA privacy and procedure violations are phony scandals.

Republicans want to deny health care to the poor.

It's ok for the President to enforce only the parts of laws that he likes. That's what we call "faithfully executing" the law. He can delay the parts of Obamacare that are inconvenient politically, because he's the President.

Congress will be covered by Obamacare, just like everybody else.

Congress and its staff can't afford to participate in Obamacare unless the government picks up 75% of the tab.

We can cover the health needs of 30 million additional non-paying individuals, and it won't cost one thin dime more than it does now. (And the quantity and quality of care won't suffer, either.)

You'll be able to keep your present health insurance if you want to.

The government won't restrict access to health care for the elderly or anybody else.

Income tax information is completely secure. It is never disclosed to anyone without a court order.

The privacy and integrity of your health records will be safe with us.

It's still Bush's fault.

Heck, this regime can even get away with telling the painful truth without being called on it:

I'm in favor of wealth re-distribution.

When we pass this Cap and Trade legislation, it will cause energy prices to skyrocket.

What I want in the end is a single-payer health insurance program.

The elderly may have to accept pain killers instead of surgery.

I won.

Previously published at