Monthly Archives: February 2012

Santorum the wrong choice for GOP

Don’t Pick Rick, says Mona Charen in the National Review Online. His strident socially conservative rhetoric leaves him with too many vulnerabilities as a candidate in race that isn’t fundamentally about social issues at all.

I’ll give an amen to Charen on this one.

While I can respect Sen. Rick Santorum‘s conviction, he absolutely is the wrong presidential candidate for the GOP. The problem may not primarily be his social conservatism – though his views do seem to be a bit formulaic and reactionary at times. It’s that he doesn’t know how to express them in a semi-secular political square and a pluralistic, media-driven age.

His vernacular is out there at times, at least given the context, and he sometimes doesn’t seem to realize that not everybody is coming where he’s coming from when he makes a moral argument on a political topic. That doesn’t mean you have to change your views, Rick, but sometimes it means you have to approach the issue with a certain deft-sensitivity and self-awareness.

The other thing is that Santorum seems too focused on religious issues at times. In fact, the whole contraception flap is a perfect example. Now, he’s not the only Republican to be guilty of this (way too many have been), but why on earth has nobody pointed out that this is not only a matter of conscience (that Catholic organizations not be forced to provide contraception to employees, directly or indirectly through insurance), but a basic matter of economic and personal freedom? Santorum, et al, hit relentlessly on the religious angle.

But that was quickly diffused by Team Obama (“Don’t have the church do it, just make their insurance companies pay for it”). Had Republicans argued not only the right of conscience issue but also the basic personal liberty issue, the subject might not so easily have been swept off the table. Is Santorum okay with other government health insurance mandates, or just those that happen to rustle the feathers of the Roman Catholic church?

In fact, now that we’re on that topic, let’s ask this: Why should Santorum, who voted for the massive 2003 expansion of Medicare (the largest entitlement expansion of an entitlement program until Obamacare, if I’m not mistaken), be surprised and upset at all that government is involving itself in health care?

Make no mistake. This is the Republicans’ year. 2008 was made for Obama, and 2012 is made for the GOP standard-bearer, whoever that person be. Do we have a perfect candidate? No, obviously not. That person has not stepped onto the stage just yet. But mark my words: If we nominate Santorum, we will lose this election that should have been ours.

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Criticism of Sinquefield is insincere and unhelpful

Everyone’s concerned. Everyone’s offended. About everything. It’s part of the culture we live in today. And especially part of our pathetic, pedantic, political discourse. We can’t wait to jump on somebody’s comments to prove what a scumbag they are. I’ve probably been guilty of this at times in my life. I hope no more. We need a more reasoned discourse. But that would get in the way of scoring cheap political points when your opponent happens to stick his foot in his mouth.

Recently, retired investor and public policy advocate Rex Sinquefield referenced an old story about how the KKK came up with the idea of a public school system that would fail black children miserably. In video of the event, it’s plain Sinquefield was not relaying this story as historical fact but rather, like the author of the newspaper column he cited, pointing to a bitter irony of modern public education: rather than equalize opportunity, it has failed poor, minority students.

To school reform backers, that’s a moral problem of tremendous scope. Hence the KKK reference –  for a bit of contextual size and scale (and groups like the Black Alliance for Educational Options will absolutely tell you that school choice is a civil rights issue). Was it a poorly chosen illustration? Yes. We all know there are good people doing good work in public schools, and this kind of reference is too easily distorted into an attack on all of them, which is what we see happening now.

The point is that Sinquefield observed that today’s failed public school system and its effects on the vulnerable is a travesty of the first order. He’s to be tarred and feathered for that?

There’s one other piece to all this. Who are the people attacking Sinquefield right now? Public school people. Establishment education people with a vested interest in the status quo, or certain elected officials who depend on their support. Think about that. Aren’t some of these same individuals and organizations some of the worst offenders when it comes to hyperbole and morally-charged rhetoric when it comes to education debates? Aren’t they often the first people to claim you’re against kids if you dare oppose a tax increase or if you have the audacity to suggest a change to teacher personnel policy?

I remember living in Columbia a couple years ago when the late Rep. Ed Robb (R-Columbia) was still serving in the state legislature. There was a particularly intense debate over some education bill, and one day I was driving through town when I began to see signs loudly proclaiming that “Ed Robb Hurts Kids.” Apparently this father and educator was on the wrong side of the issue. So obviously he “hurts kids.”

I was blown away – but I was also young and naive. I think we’ve all come to expect that kind of rhetoric from the noble public school lobby. Now an off-handed barb comes their way, and they are rife with self-righteous indignation.

MNEA president Chris Guinther said Rex is “out of touch….[and] needs to explain himself and apologize to all students, parents and Missourians.” Missouri Association of School Administrators president Eric Churchill said that Sinquefield’s remarks were “offensive to every student, parent, employee, teacher, administrator, and school board member in a public school.” These two should be reminded that their organizations were principal members of the coalition that called itself “People for Public Schools,” which put the deplorable signs up about Ed Robb.

So enough with the phony outrage.

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Another sign for GOP optimism

On the heels of Gallup’s report painting a pessimistic picture for the president comes this from Investors Business Daily: The stock market’s strong January gains predict a presidential victory for the challenger candidate come November. After 1932, every bullish first month in the markets has foreshadowed the incumbent going down, while every mild month (no matter if the market was up a few percent or down a few percent) meant a second term for the administration.

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Filed under 2012 Presidential Election, Economy

Feminists, Media Assault Facebook For Sex and Color

A disconcerting article appeared in Bloomberg yesterday, carrying the water for a feminist assault on Facebook. Apparently, the company is in a state of grievous sin due to the race (white) and sex (male) of the board members.

Mark Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook. He happens to be both white and male. He still maintains control of the company he founded and he sits on the board. Anybody could’ve started Facebook. Only Zuckerberg actually did. Only he had the creativity and the drive to create the world-changing social network we all know as Facebook.

The way some of the voices (I’m looking at you, Anne Mulcahy,  Malli Gero, and Susan Stautberg) in this article talk about the company, you would think they created it and owned it themselves. That’s just their mentality, though. They think everything belongs to them.

And yet, Facebook is a privately-owned company. Yes, it’s filed for an IPO. But that has yet to unfold. Zuckerberg himself still owns 57% of the company, a fact some “corporate governance experts” (none of whom the reporter could be bothered to actually name or quote) think is “too much.”  Too much of the company he founded?

Carol Hymowitz has discredited herself as a reporter with this piece. There is zero critical thinking in this article, and the author’s ideological sympathies bleed through in every word. The premise of FB’s critics is blindly accepted and put forth as gospel. You can bet Carol was one of those kids who went into journalism “to change the world.” So now she fancies herself some kind of “advocate.” This is closer to commentary than reporting.

What bugs me is not that somebody thinks it would be nice if Facebook had some females on the board. That will no doubt happen at some point, and those board members may or may not turn out to be stellar assets for the company. The point is that these so-called women’s advocates attempt to bully and cajole private individuals and companies. They not only make moral pretensions of telling them what is “right,” but have the audacity to tell them (again, this is Facebook, one of the world’s most spectacularly successful companies) what exactly will improve their bottom line.

Incredible.

I do not throw this word around lightly folks, but there is a strong element of socialist thinking here. It shows up in the idea that Facebook does not belong to its creators and owners, but rather that it must be run according to the will of non-founding, non-owning “experts” who by fiat will impose their will on other private actors on behalf of the “public good.”

By the way, as the Bloomberg piece notes, about 58% of Facebook users are female, and the company’s highest paid senior executive is a female.

[Note: This post contains stylistic edits to its original version.]

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Filed under Feminism, Political Correctness

State polls point to GOP advantage

Gallup polling indicates that Obama‘s approval rating on a state-by-state basis puts him in a difficult position to earn an electoral college victory if the vote were held today. Residents of ten states gave the president a positive job approval rating last year, based on surveys throughout the year.

Here’s the Gallup data. Thanks Washington Examiner & Drudge Report for the links.

While Gallup is one of the top names in polling, and these make for interesting results, it’s still quite a stretch to posit definitive meaning from these ratings.

  • Firstly, it’s still nine months out.
  • Secondly, it looks like U.S. Residents are polled, as opposed to just straight-up voters (i.e. “likely voters”).
  • Thirdly, what’s being reported are approval ratings as measured by the year in aggregate. In other words, how people felt in January and February of 2011 shows up in this report (and that’s ancient history).
  • Fourthly and perhaps mainly, this is a look at job approval, not a look at “who would you vote for?”. Granted, presidential re-election efforts are referendums on a president’s performance. But there’s always a choice on the ballot, and that choice matters.

So what can we take from all this?

President Obama’s support has declined broadly and substantially, and he faces major challenges in getting re-elected. That being said, the Republicans have yet to settle on a candidate, and November is a long way off.

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Filed under 2012 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, General & Miscellaneous