Final 2014 Midterm Election Predictions

The final Fix Senate rankings are here    The Washington Post

With a little under a week to go before Election Day, it is time to make last-minute predictions once again.

You can see my earlier predictions from January here, and from October here.

Overall, the trends have moved slightly, but not significantly, toward Republicans. The generic poll numbers have not significantly moved, but the enthusiasm gap steadily has increased, as the GOP is relatively excited to come out and voice their displeasure at the polls.

GOVERNORS

I didn’t spend a lot of time on the Governor’s races in my previous post, and won’t do so here either, other than to make quick predictions on a few key races. In the races not mentioned, I expect the incumbent/heavily favored to win.

Alaska: Walker (I), in close race.

Colorado: Hickenlooper (D) anb Beauprez are going neck-and-neck; I was ready to call it for Hickenlooper a few days ago, but right now…I wouldn’t bet a nickel on either side. True tossup. Guess? Republicans pull it out.

Connecticut: Polls are tied; my gut says Foley (R) ousts Gov. Malloy.

Florida: I have no idea; really. I would not be surpised to see a recount.

Georgia: Deal (R), but less than 50%, so heads to runoff.

Illinois: Polling all over the place; low confidence, but I think Rauner (R) pulls it out.

Kansas: Another true tossup; gut tells me Brownback (R) wins, though deserves to lose.

Maine: LePage (R), by the skin of his teeth.

Massachusetts: Baker (R); a stunning turn of events.

Michigan: Snyder (R)

New Hampshire: Hassan (D), in a race closer than predicted.

Rhode Island: Fung (R) has run a great race, but I predict he loses to Raimondo.

Wisconsin: Walker (R), but closer than predicted.

HOUSE

In my earlier post, I predicted a gain of 5-8 House seats. The polls have shifted recently, with several Democrat incumbents now in tough races, as both parties rush to pour money into these districts. That is good news overall for Republicans, who could steal a few seats that were considered safe by Democrats, including several in the completely blue region of the North East. Polls in states like New York are showing GOP surges late…that is a sign of good things.

PREDICTION: Gain of 8-12 House seats, up from 5-8 earlier this month.

SENATE

All the real fun is still with the Senate.

The Senate prediction models (538, NY Times Upshot, Washington Post, Realclearpolitics, Huffington Post, Wang,Larry Sabato, and the new AoSHQDD) have slightly moved toward Republicans in the past month, including Dr. Wang’s site, which had heavily favored Democrats last go around.

The short term shift of polls toward Democrats died a quick death, with most of the polls trending toward the GOP over the past several weeks. In that last week before election day, we have seen several polling units show last-minute surges for Republicans. That has solidified some of the ratings changes below:

1. ARKANSAS

Arkansas has trended GOP over the past several months, and Tom Cotton should be considered the heavy favorite. This race looks very close to being over.

RATING: Likely GOP.

2. NORTH CAROLINA

This race is sitting with a razor-thin margin. Kay Hagan has had a lead for months, but that has been slowly, but steadily, narrowing. Several polls show the race tightening or even at the moment. If momentum matters, Tillis will pull it out. As it were, I still have to give a light edge to Hagan, based on her long-term lead. One caveat though: Hagan has polled consistently in the low 40s for the entire campaign; in the RealClearPolitics average, no incumbent has ever won re-election with a rating below 45% going into election day. Hagan will try to become the first.

RATING: Slight Democrat lean.

3. LOUISIANA

This race is likely heading for a runoff in December. Cassidy is trailing slightly in the three-way race for next week, but in head-to-head with Sen. Landrieu, shows a solid lead. He is likely to win the race in December.

RATING: Likely GOP in runoff.

4. Alaska

Alaska is notoriously hard to poll, because of its sparse population. But there has been some decent polling there in recent weeks, and the news is not good for Democrats. Dan Sullivan has opened a small, but persistent, lead over Democrat Senator Mark Begich.

RATING: Leans GOP

5. Iowa

Iowa was considered the ‘firewall’ for Senate Democrats’ hopes to hold the Senate, along with Colorado (see below). Bruce Braley was a unanimous choice as a strong candidate to hold the seat. However, conservative Joni Ernst has run a strong campaign, attacking Braley on both policy and personal issues. Surprisingly, Ernst appears to have the tiniest amount of momentum at this point.

This is another race that a late GOP surge makes me a believer.

RATING: Leans GOP.

6. Colorado.

Along with Iowa, this was considered the Democrat firewall to hold the Senate. Cory Gardner has disrupted that strategy. Gardner is a solid candidate, who has run a clean campaign against incumbent Sen. Mark Udall. Udall has led for most of the year, but recently Gardner has taken a slight, but consistent, lead. Udall has had several hiccups of late, but he still has a lot of money and a strong ground game.

Like Iowa, we are seeing a GOP surge late…and that should take Gardner over the top.

RATING: Leans GOP.

7. New Hampshire

Honestly…I did not think we would be talking about New Hampshire at this point. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is a relatively popular Senator, with no major scandals. Fmr. Sen. Scott Brown is a relative usurper, moving from Massachusetts just earlier this year. But key issues, including foreign policy, have made this race competitive. Shaheen still holds a steady lead though, and I presume she will pull it out.

RATING: Leans Democrat.

8. Michigan

Of all the races for the GOP, this is by far the most disappointing. I openly advocated for Terri Lynn Land, but she has run a horrendous campaign, where her messaging has been off, her campaigning has been lackadaisical, and she has allowed herself to become mired in silly controversies time and again. Unlike every other Republican on this list, she has actually outspent her opponent, to little or no avail. Gary Peters is not a good candidate, but in a blue state, you don’t have to be a good Democrat candidate to beat a mediocre Republican.

RATING: Solid Democrat.

9. Kansas

This is a race nobody can honestly predict. All the fundamentals should mean Sen. Pat Roberts wins re-election. The polls are not great in this race, but like Sean Trende has said on Twitter, until I see solid evidence, you have to bet on Roberts.

The GOP has ridden to Roberts’ rescue in the last few weeks. And former Sen. Bob Dole pulled out all the stops. My guess is, by the skin of their teeth, that will be enough.

RATING: Leans Republican.

10. Georgia

Georgia wasn’t listed in my last prediction…because I never seriously considered it in play. However, just to show the flux in polling, a surge for Nunn gave her a tiny lead during the interim. Perdue’s polling appears to have rebounded, and he seems to have a small lead. This race looks like it is going to a runoff, but once there, Perdue will very likely comfortably win. However, Perdue has surged enough in recent days, he is achingly close to avoiding a runoff all together by reaching the 50% mark.

RATING: Leans Republican.

PREDICTION: I think the last two weeks have slightly shifted the electorate. Where as some races were true tossups at that time, like Iowa and Colorado, those races now appear to be leaning Republican, if not out right over. For example, the Des Moines Register poll, often considered the premier poll in the state of Iowa, gives Joni Ernst a outside-the-margin-of-error lead of 7 points, and calls the race over. That would have been an unthinkable claim at the beginning of the month.

I think Republicans are going to be very, very disappointed in races in New Hampshire and North Carolina. In New Hampshire, Scott Brown has run an excellent insurgent campaign, very much like this win in 2010 in Massachusetts. However, the GOP was a little late in coming to his aid, and he will probably lose by a point or two.

In North Carolina, Thom Tillis had run a terrible campaign through out the summer. He disastrously remained in the North Carolina state legislature, which not only gave him bad press, but allowed Kay Hagan to pound him on the campaign trail for months. Tillis has done a nice job in recent weeks, both on the trail and in the debates. I think he is going to fall just short though.

When all is said and done, I predict the GOP takes 8 seats, to get to a 53 seat majority in the United States Senate.

OVERALL:

In recent days, a lot of political pundits are already setting up the ‘expectations’ game for both political parties. The Washington Post said the GOP will need a ‘reality check’ after winning. Nate Cohn in the New York Times is that the success in the midterms tells us little about the electorate for 2016.

In general, that is true. The midterm elections really have no significant bearing on what will happen in a Presidential elections. We have to look no further than 1986 Democrat Party victory, after which George H.W. Bush shellacked Michael Dukakis; or 2010, when the GOP had a wave election, only to be overcome by Barack Obama once again in 2012.

Victories this year, mostly in states favorable to the GOP, doesn’t really prognosticate for future victories.

This comes with a couple caveats however. Note how far the GOP has come since just JANUARY. See my predictions from January here, which aligned nicely with those of other pundits throughout the blogosphere. Democrats expected to hold both Colorado and Iowa, with Ken Buck thought to be the expected candidate in the former, and nobody giving Joni Ernst a chance in the latter. New Hampshire was not supposed to really be in play. North Carolina was the one race where Democrats can be happy with their plans.

In short, pundits are moving the bar greatly in these last few weeks. Simply put, virtually nobody predicted the GOP would take both Iowa and Colorado, both blue-leaning states in the era of Obama. And many, if not most, prognosticators thought Democrats would gain seats in the House, or at worst, stay even; instead, the Democrats are guaranteed to lose House seats, and some of those seats may be in relatively ‘safe’ Democrat districts.

The repercussions for 2016 and beyond simply cannot be predicted right now. But the short answer is this: the GOP looks like it is doing their job: elevating their ground game, recruiting strong candidates, and then running relatively err0r-free campagins. The Democrats, on the other hand, tried to depend on past victories in the ground game, recruited some poor to terrible candidates, and have run campaigns full of gaffes and mistakes.

Whether this is a true ‘wave’ election is a matter of opinion. But there is no doubt, this is going to be a solid victory for Republicans, who now have to look forward both on policy and 2016 to make this election matter.

This was cross posted at Neoavatara

5 Ways Bush Helped Elect Obama

[show_avatar email=mbuel76@gmail.com align=right user_link=website show_postcount=true]

1) Bush’s support of the minimum wage increase.

The minimum wage is a socialist policy.  Any time the Government tries to exert force over the market The vast majority of business leaders start at the bottom.

(which is made up of individuals), it’s exerting tyranny over the people.  Minimum wage controls, do not help disperse poverty, or increase the labor force.  They decrease the labor force, increase poverty, and decrease future business leadership.

Higher minimum wages lead directly to the rise in unemployment. (Fox Business News, source of image)

I have much more to say about the minimum wage, and why it’s unnecessary and will do so in a future blog post.  Briefly, it doesn’t fix poverty, it displaces labor, it creates grey and black markets for labor. Since the Republicans supported the minimum wage increase then, why don’t they know?  Do they hate the poor, like the left proclaims?

 

Henry J. Kaiser Foundation

 

2) Bush’s policies of Medicare Part D and Various Federal aid programs, that Democrats complain about, but refuse to repeal.
Throughout the 2006 to 2010 election cycle the Democrats complained 1). This includes the Iraq War and Medicare Part D.  Medicare Part D, for all intents and purposes is another 800 pound gorilla of debt.  Like Obamacare, if not cut it will bankrupt America. The Bush administration over eight years added 33% to the national debt (by 2012).

 

The Democrats don’t really want to cut it, they just use it as a wedge issue, to blame Republicans for massive spending. As far as African aid goes, it would be better spent from the private sector.  Most government aid, to every country is wasted money.  It’s also the reason those countries don’t spend the free money very well.
As well meaning as all of these programs are, they become more and more unsustainable as we go forward.  It doesn’t matter which party passes well meaning laws, if we run out of money, we run out of money.

 

Associated Press

3) Bush’s Democracy projects, to try and change the world.

We won the war in Iraq against Saddham Hussein.  After 8 long years, Obama finished the policies (badly, which I’ll get to.) declaring that the mission has been accomplished.

But what is the result of that accomplishment?  Thousands of lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring savages “democracy”.  As if Democracy is a sacred goal?  Democracy is tyranny of the majority.  You know what the majority in Iraq wants?

Tyranny of the Caliphate.

news.vice.com

Not Bush’s fault you say?  Certainly not completely, Obama left Iraq a vacuum of power.  However, the people of Iraq, by a majority are okay with the Islamic Caliphate of ISIS taking control of Iraq.  If Saddham Hussein was still in control of Iraq, there would be no ISIS.

The people have spoken.  Democracy is a dangerous ideal, our founders despised direct democracies. (That’s why we’re a Republic) This is again an issue of empathy versus money. We simply can’t free every country from their brutal dictator, and like Iraq, many of these people will just choose another brutal dictator.

associated press
Conservatives criticize Obama’s stimulus, but not Bush’s?  You wonder why the American’s don’t see the Republicans as an alternative to the Democrats?
The stimulus delayed the recovery in 2003. Greenspan blamed the war, it was Keynesianism that delayed the recovery.  The recovery kicked in to high gear, in late 2004 after the stimulus spending died down. It didn’t work for FDR, why would it work now (or then for Bush)?How can we consistently be against Obama’s stimulus, if Bush’s was okay?

 

michellemalkin.com

5) The attack on the freedom to fail (TARP, GM Bailouts, etc)

Michelle Malkin and Reason both, had great write ups on how Bush completely abandoned the free market principles that made this country great to “save” the free market system.  In fact, he set in place policies and government expansion that allowed Obama and his cronies.  The Financial Regulations put in place by Barney Frank, and his equally idiotic compatriot Chris Dodd.  The two buffoons who didn’t see a problem with Fannie and Freddie, wrote 2500 pages of regulations for the banking industry.

It’s not talked about much, however the Dodd-Frank financial bill is the Obamacare of the financial world.

Clarion Ledger – Marshall Ramsey

It happened, because Bush started the path allowing the Federal Governmetn to control private banking through TARP.  The goal?  Fix a problem caused by Democrats, Government and Obama.

While this may seem very negative of former President Bush, it’s brutally honest.  If I had a choice, I’d still vote for Bush over Gore or Kerry in 2004.  Just look at the colossal joke that John Kerry is in our State Department.  Reflection of past mistakes is necessary if we expect to improve.  Bush like Hoover, was a “pre-socializer”.  Hoover tried to expand Government
to help those suffering from the recession.  He even started the New Deal.  In my opinion, part of being a Constitutional Conservative or Libertarian is being a student of history, and seeing where policies fail, and where they are repeated.  Obama similar to FDR tried massive spending to save the economy. By his own graph, we’d be better off today without the stimulus.  That doesn’t even take into account that Obama’s BLS has changed the way the U6 is reported.  Labor Force Participation hasn’t been at 62.8% since Jimmy Carter.

Remember though, all of the acceptance for Obama’s policies came from Bush doing it first.  As childish as it is to point your finger at the other guy, and spout, “HE STARTED IT!”, Bush truly did start it.  Ultimately, that’s why Romney was a bad choice for competing for that seat.

Romney passed the predecessor to Obamacare.  Ryan accepted stimulus spending for Wisconsin.  If the Republican party doesn’t differentiate itself from the Democrat party, why would anyone vote for them?

Child Immigrant Surge Shows Fundamental Flaw in Democrat Logic

2014-06-18t220150z554194029tm3ea6i1dw701rtrmadp3usa The recent surge of illegal immigrant children across our southern border is a humanitarian tragedy that is only now being understood. Almost 50,000 children, without adult supervision, have been captured since October, and most project that number will rise to 90,000 by September.

Note that this is not some small variation; that is a 100% increase over the same period last year.

This surge did not occur in a vacuum. President Obama has before and after his re-election promised the loosening of immigration rules on deportation, and has widely announced that he wanted to sign executive orders furthering those ideals. He first signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum in June 2012, which directs US Immigration officials to practice ‘prosecutorial discretion when it comes to illegal undocumented youth immigrants.

These moves, unsurprisingly, have not gone unnoticed south of the border. In fact, in many countries in Central and South America, there are editorials and TV broadcasts that have touted this change. This has often been misinterpreted as a true amnesty, and thus many uneducated families have made the decision that if the door has swung wide open for their children, they can’t miss the opportunity to jump through that door.

And that has resulted in a change of behavior across the board. Unaccompanied minors now are surging the border, in hopes to benefit from Obama’s DACA, even if this is an incorrect understanding of the rules the President signed into force. But even more so, those children are purposefully being apprehended by immigration officials. This from USA Today:

One key difference the recent arrivals are displaying from their predecessors: They’re not bothering to sneak deeper into Texas, opting instead to turn themselves in and allow U.S. policy toward immigrant youth decide their fate, said Chris Cabrera, a McAllen-based Border Patrol agent and vice president of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council. “We’re seeing record numbers of children coming across,” he said. “We’re dealing with so many of them turning themselves in that it makes it hard for our agents to focus on anything else.”

Legally of course this is not what President Obama intended. But the logical result of his policies is not surprising whatsoever. Uneducated, non-English speaking people across the world heard what they wanted to hear; a President basically removing the major blockade for their children to enter the United States. Did Mr. Obama really expect a different result?

This of course puts the President and his Democrat allies into a bind. Hillary Clinton, who is on her ‘Throw Obama Under the Bus” Book tour, didn’t miss the opportunity to…throw Obama under the bus.

“They should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adults in their families are, because there are concerns whether all of them should be sent back,” Clinton said. “But I think all of them who can be should be reunited with their families.”

This is a major quandary for the Obama Administration, who has made the ‘virtual’ DREAM act one of their second term priorities. Furthermore, there are practical realities: once we allow the children across the border, our laws give them specific protections. Here from Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, via Greg Sargent:

“It’s easy to say they should all be sent home. But that’s really hard to do. The law requires them to get their day in court, and many will qualify for some form of relief. You have to make sure these kids have an opportunity to present their situation in court, because they are more like refugees than immigrants. Making sure they show up would require holding all these kids in huge detention centers — rather than releasing them to family — and a massive infusion in judges to relieve the backlog of the courts, neither of which is possible under current budgetary and political restraints.”

We all agree with this. There is a balance between the law and being humane. The problem here is…Obama shifted the balanc, and therein lies the basic problem with the entire episode.

Democrats have long believed that loosening immigration rules, followed by enforcement of hiring and border protections, would stem the tide of illegal immigration. However, they get the chronological order completely backwards.

This story shows the fundamental flaw in their logic, and why their plan will never work. Once you loosen the rules on illegal immigrants, foreigners who are desperately poor and have no other choices will make the choice that has now open to them. In this case, President Obama’s order, unintentionally but still forcefully, shifted the dynamic in such a way to make it worthwhile for hundreds of thousands of parents to send their children unaccompanied across the US border, in hopes that Mr. Obama’s administration would largely keep their promise of not deporting the majority of them, and thus, giving them a backdoor legal status into the United States.

Furthermore, because of the laws already existing, we must give those children due process.  In other words, because of the already existing backlog of cases, many of these minors could spend months, if not years potentially, in holding camps. Is that humane?

Liberals will argue that was never Obama’s intent. Maybe so, but the results are the same. This goes to the heart of the matter on comprehensive immigration reform. I support immigration reform, and even support the DREAM act in theory, but the entire system will fail until you secure the border. No legalization process or amnesty will long survive the reality that our border is quite open. If you don’t secure the border…the surge of immigrants is the result.

This entire episode in liberal experimentation with social engineering proves that.

We Are Losing The War On Terror

iraq-execution_2939456b

First, if you think this is going to be a hit piece on Barack Obama…keep reading, because that is precisely not what this.

What this is, fundamentally, is an analysis of where our global fight against existential terror groups stands.

It is not a pretty picture.

Even before this weeks events in Iraq, we have seen a resurgence of Islamists all over the world.

In African, numerous groups have seen a comeback, most famous being that Baku Haram in Nigeria, who kidnapped several hundred young girls, and led to a Twitter phenomenon that so far has failed to find and return those girls safely.

In Libya, the West’s strategy has failed completely, as the majority of the country is now controlled by rebels, and the Capital itself has come under attack several times; Libya is on the verge of being a failed state.

Syria has long been a failed state, as the Civil War rages on. Thousands have died since the West signed a chemical weapons deal with Assad. The chemical weapons deal is a nice public relations coup, but will not change the killing one iota.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban are apparently biding their time until the US leaves, so they can restart their Jihad against everyone. And they staged one of their biggest coups in years, by receiving 5 key leaders back from Guantanamo Bay, at the price of one single American Soldier.

And the Taliban, along with the Hiqqani network, staged an underreported attack on Karachi airport in Pakistan, which signals new trouble for that nuclear state.

Iraq’s troubles, with ISIS and other Islamist groups, marching toward Baghdad is just another symptom of the larger problem.

Now, people’s instincts are to do one of two things: blame George W. Bush for everything and do nothing; or blame President Barack Obama for everything, and bomb everyone.

Both are incorrect and illogical.

Let us stipulate, at least in Iraq, that George W. Bush shares a lion’s share of the blame. I don’t want to get into the larger fight about the historical record of the war; but Bush owns this, for all time.

That said, that doesn’t mean Mr. Obama should simply play the tit-for-tat game, point at Bush, and say he wins the game. This is no game. This is not a time for political theater.

Let us put this into perspective, shall we? ISIS is a group that Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s titular leader, thought was too extreme for him, and thus he severed ties with that organization. He once thought the group was a liability…the the ‘Al Qaeda brand’. Think about that for a second. To allow them to just walk into Baghdad would be a horrible failure of U.S. foreign policy.

Furthermore, let us recall that Osama Bin Laden’s key strategic goal was not to attack the United States. His key goal, all along, was to create a caliphate in the Middle East, that can grow and then present a true threat to the West. ISIS is on the verge of accomplishing just that.

The question now becomes, as we look at this global surge of islamic terror rising, and then see one event in which we could, at the very least, stem that tide in the hopes that more moderate and democratic forces can take charge, should we just ignore it because it is inconvenient?

Obama has only limited tools at his disposal. Putting troops on the ground is not an option anyone is considering, nor should they. There is much debate about whether drone or air strikes would do the trick. That is a military question I cannot answer.

I think the war in Iraq was a mistake. I think we should be far more non-interventionist in our foreign policy as time passes. But ignoring the threat posed here is foolish as well…9/11 taught us that.

I for one hope the President takes decisive, albeit limited, action here. He has a host of terrible choices, and many if not most of the problems in this specific case were not of his making. However, that should not excuse him from having to make the choice that is needed now, nor should it do so in the future.

Additionally, I hope the country quickly unites and backs the President if he takes quick action. This is a moment for unity, not for politics. There are real costs to failing here; and people who don’t understand that have learned nothing from the last two decades of foreign policy failures.

Talking About Benghazi – A Guide

It is time for the Benghazi scandal to break through the barriers set by Old Media and the Left. YOUR efforts can and will make a difference on how effective that breakthrough can be. Here’s a primer on who to target and how to get the message out.

You can just be an observer and a chronicler, just watch and report on the story, comment about it, celebrate when things go well, complain when they don’t.  You can watch for New Media to force this story to the top where it should be.

OR…you can seize the mantle of Matt Drudge and Andrew Breitbart and be part of the effort that makes it happen. Get this story into the minds of people who don’t pay attention to politics. Be part of the solution.

Realize that there are different groups of people out there, and save yourself some time, make your efforts more successful. Before you engage in conversation with someone, figure out what group they are in, so that your efforts are properly focused and targeted.

The Faithful: lefty zealots, truly believe that this is old news and that you are blowing things out of proportion. They are informed about the events, just have a completely different take than you do. You won’t change their minds, ever, but it can be worthwhile to read what they write – knowing your opponent is key to defeating them.

The Shock Troops: these are the random commenters, leftists yes, but neither well informed nor politically purpose driven. They’re basically trolls. They’ll dump some half-baked slogan on your threads. Their goal is self-amusement and your distraction. Deny them that second one. The only reason to respond to anything they say would be to correct an error or provide a quick link to additional information. But that is just for the benefit of OTHER people reading the thread. Engaging in conversation with these types is a complete waste of time. Gentle mocking or dismissiveness is usually fun. “Thank you for your perspective, have a blessed day”. And then…nothing.

The Supportives: these are your friends, with varying levels of knowledge of the issue. You can learn from them, share information and tactics with them. Reshare each other’s content – your circles are different from theirs, the story will reach different people. These are the folks you partner with to increase the reach of this story.

The Non-political: THESE folks are your target. They are your family, your wife, her friends, the other parents at your kids’ school, most of your co-workers.  The people who follow you for your beer review posts or your flower pictures. The VAST majority of people you know. THESE are the folks you need to reach.

Why is it going to be possible to reach them? They’ve ignored this story for 2 years and don’t care about politics.

At this point, it’s beyond politics – it’s human decency, national security, and a cover-up of terrorism for personal political gain. You can get people’s attention with that.

The left seems to have settled on RIDICULE as their tactic of choice here. From the top down, we’re being ridiculed for caring about this.

Non-political folks may instinctively want to join in on the fun, we all like to make fun of crazy people, and making fun of those nutjobs who are obsessed with Benghazi is easy and fun…DUDE!!!!

But those who are just joining in the fun and haven’t thought much about it can be brought up short quite easily…

“I know it’s funny to joke about, but it WAS a successful terrorist attack on American soil. 4 people died, including our Ambassador, 10 were injured, it was a CIA group and they didn’t know this attack was being planned. That’s the kind of thing the White House SHOULD find very important, and they’re joking about it. Oh, and did you know we STILL don’t know where Obama was during the whole thing? He wasn’t in the situation room, and no one seems interested to find out where he was.”

  • Your first step was to agree with their ability to see humor. You are AGREEING WITH THEM not opposing them, this puts you on the same side.
  • Then you clarify / add to their store of knowledge about the event. You’re informing, sharing, helping.
  • You empathize– express the same emotions they must be feeling – shock and surprise. It’s never really described as a successful terrorist attack on American soil, on the CIA.

Most folks don’t know enough about it to have looked at it that way. Rational Americans who are not interested in politics MAY be interested in a deadly terrorist attack on American soil, that the CIA didn’t predict, that NO ONE was allowed to go help, that was blamed on some video so you’d still love the Obama Administration.

It’s never been described this way, but you have the opportunity to do so.

This is FAR easier to explain that the Valerie Plame thing. FAR more directly important than the Monica Lewinsky perjury scandal.

Most people will be kind of irritated when they see the dismissive juvenile attitude of the top level folks on the left about this story. They just aren’t hearing about it.

So…the left has chosen mockery and derision of US for considering this story important. Fine. Great actually.

The highly inappropriate and insanely offensive nature of their current response is the PERFECT way to get your uninterested friends interested in this story.

Now is the moment…carpe diem.

CU Talks: Ukraine Update and Analysis ep.1409

This week’s podcast is here! In this episode:

  • What, exactly, is going on in the Ukraine, and what does it mean to the rest of the world?
    • The human aspect: Nikos has friends there, our CU community members have friends there
    • America’s position, what can we do, what will we do
    • Why is Europe hamstrung in their ability to respond?
    • The military drawdown, does it change the calculation
    • Historical parallels
  • Too busy to be involved in politics? A slightly different perspective may help.
    • Recognize where we can’t compete against liberals
    • Recognize where we can, and how we could
    • Somethings we can do are not only better for the conservative movement, but can make US happier too

 

CUTalks-EventTheme-600x150-2Listen to the show, you have options:

Here and now:

Google+ Event – read the Q&A and comments as well

  Liberty’s Torch YouTube channel – please subscribe while you’re there!

Video Feed   Audio feed     iTunes    Listen to Stitcher Stitcher

Sources

We used these articles to aid in our research for this week’s episode, please check them out for yourself!

About the show:

Every Thursday, 9pm Central, join us for an hour of Conservative Discussion with real people from real places in America, NOT DC and NOT the Media. CU Talks is the one hour weekly program from
The Conservative Union, largest conservative community on Google Plus. We focus on political news of the week, as it matters to you, and with an optimistic spin.

About the hosts:

  • James Pisano (The Chief) lives in California, is currently active duty in the Coast Guard, and drives a Prius – not because he’s afraid of global warming, but because it made sense for him to purchase it – FREE MARKET, YEAH!
  • Nikolaos Dimopoulos (Nikos) was born in Greece, got here as soon as he could
    , will be a US Citizen eligible to vote in 2016, and is the American Dream personified.
  • Leslie P is a native Texan and a redhead, she’ll cut you.

We may or may not all be armed.

The Band-Aid Presidency

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Last night, in the most classic way imaginable, the Obama administration dumped a 800 lb lump of coal into the stockings of liberal America on the eve of the Christmas holiday.

The Administration announced that any person who had their health insurance cancelled late this year are no longer obligated to legally abide by the individual mandate, the central taxation component of the Affordable Care Act.  Additionally, these same people could satisfy the mandate requirement by purchasing catastrophic insurance alone, which previously was not considered sufficient to satisfy the mandate requirements.

The argument that the administration is making is ironic in so many ways.  They argue that the individual mandate, arguably the most important cog to the workings of Obamacare, is a ‘hardship’ to millions of Americans.  Furthermore, they are arguing that because of this hardship, they will simply delay that part of the law.

Think about the legality for a second:  President Obama is issuing a hardship exemption for something the Supreme Court has defined…as a tax.

Can you imagine the fun a Republican President can have with that power?

Let us also remember that this invalidates virtually every Democrat and liberal argument against a deal to avert October’s congressional shutdown.  Let us not forget that Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee put a proposal on the table to avert the shutdown if the administration simply agreed to a 1 year delay to the individual mandate.  Yesterday, Barack Obama did just that…proving that much of his stance on the shutdown was political theater, nothing more.

In the larger picture, this type of policy change largely defines the entire Obama Presidency. The pattern is as follows:  Obama and liberals propose a policy that, any common sense would tell you, cannot function in the real world. They pass this policy, often distorting the facts to the American public to get their support.  Once passed, they all of a sudden realize the idiocies contained in their plan, and rush to distance themselves from the plan they were recently advocating.  Once the policy becomes active, they realize that reality is more powerful than ideology, and thus, look for any and all ways to get themselves out of the mess they created.   And they use every ‘Band-Aid’ measure possible to cover-up the mess they have created.

The Band-Aids are piling up, and it does not only refer to health care.  Look no further than foreign policy this.  Obama’s Syria ‘Red line’ policy is a perfect example.  Obama talked a good game, but then realize that there was no way to enforce his red-line in the real world.  He quickly ran away from that policy, only to end up with a policy that, ironically, strengthened the power of a man Obama said was ‘evil’, Bashar Assad.

If you want to go further back, the Obama stimulus often had many of these characteristics as well. They passed statutes for ‘shovel-ready’ projects, and later realized there was no such thing.  They then pumped out the money, regardless of effect, to lackluster consequences.

Think of the fallacy of this latest Band-Aid on Obamacare.  The administration is arguing that they have imposed a hardship on at least 5 million Americans who lost their health insurance because of Obamacare.  So, to help these people, they are going to exempt them from the individual mandate.  However, these same people argued during the shutdown that any delay of the individual mandate would be catastrophic to the functionality of the entire ACA system.

Furthermore, the hardship claim is dubious.  Is Obama actually saying that it is more a hardship for people to lose their insurance and have to purchase it on his own exchange, than the hardship of forcing the previously uninsured to dig deep in their pocketbooks to purchase that very same insurance on the exchanges?  He is saying the previously uninsured have no burden of hardship as well?

Another liberal fallacy also dies: the argument that these were ‘substandard’ insurance policies.  Obama has now stated it is o.k. for people to move to catastrophic insurance, when the majority of this cohort had comprehensive insurance prior to Obamacare coming into effect.  In other words, Obamacare diminished  the quality of health insurance plans in America, and Obama is not legitimizing that change.

Each of the policy changes are chinks in the armor of Obamacare; that armor is now thin and rusting. This is a virtual universal delay of the individual mandate for 2014, no matter how liberals spin it.  They will never politically be able to argue that those that lost their insurance because of Obamacare bear more hardship than the uninsured do, and thus, they will be forced to exempt all Americans.  Ted Cruz wins the policy debate.

Even worse, this fixes nothing long-term.  This is a classic Obama ‘Band-Aid’.  Sure, it theoretically stops millions of people from being required to pay approximately $95 in tax penalty this April. But the real issue is not the tax, but the health care exchange.  By exempting all of these people, the administration makes the entire insurance system much less financially stable.

Insurers who were already dubious of the administration’s competence on this are now outright furious at being lied to, time and again.  They fear this will further push the risk portfolios of their insurance plans to the extreme, and thus, will increase their costs. That further increases cost pressures on health insurance premiums across the board, increasing costs for everyone. The Obamacare upward bending of the cost curve continues.

The ‘Band-Aids’ are all for show.  Ultimately, the problem is that the law itself was inherently broken.  These temporary measures actually fix nothing in the system. They are a political attempt at cover.  But nobody can protect Democrats from the onslaught of public anger that is going to arise when they realize what the ACA does, when the Band-Aids finally come off.

Obama On Obamacare: Honesty Is NOT The Best Policy

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This weekend showed the mendacity of the Obama Administration on the continued debacle of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

Saturday was the deadline that Obama himself proclaimed for full functionality of the Healthcare.Gov website.  We were told, all last week, that the government was working day and night to achieve ‘success’.  And then Sunday morning, Voila!  The White House proclaimed they had achieved their goals.

Except for one problem:  the reality is that the website is far from fixed.

First, the metrics that the White House themselves have used for ‘success’ has been slowly been moving downward since Obama made his proclamation in early October.  At first, it was that 80% of applicants could complete their insurance purchasing process through the website.  Then, it was that 80% of people could actually complete the application on the website, and have the process completed in steps unrelated to the internet (paper applications, for example).  Now, the criteria is that at 80% of people can sign on to the website.  They no longer even discuss completing the process.

Even more laughable is that HHS states that they have achieved their goal of the website being up and running 90% of the time.  Let us put aside the fact that 90% success of a website is pathetic; what is even worse is that 90% is noninclusive of downtime from scheduled maintenance that the website requires almost daily.  So when the website isn’t down for fixes..it is functioning at 90%.  Not much of an achievement.

“Healthcare.gov on Dec. 1 is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1,” Jeff Zients, who was brought in to oversee fixes to the troubled Obamacare website, declared during a Sunday conference call.  That may be true, but that doesn’t mean we have achieved any level of success.

Furthermore, when HHS was specifically asked by Washington Post Health Care blogger Sarah Kliff whether their problem with the 834 forms (essential data necessary to insurers to complete the purchasing process) have been solved..they refused to answer.

My contacts in the insurance industry have said that there have been small improvements, but overall, the problems persist.  So much so, the insurance industry put out a statements stating that although the website has improved, major problems remain, and are nowhere near to fixed.

Today the White House was proclaiming that 100,000 people have signed up to Obamacare in November, claiming another victory.  Again, this can only be considered a victory if you wear rose-colored glasses.  Yes, it is better than the 26,000 sign ups in October, but a fraction of the 800k expected in November.  At the current pace, Obamacare would need approximately 56k purchasers a DAY to achieve their goal of 7 million by the end of March.

The White House would be better served by admitting the truth.  Admission of the faults in the program such as that the entire program is running well behind schedule, and needs to be delayed, and that the website may need to be rebuilt are simple realities that the public may be willing to forgive.  The administration seems to be unwilling or unable to make such an honest assessment, either because of political or practical realities.  But trying to fool the American people that any of these metrics are any type of ‘success’ is likely a level of mendacity that will only lead to failure.

 

Democrats To America: We Lied, But You Should Apologize

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What a hilarious dynamic you now have in the Democrat Party.

The civil war I described earlier is between two, diametrically opposed views.  One is the Obama Progressive Idealistic wing: they will push Obamacare, no matter what.  If there is absolute, positive evidence that the program doesn’t work, it wouldn’t alter their belief that their plan must be enacted fully.  Reality matters little to this wing of the party; they simply are fanatical idealogues.

The other cohort is the Pragmatic ‘Do and Say Anything to win elections’ wing of the party.  This was most famously led by Bill Clinton, but now numerous Democrats that are (SURPRISE!) up for re-election next year have joined as well. Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, Mark Begich, and moderates such as Joe Manchin belong in this group.  They believe they must placate the angry American electorate first and foremost. What is ironic is this group doesn’t care about the success or failure of the ACA either; they simply want to do enough to get 50.1% of the vote next year.

And in the middle is the rest of America.

Americans feel betrayed.  They never truly supported the Affordable Care Act, but a majority of them trusted Barack Obama enough that they gave him the benefit of the doubt; that, more than anything explains Obama’s re-election.  The benefit of the doubt on the economy, on foreign affairs, and yes…on Obamacare.

That trust is now broken.

Look no further than the recent polling from numerous agencies.  Trust in Obama has collapsed entirely.  On most issues, Republicans are more trusted; remember, this was the party who a few weeks ago was less liked than many venereal diseases.  Obama is doing worse than that.

And what has Obama and Democrats done to respond to Americans discovering they have been lied to?  Basically, they blamed…everyone but themselves.  The list is long.

It was Republicans fault for not working with Democrats; even though the GOP correctly and appropriately predicted the problems that have now occurred.

It was the fault of the media, for not spinning more.

It was the fault of contractors, who failed to do their job, as if government oversight wasn’t the administration’s responsibility.

My favorite? It was the fault of average Americans. Why?  Because they were foolish or stupid to believe the lie in the first place.

If you think I am exaggerating, simply go read some of the ‘elite’ liberal columnists out there. This last excuse actually has become common place among the liberal intelligentsia.

The quandary that liberals are in leaves them between a rock and hard place.  Either they can follow their fanatical ideology, and fight for the Affordable Care Act, even though more and more evidence is coming to light that the plan cannot achieve the major goals set for by Obama himself.  The alternative is to pass something like Landrieu’s Senate plan, allowing people to keep their current health plans; that would blast a hole in the central tenet of Obamacare, which is to redistribute health care dollars from the healthy to the sick.

I actually agree with many liberals:  no amount of running away from Obamacare is going to save Democrats this time. They own this, in totality.  Ultimately, the only thing that would save them would be a competent rollout of the remainder of the system, which at this point seems highly unlikely.

Which means, when the 2014 election rolls around, we can truly see who deserves to be delivering, and receiving, apologies.

Obamacare’s Frightening Reality

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Here is a personal story.  My wife has a friend in New York who is in her early 40s and was found to have breast cancer last year.  The woman had metastatic disease, and her condition was considered grim.

This woman then was recommended by both my wife and I to go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer.  I trained there, and know it is one of the premier cancer centers in the world.

Luckily, this woman had health insurance, which her husband pays for out-of-pocket, because he runs a personal business.

Now, here is where it gets interesting. First, this woman is a huge Obama supporter. So much so, she campaigned for Obama in 2008 (she went to New Hampshire during the primaries, and stayed in a hotel there for several weeks on her own dime campaigning for the Obama effort).

I spoke to her last night, by coincidence.  And her opinion was shocking.  And it changed because of an Op/Ed from a cancer patient that was published in the Wall Street Journal last week.

The article was written by Edie Littlefield Sundby.  Ms.  Sundby is the victim of stage IV gallbladder cancer, a horrible disease that has a very poor 5 year survival rate.  She had been lucky to have excellent insurance, and had been treated at premier cancer centers at the University of California; Stanford University’s Cancer Institute; and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  All three are consider top-tier cancer institutions.

However, she just found that her insurance has been cancelled because of regulations placed upon it by the Affordable Care Act.  She can still get insurance, but none of the choices available to her would allow her to continue to see all of her physicians, as  her old plan did.

People who have never dealt with cancer treatment would wonder, “Why not change your doctor?”  However, cancer is unlike most things in medicine.  A detailed therapy plan often is only available with certain institutions and doctors, and not everyone provides every therapy.  Moreover, after myself working at Sloan-Kettering, I have seen how these elite institutions provide far better results with stage IV and advanced cancers than many other institutions.

Now, this brings us back to my friend, the Obama supporter.  She is truly worried now.  She is still going to Memorial Sloan-Kettering for treatments, and likely will have to for the rest of her life.  But now, she is unsure if her insurance will be there when she needs it.  She and her husband have expected to get the cancellation letter in the mail, and right now, her search of New York’s health exchange has not given her a solution that would allow her to not only see her local doctor, but to see her physicians at the Cancer Center as well.

This is the reality of the ripple effects of the Affordable Care Act.  And you will continue to hear stories like this, over and over again.  And Democrats will have to defend their choices, now that they have real world consequences.  If the Obama Administration can convince people that they will maintain their same high level of care for a reasonable price, then all these worries go away.

Right now, Americans like my friend are not convinced.