Bush fatigue

I noted yesterday in a post on my blog entitled "The Morning After" that I believe Obama's victory on Tuesday was as much a product of the public's "Bush fatigue"as it was any ringing affirmation of the liberal policies that Obama will pursue as president. I argue this because Obama ran primarily as a centrist, coopting the Republican tax-cut mantra by promising his tax reduction for "95% of working Americans" and talking up his desire in general for middle class tax relief. It was a great strategy and proved extremely effective -- particularly given McCain's ineptness in arguing that the Obama plan amounts to another entitlement program. In the end, of course, we all know that with the Democratic robber barons in Congress leading the way, tax increases are coming for everyone -- and not just the "rich" folks making in excess of $250k per year. In my view there is no fundamental "realignment" in this election -- the country remains a center-right nation that wants small government and low taxes. In today's Wall Street Journal, Pat Toomey makes a very compelling argument to this effect:

"A poll commissioned by the Club for Growth in 12 swing congressional districts over the past weekend shows that the voters who made the difference in this election still prefer less government -- lower taxes, less spending and less regulation -- to Sen. Obama's economic liberalism. Turns out, Americans didn't vote for Mr. Obama and Democratic congressional candidates because they support their redistributionist agenda, but because they are fed up with the Republican politicians in office. This was a classic "throw the bums out" election, rather than an embrace of the policy views of those who will replace them."

This is exactly the point I've been making: the 2008 election -- like in 2006 -- was a referendum on George W. Bush and the Republican "bums" that the public associates with failure. It was not a ringing endorsement of "spreading the wealth around" and doesn't amount to an affirmation that wanting to keep more of your hard earned money is "selfish". This was not a realignment toward socialism. It was a rejection of Bush, pure and simple.

The poll results cited by Toomey clearly back up this position:

"Consider the most salient aspects of Mr. Obama's economic agenda: the redistribution of wealth through higher taxes on America's top earners; the revival of the death tax; raising the tax on capital gains and dividend income; increased government spending; increased government involvement in the housing crisis; a restriction on offshore drilling and oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); and "card check" legislation stripping workers of their right to a secret ballot in union elections.

On each of these issues, swing voters stand starkly against Mr. Obama. According to the Club's poll, 73% of voters prefer the federal government to focus on "creating economic conditions that give all people opportunities to create wealth through their own efforts" over "spreading wealth from higher income people to middle and lower income people." Two-thirds of respondents prefer to see the permanent elimination of the death tax, and 65% prefer to keep capital gains and dividend tax rates at their current lows."

These results read like a Conservatives dream: a focus on individual effort to create wealth, elimination of the death tax and low tax rates. Unfortunately, the voters -- in rejecting McCain as another vestige of the Bush Administration -- elected someone who stands in opposition to all of these positions. Obama is on record as supporting increases in the death tax, capital gains and dividend taxes, income taxes on the highest tax bracket, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and many other tax increases. One of the poll results that shocked me from Tuesday was that Obama won among tax payers in the $200,000 and above income category -- the very category that he was openly targeting for a tax increase. Voters seem to be against tax increases -- but they didn't vote that way on Tuesday.

This seeming contradiction is tough to explain. It is a given, of course, that many voters don't pay attention to the details, and vote on the basis of emotion and personality. On that score Obama won hands down. Many of the voters in swing states ended up voting against their stated interests and desires, by electing Obama and increasing Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. The emotional wave of "change" -- coupled by an incoherent Republican opposition and a total failure of leadership -- created a Democratic wave. Caveat emptor: they just bought something that was both defective and dangerous.

How long will it take before massive "buyer's remorse" sets in? That depends on how well Obama is able to manage the massive liberal forces that will now be pushing him hard to the left. Whether it be the far-left interest groups that poured massive money into his campaign, or the Democratic leadership in Congress that wants socialism on a grand scale, Obama faces some powerful groups that want precisely what most Americans do not. Whether he can (or will) resist this and govern more to the center is unclear. Nothing in Obama's past indicates a courage of conviction or a willingness to buck his party's power brokers. If Obama is unable (or unwilling) to control these forces, he will quickly find himself with a groundswell of opposition among those who decided (against logic) to vote for him. It won't be pretty.

In the end, this election amounted to a clear signal to conservatives that the issues that fueled the Reagan Revolution -- smaller government, less regulation and low taxes -- still resonate broadly with the American people. George W. Bush was never a leader of this movement, and his prolifigate spending and lack of fiscal discipline helped to ruin the Republican brand. Now, Conservatives need new leadership and new ideas that will take the Reagan-era philosophies and update them for a new generation of Americans. Barack Obama won the presidency but he hasn't changed America.

A vote for victimization

I have spent much proverbial ink making the case against Barack Obama, something that hasn't been difficult for me given the clear and compelling character deficiencies he has-- not to mention the horrific policies he will pursue as president. For anyone who has been paying attention and who really understands what Obama represents, opposing the Democrat in this election is a no brainer. Of course, brains are hard to come by in our electorate -- even among the so-called intellectual class among the left, who live in a world of idealism and good intentions. For them, Obama is a "righteous wind" of soaring rhetoric that fulfills their fondest ideals of an America of perfect equality. But these "intellectuals" live in their own world of privilege and money; for them, "equality" is a concept that they preach but don't live. It's easy to be a leftist in a limousine. Just ask anyone in Hollywood. For them, a vote for Obama absolves all manner of guilt and enables them to go on making millions without feeling so badly about it. Wow. Isn't America a great country?   For those of us who don't make millions but run businesses in the real world -- who strive to make enough to retire early and enjoy the fruits of our labor -- John McCain is the only choice in this election. McCain is a man of principle and courage, who understands that America is an exceptional country built on hard work and the promise of reward. It is not a nation of economic redistribution and social welfare, but one of individual liberty. McCain will not forsake those in need for greed; but neither will be forsake those who prosper in favor of those who choose not to make something of their life. Note I use the word "choose" here, because I believe that many in our society have chosen to succumb to the narrative that they are victims, that opportunity doesn't exist, and that they must depend on government to help them.   This is nonsense. Opportunity exists for everyone in this country -- from the poorest whites in West Virginia to the poorest blacks in South Los Angeles. Education is free -- including community colleges, which provide an excellent two-year degree for virtually nothing. It only takes an understanding that as an individual you have only ONE life to live; you can sit and sulk at the injustice of it all, or you can take advantage of the opportunities available and make something of yourself. Is it easy? No. Is it possible? Absolutely.   My father grew up dirt poor during the Great Depression with little material wealth. But he had guts and determination, and decided that he would not let his circumstances control his destiny. He studied hard in school -- while working odd jobs to help his family pay the bills -- and won a national merit scholarship to the University of Chicago at the age of 16. At an age when most kids today are playing video games in their basement, my dad went off to college to study Latin and the humanities. He struggled mightily. But he didn't give up, eventually earning his Ph.D. from UCLA. My dad's odds were long but he knew that no one would help him if he didn't help himself.

That is the promise of America. It is not a story of dependence, but one of courage and determination. It is a story of self reliance and personal responsibility. And it is a story that is being slowly but inexorably lost today. We are fast becoming a nation of children who want to be coddled and excused when we make mistakes. Its always someone else's fault -- from poverty to crime to the housing mess. We are now in the age of victimization.   And a vote for Obama will be a vote for victimization, for this is a man who has spent his entire life working to reinforce the idea that race and class are the prime obstacles in people's lives. He is all about cultivating inequality and using it as a cudgel with which to remake society in the image of his deepest fears of an oppressive white establishment with an exploitative economic system. His view of our country is based on the politics of black and white -- regardless of how he has spun his "hope filled" campaign. Barack Obama has cast himself as a mainstream candidate, but his past and his proclivities are decidedly on the fringe of the Democratic Party.   The impact of an Obama victory will be to dramatically increase the divide in this country on virtually every level. Rather than bringing "hope" and a "stronger America" to the nation, Barack Obama will bring racial and political polarization.

Obama is a man who believes America to be a deeply flawed nation. He is not the man to lead this great country.   Vote John McCain on Tuesday. Our future as a great nation depends on it.

First-time voter chooses McCain

In his legendary 1964 speech known as “A Time for Choosing,” Ronald Reagan presented a timeless perspective on government and the problems America then faced as he endorsed Barry Goldwater for President. Now, in 2008, we have again come to a time for choosing.

Given the stakes of this election—success in the ongoing war in Iraq, recovery from an inevitable recession, testy relations with such nations as Iran and Venezuela—as a college freshman I have chosen to cast my first vote for Sen. John McCain.

The stakes are high, and America needs an experienced, steady hand at the helm. Sen. McCain’s distinguished service in the U.S. Navy, House of Representatives and Senate prove, beyond any doubt, that he possesses the experience and judgment required of the times.

Contrary to Sen. Obama, who has very few notable bipartisan accomplishments, Sen. McCain’s record, much to the distaste of conservatives like myself and often to the pain of the President, is one of reaching across the aisle to get things done, often at great political risk. Whether it be on immigration, climate change, Guantanamo Bay, the Gang of 14, what have you, Sen. McCain has a proven record of bipartisan achievement and substantial government experience.

As Hillary Clinton put it, “[Sen.] McCain has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.”

Reluctant conservatives like me may disagree with McCain half the time, but the choice is clear.

With recession imminent, it is essential that the right policies be instituted to stimulate the economy and encourage investment. Sen. Obama’s proposal to raise taxes in a time of economic hardship ignores the fact that the top 1% already pay 40% of all income taxes, according to the IRS; the top 5% pay 60% of the tax bill. Not to mention he has a solid record of tax hikes, not tax cuts.

Sen. Obama’s proposals to increase taxes on capital gains (investments), corporations, Social Security and income (actually those in the top-two income tax brackets (making $182,000 and above, not just $250,000), as the liberal, Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman acknowledged in the New York Times last week) would discourage the type of economic involvement that pro-growth policies would work to encourage.

Herbert Hoover’s tax increases in 1932 helped jumpstart the Great Depression, but when Reagan cut the 70% rate down to 28%, it led to a significant turnaround in a recessionary economy. In a serious economic downturn, it is essential that the government institute pro-growth policies to encourage job creation and investment in the economy, especially when it is so necessary that capital (wealth used to finance business operations) be injected into the market.

Sen. McCain’s plans would encourage the kind of growth this economy needs to get out of the impending recession more quickly. He has wisely proposed cutting the corporate tax rate from 35%—the second highest in the world—to 25%, the average in Europe. This would, as he rightly points out, boost America’s competitiveness and make it less expensive to do business here, thereby encouraging jobs to remain in America.

Sen. McCain has also proposed slashing the capital gains tax in half, to 7.5%. In a time when investment is critical, cutting the capital gains tax is a surefire way to inject capital into the market.

He has put forth across-the-board tax cuts for individuals of all income brackets, which would let every taxpayer keep more of what they’ve earned and promote job creation. Sen. McCain’s prescription will help heal the economy; Sen. Obama’s will only spread the cancer.

Obama’s extreme talk of increased regulation is dangerous. Already the United States has been rated 8th in the world for economic freedom—after being 3rd in just 2001. The more regulation fiddled throughout the market, the more expensive it is to do business.

Case-in-point: The oil industry is so overwhelmingly regulated that no oil refineries have been built in 35 years because of it. While some regulation is needed, too much stifles efficiency, which is key to a healthy economy.

On foreign policy, Sen. McCain’s track record proves that he is ready to handle whatever comes at him. Joe Biden’s admission that Obama will be “tested” by “an international crisis” in his first six months substantiates the point: How can we risk Obama failing the test when failure is not an option? As Biden himself said, “the presidency does not lend itself to on the job training.”’

Iraq and Georgia underscore this point. When Russia invaded Georgia, Obama urged “restraint by both sides” until he finally realized that Georgia was the victim. McCain, on the other hand, immediately called it for what it was: unprovoked Russian aggression. Biden knew it, but he’s not the one vying to answer the 3 A.M phone call—Obama is.

On Iraq, while he supported the war (along with Clinton, Kerry, and Biden), McCain recognized that the Bush post-Saddam strategy was failing, and he battled the administration for tactical changes, despite intense political pressure to shut up. After the Surge strategy he advocated was finally implemented, he was proven right.

Obama indeed opposed the war in the beginning as a state senator (when it was actually politically beneficial for him given the area of Chicago he was representing in the Illinois Senate), but when he could actually help shape policy in Iraq, he chose to push for a precipitous withdrawal and opposed the Surge. Now even he has been forced to admit that the strategy was successful. According to Obama, the Surge worked “beyond everyone’s wildest dreams.” Not everyone’s, Senator. Just yours.

In his 1980 acceptance speech, Ronald Reagan stated, “Back in 1976, Mr. Carter said, 'Trust me.' And a lot of people did....'Trust me' government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what's best for us. My view of government places trust…where it belongs—in the people.”

Barack Obama is offering us the Carter Philosophy: “Trust me and I will bring change to America.” When casting our vote for President November 4, it is imperative that every American bear in mind Reagan’s wisdom on “Trust me” government.

After all, with double-digit inflation, staggering unemployment and a 144-day hostage crisis, Carter’s one-term presidency didn’t turn out so well, did it? ------------------------ Jimmy Sengenberger is a political science student at Regis University in Denver, a 2008 honors graduate of nearby Grandview High School, a national organizer for the Liberty Day movement, aspiring radio host, and a columnist for the Villager suburban weekly.

Why not Obama?

Slated on Backbone Radio, Oct. 26 Listen every Sunday, 5-8pm on 710 KNUS, Denver... 1460 KZNT, Colorado Springs... and streaming live at

When the votes are counted in ten days, America will have chosen either a big man or a con man as the next President. It's not that either candidate is supernaturally good or bad. Each is an imperfect human being with a mixture of admirable and less admirable qualities. But John McCain is simply better prepared for the toughest job in the world, and his center-right policies are more likely to bring us peace and prosperity. Barack Obama would govern from the left and by guesswork. Our enemies would aggressively target his weaknesses, as Joe Biden himself has warned. Electing him would be a leap in the dark.

As my neighbor Ted said this morning: "When people hesitate on McCain because they don't want a third term of Bush, I tell them... much less can we afford a second term of Jimmy Carter." Bingo! Obama in the White House, in fact, would jeopardize the economy, national security, and our liberties to an extent that makes Carter look like TR. Not pretty.

** Brad O'Leary, author of "The Audacity of Deceit," joins me on Backbone Radio this Sunday for a complete rundown on his disturbing findings about the Dem nominee. For an interactive preview of the book, go to

** Plus we'll get the story on Obama's support of sex education for kindergartners from Joneen MacKenzie of Wait and we'll talk with Silver Salazar, cousin of the Democratic senator and a leader of Colorado Democrats for McCain.

** Glenn Spencer of the US Chamber of Commerce joins me for a briefing on the labor union bill to deprive employees of a secret ballot in the workplace... a good reason to vote against Udall for Senate and against Obama for President.

** And our Republican candidate profiles will continue as we talk with Scott Starin for Congress in CD2... John Lerew for Congress in CD7... and Suyann Duthie for State Senate in Aurora.

Dem spinners and the mainstream media -- but I repeat myself -- want you to believe the race is over, the polls are irretrievable. Don't buy it. Polling itself belies that conclusion. It's not over till November 4, and America needs the best from each of us, all the way to the finish line. Onward.

Yours for self-government, JOHN ANDREWS

Memo to BHO: Enemies aren't 'just like us'

For months I've tried to show why Obama is unfit to be president. I have recently focused on his "spread the wealth" socialist economic plan, his years in church listening to a hate-spewing pastor and his time at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge with William Ayers -- but my first and biggest concern with Obama has always been in the area of foreign policy. Barack Obama's foreign policy is typical among the left's "internationalist" wing -- those who see themselves as "citizens of the world", and who come to look at international cooperation as not simply a means but an end in itself. Obama has worked during the campaign to sharpen his edge and give the voters a sense that he will not hesitate to use force to protect America -- something any candidate in this day and age must say. But his inclinations are toward multilateralism, and he has said clearly that as president one of his first orders of business will be to bring "humility" to U.S. foreign policy -- principally by listening to the ideas and needs of other nations. My sense is that Barack Obama will return the U.S. to a "U.N./EU first" kind of foreign policy, where we are careful not to offend while trying to protect our interests both here and home and abroad. It won't work.

My concerns about Obama and foreign policy have been heightened (if that is possible) over the past few days by two events.

First, I was extremely troubled reading an interview given to the New Yorker's Nicholas Lehman by senior Obama military adviser Maj. Gen. Scott Gration (Ret.). This interview reinforces Obama's internationalism, but it does so in a very dangerous way:

"Gration was impatient with the idea that conflict is the natural state of the world, to be managed rather than resolved. “People are more alike than their cultures and religions,” he said. “When Obama talks about global citizens, it’s the same framework. You see, religion and culture - they’re the way people communicate their values. They want stability, order, education. This is just humanness. Then you add on your religion, your culture - that’s how you execute it.” His implication was that if we can get past the religious and cultural identities that serve as host organisms for conflict, and deal with people at the level of their humanity and their basic needs, then we can make real progress - especially if Obama personally holds an office that permits him to set the tone and lead the effort (emphasis added)."

The "level of their humanity"? What humanity is that? You mean the humanity that beheads prisoners and blows up buildings?  Or straps explosives on the bodies of children in martyrdom operations?   Oh, but of course, this is another extension of "the One" using his cult of personality to sit down with radical jihadists and find a "common ground".  This is udoubtedly one of the more dangerous statements I have heard since 9/11.  It is also typical of the left which does not wish to admit that radical Islam exists and is fundamentally an extension of the teaching of Islam itself. 

Of course, we shouldn't be surprised by this, for it is prototypical idealism at work -- the notion that people's values are essentially the same, and that it is some external factor (poverty, oppression, imperialism) that makes people violent. Forget the fact that the perpetrators of 9/11 and the suicide bombers in London on 7/7/2005 were all educated, middle class Muslims who were indoctrinated with hatred. They were not poor or oppressed. They were, however, evil. This is something that the Obama team apparently can't get their minds around.

We should all be very afraid of this.

Second is the statement that Joe Biden made yesterday in Seattle before a liberal audience that he expects that in the first six months of an Obama administration, the U.S. will be attacked. He fears that our enemies will test the young president, much like the Soviets did Kennedy in 1961-1962. Here's what Biden said (courtesy of the The Weekly Standard):

"It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.... Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy....

I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate… And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you - not financially to help him - we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right."

This is troubling on several levels. It seems to be an acknowledgement that Obama represents a weak, inexperienced leader who invites an attack -- and that from what Biden is saying that Obama is going to flub the response -- at least initially -- and will need support and understanding. This is not confidence inspiring coming from the #2 spot on the Democratic ticket.

But it is not the 1960s anymore -- and while the stakes during the Berlin blockade and the Cuban missile crisis could hardly have been higher, our enemy was operating within the same rationality model that we were. It is clear that Khruschev and the Soviets backed down from Cuba because they understood that they could not survive a nuclear confrontation with the U.S. In other words, rationality prevailed. We don't have such a luxury today -- when we face an enemy who seeks suicidal martyrdom in their evil deeds. There is no rational basis (at least Western-style) where deterrence works with Islamic jihadists.

So if we are attacked, the devastation could be enormous -- and our response will be less far less important than the initial attack against us.  

Can we really afford this kind of on-the-job-training in the era of suicide bombing?