Alert reader, long-time US Army Reservist, and Republican candidate for Secretary of State of Colorado, Scott Gessler pointed out to me that I mistakenly implied in my recent Human Events article about Colorado's GOP primary for governor that the term "FUBAR" was a U.S. Marine expression.
Its creation is indeed, as Scott points out, attributed to the Army.
My apologies to the Army for not correctly attributing this most valuable piece of American linguistics.
Since Sharron Angle won the Republican Senate primary in Nevada on the back of strong Tea Party support, her campaign has been imploding under the weight of her verbal gaffes.
In political betting on Intrade.com, during the two weeks before Angle's victory, Harry Reid was trading between 30 and 40% to win re-election. Angle's victory alone caused those odds to jump to about 50%, and that was before she started doing a lot of talking.
In the past two weeks, Reid's betting chances of re-election have jumped to 62%, based on a combination of Angle foot-in-mouth episodes followed by a full retreat from answering any questions of the media and then a return to her gaffe-prone ways.
Some of Angle's unforced errors included:
- Threatening to sue Harry Reid for re-posting a prior version of Angle's campaign web site, an odd position for someone who presumably favors the First Amendment over almost all campaign finance and communication restrictions
- Saying that the DISCLOSE Act, which has recently failed to pass the Senate, is existing law
- Suggesting that the US might be, and possibly should be, moving towards armed revolution.
- Saying that "Thomas Jefferson has been misquoted -- like I've been misquoted -- out of context" regarding the issue of separation of church and state. Essentially, Angle seems to be arguing that separation of church and state is unconstitutional even though it is not only comes directly from the Constitution but is also strongly supported by Jefferson's own words in private writings (and Madison's as well.)
- Saying, or at least appearing to be saying, (and then somewhat retracting) that unemployed people are spoiled. (Presumably she meant to say that over-generous or over-lengthy unemployment benefits have negative incentives for seeking employment...)
Many people said, going into the primary, that the opponent Reid would most like to have is Sharron Angle. They're being proven right. Let me be clear about something here: While some of Angle's views may be wacky, they're not all wacky. Some of these errors are mistakes in rhetoric rather than in policy position, but they're still politically very damaging. The ability to muzzle onesself is an important characteristic of a candidate. This is not to say a candidate should lie, but he or she should be able to explain a position in a way that can appeal to voters without being hyperbolic or being easily demonized by the media whose favorite game to play with Republicans is "gotcha."
I'd also add that Harry Reid is so unpopular that with some decent coaching and a bit of common sense, it's still possible for Angle to win this thing. I hope she does, although under most circumstances I probably wouldn't vote for her for dog catcher.
While Ken Buck is smarter than Sharron Angle and not nearly the fringe figure or boneheaded rookie that she seems more to be with every passing day (in part because the media loves to help boost both of those unflattering portrayals in order to help Harry Reid), I can't help but wonder whether Mr. Buck's string of bonheaded remarks makes him the candidate that Michael "Who?" Bennet or Andrew Romanoff would most like to run against.
Some of Ken Buck's recent unforced errors:
- Walking away from, then around, then toward Tom Tancredo's statement made at a Buck fundraising picnic that Barack Obama is the greatest threat facing America
- Calling Tea Party members who question President Obama's place of birth "dumbasses" in a moment when he didn't realize he was being recorded.
- And a foot-in-mouth moment which may perhaps be more important than I first expected when Buck said that people should vote for him because he doesn't wear high heels, an obvious jab at Jane Norton, and one of the most boneheaded things I've heard in some time. Indeed, Time Magazine (no friend of Republicans generally) is calling it Buck's "Macaca" moment.
The primary reason for my endorsement of Jane Norton was, all else being equal -- since I think she and Buck are remarkably similar on policy positions -- that she is more electable.
While some argue that Buck's primary campaign experience will serve him well in a general election, the past couple weeks have increased my fear that a Buck win will leave not just the Senate seat more vulnerable to Democratic retention but that when combined with the horrendous GOP Governor situation, it could damage the Republican's chances to take back one or both chambers of the state legislature.
Demotivating Republican voters is the last thing we need. Demotivating women voters, when conservatives desperately need to narrow the "gender gap" is especially damaging. There's already a move afoot on Facebook to "Undervote Colorado's GOP Governor Primary", a position I understand and might end up agreeing with (after further digesting my meeting with Dan Maes last night.) If we get a Senate candidate who is also unmotivating to a substantial segment of CO Republican and independent voters, that could spell the difference in turn-out needed to keep the GOP from taking back one or both chambers of the General Assembly.
Again, Ken Buck is smarter than Sharron Angle, but I wonder if we might be having a peek into our potential future if Ken Buck wins the nomination and keeps stepping on his own tongue as we watch Sharron Angle take the GOP from a huge favorite to a big underdog to unseat Harry Reid.
I hope Buck starts getting a little better rhetorical self-control, whether he wins or loses the primary. In the meantime, I continue to believe that Buck and Norton are nearly identical on policy matters but that Norton has a better probability of beating the Democrat canddiate in the general election.
For those of you who are waiting for the write-up of my interview of Dan Maes, which happened yesterday evening, I'm going to try to write it up today and post it early tomorrow.
I noted earlier this morning that the Financial Times' Martin Wolf has written an essentially dishonest description and condemnation of supply-side economics. In that note, I offered a couple of links to pieces of "intellectual ammunition" for readers. But one article, the first in a short series being written by Peter Ferrara, deserves special mention if only to try to get as many of my readers as possible to read it.
I highly encourage you to read "The Timeless Principles of American Prosperity" by Peter Ferrara for the American Spectator and to keep up with Ferrara's upcoming writings on the same topic.
H/T Mark Smither
My liberal friend Mark pointed me to an article in the Financial Times entitled "The political genius of supply-side economics" by FT economics commentator Martin Wolf. Wolf essentially argues that supply-side policies of cutting marginal tax rates are simply a political strategy to make deficit spending easier to sell to the American people.
I'm throwing the flag on this one.
My response to Mr. Wolf's article (in the form of a comment on the FT web site) was as follows:
It strikes me as quite dishonest to intentionally conflate over-spending with taxation. One would think that a discussion of whether tax cuts are good policy would at least mention the fact that major tax rate cuts generally result (at least in the US) in the short/medium term in MORE net revenue to the government due to increased economic activity. Supporters of high taxes always predict that a tax rate cut will slash actual tax payments because they (ridiculously) assume that people's behavior doesn't change with changes in tax rates.
[A couple of pieces of intellectual ammunition:
And the president's own economic adviser wrote a paper arguing that "tax increases are highly contractionary"]
It's also dishonest of Wolf to say that supply-side is about a free lunch. There is nothing inherent in supply-side theory regarding big spending or deficit spending. Over-spending is a separate issue, and a huge problem. But budget deficits cannot be properly laid at the feet of tax cuts.
Furthermore, people like Mr. Wolf seem to operate under the assumption that the government has the first claim on our earnings rather than we, the citizens, owning the fruits of our labor.
"Starve the Beast" has not worked because Republicans have been horrendous when it comes to spending, particularly in the past decade. That said, the Democrats in the last 18 months are making the GOP look like pikers. Just because trying to cut taxes hasn't worked well doesn't mean it's an unworkable strategy. I certainly haven't seen a better tactic, anyway, as part of a strategy to reduce the size, cost, an intrusiveness of government.
What's Mr. Wolf's solution? Tax more so government gets ever bigger and more expensive?
I think the answer is yes. Overall, this note by Mr. Wolf is simply politics masquerading as economics and its dishonesty is rather reprehensible, though Wolf still hasn't reached the depths of Paul Krugman.
Readers of these pages are well aware of my thoughts on the Colorado Governor's race. However, if you're interested in reading my summary of the situation (actually written about 6 days ago), it's up at HumanEvents.com today.
Please see "GOP in Disarray in Colorado Governors Rac", Ross Kaminsky, Human Events, 7/28/10
Don Boudreaux has written a commentary on a Rockefeller Institute study about American "financial insecurity." Don correctly points out that "in modern America a lack of savings is almost always the result of individual choice."
However, Don's note -- being limited by the length constraints of a letter to the editor -- missed what I think were a couple of important points. So here is the note I sent to Don elaborating on what I think also bears mentioning:
I'd make two additional points about savings and insecurity:
I can't tell from the study whether it includes investments in the stock market (either direct, or through retirement plans) as savings, and it's pretty clear that it does not include investment in a home as savings. Standard definition of savings does not include these things. I understand that their issue is liquid assets to help cover short-term downturns in income, but (even though housing has been a remarkably bad investment in recent years) many people consider such investments as reasonable alternatives to getting 0% or some other low number in a bank account, CD, or money market. Therefore, people are not as irresponsible as the study and similar studies would make them sound.
Second, and more importantly, actions of government to make people feel that they don't have to take care of themselves (such as politicians' refusal to address the structural problems of Social Security) and a Congress which keeps extending unemployment benefits, reduce people's impulse to save for a rainy day. Why should I forgo the bigger house or the wide-screen LCD TV today just in case something bad happens tomorrow if Big Nanny (the successor to Big Brother) will take care of me if something bad happens?
Many Americans are happy with this situation. After all, they see their unemployment benefits and other "safety net" money as free, even though it obviously isn't. Many people also like government taking care of everything. It's this same thought process, the same assault on principles of individual responsibility and voluntary community or inter-personal assistance which also squeezes charitable giving, especially by Democrats. It's no wonder, for example, that "blue states" are routinely less charitable (as a percentage of income) than "red states". Blue states are populated in majority by people who believe that government, not people, should help others, so why should they give away any of their own money? (A perfect example is Colorado Senator Michael Bennet who reportedly gave about $2,400 in total charitable contributions while making over $12 million in income in two years. Of course, this is a guy who wants to pass legislation to take your money since he knows how to spend it better than you do.)
Back to the study: Of course recessions are no fun. But given the over-generous transfer payments given to the unemployed by sucking the financial blood from the employed or simply from America's future economic power (by transferring money the government borrows instead of gets via taxation), it's hard to feel as sorry for those whose incomes drop (as mine has) as I otherwise might. As Milton Friedman taught us, There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. (TANSTAAFL). Massive government aid to the unemployed not only decreases people's incentive to work, but it also places current or future tax burdens on the productive sector, making it less appealing to take the risk involved with starting a business and creating the jobs which would put those people back to work.
So, while I have some sympathy for people who are economically "insecure", I'd have a lot more if they weren't getting nearly unlimited transfers of money from the rest of us right now. The current structure not only reduces my level of sympathy for them, but also my interest in helping through charitable contributions. The government has squeezed me out of almost all charitable giving except to organizations which are fighting to reduce the size, cost, and intrusiveness of government. Once we return to an ethos of political responsibility and voluntary donations to the less fortunate, I'll be glad to more directly help others. In the meantime, their lack of "savings" is being overcome by bleeding my children's future.
For those of you who are registered Republicans living in Colorado's 7th Congressional District, if you're on the fence about whom to vote for, you may find my interview this coming Sunday (August 1st) with Ryan Frazier and then later in the show with Lang Sias to provide useful information in helping you decide whom to support.
More details will be posted on these pages soon for this Sunday's Backbone Radio show...
While I was traveling, Ken Buck was caught, not knowing he was being recorded, calling those Tea Party members who ask him questions about Barack Obama's birth place and birth certificate "dumbasses".
Jane Norton pounced on the question, implying that Buck was basically slamming the Tea Party while trying to claim their mantle for his race.
Buck says, of course, that he was just talking about the so-called "birthers".
My take is that they're both stretching the truth.
I don't think Buck was talking about the Tea Party broadly when he called some of its members "dumbasses", as Mrs. Norton suggested, but I thought it was interesting that he implied that all birthers are Tea Party members, and thus that the Tea Party is an attractor for many with out-of-the-mainstream ideas.
So, while Buck's comment certainly wasn't meant as an insult to the entire Tea Party movement, I do think that in an unintended way (and perhaps not understood by Jane Norton either), it did show some lack of understanding of or appreciation for the Tea Party movement.
For the record, I think there is a greater-than-zero but less than 50/50 chance that Barack Obama was not born in the US and is not eligible to be our president. I think there is a much more than 50/50 chance that there are things in his records which he does not want the public to see because they'll show that he got whatever advantages he could by doing things as a foreigner, perhaps such as scholarships for schools.
The most transparent president in history, as he fashions himself, is the most closed book we've seen in a long time.
In the meantime, I doubt Ken Buck's gaffe will hurt him very much...except, perhaps, with those voters who are indeed "birthers" and don't like being called names for having suspicions which, while politically inconvenient for Buck to discuss, are not totally beyond reason.
I don't have a prediction as to which way this race is going, but I doubt that annoying a few "birthers" will be the difference in the race. If Norton is successful in painting Buck's comment as more broadly anti-Tea Party, that could be a bigger factor, but I think that's rather unlikely. Also, a lot of people have probably mailed ballots in already, so these things are becoming less significant.
Dear readers and friends,
I don't routinely get involved co-hosting fund-raisers for elected officials. And I fully realize that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is not without some controversy, even among Republicans.
However, for a few reasons, I am extremely pleased to be co-hosting an August 4th "Wine and Cheese reception" for John Suthers at the home of former Congressman Bob Beauprez and his lovely bride, Claudia. I hope you will join me on the evening of Wednesday, August 4th, at the event. Please read the invitation (at the end of this note, or by clicking on the link just above) and RSVP if you're able to attend. I look forward to seeing many of you. Please RSVP by Sunday, August 1st if you can attend.
Let me say first that Suthers and I disagree on one major issue that I know of: drug legalization. I'm for marijuana legalization and he's not. I've discussed this with him face-to-face, and before accepting the invitation to co-host the event (along with several other ladies and gentlemen, all more important than I am), I asked Congressman Beauprez to remind AG Suthers of my position on the issue and ask if he'd still want me involved in the event. Since you're reading this, the answer was yes which, in itself, I appreciate in the sense of the "big tent" that I truly hope the GOP is or can be.
Now, as for why I want to help John Suthers win re-election as our state's Attorney General:
First and foremost is the fact that he joined the lawsuit (with 11 other states, at least it was 11 at that time) against Obamacare and that he defends that decision by strong reference to the Constitution, demonstrating an understanding of the Commerce Clause and the 10th Amendment, as you can see in the following video of Suthers addressing an Adams County assembly:
Another interview of Suthers, this one by Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute, also focused on the lawsuit against Obamacare. You can listen to it HERE or pressing the play button below if it appears in your browser.
As I've noted previously on these pages, Suthers recognizes that his oath of office means he is supposed to protect and defend the Constitution whenever and wherever he can. The fact that his Democrat opponent thinks Suthers should not have joined the lawsuit (a view shared, not surprisingly by Governor Bill "fooled you once" Ritter) because it's somebody else's fight reminds me of a doctor who refuses to treat an injured person by the side of the road because the person isn't at that doctor's hospital. No, the respective oaths taken by an Attorney General and a doctor are about aiding the Constitution or the patient wherever it or he needs aid.
While this one issue would be enough for me to gladly support John Suthers, it's not the only reason I do.
Looking at the overall tenor of law enforcement around Colorado, with our history of Democrat Attorney General Bill Ritter allowing illegal aliens to plead serious felonies down to "trespass on agricultural land" for the express purpose of letting them avoid deportation, and looking at the outrageous prosecution of Robert Wallace in Wheat Ridge after he defended his property from theft by two illegal aliens (one of whom had previously plead a theft attempt down to agricultural trespass), we simply cannot abandon the rule of law to the Democrat candidate.
Remember, it's the Democrat Justice Department under Barack Obama and Eric Holder who have specifically refused to prosecute obvious criminal behavior, namely voter intimidation, by blacks or to allow states to take action to minimize voter fraud. Democrats in America are now openly enforcing only those sections of our law which they believe will help them electorally. This is not justice and we cannot risk Colorado becoming part of that destruction of fundamental American principles by letting a Democrat win the office of Colorado Attorney General.
Finally, I would add that I appreciate AG Suthers' joining the attorneys general of several other states in offering Amicus Curiae briefs in the two most important gun rights cases in recent history, the ground-breaking Heller case, and the follow-on NRA v Chicago, both of which were won (by the skin of our teeth) by supporters of the Second Amendment.
For all these reasons, and despite minor disagreements on other issues, I enthusiastically support John Suthers' re-election as Colorado Attorney General and I hope that many of you will be able to attend this event. (To protect their privacy, I have deleted the Beauprez's address from the online version of the invitation. Ask for the address when you RSVP, per the invite's instructions, to attend the event. Please RSVP by Sunday, August 1st.)