Saturday, May 31, 2008

Elephant Gone Wild

I refuse to read any symbolism into this news account, but given the name of this blog, it must be reported:

PATNA, India (Reuters) - An elephant named "Osama bin Laden" that has killed more than 11 people and injured dozens over the past few months was shot dead in Jharkhand, officials said on Saturday.

The wild male elephant, had been terrorising villagers in two states, destroying their crops and homes.

Forest officials and a police team tracked down the rogue jumbo in Jharkhand late on Friday, where it was shot dead, Ravi Ranjan, a senior government official said.

"Yes, Osama has finally been killed and it took us 20 bullets to silence him," Ranjan told Reuters from Jharkhand on Saturday.


Hundreds of villagers gathered on Saturday to catch a glimpse of the dead elephant.

That's right. If you want to catch a glimpse of a dead elephant, you will have to go to India. Reports of our demise in this country are premature.

h/t: Freerepublic

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mystery Solved

Bruce Lunsford's press secretary, Allison Haley, this week dismissed internal polling numbers from the McConnell campaign that showed the Senate Republican Leader enjoys a comfortable job approval rating. Said Haley, "It's certainly mysterious that this poll shows McConnell's job approval so much higher than several independent polls in the past few weeks.”

Haley's "mystery" was solved today when a new independent poll showed confirmed the accuracy of McConnell's internal poll. (See post below.)

The difference in how the two campaigns reacted to the polling data -- it's a classic example of projection. Lunsford's staffers assume that McConnell would commission a bogus poll, to trot out at cocktail parties and cook-outs because that is what they expect from their boss, the perennial candidate. McConnell, unlike Lunsford, does not view public service as an escalator for social climbing. McConnell, unlike Lunsford, understands that a small state like Kentucky needs as much seniority in its Congressional delegation as possible in order to fight for our interests.

Hebert: "McConnell's Job Approval Soars in May"

Mark Hebert is reporting that the new Survey USA/WHAS 11 poll shows that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's job approval "jumped a whopping 11 points this month," up to 57 percent.

These numbers have to be extremely good news for the Senate Minority Leader, who saw one pollster (Rasmussen) release numbers earlier this week showing McConnell trailing Bruce Lunsford in this year's senate race. Survey USA has not done any polling yet on the McConnell-Lunsford race but a Lexington Herald-Leader poll showed McConnell with a 12 point lead over Lunsford.

The breakdown on McConnell's Survey USA job approval numbers shows his biggest support coming from eastern Kentucky (62%-32%) and among men (65%-33%). McConnell is even polling fairly well among democrats (45%-50%) and African-Americans (57%-40%).

The SUSA poll therefore reconfirms findings from McConnell's internal poll and the Lexington-Herald Leader poll that show McConnell leading Lunsford.

Squirrel Alert

Just when Senator Barack Obama thought he had finally buried the Reverend Wright's rantings, now comes word that even more problematic friends from Obama's past have been dug up: ACORN. As Riehl World View explains,

There's a lot of buzz being generated about Obama, ACORN and Obama's first political party - The New Party. How did the Oba-messiah get this far without anyone reporting he was a member of a fringe Leftist political party?

Relying on Sol Stern’s 2003 City Journal article, “ACORN’s Nutty Regime for Cities”, Stanley Kurz of National Review Online provides a good synopsis of ACORN's history:

Sol Stern explains that Acorn is the key modern successor of the radical 1960’s “New Left,” with a “1960’s-bred agenda of anti-capitalism” to match. Acorn, says Stern, grew out of “one of the New Left’s silliest and most destructive groups, the National Welfare Rights Organization.” In the 1960’s, NWRO launched a campaign of sit-ins and disruptions at welfare offices. The goal was to remove eligibility restrictions, and thus effectively flood welfare rolls with so many clients that the system would burst. The theory, explains Stern, was that an impossibly overburdened welfare system would force “a radical reconstruction of America’s unjust capitalist economy.” Instead of a socialist utopia, however, we got the culture of dependency and family breakdown that ate away at America’s inner cities — until welfare reform began to turn the tide.

While Acorn holds to NWRO’s radical economic framework and its confrontational 1960’s-style tactics, the targets and strategy have changed. Acorn prefers to fly under the national radar, organizing locally in liberal urban areas — where, Stern observes, local legislators and reporters are often “slow to grasp how radical Acorn’s positions really are.” Acorn’s new goals are municipal “living wage” laws targeting “big-box” stores like Wal-Mart, rolling back welfare reform, and regulating banks — efforts styled as combating “predatory lending.” Unfortunately, instead of helping workers, Acorn’s living-wage campaigns drive businesses out of the very neighborhoods where jobs are needed most. Acorn’s opposition to welfare reform only threatens to worsen the self-reinforcing cycle of urban poverty and family breakdown. Perhaps most mischievously, says Stern, Acorn uses banking regulations to pressure financial institutions into massive “donations” that it uses to finance supposedly non-partisan voter turn-out drives.

According to Stern, Acorn’s radical agenda sometimes shifts toward “undisguised authoritarian socialism.” Fully aware of its living-wage campaign’s tendency to drive businesses out of cities, Acorn hopes to force companies that want to move to obtain “exit visas.” “How much longer before Acorn calls for exit visas for wealthy or middle-class individuals before they can leave a city?” asks Stern, adding, “This is the road to serfdom indeed.”

Kurtz also details Obama's close association with ACORN's activities in Chicago and concludes:

Obama’s ties to Acorn — arguably the most politically radical large-scale activist group in the country — are wide, deep, and longstanding. If Acorn is adept at creating a non-partisan, inside-game veneer for what is in fact an intensely radical, leftist, and politically partisan reality, so is Obama himself. This is hardly a coincidence: Obama helped train Acorn’s leaders in how to play this game. For the most part, Obama seems to have favored the political-insider strategy, yet it’s clear that he knew how to play the in-your-face “direct action” game as well. And surely during his many years of close association with Acorn, Obama had to know what the group was all about.

So why hasn't Senator Hillary Clinton said anything to criticize Obama's ties to ACORN? To answer that question requires understanding a little history of the group. ACORN -- which stands for Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now -- began in Little Rock in the early 1970s with the original name of "Arkansas Community Organization for Reform Now", as a puff piece explains. With the word Arkansas in the group's name, need we say more? Of course, the Clintons were involved.

At ACORN's 2006 National Convention, Senator Clinton confessed:

You know, I am one of those who remembers the beginnings of ACORN in Arkansas all of those years ago. The headquarters for ACORN was near the Governor’s mansion. And I started a group called Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and we worked on a lot of important issues . . .

Unlike Clinton, McCain won't have that inconvenient piece of the past deterring his asking tough questions of Obama regarding his left-wing nuttery.

Obama Reprises Jimmy Carter

The parallels between Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter continue to multiply. Obama recently said "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK."

It was as if Jimmy Carter was once again lecturing America to turn down the thermostat, don a cardigan and turn off the Christmas lights.

There are many other similarities, some of which appear in a recent Time article, "In Carter's Shadow."

Of the two likely nominees this year, Obama is closest to Carter in background and policy leanings. The parallels between his campaign so far and the one Carter ran in 1976 are striking. Like Carter, Obama had little national experience when he started to run. Neither was given much chance of winning the nomination. Instead of running on a detailed platform, Carter told crowds that what Washington needed was "a government as good as its people"—just as Obama promises "change we can believe in." Carter's message sold well after Richard Nixon's disgrace, and press accounts from the time suggest that people found the born-again Carter to be charismatic. That parallel is a promising one for Obama.

But his Carterish echoes come with two potential dangers. The first is that running as the embodiment of hope can lend itself to a certain self-righteousness—what critics have already started to call �litism. The second danger is that the public will come to see Obama as naive about America's enemies abroad, as it eventually concluded Carter was. Ever since Obama said he was willing to negotiate with those enemies directly and "without precondition," Republicans have been trying to tag him as the son of the Georgia governor.


That addresses the scariest aspect of an Obama presidency: the specter of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez toying with Obama like he is their personal plaything. We saw this when the Ayatollah played Carter, and it was one of the most humiliating and dangerous chapters in American history.

It was, however, a ratings field day for the media. If there had been no President Carter, there would have been no hostage crises; there would have been no need for ABC to launch "America Held Hostage: Day (take your pick). Carter's inability to respond to the hostage crisis dragged on so long that ABC even managed to make its "special report" a regularly scheduled program: Nightline. So it's no wonder that the media gravitate to Obama and promote his candidacy.

Update: Bob Tyrrell notes that Obama shares Jimmy Carter's susceptibility to bizarre gaffes, including Obama's non-existent uncle not liberating Auschwitz, fairy tales about his conception and his seeing dead people on Memorial Day:

There was a fundamental weirdness in these episodes that reminded me of a condition President Jimmy Carter found himself in not long into his presidency. He was suffering some sort of diabolical infestation. Supernatural pranksters had made their way from heaven or hell to trip him up. What was happening to Jimmy when he claimed to be attacked by a huge amphibious bunny rabbit or during numerous jogging mishaps was not normal. Now the paranormal has settled upon the Obama campaign.

Along with the bad luck of eating a waffle while waffling and of having his elitist prejudices exposed to public scrutiny, there is an accumulating junk pile of gaffes that seem to be beyond Mr. Obama's control.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Realclearpolitics Weighs in on McConnell Poll

Realclearpolitics analyzes the dueling polls on Kentucky's U.S. Senate race and concludes that McConnell looks safe:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been advertising since late last year in advance of this November's vote, and he is determined not to find himself in dire straits come the Fall. While former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle fell victim to the rival party a few years ago, McConnell looks like he's in much better position than his erstwhile colleague, a new poll for the incumbent's campaign shows.

The Voter/Consumer Research poll, conducted for McConnell, surveyed 600 likely voters between 5/21-22 for a margin of error of +/- 4%. McConnell and two-time gubernatorial candidate and businessman Bruce Lunsford, the Democratic nominee, were tested.
General Election MatchupMcConnell....50 (-2 from last, 1/9)Lunsford......39 (+2)


While it is a partisan poll, VCR is a well-respected firm, and McConnell's lead shouldn't be surprising. A robo-poll company released a survey last week showing the two virtually tied, and to be fair, an 11-point lead is not a huge one for the top Senate Republican to have. But McConnell is well-liked; 55% of state voters have a favorable opinion of him, compared with just 32% who see him unfavorably, and 57% approve of his job performance.

Both the favorable rating and job performance rating are down slightly since January, but one would expect that given Democrats' slamming him throughout the primary season. Lunsford has shown some growth, as 34% of the state has a favorable image of him, up eleven points since January. Just 20% have an unfavorable view.

With 46% of voters undecided about Lunsford, McConnell has a big opening through which to define his new rival. While Lunsford will have plenty of money to spend given his own deep pockets and willingness to use them, McConnell could further dip into the $7.7 million war chest he had on hand at the end of April to run Lunsford's negatives through the roof.

National Democrats could use some of their financial advantage to cut McConnell's money advantage, and Lunsford will likely be well-funded himself. But causing the incumbent serious heartburn may take a lot more work.

I don't see national Democrats pouring money into a state that has rejected Barack Obama as decisively as Kentucky. The whole reason DSCC chair Chuck Schumer recruited Bruce Lunsford, after all, is because national Dems did not want to spend money in Kentucky and therefore needed a self-funder like millionaire Lunsford.

Scott McClellan: The David Stockman of the Bush White House?

Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary from 2003 through 2006, is splashing around in the media waves these days, holding out his new book for the sharks who think they smell blood spilling from the Bush White House. Undoubtedly McClellan is counting on sales of his turncoat "confession" to bring in enough cash to make up for his years on a government salary.

McClellan, who just turned forty, reminds me of another youngster who served in the White House and thought himself wiser than his elder President and decided to tell the world about it: David Stockman, President Reagan's first budget director. Beginning with the now-infamous Atlantic Monthly article, "The Education of David Stockman", the liberal media touted the thirty-something Stockman as the ultimate Reagan White House insider who supposedly came clean on everything that was wrong with Reagan's economic policies.

But we all know how the Stockman v. Reagan match-up ended. Reagan is now viewed as one of the nation's greatest presidents and the architect of one of the longest eras of economic expansion in the country's history and Stockman, well . . . After suffering in obscurity for many years (a risk when one gains fame early, then burns bridges to friends who helped get you there), Stockman made the news again last year when he was indicted in a $1.6 billion fraud case involving his company. The now sixty-something Stockman was accused by the U.S. Attorney of having "resorted to lies, tricks, and fraud."

This is not to say Scott McClellan will meet a like fate, or will be accused of similar activities as David Stockman, but the Stockman saga suggests skepticism should be in order for a tell-all memoir from a sanctimonious former White House whippersnapper. It may not be the end of the story for the subject being discussed or the young writer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dubious About Lunsford's "Lead"

Pol Watchers notes Washington political writers were skeptical about a Rasmussen poll that showed Bruce Lunsford leading Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell:

"It's delusional. It's not only silly, it's stupid," said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

"Rasmussen has been preparing wrong polls. There is no reason to believe that Lunsford is leading McConnell in that race."

Rothenberg said it's "realistic" to believe that McConnell holds an 11-point lead.

"That's not a blowout," he said. "The Republican brand is damaged and he is leader of the Republicans in the Senate. But there is no way he is trailing in the race."


Jennifer Duffy, with the Cook Political Report, said, "I pay almost no attention to Rasmussen polls. The methodology is really flawed and they have a terrible track record."

The Chinese, or Koreans, or Swedes, or Mexicans, or Turks Are Coming!

According to Reuters, General Electric's CEO, Jeff Immelt, earlier today "named five non-U.S. appliance manufacturers, including China's Haier, South Korea's LG Electronics, Sweden's Electrolux, Mexico's Controladora Mabe and Turkey's Arcelik, as potential bidders for the company's century-old appliances business" in Louisville. Hopefully any international buyer will invest in retaining jobs in Kentucky instead of exporting them overseas. Query whether the local and state governments can do anything productive to influence that effort. Message to Mayor Jerry: Adding more languages to the "Welcome to Louisville" sign at the airport looks good, but will be little consolation to unemployed workers left behind if the new foreign owners move the business.

UK Bishop Addresses Moral Vacuum

The Telegraph has an interview with the Bishop of Rochester in which he asserts that the decline of Christianity leads directly to a decline in "Britishness," as hedonism and radical Islam fill the "moral vacuum."

Unlike the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali is not buying the notion that British common law should be supplemented with sharia law. Nazir-Ali has criticized the Anglican church for failing to seek to convert the increasing number of Muslims in the U.K.

Nazir-Ali blames the church's loss of influence on its capitulation to pressure from liberal theologians and Marxist students.

It is this situation that has created the moral and spiritual vacuum in which we now find ourselves. While the Christian consensus was dissolved, nothing else, except perhaps endless self-indulgence, was put in its place.

The church's loss of influence has led to hedonism on a personal level and appeasement on a political level:

The bishop warns that the modern politicians' catchphrases of respect and tolerance will not be strong enough to prevent this collapse of traditional virtues, and said radical Islam is now moving in to fill the void created by the decline of Christianity.

Britain would never have become a global empire without Christianity, according to Nazir-Ali, because before the rise of Christianity, the United Kingdom was just a "rabble of mutually hostile tribes."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rasmussen's Curious U.S. Senate Poll

Page One catalogues the Demo-blogs that are positively giddy over a new Rasmussen poll showing Bruce Lunsford five points ahead of Mitch McConnell. But "[t[he oddest result from the poll," says Barefoot and Progressive, "is that people tend to have a favorable view of Mitch." Odd indeed for a poll purporting to show McConnell with only 44% of voter support to also report that he has a 52% approval rating.

Something obviously is amiss in Rasmussen's survey methodology. Most likely fault lies in the fact that the poll was conducted by automated computer. Indeed, in another survey taken by live people at the same time as the Rasmussen poll, McConnell is up by 11%. As TheHill.com reports, "[t]he Voter Consumer Research poll showed the incumbent leading 50-39." These numbers are consistent with the Lexington Herald-Leader's poll from before Lunsford's primary victory that "showed McConnell leading 48-36."

The State of the Presidential Contest After Memorial Day

Might we be headed for a repeat of the 2000 election -- with the Republican winner of the electoral college losing the popular vote? The numbers today suggest that is entirely possible.

Realclearpolitics.com reports that, based on the average of recent polls, Senator Barack Obama would defeat Senator John McCain by 2.6% (though the most recent polls from Rasmussen and Gallup have McCain in the lead by 3% and 2% respectively). But Politico posits that, in the Electoral College, the contest may be McCain's to lose. Indeed, according to Politico, "many top GOP strategists believe he can defeat Barack Obama — and by a margin exceeding President Bush’s Electoral College victory in 2004." What gives?

Obama has the same problem that Gore had: he's hugely popular on the left and East coasts and in metropolitan areas, but hugely unpopular in the predominantly rural areas that comprise the vast majority of land in the United States.

Thus, in order to win, Obama has to target some of the red states where city dwellers are strong enough in numbers to outnumber country folk. For example, as Politico reports, Obama is campaigning in earnest this week in the western states of New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, which combine for only 19 electoral votes.

But those states are small potatoes to the one that, if Obama won it, would go far toward solving his electoral college problem: Ohio, which has 20 electoral votes. The Realclearpolitics.com average of polls has Obama up by 1.3% in Ohio, helped by his healthy 9% lead in the most recent SurveyUSA poll.

Other historically red states "in Obama’s top tier of potential pickups" include "Florida, Virginia, and Iowa," according to his campaign aides. McCain is currently ahead in Florida by an average of 8.3% and in Virginia by an average of 1.3%. Obama leads in Iowa by an average of 5.6%.

Don't expect Obama to pay any more attention to Kentucky this year, as it is safely in the Republican column. But Obama and McCain will likely spend a lot of time next door in the Buckeye State and anywhere else where there are potentially enough voters in large cities to turn a state from red to blue. And, of course, if that doesn't work, Obama's lawyers will be ready also.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Can't Believe He Said That

Bruce Lunsford made a comment to the Courier-Journal that made my skin crawl:

Lunsford countered by noting McConnell's support of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, the two top officials in an unpopular administration.

"I'd rather have hope and a new plan than the Bush-Cheney-McConnell plan. I think we could all three be in a coma and do better than they did," Lunsford said. (Emphasis added.)

The name of Lunsford's failed company, Vencor, derives from the ventilators used on its comatose patients. There's something very unsettling about a man who profits from the comatose condition of people and then jokes about comas. The creepiness of Lunsford's comment worsens in light of the $20 million that Vencor paid to the Justice Department to settle allegations that it did not adequately care for its patients.

Lunsford Evades Budget Question

Bruce Lunsford might have won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, but his non-response to a question about how he would vote on the budget seems more like a corporate president at a shareholders' meeting evading the question as to how much of the company's money he intends to take in salary and stock options.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell posed three questions to Lunsford, two of which relate to the federal budget. Ryan Alessi reports Lunsford's "response."

Lunsford refused to take a postion to question number one:

"How would he vote on the budget that we will be voting on either today or tomorrow here in the Senate?" asked McConnell, who is likely to vote against the budget bill. (Emphasis added.)

Lunsford said the budget draft contains "some stimulus packages in there that could be helpful to the country right now." But he said "it isn't our budget, we didn't put it together," so he declined to speculate on whether he would vote for or against it.

The people of Kentucky are entitled to know how Lunsford would vote on the budget. The power of the purse is one of the most important responsibilities of Congress; it reflects our national priorities and how much we pay in taxes. Voters cannot make an informed choice without Lunsford addressing whether he would vote to raise taxes. Given the overwhelming defeat of the library tax, this is not an issue that Lunsford can dodge.

Lunsford's response boils down to more whining about why the Vencor debacle was not his fault, and how he's a victim.

Question number two:

"How would he have voted on the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which he blames for the colossal failure and bankruptcy of his nursing home business? My assumption is that he would have voted with (former Democratic U.S. Senator) Wendell Ford in opposing that," McConnell said. (Emphasis added.)

Lunsford criticized the legislation for affecting nursing home companies, such as Vencor, which he founded. He claims the nursing home industry bore the brunt of what he called "draconian cuts" contained in the Balanced Budget Act that didn't become known until after details were hammered out in closed-door congressional conference committee meetings. "This was ill-fated public policy that destroyed the industry," he said. "It’s the classic example of smoke-filled (room) political decisions being made that impacts people to protect special interest groups."

Lunsford's response boils down to more whining about why the Vencor debacle was not his fault, and how he's a victim.

The third question related to energy:

"The third question I think he ought to respond to is how would he have voted on my amendment in the last two weeks to increase domestic energy production, which, by the way, failed in the Senate and received just one Democratic vote in support?" McConnell asked. "We’ve got to get serious about not ruling so much of our own production out of bounds," he said, citing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, which contains oil reserves. "We’ve got to have a balanced approach of both conservation and production." (Emphasis added.)

Lunsford said he opposes drilling in ANWR. "ANWR has the potential of being environmentally unsound and doesn’t do enough to help solve the problem," he said. "Again, that’s short term political thinking on the part of the Republicans and they’ve short-termed us to death, so now we’ve got nothing but long-term problems." He favors placing a wind-fall profit tax on oil companies and approving a federal gas tax holiday this summer.

Lunsford's characterization of drilling in Alaska as "short-term political thinking" gets it exactly backwards; he ignores the lead time it would take to translate that untapped oil into gas at the pump. The federal gas tax "holiday" that Lunsford supports, now that's "short-term political thinking."

Lunsford did not address why he opposes the McConnell amendment's incentives for new energy technologies and the use of clean coal to liquid technologies. Nor did he address the effect of oil companies passing along to consumers the "wind-fall profit tax" that Lunsford would impose -- and actually raising the cost of gas.

Lunsford secured the Democratic nomination without having to articulate positions on these and other critical policy issues. Perhaps he thinks that repeated meaningless incantations of "hope" and "change" are enough to win in Kentucky, but as Tuesday's results demonstrate, Kentuckians -- including Democrats -- will not be fooled. Just ask the 35-percentage-point-loser, Senator Barack Obama.

Pennies From Lunsford's Heaven

Bruce Lunsford must be on Cloud Nine, having secured the Democratic nomination to challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell this fall. In an interview with The Courier-Journal, Lunsford giddily referred to McConnell as "'Mean Mitch' because he deserves it." Then he chastised McConnell for "sit[ting] in the ivory tower in Washington." Perhaps Lunsford would rather be screening at Sundance?

I must confess that Lunsford's euphoria got the best of me when I read his quote regarding Vencor and its affiliate Ventas "'that all those companies survived.'" I couldn't wait to get to the computer and check my 401K to see miraculous overnight capital gains on my Vencor stock. So I logged on in eager anticipation.

The entry for my Vencor stock still reads the same: 275 shares; purchased for $1,195; estimated annual income: zero; current price per share: $ .01; total market value $2.20.

Talk about hope being dashed. But Lunsford is proud to run on the Senator Barack Obama and Governor Steve Beshear team: "I'd rather have hope and a new plan than the Bush-Cheney-McConnell plan. I think we could all three be in a coma and do better than they did."

From personal experience I can tell you this: Lunsford certainly knows how to bring about change.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reading the Tea Leaves: Primary Analysis

Yesterday's results in the Kentucky primary suggest that Democrats will greet their November ballot with a mixture of outrage and apathy, assuming that they even vote.

Kentucky's overwhelming defeat of Barack Obama is being portrayed as simple racism, rather than a rejection of politics that are too far left for this commonwealth. Regardless of the reason for voting against him, however, the fact remains that the presumptive Democratic nominee is hugely unpopular in Kentucky.

The record turnout among Democrats, moreover, does not necessarily mean the Democratic base will be energized for November. Indeed, it suggests the opposite. After all, this record turnout voted two to one against Obama. The numbers are even more dramatic if Louisville and Lexington are excluded from the analysis; the Clinton victory margin increases to 77-23.

The Clintons worked hard for this victory, and did everything but buy one of Bruce Lunsford's extra apartments so that they could take up residency. Consequently, Obama spins his shellacking as a non-defeat, arguing that he never really tried to win Kentucky. That's hard to square with all the offices he opened, all the yard signs his many volunteers distributed. Obama easily outspent the strapped Clinton campaign and drew much bigger crowds than Clinton. The Obama rally in Louisville last week drew at least 8,000 people; Hillary's victory party in Louisville last night drew only 1,200. Obama lost and lost big.

The Democratic primary for U.S. Senate was in one regard the opposite of the presidential primary, because the presumptive nominee -- Bruce Lunsford -- actually won. Unlike Obama, however, Lunsford received a return for outspending his rival, Greg Fischer, two to one.

Yet in those areas where the Fischer TV ads aired (pathetic as they were), Fischer was very competitive. That Fischer was able to attract 34 percent of the vote statewide, after such a weak campaign, suggests that there are Democrats who wanted any warm body who wasn't Lunsford.

That discontent among Democrats may stem from a Lunsford campaign that was internally contradictory. On the one hand -- parroting Obama -- Lunsford claimed to be the agent of change. On the other hand, he worked hard to establish his Democratic street cred -- boasting about how he has funded and worked for the Democratic party for 30 years. That, plus his status as Senator Chuck Schumer's hand-picked candidate, makes Lunsford look like just another establishment pol. It's no wonder, therefore, that the progressive blogosphere gravitated to Fischer over Lunsford.

The turnout was instructive, as well. Of those Democrats who voted in the presidential primary, 80,000 did not vote in the U.S. Senate primary -- even though they had eight candidates from which to choose. (In future years, this will be known as the Chuck Schumer effect.). That is, the Democratic turnout for the presidential primary was 43 percent, but the turnout for U.S. Senate race dropped to 38 percent.

That doesn't seem to show much broad-based support to "Ditch Mitch." And it certainly can't be seen as support for an Obama-led ticket, given that he lost two to one.

On the Republican side, the turnout for the presidential primary was virtually identical to that for the U.S. Senate primary; there was no falloff.

Senator Mitch McConnell's margin of victory (86 percent) was in line with his previous primaries. Even though neither the presidential nor the U.S. Senate race were seriously contested on the Republican side, McConnell's raw vote (roughly 170,000) was up considerably from his previous record (88,000). It seems that the high Democratic turnout prompted Republicans to register and vote. Some of that increase might stem from interest in supporting Anne Northup in her primary.

What this means for November: McCain and McConnell support looks solid among their base. For the Democrats, a ticket with Obama at the head will be hugely unpopular and will probably depress turnout. And among those Democrats who do vote in November, support for Lunsford appears tepid, given the large number of Democrats who voted for a presidential nominee but didn't even bother to vote for a senate nominee. Approximately 80,000 votes didn't think enough of Lunsford or his seven rivals to even bother casting a vote -- though these voters were in the booth with pencil in one hand and ballot in the other.

The Supremes Come To Kentucky's Rescue

In an ironic twist, Kentucky benefited from a smack down of the Commonwealth's highest court by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The nation's highest court reversed a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling that had held unconstitutional the Commonwealth's tax exemption of Kentucky-issued, but not out-of-state, municipal bonds. The benefit for Kentuckians from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling is that it gives governmental entities in Kentucky a leg up over out-of-state governments in attracting capital for public projects, such as the new basketball arena being built in Louisville.

Also, as The Motley Fool explains:

Had the decision gone the other way, it would likely have roiled the municipal bond market. States would likely have concluded that if they couldn't collect taxes just on muni bonds issued out-of-state, they'd have to get rid of the interest exemption entirely. That would've instantly led to higher interest rates, lowering the value of muni bonds in high-tax states. Bond fund shares -- especially those of the more than $150 billion in funds that focus on bonds from single states -- could have suffered a huge drop as a result.

The ultimate result likely would have been higher interest rates for municipal bond projects, which, in turn, would increase the costs of such endeavors.

The big media story involving Kentucky this week concerns, of course, yesterday's primary. But perhaps the most important event this week -- the municipal bonds ruling -- was buried in the business section. Funny how the news is reported.

National Take on Lunsford Win

What started as a conspiracy theory on the Demo-blogs has now become accepted fact: Bruce Lunsford is Chuck Schumer's sock puppet.

When Andrew Horne precipitously withdrew from the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate race, Demo-blogs accused Senator Chuck Schumer of interfering. The theory was that Schumer wanted a self-funder so that the national party would not have to spend any money in Kentucky, since the state is not competitive in the presidential race.

Horne never said a word about why he withdrew, and the rumors flew for weeks, as "progressive" Kentucky activists fumed about the beltway interference in their primary. Horne was the victim and the Lunsford the beneficiary of Schumer playing Machiavelli.

Thus the Politico report headline, "Schumer-backed Senate candidate prevails in Kentucky."

Health care executive Bruce Lunsford will be the Democrats’ nominee against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in November after dispatching six other Democrats to win tonight’s Democratic Senate primary in Kentucky.

Lunsford handily defeated businessman Greg Fischer 51 percent to 34 percent to win the Democratic nomination. Lunsford was the preferred choice of Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer, who liked his ability to partially self-finance a race against McConnell.

The most extraordinary thing about the primary results is that Greg Fischer won 34 percent despite running perhaps the most error-ridden, embarrassing campaign in the nation. Even my ten year old (who thinks Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner are hysterical) watched the Fischer "mud man" ad and observed, "that's the dumbest thing I've ever seen."

Among that 34 percent who voted for Fischer, some percentage had to be voting against Bruce Lunsford. The question becomes whether they hold their noses and back Lunsford in the fall.

Congratulations, Anne Northup

No surprises that Anne Northup handily won the Republican nomination to run for her old seat in Congress. Here's an excerpt from her victory speech, courtesy of Jefferson Poole.

It’s so important that our community have a real choice in that election, and I believe I will give our community that choice. Two years ago, the electorate decided it was someone else’s turn to carry the ball. But elections are all about asking the question: how has that other team done, and how has our own Representative done?

On the national front, two years ago this Congress made a lot of promises, among them a national energy plan, because as they said, paying $2.00 for a gallon of gas was simply unacceptable. I guess the fact that gas is now near $4.00 per gallon will tell you how that worked out. And they still do not have a plan that produces even one more drop of oil. We need to do something that makes sense-- find new energy alternatives like coal, nuclear, wind, solar, drill our own oil, and become energy independent. That’s what Americans do when they have a problem, they attack it head on with good old American know how and common sense, and that’s what we need to start doing in Washington.

On the local front, we’ve lost a lot. Big projects so important to the future of our community have simply folded up and disappeared. The East End Bridge, ready for construction when I left office, has now totally stopped. A new state of the art VA Hospital, one that would put our city in the forefront of medical care for our deserving veterans, has now been bumped down on the federal priority list. Hundreds of other community projects important to our neighborhood health and development are struggling or have disappeared. This campaign is about our community’s best chance to send our strongest advocate back to Congress.

We need someone who can get things done. We need leadership. For 10 years, we talked to every part of this community, and were able to forge partnerships between agencies in our Capitol and the community leaders in our city to provide help, development, and direction to them. This community cannot wait two more years for progress.

My opponent will try to make this race about the past. He’ll use George Bush’s name as many times as possible because it worked for him during the last campaign. Well you know what? That President’s name isn’t on the ballot this year. This Congressional election is about how Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have done for the last two years, and how John Yarmuth has done for the last two years. The question we have to answer is, are we better off as a community than we were two years ago.

Democratic registration will always outnumber Republicans in this district. And Anne is once again facing a national backdrop that is not conducive to Republican victory. She is, however, tenacious -- a theme her mailers reiterated. Europeans like to grouse that America really only has one political party, that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. This race demonstrates the falsity of that assertion.

We're grateful that Anne has offered the voters a conservative alternative to the failed liberalism (resuscitated as "progressiveness") of John Yarmuth.

Best Wishes to Ted Kennedy

My apologies for not posting earlier, but I am in the midst of helping my high school freshman survive his first set of finals. And it is from the perspective of a parent that I approach Senator Ted Kennedy's diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor. He is, when all is said and done, a father and a husband, and I am so saddened for his family.

I will not pretend to like Ted Kennedy's politics. But I have always admired the steadfastness and the clarity with which he articulated his convictions. Nor have I ever doubted his love for our country.

So I wish him well -- comfort during his treatment, wisdom for his physicians and strength for his family. And while we're at it, let's pray for a miraculous recovery. Because I would much rather beat Kennedy with ideas, not cancer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Demo-blog Trashes Lunsford

Bluegrass Roots, one of the Demo-blogs that hasn't stopped sobbing since Andrew Horne withdrew from the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, made one last pitch to defeat Bruce Lunsford.

Referring to Lunsford's two failed bids for state-wide office, BGR recalls that Democrats:

remembered tossing their cookies the last two times they sampled the Lunsford confections, always well-packaged but invariably rotten....

The link goes to a Fischer website about Lunsford's "luggage." Some of the quotes about Lunsford's Vencor debacle come from such startling sources as a 1999 term paper from the University of Pittsburgh. The paper is authored by four grad students, "ROCCO BOTTICELLI, RYAN PUCEVICH, JUSTINE SCRIPTUNAS, JOEL THURSTON"

Some of the other sources are more credible, like the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit:

We conclude that plaintiffs here have stated a claim for securities fraud by creating--in the words of the statute--a 'strong inference' that defendants projected financial well-being at a time when they had actual knowledge that their statements were false or misleading, while knowingly omitting material facts that would have tempered their optimism.

We can't wait to see if the demo-blogs will rally around Lunsford after he wins tonight.

Clinton's Kentucky Sermon

The Clintons have covered more of Kentucky lately than the dreaded Kudzo vine. They are everywhere.

For Hillary, that extended to sitting through a sermon yesterday in Bowling Green that must have been awkward, to say the least.

ABC reports that the homily focused on Matthew 5:27 -- adultery. Hillary's reaction:

[The pastor] spoke about lust and the sin of cheating on your partner. Clinton looked straight ahead as the man spoke about the theme of the sermon, which was: "Come Up Higher When the Devil Whispers Over Your Shoulder."

Clinton sang and participated in the service –- and afterwards shook hands with many well-wishers and community members.

Bill was elsewhere, but Hillary no doubt filled him in.

Bumper Sticker Wisdom

I recently saw a bumper sticker that will drive the lefties into an apoplectic state and likely get your car keyed: "DEMOCRATS: HARD ON FETUSES, SOFT ON TERRORISTS" I've ordered mine!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

An Epidemic of Sick Jokes

Mike Huckabee managed to embarrass himself yet again with a spontaneous (and tasteless) joke he delivered at the National Rifle Association's national convention yesterday. Responding to a noise back stage, Huck quipped:

That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he’s getting ready to speak, somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.

I won't defend the man; the only good that can come out of this is that it reminds John McCain, yet again, why he should not share the Republican ticket with Huckabee. To his credit, Huckabee apologized almost immediately.

But Huckabee was by no means alone in his crass attempt at humor. Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth yesterday made his own spontaneous and tasteless joke. And while it was not on all fours with Huckabee's, it was similarly awful. Yarmuth heard a balloon pop and made a crack that it must be the NRA.

And unless you have been climbing Everest you know that Governor Steve Beshear and former governor Paul Patton, both Democrats, made their own assassination jokes recently.

The Courier-Journal on Beshear's:

At a Democratic fundraiser, Gov. Beshear said, "I can think of only one Republican who can be a problem-solver, and that would be Vice President Cheney, if he will just take George on a hunting trip."

And on Patton's:

Meanwhile, former Gov. Patton, when asked what Mr. Beshear could have done to improve his success rate during the legislative session, suggested, "He could have shot (Senate President) David Williams."

Kentucky has no monopoly on this nonsense. Earlier this week, the head of the New Hampshire Republican Party, Fergus Cullen, apologized for making a joke about Hillary and Bill Clinton being assassinated (he said it was too bad the marine 21 gun salute missed when Clinton departed office).

Both Democrats and Republicans crossed the lines of not only decency but mature judgment. If a teenager had said this garbage about a teacher or another student, the school would be on lock-down and the kid would be in hand-cuffs. But for our supposed role models, there are no consequences.

The two Republicans, Huckabee and Cullen, apologized. The Democrats, to the best of my knowledge, have not -- and I would be happy to be wrong about that lack of contrition.

A pox on all of them.



American Worker Affirmative Action Committee

In the interest of our economy and the American Worker I am proposing the establishment of a new Political Action Committee.

I would propose to call this organization the "American Worker Affirmative Action Committee" (AWAAC)

I witnessed a unique situation where "possible illegal immigrants" were doing some construction work while two other people were independently discussing the woes of our economy. One lady actually mentioned that her son could not get enough work in today's economy. Uniquely he was in the construction industry. For fairness I really don't know if her son is an American Citizen. For the sake of this article I will let my stereotyping prevail.

It occurred to me that if we got an outspoken leader, that can yell, then possibly they could get some media attention to the plight of the American Worker. They could petition our Congressman and Senators asking for special favors for the American worker. These favors could encompass special requirements for hiring, giving preference to the American worker. Possibly they could develop quotas where businesses would be required to have "X" many American workers employed. The American Worker Affirmative Action Committee would be responsible for actively promoting and advancing the status of the American Worker. It could require federal contractors to ensure equal employment opportunities to the American Worker while promoting advancement opportunities for qualified American Workers

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another View Of The NRA Convention

I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon today with 3000 of my fellow bitter brothers and sisters at the NRA Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum. We cling to guns and God, but today it was mostly guns. We weren't allowed to pack our guns into the auditorium, but that was OK. Heard speeches from several NRA officers, Karl Rove, Ollie North, Mike Huckabee, Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Bolton, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, and John McCain. Pretty amazing group to have in one place!

Probably the two most inspirational speeches were from two warriors, Marcus Luttrell, Navy SEAL, and Sgt. Greg Stube, U.S. Special Forces. Both had survived brutal fighting and grave injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively. These two men have more courage, conviction and honor in their little fingers than a ballroom full of Chardonnay sipping Obama supporters.

I listened to speeches for five straight hours and could have easily listened for five more. The right for law abiding citizens to bear arms is so fundamental that it is an abomination (Obomanation?) that it is even an issue in this country. Thank God (there I go, clinging again) for the NRA and its diligence and fortitude in protecting this right. Like the late, great Charlton Heston said: "You can have my gun when you pry my cold, dead fingers from it!"

Why Obama Got An "F" From The NRA

Senator John McCain drew a big laugh at the National Rifle Association's national convention today when he quoted Barack Obama trying to talk like a hunter by making reference to using a "six shooter" to kill fowl. McCain commented, "Someone should tell Senator Obama that ducks are usually killed with shotguns."

Obama's hunt-speak was one more instance of Obama trying to obfuscate a voting record that reveals his contempt for the second amendment's right to bear arms. It's a voting record that prompted the NRA to rate Obama "F" three times.

Obama's efforts to reinvent his record on gun rights reflects a political reality: three fourths of all Americans believe that individuals have a right to bear arms. Moreover, nine out of ten NRA members vote.

Once he set his sights on the Oval Office, Obama professed a new-found affection for anything with a sight. During the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas last January, for example, Obama observed, "You've got the tradition of lawful gun ownership, that all of us saw, as we travel around rural parts of the country. And it is very important for many Americans to be able to hunt, fish, take their kids out, teach them how to shoot."

Before he decided to run for president, in contrast, Obama did not disguise his disdain for guns and those who own them. Take his response to a 1996 candidate survey. Though he denied it and tried to blame a staffer, Obama -- in his own handwriting -- answered "yes" to a question that asked, "Do you support state legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns?"

Obama's recent infatuation with guns would no doubt shock those who knew him early in his career, like the Illinois State Rifle Associaton (ISRA). Obama served as director of the Joyce Foundation, which is linked to the Soros Open Society Institute. According to ISRA, The Joyce Foundation has given more than $ 15 million to fund such anti-gun organizations as the Violence Policy Center and the Council Against Handgun Violence.

John Lott, Jr. recently told FoxNews that he recalls Obama stating,: "I don't believe that people should be able to own guns." According to Lot, "I knew Obama during the mid-1990s, and his answers to IVI's [candidate survey] question on guns fit well with the Obama that I knew. Indeed, the first time I introduced myself to him he said 'Oh, you are the gun guy.' I responded 'Yes, I guess so.' He simply responded that "'I don't believe that people should be able to own guns.'" (Emphasis added.)

Obama voted -- four times -- against legislation to protect homeowners from being prosecuted for using a gun when their house is being broken into, according to ISRA. That bill responded to a case involving a Chicago man who was prosecuted for shooting a burglar who had broken into his home, twice.

While running for the U.S Senate in 2004, Obama called for federal legislation to pre-empt state statutes that allow concealed weapons, according to the Chicago Tribune. In one fell swoop, Obama showed that he has no more respect for the rights of states in the federal system than he does for the second amendment.

Likewise, as a state senator, Obama voted against a law to allow citizens to carry a concealed weapon -- even in situations where the citizen had obtained a protective order. Obama explained, "Concealed-carry laws would only increase the problem of handgun violence and ultimately make the streets less safe everywhere." That, of course, is cold comfort to a woman trying to defend herself from the subject of a protective order.

Just last month, Obama reiterated his view on concealed weapons. "I'm not in favor of concealed weapons . . . I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Illinois hunters became irate in 2003 over a proposed law, which Obama supported, that would have banned privately held shotguns, target rifles and black powder guns. According to ISRA, the law would have allowed law enforcement officials to forcibly enter private homes to seize the guns. It seems that Obama has no more use for the fourth amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures than he has for the second amendment.

Obama's record in the U.S. Senate is just as bad. He twice voted to hold manufacturers, distributors and importers of guns and ammunition liable for the acts of criminals. That's worse than holding McDonald's liable for childhood obesity: it's like holding the farmers of the potatoes that went into the McDonald's french fries liable, as well.

Obama maintains that the D.C. gun ban (now before the Supreme Court) is constitutional -- though that ban prohibits people from keeping guns even in their own homes. Obama's campaign explained to the Chicago Tribune that he "believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives."

The only lives saved by the D.C. gun ban are the lives of criminals. The 30 year history of the D.C. gun ban shows that it did not reduce crime, a fact Obama ignores.

Consequently, Obama did not join a bipartisan majority of 55 U.S. Senators who signed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief asked the Court to hold the D.C. gun ban unconstitutional and reaffirm that the second amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. McCain signed the brief. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell signed it, too. Obama did not (nor did Hillary Clinton). But so great is his ambition, and his fear of angering voters, that Obama also failed to sign the brief for the other side.

The irony is that if the Supreme Court rules the way Obama wants, and upholds the D.C. gun ban, Obama will lose the election. The next president will nominate at least one justice to the Supreme Court. The three-fourths of Americans who believe that the second amendment means what it says will not stand by and watch that amendment gutted by activist justices who don't like guns.

The issue of the right to bear arms is the most striking example of the difference between Obama and McCain. Obama told Lott, "'I don't believe that people should be able to own guns.'" And he backed up that statement with vote after vote. Until recently.

McCain, in contrast, told the NRA:

For more than two decades, I've opposed efforts to ban guns, ban ammunition, ban magazines, and dismiss gun owners as some kind of fringe group unwelcome in "modern" America. The Second Amendment isn't some archaic custom that matters only to rural Americans, who find solace in firearms out of frustration with their economic circumstances. The Second Amendment is unique in the world. It guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. To argue anything else is to reject the clear meaning of our Founding Fathers.

McCain evoked a standing ovation, but unlike Obama's appearance in Louisville last week, no one fainted during McCain's speech. And therein lies another difference between the two men: whereas Obama projects the aura of a rock star, McCain is unapologetically presidential.

McCain Addresses The NRA

Senator John McCain drew a sharp distinction between his record of support of second amendment rights and that of Barack Obama -- who received an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association.

McCain addressed the NRA's 137th national convention, held at the Exposition Center in Louisville, where he framed the election as about whether the nation's best days are behind us. "I reject the idea of an America that is in decline."

McCain noted that his commitment to "all Americans and all constitutional rights" -- including the right to bear arms -- is longstanding.

When I first ran for Congress in 1982, I was proud to have the support of gun owners. For more than two decades, I've opposed efforts to ban guns, ban ammunition, ban magazines, and dismiss gun owners as some kind of fringe group unwelcome in "modern" America. The Second Amendment isn't some archaic custom that matters only to rural Americans, who find solace in firearms out of frustration with their economic circumstances. The Second Amendment is unique in the world. It guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. To argue anything else is to reject the clear meaning of our Founding Fathers.

The voting records 0f Obama and Hillary Clinton, in contrast, belie their professed affection for the second amendment:

Senators Obama and Clinton claim they support our hunting heritage, but they voted to allow lawsuits that would force American gunmakers out of business and to ban ammunition commonly used for hunting. Their votes reveal their real views -- far more than their occasional statements of theoretical support for the Second Amendment heard on the campaign trail.

McCain acknowledged that he and the NRA have not always seen eye to eye on every issue relating to the right to bear arms. For example, McCain said that although he does not want to see gun shows regulated out of existence,

I believe an accurate, fair and instant background check at guns shows is a reasonable requirement.

This election, McCain asserted, offers gun owners a clear choice that will have consequences:

Let's be clear. If either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is elected President, the rights of law-abiding gun owners will be at risk, my friends, and have no doubt about it. They have both voted as Senators to ban guns or ban ammunition or to allow gun makers to be sued out of existence.

Addressing the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming opinion in the D.C gun ban case (Heller), McCain criticized Obama, who took the position that the District of Columbia can prevent a law-abiding citizen from having a gun to defend himself even in his own home.

Senator Obama hopes he can get away with having it both ways. He says he believes that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms. But when he had a chance to weigh in on the most important Second Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court in decades, District of Columbia v. Heller, Senator Obama dodged the question by claiming, "I don't like taking a stand on pending cases." He refused to sign the amicus brief signed by a bipartisan group of 55 Senators arguing that the Supreme Court should overturn the DC gun ban in the Heller case. When he was running for the State Senate in Illinois, his campaign filled out a questionnaire asking whether he supported legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns with simple, "Yes."

The Heller case underscores the importance of judicial selection, McCain emphasized; he promised to nominate judges who will interpret the law -- or the Constitution -- as written, rather than making it up "by fiat" to suit their personal preference.

In addition to different positions on the second amendment and judicial nominations, McCain drew other distinctions between his record and Obama's.

There are many other differences between my views and Senator Obama's. I favor lower taxes, less government spending, and less federal bureaucracy. Senator Obama has clearly stated his preference for raising the tax burden on Americans, increasing government spending and giving the government more authority over the lives of American families and businesses. We have differences on health care. I prefer to give American families more control over their health care decisions. Senator Obama would prefer the government exercise greater control. Senator Obama would meet unconditionally with some of the world's worst dictators and state sponsors of terrorists. I would not add to the prestige of those who support violent extremists or seek to destroy our allies.

McCain concluded by addressing the issue of the war in Iraq, stating that he would oppose Obama's promises to pull troops home regardless of the advice of generals on the ground:

A reckless and premature withdrawal would be a terrible defeat for our security interests and our values. Iran will view it as a victory, and the biggest state supporter of terrorists, a country with nuclear ambitions and a stated desire to destroy the State of Israel, will see its influence in the Middle East grow significantly.

McCain promised that he would never risk the safety of our country for his political ambition, and concluded his speech with a standing ovation accompanied by a brass band.

Thoughts on the Right to Bear Arms

The National Rifle Association held a continuing legal education workshop in Louisville today that drew lawyers from across the country. I don't own a gun and don't particularly like guns. But I went to this CLE (the best I've ever attended) because the second amendment is part and parcel of the Constitution -- unlike the nonexistent constitutional amendment that guarantees a right to abortion.

The rule of law requires us to give effect to all of the constitution, rather than picking and choosing among its provisions. Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the meaning of the second amendment for the first time in seventy years; this is an area of the law that is unearthing tremendous research and primary sources about an amendment that most courts chose to ignore.

Ultimately, the second amendment is about freedom. Certainly that's why the Framers included the right to bear arms immediately after the first amendment right to free speech. Those philosophers who most influenced the Framers -- Locke, Montesquieu and Blackstone -- believed that there is a God-given natural right to self-defense. They did not distinguish between oppression by the government and oppression that the government fails to prevent.

America is one of the only countries in the world that guarantees the right to bear arms; it is an explanation for American exceptionalism.

The history of gun regulation in our country, however, reveals discrimination and oppression of unpopular races and ideologies. The earliest gun codes were intended to prevent slave insurrections. After the Civil War, free blacks were prohibited from bearing arms, but the Ku Klux Klan was not. Consequently, the Congress that passed the Civil Rights Act (Sec. 1983) and the 14th amendment did so, in part, to ensure blacks could bear arms.

More recently, the poor of New Orleans saw their own police department seize legal guns after Hurricane Katrina. Police confronted law-abiding citizens at gun-point and confiscated even registered guns. A NRA class action seeks an injunction to prevent that constitutional violation from recurring. But to this day, New Orleans police have not returned those weapons to their owners. At at time when government at all levels failed its citizenry, those same citizens were denied the right to protect their homes and stores from looters.

This CLE didn't make me want to take up hunting or buy a gun. But it did give me a tremendous respect for what the NRA does to advance the cause of freedom. Because even though I choose not to bear arms, I'm grateful that I have the right.

McConnell Receives NRA Award

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell received the National Rifle Association's Defender of Freedom Award today at the NRA's national convention at Freedom Hall in Louisville.

The award was well-deserved, because few Americans have a greater respect for our Constitution and the plain meaning of its words than McConnell. And that includes all the enumerated powers, including the second amendment's right to bear arms. As McConnell noted, the Framers viewed the right to bear arms as so central to the cause of freedom that they put it at the top of the list -- right after the right of free speech.

Here are excerpts of McConnell's remarks:

On the one side are people like Howard Dean and Barack Obama, those who seem to think the people need the state more than the state needs the people. They are the heirs of a centuries-old line of thinkers who think that the few, the elite, should diagnose and cure the ills of the many. …

Occasionally those opinions slip out, at cocktail parties in San Francisco and New York. Reporters usually refer to these slips as gaffes or blunders. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but it seems to me a better word for it would be honesty. Someone who says that Americans cling to guns and religion because they’re bitter doesn’t say it because he misspoke. He says it because that’s what he really thinks. And here’s what I think: he’s dead wrong.

When I hear that most of the families in this country say grace before meals, I think it’s a tribute to America’s greatness, not a sign of its weakness. And when I hear that about nine out of ten NRA members show up to the polls on Election Day, I don’t think it means that gun owners are bitter. I think it shows that the spirit of freedom is alive among the millions of members of the NRA. …

I voted to put John Roberts and Sam Alito on the Supreme Court because I thought they’d have a deep respect for the words of the Constitution and for what the Framers intended, including a faithful interpretation of the Second Amendment. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted against both of them. And Obama went even further. You might recall that as the vote on Judge Alito was approaching, John Kerry tried to phone in a filibuster from the ski slopes in Switzerland. Senator Obama, along with a handful of other far-left liberals, opted to join him. It should be no secret what kind of judges Obama would like to nominate if he were president. And I can guarantee you this: None of them would ever be asked to keynote an NRA convention.


Update: The full text appears in Human Events.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Theineman Goes Negative

Chris Theineman's latest robo-call attacks Ann Northup as a lackey for the oil industry. Theineman complains that Northup voted against a law to prohibit price gouging and gave tax breaks to the oil companies, then accepted big contributions. He comes awfully close to making an allegation that he surely does not believe.

Northup's direct mail piece, which arrived yesterday, offered a sensible energy policy that addresses the demand side of the equation. She proposes easing the regulatory burden on building new refineries, and she's right about that -- we haven't built a refinery in this country for 30 years. She would also allow drilling in Alaska and the Gulf.

Obama Picks Up a Cross -- Just for Kentucky!

Instapundit is reporting that an Obama brochure for Kentucky's primary features Obama standing next to a life-size cross. Obama manages to combine Mike Huckabee's pandering to evangelical voters with none of the subtlety of the subliminal cross Huckabee supposedly used in his TV ads. No, Obama's cross is big, bold and brassy.

Obama's brochure states that after graduating from college, Obama became a community organizer on the Southside of Chicago. And then,

Obama forged a profound connection with the people of these communities. At their encouragement, he visited a local church one Sunday. That day Obama felt a beckoning of the spirit and accepted Jesus Christ into his life.

Wow! He became "born again" after just one Sunday. This is the fastest conversion experience since the Lord blinded St. Paul on the Road to Damascus.

The brocure doesn't identify the church, but it is in the same locale as the Rev. Wright's church.

Obama has even changed his mantra on the brochure from "Hope and Change" to "Faith. Hope. Change." (Emphasis added.) If that sounds familiar, it's because St. Paul wrote something like it in his first letter to the Corinthians --only the epistle does not say"change." Rather, the Corinthian verse is "faith, hope and love abide, these three, and the greatest of these is love." Only Obama would have the gall to edit Paul.

Sean Penn Pontificates From Cannes; Obama Cringes

Not many actors depart from the DNC's talking points, and Sean Penn illustrates why it's dangerous to go off-script.

Speaking from the Cannes Film Festival, where he has been appointed "president of the jury," Penn called Barack Obama's voting record “phenomenally inhuman and unconstitutional.” It's true that Obama has the most liberal voting record in the Senate. If anyone can explain how it is inhuman or unconstitutionall, let me know.

Penn grew more confused, or confusing, as he continued to opine on Obama:

"I hope that he will understand, if he is the nominee, the degree of disillusionment that will happen if he doesn't become a greater man than he will ever be,” Penn said.

What? How does Obama "become a greater man than he will ever be"? This is why the writers' strike shut down Hollywood: actors like Penn cannot write their own material.

To the extent that Penn is calling Obama an empty suit, I disagree. Obama is highly intelligent. His refusal to tell us what he actually thinks -- as opposed to relying on vacuous platitudes like "change" and "hope" -- is downright deceitful. Obama knows exactly what he'd like to do as president, but he also knows that if he ever actually tells us, he won't win.

Consequently, Penn is correct that some, maybe many Obama supporters will become disillusioned if Obama ever gets an opportunity to "change" who knows what. Obama's campaign has been a Rorschach test; voters see whatever they want, because he has never provided any substance to contradict their fantasy of who he is.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Beshear Hunting Joke Goes Viral

It's bad enough that the liberal media attributes Obama's weak poll numbers in Kentucky solely to racism -- as opposed to his lack of experience and far-left views being rejected by a moderately conservative state.

Timing is everything, and Governor Steve Beshear has made Kentuckians look like a bunch of yahoos at a time when we really didn't need the bad press. It's well known within the state that Beshear broke the bounds of tastelessness with his "joke" at the Kentucky Democratic Party fundraiser. As Hebert, Gerth and BGRS reported,

Beshear joked "I can think of only one Republican who can be a problem-solver," Beshear told the crowd. "And that would be Vice President (Dick) Cheney, if he will just take George on a hunting trip."

Now, unfortunately, the story has gone national via Michelle Malkin. Perhaps Beshear will elaborate when he addresses the NRA convention on Friday. More likely, he'll go on the Tonight Show and demonstrate to Jay Leno that Kentucky may have a new governor, but the lights are still out in the governor's mansion.

Missing Barry?

For those who feel a let down now that Obama has left the building, or the state, this might console you: buy your Obama relics and devotional art here. I like how Time captured the halo. Or check out the website, Is Obama the Messiah?

No one will bother to interview Al Gore anymore, once they make the connection between the weird weather -- earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis -- and Obama. The man can even melt ice caps.

H/T Hotair

NRO Praises Chao

National Review's current editorial pays homage to the tenure and accomplishments of Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. Chao -- unlike almost any cabinet secretary in any administration -- actually has asked for less money from Congress over time. A few excerpts:

As of today, Chao is the longest-serving labor secretary since the end of the Second World War. She will be remembered as both one of the most conservative as well as one of the most consequential.

She’s the only member of President Bush’s original Cabinet who hasn’t moved on. Many of her successes have been preventative. Not only has she kept her budget in line, but she has also led efforts to defeat a series of bad ideas emanating from liberals in Congress, such as burdensome regulations involving ergonomics. She has effectively opposed the No. 1 item on Big Labor’s legislative wish list: card check, a.k.a. the Employee Free Choice Act, an Orwellian bill that would deny workers the right to a secret ballot when unions are trying to organize them.

Chao’s most significant achievement, however, may be proactive rather than defensive: Unions now must provide a far more detailed accounting of their money and activities. . . . In reality, Chao has empowered rank-and-file members by demanding that labor leaders comply with modern standards of transparency. They must report income, expenses, salaries, and so on. It’s all online in a searchable database, too. It means that in the future, union bosses will have a harder time keeping the lid on everything from their left-wing politicking to the bar tabs they rack up at their Las Vegas conventions.

We owe her our thanks.

Obama's Second Coming to the 'Ville

Barack Obama returned to Kentucky for the second time since August, this time to a crowd of thousands that included the requisite fainting damsels. I was not there, but Jake has a round-up of Demo-blog hysteria.

I watched WHAS 11's coverage at 11:00 and was fascinated by the lack of substance. They started with Renee Murphy, confirming that, yes, Obama really is like a "rock star."

Then they showed the tender side of the Great One caring for his people as they swooned in ecstasy: Obama threw out bottles of water. (Close up of friends of fainting women: some ducked, while others dove for the bottle like they were bridesmaids going after the bouquet.)

Next he made the sea of people part for the EMTs. Just in case the Holy Water didn't revive the stricken, Obama asked if anyone had fruit juice in their back packs for the fainters.

The moment seemed to symbolize Obama's health care policy. He'll tend to the sick and unprepared by raiding the purses of others.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Quick Reaction to Dem Debate

I caught the last half of the KET debate of the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate. My initial impression was visual: I haven't seen so many ill-fitting suits and bad hair-cuts since my Junior Prom. I was embarrassed for most of these guys. (Greg Fischer, and W. Bruce Lunsford, in contrast, looked like zillionaires.)

Poor David L. Williams. I had never heard him before. There is probably a sad story about why he had a tracheotomy, and I don't intend to pile on to whatever illness he endured. But his amplification system was unintelligible; I could not understand a single word he said. KET should have done an audio check and either fixed the problem or provided closed captioning. To let the man go on like everything was fine was simply unfair to him and to the audience.

As I tuned in, Dr. Michael Cassaro, Esq., emphasized his experience "handling life and death situations," and promised he could react quickly under stress as a U.S. Senator. I kept envisioning him trying to defibrillate the Social Security Trust Fund -- "stat!"

My favorite Lunsford line came as he attempted to explain why he had stabbed Ben Chandler in the back and endorsed Ernie Fletcher. According to Lunsford, "a real Democrat is someone who is there most of the time."(Emphasis added.).

Lunsford indicated that he is prepared to attack opponents: "I don't plan to unilaterally de-arm myself" in the primary or the general election. His themes for the general election will be to emphasize the jobs he created in the private and public sector and his knowledge of the health care industry. In addition, Lunsford made overly much for his military service in the reserves as a basis for why he should be allowed to run the U.S. retreat from Iraq.

Fischer scored a point,when he emphasized his endorsements, which include former Congressman Ron Mazzoli -- the smartest, most honorable Democrat in Kentucky. However, Fischer's biggest problem -- made manifest in his TV ads -- is his delivery. He just struggles with public speaking; he has a soft lilting voice that drops off at the end of every sentence. That was unfortunate, because his theme of being the candidate of "trust," "character" and "consistency," along with a "clean record," might have resonated had he been able to make the pitch more dynamically.

This was really a two-man debate between the front runners, Lunsford and Fischer. They should have looked more senatorial in comparison to the weak field, but in fact, standing shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues had the opposite effect. It was like eavesdropping on a conversation on the Island of Misfit Toys. All these poor candidates just hoping this will be the year that Santa shows up and rescues them, so that they can be loved.

That's One Sick Mother's Day Gift

Hotair notes that the nation's largest provider of abortions, Planned Parenthood, urged its supporters to make a contribution in honor of mothers. That's disturbing on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin.

How will we top that for Father's Day? Give Dad a vasectomy?

W. Bruce, Tough Guy

W. Bruce Lunsford told AP reporter Bruce Schreiner that this election will be different -- that is, Lunsford will finally win one, and against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, no less.

Lunsford boasted,

"People ask me, `Are you ready for McConnell?"'

"My question is, is he ready for me? Because he hasn't had much
in the way of tough races, and this is going to be a race where
he's going to be held accountable."


Maybe Lunsford was busy too busy moving assets from failing corporations to notice election results. Lunsford's assertion that McConnell "hasn't had much in the way of tough races," is just laughable.

Recall that McConnell handily beat Steve Beshear with 57 percent of the vote in 1996 -- even as Bill Clinton carried the Commonwealth. That's the same Steve Beshear whom Lunsford could not beat; Lunsford only got 21 percent of the vote against Beshear. If Lunsford really regards Beshear as not a tough opponent, that only underscores Lunsford's own weakness as a candidate. After all, McConnell won more than twice as many votes against Beshear as Lunsford did.

Reporter Schreiner makes a few errors about electoral history, as well. He attributes McConnell's first election to the U.S. Senate to Ronald Reagan's coat tails. In fact, an oddity of Reagan's reelection in 1984 was that Reagan had no coat tails: McConnell was the only Republican to knock off an incumbent Senator that year.

When McConnell first sought reelection in 1990, Reagan was gone. McConnell ran in a political environment that -- like today -- included rising energy costs, a volatile Middle East and a very unpopular Republican president, who happened to be named Bush. And McConnell's opponent, Harvey Sloane, was considered a "dream candidate."

The national backdrop is again difficult for Republicans. But Lunsford is no dream candidate. To the contrary, Beltway Democrats like Chuck Schumer had to flatter the millionaire Lunsford into running just so the national party could pass on sending money to Kentucky. That's hardly a vote of confidence from his own party.

Lunsford's trash talking about being McConnell's first "tough race" explains why Lunsford has lost every race he's ever ran: his ego clouds his vision of reality.