Friday, August 31, 2012

Clint's Commanding Performance Against the Commander-in-the-Empty-Chair

Not since Charlton Heston parted the red sea of delegates had Hollywood created such a stir at a national Republican convention.  When Clint Eastwood sauntered to the podium in Tampa last night, one sensed unbridled excitement in the arena, even from a television in Louisville.  It was like a few Derbys ago, when Jack Nicholson dropped by the paddock at Churchill Downs.  An A-list celebrity spotting in a most unexpected place.  Like Jack, Clint is a guy who wins over a crowd just by showing up.  The kind who exudes a coolness that stirs up a red hot frenzy.

Today's word for Clint's speech from the liberal media is "crazy".  That's reason enough to watch the speech on YouTube if, by chance, you missed it last night -- or to watch it again, as I did this morning.  True, Clint was mumbling and bumbling at times.  But that just added to the brilliance of the performance.  For Clint was, in a way, a metaphor for America, waking up in a stupor, asking what happened to us?  How in the world could we have voted for that man?  An America who finally got a chance to interview "the One" who has been its "employee", to use Clint's better chosen word, these past three and a half years.  The President answered as you would expect from an empty chair on the stage.  

Clint gave the speech with no teleprompter -- an absent prop that was as much a dig at Mr. Obama as the empty chair -- and with creativity and wit that, even with Oprah's coaching, the President will never have.  Clint did have to think creatively to come up with the name of another actor with enough guts to show up at the Convention (Jon Voight), and Clint's claim that there are many conservatives and libertarians in Hollywood seemed more hopeful than true.


But other seemingly ad libbed  lines played to the crowd with more authenticity:


"I remember three and a half years ago, when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles.  They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is crying, Oprah was crying.I was even crying. And then finally -- and I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country."

Ouch.

"Well, I know even people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn’t close Gitmo. And I thought, well closing Gitmo -- why close that, we spent so much money on it. But, I thought maybe as an excuse -- what do you mean shut up?  OK, I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City."

Thanks for reminding us of that early bone-headed idea from the Obama Administration.

"I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that’s okay. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. You know, I mean -- you thought that was something worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how did it -- they did there for 10 years. But we did it, and it is something to be thought about, and I think that, when we get to maybe -- I think you’ve mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home. You gave that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question, you know, he says, 'Why are you giving the date out now? Why don’t you just bring them home tomorrow morning?'”

And the Ron Paul delegates went wild.




"See, I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to the president, anyway.  I think attorneys are so busy -- you know they’re always taught to argue everything, and always weight everything -- weigh both sides...  They are always devil’s advocating this and bifurcating this and bifurcating that. You know all that stuff. But, I think it is maybe time -- what do you think -- for maybe a businessman. How about that? A stellar businessman. Quote, unquote, 'a stellar businessman.'"

Not since Ronald Reagan had an actor flipped an argument on a lawyer so well.


"And I think it’s that time. And I think if you just step aside and Mr. Romney can kind of take over. You can maybe still use a plane.  Though maybe a smaller one. Not that big gas guzzler you are going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that. You are an -- an ecological man. Why would you want to drive that around?"

More flipping of -- and off -- the Left's arguments.


"You’re crazy, you’re absolutely crazy."

Clint's chastisement of the empty chair.

"You’re getting as bad as Biden.  Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party."

 Another ouch.



"Something that I think is very important. It is that, you, we -- we own this country.  We -- we own it. It is not you owning it, and not politicians owning it. Politicians are employees of ours.  And -- so -- they are just going to come around and beg for votes every few years. It is the same old deal. But I just think it is important that you realize , that you’re the best in the world. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican or whether you’re libertarian or whatever, you are the best. And we should not ever forget that. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go.

Who needs Donald Trump as a speaker when you've got Clint Eastwood to deliver the message, "You're fired"?

And by this point, if the empty chair had not gotten the message, it was confirmed by the speaker's most famous line:


Clint:  "But OK. You want to make my day?"

(APPLAUSE)

Clint:  "All right. I started, you finish it. Go ahead."

Audience:  "Make my day!"


The Great Communicator couldn't have communicated it better.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Condi Outshines Paul Ryan



Last night at the Republican National Convention produced a range of oratorical styles, some that dazzled, and some that disappointed.

Condoleeza Rice gave the speech of a lifetime.  I knew she'd be good -- her performance at Mitt Romney's donor retreat a few months ago gave rise to a "Draft Condi" movement.

Still, Rice surpassed all my expectations.  She was magnificent:  intellectual without pretense; beautiful and poised and yet humble.  Her speech reflected her training as a concert pianist in terms of the phrasing and dynamics.  And that's just the style.

The substance made the case for American exceptionalism.  She showed that domestic issues -- particularly the economy -- are linked to our global stature, and can even become security risks.

Certainly the highlight was her personal reflection that she, a little girl in segregated Birmingham, who could not eat at the Woolworth's counter, could grow up to be Secretary of State.  What a great country (and what great parents for instilling that confidence in their daughter at such a time and place.)  I teared up.

Watching Rice, I wondered,  "Why isn't she the nominee?"

* * *

Mike Huckabee gave an outstanding speech, as well. His training as a Baptist Pastor has served him well.  So, too, does his passionate belief in conservative social issues.  What a commanding presence. There was no doubt that Huckabee believed in what he was saying with every core of his being.

 Huckabee's attack on the Obamacare's birth control mandates was in some ways historic, as he, the Baptist Pastor from Arkansas, stood shoulder to shoulder with the Catholic Church, and said that an attack on the freedom of worship of Catholics is an attack on him. Catholics have not always felt this support in the Bible-Belt.  Huckabee's speech gave me hope that the chapter of bigotry against Catholics in the Deep South is closing.

* * *

I had been looking forward to Paul Ryan's speech. Maybe I expected too much.  And Condi and Mike Huckabee left some awfully big shoes for him to fill.  Bottom line:  I was disappointed.

It wasn't a bad speech.  It had some nice lines. He just looked so . . . young.  And despite his stature, he seemed small somehow. He didn't seem like the guy who had gone toe to toe with the President on the budget.

Certainly, he did not have the charisma that Sarah Palin manifested in that same spot on the roster four years ago.

That's alright.  He'll make up for it in the Vice Presidential Debate when he takes on Joe Biden.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rand Paul Blasts Obama at Convention

Here is the transcript for Senator Paul's speech at the Republican National Convention:


“When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, the first words out of my mouth were: I still think it is unconstitutional!
The leftwing blogs were merciless. Even my wife said -- can't you please count to ten before you speak?
So, I've had time now to count to ten and, you know what -- I still think it's unconstitutional!
Do you think Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas have changed their minds?
I think if James Madison, himself -- the father of the Constitution -- were here today he would agree with me: the whole damn thing is still unconstitutional!
This debate is not new and it's not over. Hamilton and Madison fought from the beginning about how government would be limited by the enumerated powers.
Madison was unequivocal. The powers of the federal government are few and defined. The power to tax and spend is restricted by the enumerated powers.
So, how do we fix this travesty of justice? There’s only one option left.
We have to have -- a new President!
When I heard the current President say, “You didn’t build that,” I was first insulted, then I was angered, then I was saddened that anyone in our country, much less the President of the United States, believes that roads create business success and not the other way around.
Anyone who so fundamentally misunderstands American greatness is uniquely unqualified to lead this great nation.
The great and abiding lesson of American history, particularly the Cold War, is that the engine of capitalism -- the individual -- is mightier than any collective.
American inventiveness and desire to build developed because we were guaranteed the right to own our success.
For most of our history no one dared tell Americans: “You didn’t build that.”
In Bowling Green, KY, the Taing family owns the Great American Donut shop. Their family fled war-torn Cambodia to come to this country. My kids and I love to eat donuts so we go there frequently.
The Taings work long hours. Mrs. Taing told us that the family works through the night to make donuts. The Taing children have become valedictorians and National Merit Scholars.
The Taings from Cambodia are an American success story, so Mr. President don’t you go telling the Taings: “You didn’t build that.”
When you say they didn't build it, you insult each and every American who ever got up at the crack of dawn. You insult any American who ever put on overalls or a suit.
You insult any American who ever studied late into the night to become a doctor or a lawyer. You insult the dishwasher, the cook, the waitress.
You insult anyone who has ever dragged themselves out of bed to strive for something better for themselves or their children.
My great grandfather, like many, came to this country in search of the American Dream. No sooner had he stepped off the boat then his father died.
He arrived in Pittsburgh as a teenager with nothing, not a penny. He found the American Dream: not great wealth, but a bit of property in a new land that gave him hope for his children.
In America, as opposed to the old country, success was based on merit. Probably America's greatest asset was that for the first time success was not based on who you were but on what you did.
My grandfather would live to see his children become doctors, ministers, accountants, and professors. He would even live to see one of his sons ... a certain Congressman from Texas ... run for President of the United States of America.
Immigrants have flocked to our shores seeking freedom. Our forbearers came full of hopes and dreams. So consistent and prevalent were these aspirations that they crystallized into a national yearning we call the American Dream.
No other country has a Dream so inextricably associated with the spirit of its people.
In 1982, an American sailor, John Mooney, wrote a letter to his parents that captures the essence of the American Dream:
“Dear Mom and Dad, today we spotted a boat in the water, and we rendered assistance. We picked up 65 Vietnamese refugees. … As they approached the ship, they were all waving and trying as best they could to say, ‘Hello America sailor! Hello Freedom man!’ It’s hard to see a boat full of people like that and not get a lump somewhere between chin and bellybutton. And it really makes one proud and glad to be an American. ... It reminds us all of what America has always been -- a place a man or woman can come to for freedom.”
Hung and Thuan Tringh are brothers and friends of mine. They came to America on one of those leaky, over-crowded boats. They were attacked at sea by pirates. Their family’s wealth was stolen. Thuan spent a year on a South Pacific island existing on one cup of rice and water each day until he was allowed to come to America. Now both of these men and their families are proud Americans. Hung owns his own business and Thuan manages a large company. They are the American Dream.
So, Mr. President, don’t go telling the Tringh family: “You didn’t build that.”
When the President says, “You didn’t build that,” he is flat out wrong. Businessmen and women did build that. Businessmen and women did earn their success. Without the success of American business we wouldn’t have any roads, or bridges, or schools.
Mr. President, you say the rich must pay their fair share. When you seek to punish the rich, the jobs that are lost are those of the poor and middle class.
When you seek to punish Mr. Exxon Mobil, you punish the secretary who owns Exxon Mobil stock.
When you block the Keystone Pipeline, you punish the welder who works on the pipeline.
Our nation faces a crisis. America waivers. Unfortunately, we are one of a select group of countries whose debt equals their gross domestic product.
The republic of Washington and Jefferson is now in danger of becoming the democracy of debt and despair. Our great nation is coming apart at the seams and the President seems to point fingers and blame others.
President Obama’s administration will add nearly $6 trillion dollars to our national debt in just one term.
This explosion of debt is unconscionable and unsustainable. Mr. President, we will not let you bankrupt this great nation!
Republicans and Democrats alike must slay their sacred cows. Republicans must acknowledge that not every dollar spent on the military is necessary or well-spent, and Democrats must admit that domestic welfare and entitlements must be reformed.
Republicans and Democrats must replace fear with confidence, confidence that no terrorist, and no country, will ever conquer us if we remain steadfast to the principles of our Founding documents.
We have nothing to fear except our own unwillingness to defend what is naturally ours, our God-given rights. We have nothing to fear that should cause us to forget or relinquish our rights as free men and women.
To thrive we must believe in ourselves again, and we must never -- never -- trade our liberty for any fleeting promise of security.
Author Paul Kengor writes of a brisk evening in small-town Illinois. Returning home from a basketball game at the YMCA, an 11 year old boy is stunned by the sight of his father sprawled out in the snow on the front porch. “He was drunk,” his son later remembered. “Dead to the world…crucified.” The dad’s hair was soaked with melted snow, matted unevenly against the side of his reddened face.
The boy stood over his father for a minute or two. He simply wanted to let himself in the door and pretend his dad wasn’t there. Instead, he grabbed a fistful of overcoat and heaved his dad to the bedroom, away from the weather’s harm and neighbors’ attention.
This young boy became the man – Ronald Reagan – whose sunny optimism and charisma shined so brightly that it cured the malaise of the late seventies, a confidence that beamed so broadly that it pulled us through a serious recession, and a faith that tugged so happily at all hearts that a generation of Democrats became Republicans.
The American Dream is that any among us could become the next Thomas Edison, the next Henry Ford, the next Ronald Reagan.
To lead us forward, away from the looming debt crisis, it will take someone who believes in America’s greatness, who believes in and can articulate the American dream, someone who has created jobs, someone who understands and appreciates what makes America great, someone who will lead our party and our nation forward.
I believe that someone is our nominee: Governor Mitt Romney.
As Reagan said, our freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction. If our freedom is taken, the American Dream will wither and die.
To lead, we must transform the coldness of austerity into the warm, vibrant embrace of prosperity.
To overcome the current crisis, we must appreciate and applaud American success. We must step forward, unabashedly and proclaim: You did build that. You earned that. You worked hard. You studied. You labored. You did build that. And you deserve America’s undying gratitude. For you, the individual, are the engine of America’s greatness.
Thank you.”

Kentucky's Night at the Convention



Tonight, at approximately 7:00, both of Kentucky's Republican Senators will take to the podium.  It's not clear from the schedule if Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul are supposed to speak jointly or tag-team it. Whatever the format, their slot is 7:00.

Perhaps McConnell and Paul will reprise the pitch they made in Frankfort last week to repeal Obamacare?  The symbolism of a Tea Party Caucus founder and a more established member of the Republican Party works well in the big tent of the National Convention.

Rep. Paul Ryan is at 10:00.  Looking forward to him channeling all that Jack Kemp optimism about the great future that awaits our country if the government can stop stifling the entrepreneurial spirit with its massive deficits, taxes and regulations.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Apple Victory Over Samsung

As many of you know, Apple was recently awarded more than $1 billion from Samsung for patent violations on mobile devices, many of them cosmetic. 

Image Credit: Engadget

Look at the devices above. Do they look similar? Yes. Of course they do. They're both rounded rectangles. But how many other shapes can you make a phone? Apple claims that consumers have actually bought Samsung devices thinking they are Apple devices. That's crazy. How could you confuse them when the Samsung device has "SAMSUNG" written across the top? 






Suppose someone actually did confuse the devices at the store, and they asked the sales associate for the Samsung phone by accident. When the associate returned with a box that has "Samsung Galaxy S" written over it, the consumer would clearly have been able to tell that it's not an iPhone.

I think that Engadget's Darren Murph says it best:
                

"It's about as absurd as suggesting that someone could be duped into buying a Honda Odyssey instead of a Dodge Grand Caravan. They're both minivans after all, right?"







Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Akin and the Fake War on Women





Rep. Todd Akin is an embarrassment to the Republican Primary.  He should withdraw from the race immediately.

The notion that this sentiment is confined to a few "party bosses" or "Establishment Republicans" is as frivolous as the supposed Republican War on Women. The only Establishment politician trying to keep Akin from withdrawing is Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Akin's comment about "legitimate rape,"  whatever that means, has obscured the second half of the sentence in which he made the remark.

As Kathleen Parker recounted,

For those who didn't pay their cable bill, Akin recently assured Americans that in cases of "legitimate rape," women don't get pregnant because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."  (Emphasis added.)

That comment suggests that Akin never took 9th grade biology.  The issue is not sexism, just plain old ignorance of the reproductive system.  It's the sort of thinking that believes that masturbation causes blindness.

It's also the sort of thinking that ignores that his election is not just about him:  it is about control of the U.S. Senate and perhaps control of the White House.

It is literally possible that the fate of the country  -- our ability to repeal Obamacare, cut spending and reform entitlements -- may turn on one sentence from some guy that most of us never heard of until he uttered that it.

The fact that Akin is digging in his heals shows that he was in this race not to advance conservative ideals, but purely for self-aggrandizement.  Anyone who really believed in putting principle first would have already withdrawn.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Andy Barr to Address GOP Convention



Andy Barr, the Republican nominee in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District, has been selected to speak at the first night of the upcoming Republican National Convention, Monday, August 27, 2012.

Those evening slots are coveted; this is a real coup for Barr.  It's a surprising choice, given that Barr is running as a challenger for a House race, one of 435.  What makes Barr an interesting speaking choice is how close he came last time to winning -- alerts went out to election lawyers to prepare to head to Barr's district in anticipation of a recount.  The margin did not justify a recount, but still, this was one of the closest races in the country.

Barr's race also merits attention due to the incumbent Barr seeks to defeat:  Ben Chandler.  Chandler sports an illustrious political name in Kentucky politics.  In terms of voting record, however, Chandler is a moderate.  Left-wingers love to rant about Chandler. If Barr is able to defeat Chandler, it will be time for Republicans to break out the bubbly.









Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Fair Trade...

The Left is whining because Mitt Romney will not reveal his tax returns.  Here is a trade he should offer.  Romney should offer to provide his tax returns in return for Barack Obama providing his college and law school transcripts.

The Left could make hay out of the gazillions of dollars that Romney's tax returns would likely show, the Right could make hay out of all the Cs that Barack Obama's transcripts would likely show.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Don't Dump Joe!


Since he was nominated to run with Obama, every time poor Joe Biden makes a gaffe, there is a call to replace him with Hillary Clinton.

Oddly, many of these most recent calls to dump Biden have come from Republicans.  Rudy Giuliani went so far as to question Biden's mental capacity. Sen. John McCain and Sarah Palin have similarly opined that Obama should ask Hillary to run as V.P. this time around. Sarah Palin's Tea Party credentials are stellar.  Giuliani and McCain, not so much.  Interesting to see that of the Republicans urging Obama to replace Biden with Hillary, many are RINOs.

I don't understand why any Republican would want Obama to do the one thing that could make him more electable.

Biden is God's gift to Republicans.  And he is a gift that keeps giving.  Why would we want to replace him with someone as formidable as Hillary?  To be sure, Hillary would make a much better president than Biden in the event that the V.P. was called to serve.  That is exactly why Hillary would improve the Obama ticket.

Sarah Palin surely knows this.  So why would Palin suggest that Obama replace Biden with Hillary?  One explanation is that now that Palin has offered this advice, it would be hard for Obama to make the switch without looking like he is taking advice from -- or at least agrees with -- Sarah Palin. That is something he will not do.

Consequently, now that Sarah Palin has suggested that Obama dump Biden, she has rendered that option radioactive for Obama.  She has turned his best option into a non-option.

Liberal media like to call Sarah Palin stupid (while ignoring Biden's deficiencies). Try stupid like a fox.













Saturday, August 11, 2012

Romney Surprises With Ryan


Mitt Romney surprised me with his selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate. I did not think he would go with such a bold pick. I underestimate Romney. I really did not think he had it in his constitution to pick anyone other than a safe, boring choice a la Portman.

By choosing Ryan, Romney makes clear that he is serious about getting our nation's finances in order -- more serious than the Democrat-controlled Senate, which has not passed a budget in roughly 1200 days. That's several months longer than the siege of Leningrad.

Democrats are already attacking Ryan for his efforts to reform entitlements. For conservatives, Ryan's courage in proposing real reform to Medicare is downright inspiring.

The Vice Presidential Debate -- to be held at Centre College -- will be epic. The thought of Ryan debating the hapless Joe Biden is just too good to be true. I cannot wait.

Even the name Romney-Ryan exceeds my hopes. It is not just the alliteration, but the double R. For conservatives, the Initials R.R. evoke Ronald Reagan. The Gipper would be most pleased with Romney's selection of Paul Ryan.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Shout-Out For A Papa John's "Buycot"

The Courier Journal today claims that John Schnatter "endorse[d]" Obamacare with his recent answer to a stock analyst's question regarding the impact of that legislation on the price of pizza.  Schnatter said that the price of an average Papa John's pizza order would need to increase between 15 and 20 cents in order for his company to pay for the health care insurance mandated by the statute.  According to the C-J, "that's a bargain if it means thousands of Papa John's employees in all 50 states are going to be getting health coverage."

Gee, that doesn't sound like much of a bargain to me.  That's because, by my calculation, the price of my carry-out dinners from Papa John's (which average around $15-$20) just went up by about 1%, and if every product and service in the economy went up by the same rate (and there's no reason to believe they won't), Obamacare will take an additional $200 per year if I spend $20,000 on annual purchases, $500 if I spend $50,000 annually and $1,000 if I spend $100,000 annually.  You can do the math.  The increase in purchasing costs from Obamacare is by no means "(Small) change we can believe in!", as the C-J's editorial headline reads.

I'm sorry, but I think Papa John's employees and all other individuals in America should make their own decisions as to whether they buy insurance, pay for it out of their own pockets, and not take money out of my pocket to pay for it.  I already have health insurance and pay for it handsomely, thank you.  I don't need to tack onto my bill the tab for somebody else.

The C-J calls Schnatter "an increasingly vocal Republican".  That's news to me.  True, he hosted a dinner at his home for Mitt Romney earlier this year.  But through the years Schnatter has had the political reputation of being more a raging moderate.  He has hosted fundraisers for both Democrats and Republicans (and, I daresay, more for the former).

Schnatter's problem is that he spoke the truth, and the liberal media don't want to hear the truth, which is there is no free lunch (or dinner) when it comes to mandating health insurance.  Someone has to pay for it, and those someones will be me and you.  Schnatter's comment highlights that not only our taxes will go up to pay for Obamacare (as the Supreme Court made clear in its opinion upholding the statute), but also we will have to pay significantly more for products and services.  In other words, Obamacare will effectively mean a real reduction in everyone's purchasing power.

Not since the president of Chick-fil-A spoke his mind has a fast-food chain's head produced such a firestorm in the media.  Maybe it's time for Mike Huckabee to issue the call for a "buycot" of Papa John's so that the Silent Majority (I love that Nixonian term) can have some pizza along with their chicken.  That would be the best answer to any stock analysis's question as to how the public feels about having to pay the increased taxes and costs of Obamacare.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Prophetic?


Robert Heinlein was best known as an American science fiction writer, but he was also an opinionated and articulate political thinker.

If Barack Obama is re-elected in November, Heinlein's words, below, will have proven to be prophetic.

"'Bread and Circuses' is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure.  Democracy often works beautifully at first, but once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state.  For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader - the barbarians enter Rome."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kentuckiana Really Don't Like Obama


The new Gallup poll on President Barack Obama's approval rating by state shows that in Kentucky, his approval rating is a lowly 38 percent.  (Cue the Courier-Journal to attribute this to racism.)Yet across the Ohio River in Indiana, a northern state, Obama's approval rating is the same: 38 percent.

In 2008, Obama lost Kentucky with 41 percent of the vote. Among the mainstream media, and the C-J in particular, this was blamed on Kentuckians' supposed racism.  Old Media could not accept that Kentucky is a conservative state and Obama's policies were just too liberal.

So do the new poll results show that Kentuckians are more racist now than in 2008?  No, Obama's "you didn't build that" slip reveals that he is even more left-wing than feared. When it comes to how Kentuckians view Obama, familiarity has bred contempt.