Behind all the pink noise of why Romney was soundly defeated (i.e. media bias, Hurricane Sandy, inferior ground game) is one reality that in my opinion stands above all the others:
Conservatives failed to take their message to the black and Hispanic and minority communities -- the Left didn't (and hasn't for more than forty years).
Say what you will, the demographics of America political power are shifting towards substantial minority communities. Some pundits will wrongly conclude that conservatives need to adopt the more liberal tones to woo these voters of color.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The conservative message of economic opportunity, hard work, faith, self-reliance, free market capitalism and family values works and is the time-tested hope for many people to ever rise above the grinding poverty and social disintegration of the inner cities of America.
That’s why what happened on election night can be put in the form of a question: “If one party comes and presents their message to you, however flawed it may be, and thereby communicates that they take you seriously, while the other party ignores you almost altogether and thus sends you the message you are not important, who are you going to vote for?”
Again, conservatives do not have to become liberals in order to attract minorities – they must simply build credible, personal relationships and invest their time, resources and message in these communities.
My wife Cheryl and I happen to work in minority communities for a living. Our non-profit organization has a simple vision statement: to heal hearts and restore marriages in under-served communities.
Week after week we find ourselves serving urban churches and inner-city areas. Our faith compels us to bring a message of hope. We believe the healing of the heart will lead to the healing of marriages that will lead to the healing of families that will lead to the healing of communities. The reception we typically receive is nothing less than overwhelmingly positive and welcoming. “Please come back again” is usually the parting good-bye.
Do you know what we find so heart-breaking? We run into very few, if any, other religious or social conservatives doing the same thing in these communities. For some reason many similar marriage conferences end up being held somewhere else. The only competition we routinely run into is from Planned Parenthood and other liberal causes that intentionally target these hard-hit communities.
Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln, 160 years ago, who looked upon the plight of minorities (most enslaved at that time) and believed that the Republican Party held their best hope for their freedom, dignity and progress? He was right and he took the controversial step of betting his political future and fortunes on the powerless and disenfranchised, and in doing so transformed the nation. How did conservatives lose their way?
If there is to be a future for the conservative movement, regardless of which party represents them, they will need to believe in what they believe enough to take this dynamic message in person to America’s newly emerging majority – the combination of Latinos, African-Americans and other emerging minority groups.
It is not that their message has been shared with these groups and been rejected. It just has rarely or never been taken at all – at least not in person. Until that reality is changed conservatives can look forward to oceans of liberal blue washing across one electoral map after another.
(Note: You can catch my dad on his marriage call-in television show on the Total Living Network. More info here!)
It doesn’t matter if you’re Chris Matthews or Charles Krauthammer: the first presidential debate was a decisive victory for the challenger, Governor Mitt Romney. Although, to be fair, and gauging from Mr. Matthews’ reaction, I think “decisive” may be too weak an adjective.
So, with Chris' advice for President Obama that he should more closely follow the liberal media’s lead, let me paint a mental picture for you – just in case you didn’t watch or don't fully comprehend what it is that you witnessed for ninety minutes Wednesday night:
Romney was a line-backer who makes an open-field tackle on a supposedly-quicker quarterback for a huge loss, in part because Obama's lead blockers in the media weren’t allowed on stage with him.
Now let me show you what a picture of the mental picture I just painted looks like:
Not a fan of the NFL? That metaphor not doing anything for you?
How about this: Shock-polls late Wednesday night (from news sources such as CNN.com) had nearly 70% of viewers calling the debate in favor of Gov. Romney. Historically speaking, this is a land-slide. A crushing defeat like this, had it taken place in Ancient Rome, would have ended with Mitt Romney addressing the crowd with a Gladiator-like, “Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?!?!”
Then, turning to Emperor Commodus-Lehrer, Mittimus would receive the signal that seals the fate of Barack the Younger.
Spoiler alert: Mitt won the debate. (Oops, spoiler alerts usually go at the beginning of a piece and typically aren't used at all two days after something happened.)
Do these things really matter? I think they do. People are busy and don't have time to follow the process as closely as they might like (or as closely as they probably should). All the American public has heard from the media the past six months is that Mitt is dumb and Mitt is weird and Mitt isn't presidential and Mitt is a fat-cat, 1%-er with a heart of stone. But you can't spin 90 minutes of un-filtered conversation and dialogue about the most important issues facing the nation. The media couldn't lie or manipulate what Mitt did on stage, and to the president, in front of more than 50 million people.
The truth is simple: Mitt Rommney isn't Ronald Reagan, but Barack Obama isn't Mitt Romney. The former governor of MA is better than Barack and would make a fine president.
My poor state of Illinois has had its credit rating downgraded from "A+" to a measly "A" by S&P and is now the proud owner of S&P's worst rating. Remember when the United States government was downgraded, and Democrats blamed it on Republican "obstructionism"? In Illinois, there is no Republican obstruction to speak of, nor has there been for years. Not to mention, Illinois is President "they-want-to-return-to-the-failed-policies-of-the-past" Obama's home state.
S&P's worst rating is also occupied by California, another state notable for its lack of Republican meddling. In fact, it seems any place which successfully enacts policies Obama approves of ends up seeing its debt balloon to an exorbitant size out and its credit rating downgraded.
So, one wonders, how can President Obama peddle the “failed policies of the past” yarn he's so fond of with a straight face? Especially when the places which have been dominated by leaders of his political persuasion are ripe examples of failed policies of the past and the present?
The hutzpah is palpable.
The president might do us all a favor by explaining how he plans to avoid the fate of cities like Detroit which, in the “historic” year of 1974, elected their first black mayor (sound familiar?) – a progressive-Leftist whose policies drove The Motor City into the proverbial ground over the next two decades. Instead, when The One speaks, we are simply reassured that those “other” failed policies of the past are to blame.
At the RNC, Republican Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) offered a stark contrast to President Obama's potshots:
“It doesn't matter how we got here. There is enough blame to go around. What matters now is what we do.”
The good governor makes a very important point. Rather than jawboning and jabber-jawing about "failures of the past," why not discuss some models for success here in the present? But Chris wasn't done. In continuing, Christie graciously submitted an example (imagine that) of such progress:
“They said it was impossible to cut taxes in a state where taxes were raised 115 times in eight years. That it was impossible to balance a budget at the same time, with an $11 billion deficit. Three years later, we have three balanced budgets with lower taxes.”
Its noteworthy that New Jersey's fiscal depths were originally plumbed under Democratic supervision. Its also worth noting that President Obama has abstained from putting forth his own state as an example of what the country should look like because it is an abysmal failure. What will it take for this “failed policies of the past” rhetoric turn on its master? When will progressive Democrats have to give an account for the half-century track-record of dismantling once-prosperous cities?
Nonetheless, our president, champion of the fiscal tumbleweed ghost town known as Illinois, asks us to take him on his word that the only relevant failures are those of his opponents (details permanently postponed).
I hope that America, like myself, finds his claims increasingly hard to swallow.
When people from other states and cities would ask me in 2007-08 what worried me most about Barack Obama, I usually surprised them by answering, "Where he's from and who he hangs with."
Not, "Because he's a Democrat and they are total doo-doo heads." Not, "I've studied his long-term tariff policy with Finland and find some troubling inconsistencies." Where he's from. Who he hangs out with.
Where is he from? Why, my hometown of Chicago, of course. The dude spent his entire adult life, and received his training as a politician, in the most corrupt political system since latter-day Ancient Rome. And who did he hang out with? Who were his influences? What ideology and group of men shaped his worldviews?
Welcome to your answers, America. You'll find them in a 90-minute documentary entitled 2016: Obama's America.
Dinesh D'souza has taken flack in recent years for his "obsession" with the life,times, and influences of our 44th president. Perhaps some of it is deserved. Perhaps most of it is not. Honestly, for the purposes of reviewing D'souza's new film, I don't even care about all of that. What I care about is the extremely well-made documentary that he has put together for our viewing/learning pleasure.
Here's how the filmmaker describes the project:
"2016 Obama's America takes audiences on a gripping visual journey into the heart of the world’s most powerful office to reveal the struggle of whether one man's past will redefine America over the next four years. The film examines the question, "If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?"
Across the globe and in America, people in 2008 hungered for a leader who would unite and lift us from economic turmoil and war. True to America’s ideals, they invested their hope in a new kind of president, Barack Obama. What they didn't know is that Obama is a man with a past, and in powerful ways that past defines him--who he is, how he thinks, and where he intends to take America and the world.
Immersed in exotic locales across four continents, best selling author Dinesh D’Souza races against time to find answers to Obama’s past and reveal where America will be in 2016. During this journey he discovers how Hope and Change became radically misunderstood, and identifies new flashpoints for hot wars in mankind’s greatest struggle. The journey moves quickly over the arc of the old colonial empires, into America’s empire of liberty, and we see the unfolding realignment of nations and the shape of the global future.
Emotionally engaging, 2016 Obama’s America will make you confounded and cheer as you discover the mysteries and answers to your greatest aspirations and worst fears."
Seriously, folks: this thing is really good. I am someone who despises (with a passion) the pop-culture garbage that is often churned out in the name of conservatism (or Christianity) and that we who grow up in that world are forced to endure with a false grin painted on our faces. So when I come across something like 2016, I want to give credit where credit is due. It's well-made. It's fast-paced, covers a lot of ground, but doesn't lose the audience. Apart from Dinesh's technicolor-dream-coat-like wardrobe, and the fact that they put the great Shelby Steele in the film - talking on a stupid cell-phone!!! - I thought it was visually stunning (for a documentary).
The film succeeds in painting a disturbing picture of the junior Senator from Illinois who somehow ended up as our Commander-in-Chief. Not that Barack Obama is evil, but that the things that shaped his worldview are ideals and values that don't reflect what even most liberals in this country believe. Anti-colonialism, and what not. (If you don't know what that term means, please Bing it on Google.) In 2016there is a story being told. It's an investigation of the intersection of bad history and flawed ideology. It's about ideas, and the very real consequences that emanate from them.
It's also subtly about the importance of family and parenting and what we teach our kids, grand-kids, and relatives. Dinesh's own personal journey from Mumbai to Dartmouth to the Reagan administration and beyond is compelling and adds an important stabilizing credibility to the film's tone.
If I had any real hang-up about the film it was that too much time was spent at the end prognosticating about "what America will possibly look like in 2016." Certainly it is fair game to extrapolate out what will happen if we keep spending at our current pace, but I don't think Dinesh realized how powerful the narrative he had already constructed by the 4/5th's mark of the documentary truly was. The audience can connect a lot of those dots, and if you've kept our attention to this point - if we've accepted your premises and find your reasoning to be sound - we don't need to be tucked into bed at the end. Conversely, if someone in the crowd was skeptical of what he/she was hearing by that point, casting dire predictions for an Islamic caliphate from Casablanca to Kabul should Obama be re-elected won't cause a sudden change of heart.
Whatever else I've said here aside: you need to see this movie. Not only is it something the Right can be proud of. Not only is it captivating from start-to-finish. It's a chance to vote with your wallet. It's a chance to send a message to would-be producers and writers and directors that we will support quality content that isn't simply preaching to the choir.
Realize the dreams from your favorite blogger, and go see 2016: Obama's America.
(For another, better, review...check out my friend Dr. Hunter Baker's re-cap on his personal blog right here!)
I wrote a piece of the website "Religion & Politics" this week about the impact that I think the selection of Paul Ryan will have on the Romney campaign's ability to win the "Catholic Vote."
Mitt Romney’s selection of “The Man with the Budget Plan” from Janesville, Wisconsin has energized his campaign and brought discussions of things like “worldview” and “vision-casting” unmistakably to the forefront of this presidential race. In all the ways Governor Romney is perceived as being, shall we say, “fluid,” in his various political positions, Paul Ryan is not. If you want to know what the man thinks—to borrow a tired Apple advertising line—“there’s a YouTube for that.”
Congressman Ryan is a man of conviction. He is a man of ideas, and specific ones at that. He is a man who proudly wears his “God, Family, Country” ethos on his well-groomed sleeves. But what does his VP nod actually mean to the all-important Catholic vote? Will his Catholic bona fides translate to votes at the ballot box come November 6th?
How's that for a cliff-hanger of my own! Read the entire thing right here, and let me know what you think.
(And PLEASE give it a Tweet and/or "Like" on Facebook!)
And in a dimly-lit basement somewhere in the greater D.C. area, Joe Biden weeps gently into a pillow.
People can (and boringly will) continue to debate the merits of the other names rumored to have been on Mitt Romney's short list for who would be his running mate this November, but the fact of the matter is we have ourselves a real-life, honest-to-God game-changing moment on our hands. (Note: According to no sources, HBO executives are already in the process of casting who will smear...I mean "play"...the congressman from Wisconsin in their made-for-pay-TV movie about this presidential campaign in 2014.)
There will be some excellent articles written in coming weeks that will detail the career, accomplishments and charismatic demeanor of Rep. Ryan. I look forward to those and will link to some of the better ones I come across for your reading pleasure.
But for the purposes of this brief post, I simply want to recount an encounter I had with the man this past May, which will help speak to my year-long public obsession with the idea that Paul Ryan should be on the ticket in 2012. Incidentally, if you doubt that I've been on the band-wagon for as long as I claim I have, watch this interview with Peter Robinson of Uncommon Knowledge from last fall. Near the end there's a question from a certain someone that Peter asks Rep. Ryan about being Vice President.
Anyway, to my story!
In late May, Congressman Ryan traveled to the Los Angeles area and spoke at a small luncheon that I was lucky enough to attend. After delivering a 15-minute speech on some of the serious economic issues our nation faces, he offered to take questions from the crowd. One visibly nervous middle-age woman took the microphone in her hands and said the following:
"Mr. Ryan: I am someone who makes enough money to be considered in the '1%' we hear so much about these days. But I'm a tax-paying, law-abiding conservative who cares deeply about the direction and future of this country. The Left - most notably in the media - hammers away at us on the issue of tax breaks for 'the rich', and what I'm wondering is why we don't just take that issue off the table from them, raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and fight other battles? Why do taxes matter so much?"
You could hear the groans and murmurs of dissatisfaction begin to reverberate throughout the room before the woman had finished her final words. It was clear the lady meant well, but the situation had the potential to turn ugly.
With a calm and steady hand, Paul Ryan motioned for the crowd to simmer down. He smiled and said, "No folks, this is a fair and important question. This is the discussion we need to be having on the Right if we're going to have any chance of convincing the general electorate of our principles and ideas."
He proceeded to explain many of the same points that he articulates so well on a consistent basis in speeches and media appearances every week. (Here's a great clip of Rep. Ryan talking about this very issue on Fox News Sunday last year.) Raising taxes hurts small business owners. Taxes are so high because we've spent so much we don't have on things we don't need. Class warfare is never a winning strategy. The government actually collects more revenue when taxes are lower because people have an incentive to spend and invest and create more jobs.
Honestly, it wasn't even so much what he said - although that was certainly great too - it was how he said it. It was his kind, thoughtful handling of a powder-keg situation. It was his willingness to hush the pro-Ryan home crowd and address the concerns of one woman who had the courage to ask about something she didn't understand.
And by the end of his answer, after thanking the woman for speaking up, the crowd erupted with applause and whistles. He had won the entire room over...again.
Perhaps this isn't that impressive of an anecdote. Maybe I didn't do it justice in re-telling it, or maybe it merely is the unimportant ruminations of a naive young conservative who is overly-idealistic by nature.
But I'm telling you, it was a special moment. You could feel it in the air. It was what I imagine Barack Obama fans thought they were experiencing in 2008. But in place of platitudes and cliches, we in that room were treated to a charismatic, engaging, compassionate performance by a man who - nearly to a fault - is riddled with substance. He actually has something to say, and can't wait to tell you about it. No dodging the issues. No rhetorical gymnastics that end with the listener being accused of racism or bigotry.
Just the facts...and showmanship...and authenticity...and a great sense of humor, ma'am!
Alright, enough fawning. (And yes, I did get to shake his hand!) You get my point. And many of you reading this right now aren't in need of any convincing anyway. It's just that I'm excited, and you should be too.
Let this clip below officially wet your whistle and prepare yourselves for a wild ride these next few months!
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (formerly a journalist) is in charge of engaging with reporters on a daily basis so as to articulate, clarify, and defend the president's plans, policies, and actions. Today was no different:
Now, I must warn you that you would be a fool to watch this entire thing. The most important clip I want you to see is right here, from the good folks at RealClearPolitics.com.
I especially enjoyed this excerpt:
The proposals the President put forward were specifically designed to have effect now. Because the American people aren’t focused on what’s going to help the economy in five years; right now they’re focused on what can we do now to help this economy grow and create jobs.
That nicely sums up a significant flaw of modern liberal thinking when it comes to economic policy: act now, make some sign that you're "doing something", and worry about consequences (i.e. who will pay for all this stuff?) later on down the road. Later, as in when Obama's out of office and all these hacks in the administration are sitting behind sturdy oak desks in a tenured Ivy League professorship.
Seriously folks, if you think that something called "The American Jobs Act" - a piece of legislation concocted by the same "experts" who helped craft two Obama budgets that were voted down 99-0 by a Democrat-controlled Senate - is the only thing standing between us and a healthy economy...I have a lemon grove formerly owned by Oscar Bluth that I want to sell you.
This clip is the last and desperate words of a dying administration. I actually feel bad for Jay Carney up there.
You can only play the "But the last guy left us with problems" and "But the body of government my party controlled for 3 of the 3 years I've been in office hasn't done enough" cards for so long.
From the part of progressive liberal Elizabeth Warren's politically correct-obsessed brain that brought you her lie about being part Cherokee that has come to light in the midst of her current senatorial race, we get this tasty little treat-of-a-blurb about a young author named Barack Obama way back in 1991. You remember! Back when Will Smith slept in Uncle Phil's pool house (whereas now DJ Jazzy Jeff sleeps in Wills', I imagine).
An excerpt from the people who broke the story in question:
"Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama's then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."
The booklet, which was distributed to "business colleagues" in the publishing industry, includes a brief biography of Obama among the biographies of eighty-nine other authors represented by Acton & Dystel."
Now please understand that I absolutely agree with Joel Pollack, the author of this piece, when he writes that President Obama was born in Hawaii, not Kenya. But, and this is a big "but,' what does it say about the character and pathology of a man that he would allow information that included his birthplace being on the wrong continent to be distributed just so he could get a book deal? How would it have ever been a point of confusion between a young Obama and his literary agent what country he was from?
The only way this happens is collusion between the two. But why? What possible gain could there be from telling people you were born in the 3rd World? It's not like our country has some perverted sense of multi-culturalism and "white guilt" or anything, right?
Honestly, what does it say about our society that being born with a certain amount of melanin in your skin matters so much to so many people (who are all claiming to only be caring because they want to "move past race")?
Elizabeth Warren is running for Senate of the United States and is highly educated, but when it came time to be honest about her ethnicity, she allowed institutions like Harvard to falsely promote her as a "Native American", all for the sake of diversity. A young man named Barack Obama falsified public information about himself to get a book deal because he knew it would help his career (and book sales - what a greedy capitalist!).
All of this IS MADNESS!!!
Content of character, not what ethnicity or birthplace you can lie about, should be all that matters. But that would require our society, and before that, a series of individuals, to stand up and say, "Enough with your quotas and affirmative action and guilt trips! This is the freest, most prosperous place in human history. Go forth and make something of yourself. We don't care where you're from, for better or worse."
(Note: for more on the Elizabeth Warren story I alluded to, do yourself a favor and read Mark Steyn's take on that situation right here.)
Washington Post columnist George Will, a rabid baseball enthusiast, would appreciate this metaphor: Dude knocked it out of the park with this, his latest piece in the Post.
WASHINGTON — In societies governed by persuasion, politics is mostly talk, so liberals’ impoverishment of their vocabulary matters.
Having damaged liberalism’s reputation, they call themselves progressives. Having made the federal government’s pretensions absurd, they have resurrected the supposed synonym “federal family.” Having made federal spending suspect, they advocate “investments” — for “job creation,” a euphemism for stimulus, another word they have made toxic.
Barack Obama, a pitilessly rhetorical president, continues to grab the nation by its lapels but the nation is no longer listening. This matters because ominous portents are multiplying.
For two years, there has been one constant: As events have refuted the Obama administration’s certitudes, it has retained its insufferable knowingness. It knew that the stimulus would hold unemployment below 8 percent. Oops. Unemployment has been at least 9 percent in 26 of the 30 months since the stimulus was passed. Michael Boskin of Stanford says that even if one charitably accepts the administration’s self-serving estimate of jobs “created or saved” by the stimulus, each job cost $280,000 — five times America’s median pay.
The economic policy the “federal family” should adopt can be expressed in five one-syllable words: Get. Out. Of. The. Way.
Instead, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose department has become a venture capital firm for crony capitalism and costly flops at creating “green jobs,” praises the policy of essentially banishing the incandescent light bulb as “taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.”
Better to let the experts in his department and the rest of the federal family waste other people’s money.
It's past the point where I need to set up a Charles Krauthammer clip. The man's an intellectual powerhouse and as insightful as they come. Here's the big guy talking about what kind of president Barack Obama has been up to this point.
Chuck, you're something else. I couldn't agree more.
The basic ideas, ideals, and values that generally define and characterize the central tenets of what today might be termed "modern conservative thought."
We believe that a proper understanding of history, economics, and theology leads to certain conclusions. Many of these are the same conclusions our Founding Fathers arrived at in constructing a "more perfect union."
All ideas and opinions are welcome; not all are correct.