Ode To The Next Ambassador Of Malta: Ann Coulter

In 2008, Doug Kmeic, using his Catholic credentials, endorsed Barack Obama for President. His endorsement tempered Catholic fears that Obama was pro-choice. After Obama won, Kmeic was nominated and approved as Ambassador to Malta. It appears that Ann Coulter desires the same position. She is using her “conservative” credentials to endorse Mitt Romney to temper our fears that Romney is not a conservative. She bolsters her worth to Romney with such statements as, “you’d better be as right-wing a President as I tell people you will be” and “you owe me”. Unfortunately, she has a nasty habit of throwing folks who respectfully disagree with her under the bus.

She has attacked folks in the Tea Party saying things like, “the Tea Party ignores Romney because they’re looking at who is ‘calling Obama a Kenyan‘, “the Tea Party is admitting they’re utter hypocrites if they vote for Newt Gingrich”, and ‘the Tea Party can’t see his (Romney) appeal because “they’re looking at who is going to go around bombastically demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate or calling him a Kenyan.”

Such statements show an absolute calumny, as well as a lack of knowing who makes up the members of the Tea Party. To the contrary, highly regarded pollster Scott Rasmussen has found that the Tea Partiers tend to be older than 45, married, wealthier and better educated than the general population, and concerned first of all with federal spending and the deficit. As David P. Goldman also asserts, it is also important to know that there are more of them than ever before in American history. There seems to be a lot of non-appreciation/contempt for the people who added 5 US Senators and over 40 members of Congress in the last election (not including the over 20 state legislatures that went from Democrat to the GOP). They were not perfect but they managed more in such a short time than folks like Coulter realized. The Tea Party is an exercise in economic rationality. To ridicule these folks is absurd.

Then again, this is the same Anne Coulter who proudly asserts that her research showed that Ronald Reagan barely knew Newt Gingrich. The proof that led her to that conclusion was that there was only one citation to Gingrich in the Reagan Diaries. It is rather odd how many people who worked for Reagan remember things differently. Her article “Three Cheers For RomneyCare” has been met with criticism and derision from many quarters; from Mark Levin to a devastating column (Coulter Care) in the American Spectator by Peter Ferrara.

However, to see how far Ann Coulter has fallen, one need not go further than this year’s C-PAC speech. It was a 13 minute speech. With the exception of the ‘borrowing stuff from his Chinese neighbor’ line, the speech was met with tepid applause. The speech was full of flat one-liners as well as a surprisingly weird comment about Jerry Sandusky. Yes, she still distracts with the constant flipping of her hair and her tight black dress and long black boots give the appearance of a dominatrix (does she still consider Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowery girly-men?). There were no challenges to the C-PAC faithful. She did not make the RomneyCare is better than ObamaCare argument (possibly because the HHS mandate concerning contraception) but extolled the virtues of Romney with nothing more than, ’Trust me’. Perhaps, Ms. Coulter should further examine the Romney record in MA. It appears he was in favor of mandated no-cost contraception before he was against it. To be fair, it was put in place by his predecessor Jane Swift.

It appears that Ann Coulter would rather have a place at the table of political power than stick up for conservative values and ideas. It is a shame to watch someone who spent the greater part of the last 15 years extolling conservative ideals and virtues change because it is far better to be a kingmaker. Ann Coulter, like Douglas Kmiec (who is back on board with Obama and the mandate) demonstrates again the truth of the Socrates adage that an unexamined life is a tragedy.

To paraphrase the line uttered by St Thomas More in The Man For All Seasons: Ann, it profits a woman nothing to give her soul for the whole world… But for Malta?

I don’t blame you Ann, I understand the weather in Malta is fantastic this time of year.

Spartan

Of Fools And Faith Part II

The ObamaCare Mandate

One of the most interesting political decisions made by this Administration was the ordering religion-based hospitals and charities to provide contraception and other birth control services for their employees. Politicians of the Catholic Faith, who voted for ObamaCare, came out of the woodwork to distance themselves from the uproar. Bart Stupak, who is now a lobbyist, still believes in the executive order and Kathy Dahlkemper now says if she had only known, she would have never voted for the Bill. Both are delusional. Dahlkemper, for instance, had problems with ObamaCare. However, after four days of arm-twisting at Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home, she was onboard. I guess you really have to pass a law to find out what it contains.

The outcry, especially by Catholics, over the Mandate and the administration’s most recent implementing action is amazing to watch. Led by Bishop Daniel Jenky, Archbishop Dolan, and other Catholic clergy too many to mention, the administration’s action has galvanized most Catholics, liberal and conservative, to unite in protest, a rarity among the two factions. To be sure, there will be some Catholics who will use the rhetoric of Sister Carol Keehan, the head of the Catholic Health Organization, for cover but such cover is but a fig-leaf. However, the rare Latin-Kumbaya alliance among America’s Catholics do not appear to buying Obama’s “accommodation” in forcing the insurance companies to pay for the birth control services. That type of “accommodation” has probably offended more people than the original diktat. There is no accommodation with Obama.

And yet this type of diktat does have some historical past. Many of the old “social conservatives” remember what galvanized their opposition to Jimmy Carter for the 1980 election. The Carter Administration (if I recall the story correctly) tried to impose the Fairness Doctrine on various clergy who had radio programs. The outcry then led to the formation of the Moral Majority. I am pretty sure Paul Weyrich would be stunned to watch history repeat itself.

The question is: Can Obama win re-election if he loses the Catholic vote?

I don’t know but if history is any guide, Carter lost his re-election in 1980; carrying only 6 states and DC. The Evangelicals abandoned Carter who regularly went to church for Reagan who did not attend a church with any regularity. To these folks, Reagan defended the Faith while Carter did not.

It is incumbent for the GOP address this issue with the strength and determination of a Bishop Jenky and an Archbishop (soon to be Cardinal) Dolan. Their defense of the Faith must be praised. Perhaps, Team Obama has written off the Catholic vote along with the White working class vote. At this rate, who will be left to vote for Obama?

Spartan

In The Long Run, We Are All Bained

This has been probably the oddest of political primary seasons. We have an incumbent President who is the mad combination of George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and Walter Mondale. Obama ran in 2008 with the promise of being a “centrist” but has ruled, not governed, this country with all the aplomb of a bull in a china cabinet.

In 2010, the people of the United States under the mantra of a Tea Party gave the President and his political party a shellacking at the polls. Not only did the House of Representatives change hands but so did over 20 State legislative bodies; some for the first time in over a hundred years. The momentum for 2012 appeared to be ready to oust Obama and the Senate Democrats. In response to the election results of 2010, did Obama and Harry Reid work to assuage the Tea Party momentum? No, they just doubled down.

The Senate has, in violation of law, not submitted a budget for over 1000 days. What Obama can not get from an unwilling Congress, he gets by bureaucratic fiat and regulations. The GOP momentum has been for all intents, neutered.

With this in mind, the GOP primary season began with a series of candidates who ranged from losers to wannabes to the never were. Missing from the race were formidable and vetted conservatives such as Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, and Paul Ryan. Now, the GOP is left with four candidates. From these, it appears two (Gingrich and Romney) are contenders, one (Santorum) is vying for VP, and one (Paul) is just trying to be an influence at the convention. Of these, I want to focus on Romney.

Mitt Romney has been running for president since he became Governor of Massachusetts in 2003. He was considered a weak and feckless Governor and for the last two years of his term, a running joke. Under his watch, RomneyCare was enacted and gay marriage was found to be constitutional by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Budget shortfalls were made up with increases in taxes and user fees. When outraged people of all political stripes demanded Romney do something to overcome the aforementioned Supreme Court decision, Romney did nothing. Yes, he decried the decision but he frustrated any effort to amend the Massachusetts Constitution. In the end, Romney fought for nothing and believed in nothing but himself.

During his first run for the Presidency in 2008, Romney had the backing of many conservatives who did not like or trust John McCain. Romney became for these folks the “Anyone But McCain” candidate. I watched in amazement as none of his rivals liked Romney. He was treated with disdain and contempt. It was assumed it was because of their contempt for his support. It was only later, we found out their frustration with Romney surrounded his attempts to destroyed candidacies through a sordid whisper campaign in the media.

In the race for 2012, the real Romney has emerged and it is not pretty. In the four years since he dropped out of the 2008, Romney has embarked on a takeover of the GOP political process.

First, states like IA and NH moved up their Caucus and Primary dates. FL also moved up their primary date; even at the price of half their delegates. VA, with their strict ballot access rules, made access to their ballot even harder to access. The beneficiary of all these moves was Romney. He has the money and organization to accomplish these moves. It is almost as if Romney had taken the Bain Model to co-opt the GOP primary process. His willing accomplices in the conservative media saw nothing wrong and remained quiet.

Second, get the polls to show Romney is the only one who can beat Obama. This is pretty easy when the narrative is pushed through the media (Mainstream and Conservative) by political operatives. The narrative is reflected in the polls and a front-runner is born.

Next, when anyone begins to threaten the frontrunner status, destroy the contender. When candidates like Herman Cain seemed to threaten Romney, stories of sexual harassment and marriage infidelity magically appeared. Cain, in a fit of pique, put all his troubles on other candidates; notably Rick Perry. When Newt Gingrich then became the contender to Romney, he was systematically destroyed in Iowa and Florida by a full frontal negative assault. Gingrich was also attacked in SC but still won that election. Once again, his willing accomplices in the conservative media see nothing wrong and remained quiet.

Lastly, create a relevant message and stick to it. In response to the horrid economy, Romney promises to create jobs by stating that only he knows what is needed to create jobs. To that end, he constantly points to his time at Bain Capital, a private equity financial firm. This is the proverbial “fly in the ointment”.

Bain Capital is a financial animal that is needed when private companies need an infusion of cash. It also comes at a high price. On top of the high fees, there is debt. Some companies survive, some companies do not. Bain is interested in making money, not creating jobs. When I think of what Bain does, I am reminded of the Henry Hill narration from the movie Good Fellas when the restaurant owner takes Paulie Cicero as a partner:

“Now the guy’s got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with the bill? He can go to Paulie. Trouble with the cops, deliveries, Tommy, he can call Paulie. But now the guy’s gotta come up with Paulie’s money every week, no matter what. Business bad? F*** you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? F*** you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? F*** you, pay me.”

Yet, when Rick Perry decried Bain Capital as “vulture capitalists”, a cacophony of conservatives accused Perry (and Gingrich) of being “anti-capitalists” and “attacking Romney from the Left”. The classic definition of a capitalist is someone who takes a long term risk to provide goods and services to the public. They invest their money, time, ideas, and expertise into the business while sacrificing everything to succeed. How is what Bain does any different than Paulie Cicero?

Romney’s mantra of knowing how to create jobs is belied by three other issues:

Romney’s support of a minimum wage tied to the rate of inflation.

One of the biggest criticisms of the minimum wage is that it causes unemployment, especially among Black youths. Conservative economists have decried the devastating effects the minimum wage has had on hiring. Yet, Romney pushes the idea.

The latest unemployment numbers.

The latest statistics from the government show 243,000 jobs created and the unemployment rate dropping to 8.3%. Romney’s response was basically he would have done this in quicker time. No where does Romney point out that 1.2 Million people have quit looking for work and that our labor force is at its lowest level since 1983. To be fair, even the vaunted Wall Street Journal says the 1.2 Million are likely retiring baby boomers. But as the blog Zero Hedge notes; as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. At this rate, the government should be able to declare unemployment at 6.5% by November. Romney is not prepared to face this challenge.

RomneyCare

RomneyCare is a huge problem for Romney. Ann Coulter can make three cheers for the idea but the consequences of RomneyCare are dreadful. Business owners will have some tough decisions to make. Either they do not hire or expand, or they shift the burden of paying the premium to the employee. All the insurance plans in Massachusetts have to be approved by the State. They are also expensive.

The real problem with Romney is that Romney wants a centralized control economy. RomneyCare not only accomplishes much of that but it drastically changes the relationship between the government and the people as the government dictates to us how we are to spend our money. If this concept is accepted as legitimate, there is no limit to the authority of the government over us. If you think the government will stop here, you are living in a fool’s paradise.

Romney ignores the collateral damage of his ideas, His ego is so large, he can not comprehend that any part or use of his ideas can and will produce disastrous results. Perhaps, his way of creating jobs is to have the government hire more bureaucrats with the purpose to go into each private business no matter how large or small to see if they running properly and at full capacity. These bureaucrats will be able to streamline jobs or demand more hiring by diktat.

Conclusion:

I believe Romney’s career at Bain Capital makes him uniquely unqualified to become President of the United States. If Bain were interested in and believed in the concepts of Free Enterprise, then why all the heavy tactics that result in the loss of Free Enterprise?

It was the entrepreneur who is the real capitalist. It is their sweat equity that grew our economy from the malaise of the Carter years, not the equity of Bain. If the nominees in November are Romney and Obama, it does not matter who wins. Romney’s accomplices in the conservative media still do not see anything wrong and remain quiet. They are willing to sacrifice their principles for power. Eventually, they will have neither because in the long run, we are all Bained.

Spartan