Monday, November 03, 2014

Cruising the Web

Michael Barone remarks on the dogs that aren't barking in this election year. What is missing is any defense by Democrats of Obama's policies that they've voted for.
President Obama recently said that Democrats in serious Senate and House contests this year back “every one” of his programs. But you hear very little about those programs in their ads.

The stimulus package, for example, is not mentioned much. Nor are proposals by serious Democrats like Clinton-administration veteran William Galston for a national infrastructure bank. These dogs aren’t barking.

The reasons are obvious. The stimulus didn’t stimulate the economy the way the Reagan tax cuts did in the 1980s. As for infrastructure, as Obama sheepishly admitted, there is no such thing — given environmental reviews and bureaucratic torpor — as a shovel-ready project.
Nor have Democrats been talking much, except when questioned at debates, about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. This is by far the most consequential legislative achievement of the Obama Democrats. But the consequences, most voters continue to believe, are mostly negative.

One hears even less, from either side, about Democrats’ success at imposing higher tax rates on high earners. You might expect Republicans to avoid the subject, as they do. But so do Democrats. Soaking the rich evidently doesn’t win votes.

All of this matters because the Obama Democrats expected their policies to be popular. They thought voters would appreciate being showered with what Mitt Romney infelicitously called “free stuff.” The New Deal historians assured us that in times of economic distress, voters would have a hearty appetite for big government.
And the list of Democratic policies that are not being talked about goes on and on. All they have is a phony "war on women, racial dog whistles, or scare talk about Medicare.

Victor Davis Hanson notes the same thing as Barone.
Here is the problem with the old-style Obama strategy of slicing and dicing the electorate into aggrieved minorities and then gluing them back together to achieve a 51% majority. On almost every issue in this election that they should be running on, they simply cannot. And on those that they are running on, they probably should not be.
He notes the growing list of policy promises that the Democrats and Obama campaigned on that they didn't accomplish in foreign policy, instituting bigger and more competent government, the economy, or even immigration. So they're left with their demonization of Republicans.
That said, after several past successful assaults, the latest version of “Sexist!/Racist! /Homophobe! /Nativist!” seems to be so predictable that it is becoming flat and boring. In other words, after six years of the constant race and gender barrage from Obama, Eric Holder, Harry Reid, the Congressional Black Caucus, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the Elizabeth Warren and Wendy Davis wing of the Democratic Party, lots of people are not only unreceptive, but snoozing. That indifference only causes the Democrats to turn up the volume even higher, which in turn puts even more people off. It all reminds me of the last days of the 1980 presidential campaign, when in the final week Reagan finally broke through the distortions and media bias to expand his tenuous lead in the polls, which in turn prompted Carter to go lunatic in his venomous charges....

A final note on the final desperate Democrat attempt to deal the race card. The mythical average voter is, again, probably confused because it presents a heads-you-lose/tails-we-win dilemma for him: if you elect Obama twice as president, then you are — for a while — granted probation as not being a racist. But if you just once falter and tire of his failures, then you are racist in a way you were not actually when you gave him your unthinking vote of confidence.

Jonah Goldberg explains how Harry Reid has hurt Democratic senators by preventing votes on controversial issues from getting to the floor of the Senate.
You have to wonder if Harry Reid feels like an idiot yet. For years now, the Senate majority leader has been cynically protecting Democratic senators — and President Obama — from difficult votes. The rationale was pretty straightforward. He wanted to spare vulnerable Democrats named Mark — Arkansas’s Mark Pryor, Alaska’s Mark Begich and Colorado’s Mark Udall — and a few others from having to take difficult votes on issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline, EPA rules, and immigration reform.

The problem for the Marks and other red- or swing-state Democrats is that, having been spared the chance to take tough votes, they now have little to no evidence they’d be willing to stand up to a president who is very unpopular in their states.

Thanks to Reid’s strategy of kicking the can down the road, GOP challengers now get to say, “My opponent voted with the president 97 percent of the time.” Democrats are left screeching “war on women!” and “Koch brothers!”
When Barone says that the Democrats can't brag about what they voted for in support of Obama, they can't even brag about what they voted against Obama because Reid kept those issues bottled up.

If the Democrats lose control of the Senate, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Reid will lose his leadership position of the Democrats.
That crucial element of Reid’s leadership style — designed to prevent Republicans from forcing Democrats to vote on “gotcha” amendments — has had the unintended consequence of giving Democratic senators running in red states few chances to show any independence from President Obama. Since a whopping 85 percent of the votes that have been held are to confirm appointees, many Democrats have been bombarded with devastating ads noting they’ve backed Obama as much as 99 percent of the time in the past year. “If Democrats see they’ve lost Senate seats because of those ads, the attitude toward Reid’s strategy shifts rapidly,” former Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell told me.

Other Democrats have long expressed despair over Reid’s gaffe-prone speeches (“Sometimes I say the wrong thing” he admitted this year in a classic understatement) along with his general inability to speak clearly. His Senate-majority PAC ran a much-criticized radio ad in North Carolina linking the GOP candidate to the death of Trayvon Martin. A former aide to Senator Schumer outlined another source of frustration to The Hill: “There is a dissatisfaction among a lot of Democrats that we’re not doing anything, and they spend a lot of money to get elected. They spend months and months on the phone raising money to get elected, and the job is not satisfying. Nearly all these people came here to get something done, and that’s what they want to do.”
Not that Chuck Schumer would be any great improvement, but I think Reid has long passed the expiration date on his appeal, even to Democrats.

Do the Democrats really think that a creepy notice to voters that they're watching and will want to know why they might not vote this year is really an effective way to get out people to vote for Democrats? It just seems too ham-handed.

I agree with Quin Hillyer, Chris Christie's shtick is growing tiresome. This latest outburst in which he yells at a heckler to "sit down and shut up" is quite unappealing. He just comes off as a bully with a bad temper that he is taking off at someone who doesn't have the microphone to fight back. All politicians get hecklers. Experienced ones have mastered how to respond with grace and humor. I found that video of his most recent tirade practically disqualifying for Christie in 2016. I've long been skeptical of how successful Christie could be anyway as long as the economy is sour in New Jersey.

How typical:
Rock The Vote released a public service announcement last month with a parody of Lil Jon's "Turn Down For What" that featured public figures who explained why they planned to vote in the midterm elections, but according to public records, a number of them didn't vote in the last midterm election.

At least five who appeared in the PSA — "Girls" actress Lena Dunham, comedian Whoopi Goldberg, "Orange is the New Black" actress Natasha Lyonne, "Rich Kids of Beverly Hills" star E.J. Johnson, and actor Darren Criss — did not vote in the last midterm, records from Los Angeles County and New York City show.

The Washington Free Beacon has an excerpt by Sonny Bunch from a new book of short essays by some of the best conservative writers, The Seven Deadly Virtues: 18 Conservative Writers on Why the Virtuous Life is Funny as Hell. This looks like a great present for anyone who likes reading good writing from conservatives. Bunch's excerpt is about how our life has become so politicized and people don't seem to be exercise forbearance of someone having other ideological beliefs. People just want to embrace their anger and hatred towards those of the the other ideology.
Not so long ago, in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, a woman by the name of Madeline Janis spent 751 words of precious editorial-page real estate bemoaning the fact that she didn’t like her dying father’s politics. Miss Janis, a progressive lioness, wrote that her dad routinely refused to engage her in arguments. Instead, he preferred enjoying her company and talking about less contentious topics. Yet while moving him into an assisted-living facility, she came across his dark secret. The villain owned a collection of Rush Limbaugh hats. Janis told her father he should throw them out.

“Rush Limbaugh is nasty and mean-spirited,” she hectored. “Can’t you at least stop wearing these caps?” When he said no—after all, why should his daughter care which ball cap he wore?—the two went to their separate corners. Some time later, Janis’s father came to her and said that his love for her eclipsed even his partiality for Limbaugh. Since the hats were causing her so much distress, he tossed them. The truly odd part of the story is that to Janis, her badgering of an old man represented, somehow, a lesson in tolerance.

“Our love for each other and our family helped my father and me transcend the enormous ideological divide between us,” she wrote, without apparent irony. By “transcend” she probably meant “traverse,” with all of the movement coming from her father; “tolerance” really meaning the capitulation of the other side.

The media's admiration for confrontational journalism sure changes whether it's a conservative doing an ambush interview or if it's the MSM such as Dateline or 60 Minutes.

Imagine if a Republican talked about a female politician the way that Tom Harkin talks about Joni Ernst.
“In this Senate race, I’ve been watching some of these ads,” Harkin said at the Story County Democrats’ annual fall barbecue last week honoring the retiring senator. “And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Joni Ernst. She is really attractive, and she sounds nice.’”
“Well I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa.”

Here is a victory for due process that should affect some of the actions on college campuses to deny young men due process in rape accusations.
ypically, the burden of proof lies with the accuser. Otherwise, anyone could accuse anyone else of anything and then say “prove me wrong.”

And that’s not how the legal system — or logic — works.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that those accused of rape are not responsible for proving they obtained consent. In a 6-3 ruling, the court said that requiring the accused to provide such proof to the preponderance of evidence standard violated constitutional rights.

"Requiring a defendant to do more than raise a reasonable doubt is inconsistent with due process principles," wrote Justice Debra Stephens. She added that doing so raised "a very real possibility of wrongful convictions."

SNL ridicules both Obama and the overwhelming support for him in the black community and what it would take for him to lose some of that support.