Nearly every national political campaign emphasizes the importance of connecting with the middle class. So how come in the 2012 presidential race, none of the candidates are able to make that connection?
A hint may be found in the results of a Rasmussen Reports survey showing that just 27 percent of voters nationwide believe government management of the economy actually helps the economy. Fifty percent think government economic activism does more harm than good.
Even when I agree with Rick Santorum, listening to him argue the point almost makes me change my mind.
I also wonder why he's running for president, rather than governor, when the issues closest to his heart are family-oriented matters about which the federal government can, and should, do very little.
It's strange that Santorum doesn't seem to understand the crucial state-federal divide bequeathed to us by the framers of our Constitution, inasmuch as it is precisely that difference that underlies his own point that states could ban contraception.
There have been many "gaps" in modern politics. There is the gender gap, the generation gap and now the God gap, which is the gulf between people who take God's instructions seriously and those who don't. Which side of the gap you're on could influence your vote.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution contains two clauses addressing religious liberty: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
It's a shame that in their modern misguided zeal to read the first clause as mandating a complete separation of church and state, liberals do great damage to the second clause and defeat the overarching purpose of both: ensuring religious liberty.
When New York churches no longer can meet in public school settings, a federal court orders a Rhode Island public school to remove a prayer banner that has been posted for more than five decades (and it complies), the federal government mandates that Catholic institutions cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization (at no cost to the patient), the U.S. Air Force removes "God" from the motto of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, atheists continue to contest "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, town councils can't pray to start their meetings, evangelical pillars like Franklin Graham are subdued by gotcha gangs in the mainstream media, and cultural icons like Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow can't even bow in silent prayer without criticism, you can be assured that religious liberty is under assault by secular progressives across America. And leading the national charge is none other than our president, Barack Obama.
Though America's Founding Fathers opposed the reign of kings or priests, they actually advocated the role of religion in society and civic service, including intermingling their own Christian faith in political convictions and choices. And I believe they would want us to vote in a president who is committed to the same.
As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama declared his support for green energy development. "For the sake of our economy, our security and the future of our planet," he said, "we must end the age of oil in our time."
As president, Obama called for putting 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015. He backed that call with more than $5 billion in taxpayer subsidies to jump-start the electric car industry. The president also put in place a program that gave $7,500 to anyone who would actually buy an electric car. Despite that support, sales were minimal in 2011, so his new budget proposes hiking that subsidy to $10,000 a car.
As governor of one of the most liberal states in the union, Mitt Romney did something even Ronald Reagan didn't do as governor of California: He balanced the budget without raising taxes.
Romney became deeply pro-life as governor of the aforementioned liberal state and vetoed an embryonic stem cell bill. (Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich lobbied President George W. Bush to allow embryonic stem cell research.)
If one manages to graduate from high school without the rudiments of algebra, geometry and trigonometry, there are certain relatively high-paying careers probably off-limits for life — such as careers in architecture, chemistry, computer programming, engineering, medicine and certain technical fields. For example, one might meet all of the physical requirements to be a fighter pilot, but he's grounded if he doesn't have enough math to understand physics, aerodynamics and navigation. Mathematical ability helps provide the disciplined structure that helps people to think, speak and write more clearly. In general, mathematics is an excellent foundation and prerequisite for study in all areas of science and engineering. So where do U.S. youngsters stand in math?
Drs. Eric Hanushek and Paul Peterson, senior fellows at the Hoover Institution, looked at the performance of our youngsters compared with their counterparts in other nations, in their Newsweek article, "Why Can't American Students Compete?" (Aug. 28, 2011), reprinted under the title "Math Matters" in the Hoover Digest (2012). In the latest international tests administered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, only 32 percent of U.S. students ranked proficient in math — coming in between Portugal and Italy but far behind South Korea, Finland, Canada and the Netherlands. U.S. students couldn't hold a finger to the 75 percent of Shanghai students who tested proficient.
Black History Month honors the achievements of African Americans throughout history and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, a reliance on family and faith, which allowed many African Americans to survive the horrors of Reconstruction, racial injustice and violent acts of discrimination, has become a casualty of the modern welfare state, which has contributed to the destruction of family cohesion, supplanted faith in God with faith in government and fashioned many African-Americans into a Democratic voting bloc that has not improved the lot of the impoverished among them.
While African-American history is important, the way it is most often presented through a liberal political lens skews the contributions and examples of African Americans who do not toe the liberal line. One especially sees this in the civil rights establishment's response to Justice Clarence Thomas and more recently to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.)
I stated a few weeks ago that I believe that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum have shown the greatest passion for highlighting and fighting against the war on religion (specifically Christianity) being unleashed by the Obama administration and other secular progressives. They are also avid supporters of Israel.
However, in light of the potential global clash outside our country with regimes such as those in Iran and Syria and the ongoing domestic assaults within our country from President Barack Obama and his minions, my wife, Gena, and I believe that America needs the best of the best veterans of political war to save our republic (as our Founding Fathers established it) and lead us forward.
There is a grisly pallor that has beset former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Then, too, there is a lumpiness — to his face, to his features, to his ... well, to his lump.
When he walks into a room, I feel rather sorry for him, but then I feel rather sorry for Bill Clinton, too, and for Hillary. No longer do I call her "Bill's lovely wife Bruno." She looks grandmotherly rather than tough. I guess maybe her coeval from the 1960s generation of student government goody-goodies, Newt, looks grandfatherly rather than brainy. What does Al Gore look like these days, and Jean-Francois Kerry? They all quite abruptly assumed old age.
A strong move is on to demonize and marginalize social conservatives, a move that originates from the political left but is being aided by some on the right, a move that is based on assumptions that better describe the leftist accusers than they do their targets.
Obama, by rewriting the Bush rules to protect health care providers who objected on moral grounds to abortion, has breached his repeated promise to preserve them and has dealt a significant blow to religious liberties, yet he is painting people of faith as the extremists.
One theory for why Barack Obama pushed the contraception mandate right now is that it helps Rick Santorum. Others theorize it's because Obama is an anti-religious bigot with a left-wing agenda. Reasonable minds can disagree on this.
But it may end up helping Mitt Romney by reminding people that the "individual mandate" is the least of the problems with ObamaCare. (The "individual mandate" is simply the legal argument for why ObamaCare is unconstitutional in a country that has accepted Social Security and Medicare as constitutional.)
It's hard to imagine a worse example of media bias than the national coverage of illegal immigration. Every week, it seems there are stories across the United States that minimize the issues of illegal immigration and border security. But look at the facts and the media's bias towards illegal immigrants is clear.
Many reporters often neglect to mention that the immigrants they write about are illegal immigrants. For example, in an article that appeared in the San Antonio Express-News last year, "Hunt for border-crossers is on ground and in air," the reporter used the words "immigrant" and "immigration" five times but couldn't bring himself once to use the word "illegal."
President Obama is nothing if not an incorrigible spendaholic, as his new budget reconfirms in spades. While the nation drowns in debt, Obama wants to buy new expensive Tinkertoys to indulge his utopian fantasies.
Legend has it that prior to embarking on his mission to conquer the known world, Alexander the Great, who had not yet established his greatness, visited the oracle at Delphi seeking a good omen. The oracle was actually a priestess who sat on a stool in the crypt of Apollo's Temple above a fissure in the earth that emitted vapors and put her into a trance, wherein she would channel messages from Apollo.
As the tents were coming down at McPherson Square, the dead rats and mice being retrieved, the urine and feces and filthy bedding disposed of by District of Columbia employees dressed in hazardous-materials suits like their contemporaries at Fukushima, I thought of the left-wing press.
You see, I read the left-wing press. Not the urban throwaway rags, but I read The Nation, The Progressive, The American Prospect, and more — I read them all. They have been raving for months about the exciting prospect of a great wave of reform coming out of the Occupy movement. It was here to stay, and for a while, silly old me took them seriously.
If you aren't creeped out by the No Birth Control Left Behind rhetoric of the White House and Planned Parenthood, you aren't listening closely enough. The anesthetic of progressive benevolence always dulls the senses. Wake up.
When a bunch of wealthy white women and elite Washington bureaucrats defend the trampling of religious liberties in the name of "increased access" to "reproductive services" for "poor" women, the ghost of Margaret Sanger is cackling.
Having given up on pillorying Mitt Romney for plundering his way to vast wealth -- because, unfortunately, it isn't true -- the NFM (Non-Fox Media) seem to have settled on denouncing him as a rich jerk.
Liberals are disgusted by people who made their own money, as Romney did at Bain Capital. But they admire ill-gotten gains, which is how John Kerry, John Edwards, Jon Corzine, John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt and innumerable other spokesmen for the downtrodden amassed their fortunes.
Let's think about the kind of mess that we're in. Federal 2010 Medicare and Medicaid expenditures totaled $800 billion. The projected annual growth of both programs is about 7 percent. Social Security expenditures are more than $700 billion a year. According to the 2009 Social Security and Medicare trustees reports, by 2030, 49 percent of federal revenues will go for Social Security and Medicare payments. The unfunded liability of both programs is already $106 trillion.
But not to worry. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it's possible to sustain today's level of federal spending and even achieve a balanced budget. All that Congress would have to do is raise the lowest income tax bracket of 10 percent to 25 percent and the middle tax bracket of 25 percent to 66 percent and raise the 35 percent tax bracket to 92 percent. That's a static vision that assumes that people will have no response and they'll work just as hard and send more money to Washington. If Congress did legislate such tax increases, it would be the economic equivalent of committing national hara-kiri.
For 60 years the National Prayer Breakfast has been a nonpolitical event where speakers put aside their earthly biases and focus on a Higher Authority. Last Thursday, President Obama departed from that tradition to claim the endorsement of Jesus for raising taxes. It beat the endorsement of Mitt Romney by Donald Trump.
In his remarks, the president quoted Luke 12:48: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." The president sees this verse as a command for him to raise taxes on the successful so the money can be "spread around" to the less successful. If the president's interpretation of this verse sounds a little like Karl Marx, it should. Marx said, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
While much of the focus these days is on the fight for the Republican presidential nomination, there are some developing trends that are likely to have the man already in the White House smiling. Only 29 percent of voters nationwide believe the United States is currently heading in the right direction, while 64 percent believe the nation has gotten off on the wrong track. Those aren't great numbers for a president seeking re-election — but that 29 percent is up from 24 percent a month ago and 16 percent the month before that.
A similar pattern can be found when reviewing the way people view the economy. The raw numbers are bad, but the trend shows improvement. Fifty-seven percent say the country is still in a recession. A majority has held that view consistently for four years. But the number that believes the country is in a recession is down from 61 percent a month ago and 67 percent three months ago.
There's been a heap of criticism placed upon President Barack Obama's domestic policies that have promoted government intrusion and prolonged our fiscal crisis and his foreign policies that have emboldened our enemies. Any criticism of Obama pales in comparison with what might be said about the American people who voted him in to the nation's highest office.
Obama's presidency represents the first time in our history that a person could have been elected to that office who had long-standing close associations with people who hate our nation. I'm speaking of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for 20 years, who preached that blacks should sing not "God Bless America," but "God damn America." Then there's William Ayers, now professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago but formerly a member of the Weather Underground, an anti-U.S. group that bombed the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol and other government buildings. Although Ayers was never convicted of any crime, he told a New York Times reporter, in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attack, "I don't regret setting bombs. ... I feel we didn't do enough." Obama has served on a foundation board, appeared on panels, and even held campaign events in Ayers' home, joined by Ayers' former-fugitive wife, Bernardine Dohrn. Bill Ayers' close association with Obama is reflected by his admission that he helped write Obama's memoirs, "Dreams from My Father."
If only the Democrats had decided to socialize the food industry or housing, Romneycare would probably still be viewed as a massive triumph for conservative free-market principles -- as it was at the time.
It's not as if we had a beautifully functioning free market in health care until Gov. Mitt Romney came along and wrecked it by requiring that Massachusetts residents purchase their own health insurance. In 2007, when Romneycare became law, the federal government alone was already picking up the tab for 45.4 percent of all health care expenditures in the country.
President Obama and his radical feminist enforcers have had it in for Catholic medical providers from the get-go. It's about time all people of faith fought back against this unprecedented encroachment on religious liberty. First, they came for the Catholics. Who's next?
This weekend, Catholic bishops informed parishioners of the recent White House edict forcing religious hospitals, schools, charities and other health and social service providers to provide "free" abortifacient pills, sterilizations and contraception on demand in their insurance plans — even if it violates their moral consciences and the teachings of their churches.
I think the mainstream media and Washington elite think the majority of voters just fell off the turnip truck. But the South Carolina primary and other current voting trends show otherwise.
The MSM are working double time to get us to forget about the unprecedented results of the South Carolina primary, but they are a sign of what could be in Florida, Nevada and beyond. They are also proof that American citizens will not be outwitted by the political shenanigans of the powers that be. Let me give you a few examples.
In the intense heat of the present, it is easy to forget even the relatively recent past, but it seems to me that this GOP primary season is more acrimonious than the past few, probably because the stakes are so high.
When I've noted that this is the most important presidential election of our lifetimes, a few excitability-resistant conservative friends have said, "They have been saying that about every election for more than a generation." My response to that is:
Newt Gingrich has surged to the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination with the strong support of evangelical Christian voters. To some, given Gingrich's personal life, this support is puzzling. Whatever else people say about Mitt Romney, his personal life seems above reproach and a good role model for others.
But Gingrich benefits from the fact that when it comes to ethics, voters always grade politicians on a curve. Among Republican primary voters nationwide, 68 percent believe the former House speaker's ethical standards are at least as good as those of most other politicians. Even 51 percent of Romney supporters and 74 percent of Rick Santorum's voters view the ethics of Gingrich as the norm for his peers.
Larry Sand's article "No Wonder Johnny (Still) Can't Read" — written for The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, based in Raleigh, N.C. — blames schools of education for the decline in America's education. Education professors drum into students that they should not "drill and kill" or be the "sage on the stage" but instead be the "guide on the side" who "facilitates student discovery." This kind of harebrained thinking, coupled with multicultural nonsense, explains today's education. During his teacher education, Sand says, "teachers-to-be were forced to learn about this ethnic group, that impoverished group, this sexually anomalous group, that under-represented group, etc. — all under the rubric of 'Culturally Responsive Education.'"
Summertime is usually when TV networks air repeats of shows we've already seen. In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, the president got a five-month jump on the summer season by re-running a class-envy video he has broadcast more times than local stations have shown episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show."
Instead of a credible assessment of the state of the union, which is not good, the president delivered a slightly toned down campaign speech. We heard more of the same about how "the rich" aren't paying their "fair share" in taxes.
To talk with Gingrich supporters is to enter a world where words have no meaning. They denounce Mitt Romney as a candidate being pushed on them by "the Establishment" -- with "the Establishment" defined as anyone who supports Romney or doesn't support Newt.
Gingrich may have spent his entire life in Washington and be so much of an insider that, as Jon Stewart says, "when Washington gets its prostate checked, it tickles (Newt)," but he is deemed the rebellious outsider challenging "the Establishment" -- because, again, "the Establishment" is anyone who opposes Newt.