Witch’s Will For A Morning In December
My Pick of the Litter Today
A Failure To Communicate
by Roger E. Simon
It’s “Merry Xmas, not” for Republicans, conservatives, libertarians and Tea Partiers, etc. Losing the November election was bad enough, but it’s gotten worse since, considerably worse.
The party, and consequentially its ideas, is in freefall.
As of last week, 57 percent approve and 42 percent disapprove of Barack Obama’s performance as president. Pretty soon he’ll be as popular as Roosevelt — or Reagan.
What is the cause of this debacle? Largely this: Republicans, conservatives… the whole list above… do not know how to talk to the broad spectrum of the American people outside their choir.
Republicans are not just bad at public relations. They’re disastrous at it.
With rare exceptions, this goes for the entire panoply of the right – from elected officials to party leaders to pundits and talk show hosts to think tank intellectuals from the most extreme conservatives to the most losey-goosey of so-called RINOs. No difference.
What we have here in the immortal words of Cool Hand Luke’s Strother Martin is a “failure to communicate.”
And this failure has occurred at the very time America has over 8 percent unemployment and is over 16 trillion in debt. Go figure. You would think a party of economic austerity, or even semi-austerity, would be more popular than ever.
Failure to communicate, indeed.
Unfortunately, fixing this public relations deficit is not going to be easy. It’s too entrenched and too long-standing. The Republican brand is tarnished, maybe even hopelessly so, certainly beyond what should be acceptable to anyone.
The kneejerk response of many is to go back to pure conservative principles — a kind of Maoist ideological purge.
Consider this: the word conservative itself may be a large part of the problem. Few young people want to identify with it, even when the ideas and values inherent in the ideology make perfect sense to them, even when they are already living by those values.
No, the problem is more complicated and made more so by what we all know — the overwhelming onslaught of propaganda and dishonesty from the academy, Hollywood and the media. We can complain about that all we want, but unless we start building our institutions, no genuine change will occur.
Stories/Articles You Might Find Interesting – or not
Candles In Solidarity
Christmas 1981 — Ronald Reagan on the Christ child and the media.
This time 31 years ago, December 23, 1981, President Ronald Reagan delivered a moving Oval Office address to the nation. The subject was Christmas and events in Poland.
As to Poland, martial law had been imposed by the communist government in coordination with Moscow. Poles were aghast, as was Ronald Reagan.
Reagan, in the words of NSC official Richard Pipes, was “livid.”He immediately sought to assist the Polish people in any way he could. At that very moment, Reagan committed to save and sustain Poland’s Solidarity movement as the wedge that could splinter the entire Soviet bloc. That effort included many actions inside and outside Poland, too numerous to detail here, but one of the earliest relates to Christmas 1981.
On December 23, 1981, Reagan held a private meeting at the White House with the Polish ambassador, Romuald Spasowski. That very day, Spasowski and his wife defected. “It is unbelievable to me that I am sitting in the office of the president of the United States,”said the ambassador, who Moscow immediately denounced as a vile traitor. “I wish it were under better circumstances.”
As Spasowski’s wife wept, the ambassador said to Reagan: “May I ask you a favor, Mr. President? Would you light a candle and put in the window tonight for the people of Poland?”
Reagan did just that. He went to the second floor, lit a candle, and put it in the window of the White House dining room.
The Fiscal Cliff and the Middle-East
Washington is so broken that our enemies no longer need to make things up to embarrass us.
When your dissolute political establishment sinks to the point of being fit for lectures from Chinese Communists on spending restraint, and from erstwhile Soviet revanchists on foreign-affairs modesty, you are at rock bottom. Welcome to Washington.
Remember two summers ago, the depths of the last Beltway debacle on out-of-control borrowing that charted the course for today’s latest Beltway debacle on spending and taxes. It was then that China’s rulers blasted Uncle Santa for our “debt addiction,” our failure to observe “the commonsense principle” that a nation, like a family, must “live within its means.” At the time, U.S. sovereign debt — of which China is, not coincidentally, a major holder — had been downgraded below triple-A for the first time ever.
The Obamedia, fearing that their hero would be irreparably harmed by this signature achievement, reliably promoted a false narrative: Conservative “extremists” were refusing to extend the president’s tapped-out credit line, sending shivers through the bond markets. In reality, the explanation for the downgrade was not the contretemps over the statutory “debt ceiling”; it was the astronomical debt itself. The ceiling was significant only because it occasioned convincing proof that Washington is not serious about addressing our spending crisis. When you are borrowing to pay the interest on prior borrowing, it is time to cut spending — drastically. Washington won’t even consider it. That is what signals to creditors that our “full faith and credit” may not be credible. When you are burning through other people’s money because you’ve already spent your own people’s money for the next few generations, promises to pay are not very reliable. href=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/jump/nro.com/;pos=middle;tile=4;sz=300×250;ord=123456789?” target=”_blank” >
So dire are our straits that the stated national debt — an obscene $16.4 trillion — does not even begin to reflect the actual national debt, which probably exceeds ten times that amount when unfunded liabilities and bankrupt, bailout-craving states are factored in. The government annually spends over a trillion dollars more than the enormous $2.4 trillion it takes from us in taxes. Structurally, our “mandatory” spending (entitlements plus interest on the accumulated debt) puts us in a perennial deficit hole of $250 billion (and rising fast) before one thin dime is spent on “discretionary” items . . . such as the $700 billion defense budget. You may remember national defense — not wealth-redistribution, health care, or running commercials to recruit new food-stamps recipients — as the reason we actually have a federal government.
Kennedy Run Could Throw Dem Rivals Into Lion’s Den
Edward M. Kennedy Jr.’s emergence in the Bay State’s latest looming special U.S. Senate election would be a tectonic game changer, forcing leading local Democrats to think twice about jumping in and bringing a tidal wave of national money, influence and headlines to both sides of the race — again.
With the late senator’s son mulling a run, according to his brother Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrats are already gaming their options for the expected race to replace U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry if he is confirmed as secretary of state. Nationally, it’s a chance for the party to bring the late Liberal Lion’s name back to the Senate. For Republicans, that name is a red flag that could fire up the right opponent’s campaign.
Oh dear God not another damn Kennedy! I am so sick and tired of these political dynasty families I could puke!
Edward Kennedy’s son considering US senate bid
A son of late political icon Edward Kennedy is considering a run for the US senate seat in Massachusetts – the same state his late father represented for nearly five decades.
A party that doesn’t think with its skin
by Jeff Jacoby
SOUTH CAROLINA’S conservative Republican governor, Nikki Haley, is the daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab. US Representative Tim Scott of Charleston, a Tea Party hero who was raised in poverty by a divorced single mother, is South Carolina’s first black Republican lawmaker in more than a century. To anyone who shares the ideals that animate modern conservatism – limited government, economic liberty, color-blind equality – it stands to reason that Haley and Scott are conservatives. And their Republican affiliation should surprise no one familiar with the GOP’s long history as the party of minority civil rights.
But many people aren’t familiar with that history. So relentlessly have liberal propagandists played the race card over the years that virtually anything conservatives or Republicans do – from opposing Obamacare to tweaking the president’s fondness for golf — somehow gets twisted into proof of racial malice. So when Haley announced last week that she would appoint Scott to the US Senate seat being vacated by Jim DeMint, who is leaving to take a job at the Heritage Foundation, I indulged in a bit of preemptive snark.
“An Indian-American governor appoints an African-American to the US Senate,” I posted on Twitter. “Man, that lily-white GOP racism never ends, does it?”
On being sworn in, Scott will become the Senate’s only sitting black member and the first from the South since the 1880s. Indeed he’ll be just the seventh black senator in the nation’s history; three of the others, including Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, were also Republican. Haley, meanwhile, is one of only two Indian-Americans ever elected governor (the other is Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, a fellow Republican). For anyone who esteems racial and ethnic diversity, this has to be a good-news story. Could even the most determined racial McCarthyists find reasons to decry Scott’s appointment?
Of course they could.
“Tokens. That’s all they are,” one Twitter user promptly replied to my tweet. Remarked another: “The man’s race may be inconvenient for the Repubs, but he’s a teabagger like them so they’ll ignore it.” Twitter users elsewhere smeared Scott as an “Uncle Tom” and a “house Negro.”
In fairness, on Twitter anyone can pop off about anything. What about more serious venues?
Well, the NAACP – which used to be a serious organization – promptly let it be known that while it was glad to see “more integration” in Congress, it disliked Scott’s “record of opposition to civil rights protection and advancing those real issues of concern of the … African-American community.” Does the NAACP really believe that Johnson opposes black civil rights? A ludicrous canard. Then again, so was its absurd resolution two years ago denouncing the Tea Party movement as a platform for “anti-Semites, racists and bigots.”
Writing Wednesday in The New York Times, University of Pennsylvania political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. was in a similar froth, slamming Scott because he doesn’t think with his skin. “His politics, like those of the archconservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, are utterly at odds with the preferences of most black Americans.” Scott has no legitimate connection to “mainstream black politics,” Reed scoffed. He’s just another “cynical token” – one more black Republican elected to Congress from a majority-white district.
It’s an old story by now, this venomous lashing-out at blacks and other minorities who embrace conservative or Republican values. It especially infuriates the Democratic left to see the enthusiasm black conservatives inspire among Republicans. Far from celebrating the fact that minorities can demonstrate appeal across the political spectrum, the left whips out the race card. The rise of black Republican leaders, they say, is just a thin disguise for GOP racism. Yet if Republicans oppose a black Democratic leader, they call that racism too.
The Thirteen Blogs of Christmas
by Walker Russell Mead
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care at the ancestral Mead mansion; and as I settle down for a long winter’s rest I am taking a break from politics and war, sort of, to do some good old-fashioned Yuletide blogging.
In particular I want to blog about Christmas itself and what it means. Somehow my generation decided to leave this part out when we passed down the traditions and the lore we were taught to the next generation: we’ve bought a lot of Christmas presents but we were too busy to think much about the meaning of the story or to teach the next generation much about this holiday and the religion which it defines.
That was a mistake. On behalf of us all, I apologize, and this Christmas I’ll be doing my little bit to make amends.
I’ve got some time to do it in. As most of us know from the song about the partridge and the pear tree, there are twelve days of Christmas. The season ends on January 6, traditionally celebrated as the day when the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem with those gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In Elizabethan England the last night of the Christmas season was celebrated with special parties and feasts. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was written to be performed at that special time of year.
Even today, the twelve days of Christmas are more than a phrase from a carol. In much of the Spanish-speaking world, January 6 is when kids get their presents. Jesus got gold, frankincense and myrrh; they get video games and dolls. In New Orleans, January 6 marks the end of the season of Christmas holiday parties and feasting, and the start of the Carnival season of parties and feasting. When I lived there I remember people bitterly complaining how unfair life was; while everyone else in the country was going on post-Christmas diets, we poor put-upon people in New Orleans still faced a month of king cake parties and packing on the pounds.
In the old days people kept a Yule log burning during the holiday season; at Via Meadia we’ve had a tradition from the start of a festive Yule blog. From now until January 6, I’ll be Yule-blogging: reflecting on Christmas in ways that I hope will make sense to Christians and non-Christians alike. The Yule blog is a work in progress; each year I try to make it a little clearer, a little more useful, a little less hopelessly inadequate at explaining some of the most important and mysterious truths there are.
The meaning of Christmas is much bigger than the trite clichés that usually come up in this context; I won’t just be writing about the Importance of Giving and the Desirability of Being Nice. Christmas, at least the way I was taught, is a lot more than a merry interlude in the darkest, nastiest time of the year. It is more than getting or even giving. It is more than carols and candy, more than wonderful meals with the people you love best in the world. It is much more than the modern echo of the pagan festivities marking the winter solstice and the moment when the sun begins to reverse its long and slippery slide down the sky.
For Christians, 77% of the American people according to a recent Gallup poll, Christmas is the hinge of the world’s fate, the turning point of life. It is the most important thing that ever happened, and we celebrate it every year because it is still happening now. Whether we know it or not, whether we appreciate it or not, we are part of the Christmas Event that has turned history upside down. There’s a reason why we date the birth of Christ as the year 1 and why traditionally the world’s history was divided into BC, before Christ, and AD, anno domini, the year of the Lord.. (Actually, as Pope Benedict XVI reminded us this year, the monk who tried to calculate it seems to have gotten it wrong; Jesus was probably born four to six years “BC”. He also did not know about the use of zero as a number; there is no Year Zero between AD and BC — which is why irritating pedants remind people at every turn of the century that the “real” new century or millennium doesn’t begin until 2001, for example, rather than on January 1, 2000.)
Non-Christians, including the 5% of Americans who adhere to a non-Christian religion and the 18% who either claimed no religion at all or chose not to answer the pollsters, need to know about Christianity too. Religious education has pretty much fallen by the wayside in American life today. That’s a problem in more ways than one; I see the consequences all the time when students I teach – and policy makers and journalists I know – simply do not comprehend the cultural foundations of American politics and cannot understand the ways that so many people here and around the world are moved by religious values and ideas. I have taught a course on the relationship of American religious ideas to American foreign policy in some of our leading colleges, and I have had smart, well-traveled and otherwise well-read students in that course who have never opened a Bible (or any other holy book) in their lives and simply had no idea why so many other people read and study it every day of their lives.
For Christians, I hope these blog posts will enrich your experience of this special season. To believe in the truth of the Christian religion and to encounter Jesus Christ as the saving Son of God is just the first step; understanding this religion, appreciating its resonances and mysteries, participating in the communion of saints and God’s own life, joining the story and not just reading it: that is what being a Christian is about.
The Times Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Map
On December 7, the New York Times website ran a “correction” to Jodi Rudoren’s article on the E1 area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim (a community of about 40,000 Jews living less than two miles east of the capital). The Times acknowledged that, contrary to the article, the E1 plans “would not divide the West Bank in two” and “would not technically make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible” (emphasis added). As Israeli ambassador Michael Oren noted, one would know this if one were to “just look at a map.”
Elliott Abrams wrote that it was “just plain extraordinary” that the Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief “knows so little about the geography of the Jerusalem area that she could write such things.” He suggested a reason for her errors:
“Here’s my theory: that just about everyone she knows … know that they are true. Settlements are bad, the right-wing Israeli government is bad, new construction makes peace impossible and cuts the West Bank in half and destroys contiguity and means a Palestinian state is impossible. They just know it, it’s obvious, so why would you have to refer to a map, or talk to people who would tell you it’s all wrong?”
In an email to Politico, Rudoren said she “deeply regretted” that “on deadline, late at night and at the end of a very long couple of weeks, I used imprecise language and, yes, did not study the map carefully enough.” She asserted she consults “a broad variety of people” and that “most of the people” she associates with do not have “any particular perspective.” At Israel Matzav, Carl in Jerusalem ran an experiment to test Rudoren’s assertion, and cast some doubt on it.
Then on December 20, the Times ran an editorial entitled “The Fading Mideast Peace Dream”–and repeated the same Rudoren errors, alleging the E1 plans “would split the West Bank” and “prevent the creation of a viable contiguous Palestinian state.” What made the Times–two weeks after it knew the assertions were false–repeat them on its editorial page? The editors were not working on deadline, and they had ready access to maps. They had corrected Rudoren’s assertions not only December 7 on their website, but on December 16 in the print version of the paper, on page A3. They had presumably read Oren’s “just look at a map” article, since it appeared in the New York Daily News a week earlier.
I have a theory. The Times has a “worldview” of “political and cultural progressivism” that “virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times,” treating certain developments “more like causes than news subjects.” Actually, it’s not a theory, and it’s not mine. The words are those of Arthur Brisbane, in his final column earlier this year, summing up his two years as the Times’s public editor. There is a logical corollary: you are not likely to become the Times‘s Jerusalem bureau chief without subscribing to its worldview of Israel–one that, as the Times editorial shows, produces errors caused by something more than long weeks and nights, deadlines, and insufficient map study.
When using the slogan “all the news that’s fit to print” you might want to add in something about accuracy. Because this “mistake” is more than just bias, it’s damn sloppy and unworthy of a major league news organization. Once they let their bias run their newsroom they quit being credible.
Madmen and Crowds
Liberal Hypocrisy Explained In Two Posters:
NPR’s Nina Totenberg Dumps on Bork’s Death: ‘Embittered’ Man Opposed ‘Civil Rights’, Trashed ‘Working Mothers’
National Public Radio was quite good at historical re-enactment on Thursday night’s All Things Considered. The Nina Totenberg obituary on Reagan’s defeated Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork carried almost all the original liberal invective. She included then-Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales, who wrote “He looked and talked like a man who would throw the book at you, and maybe the whole country.”
There were glaring exceptions. Totenberg had no soundbite of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s vicious, smearing “Robert Bork’s America” speech and no clip of the People for the American Way “campaign ad” against Bork narrated by the actor Gregory Peck, as if Bork were a candidate for president.
Kind of tacky to dump on a dead man doncha think? But then this is Nina Totenbert we’re talking about and she defines tacky, small-minded and dishonest. After all she’s from NPR.
Why God Created The Republican Party
by Pat Buchanan
“God put the Republican Party on earth to cut taxes. If they don’t do that, they have no useful function.”
Columnist Robert Novak was speaking of the party that embraced the revolution of Ronald Reagan, who had hung a portrait of Calvin Coolidge in his Cabinet Room and set about cutting income tax rates to 28 percent.
But, to be historically precise, the GOP was not put here to cut taxes. From infancy in the 1850s, its mission was to halt the spread of slavery. From 1865 to 1929, it was the party of high tariffs. Mission: Build the nation and protect U.S. industry and the wages of American workers.
And if the Deity commanded the GOP to cut taxes, the party has had an uneven record. Warren Harding and Coolidge cut Woodrow Wilson’s wartime tax rates by two-thirds, but Herbert Hoover nearly tripled the top rate.
Under Dwight Eisenhower, when the top tax rate was 91 percent, the GOP ratified the New Deal and provided the tax revenue to balance the budget at the elevated levels of spending 20 years of Democratic rule had established.
Richard Nixon followed suit. Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, aid to education, the Peace Corps, the arts and humanities endowments, all of the Great Society programs grew — with Nixon adding OSHA, EPA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Cancer Institute.
Reagan cut tax rates to 50-year lows, but also accepted new gasoline and payroll taxes. George H.W. Bush then raised the top rate back to 35 percent.
George W. cut tax rates, but put two wars, prescription drug benefits for seniors and No Child Left Behind on the Visa card. Speaker Boehner is about to sign on to higher tax rates.
Point of this recitation: Republicans may talk of reducing the size of government, cutting taxes and balancing budgets. But the history of the last century suggests the party has been driven into what may be described as an inexorable long retreat.
When Coolidge left the White House to “Wonder Boy,” as he called Hoover, federal spending was 3 percent of gross national product.
Today, it is around 23 percent. Add state, county and municipal government spending, and we are at 38 percent. Anyone think this figure is going down in our lifetimes?
Can anyone say the GOP, if it is the party of small government and low taxes, has over the past 80 years been a successful party? Or does the America of today look more like the country Socialist Norman Thomas had in mind in 1932?
How, conceivably, can spending go down when, from 2012 to 2030, 75 million baby boomers will be retiring and going on Social Security and Medicare at a rate of 10,000 every day?
How can spending go down when a million legal immigrants arrive annually, 85 percent from the Third World, and most lacking the academic and linguistic abilities or the work skills of Americans?
These immigrants — and, with “immigration reform,” 11 million to 12 million illegals, as well — will be eligible for welfare, earned income tax credits, food stamps, rent supplements, Medicaid, Head Start, free schooling K-12 with two or three free meals a day at school, Pell Grants and student loans at graduation, job training and unemployment checks for 99 weeks.
Under Bush and Barack Obama both, these programs have exploded. And with 40 percent of all babies now born to single moms in America, does anyone believe these programs will shrink?
Don’t even bother to tell today’s Democrats that. Facts don’t interest them. Only hyperbole! And don’t bother to impart the facts to most Republicans either. They too are not interested in facts that show the GOP is usually as bad as the Dems when it comes to being spenders. The Tea Party had it right and that’s why both parties want to see them gone.
Hooray For Follywood
In a rare statement from the Central Intelligence Agency, the agency’s acting director slammed the film “Zero Dark Thirty” as unrealistic in its portrayal of the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
“I would not normally comment on a Hollywood film, but I think it important to put ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ which deals with one of the most significant achievements in our history, into some context,” Michael Morell said in statement on the CIA’s website Friday.
“The film, which premiered this week, addresses the successful hunt for Usama Bin Ladin that was the focus of incredibly dedicated men and women across our Agency, Intelligence Community, and military partners for many years. But in doing so, the film takes significant artistic license, while portraying itself as being historically accurate.”
No surprise here. Follywood has been churning out their version of history for years. No one who wants the truth ever seeks it in Hollywood. Well no one but idiots.
What Are The Cockroach Democrats Doing Now?
Democrats Charging Obamabots “Membership” Fees To Support The President…
You now have to pay to be an Obamabot? I was always under the impression a full-frontal lobotomy was the only requirement.
I Saw Daddy Pat Down Santa Claus
NBC’s David Gregory Mocks NRA Chief For Proposing Armed Guards At Schools . . . Fails To Mention He Sends His Kids To School Protected By Armed Guards…
The Gregory children go to school with the children of President Barack Obama, according to theWashington Post. That school is the co-ed Quaker school Sidwell Friends.
According to a scan of the school’s online faculty-staff directory, Sidwell has a security department made up of at least 11 people. Many of those are police officers, who are presumably armed.
Peel away the MSM’s dishonesty, hypocrisy, mendacity and bias and there is nothing left. David Gregory, empty suit.
School Obama’s Daughters Attend Has 11 Armed Guards
Some interesting news has broken in the wake of the latest push for gun control by President Obama and Senate Democrats: Obama sends his kids to a school where armed guards are used as a matter of fact. The school, Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, has 11 security officers and is seeking to hire a new police officer as we speak. If you dismiss this by saying, “Of course they have armed guards — they get Secret Service protection,” then you’ve missed the larger point. The larger point is that this is standard operating procedure for the school, period. And this is the reason people like NBC’s David Gregory send their kids to Sidwell, they know their kids will be protected from the carnage that befell kids at a school where armed guards weren’t used (and weren’t even allowed).
That would be the same school that hypocrite David Gregory’s kids attends. But no armed guards are needed for the kids atending other schools. The children of ordinary people just aren’t worth protecting are they you liberal scumbucket?
Obama Playing Chicken With Economic Disaster
Many progressive reporters and bloggers have been pushing the idea that going over the fiscal cliff into January will have very little effect on the economy and will actually help President Obama achieve his legislative goals. Indeed, Republican Sen. Barrasso hypothesized that President Obama was “eager” to go over the cliff.
Unfortunately, going over the fiscal cliff has real economic effects, and the progressives who are claiming otherwise are irresponsibly pushing the country to unnecessary economic pain.
Worth a Read:
‘No Christmas Spirit’: Consumer Confidence Lowest Since July
Gregory on MTP: Likely Broke DC Law, Hypocritically Mocked NRA’s Armed Guards Proposal
Petition To Deport Piers Morgan Breaks Threshold Mandating Response From White House, Now At 33K Signatures…
Why would they keep their word about something like this when they’ve not kept it about so many other things? Expecting honesty from the Obama Administration is like expecting pearls from a glob of snot.
Quote of the day:
“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!” ~ Benjamin Franklin