Monday, December 24

Sunday, December 23

Senator Marco Rubio Wishes You A Merry Christmas

US Senator Marco Rubio, the person I consider to the be the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has sent out a video of Christmas well wishes.


Wednesday, November 21

Selling the American Dream by Rachel Campos-Duffy

Rachel Campos-Duffy has written a great piece for American Spectator. She makes the case for how and why the Republican party should approach the way we try to attract Hispanics differently. Campos-Duffy is one of those acorns that fell from the Jack Kemp tree. The former star of MTV's The Real World is and has been a star within the party for some time now. Her advice, and her story in general, are worth knowing and worth sharing.

 I hate to minimize the column to three excerpts, but I think these are well worth focusing on:
Jack Kemp, it turned out, shared some of my roommates’ concerns. Long before the Hispanic vote became a favorite topic for pundits and talking heads, he profoundly understood that changing demographics created consequences for the GOP if it failed to aggressively and continually engage minorities in ideological debate. 
Today, Harry Reid says he doesn’t understand how anyone Hispanic could be a Republican. Actor John Leguizamo claims that Hispanics voting for Republicans are like roaches voting for Raid. 
But when Kemp was alive, he specifically and exuberantly made the case that Hispanics belonged in the GOP. He passionately argued that the work ethic and entrepreneurialism of Mexican Americans is quintessentially American—and very Republican. He understood that our parents and grandparents came north for economic freedom, not more government. He recognized that Hispanics are inherently pro-life and very traditional in their principles and values. 
Jack Kemp is the reason I became interested in Empower America, and the reason I brought my roommates and the MTV cameras with me on that beautiful afternoon. Later, I received a handwritten note from “Old #15” that I still have framed in my home office. It reads: “Rachel—I’m sure glad you made it to M.T.V. They need a young (beautiful), sharp, conservative ‘bleeding heart’ Hispanic woman from Arizona.” 
What Jack didn’t say in that note, but knew to be true, was that the GOP needed me too.
- - -
Which brings us to another problem: The Republican Party has a shockingly shallow pool of Hispanic surrogates. The left successfully grooms Hispanic talent at the local level, with the understanding that the fruits of the effort may not be visible in the next election. Julian Castro, the young mayor of San Antonio who gave the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, is an example of this. 
Republicans have an extraordinary representative in Marco Rubio, who can sell American exceptionalism with the clarity of Reagan and the enthusiasm of Kemp. In New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, they have a relatable Mexican American governor who grew up around a family business. 
But Martinez is being under-utilized, and Rubio cannot do it alone. The Republican Party needs to work harder to find, train, fund, and empower Hispanic conservatives who can go out, particularly during the off years, to present our principles and our values.
- - -
Engaging Hispanics in issue-by-issue conversation is the way to win over those who are already inclined to agree with so much of our party platform. A natural gateway is school choice, the civil rights issue of our day, which clearly demonstrates the stark differences between what the two parties offer minorities and those seeking upward mobility. A conservative community organization, modeled after La Raza, that helps families fight for access to good schools would earn the trust and political allegiance of parents by showing them, firsthand, who is really on the side of the poor. 
We can win Hispanics over—at least enough to remain electorally competitive. But doing so is a generational task. Reagan did it with my dad. Kemp reinforced it with me. And now every one of my siblings is a proud Republican, raising more Republicans (14 grandkids in all!). 
It’s high time the GOP gets its act together, stands up, and boldly reaches out to its most promising and natural constituency. We came to America for the American Dream. Convince us that you are the party preserving that dream for our children and grandchildren, and you will win our hearts and our votes. I stand ready to help.
You can find the entirety of the Campos-Duffy column here.

Sunday, November 18

Marco Rubio Hits Iowa

Marco Rubio spoke in Iowa last night. His speech is well worth watching. I suspect this is the first of many, many visit Rubio will be making to Iowa over the next 3 years.

Friday, November 9

Skyfall Is Here!

Home from seeing Skyfall. I went to a midnight showing, though technically it was 12:07 for 007. Clever. 

Anyway, more on the movie at a later time. Go check it out though. There's a surprise toward the end...I didn't see that coming at all.

Friday, November 2

Tuesday, October 30

Funny Ad Out Of Ohio

This ad, opposing Leftist Sherrod Brown, may be the funniest political ad of the season. Take a look and tell me if you agree:

Ohio's US Senate Race (along with the US Senate race in Pennsylvania) is among the most important in the country, and a real opportunity to replace a Leftist with a great, patriotic conservative. Check out Josh Mandel and follow him on twitter @JoshMandelOhio

Tuesday, October 9

Skyfall - It's Getting Closer

Skyfall is getting closer to release. This new video features scenes from the movie, set to the Skyfall song, sung by Adele.


Wednesday, October 3

Paul Ryan Campaign Ad: Patient Centered Solutions

Congressman Paul Ryan is out with another ad for his campaign in Wisconsin. The topics he is covering in these ads, are really national issues, and he is addressing them at a local level, in common sense language that resonates with people. In this great new ad, Congressman Ryan is asked, "Health care is still a mess. What's your plan?".


Friday, September 14

Interviewed on The Price of Business, Sept 7, 2012

I was interviewed by Kevin Price on his show The Price of Business on the final day of the DNC in Charlotte. We discussed impeached president Bill Clinton's speech the night before. We also discussed my feature called Across The Pond at


Wednesday, September 12

America Has A Choice - Paul Ryan Ad

I think this is a great ad from Paul Ryan. It's for his congressional campaign back home, it's very effective.


Wednesday, September 5

VIDEO: Empty Chairs Across America

Baracuda Brigade has put together a great video with a compilation of some of the best images from the Clint Eastwood inspired Empty Chair Day. Take a look and enjoy a few laughs.

Saturday, September 1

Unaired & Unedited: Paul Ryan

As I'm posting this video, it's a few days old, but I just discovered it and I think it's really key.


This! Is What We're Up Against

Friends and loyal readers,
The tweet below is from late Friday night:
This kind of delusion is what we're up against this year. We can take nothing for granted. These brain-washed cult worshipers are out there. They're willing to throw their dollars at a do-nothing, empty suit like Barack Hussein Kardashian. They have seriously "bought in" to this clown, they feel a personal connection, unlike anything we've ever seen.

My point is simple: take nothing for granted, never stop fighting. Make sure people know where you stand. Stand with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Donate $5. Re-tweet their tweets, "Like" their posts on Facebook. There's no excuse for not doing your part.

Ready? Go!

Friday, August 31

"The Poster"

Crossroads Generation has released a new ad which picks up on a theme that Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan articulated on Wednesday night in his speech to the RNC in Tampa.

For context, here is the text of what Paul Ryan said:
“College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

From the Crossroads Generation YouTube description of the video, startling figures:
Youth unemployment remains high, with 18-24 year olds facing unemployment over 15%. In a poll conducted by Crossroads Generation of 800 registered voters aged 18-29, only 22% said that they thought Obama had put into place policies that have made it easier for young people to find jobs. We can do better. Join us at

Thursday, August 30

Paul Ryan’s New Jack Kemp Style Republicanism

This post by Richard Viguerie so touched me, as I was a big fan of Jack Kemp's, that I decided to re-post this in its entirety:

Richard Viguerie Post -
In one brief line in last night’s acceptance speech, Paul Ryan made himself the Republicans’ star witness in the case against Barack Obama.
“None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.”
In a speech that was full of humility, yet so consequential that it eclipsed those of Senator John McCain and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Ryan also revived the Jack Kemp wing of the Republican Party.
One of Ryan’s early mentors, Jack Kemp never tired of making the connection between freedom, a small government, and economic success. Paul Ryan’s methodical dissection of Barack Obama’s assaults on the freedom of individual Americans and the disaster of Obamanomics proved him to be a worthy inheritor of Kemp’s mantle.
In this, Ryan also began to make good on my observation that his selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate made the Republicans the Party of the future.
Paul Ryan’s emphasis on the future, while so effectively indicting the current President’s economic policies and lack of leadership, did not bode well for Obama’s campaign strategy of personal attacks and excuses.
Ryan’s acceptance speech also brought something that has been strangely lacking in the Republican effort so far: a sense of urgency about that future.
“Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems. And I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time.  But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this,” said Ryan.
However, a campaign based on fear of the future alone is unlikely to succeed. Jack Kemp understood this and so does Paul Ryan.
Toward the end of his remarks, Ryan said, “I learned a good deal about economics, and about America, from the author of the Reagan tax reforms – the great Jack Kemp.  What gave Jack that incredible enthusiasm was his belief in the possibilities of free people, in the power of free enterprise and strong communities to overcome poverty and despair.   We need that same optimism right now.”
The Kemp-like, “We can do this,” may prove to be the Romney/Ryan ticket’s new campaign slogan.
Ryan also showed himself to be the inheritor of Jack Kemp’s brand of Republican populism, as he put himself squarely on the side of the Main Street America that has borne the brunt of today’s economic woes while cronyism protected the big players of the Wall Street/Washington axis with trillions in federal stimulus spending and government bailouts.
Ryan’s commitment that a Romney/Ryan administration would hold federal government spending to its historic norm of 20% of GDP — or less — was also a new and very consequential commitment from a Romney campaign that has been short on commitments and specifics to-date.
While Washington’s pundit class may see that as a throwaway line in a campaign speech, those, in both Parties who have become addicted to the Obama-level of federal spending should consider themselves on notice.  
Two of Ryan’s closest collaborators in Congress, Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Mike Pence, now running for Governor of Indiana, had a bill for a constitutional amendment to do just that (hold spending to 20% or less), and a federal budget reduced to that level would have no trouble passing a Tea Party influenced House of Representatives — if it ever got to the Floor.
While Jack Kemp made economics and tax policy his signature issues, he never shied away from talking about the conservative social agenda and making the tie between a successful society and a moral society.
In this, Ryan also proved himself to be Kemp’s worthy successor as he gave one of the few direct embraces to the right to life heard at this year’s GOP Convention.
In rejecting a society “where everything is free except us,” and in his optimism about the future — if Americans make the choice to join him — Paul Ryan has pointed the GOP and the Romney campaign in a new, and decidedly Jack Kemp-style, conservative direction. END
- - - -
The American renaissance that Jack Kemp wrote about and advocated during his life, may yet be upon us. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, August 29

Paul Ryan Closes His RNC Speech Strong

Until I can find one video with all of Paul Ryan's speech, I'm just posting this one which contains the closing portion of the speech. I happen to think this was a strong closing and I think it did its job.


 - - - -

Guy Benson over at has posted a superb review of the Paul Ryan speech. It's well worth the look.

And here is The Hill's take on what happened tonight, Ryan carves up President Obama.


Matt Kibbe posted this on Fox News' opinion site, Ryan’s speech builds trust among grassroots conservatives.

Sunday, August 19

Baseball Notes - Melky, Mills and the Lastros

Two stories are really bothering me this morning.

First, this thing with Melky Cabrera of the Frisco Giants has gotten weirder with this revelation about his fake website and the ways he tried to cover-up the use of steroids. I have been hearing people put forth the idea that the teams need to take a greater responsibility. I agree with this. And as such, the way teams should "take responsibility" is by vacating wins when a player tests positive for steroids.

How many of the Frisco Giants wins this year came with Melky in the lineup? We're in August. If you argue that Melky has been juiced-up the entire season, that's four and a half months. Every one of those games won should have been vacated last week when MLB suspended Melky. The teams need to take responsibility. Frisco is still in contention in the NL West, so aside from losing Melky for the rest of the regular season, they really haven't paid a price. This is wrong. Once the teams start taking ownership of solving the problem of steroids in baseball, I think this is going to be a huge problem and a black eye.

Second, the Houston Lastros disgraced themselves Saturday night by firing manager Brad Mills. For Mills' part, he parted ways with class. I'm not a Lastros fan, but being in Houston, I hear his radio show on occasion and I read about him in the little local paper. Brad Mills is a good guy. He had come from the Red Sox system, and he can recover from that. I hope someone picks up Brad Mills and puts him to work right away. Memo to my Dodgers: Make the call, there's a place in the system for Brad Mills.

As for the Lastros, you're a freaking joke. You gave this guy a team full of AA talent, at best, and you expected him to compete? Did you really need to make this crucial change in mid-August? Are you thinking you're going to compete next year in the AL West, and therefore you wanted to get a new manager in place? This is all laughable.

Tuesday, August 7

Interviewed on The Price of Business, August 2, 2012

I was again on the radio with Kevin Price to discuss the outcome of the Texas Republican primary in which Ted Cruz emerged victorious. The tea party movement was also discussed.

Tuesday, July 31

Oh yes. This will work.

The new full Skyfall trailer has been released. If this doesn't get your blood flowing, nothing will.

Happy 100th Birthday Milton Friedman

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand.” -- Milton Friedman

Monday, July 30

Skyfall TV Spot

This is the 30-second television spot for Skyfall that aired during the Olympic opening ceremony.

Saturday, July 28

London Newspapers Olympic Coverage

Loyal readers know how I'm a newspaper junkie. So, when I saw this picture of the Saturday newspaper coverage in London of Friday's opening ceremony, I had to post it.

(h/t @Ourand_SBJ)

Friday, July 13

Three Friday Reads

Fridays Wall Street Journal was a particularly great edition. I found many other columns of interest, in the front section alone, but I wanted to make sure to share these three with you. Understand, I don't agree all three, especially leftists Carville and Greenberg, but that's why you should read these.

James Taranto: Obama's Risky Campaign Strategy

The campaign's narrow appeals to particular voting blocs could alienate other Democratic or swing voters.

Carville and Greenberg: The Middle Class Needs a Lifeline

Voters want higher taxes on top earners and far more ambitious spending on infrastructure than in 2009.

What's Really Behind the Entitlement Crisis

Declining birth rates mean there are not enough workers to support retirees.

Thursday, June 28

What We Learned Today

Barack Hussein Kardashian has given us the largest tax increase in the history of the world, under the guise of Health Care.  We now have the Obama Health Care Tax that can be fought at all levels of government. Strip its funding, strip its reach and strip its encroachment into our lives.

Saturday, June 9

Paul Ryan Speaks In Texas

I was in the arena this afternoon when Congressman Paul Ryan spoke at the Republican Party of Texas state convention.

I'm going to openly speculate now that this was possibly a test run to see if Congressman Ryan could sell in Texas.  If Ryan can sell (and based on the crowd reaction to his speech, I think he can) we may see Ryan as the vice presidential candidate by the time Republicans gather nationally in Tampa Bay at the end of August.

Monday, May 21

Skyfall Trailer Released

The first trailer for the next installment of the James Bond series was released today in England. I approve.



Sunday, May 20

2012 Smack-Off On A Mobile

As I posted a few days ago, a local sports talk station in Houston does an annual Smack-Off On A Mobile, which imitates, perfectly, Jim Rome's annual Smack Off.  I think this is always hilarious. The good guys at 1560 The Game limit this annual to one hour, but it's a great hour.  Take a listen to the files below. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.  Oh and, the surprise call in the 2nd segment from former NFL Quarterback Jim Everett is a real treat.

Before you listen to the 2012 Smack-Off On A Mobile, you may want to listen to last year's (2011) Smack-Off on a Mobile here.

(clicking on the buttons will open up a player for the mp3 file, or you can right-click and "save as")

Wednesday, May 16

If you've ever listened to Jim Rome's Smack Off, well, this is way better. The local sports guys in 1560AM do a perfect imitation of the show. Adam Clanton does a perfect Rome.

Owly Images

Tune in this Friday, listen online.

Tuesday, May 15

Europe's Brain-Dead Right

Nobody should be surprised if voters also give Angela Merkel and David Cameron the boot at the next ballot.

By Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal

Readers presumably understand that Europe's economic crisis is also the crisis of social democracy—of the idea that markets must be made to co-exist with high levels of taxation, regulation, unionization, welfare spending and subsidized health care and education. Eutopia may be nice in theory; it may even work for a while. But eventually social-democratic policies will lead to economic stagnation, policy paralysis and national bankruptcy on the continental scale we are witnessing today.So, naturally, Germany's Social Democrats romped to a 13-point victory in Sunday's elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, the country's largest state.

"All politics is local," goes the cliché, and it would be tempting to read the German result that way, too. The state had long been a Social Democratic stronghold before tipping into the hands of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats in 2005. Mrs. Merkel remains broadly liked as chancellor and doesn't face an election until next year. And the German economy is the envy of Europe.

And yet Mrs. Merkel's party keeps losing state elections: In its old stronghold of Baden-Würrttemberg last year; in her home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Are Germans doing so well that they've decided to become politically flippant about their prosperity? Would Christian Democrats be doing a bit better politically if the economy were doing a bit worse?

The resurgence of the Social Democrats in Germany is of a piece with the strong showing of Labour last month in Britain's local council elections. It's of a piece with the pathetic showing this month of Greece's center-right New Democracy, and of the resurgence there of the hard left. It's especially of a piece with Francois Hollande's improbable rise to the French presidency, on the strength of economic ideas whose intellectual sell-by date was sometime in the mid-1970s.

Have the gods gone crazy? No. But maybe there's a message here for Europe's joy-fearing conservatives, who seem to have convinced themselves that managing an economy should be like running a 19th-century nunnery—an exercise in the stern suppression of animal spirits.

Take euro-conservative tax policy. In France, Nicolas Sarkozy responded to the euro-zone crisis by increasing some VAT rates to 21.2% from 19.6%, introducing a 3% surcharge on high incomes, and raising the effective capital-gains tax to 32.5% from 31.3%. In Britain, David Cameron raised VAT to 20% from 17.5% and kept the top marginal rate at 50% (now coming down to a still-exorbitant 45%).

Germany? Tax cuts Mrs. Merkel promised when she was re-elected never materialized, though corporate rates have come down. The new conservative Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy is raising the top marginal rate of income tax to 52% from 45%. In Holland, the right-of-center government increased the top VAT rate two percentage points to 21% and doubled the country's bank tax prior to its sudden collapse last month. Italy's technocratic administration of Mario Monti has imposed new levies on property, luxury goods and repatriated wealth.

No wonder the natives are stirring. Europe's right-of-center leaders came to office on the perception that they are better economic managers than their left-of-center counterparts. What they've mainly shown is that they are just as incompetent—only a lot more severe.

Raising consumption taxes in an otherwise flat-lining economy is especially galling if it's joined to the perception (accurate or not) that the government plans to lay off government workers. Why should Europeans be made to sacrifice on an altar of austerity whose benefits have so far failed to materialize, except perhaps as a slightly more palatable debt-to-GDP score? Just who is this thing called "the economy" meant to serve?

The astonishing political result is that it is now the left that has captured the language of growth. Never mind the precise formulas: blowout deficit spending, loose monetary policy, millionaire surcharges, a Tobin tax, euro bonds financed by anybody who can turn water into wine, a "mild" dose of inflation. At least the left is talking growth, not redistribution. That's a mark of political progress.

Here's something else the European left seems to be recapturing: the language of sovereignty and democracy.

For years, it was the right that had a corner on that particular market, with its suspicion of all things Brussels. But Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy undercut that reputation with their serially ill-fated efforts to broker grand bargains for "saving" the euro zone. Their prescriptions were rubbish—Does Greece look like it's been rescued? Has Mrs. Merkel's fiscal pact held up?—but their arrogance was worse. Nobody wants their economic future dictated to them by leaders they didn't elect, in languages they probably don't understand. Yet that's exactly what "Merkozy" sought to impose.

Now it's gone, and good riddance too. The French will probably soon come to regret Mr. Hollande, but it's unlikely Mr. Sarkozy will be missed. Nobody should be surprised if voters also give Mrs. Merkel, Mr. Rajoy and Mr. Cameron the boot at the next ballot. At its best, the right should stand for the idea that the purpose of government is to allow people to flourish, mainly by getting out of their way. Today's European right stands instead for imposing penalties on people in order to atone for the sins of government. That's a right that deserves to lose, and will, until it learns that voters want freedom, not chastity.

A version of this article appeared May 15, 2012, on page A15 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Europe's Brain-Dead Right.

Monday, May 14

I saw this on facebook and had to share it. I find it hilarious, and disturbing, yet totally true.

Friday, April 27

Gingrich Is Quitting the Race (Just Give Him a Little Time)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Newt Gingrich arrived at the Penske Racing plant here on Thursday accompanied by a large security detail protecting him from a big threat — of rain.
Otherwise, Mr. Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and presumptive campaign dropout, pretty much had the run of the place. He was unbothered by persuadable voters, supporters or media fuss. His staff consisted of a young traveling aide. He appeared exhausted, his hair sticking up in the back as he walked with a weary stutter step — literally limping to the finish.
Yet Mr. Gingrich still retained a sense of childlike fascination that has been as much a hallmark of his campaign as his bombastic statements, staff dysfunction and debate star turns.
“I am learning about cars,” Mr. Gingrich explained to a lone reporter on the fringe of an entourage that otherwise included local Republican officials, Penske executives and about 12 people wearing earpieces.
“It’s pretty amazing,” he marveled. “Everywhere we’ve been, we’ve learned something new and different about how complex this country is. This is part of the reason we’re doing this.”
The rest of his rationale for still campaigning is unclear, especially since he indicated after getting trounced in five more primaries this week that he would leave the race. “The campaign will go bye-bye,” he said definitively at a luncheon here Thursday.
But not just yet. He had committed himself to several events in North Carolina, he said. He wanted to honor those and not disappoint anyone who had planned to see him. What’s a few more days?
In financial terms, it costs taxpayers about $40,000 a day to pay for Mr. Gingrich’s Secret Service detail. His campaign was $4.3 million in debt as of the end of March, according to filings. There is also the intangible cost to Mr. Gingrich’s stature and the threat to party unity behind the inevitable nominee, Mitt Romney — whom, Mr. Gingrich says, he will support and campaign for.
Mr. Gingrich seems not to care in the least about the stature and party unity thing. On Thursday, he cared about cars.
“This is absolutely astonishing,” he said, transfixed while caressing a gray engine block in a prototyping lab. He walked slowly across a factory floor that resembled one of those blinding white rooms in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The place was largely vacant, as many employees had decamped to Brazil for a big race this weekend.
Mr. Gingrich gave a thumbs-up to a guy driving by on a maintenance cart and popped his head into an office. “Hi, I’m Newt,” he said to the startled occupant, Felicia Thomas. “I know who you are,” she said.
He lingered, in no rush at all.
One of the quirky indulgences of modern campaigns is that candidates announce their intent to run for president on multiple occasions — essentially, stunts to milk media attention. They announce the formation of exploratory committees, announce that they intend to run, announce that they are actually running, etc.
Ever the innovator, Mr. Gingrich has applied that ritual to quitting. While he has had no realistic chance of overtaking Mr. Romney for several weeks, he maintained until recently that he would stay in the race all the way to the Republican National Convention.
But at some point, Mr. Gingrich started referring to the race in the past tense. He shed nearly all of his staff members. He pinned his hopes on Tuesday’s primary in tiny Delaware, saying that he would reassess if he lost — which he did, by almost 30 points.
On Wednesday, Mr. Gingrich indicated that he would suspend the campaign next week with a speech. He will offer some form of official endorsement of Mr. Romney.
A familiar analogy is to the Japanese soldiers who turned up in remote areas long after August 1945 and had no idea that World War II had ended. But Mr. Gingrich knows that his war is over, and while not exactly fighting, he is not surrendering yet, either. His wife, Callista, was appearing at events nearby.
How would he characterize his current status?
“I am a citizen,” he said. “And I will continue to be a citizen.”
(As a practical matter, Mr. Gingrich is a citizen who is being protected by that taxpayer-supported Secret Service detail. His campaign spokesman, R. C. Hammond, said, “It is at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security when they will cease protecting the candidate.” That was expected to occur Thursday night.)
Befitting his citizenship, Mr. Gingrich then headed to a lunch with fellow citizens at the Charles Mack Citizen Center in downtown Mooresville, a few doors from the Anything’s Possible tattoo parlor.
He pulled up in a caravan of four S.U.V.’s, two North Carolina state trooper patrol cars and other unmarked vehicles. About 20 people showed up inside, many of them the same local dignitaries and party officials who were at the Penske plant. Again, Mr. Gingrich appeared completely unbothered.
“It’s a small enough group that we can really chat,” he said, and proceeded to do nearly all of the chatting for close to an hour. He stood in front of a Gingrich 2012 sign and delivered the same kind of Newt-ian stemwinder that he used to deliver in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. That was back in the zestful days when Mr. Gingrich suddenly found himself at the center of the national conversation. Back when important voters were still listening to him.
At the citizen center Thursday, Mr. Gingrich zigzagged forth on a diverse set of topics: the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, bladder transplants, his fascination with the human brain, shale gas, the threat of “cyberpenetration,” his visit Wednesday to two impressive charter schools and a few other things. Near the end, he mentioned something about Mr. Romney.
But enough about him. Mr. Gingrich had some final points to make before departing to a small but hearty standing ovation. He said he planned to spend the next few months staying active as a citizen, doing what he could to defeat President Obama. He planned to spend next week working the phones, thanking donors and no doubt hitting some of them up to help him retire his campaign debt. He then has to make some money himself.
“It’s been a long and expensive two years,” he said. “But it’s been fun.”

Saturday, April 21

A Great Dodgers Highlight

The Dodgers re-tweeted me tonight. That was awesome.

Friday, April 20

Reagan's Vital Lesson On Reducing Gas Prices Worked

From today's Investor's Business Daily:

Energy: It wasn't anything mysterious that allowed Ronald Reagan to bring gasoline prices down so far, so fast. It was something we could use a commitment to in the executive branch today: economic freedom.

Skyrocketing gas and heating oil prices were the most infuriating development associated with what was mistakenly called the "energy crisis" during the 1970s. Mighty America, it seemed, had lost grasp of world events and the global economy.

It was understandable that presidential leadership in the world would slip badly during Watergate and Vietnam, but when a new Democratic president untainted by war or massive scandal was placed in the driver's seat in the latter half of the decade, what could explain his failure to rein in the price of oil?

Oil, which was about $20 a barrel in constant dollars at the beginning of the decade, exceeded $100 by 1980. The man the American people had elected to be leader of the free world put his incompetence in a nutshell in his May 24, 1979, diary entry:

"I had a depressing breakfast with economic advisers, who don't know what to do about inflation or energy."

That didn't stop Jimmy Carter from embracing a windfall-profits tax on Big Oil. But if he and those he appointed didn't know what to do, liberal Democrats in Congress certainly knew what wasn't going to work. Reagan's decontrolling the market for oil was lambasted and lampooned on the Senate and House floors.

As Steven Hayward puts it in the second volume of his epic history "The Age of Reagan": "In the annals of public policy prognostication it is difficult to find such a wide assembly of wrongheadedness."

Sen. Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio promised in early 1981, "we will see $1.50 gas this spring, and maybe before. And it is just a matter of time until the oil companies and their associates, the OPEC nations, will be driving gasoline pump prices up to $2 a gallon."

Sen. Dale Bumpers of Arkansas claimed, "without rationing, gasoline will soon go to $3 a gallon." Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, later the Senate's Democratic majority leader, warned that "every citizen and every family will find their living standards reduced by this decision."

Instead, when Reagan removed price controls on oil via an executive order issued shortly after his inauguration, the price fell almost immediately and kept dropping so that by the first year of his second term average gas prices were below 90 cents a gallon.

Thanks to Reagan showing the way, it would be many years before rising gas prices would become a problem for Americans, with many gas stations still selling regular for well under 90 cents even in the late 1990s. Somehow the nation's greedy oil companies were found to be uninterested in gouging consumers when they would have little noticed.

As Brian Domitrovic, economic historian at Sam Houston State University noted recently in Forbes, when Reagan's energy, monetary and tax cut policies were in full swing in early 1983, "the whole energy crisis was on the cusp of vanishing from the scene."

Domitrovic points out that somehow all the petroleum "'supply' crises also disappeared for good. This was so even though the world's major economy was embarking on one of its most remarkable modern runs of multidecade growth."

Inflation, somehow, wasn't accompanying the Reagan boom, as economists of the left believed it must.

Friday, April 13

Apparently what's good for the goose...

... isn't good for the commie gander, when his name is Putin.

(from the front page of the Wall Street Journal)

Saturday, April 7

California Declares War on Suburbia

Planners want to herd millions into densely packed urban corridors. It won't save the planet but will make traffic even worse.

Wendell Cox penned this very interesting piece in the Saturday Wall Street Journal. Basically, this is what happens when planners and radical environmentalists take control. Other 49 states: take heed.

Peggy Noonan Gets It Right...Again

For the second Saturday in a row, Peggy Noonan has written the only thing we actually needed to read, everything else was just gravy.  You may recall, last week I also posted her weekly column in its entirety.

Here is the latest offering from Noonan, published in Saturday's Wall Street Journal (highlights are my own):

Oh, for Some Kennedyesque Grace
Obama makes his campaign strategy clear. It's divide and conquer.

These are things we know after President Obama's speech Tuesday, in Washington, to a luncheon sponsored by the Associated Press:

The coming election fully occupies his mind. It is his subject matter now, and will be that of his administration. Everything they do between now and November will reflect this preoccupation.

He knows exactly what issues he's running on and wants everyone else to know. He is not reserving fire, not launching small forays early in the battle. The strategy will be heavy and ceaseless bombardment. The speech announced his campaign's central theme: The Republican Party is a radical and reactionary force arrayed in defense of one group, the rich and satisfied, while the president and his party struggle to protect the yearning middle class and preserve the American future.

This will be his campaign, minus only the wedge issues—the "war on women," etc.—that will be newly deployed in the fall.

We know what criticisms and avenues of attack have pierced him. At the top of the speech he lauded, at some length and in a new way, local Catholic churches and social service agencies. That suggests internal polling shows he's been damaged by the birth-control mandate. The bulk of the speech was devoted to painting Washington Republicans as extreme, outside the mainstream. This suggests his campaign believes the president has been damaged by charges that his leadership has been not center-left, but left. This is oratorical jujitsu: Launch your attack from where you are weak and hit your foe where he is strong. Mr. Obama said he does not back "class warfare," does not want to "redistribute wealth," and does not support "class envy." It's been a while since an American president felt he had to make such assertions.

The speech was an unusual and unleavened assault on the Republican Party. As such it was gutsy, no doubt sincere and arguably a little mad. The other party in a two-party center-right nation is anathema? There was no good-natured pledging to work together or find common ground, no argument that progress is possible. The GOP "will brook no compromise," it is "peddling" destructive economic nostrums, it has "a radical vision" and wants to "let businesses pollute more," "gut education," and lay off firemen and cops. He said he is not speaking only of groups or factions within the GOP: "This is now the party's governing platform." Its leaders lack "humility." Their claims to concern about the deficit are "laughable."

The speech was not aimed at healing, ameliorating differences, or joining together. The president was not even trying to appear to be pursuing unity. He must think that is not possible for him now, as a stance.

There was a dissonance at the speech's core. It was aimed at the center—he seemed to be arguing that to the extent he has not succeeded as president, it is because he was moderate, high-minded and took the long view—but lacked a centrist tone and spirit.

It was obviously not written for applause, which always comes as a relief now in our political leaders. Without applause they can develop a thought, which is why they like applause. In any case, he couldn't ask a roomful of journalists to embarrass themselves by publicly cheering him. But I suspect the numbers-filled nature of the speech had another purpose: It was meant as a reference document, a fact sheet editors can keep on file to refer to in future coverage. "Jacksonville, Oct. 10—GOP nominee Mitt Romney today charged that the U.S. government has grown under President Obama by 25%. The president has previously responded that in fact the size of government went down during his tenure."

An odd thing about this White House is that they don't know who their friends are. Or perhaps they know but feel their friends never give them enough fealty and loyalty. Either way, that was a room full of friends. And yet the president rapped their knuckles for insufficient support. In the Q-and-A he offered criticism that "bears on your reporting": "I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they're equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle." An "equivalence is presented" that is unfortunate. It "reinforces . . . cynicism." But the current debate is not "one of those situations where there's an equivalence." Journalists are failing to "put the current debate in some historical context."

That "context," as he sees it, is that Democrats are doing the right thing, Republicans the wrong thing, Democrats are serious, Republicans are "not serious."

It was a remarkable moment. I'm surprised the press isn't complaining and giving little speeches about reporting the facts without fear or favor.

I guess what's most interesting is that it's all us-versus-them. Normally at this point, early in an election year, an incumbent president operates within a rounded, nonthreatening blur. He's sort of in a benign cloud, and then pokes his way out of it with strong, edged statements as the year progresses. Mr. Obama isn't doing this. He wants it all stark and sharply defined early on. Is this good politics? It is unusual politics. Past presidents in crises have been sunny embracers.

The other day an experienced and accomplished Democratic lawyer spoke, with dismay, of the president's earlier remarks on the ObamaCare litigation. Mr. Obama had said: "I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress." He referred to the court as "an unelected group of people" that might "somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law."

It was vaguely menacing, and it garnered broad criticism. In the press it was characterized as a "brushback"—when a pitcher throws the ball close to a batter's head to rattle him, to remind him he can be hurt.

The lawyer had studied under Archibald Cox. Cox, who served as John F. Kennedy's Solicitor General, liked to tell his students of the time in 1962 when the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Engel v. Vitale, a landmark ruling against school prayer.

The president feared a firestorm. The American people would not like it. He asked Cox for advice on what to say. Cox immediately prepared a long memo on the facts of the case, the history and the legal merits. Kennedy read it and threw it away. Dry data wouldn't help.

Kennedy thought. What was the role of a president at such a time?

And this is what he said: We're all going to have to pray more in our homes.

The decision, he said, was a reminder to every American family "that we can attend our churches with a good deal more fidelity," and in this way "we can make the true meaning of prayer much more important in the lives of our children."

He accepted the court's decision, didn't rile the populace, and preserved respect for the court while using its controversial ruling to put forward a good idea.

It was beautiful.

One misses that special grace.

Friday, April 6

Ryan Lands in VP Spotlight

Republicans and Democrats Alike Put Focus on Author of GOP Budget Plan

From today's Wall Street Journal:

The Republican presidential nominating fight might not wrap up until June, but speculation is already swirling about whom Mitt Romney might pick as his running mate—and both parties are focusing on the same candidate.

Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, floated to the top of some lists with his performance accompanying Mr. Romney on a recent campaign swing through Mr. Ryan's native Wisconsin. The congressman, who is seen by many as the natural heir to the sunny fiscal conservatism of former vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp, appeared particularly chummy with Mr. Romney.

Democrats are acting as if they also would like to see Mr. Ryan on the GOP ticket. President Barack Obama, in a salvo this week against Republican economic policies, attacked Mr. Romney for supporting a budget blueprint prepared by Mr. Ryan, one that seeks deep cuts in federal spending and a major overhaul of Medicare.

Mr. Romney fed the chatter the next day when he jumped to Mr. Ryan's defense. The focus on the Ryan budget suggests it could become a defining document in the 2012 election.

Christian Ferry, a senior adviser to the previous Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, called Mr. Ryan "an intriguing possibility" because he "is actually making substantive policy suggestions for urgent problems the country faces rather than worrying about the day-to-day politics."

With the primaries still grinding along, Mr. Romney and his staff brush aside talk of potential running mates, saying it is too early to begin speculating. On Thursday, Mr. Romney told Fox News Radio he had "no predictions on who No. 2 would be" because "I'm still trying to make sure I'm the No. 1."

Those demurrals won't keep a lid on Washington's favorite parlor game, a quadrennial exercise that is long on conjecture and short on facts. The list of potential candidates often floated by the news media includes such rising stars as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and lesser-known politicians, such as New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. Others are sure to surface.

Should Mr. Romney win the nomination, he could look for a pick who addresses his perceived weakness with women or Hispanics, or go for a conservative favorite with the résumé and personal appeal to convert those Republicans who have been reluctant to support him.

"The most basic requirement is the only important one: The person chosen has to be able to be president of the United States, without question," said Mike DuHaime, an adviser to Mr. Christie who has worked on multiple presidential campaigns.

While Mr. Ryan says he isn't angling for the job, he tells reporters he would consider the offer if asked. At age 42, Mr. Ryan would bring a rare combination of youth and experience to the ticket, but he also would bring something less enticing: more than a decade in Congress, which is held in low esteem by many voters.

Democrats have seized on the apparent bond between the two Republicans to criticize Mr. Romney. The Obama campaign has circulated a side-by-side comparison of the two men's economic policies. Both call for reductions in personal and corporate tax rates, deep cuts in agency spending and an overhaul of Medicare that would give future retirees the chance to purchase private insurance with government subsidies.

Ryan allies say Mr. Romney would be wise to pick the man who wrote his party's main budget blueprint. "Why wouldn't Romney put the guy with the most expertise on the ticket with him?" said Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), who worked with Mr. Ryan on early versions of his budget and prodded him to run for president.

Other prospective picks have put in far more time and effort for Mr. Romney. Mr. Christie, who toyed with his own presidential bid, held a major fundraiser for the candidate in New Jersey and campaigned for him ahead of contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Illinois. Mr. Portman unleashed his political operation to drive turnout to help Mr. Romney pull off a crucial win in Ohio. And Mr. McDonnell, who does regular television appearances for Mr. Romney and also campaigned in early primary states, made a speech selling the former Massachusetts governor to an audience of reluctant conservatives.

But Mr. Ryan stole the show during the front-runner's campaign swing through Wisconsin. The two men struck up an easy banter at events and made frequent cracks about the two decades that separate them in age. Mr. Ryan also helped pull off an April Fool's prank on Mr. Romney when he introduced the governor to an empty room. And he introduced the candidate during his victory speech in Milwaukee on the night he won.

Compatibility will be a crucial ingredient in Mr. Romney's selection, according to people close to his campaign. Mr. Romney also trusts the 42-year-old congressman to field policy questions on his behalf—a rarity for the former governor who prides himself on his command of policy details. When Mr. Romney received a question on the convoluted tax code at a Wisconsin town hall, he turned to Mr. Ryan.

"I'm going to have him describe, just for a moment, his plans on the tax code, which are very, very similar to my own," Mr. Romney said.

Aides acknowledge the two have a friendly relationship. Stuart Stevens, chief strategist for the Romney campaign, called Mr. Ryan "terrific." But he was quick to caution, "It wasn't an audition."

Tuesday, April 3

It's Mitt vs. Barack

It's Our Future vs. Excuses.

It's taken me a while to come around, but Romney is winning everything. Gingrich and Santorum are no longer affecting the GOP nomination. It's time to line up behind Mitt Romney. Obama, the democrats and their agenda is the real enemy. Keep the eyes on the prize. Let's get to work.

Monday, April 2

My Latest Interview

On Monday I was interviewed again on The Price of Business on Houston's KNTH AM 1070.

Segment 1

Segment 2

Saturday, March 31

Peggy Noonan: Not-So-Smooth Operator

The one highlight is my own...

Obama increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest.
By Peggy Noonan in today's Wall Street Journal.

Something's happening to President Obama's relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies. They are now inclined not to like him. His supporters would say, "Nothing new there," but actually I think there is. I'm referring to the broad, stable, nonradical, non-birther right. Among them the level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.

It's not due to the election, and it's not because the Republican candidates are so compelling and making such brilliant cases against him. That, actually, isn't happening.

What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who's not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it's his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it's a big fault.

The shift started on Jan. 20, with the mandate that agencies of the Catholic Church would have to provide birth-control services the church finds morally repugnant. The public reaction? "You're kidding me. That's not just bad judgment and a lack of civic tact, it's not even constitutional!" Faced with the blowback, the president offered a so-called accommodation that even its supporters recognized as devious. Not ill-advised, devious. Then his operatives flooded the airwaves with dishonest—not wrongheaded, dishonest—charges that those who defend the church's religious liberties are trying to take away your contraceptives.

What a sour taste this all left. How shocking it was, including for those in the church who'd been in touch with the administration and were murmuring about having been misled.

Events of just the past 10 days have contributed to the shift. There was the open-mic conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in which Mr. Obama pleaded for "space" and said he will have "more flexibility" in his negotiations once the election is over and those pesky voters have done their thing. On tape it looked so bush-league, so faux-sophisticated. When he knew he'd been caught, the president tried to laugh it off by comically covering a mic in a following meeting. It was all so . . . creepy.

Next, a boy of 17 is shot and killed under disputed and unclear circumstances. The whole issue is racially charged, emotions are high, and the only memorable words from the president's response were, "If I had a son he'd look like Trayvon." At first it seemed OK—not great, but all right—but as the story continued and suddenly there were death threats and tweeted addresses and congressmen in hoodies, it seemed insufficient to the moment. At the end of the day, the public reaction seemed to be: "Hey buddy, we don't need you to personalize what is already too dramatic, it's not about you."

Now this week the Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare, which have made that law look so hollow, so careless, that it amounts to a characterological indictment of the administration. The constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago didn't notice the centerpiece of his agenda was not constitutional? How did that happen?

Maybe a stinging decision is coming, maybe not, but in a purely political sense this is how it looks: We were in crisis in 2009—we still are—and instead of doing something strong and pertinent about our economic woes, the president wasted history's time. He wasted time that was precious—the debt clock is still ticking!—by following an imaginary bunny that disappeared down a rabbit hole.

The high court's hearings gave off an overall air not of political misfeasance but malfeasance.

All these things have hardened lines of opposition, and left opponents with an aversion that will not go away.

I am not saying that the president has a terrible relationship with the American people. I'm only saying he's made his relationship with those who oppose him worse.

In terms of the broad electorate, I'm not sure he really has a relationship. A president only gets a year or two to forge real bonds with the American people. In that time a crucial thing he must establish is that what is on his mind is what is on their mind. This is especially true during a crisis.

From the day Mr. Obama was sworn in, what was on the mind of the American people was financial calamity—unemployment, declining home values, foreclosures. These issues came within a context of some overarching questions: Can America survive its spending, its taxing, its regulating, is America over, can we turn it around?

That's what the American people were thinking about.

But the new president wasn't thinking about that. All the books written about the creation of economic policy within his administration make clear the president and his aides didn't know it was so bad, didn't understand the depth of the crisis, didn't have a sense of how long it would last. They didn't have their mind on what the American people had their mind on.

The president had his mind on health care. And, to be fair-minded, health care was part of the economic story. But only a part! And not the most urgent part. Not the most frightening, distressing, immediate part. Not the "Is America over?" part.

And so the relationship the president wanted never really knitted together. Health care was like the birth-control mandate: It came from his hermetically sealed inner circle, which operates with what seems an almost entirely abstract sense of America. They know Chicago, the machine, the ethnic realities. They know Democratic Party politics. They know the books they've read, largely written by people like them—bright, credentialed, intellectually cloistered. But there always seems a lack of lived experience among them, which is why they were so surprised by the town hall uprisings of August 2009 and the 2010 midterm elections.

If you jumped into a time machine to the day after the election, in November, 2012, and saw a headline saying "Obama Loses," do you imagine that would be followed by widespread sadness, pain and a rending of garments? You do not. Even his own supporters will not be that sad. It's hard to imagine people running around in 2014 saying, "If only Obama were president!" Including Mr. Obama, who is said by all who know him to be deeply competitive, but who doesn't seem to like his job that much. As a former president he'd be quiet, detached, aloof. He'd make speeches and write a memoir laced with a certain high-toned bitterness. It was the Republicans' fault. They didn't want to work with him.

He will likely not see even then that an American president has to make the other side work with him. You think Tip O'Neill liked Ronald Reagan? You think he wanted to give him the gift of compromise? He was a mean, tough partisan who went to work every day to defeat Ronald Reagan. But forced by facts and numbers to deal, he dealt. So did Reagan.

An American president has to make cooperation happen.

But we've strayed from the point. Mr. Obama has a largely nonexistent relationship with many, and a worsening relationship with some.

Really, he cannot win the coming election. But the Republicans, still, can lose it. At this point in the column we usually sigh.

A version of this article appeared Mar. 31, 2012, on page A13 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Not-So-Smooth Operator.

Wednesday, March 28

Ryan's Budget Protects Defense

Today's Wall Street Journal features a very important editorial, it's in its entirety below.

Within a plan to reduce outlays by $6.2 trillion over the next decade, Paul Ryan has found a way to replace $214 billion of the $487 billion in military spending cuts in Obama's budget.


In an election year, it's all too easy for politicians to defer hard choices until after the polls have closed in November. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) has taken the more difficult road with his "Path to Prosperity" budget.

Mr. Ryan's plan has received much attention for tackling America's spiraling expenditures on entitlements and domestic discretionary spending. Less reported is the budget's partial restoration of national defense as the No. 1 priority of the federal government.

Even within the framework of a plan to reduce outlays by $6.2 trillion over the next decade, Mr. Ryan has found a way to replace $214 billion of the $487 billion in military spending reductions that are in Barack Obama's budget. And he has done so while avoiding the tax increases proposed by the president.

Conservatives recognize that they have to deal with fiscal reality and get the federal government's balance sheet in order. That is why Mr. Ryan's plan is so bold. It does not cut indiscriminately, focusing instead on the true drivers of our spending crisis and recognizing that tax increases would worsen our economic situation.

The Ryan plan also helps to reverse what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called the "catastrophic" process of sequestration—the year-after-year, automatic cuts agreed to in last summer's debt-limit deal between the president and the House leadership. These cuts will eviscerate the United States military if Congress does not quickly pass a law to undo them this year. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made plain the consequences of sequestration: "We would no longer be a global power."

The contrast between the House Republican budget and that of our current commander-in-chief is striking. President Obama has been arguing that raising taxes is the only solution to sequestration that he will accept. In other words, he asks the nation to decide between higher taxes and a weaker defense. Mr. Ryan rejects either solution.

Instead, Mr. Ryan takes some important first steps toward facing up to the true drivers of the federal government's money woes: spending through "entitlement" programs. These now consume roughly 60% of the federal budget, up from 20% in 1970. In contrast, national defense, which comprised nearly 40% of the budget in the 1970s, costs less than 20% today, even with current war spending. Absent reform, entitlements will spiral upward and crowd out all other federal spending—not just on the military.

It's incorrect to regard entitlements as mandatory programs. They reflect political choices about what kind of country we want and how we will govern ourselves. If we fail to reform entitlements, we'll go on pretending we can afford a retirement with benefits we never earned, paid for by our children and grandchildren. We'll be choosing an ever-more socialized medical system. We will in effect choose to become a European-style—and unsustainable—welfare state.

We will also be choosing to lay aside the burdens and inconveniences of world leadership. Mr. Obama insists that he doesn't believe America is in decline. But his redistributionist policies at home and his preference for "leading from behind" abroad can only be regarded as making exactly that choice.

The Ryan budget is not perfect for some conservatives. Many would like to see American military spending restored more rapidly and an even more aggressive approach to tackling the entitlement problem. But Mr. Ryan's budget is a choice about our future, and this is a time to choose—not hide behind the sequestration process.

If we want a strong America in a dangerous world, and a freer and growing economy for our citizens, it's time to choose the direction that Mr. Ryan is charting.

Mr. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation. Mr. Kristol is a director of the Foreign Policy Initiative. Their three organizations compose the Defending Defense coalition.

A version of this article appeared Mar. 28, 2012, on page A13 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Ryan's Budget Protects Defense.

Thursday, March 22

WSJ: Ryan's Hat Is in the Ring

If you read only one thing today, this should be it. Highlights are my own. Original article found here:

Ryan's Hat Is in the Ring
With the House budget, the GOP's institutions are joined to the party's presidential candidates.

Paul Ryan threw his hat into the presidential political ring this week. It's a big hat—the House Republican budget resolution. A House budget isn't your father's idea of a presidential candidacy. Instead, it's an "ideas candidacy," and it just might put a Republican back in the White House.

Mr. Ryan chose last year not to undergo the U.S.'s presidential trial by ordeal. Instead, he is using the institutional authority of his office, chairman of the House Budget Committee, to shape the debate between the incumbent president, a New Deal Democrat, and the Republican reform movement that Mr. Ryan and his allies in Congress represent. (That, by the way, includes the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who had to sign off on this document.)

Paul Ryan's admirers had their reasons for wanting him on the field, and mine comes down to one—the single, stark point Mr. Ryan has made since his side lost the health-care battle with Barack Obama, and which he made this week: "It is rare in American politics to arrive at a moment in which the debate revolves around the fundamental nature of American democracy and the social contract. But that is where we are."

Republican discontent the past nine months has been about the inability of any presidential candidate to match the moment as Mr. Ryan defines it. But it may be that Republicans have been loading up more hope than any one candidate can bear these days.

A modern presidential candidate is Gulliver, pecked at daily, even hourly, for months by thousands of squawking Internet crows. If Ronald Reagan himself were running like this for a year, we'd start picking at him, too.

Worse, they are connected to nothing other than themselves. Last summer, a member of the GOP leadership visited our offices, and we asked how much contact they had with the six or so candidates competing then in the not-so-great debates. The answer: zero. The party and its presidential candidates have become like celestial bodies, rotating in distant corners of the same galaxy.

With the Ryan budget, this party's two poles are joined. Especially on taxes.

Taxation is the subject that most clearly defines the competing visions of the two parties. Medicare is about a big fix. Tax policy is about the nature of the nation. It comes down to this: What are taxes for?

With the House budget, the GOP's institutions are joined to the party's presidential candidates.

In a blog post under that headline last April, Paul Krugman gave the conventional answer: "So taxes are, first and foremost, about paying for what government buys (duh)."  Krugman is an idiot of the Left -- Steve

Larry Summers, when he left the White House, spoke of the impending nightmare of an "inadequately resourced" government. He said, "While recovery is our first priority, it is essential that we establish long-run parity between revenues and expenditures."

This has been the standard model of taxation's purpose since the king was collecting taxes in Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest. Ronald Reagan overturned the king's model in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, with support from pre-Obama Democrats. Reagan, radically, gave the economy's long-term growth prior claim over government's revenue needs. Refuting Reagan forever is the raison d'etre of the modern Democratic party and its satellites. Taxes are about government, nothing else. Duh.

For the alternative to this galley-slave view of taxes, with the citizenry rowing endlessly to the horizon for the government, open footnote 76 in the Ryan budget. It is House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp's tight description of what we should want from our tax system.

Here's my summary of his summary: Our taxation system ought to serve an America that must live and survive in the world as it is now, and will be into the distant future. That is a tax system that allows economic growth greater than the below-2.5% of the past three years, the new Obama normal. It is a tax system that maximizes the release of capital into the economy for productive purposes. That tax system will allow users of capital to create jobs for people who don't want to work for the government. That tax system will let U.S. firms compete in the new world dominated by young, emerging economies. It will be a fair tax system if its claims are not so heavy that it sinks into the corruptions of loopholes, credits and preferences bartered in Washington.

The tax system we have now is a 20th-century tax system, whose purpose was to pay for what government bought. And bought and bought. Republicans, anti-status quo insurgents and upwardly mobile independent voters should recognize that with the Ryan-Camp tax plan (two low personal rates, a lower corporate rate) now joined to the high-growth consensus of these presidential challengers, the U.S. has one chance this year and next, when the new code would become law, to rejoin the real world, not some 60-year-old dream world.


This my dear readers, is your twitter #fail of the day.

The moron who tweeted that, is of course a "progressive" which means she's regressive and wants to have government run everything, like they do in her favorite countries, like China, Cuba and Venezuela. They obviously have not actually read the proposal. They just remember a funny commercial and they got the Democrat talking points. So much for dialogue with these people.