Monday, February 28, 2011

Governor Palin and Cherry Picking Media Memes

In another display of the media's complete lack of objectivity, McClatchy published a piece last week arguing that even Republicans activists do not want Governor Palin as president. In doing so, they attempted to cram in as many of media talking points and memes as possible that are consistently parroted about Governor Palin. She's not serious in her decision making to run for the presidency. Her poll numbers show she's not electable. She doesn't have the leadership skills or policy chops needed to be president. She's a quitter.

First, McClatchy writer, Steven Thomma, states:
As Sarah Palin wonders whether to run for president, she might want to talk to people in places such as South Carolina.
The word "wonder" in a decision making process generally refers to what you're going to make for dinner or what kind of jeans you're going to buy. In using that wording to describe Governor Palin's decision making process in potentially running for the presidency, Thomma attempts to paint Governor Palin as one who would make such a decision on a whim or flippantly. In the numerous interviews where Governor Palin has been asked about 2012, she has mentioned that she would look at the "lay of the land", pray, and consult her family in addition to contemplating her electability and potential to add to the presidential discussion. Moreover and arguably most importantly, Governor Palin frames a decision to seek the presidency as a "call to serve" not as a decision be president. Should she choose to run, she will make the moves, albeit as she says, unconventionally, necessary to forge a solid campaign throughout America in general and in early primary states like South Carolina specifically. Let's not forget she ran a successful primary and general election gubernatorial campaign in a state twice the size of Texas, and she is a masterful retail politician.

Next, Thomma trots out Governor Palin's poll numbers:
While national polls show that Palin still would win the support of about one in five Republicans in a national face-off today for the nomination, she no longer can claim the dominant role she enjoyed when she burst out of the 2008 campaign as the undisputed star of the party. She's also losing ground quickly among independents, who hold the keys to the White House.

A Gallup poll taken in September 2008, for example, found that 53 percent had favorable views of her and 28 percent held unfavorable views. Last month, the same poll found the numbers were almost reversed, 38-53.

It is amazing how much the media think polls matter at this point. No one has officially announced they are running for president. There have been no debates to allow candidates to juxtapose their positions and records against one another. At this point, polling data are only used as a talking point to paint Governor Palin as unelectable. If polling data a year prior to the first primary were a predictor of presidential nomination, then we would have seen a Giuliani vs. Clinton race in 2008. Additionally, even if one puts stock in the polls, then it must be noted that Governor Palin is indeed statistically tied with Governor Romney and Governor Huckabee in the polls, despite how Thomma tries to represent where potential candidates stand. If Thomma reports a loss of support by a potential candidate, he really should note that Governor Romney has lost 15% of his support since November while Governor Palin's support has remained steady. While Thomma claims that Governor Palin loses support among independents, the most recent Gallup poll shows that Governor Palin is statistically tied for the lead with Governor Romney among both Republican-leaning independents and moderate to liberal Republicans.

Thomma also egregiously brings out Governor Palin's poll numbers from just weeks after she was announced as Senator McCain's running mate to compare them to last month's favorability numbers. In the last two and a half years, the media has created a caricature of Governor Palin that has become the false perception of many Americans. After all, Governor Palin has been portrayed as unintelligent and unaccomplished when in actuality, she negotiated the largest private sector infrastructure project in the nation's history. She has spoken to business leaders in Hong Kong and on Long Island, yet the focus when she speaks is that she supposedly requests bendable straws. She is involved in a medical mission visit to Haiti where she spent time touring earthquake ravaged Haiti and holding cholera infected children, yet the false takeaway is that she brought a stylist on the trip (who, of course, was simply her daughter Bristol fixing her hair in an AP photo). Just last month (when the poll cited was conducted), the media reached a new low with constant, scurrilous assertions that a campaign map and political analogies used by Governor Palin were the driving force behind a madman killing several Arizonans and attempting to kill Congresswoman Giffords. With this media drawn caricature, it's no wonder Governor Palin's favorability has decreased. Should Governor Palin run, she will be given a greater opportunity to create her own narrative and correct the fallacies reported by the media. Ian addressed some of the other issues with Thomma's polling assertions here.

Thomma also cherrypicked GOPers at a South Carolina fund raiser to promote their false narratives. He also fails to detail the fact that the event he drew his quotes from was a fundraiser headlined by Congresswoman Bachmann:
"I like Palin," said Joseph Kejr, a Republican from Rock Hill who works in information technology for a Christian ministry. However, he added, "she's not polished in national government. In terms of leadership, I don't know about her."
She's not really creative," said Swain Shepperd, a retiree from Rock Hill. "She just repeats what's already been said by others."

The word "polished" has been used to describe our current president, and we've seen how that has worked out for us. "Polished" doesn't provide economic solutions or lead on foreign policy. The assertion that Governor Palin simply repeats what others have said is quite laughable, as is the claim that she cannot lead. In 2008, she first showed her prescience when she warned of then candidate Obama's stance on jobs, taxes,energy, spending, growth of government, foreign policy,etc. She drove the debate against President Obama's government takeover of health care. She was the only one of the potential 2012 presidential candidates to lead on border security issues when she stood with Governor Brewer. In addition to Congressman Pence, she was one of the few to address the dangers of quantitative easing. In her support for Congressman Ryan's roadmap, she was the first potential candidate to seriously addressing entitlement reform. Not to mention that with increased turmoil in places like Libya, potential issues with oil transport through the Suez canal, and the Obama administration's complete disregard for drilling for oil, Governor Palin leadership on energy issues will be at the forefront of a 2012 campaign.

The last meme Thomma addresses is the ubiquitous "quitter" meme:
Some said she hurt herself by quitting halfway through her term as governor of Alaska, robbing herself of a platform in government.

That shortfall's become more glaring as party activists have cheered on people who are now governing and fighting to cut spending, such as Govs. Chris Christie in New Jersey, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Rick Scott in Florida and Scott Walker in Wisconsin, as well as Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives such as Bachmann.

Through three legislative terms as Governor, Palin reduced state spending by more than 9% (part of which was during of time of economic prosperity, which shows great fiscal discipline), reduced earmark requests by 80%, forward funded education, signed ethics reform, addressed oil tax structures, and initiated the largest private sector infrastructure project in American history. Needless to say, her platform in government is quite strong. As much of Governor Palin's staff's time was taken up by dealing with frivolous ethics complaints, her resignation allowed for state government to be less inhibited while still maintaining the same platform. As a byproduct of stepping aside from office, Governor Palin has been able to constructively criticize the Obama administration, provide conservative solutions, and endorse candidates without the potential for a baseless ethics complaint to be levied against her. In actuality, her platform has broadened.

It must be noted as well that if a resignation from office disqualifies one from the presidency, Congressmen Gingrich is not qualified. Additionally, if currently holding office is the only way one's budgetary record can be highlighted, then potential candidates like Governor Romney, Governor Huckabee, Governor Pawlenty, Senator Santorum cannot be considered either. Such "qualifications" would essentially reduce the field to zero.

Thomma attempts to highlight almost every meme directed against Governor Palin by cherry picking poll results and comments from GOPers. However, campaigns are run by creating one's own narrative, and campaigns are won by the voices of the whole of the electorate, not a small portion.

Cross posted here, here, and here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Governor Palin on the Issues: Israel

In recent weeks, America's relationship with our ally, Israel, has come into focus once again. As the Obama administration has failed to coalesce around a coherent strategy with regards to recent protests in Egypt, the potential for a group like the Muslim Brotherhood to become involved in Egypt's new government is particularly worrisome. To call the Muslim Brotherhood anti-Israel would be an understatement and to see them as a group without a religious/political agenda would be foolish, yet President Obama's own Director of National Intelligence referred to the Muslim Brotherhood as "largely secular". Additionally, our UN ambassador was poised to vote to rebuke of Israel for building settlements on the West Bank before vetoing such a proposal. However, Ambassador Rice stated that the veto should not be, " seen as an endorsement of Israel's settlement policies, which the Obama administration has repeatedly denounced". This extremely poor treatment of Israel is sadly commonplace in the Obama administration. On two occasions, President Obama did not allow cameras into meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During one of those meetings in March 2010, President Obama abandoned Netanyahu during tough talks regarding Israeli settlements to have dinner with his family. Additionally, during a visit to Israel,as a response to Israel's announcement of further settlement construction Vice President Joe Biden arrived an hour and a half late to a dinner with the Israeli Prime Minister as a disapproving response to Israel's announcement of further settlement construction. Suffice it to say, the Obama administration's approach to its relationship to America's ally, Israel, has been weak, misguided, and immature.

Contrast the Obama administration's approach with Governor Palin's stance on Israel. Governor Palin's support for Israel is not only found on her lapel, it is found in nearly every speech she gives and every foreign policy related answers to interview questions and is a consistent mention in her Facebook posts. Most recently, Governor Palin has emphasized the importance of remembering Israel in discussion of Egypt's new government. She did so in her question and answer session at the Long Island Association on Friday. In a recent interview with Sean Hannity, she also discussed the Muslim Brotherhood's potential effect on Israel if it is involved in Egypt's new government:

Governor Palin recognizes that it is imperative for America to stand with Israel when Egypt, an ally of Israel, has the potential to be led by a group with an anti-Israel agenda. Governor Palin's support for Israel goes far beyond these recent comments about events in Egypt, however. She has stood with Israel in their relationships with Iran and Palestine.

Governor Palin has been critical of the Obama administration's appeasement mentality towards America's enemies coupled with poor treatment of Israel with regards to Israeli-Palestinian relationships. She called for a reset with Israel in a Facebook post last March:
In the midst of all this embracing of enemies, where does the Obama Administration choose to escalate a minor incident into a major diplomatic confrontation? With Iran, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea or Burma? No. With our treasured ally, Israel.


Once again, the Obama Administration is missing the boat on a very, very important issue. They need to go back to the basics and acknowledge Palestinian leaders have not progressed any peace process since President Obama was elected. As Israel makes concessions (and is still criticized by the Obama Administration), Arab leaders are just sitting back waiting for the White House to further pressure Israel. The Obama Administration needs to open its eyes and recognize that it is only Iran and her terrorist allies that benefit from this manufactured Israeli controversy. Vice President Biden was actually right when he said last week, before the construction announcement, that “one necessary precondition for progress is that the rest of the world knows...there is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to security.” Right now, thanks to the Obama Administration, there is a chasm. It’s time for President Obama to push the reset button on our relations with our ally Israel.

In addition to addressing Israeli-Palestinian relationships, Governor Palin emphasized the importance in standing with Israel against the threat of Iran. In another post last March, Governor Palin called for the Obama administration to impose tougher sanctions on Iran and to exhibit more friendly interactions with Israel:
Public demands for concessions have been made of the Israelis while the Palestinians add ever more conditions to their participation in peace talks, and those in the administration that dare to argue for looking at these policies through the lens of Israel’s security needs are subject to slanderous attacks from “senior administration officials.” The Obama administration has their priorities exactly backwards; we should be working with our friend and democratic ally to stop Iran’s nuclear program, not throwing in the towel on sanctions while treating Israel like an enemy.
She would reiterate this criticism of Iran's potential to develop nuclear weaponry and the subsequent effect on Israel in an op-ed in USA Today this past December.

Beyond strong stances against Palestine and Iran specifically, Governor Palin has stood with Israel on many other occasions, including strong pro-Israel statements during a foreign policy focused speech last summer where she called Israel "our most important ally in the Middle East". She called for President Obama to stand with Israel last summer when more than 10 Israeli soldiers were injured trying to stop Turkish supported Flotillas aimed at provoking Israel. When discussing an endorsement of now Senator Rand Paul, Governor Palin asked about his view of Israel--indicating that a pro-Israel stance is a valuable issue in an endorsee. In a letter to recently elected House members, Governor Palin encouraged new House members to strongly support Israel stating,"[y]ou can stand with allies like Israel, not criticize them. You can let the President know what you believe – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not a settlement". Such a statement shows her consistency in her firm support for Israel, as she stated in an interview with Barbara Walters in 2009 and her stance during the VP debate 2008 campaign. On multiple occasions, both during her time as Governor and following, Governor Palin has shared holiday wishes to the Jewish community. It's no wonder more Jewish Americans are supporting Governor Palin. While President Obama sees "bowtowing" to our enemies and ailenating our allies as an effective foreign policy strategy, Governor Palin has just the opposite approach--standing with Israel and against her enemies.

Other "Governor Palin on the Issues" posts have addressed monetary policy, entitlement reform, energy independence, and energy regulation.

Crossposted here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

President Obama's Budget Loses the Future-- Part II

On Tuesday, I wrote a post discussing how President Obama's budget loses the future by inappropriately addressing spending, ignoring entitlement reforms, and increasing federal education spending. There are additional aspects of President Obama's budget that lose the future as well--namely funding for pet projects like high speed rail, increased funding for public broadcasting, and decreased funding for defense.

High speed rail is an initiative that President Obama has devoted spending to since the beginning of his presidency. Eight billion dollars of the "stimulus" package was devoted to high speed rail, and his budget proposal released this week provides for another $8 billion with Obama ultimately wanting $53 billion in funding over 6 years . In his State of the Union address a few weeks ago, President Obama had reiterated his support for high speed rail by suggesting that high speed rail would provide jobs in construction and increase businesses areas near the rails, just at had occurred with construction of the transcontinental railroad and the interstate highway. He set this goal:
Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying –- without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

One of those routes underway in the Midwest goes between Chicago and St. Louis running through Springfield, Illinois, an area formerly represented in Congress by current Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Part of the "stimulus" money aimed at jump starting the economy two years ago went toward this segment of high speed rail. and this particular project has not even broken ground to date and will not be completed until 2014. Essentially, it has done nothing to create jobs in this geographic area, and it has not instilled a great deal of enthusiasm among residents. When the state of Illinois first received the $4 billion dollars in federal funding, even former Democratic mayor Tim Davlin and the county board discussed suing over the plans because the location of the high speed rail project would devastate downtown business and halt plans for rail consolidation elsewhere where it would be less congested and less of a problem for downtown businesses.

It's not only that Springfield residents do not want it for business purposes, they will not likely not utilize the service. Estimates show that Illinois residents would only ride high speed rail once every 8.7 years. If the Left understood supply-and-demand and were not beholden to labor unions for this and many of their initiatives, they would realize this is not an efficient project. Additionally, President Obama's claims that high speed rail would cut travel times in half. The project press release indicated that the trip between Chicago and St. Louis by high speed rail would take 4 hours and 32 minutes, a reduction of 30% compared to traveling by car. An improvement, yes, but nowhere cutting travel times in half, as President Obama asserted. It's no wonder recently elected, Palin endorsed Florida Governor Rick Scott is rejecting $2.4 billion in high speed rail funding. Suffice it to say, Governor Palin, following the State of the Union, was right to say:
And the Obama administration has a lot of half-baked ideas on where to spend our hard-earned money in pursuit of “national greatness.” These “investments,” as the President calls them, include everything from solar shingles to high speed trains. As we struggle to service our unsustainable debt, the only thing these “investments” will get us is a bullet train to bankruptcy.

Indeed such an inefficient, unnecessary, costly project is a "half baked" idea, and "investments" like these put us on ride to bankruptcy on high speed rail built from Rearden metal tracks.

President Obama's budget also includes significant funding for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, which funnels funding to National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcast Service (PBS), to the tune of $451 million in FY2012 and includes 2 years in advanced appropriations. While funding for public broadcasting and high speed rail is a drop in the proverbial budget bucket, taxpayers should not be required to fund programs and initiatives that either facilitate a reciprocal relationship with unions or possess a decided ideological bent. Addressing funding of NPR and PBS is something that Governor Palin promoted several months ago when Juan Williams was fired for comments he made. She asked not for these programs to be silenced, but for removal of federal funding for a program that made its aim dissemination of ideology rather than information:
If NPR is unable to tolerate an honest debate about an issue as important as Islamic terrorism, then it’s time for “National Public Radio” to become “National Private Radio.” It’s time for Congress to defund this organization.

NPR says its mission is “to create a more informed public,” but by stifling debate on these issues, NPR is doing exactly the opposite. President Obama should make clear his commitment to free and honest discussion of the jihadist threat in our public debates – and Congress should make clear that unless NPR provides that public service, not one more dime.

Thankfully, de-funding NPR and PBS is something that House GOPers are addressing. Yesterday, Democrats laughably held a press conference in support of funding for public broadcasting complete with an appearance by Arthur, a cartoon aardvark from one of PBS's shows. It's a little disappointing that the House Democrats didn't wheel out Thomas the Tank Engine instead, or they could have addressed support for both high speed rail and PBS funding in one fell swoop!

However, one of the areas that President Obama has made cuts is in his bloated budget is in defense spending--cancelling $13 billion worth of projects and cutting the Pentagon budget $78 billion over 5 years and reducing overall military spending 5%. While, as with any government agency, there is room for inefficiencies and burdensome bureaucracies to be addressed and programs that could be cut in the defense program, this should not be done indiscreminantly. In a speech focused on foreign policy and national defense last summer Governor Palin said:
Something has to be done urgently to stop the out of control Obama-Reid-Pelosi spending machine, and no government agency should be immune from budget scrutiny. We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military. If we lose wars, if we lose the ability to deter adversaries, if we lose the ability to provide security for ourselves and for our allies, we risk losing all that makes America great! That is a price we cannot afford to pay.

This may be obvious to you and me, but I am not sure the Obama Administration gets it. There isn’t a single progressive pet cause which they haven’t been willing to throw billions at. But when it comes to defense spending, all of a sudden they start preaching a message of “fiscal restraint.” Our Defense Secretary recently stated the “gusher” of defense spending was over and that it was time for the Department of Defense to tighten its belt. There’s a gusher of spending alright, but it’s not on defense. Did you know the US actually only ranks 25th worldwide on defense spending as a percentage of GDP? We spend three times more on entitlements and debt services than we do on defense.

This administration may be willing to cut defense spending, but it’s increasing it everywhere else. I think we should do it the other way round: cut spending in other departments – apart from defense. We should not be cutting corners on our national security.
She summed it pretty well there--the Obama administration is willing to fund pet projects (like high speed rail), but defense is one of the first places they will look to cut. Governor Palin understands that in order to "win the future", the US government must protect both the present and the future, and this includes having a well funded military. She recognizes that funding ideologically focused program and pet projects, especially when fiscal restraint is particularly needed, doesn't win the future. As usual, Governor Palin is right, and President Obama's goal of winning the future ultimately results in losing both the present and the future.

Crossposted here, here, here, and here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

President Obama's Budget Loses the Future

President Obama released his FY2012 budget proposal yesterday. As Governor Palin pointed out, it is heavy on tax increases and low on the necessary serious cuts needed to address our nation's dire fiscal situation. In fact, his proposed budget includes 15 new tax hikes. Ever since the 2008 presidential campaign, President Obama has promised to not raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year. However, these proposed tax hikes could affect people making less than $250,000 a year, including increased capital gains taxes and death taxes, which includes decreasing the exemption amount for death taxes to $3.5 million. Ask any farm family in Illinois, that state President Obama once represented, how quickly their acreage (which provides their livelihood) adds up to a value of $3.5 million.

Beyond these things, one has to ask themselves, how does President Obama's budget truly win the future? While Obama's OMB director claims that his budget provides $1.1 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade, Republicans claim that the accounting gymnastics of the Obama administration really primarily indicate the $400 billion in reductions over 5 years of discretionary spending freezes at today's levels. However, as Governor Palin, as suggested in her Facebook post following President Obama's State of the Union address, spending cuts, not spending freezes, are needed (emphasis mine):
The President glossed over the most important issue he needed to address last night: spending. He touched on deficit reduction, but his proposals amount to merely a quarter of the cuts in discretionary spending proposed by his own Deficit Reduction Commission, not to mention the $2.5 trillion in cuts over ten years suggested by the Republican Study Committee. And while we appreciate hearing the same President who gave us the trillion dollar Stimulus Package boondoggle finally concede that we need to cut earmarks, keep in mind that earmarks are a $16 billion drop in the $1.5 trillion ocean that is the federal deficit. Budget cuts won’t be popular, but they are vitally necessary or we will soon be a bankrupt country. It’s the responsibility of a leader to make sure the American people fully understand this.
While the deficit may be reduced over the next decade, the overall debt will nearly double over the next decade to $7.2 trillion dollars and the deficit held in 2011 will reach a record high of $1.645 trillion, as stated by the Heritage Foundation assessment referenced in Governor Palin's note yesterday. Spending freezes, accounting gymnastics, tax increases, and record high deficits and debt do nothing to derail the bullet train to bankruptcy, but only stoke the fires of the train's engine.

President Obama's budget also does not address entitlement programs as his deficit commission, Congressman Ryan, and Governor Palin suggest. Governor Palin wrote following President Obama's State of the Union address:
On the crucial issue of entitlement reform, the President offered nothing. This is shocking, because as he himself explained back in April 2009, “if we want to get serious about fiscal discipline…we will have to get serious about entitlement reform.” Even though the Medicare Trust Fund will run out of funds a mere six years from now, and the Social Security Trust Fund is filled mainly with IOUs, the President opted to kick the can down the road yet again. And once again, he was disingenuous when he suggested that meaningful reform would automatically expose people’s Social Security savings to a possible stock market crash. As Rep. Paul Ryan showed in his proposed Roadmap, and others have explained, it’s possible to come up with meaningful reform proposals that tackle projected shortfalls and offer workers more options to invest our own savings while still guaranteeing invested funds so they won’t fall victim to sudden swings in the stock market.

President Obama's spending freezes and limited spending cuts, namely cuts to defense and some cuts to various government programs, only address discretionary spending. However, Presdient Obama's lack of both political courage and fiscal discipline in reforming non-discretionary entitlement programs indeed "kick the can down the road", as Governor Palin said. Instead of winning the future, President Obama is losing both the present and the future by ignoring the need to reform of the legislation of the past. How can the future be won if the present debt is equal to the present economy? How can the future be won if future generations are burdened with the cost of unreformed entitlement programs?

One area where President Obama has increased spending is education, to the tune of more than $77 billion, an 11% increase. Department of Education secretary Arne Duncan suggests that in order to win the future, America needs to "out-educate" other developed nations so children would be prepared for the "jobs of tomorrow" and this, of course, requires increased federal spending for education. However, as Governor Palin said:
Take education for example. It’s easy to declare the need for better education, but will throwing even more money at the issue really help? As the Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner notes, “the federal government has increased education spending by 188 percent in real terms since 1970 without seeing any substantial improvement in test scores.” If you want “innovation” and “competition,” then support school choice initiatives and less federal control over our state and local districts.
Governor Palin would know that state and local entities know best how to address education. As Governor of Alaska, she forward funded education on the state level so that districts at the local level could plan ahead appropriately for their own districts. She also recognized importance of more localized assessment and control by forgoing federal standards for the sake of Alaskan developed standards that had an emphasis on rural education, something that a federal standards would not appropriately address. In May of 2009, Governor Palin said:
The State of Alaska fully believes that schools must have high expectations of students. But high expectations are not always created by new, mandated federal standards written on paper. They are created in the home, the community and the classroom.
Governor Palin understands that more federal spending on education does not win the future for American children, but state and locally funded and controlled education is most responsive to America's future--children-- and most responsible of America's fiscal future. Allowing a massive debt to grow by selectively freezing spending does not win the future, but steals from the future. An unwillingness to reform entitlements does not win the future, but forces future generations to make tough decisions that the current generation should address. Governor Palin promotes sharing true American exceptionalism with future generations as the way to win the future, not passing on the financial burdens of larger government and greater spending.

Crossposted here, here, here, and here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

President Obama Follows Governor Palin's National Security Advice

Following President Obama's speech on former Egyptian President Mubarak's decision to resign yesterday afternoon, Governor Palin tweeted the following:
Media: ask "Will Obama Admin exert as much 'constructive' pressure on Iranian govt to change & allow freedom ~ as they just did for Egypt?"

Today, the Hill reports (emphasis mine):
The White House said Saturday that, off the heels of 18 days of Egyptian protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Iran should allow its people to demonstrate.

Tehran had praised Egyptians for rising up against Mubarak's secular government, calling it an Islamic awakening. Yet some trace the roots of the grass-roots, social-media-driven revolt in Egypt to the Green Revolution protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's last election and demanding democracy.

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroub, both candidates in that election, wanted to stage a rally Monday in support of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. But the regime quickly put a damper on the permit request, calling the rallies "riots by seditionists."

"By announcing that they will not allow opposition protests, the Iranian government has declared illegal for Iranians what it claimed was noble for Egyptians," National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said in a statement released by the White House on Saturday.

"We call on the government of Iran to allow the Iranian people the universal right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate and communicate that’s being exercised in Cairo," he said.

Well, what do we have here? Governor Palin tweets, and the next day, President Obama jumps. The Obama administration is thankfully heading Governor Palin's advice for once. However, it cannot be forgotten that President Obama largely ignored the green movement protests during Iran's presidential election in 2009 and has not taken a strong stance against the tyranny of President Ahmadinejad. This is not the first time that Governor Palin has called for respect for human rights and allowance of freedom in Iran. In an op-ed published in the USA Today in December, Governor Palin wrote:
But we also need to encourage a positive vision for Iran. Iran is not condemned to live under the totalitarian inheritance of the Ayatollah Khomeini forever. There is an alternative — an Iran where human rights are respected, where women are not subjugated, where terrorist groups are not supported and neighbors are not threatened. A peaceful, democratic Iran should be everyone's goal. There are many hopeful signs inside Iran that reveal the Iranian people's desire for this peaceful, democratic future. We must encourage their voices.

When the brave people of Iran take to the streets in defiance of their unelected dictatorship, they must know that we in the free world stand with them. When the women of Iran rise up to demand their rights, they must know that we women of the free world who enjoy the rights won for us by our suffragist foremothers stand with our sisters there. When Iranians demand freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom to simply live their lives as they choose without persecution, we in the free world must stand with them.

Of course, in Governor Palin's tweet yesterday, she effectively challenged both the media and the Obama administration using only 140 characters. President Obama may have released a statement quoting his national security advisor, but that's a far cry from a bold stance for freedom and democracy. President Obama has taken a tiny baby step in the right direction. We're all, of course, still waiting for the media to challenge the Obama administration.

Crossposted here, here, here, and here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

47 Reasons Governor Palin is Qualified to Be President

One of the many memes the GOP establishment, the Left and the media try to stick to Governor Palin is that she is unqualified to be President if she chooses to run. With today being her 47th birthday, it's odd that so many people think she is younger than thirty-five years old! So, in honor of her birthday, I'd like to share 47 reasons Governor Palin is qualified to be President above and beyond constitutional requirements. In no particular order:

1) She won't perjure herself by taking the Presidential oath of office like many of her potential opponents.

2) She has 9 years of executive experience, more than 3 times as much as the current President. As Governor, she held the 2nd most powerful gubernatorial office in the country.

3)She knows how to budget. In her years as Governor, she reduced the state budget 9.5% over her predecessor and put $5 billion in state savings.

4) She reduced federal earmark requests 80% as Governor over her predecessor, recognizing the need for fiscal responsibility at both state and national levels.

5) She's a proven reformer. She strove to break the bonds between Alaskan politicians and oil companies and passed sweeping ethics reform.

6) She believes in true governmental transparency. As Governor, she put the state checkbook online to allow constituents to know how and where the state was spending revenue. During the negotiations of one of the cornerstones of her administration, the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), all proposals were made available for public consumption.

7) In signing the AGIA legislation and the progress that continues to this day, she brought a transcontinental pipeline project from Alaska to the Lower 48 further than 30 years of previous administrations. AGIA is the largest private sector infrastructure project in North American history.

8 ) She believes in oversight not over regulation for energy development. She opened an Petroleum Integrity Office to oversee energy development in Alaska.

9) She believes in an all-of-the-above approach to energy development, including opening up ANWR, on shore drilling, off shore drilling, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and renewables.

10) She understand the effects of quantitative easing will have on the economy in general and on commodity prices specifically.

11) She would have the intestinal fortitude to actually take on reformation of entitlement programs to help derail the bullet train to bankruptcy.

12) For the role of the presidency, the Constitution devotes the majority of its text to the role of commander-in-chief. Governor Palin would take this role seriously as displayed by her commitment to America's military and her desire for a strong national defense.

13) As part of her commitment to strong national defense, she criticized the Obama administration for making cuts to missile defense, and she stands strongly against the START treaty between Russia and America.

14) She has been firmly against Obamacare from the beginning of legislative talks and strongly supports repeal.

15) She truly sees America as an exceptional nation because of its people. She praises what makes America unique; she doesn't apologize.

16) She puts principles above party and political expediency.

17) She has stood strongly for securing America's borders, as shown by her support of Arizona's immigration law.

18) She is strongly pro-life--a welcomed far cry from the pro-abortion president in history now occupying the White House.

19) She stand supports human rights, particularly speaking out against the human rights abuses in China, Iran, and amongst peoples who embrace Sharia law.

20) With regards to foreign policy, she has a far better grasp situation in Egypt with regards to the potential of the Muslim brotherhood's involvement in a new government and Mubarak's plans better than members of President Obama's intelligence team, Leon Panetta and James Clapper.

21) She actually had private sector experience that would enable her to understand what it takes to make payroll and budget with in one's means, unlike the majority of members of the Obama administration.

22) She's a strong advocate for the 10th amendment, showing she understand not only the balance of powers between the branches of the federal government, but also between the federal and state governments.

23) She shows grace under fire. In spite of having accusations of blood libel launched against her, she stood strongly and gracefully for the victims of the shooting in Tucson and for the freedom of open political discourse.

24) Beyond her political achievements and strong conservative stances, she has character. In spite of a two and a half yeas of a constant barrage of ethics complaints, smears, lies, and media misrepresentation, she has remained strong.

25) She has the ability to communicate with people across the spectrums of age, education, and background. She just as comfortable speaking to with businesspeople in Hong Kong as she is speaking to GOP supporters in California or pro-life advocates in Indiana.

26) She is stands strongly with America's allies, like Israel.

27) The American people stand with her on the issues more than they do the current president.

28) She has already taken on the Establishment in Alaska and won.

29) She lives America's motto--in God we trust.

30) She ticks off all the right people.

31) She believes the shrinking government expands individual freedom.

32) She understands the threats of country like Iran.

33) She understands the difference between separation of church and state and separation of God and state.

34) As Governor, she forward funded education, giving schools greater flexibility and predictability in their planning.

35) She was prescient of the Obama administration's plans and policies as far back as September of 2008, and she can effectively reverse these policies.

36) She is a firm advocate of freedom of speech, even standing up for those who have denigrated her.

37) She knows how to respond to the largest environmental disaster in our nation's history, unlike our current president.

38) She believes America needs to restored, not fundamentally transformed.

39) She has the optimism of Reagan with the tenacity of Thatcher.

40) With Governor Palin as President, the era of big government would be gone.

41) She doesn't believe in identity politics or put people in a box.She sees individual Americans, not voting blocs.

42) She is an American first, conservative second, and Republican third.

43) She speaks from the heart,not a teleprompter.

44) She is a leader, not a politician.

45) She believes in developing a strong work ethic.

46) She learns from others who have been at the other end of the political and religious spectrum--Reagan was a former Democrat, Thomas Sowell is a former Marxist, and C.S. Lewis was a former atheist.

47) She's not afraid to go rogue.

Happy 47th birthday, Governor!

Crossposted here,here, here, and here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Specifics of an Exceptionally Big Government and American Exceptionalism

On Friday, Governor Palin gave a wonderful speech, sharing her thoughts on Reagan's " A Time for Choosing" speech in 1964. Governor Palin also spent time meeting and taking photos with the more than 300 speech attendees. Stacy Drake at C4P pointed out over the weekend, New York Times reporter, Jeff Zeleny, attended the speech wearing both earplugs and a blindfold, claiming that Governor Palin didn't mingle or meet with guests. He neither heard Young America's Foundation's Kate Obenshain mention that all attendees would have the opportunity to meet Governor Palin and have their picture taken with her, nor saw that while he claimed Governor Palin didn't mingle with attendees, a photo accompanying his article (with the caption "Ms. Palin greets guests after her speech") showed her doing just that.

Byron York at the Washington Examiner, in an otherwise fair piece, also wore a blindfold and earplugs at the event, seeing only 200 attendees and hearing only from those who would not support Governor Palin for President, highly unlikely for the size and setting of the crowd. CBS was among those who also decide to wear earplugs at the speech, claiming like so many pundits and "journalists" do any time Governor Palin speaks, that she is short on policy specifics.

Upon watching and listening to Governor Palin's speech, one can see that she had a broad message supported by specifics. The broad message? Exceptionally big government leads us on the path to ruin, but American exceptionalism lifts us from the rubble of the ruin and allows us to rebuild. The specifics that Governor Palin shared outline the ruin that big government creates, the reforms and policy changes needed to clean up the rubble, and the American exceptionalism that needs to be embraced to allow us to rebuild.

Governor Palin outlined the specifics of the ruin big government has created: a $14 trillion national debt, a $1.5 trillion deficit, 84% increase in federal spending over the last 2 years,17% real unemployment, and 2.9 million home foreclosures in the last year, along with "stimulus" spending and "investing". Doesn't that sound like the specifics of the ruins of big government and the boxcars of the "bullet train to bankruptcy"? In addition to statistical specifics, Governor Palin addressed the problems with unproven "green energy", speaking specifically of the unemployment and debt in Spain due to an overemphasis on green jobs. She mentioned the problems with pervasive "crony capitalism on steroids", perhaps like when General Electric received a regulatory break following GE CEO heading a jobs panel for the Obama administration.

Governor Palin not only identified the rubble of the ruins of big government; she also identified the steps that need to be taken to clean up the rubble. Governor Palin emphasized the need for entitlement reform, something that she has mentioned on numerous occasions including her endorsement of Congressman Ryan's Roadmap. She also mentioned the need to cut, not just freeze spending at their historically high levels. She mentioned the need to cut corporate taxes to allow for job creation. These measures allow America to pick up the economic pieces and lay the foundations to allow American exceptionalism to build.

Governor Palin specifically mentioned three industries, that if only they weren't over-regulated, would provide jobs and an economic boost to America--energy, agriculture, and manufacturing. Governor Palin mentioned how an all-of-the-above approach to energy that included drilling would provide hundreds of thousands of good paying job, lower fuel prices, and less dependence on non-allied or enemy sources of oil. Of course, the Obama administration has doubled down on blocking drilling in the Gulf and elsewhere, even to the point of being held in contempt. Manufacturing and agricultural jobs are indeed over-regulated, as the EPA now even requires milk spills to be treated the same way as oil spills. Governor Palin also spoke of the American people's willingness to work hard if only over-regulations were removed to enable job creators to indeed create jobs. This is how rebuilding can be done after the rubble has been identified and removed. Governor Palin went on to speak of the work ethic, self-determination, and trust in God that our grandparents had. Those attributes are among those that make America exceptional, and those are the kinds of attributes that define the western conservatism that both President Reagan and Governor Palin embraced.

If the press and pundits would remove the blindfolds and earplugs, they may get a better picture of the specific perils of an exceptionally big government and the specific solutions that lie in American exceptionalism.

Crossposted here, here, here, and here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin, and Super Bowl football

Today marks a unique day with the a dual celebration of American political history and American sports culture. February 6th, 2011 is both President Reagan's 100th birthday and arguably the biggest sports/American pop culture event of the year--the Super Bowl. Although President Reagan never played professional football, but he played both high school and college football, playing Right Guard (arguably the same position he took on national defense later in life). He even once said, " [g]oing to college gave me the chance to play football four more years." Sports was a passion of his.

Ronald Reagan as a Eureka
College football player

Reagan spent some time as Midwestern sports announcer in the early and mid 1930s, which opened the door his acting career when he covered the Chicago Cubs' spring training near Hollywood in 1937. He later would star in Knute Rockne-All American, a 1940 film about Notre Dame football where Reagan play George Gipp. The film included a very memorably line that later became a political slogan for him: "The last thing George said to me, 'Rock,' he said, 'sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper.'

During his presidency, he showed his love for the game. He and his wife, Nancy, were among many who welcomed the Washington Redskins at the airport following their victory in Super Bowl XVII When Reagan was re-elected in 1984, crushing Walter Mondale, his inauguration was on the same day as the 1985 Super Bowl. The public ceremonies were held the next day following the game, and President Reagan performed the coin toss via satellite for the game between the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers.

In addition to their optimism, embrace of American exceptionalism,and embodiment of conservative principles, President Reagan and Governor Palin both started their careers in sports broadcasting--Reagan as a radio sports announcement and Palin as a TV sports news anchor. Governor Palin never played organized football, but her daughter, Bristol, played. Interestingly, Governor Palin has some ties to both teams in today's Super Bowl. Governor Palin is on the record as growing up a Pittsburgh Steelers' fan because of their success in the 1970s with their "Steel Curtain" defense. However, she reportedly attended a Jets-Packers game with Governor Christie during this past NFL regular season. No word on which team she cheered for. On a somewhat related note, a column in The Fort Morgan Times in Colorado even compared the Packers' post season success to Governor Palin's hunting abilities:
The Green Bay Packers reached the Super Bowl Sunday, capping off a stellar playoff run by beating Chicago. In three weeks they knocked off the Eagles and Falcons and Bears. It takes forty-nine extra-large men to keep up with Sarah Palin during hunting season.
Governor Palin and Todd Palin are now reportedly Seattle Seahawks' fans, but it seems Trig Palin may be a Steelers' fan. Governor Palin has spoken out in various ways regarding an aspect of the most two recent Super Bowls. In 2009, Governor Palin and a group of Alaskans gave a shout out to America's military prior to that game:

Last year, she spoke out in support of a pro-life ad that was denied the opportunity to be shown during the Super Bowl due to the anti-woman's empowerment message of NOW. She recognized the importance of this message,and the unique opportunity the Super Bowl provides for disseminating that message to millions of Americans. She wrote on Facebook:
Women’s Rights groups, like NOW, commendably call out advertisers and networks for airing sexist and demeaning portrayals of women that lead to young women’s diminished self-esteem and acceptance of roles as mere sexed-up objects.

What a ridiculous situation they’re getting themselves into now with their protest of CBS airing a pro-life ad during the upcoming Super Bowl game. The ad will feature Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mom, and they’ll speak to the sanctity of life and the beautiful potential within every innocent child as Mrs. Tebow acknowledges her choice to give Tim life, despite less than ideal circumstances. Messages like this empower women! This speaks to the strength and commitment and nurturing spirit within women. The message says everything positive and nothing negative about the power of women – and life. Evidently, some women’s rights groups like NOW do not like that message.
Governor Palin has always noted the life lessons that can be learned from sports--they healthiness of competition, the blessings of learning teamwork, and the enjoyment of being active. In a time when the world seems be going crazy, it's sometimes good to take a step back and realize those things that we have the opportunity to enjoy as Americans--the Super Bowl being among them. For many, it is the enjoyment of watching competition, others the team spirit and pride if their chosen team makes it to the final game, others it's simply the uniqueness and humor of the commercials scattered throughout the game. In many ways, those things represent those core American values that both Reagan and Palin embody. The competition and commercials represent the free market principles, that when allowed to be manifested, allow Americans to be prosperous and the economy to grow. The team pride and spirit is representative of the patriotism and embrace of American exceptionalism, never better communicated by Reagan and Palin. So whether you're donning a Cheesehead tonight or waving a Terrible towel, be sure to raise your glass to the man celebrating his 100th birthday today and the woman celebrating her 47th birthday on Friday.

H/T Go Long for the Gipper

Related: Fox will play this video prior to kickoff at the Super Bowl:

Crossposted here.