Monthly Archives: October 2012
Some 20 years ago as I was finishing graduate school, I worked for a polling company. It was longer than I wanted to but it gave me some valuable insights on that business before I moved into the line of work that I wanted. I got to know the man who ran the company; he ran polls for national and international companies and occasionally dabbled into political polling. He was meticulous and it became very clear that this job was his life. Now I don’t know his politics but I would guess that he was left of center, at least on social issues. However, he was nearly fanatical about being impartial and getting the true response. Some twenty years later, all of this helps me to understand how political polling works, and believe me it is very difficult. In other words, if political polling isn’t done exactly right it becomes a terrible slanted mess.
Here’s how live polling works. Automated computer dialers call randomly generated phone numbers, which are often are disconnected, faxes and or not in service. In a four hour shift you would be lucky to get 8-10 complete surveys per poll taker in a hotly contested political race. Now mind you that was 20 years before cell phones, my understanding is that now because of cell phones and caller id many polling agencies are using brief computer automated voices to ask questions. Most polling agencies have given up on live survey results on such things as your favorite bar of soup, breakfast cereal, shoe company etc. Believe me there were nights that we would put in a four hour shift and call over 150 people and get one or two complete surveys concerning your favorite shampoo.
When it comes to political polling my old boss (who is a Ph.D and widely respected across the country) would fret about the way we ask each question, our tone and our attitude. He would drill into us that he needed unbiased surveys for his clients. He would remind us, and this is very important in today’s world, that conservative oriented people don’t like polling as much as liberals because liberals believe in proselytizing their views while conservatives feel their views are a reflection of their values, as well as their cultural and religious upbringing. This is why liberals tend to be oversampled in polling. By and large they don’t hang up on pollsters and surveys because they view it as their duty and mission to get the word out. Again, my boss was not a conservative and he could see this 20 years ago. Continue reading
I have to give the Republican National Committee credit this year when it comes to being quick off the dime in producing web videos. The above was put out immediately in the aftermath of the debate contrasting the calm demeanor of Romney from the somewhat frenetic and combative stance of Obama. This clip was typical of the entire debate:
The world came very close to nuclear war half a century back. The above video is of the speech that President Kennedy gave fifty years ago on October 22, 1962. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in placing nuclear missiles in Cuba brought the world to the brink. The crisis was ultimately resolved by the removal of the Soviet missiles in exchange for two agreements between the US and the Soviet Union: 1. No invasion of Cuba by the US; and 2. The removal of obsolete American Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey and Southern Italy. Unsurprisingly the US kept secret the removal of the Jupiter missiles. Surprisingly the Soviets also kept mum about the removal of the Jupiter missiles which led to the perception abroad and within the Soviet Union that Khrushchev had lost his confrontation with Kennedy, and paved the way for the Central Committee coup led by Leonid Brezhnev which toppled Khrushchev from power in October 1964. Here is the text of the speech: Continue reading
And what an interesting history, up till this night, the debates have written in this election contest. In the first debate a lifeless Obama and an energized Romney turned the election on its head with Romney taking the lead from Obama. The second debate saw an aggressive Obama, full of sound and fury but ultimately signifying little as Romney turned in a very good performance and Obama gained bupkis from his efforts in the polls. Here are my thoughts on the third and final debate.
1. Libya Missed Opportunity-Libya was the first question out of the box and Romney didn’t attempt to lay a glove on Obama. Mistake.
2. I Am Not a Hawk- Romney went out of his way throughout the debate to refute Obama’s argument that he is a hawk. My guess is that is correct. If Romney is left to his own devices I believe he would be tightly focused on getting the American economy moving. Unfortunately American presidents often are not allowed to engage in “of the world forgetting and by the world forgot”, as 9-11 demonstrated.
3. Lacklustre-Of all the debates I found this one the most dreary. I think both Obama and Romney were repeating talking points from previous debates and the entire debate had a “been there, done that” feel.
4. Obama on the Attack-Like most candidates who are behind, Obama was on the attack all night. It would have been much more effective if he had not also been sneeringly condescending while doing so.
5. Hollow Military-Romney effectively challenged the reductions in military strength that have been the hallmark of the Obama record on defense. Continue reading
We’re in the home stretch now as we look at the final set of Senate races. Each of these contests are either complete tossups or utter blowouts.
Pennsylvania – Republican: Tom Smith. Democrat: Bob Casey (Incumbent).
This race had flown under the radar as it appeared that Casey was cruising to re-election. Smith started gaining momentum at a time when nearly every other Republican was losing it, and he has now narrowed the gap. Even when Casey was well ahead he was failing to poll at the magical 50% number. Casey’s problem is representative of the shift in the Pennsylvania Democratic party. While his father was a true social conservative, and therefore a good fit for the state, the younger Casey pays only lip service to abortion and other issues. I think that Casey will survive, but only barely, and for just one more term. Prediction: Democrat hold.
Rhode Island – Republican: Barry Hinckley. Democrat: Sheldon Whitehouse (Incumbent).
A Republican polling firm has this race in single digits. Until I see other polls showing it that close, it still looks to be a pretty safe seat for Whitehouse. Prediction: Democrat hold.
Tennessee – Republican: Bob Corker (Incumbent). Democrat: Mark Clayton.
Corker was just about the only Republican to win a close election in 2006. He won’t have to sweat this time. Prediction: Republican hold.
Texas (open R) – Republican: Ted Cruz. Democrat: Paul Sadler.
Democrats in Texas must feel like Republicans in New York and California. One would think in a state as big as Texas, as Republican-dominated as it is, Democrats would be able to field a semi-competitive candidate. As it is, the real election occurred over the summer when Cruz upset the state’s Lieutenant Governor in a primary runoff. The only question about this contest is how big Cruz’s margin of victory will be. Prediction: Republican hold.
Utah – Republican: Orrin Hatch (Incumbent). Democrat: Scott Howell.
For once Orrin Hatch had to battle for re-election, but it wasn’t the general election that he had to worry about. Hatch was able to avoid the fate of his former colleague, Bob Bennett, and successfully fended off a tea party challenge for the nomination. Hatch had a little more conservative credibility than Bennett, obtaining the support of figures like Mark Levin. Having won re-nomination, Hatch will cruise in the general. Prediction: Republican hold.
Vermont – Republican: John MacGover. Independent: Bernie Sanders (Incumbent).
If there is a silver lining for Republicans, it is that this will continue to be technically a non-Democrat seat. Yeah, I’m stretching. Prediction: Independent hold.
Virginia (open D) – Republican: George Allen. Democrat: Tim Kaine.
In a year of tossups, this might be the tossiest-up of them all. Allen is running to regain the seat that he macaca’d himself out of six years ago. Allen has done better than he did during the last campaign, when he spent the better part of the Fall running negative ads against Jim Webb in a desperate effort to deflect attention away from his macaca moment. The 2006 election was one where partisans on both sides wished both candidates would just go away. Now, in an election pitting two former, relatively popular governors, once again it seems there is surprisingly little enthusiasm. At times it appears that both candidates are kind of going through the motions to win a seat neither really desperately wants, but feel compelled to run for out of some sense of party loyalty. It is truly a strange dynamic, and the voters have expressed their own confusion by failing to break for either candidate. It’s almost impossible to pick a winner, but I’ll go with Allen to win back the seat. No matter who wins, I sense that this will be an open-seat contest again in 2018. Prediction: Republican pickup.
Washington – Republican: Michael Baumgartner. Democrat: Maria Cantwell (Incumbent).
Another seat that the Republicans had some hopes for at the beginning of the year, but this was never a race. Prediction: Democrat hold.
West Virginia – Republican: John Raese. Democrat: Joe Manchin (Democrat).
Manchin has done a masterful job of persuading Mountaineers that he’s a rogue independent while siding with his party when it really matters. Prediction: Democrat hold.
Wisconsin (open D) – Republican: Tommy Thompson. Democrat: Tammy Baldwin.
This race has followed a path unlike most of the others. When former governor Tommy Thompson won the nomination this seemed like a prime Republican pickup opportunity, and Thompson did hold a double digit lead over the summer. Baldwin received a nice post-convention bounce, and she and Thompson have swapped leads it seems with every other poll. Thompson may have seemed like the safe choice for many Republicans in the state, but this is a case where the other candidate’s relative youth may be too much to overcome. Prediction: Democrat hold.
Wyoming – Republican: John Barrasso (Incumbent). Democrat: Tim Chestnut.
I don’t anticipate we’ll be up late waiting to hear a winner announced here. Prediction: Republican hold.
FINAL ANALYSIS: I have the Republicans picking up Florida, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Virginia, while losing Maine. That would be a net gain of five seats for the GOP, giving them a 52-48 majority (assuming the independents caucus with Democrats). I’m starting to rethink my Florida and Missouri calls, though I can see Ohio, Pennsylvania, and especially Wisconsin breaking in their favor (though Massachusetts can also swing the other way). Whatever the case may be, my most fearless prediction is this: we will know the identity of the next president much earlier in the evening on election night than we will which party will control the Senate.
With a Public Religion Research Institute poll indicating that 59% of Catholics nationwide support so-called “homosexual marriage” (52% of the general public supports the
notion), it shouldn’t prove surprising that the State of Washington’s Democrat-controlled legislature voted to legalize homosexual marriage earlier this year and the state’s Democrat-Catholic Governor, Christine Gregoire, quickly signed the measure into law.
Politically, it’s a “no brainer”! After all, even the majority of Catholics apparently support the notion.
However, opponents organized to submit a petition to bring the law to voters in November, thus blocking the law’s implementation until after the referendum takes place.
According to the Associated Press, a group of 63 former Catholic priests whose members back homosexual marriage in the State of Washington responded with a political jujutzu. The group challenged the state’s Catholic bishops who had lobbied against the law’s implementation, contending that the bishops’ efforts to defeat the law represented a threat to religious liberty. The former Catholic priests wrote in a statement:
We feel the bishops are abusing their power in attempting to direct Catholics on how to vote on this civil matter and impose their position on all citizens, Catholic and non-Catholic. (italics added)
The petition’s organization, Patrick Callahan, who was a Catholic priest for 15 years and continues to attend Catholic church, told Reuters:
Progressive-thinking Catholics need the reassurance that there is more than one authentic Catholic position. (italics added)
“Need the reassurance” that there’s more than one authentic Catholic position?
Did anyone teach these ex-priests logic when they were seminarians?
How can there be more than one authentic Catholic position?
Of course it’s not possible.
This isn’t about reassurance. It’s not about being logical. And it’s really not about Church teaching.
It’s all about how those 63 former Catholic priests “feel.” And that’s what they believe the foundation of Catholic teaching should rest upon.
Feeling not the Rock.
To read the Associated Press report:
Tying in with my co-blogger Dave Hartline’s post, which may be read here, my favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has a brilliant column today on the cynicism towards government that has justifiably grrown like Topsy during the period of Obama’s presidency:
Do you believe any more that some of our Secret Service agents — once the most esteemed of all professionals — on presidential assignment will not get drunk and womanize in their evening spare time? Do you believe that the grandees at the GSA — once the stern penny-pinchers that frowned when bureaucrats wanted a new bookcase — won’t flaunt the waste that they incur? Do you believe that the government will never sell assault rifles to drug lords? Or do you believe what the president, the secretary of state, and the director of national intelligence will say to us when the next embassy is hit? And do you believe that there were “shovel-ready jobs” and “millions of green jobs” that arose from the “stimulus”? And what is a “stimulus” anyway, but borrowed money, in the manner likewise of “investments”? Did any of you believe that Solyndra was the wave of the future?
We don’t even believe that a commission on presidential debates will ensure us unbiased moderators, or that the candidates will have equal time in speaking, or that the supposedly quiet crowd won’t boo or clap to affect the tempo of the exchange. From now on, will debate moderators bring preselected transcripts to the forum, wait for a key moment, interrupt one of the speakers, and then wave a piece of paper to proffer authority to contradict him — eliciting applause from the supposedly neutral and silent audience, and affirmation from the president? Do you believe First Lady Michelle Obama — of “never been proud/downright mean country” infamy — when she accuses Republicans on talking down the country?
Do you believe that the Department of Labor always assesses its data and offers disinterested conclusions? I don’t. I suspect partisan grandees, perhaps in California, will massage the data on the principle of the ends justifying the means. The same is true of Libya: the noble idea of a reset Middle East, appreciative of the unique heritage and ideology of Barack Obama and his bold attempt to reformulate America, was simply too precious to be imperiled by al-Qaedist thugs who hate us as much as ever and will kill until stopped.
I also never believed in a “war on the women” simply because mostly upper-class, liberal, highly educated white women seemed to be angry that Catholic institutions d0 not wish to include free abortion and contraceptive pills among their generous benefits packages. Did I miss something? Who were supposed to be oppressed, and how and why? Could Ms. Fluke — who addressed an audience of ten in Nevada this weekend — and her partner not split the cost of a pack of ten-dollar prophylactics? Are not more women graduating with BAs than are men? To the degree there is a gender crisis, I think it may be more young working-class men without college degrees who simply cannot find jobs in the muscular industries and for whom society apparently has little need. Is the “war on women” what the long road from suffrage to equal pay has come down to — a psychodrama of the most privileged generation in civilization’s history? So I simply do not believe that there is a war on anyone, much less women. To the degree there is a war, it is on fiscal responsibility, a war on paying bills and keeping solvent — something lost last week in more of binders, Big Bird, the war “in Iran,” Joe Biden’s continued gesticulations, and “Romnesia.” Continue reading
1. Foreign Policy -This debate is about foreign policy. Normally Americans are only interested in foreign policy if we are at war or Americans are getting killed. This probably would have been the debate with miniscule ratings but for the excitement of the first two debates and the Benghazi attack. As it is I think viewership will be about as high as for the first two debates.
2. Things Fall Apart-The Obama foreign policy is beginning to resemble Yeats’ Second Coming:
You have used the phrase unraveling in describing Obama’s Middle East Policy. Hit that hard.
3. Libya-New revelations have come out that our ambassador was constantly calling for more security in Libya. Why didn’t he get it? Why were we relying on Libyan mercenaries for security instead of US Marines? The questions almost ask themselves.
4. Bob Schieffer-If he tries to pull a Candy Crowley and assist Obama, do not take any guff, but point it out. My guess he will not due to the negative flack that Crowley has gotten, but be prepared.
5. October Surprise-It looks like one of the October surprises will be direct negotiations between the US and Iran. Be prepared for Obama to make some sort of reference to it in the debate. Respond that you are always in favor of talking, but serious progress must be made and not a mere endless bout of hot air while Iran gets ever closer to nuclear weapons. Continue reading
President Barack Obama’s debate performances could never equal the expectations of the secular faithful. Many on the far left envisioned an American society where religion was about as important to the populace and politically influential as it is in Sweden. The land of the midnight sun has been a great hope to liberals ever since religion began to erode there in the 1950s and abortion became commonplace in the 1960s. Governor Michael Dukakis famously poured over Sweden’s great Welfare state enterprise to see what he might learn, which of course led to his electoral demise in 1988.
With all of his rhetorical skills, President Obama could never make Americans have a come to Pierre Trudeau, Willy Brandt, Jose Luis Zapatero (pick your favorite Western Democratic Socialist) moment like many Americans have a Come to Jesus moment over failings in their lives. Instead of realizing that not everyone can be suckered into buying Big Government swampland, the Left has taken their frustrations out on the President. If only he were talking more about rising and falling oceans and making them believe we are the ones we have been waiting for; the Left attacks the messenger and not the message.
Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist laments about this in a long New York magazine article. The writer for the Old Gray Lady states the Americans are somehow too dumb to become like Europeans and surrender their lives to government and not God. He sees little hope and concludes the Tea Party will always prevail in the American persona rather than government control. Talk about a brain trust, can you imagine the anti-religious nuggets thrown around the water cooler when Bill Keller, the former New York Times editor was present. You may recall Keller infamously dubbed himself a “Collapsed Catholic,” fortunately reported to us by former Newsweek Religion Editor Kenneth Woodward, who is not Catholic and hardly a friend of conservatives, but a principled man who couldn’t take any more of the Times’ hypocrisy directed at the Church. I would strongly suggest you read this The New York magazine article for if conservatives mouthed these same thoughts about minorities instead of suburbanites and rural residents, we would be blacklisted.
In my just released book, The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I note how the Left turned on Al Smith (the first Catholic standard bearer) after he formed the Liberty League in the mid and late 1930s and told Americans he could no longer support President Roosevelt. This startling development occurred after a number of questionable instances came to light including the Supreme Court Packing Case and the Roosevelt 1938 purge of Conservative Democrats. By 1940 unemployment was still at 14% and if had not been for World War II who knows how long unemployment would have remained in double digits. Continue reading
Sandra Fluke, her 15 minutes of fame having elapsed, talked to ten people in Reno yesterday as part of the Obama campaign. Ten people? In my small town of Dwight, Illinois I could have over a hundred people assemble to hear a speaker with three hours advance notice. Give me a day’s advance notice and I could have over five hundred. Continue reading
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was born in 1656 in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon near present day Auriesville, New York . Her father was a Mohawk Chieftain and her mother was an Algonquin Catholic convert, initially a captive of the Mohawks, who eventually married Kateri’s father. During a smallpox epidemic between 1661-1663 tragedy struck her family, with smallpox killing her parents and her brother. Her face was scarred as a result of smallpox and her sight diminished. She was adopted by an uncle.
Converted by Jesuit missionaries, she joined the Church, despite opposition from her family, on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1676. Fleeing persecution among her people she moved to Kahnawake, a village established south of Montreal by Jesuits for native converts. There Kateri embarked upon a life of asceticism, although cautioned against going to extremes by her Jesuit friends. She impressed them by her piety and the goodness that seemed to shine forth from her. She died young on Wednesday in Holy Week on April 17, 1680. Her last words were “Jesus I love you”. Continue reading
Dinesh D’Souza’a Obama 2016 is out on DVD. It has no special features, but I would recommend purchasing it if you didn’t see the movie. During its theatrical release earlier this year it earned a stunning 33,000,000 which is fantastic box office for a documentary. Here is my review which I originally posted on September 2 after seeing the film in a theater: Continue reading
Henry Bergh did not find the climate of Russia agreeable. Vice Consul at the American legation in Saint Petersburg from 1862-1864, he resigned rather than face another Russian winter. Independently wealthy, Bergh did not need his diplomat’s salary and could have retired, he was 51 in 1864, to a life of leisure if he wished. Instead he embarked on a new career that in its own way was more trying even than a Russian winter.
After a world tour he returned to New York and embarked upon an uphill crusade on behalf of, using his phrase, the “mute servants of mankind”, the animals. In the 19th century it was not uncommon to see animals being treated in the most barbaric fashion: horses literally dying of overwork, their corpses being left in the streets; packs of wild dogs, living off offal and trash, roaming about cities and towns; cats hunted for sport, etc. To combat this inhumanity, on April 10, 1866 he founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
His efforts were initially met with widespread scorn and derision, but he persevered:
“Day after day I am in slaughterhouses, or lying in wait at midnight with a squad of police near some dog pit. Lifting a fallen horse to his feet, penetrating buildings where I inspect collars and saddles for raw flesh, then lecturing in public schools to children, and again to adult societies. Thus my whole life is spent.” Continue reading
Go here to view a prophetic video from Saturday Night Live four years ago predicting just how crazy the Obama years have been. Note the dead on impersonation of our Beloved National Clown!
In the movie Patton, there is a somewhat eerie scene where Patton indicates why he knows that the Third Reich is on the ropes:
“I had a dream last night. In my dream it came to me…that right now the whole Nazi Reich is mine for the taking.” “You know how I’m sure they’re finished out there? The carts. They’re using carts to move their wounded and the supplies. The carts came to me in my dream. I couldn’t figure it out. Then I remembered. . . . .that nightmare in the snow. The agonizing retreat from Moscow. How cold it was. They threw the wounded and what was left of the supplies in the carts. Napoleon was finished. Not any color left. Not even the red of blood. Only the snow.”
You know that a Democrat campaign is on the ropes when the focus is placed on abortion. Democrats, at least most of them, aren’t idiots. They understand that focusing on abortion is going to hurt them as much as it helps them, and, in most states, probably hurt them more. However, when a Democrat campaign is headed south abortion is often invoked in an attempt to rally the true believers in the right to slay their offspring. It is a sign of desperation. Yesterday, Obama had the head of Worse Than Murder, Inc, aka Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards introduce him at a rally in Virginia.
She also cut this video for Obama that was released yesterday: Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The Ballad of Roger Young. Born on April 28, 1918 in Tiffin, Ohio, Rodger Young had a happy childhood until in a basketball game in high school he received a head injury which affected his hearing and his eyesight. He dropped out of high school in his sophomore year because he could not hear the teachers and could not see the blackboards.
A small man physically, along with his hearing and eyesight problems, Young would have seemed to have been totally unsuited to be a soldier. Nevertheless, Young joined the National Guard in Ohio in 1938. He made a good soldier and rose to the rank of Sergeant. He was assigned to Company B of the 148th Infantry Regiment. With the coming of World War II his regiment was assigned to fight on New Georgia.
Shortly before his unit arrived in New Georgia Young took a voluntary demotion to private. He was by now almost completely deaf and his eyesight was worse and he didn’t think under these conditions he could perform the duties of a squad leader. With these disabilities his commanding officer wanted to send Young to the hospital. Young pleaded his case to remain with his unit with such passion, that he was allowed to stay with Company B.
A week after his unit landed in New Georgia, Young was part of a 20 man patrol near Munda that ran into a Japanese ambush. What he did next earned Young the Medal of Honor and cost him his life. Here is the text of his Medal of Honor citation: Continue reading
Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Outraged victims and the families of the slain of the murderous rampage of Major Nidal Hassan at Fort Hood in 2009 have created the above video attacking the Obama’s administration’s denial that this was a blatant act of terrorism and labeling it work place violence.
They point out that the accused shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, consulted by email with top al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki about whether an attack against American soldiers was justified to “protect our brothers.” Until his death in an airstrike in 2011, Yemen-based Awlaki was considered one of the United States’ top enemies.