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Author Topic: The 2008 Presidential Race  (Read 152939 times)
ccp
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« Reply #300 on: December 27, 2007, 07:46:55 PM »

On the assasination today:

"I know from my lifetime of experience you have to be prepared for whatever might happen, and that's particularly true today," Clinton said in an Associated Press interview while campaigning in Iowa.

Gimme a break.

I'll take Obama anyday.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #301 on: December 28, 2007, 02:43:02 AM »

Nancy Reagan for President!
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G M
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« Reply #302 on: December 29, 2007, 02:03:48 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/12/23/video-ron-paul-explains-fascism-and-little-else-on-meet-the-press/?print=1

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/12/27/video-ron-paul-reacts-to-bhuttos-death-by-playing-the-same-tired-blame-america-tune/?print=1

Aside from Ron Paul pandering to nazis, Trufers and other assorted tin-foil hats, he's utterly clueless about the global jihad and foreign policy.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #303 on: December 31, 2007, 12:31:51 PM »

Fred has a strong pitch clip on his site at http://www.fred08.com:80/Virtual/FDTIowaSpeech.aspx

Here's the WSJ's Political Diary on it:
===================


Thompson's Pitch: Let's Save the Democratic Party from the Democrats!

It wasn't an attack ad, and it didn't feature a "floating cross" in the background. In fact, Fred Thompson's closing appeal to Iowa voters is playing mostly on his Web site and YouTube because his campaign can't afford to buy TV time for the 17-minute message. Call it Thompson's Hail Mary pass.

That doesn't make the pitch any less worth watching. Harking back to Ronald Reagan's 1976 televised speech before the North Carolina primary -- which helped produce the Gipper's upset victory over President Gerald Ford -- Mr. Thompson's message is grounded in the substance and clarity he told supporters he would bring to the race, but which only became clearly visible in recent weeks.

Peter Robinson, a former speechwriter for President Reagan who is now at the Hoover Institution, notes that Mr. Thompson is trying something no other GOP candidate this year has done: appeal to Democrats. His key passage begins: "You know, when I'm asked which of the current group of Democratic candidates I prefer to run against, I always say it really doesn't matter. These days all those candidates, all the Democratic leaders, are one and the same. They're all NEA-MoveOn.org-ACLU-Michael Moore Democrats. They've allowed these radicals to take control of their party and dictate their course.... This election is important to salvage a once-great political party from the grip of extremism and shake it back to its senses. It's time to give not just Republicans but independents, and, yes, good Democrats a chance to call a halt to the leftward lurch of the once-proud party of working people."

Certainly the other GOP candidates might argue with Mr. Thompson's claim that his track record and approach make him the best candidate to win Democratic votes in the general election. Rudy Giuliani would be expected to put blue states such as New Jersey and Connecticut in play, and John McCain has proven support among some independent voters. But Mr. Robinson gives Mr. Thompson credit for trying to change the tone of the last days of the Iowa caucuses to something more substantive: "We have here a serious man, making a serious case -- and doing so in the context of a campaign that has otherwise descended into mere caterwauling."

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #304 on: January 01, 2008, 12:56:43 PM »

Be Reasonable
As Iowa sizes up the candidates, so do I.

Friday, December 28, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

By next week politically active Iowans will have met and tallied their votes. Their decision this year will have a huge impact on the 2008 election, and a decisive impact on various candidacies. Some will be done in. Some will be made. Some will land just right or wrong and wake up the next day to read raves or obits. A week after that, New Hampshire. The endless campaign is in fact nearing its climax.

But all eyes are on Iowa. Iowans bear a heck of a lot of responsibility this year, the first time since 1952 when there is no incumbent president or vice president in the race. All of it is wide open.

Iowa can make Obama real. It can make Hillary yesterday. It can make Huckabee a phenom and not a flash, McCain the future and not the past. Moments like this happen in history. They're the reason we get up in the morning. "What happened?" "Who won?"





This is my 2008 slogan: Reasonable Person for President. That is my hope, what I ask Iowa to produce, and I claim here to speak for thousands, millions. We are grown-ups, we know our country needs greatness, but we do not expect it and will settle at the moment for good. We just want a reasonable person. We would like a candidate who does not appear to be obviously insane. We'd like knowledge, judgment, a prudent understanding of the world and of the ways and histories of the men and women in it.
Here are two reasonables: Joe Biden and Chris Dodd. They have been United States senators for a combined 62 years. They've read a raw threat file or two. They have experience, sophistication, the long view. They know how it works. No one will have to explain it to them.

Mitt Romney? Yes. Characterological cheerfulness, personal stability and a good brain would be handy to have around. He hasn't made himself wealthy by seeing the world through a romantic mist. He has a sophisticated understanding of the challenges we face in the global economy. I personally am not made anxious by his flip-flopping on big issues because everyone in politics gets to change his mind once. That is, you can be pro-life and then pro-choice but you can't go back to pro-life again, because if you do you'll look like a flake. The positions Mr. Romney espouses now are the positions he will stick with. He has no choice.

John McCain? Yes. Remember when he was the wild man in 2000? For Republicans on the ground he was a little outré, if Republicans on the ground said "outré," as opposed to the more direct "nut job." George W. Bush, then, was the moderate, more even-toned candidate. Times change. Mr. McCain is an experienced, personally heroic, seasoned, blunt-eyed, irascible American character. He makes me proud. He makes everyone proud.

Barack Obama? Yes, I think so. He has earned the attention of the country with a classy campaign, with a disciplined and dignified staff, and with passionate supporters such as JFK hand Ted Sorensen, who has told me he sees in Obama's mind and temperament the kind of gifts Kennedy displayed during the Cuban missile crisis. Mr. Obama is thoughtful, and it would be a pleasure to have a president who is highly literate and a writer of books.

Is he experienced enough? No. He's not old enough either. Men in their 40s love drama too much. Young politicians on fire over this issue or that tend to see politics as a stage on which they can act out their greatness. And we don't need more theatrics, more comedies or tragedies. But Mr. Obama doesn't seem on fire. He seems like a calm liberal with a certain moderating ambivalence. The great plus of his candidacy: More than anyone else he turns the page. If he rises he is something new in history, good or bad, and a new era begins.

Hillary Clinton? No, not reasonable. I concede her sturdy mind, deep sophistication, and seriousness of intent. I see her as a triangulator like her husband, not a radical but a maneuverer in the direction of a vague, half-forgotten but always remembered, leftism. It is also true that she has a command-and-control mentality, an urgent, insistent and grating sense of destiny, and she appears to believe that any act that benefits Clintons is a virtuous act, because Clintons are good and deserve to be benefited.

But this is not, actually, my central problem with her candidacy. My central problem is that the next American president will very likely face another big bad thing, a terrible day, or days, and in that time it will be crucial--crucial--that our nation be led by a man or woman who can be, at least for the moment and at least in general, trusted. Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon. Would she be able to speak the nation through the trauma? I do not think so. And if I am right, that simple fact would do as much damage to America as the terrible thing itself.

Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, and Bill Richardson are all reasonable--mature, accomplished, nonradical. Mike Huckabee gets enough demerits to fall into my not-reasonable column. John Edwards is not reasonable. All the Democrats would raise taxes as president, but Mr. Edwards's populism is the worst of both worlds, both intemperate and insincere. Also we can't have a president who spent two minutes on YouTube staring in a mirror and poofing his hair. Really, we just can't.

I forgot Rudy Giuliani. That must say something. He is reasonable but not desirable. If he wins somewhere, I'll explain.





Because much of the drama is on the Democratic side, a thought on what might be said when they win or lose. If Mrs. Clinton wins, modesty is in order, with a graceful nod to Mr. Obama. If she loses--well, the Clintons haven't lost an election since 1980. For a quarter century she's known only victory at the polls. Does she know how to lose? However she acts, whatever face she shows, it will be revealing. Humility would be a good strategy. In politics you have to prove you can take a punch. I just took one. (On second thought that's a bad idea. She might morph at the podium into Robert DeNiro in "Raging Bull" and ad-lib the taunt: You didn't knock me down Ray! I'm still standing!)
For Mr. Obama: a lot of America will be looking at him for the first time, and under the most favorable circumstances: as the winner of something. This is an opportunity to assert freshly what his victory means, and will mean, for America. This is a break with the past, a break with the tired old argument, a break with the idea of dynasty, the idea of the machine, the idea that there are forces in motion that cannot be resisted . . . But what is it besides a break from? What is it a step toward, an embrace of?

Good luck, Iowa. The eyes of the nation are upon you.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father" (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Fridays on OpinionJournal.com.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #305 on: January 01, 2008, 02:28:44 PM »

Third post of the last 24 hours:

Ron Beats Rudy?
New Hampshire could surprise a lot of people.

BY ANDREW CLINE
WSJ
Sunday, December 30, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

MANCHESTER, N.H.--For several hours last Sunday, more than a dozen Ron Paul volunteers stood in snowdrifts in the rain outside the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester waving at last-minute Christmas shoppers and handing out hundreds of yards signs.

The campaign doesn't know how many people participated because, as with so many Paul rallies, this one was organized entirely by fans not officially associated with the campaign.

"We told them to take Christmas Eve and Christmas off, and next thing we know they're doing a sign wave at the mall," said Jim Forsythe, a self-employed engineer and former Air Force pilot from Strafford, N.H., who independently organizes volunteer efforts for Ron Paul.

That spontaneous grassroots support is why Mr. Paul, an obstetrician from Lake Jackson, Texas, could pull off a stunner on Jan. 8 and place third in New Hampshire's Republican primary. If he does, he would embarrass Rudy Giuliani and steal media limelight from John McCain and Mitt Romney, who are battling for first place.





Many Republican operatives in New Hampshire, even those affiliated with other campaigns, think Mr. Paul is headed for an impressive, double-digit performance. That he has been polling in the high single digits for months is discounted, because the polls may be missing the depth of his support.
Why? For starters, he appears to be drawing new voters. Polls that screen for "likely" voters might screen out many Paul supporters who haven't voted often, or at all, before. Many of Mr. Paul's supporters appear to be first-time voters. They will be able to cast their ballots because New Hampshire allows them to register and vote on the day of an election.

Even Mr. Paul's New Hampshire spokesman, Kate Rick, is an unlikely political activist. She grew up in a political family in Washington, D.C. and says "I swore I would never work in politics." She changed her mind only after finding Mr. Paul, a candidate she says she can finally believe in. "Most people I know in the grass roots are like that," she said. "My closest friends have never voted before, and they're die-hard Paul people now."

There is another reason to discount the polls on Mr. Paul. The one thing that unites his supporters is a desire to be left alone, not only by government, but by irritating marketers and meddling pollsters, too. Mr. Paul's supporters might well be screening their calls and not-so-inadvertently screening out pollsters. Still, some observers of the primary race here downplay this support, noting that a lot of the activists who show up in news stories are not state residents and won't be voting.

It is true that Paul supporters from New York, New Jersey and even California are prominent at campaign rallies. But volunteers and campaign staffers say that, although out-of-state volunteers often are the most flamboyant and can attend daytime rallies while local supporters are at work, they do not outnumber the locals.

"Ninety percent [of his supporters] are from New Hampshire," says Jared Chicoine, Mr. Paul's New Hampshire coordinator. Keith Murphy, a former Democratic campaign worker from Maryland who owns Murphy's Taproom in Manchester, has held several Paul rallies at his restaurant, which has become a regular hangout for the Paul crowd. When the candidate shows up, about 75% of the activists at an event are from out of state, he said, but on other nights it's about 50-50.

Regardless of where they are from, organizing Mr. Paul's supporters is a challenge. "This is entirely grassroots oriented to the point that the official campaign structure seems almost lost, to the point that they don't know what to do with all these people," Mr. Murphy said.

On their own initiative, and at their own expense, Paul volunteers hold rallies, print and distribute brochures and even purchase ads. "I pick up the paper and say, wow, there's an ad and it's not my ad," Mr. Chicoine told me.





The buzz surrounding the Paul campaign is reminiscent of the grassroots campaign Democrat Carol Shea-Porter waged against Republican Rep. Jeb Bradley last year. Polls showed Mrs. Shea-Porter trailing by 19 points in October. With almost no money and no support from the Democratic establishment, she came from behind and beat the congressman 51% to 49%.
Many are wondering if the polls are similarly missing Mr. Paul's momentum. Mrs. Shea-Porter and Mr. Paul have very different ideas about how to use the power of government, but both strongly oppose the war in Iraq. And Mrs. Shea-Porter ran last year as a fiscal conservative, so it's possible Mr. Paul could win over many Republicans who voted for her last year.

Mr. Chicoine and other Paul supporters say that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most of Mr. Paul's backers are Republicans, not independents. But everyone agrees that Mr. Paul draws an unusual mix of libertarians, fiscally conservative Democrats, conservative Republicans, home-schoolers, vegans, gambling aficionados, anti-abortion activists and others who want the government to butt out of some aspect of their lives.

But will they get out to vote on primary day?

"I've never seen a group of people that are this energetic about a candidate," Mr. Murphy said. "It's something else."

That sentiment is shared by Republicans who have observed numerous New Hampshire primaries. The level of enthusiasm for Mr. Paul is remarkable, they say. It transcends the state's Libertarian base (about 4% of the electorate). And by many accounts, Mr. Paul's backers here are more energized and committed than are supporters of Mr. Giuliani, who may enjoy inflated poll numbers because of his celebrity status.

National attention is focused on the horse races between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and between Messrs. McCain and Romney. But the shy obstetrician from Texas could be the surprise story of the New Hampshire primary.

Mr. Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

 
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G M
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« Reply #306 on: January 01, 2008, 04:33:55 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/01/01/video-smartest-woman-in-the-world-doesnt-know-the-first-thing-about-pakistan/

 rolleyes
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #307 on: January 01, 2008, 08:37:10 PM »

Nice one GM cheesy

Here's a bit on how she treats the help and some other things:

WHAT A SWEET LADY

"Where is the G-dam f***ing flag? I want the G-dam f***ing flag up every f***ing morning at f***ing sunrise."

--From the book "Inside The White House" by Ronald Kessler, p. 244 - (Hillary to the staff at the Arkansas Governor's mansion on Labor Day, 1991)
----------------------------------------------

"You sold out, you m***er-f***er! You sold out!"

-From the book "Inside" by Joseph Califano, p. 213 - (Hillary yelling at a Democrat lawyer.)

----------------------------------------------

"F*** off! It's enough that I have to see you sh**-kickers every day, I'm not going to talk to you too!!

Just do your G*dam job and keep your mouth shut."

-From the book "American Evita" by Christopher Anderson, p. 90 - (Hillary to her State Trooper body-guards after one of them greeted her with "Good Morning.")
-------------------------------------------------

"You f** *ing idiot"

-From the book "Crossfire" p. 84 - (Hillary to a State Trooper who was driving her to an event.)
--------------------------------------------------

"If you want to remain on this detail, get your f***ing ass over here and grab those bags!"

--From the book "The First Partner" p. 259 - (Hillary to a Secret Service Agent who was reluctant to carry her luggage because he wanted to keep his hands free in case of an incident.)
---------------------------------------------

"Get f***ed! Get the f*** out of my way!!! Get out of my face!!!"

--From the book "Hillary's Scheme" p. 89 - (Hillary's various comments to her Secret Service detail agents.)
---------------------------------------------

"Stay the f*** back, stay the f*** away from me! Don't come within ten yards of me, or else!

Just f***ing do as I say, Okay!!!?"

-From the book "Unlimited Access", by Clinton FBI Agent in Charge, Gary Aldrige, p. 139 –

(Hillary screaming at her Secret Service detail)
--------------------------------------------------

"Where's the miserable c**k sucker?"

-From the book "The Truth About Hillary" by Edward Klein, p. 5 -
(Hillary shouting at a Secret Service officer)
---------------------------------------------

"Put this on the ground! I left my sunglasses in the limo. I need those sunglasses.

We need to go back!"

-From the book "Dereliction of Duty" p. 71-72 - (Hillary to Marine One helicopter pilot to turn back while enroute to Air Force One.)
-------------------------------------------------


"Son of a bitch."

-From the book "American Evita" by Christopher Anderson, p. 259 -
(Hillary's opinion of President George W. Bush when she found out he secretly visited Iraq just days before her highly publicized trip to Iraq )
-----------------------------------------------

"What are you doing inviting these people into my home? These people are our enemies! They are trying to destroy us!"

-From the book "The Survivor" by John Harris, p. 99 - (Hillary screaming to an aide, when she found out that some Republicans had been invited to the Clinton White House)
---------------------------------------------

"Come on Bill, put your d**k up! You can't f*** her here!!"

-From the book "Inside the White House" by Ronald Kessler, p. 243 -
(Hillary to Gov. Clinton when she spots him talking with an attractive female at an Arkansas political rally.)
----------------------------------------------

"You know, I'm going to start thanking the woman who cleans the restroom in the building I work in. I'm going to start thinking of her as a human being"


--- Hillary Clinton -From the book "The Case against Hillary Clinton" by Peggy Noonan, p. 55
-------------------------------------------------

"We just can't trust the American people to make those types of c hoices.... Government has to make those choices for people "

-From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p. 20 - (Hillary to Rep. Dennis Hasert in 1993 discussing her expensive, disastrous taxpayer-funded health care plan.)
--------------------------------------------------

"I am a fan of the social policies that you find in Europe " ---Hillary in 1996"

-From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p.6
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #308 on: January 02, 2008, 09:17:52 AM »

What We Want in a President
Ruthlessness is important when it comes to foreign enemies. Charity is essential for domestic opponents.

BY LAWRENCE B. LINDSEY
Wednesday, January 2, 2008 12:01 a.m. EST

In the next six weeks Americans are going to pick the two finalists in the long job search for the most important CEO position on the planet. As someone who has served in three White Houses and been a Federal Reserve governor during a fourth, I have become a firm believer that the character traits someone brings to the job are more important than the issue papers or debate sound bites that get so much attention in the primaries.

Consider two examples. In December, Joe Trippi, a strategist for John Edwards, noted that polls showed a quarter of Barack Obama's own supporters did not think he would be qualified to be president. This says little about Mr. Obama, but it does say a lot about the process. These voters are not choosing someone to lead the country; they are trying to send a message about their own personal frustrations, or perhaps about another candidate.

Or consider the comments of a friend of mine and active fund-raiser about Fred Thompson, who is my choice. My friend agreed that Mr. Thompson was smart and well informed and had good judgment. But he felt that Republicans should definitely not nominate him because he was temperamentally unsuited to the campaign trail. Mr. Thompson probably would rather discuss the nuances of issues than shake hands or write thank-you notes to donors, two skills very important to the running. Polls now suggest my friend may be right. If so, all it means is that the process of selecting a president has little to do with the skills needed for the job.





By its very nature, the presidency involves a lot of on-the-job training. Some of our presidents have had to come up to speed quite quickly.
For example, John F. Kennedy faced the Bay of Pigs fiasco after just a few weeks on the job. No one would argue that he handled it well. Some serious historians have noted the links between that performance and our involvement in Vietnam (having "lost" in Cuba, he was determined not to let it happen again), not to mention the Cuban Missile Crisis just 18 months later. Kennedy is remembered fondly for bringing style, grace and humor to the White House--wedged between the boring Eisenhower and his graceless successors, Johnson and Nixon. But he was still learning on the job at a time when nuclear annihilation was a real possibility. Still more amazingly, with 14 years in Congress, Kennedy had far more national political experience than many now seeking the job.

As president, there is a lot to learn both factually and about the process of governing. Beginning on day one, he or she will have to confront a bureaucracy and a media establishment that has its own agenda, to hire expert advisers and administrators on a whole host of foreign and domestic policy issues, and to structure the whole operation in a way that carries out the will of the people. Our job as voters should be to select someone who will (1) know what he or she doesn't know, (2) get up to speed quickly, and (3) avoid making serious mistakes in the meantime.

A process driven by 30-second commercials prepared by the candidates themselves, and so-called debates that ask candidates to explain in 60 seconds how they would bring about world peace or national prosperity, does not help. Nor does media coverage that focuses on whose commercials are moving polling points and who performed well in the last inane debate.

But we voters can still do a respectable job in the CEO selection process. Obviously ideology and our visceral reactions to the candidates matter, since they are also part of job performance. There are, however, three other questions about a candidate's character that are likely to shed some light on whether that candidate will do well in the on-the-job training school of the Oval Office. These questions have nothing to do with party or ideology.





First, has the candidate faced a crisis or overcome a major setback in his or her life? A president's first crisis will teach two important lessons. The first is that bad things happen, in fact they happen on a regular basis. The second is that the real power of the office to affect, let alone control, events is far less than imagined. If the occupant of the Oval Office has faced this double whammy--encountering a tragedy involving events over which he or she has had little control, yet finding a way to persevere--the new president is far more likely to succeed.
Harry Truman, who made some of the toughest decisions of any president, overcame business failure. Teddy Roosevelt lost his first wife after childbirth. On the other hand, someone who got straight A's, never got turned down for a date, was never fired from a job or defeated in an election, is going to have a very rude awakening. The average voter can research this personal history quite easily.

Second, has the candidate had a variety of life experiences? The presidency is a job for a generalist. You never know what direction a crisis will come from: foreign threats, economic calamity, civil unrest. It might even be a biological pandemic that involves all three at the same time.

A variety of life experiences or careers helps a person to understand that actions which make sense in one framework may have unintended consequences elsewhere. It also increases the chances that a president will think creatively and not get boxed in, and gain control of events rather than be controlled by them.

By contrast, someone who has only been an elected official is likely to interpret problems only in a political context. Again, whether a candidate has had a variety of experiences is something the average voter can easily discern.

Third, can the candidate tell the difference between a foreign enemy and a political opponent? A certain degree of ruthlessness is a necessary attribute for any successful CEO or president. But our liberty, which is ultimately our nation's greatest resource, requires that a president restrain this trait when acting domestically.

We should seek an individual who is ruthless about protecting us against others, but acts with charity toward all and malice toward none at home: a tall order. But this trait comes out on the campaign trail, and in the past job performances of the candidates. We should opt for candidates who are ruthless in debating real public policy issues but steer away from attacking the personal traits of their opponents.





No candidate is going to be perfect, and reasonable people can differ about whether a certain candidate possesses each of these traits. But these are a good filter.
Johnson and Nixon would never have passed the last two tests, and in Nixon's case, the line about not having "Nixon to kick around any more" was a sign he couldn't handle setbacks well. By contrast, Reagan had a variety of life experiences, and mastered the difference between domestic opponents and foreign enemies marvelously. He was also gracious in his defeat in 1976. Franklin Roosevelt's polio undoubtedly helped make him a success as president; and although ruthless, he also knew how to have a bipartisan cabinet and war effort.

Ultimately, when we make up our minds we should think about the qualities the candidate would bring to the Oval Office--and not just whether or not they would make a good candidate.

Mr. Lindsey is author of "What a President Should Know . . .. but Most Learn Too Late," which will be published by Rowman & Littlefield this month.

WSJ
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G M
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« Reply #309 on: January 02, 2008, 09:48:10 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/01/02/team-hillary-doubles-down-on-her-pakistan-mistakes/

I'm sure the MSM will be all over this story.....Any minute now.....
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G M
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« Reply #310 on: January 02, 2008, 02:55:22 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/01/02/biden-hits-hillary-on-pakistan/

Enter Biden.
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G M
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« Reply #311 on: January 02, 2008, 03:38:08 PM »

http://ohioagainstterror.blogspot.com/2007/12/anisa-abd-el-fattah-back-ron-paul-and.html

You can't say Ron Paul's base isn't.....diverse.  rolleyes
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #312 on: January 03, 2008, 07:08:36 AM »

The Seinfeld Campaign
By FRED BARNES
January 3, 2008; Page A13

Des Moines, Iowa

If there's one thing a presidential campaign should provide, it's a sense of what a candidate's presidency would look like. We got that in 1992 with Bill Clinton, who campaigned as a moderate Democrat and mostly governed that way as president. The same was true in 2000 with George W. Bush. The 9/11 attacks changed his national security policy, but his domestic policies (tax cuts, the faith-based initiative) were the staples of his campaign.

 
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee and his wife after a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 1.
The 2008 presidential race is different: Voters are scarcely getting any glimpse of how the next president would perform in the White House. Instead, the campaign has been dominated by uninformative debates with too many marginal candidates and by a series of unimportant squabbles.

On top of that, both Democratic and Republican candidates are spending an enormous amount of time making frivolous distinctions among themselves and their rivals. As the first actual voting begins today in the Iowa caucuses, it's only a slight exaggeration to say that voters have been cheated.

We know, of course, that the Democratic candidates are liberals and the Republicans tend to be conservative to one degree or another. But we knew this from the early beginnings of the campaign more than a year ago.

Since then, many of the candidates have issued position papers or taken detailed stands on various issues. But these are mostly of interest to policy wonks, single issue groups and some elements of the press. They aren't intended to attract much attention, and they haven't.

What matters is what the voters see and hear -- the public campaign. And it's here where the voters are learning disturbingly little from the candidates on how they'd act as president.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Clinton emphasizes her experience. But it's unclear whether that experience consists of anything more than having been the wife of a governor, first lady when husband Bill Clinton was president, and more recently a senator.

There's no evidence her experience ever involved crafting policy (except her failed health-care plan) or a critical role in decision making. As first lady, she never had a security clearance or attended meetings of the National Security Council. So who can tell if her experience would actually give her an advantage, as her husband insists, if a crisis occurs while she's president? I doubt if voters can.

Sen. Barack Obama's candidacy is centered on an equally vague point. He would end political polarization in Washington, seek bipartisan solutions, and heal divisions in the country. But how would he achieve this epic task? How would he "bring us together"?

That's still a mystery. And there's nothing in his record in Washington to indicate he's a champion of bipartisanship rather than a conventional Democratic liberal.

In his autobiography, "The Audacity of Hope," he praises the "gang of 14" senators, half Democrats, half Republicans, who blocked a change in Senate rules on judicial nominations and cleared the way for a handful of confirmations. But Mr. Obama declined to join the bipartisan effort, because it facilitated the confirmation of a few conservative judges.

John Edwards, the third major Democratic candidate, has made "corporate greed and influence" in Washington his chief talking point. It's an old-fashioned populist pitch that emphasizes class sentiment rather than a realistic presidential agenda. Can voters tell if this is anything more than hot air? I don't think so.

The Republicans aren't much better in conveying an idea of their presidencies. Rather, they've all insisted that they are the next Ronald Reagan. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told USA Today that Reagan "knew how to build consensus and achieve victory" in the Cold War. "Those are the kinds of skills I have worked to develop." Republican consultant Ed Rollins, who has joined Mike Huckabee's campaign, claims that Mr. Huckabee sounded just like you-know-who -- Reagan. In truth, all the claims to be Reagan-like are unpersuasive and, I suspect, unhelpful to voters.

The arguments among the candidates haven't helped either. For weeks, Mr. Romney and ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani attacked each other on immigration, each asserting his rival was soft on illegal immigrants. This debate was hardly illuminating, and I'd be surprised if voters could make heads or tails of it. Mr. Huckabee, too, is bound to have left voters scratching their heads. He first advocated compassion toward illegals, then was warmly endorsed by one of the harshest critics of illegal immigration, Minuteman leader Jim Gilchrist.

Even less revealing has been the effort by Mrs. Clinton and Messrs. Obama and Edwards to claim the distinction as the best agent of change. Mrs. Clinton says her experience in Washington means she knows best how to achieve change. Mr. Obama says the opposite, that his aloofness from the ways of Washington means he's not tied down by Beltway connections. Mr. Edwards suggests his readiness to combat corporate interests gives the best prospects for change. To put it mildly, this is an inane dispute.

Here's the crux of the problem with the 2008 campaign. The next president will have to deal with three enduring issues: Iraq, immigration and entitlements. Yes, taxes and spending are important, but these three are overriding. On Iraq, Democrats have stuck with their positions fashioned when the war was being lost. But what would they do when faced in 2009 with, in all likelihood, a more stable Iraq in which the insurgency has been defeated? We don't know. What a Republican president would do is more knowable. He'd be likely to follow Mr. Bush's lead.

On immigration, Republicans, even John McCain, have moved away from comprehensive reform that comes to grips with 12 million illegals who are already in America and not about to leave. What would they do beyond stiffer border enforcement? Who knows? The Democratic candidates are more favorably disposed toward comprehensive reform, but they aren't talking this up. So what they'd do is also far from certain.

Finally, there's Social Security and Medicare. Mr. Bush's failed effort to reform Social Security in 2005 appears to have cooled not only interest in coping with rising entitlement costs, but also any interest in seriously discussing the issue in the campaign.

Republican Fred Thompson has talked about entitlements, but the other candidates haven't bothered to respond to him. Mrs. Clinton says she'd do something but she hasn't said what. So the campaign has provided no clarity on entitlements, and voters are left not knowing what to expect.

Maybe we shouldn't expect to learn much from a presidential campaign. Franklin Roosevelt, after all, ran as a budget balancer in 1932 but, once elected, unleashed the New Deal. However, 1932 should be the exception and not the rule. We'll never get a perfect picture of the next presidency during a campaign. But a glimpse or a serious hint or a fleeting idea would help. That's what voters deserve and have a right to expect.

Mr. Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard and a Fox News commentator.
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« Reply #313 on: January 04, 2008, 09:37:48 AM »

A very interesting night last night!

Some quick initial thoughts:

The Dems:  VERY bad for Lady Evita.  Her aura of invincibility is broken.  Many supported her thinking she was the best bet to win in November even though they didn't like her that much.  Edwards may feel cocky at the moment that he too beat her, but ultimately it will not be him.  With Obama looking like someone who can win (yes Iowa is not representative, but the size of the enthusiastic turnout BO generated seems significant) most of his support will go to BO.  I caught BO's victory speech on Fox last night. Speaking purely from a handicapping point of view, it was VERY impressive.  The man calls to emotions people want to feel.  Very American optimism.  This man has the potential to win the nomination.

The Reps:  Turnout was , , , typical.  Great win for Huck, embarrassing body blow to Romney, who outspent Huck 15-1.   I was glad to see Fred take third (using money I sent him BTW) and continue to wish him well. Both he and McCain now goes into NH credibly. With Romney seriously wounded, and Huck moving on from the evangelical base in Iowa, and MCCain unloved on several important issues (immigration, campaign finance "reform"  rolleyes, taxes)  Fred may yet get another chance.  Even though Rudy was a no-show, Ron Paul virtually tripled him-- dang!  shocked



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« Reply #314 on: January 04, 2008, 09:47:28 AM »

You know the Clinton machine is sharpening knives right now, planning bad things for Barry-O. I hope 3rd. place fires up Fred, as Huckleberry is unelectable in the general election. Ron Paul has the crazy vote locked up, but even if his loons raise a billion, he can only be a democratic asset in the general.
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« Reply #315 on: January 04, 2008, 10:58:02 AM »

I still think Hillary will walk away with the dem nomination. The real fight has all along been on the republican side, but I still don't think Huckabee is in the fight despite Chuck Norris).

I told my buddies who support Thompson (but feel he will lose badly because he refuses to run an actual campaign) that he would break the top 3 in Iowa &/or NH, and that he will do better, on average, than most others. Why? Because candidates run primarily to achieve 1) name recognition, and 2) to put their ideas forth. Thompson already has name recognition, and whether it is true or not, he certainly has the reputation for being the most conservative. To hit the road too much allows everyone to take a real close look to see if it's true (which is why Huckabee will fall flat on his face by this time next month). Thompson has nothing to gain by running hard at this time. His supporters will vote his way unless they are given a policy-related reason not to, and I suspect only Romney would stand to gain from that.

It's going to be a helluva fight. Ron Paul has FAR more than just the "crazy vote", plus $20 million in his pocket. Giuliani will doubtless do well outside of Iowa, Thompson will maintain a solid position, & Romney will come back hard. I suspect McCain is already gone (along with Hunter), and Huckabee will be dead in the water soon, so we're still looking at 4 strong candidates.

It would have been even more interesting if Gary Johnson had decided to run.
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« Reply #316 on: January 04, 2008, 11:16:31 AM »

I trust Dick Morris is known to all.  Here is his take on it all:
---------------

Dick Morris' Political Insider   

Hillary on the Ropes
Friday, January 4, 2008 8:31 AM
By: Dick Morris & Eileen McGann   
 
The amazing victories by Obama and Huckabee in Iowa are truly historic.

They demonstrate the impact and viability of a message of change in both parties. In the Democratic Party, Obama, winning in a totally white state, shows that racism is gone as a factor in American politics. On the Republican side, Huckabee?s win shows how a truly compassionate conservative can win by harvesting voters who want the message of concern for the poor and for values to prevail.

But what of Hillary? She's down but she's not out. Hillary Clinton, in the first really contested election of her own political career, lost dismally - outclassed, outdrawn, and outpolled by Barack Obama.


Her campaign professionals (including Bill) decided to stress experience, precisely the wrong message in a Democratic primary. Prematurely appealing to the center and abandoning the left, she fell between two chairs, not sufficiently centrist to win independents or liberal enough to attract Democrats.


On the Republican side, Huckabee brought a new phenomenon into politics.


A New Testament Christian politician, he takes the biblical message to the center-left, clothing the naked and feeding the hungry. His refusal to indulge in negative advertising sent a message to Iowa voters showing his strength under fire.


The Obama victory in Iowa probably presages a victory in New Hampshire and follow up victories in Nevada and South Carolina. (Hillary will win Michigan because she is alone on the ballot.) Suddenly, Hillary?s argument that she should be the candidate because she has a record of defeating the "Republican attack machine" will backfire. Sold as a winner, she will be exposed as a loser. The overhang of Iowa will dog her for all of the early primaries.


Particularly important for Obama is the poor finish of John Edwards, who has campaigned in Iowa for six years. Now Obama can count on being the nearly unanimous choice of the anti-Hillary voters. No longer will the vote be divided.


Hillary faces a serious problem: Voters rejected her and rejected Bill on a very personal basis. Iowa was a referendum on Hillary and she lost 30-70. Her argument of experience only reinforced her phoniness and her issues positioning showed how contrived her ideology is. This is a stinging personal defeat for Hillary.


But what will happen next? With the limelight comes the spotlight. Obama will suddenly become the putative candidate of the Democratic Party and will be subject to the scrutiny that comes with the title. Can he weather the examination?


Perhaps not. Democrats may turn on Obama, worried that he may not win in November. The doubts about Obama, up to now hidden behind concerns about Hillary?s candidacy, will be on center stage. I wonder if he can stand the scrutiny.


Much the same process will evolve on the Republican side. Ignored in the Iowa result, Giuliani appears to be in even worse shape than Hillary with his fifth place finish. But the same process that will unfold for the Republican Party may take place on the Democratic side. Voters may wonder if all that stands between the White House and the Democratic Party is a Mormon, a Christian evangelical, and a 70-year-old.

Rudy, like Hillary, may look better once the rest of the field unfolds.


But don't write off Obama or Huckabee. Their appeals are truly unique and obviously resonate with voters. Their approaches are now and the outcome shows how relevant their message is.



© 2008 Dick Morris & Eileen McGann
 
 
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« Reply #317 on: January 04, 2008, 04:06:02 PM »



It's going to be a helluva fight. Ron Paul has FAR more than just the "crazy vote", plus $20 million in his pocket. Giuliani will doubtless do well outside of Iowa, Thompson will maintain a solid position, & Romney will come back hard. I suspect McCain is already gone (along with Hunter), and Huckabee will be dead in the water soon, so we're still looking at 4 strong candidates.

It would have been even more interesting if Gary Johnson had decided to run.

When the general public takes a hard look at Dr. Crazy's foreign policy, he'll have nothing but his base of nazis, troofers, jihadists and tin-foil hatters. The blimp will become the Hindenburg.
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« Reply #318 on: January 04, 2008, 07:14:59 PM »

RP also stands for a lot of fine things too.
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« Reply #319 on: January 04, 2008, 11:45:10 PM »

Crafty,

Yeah, aside from losing the war against the global jihad and causing the death of western civilization, i'm sure he'd be a great president....
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« Reply #320 on: January 05, 2008, 01:53:28 AM »

Clear and strong on the second amendment, ending the foolihsness of the War on Drugs, abolishing the IRS and many other departments of the govt sounds pretty good to me.
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« Reply #321 on: January 05, 2008, 03:24:32 AM »

You'll never see the end of the IRS, unless you dissolve the USG. Conquered peoples don't get to keep and bear arms anyway.
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« Reply #322 on: January 05, 2008, 06:29:02 PM »

GM my friend, I reject your moment of defeatism smiley  We have our guns yet and as for the rest, as long as we do have them, we shall see.

Here's Peggy Noonan on Iowa:

Out With the Old, In With the New
Obama and Huckabee rise; Mrs. Clinton falls.

Friday, January 4, 2008 12:01 a.m. EST

And so it begins.

We wanted exciting, we got exciting.

As this is written, late on the night of the caucuses, the outlines of the decisions seem clear: Barack Obama won.

Hillary Clinton, the inevitable, the avatar of the machine, lost.

It's huge. Even though people have been talking about this possibility for six weeks now, it's still huge. She had the money, she had the organization, the party's stars, she had Elvis behind her, and the Clinton name in a base that loved Bill. And she lost. There are always a lot of reasons for a loss, but the ur-reason in this case, the thing it all comes down to? There's something about her that makes you look, watch, think, look again, weigh and say: No.

She started out way ahead, met everyone, and lost.

As for Sen. Obama, his victory is similarly huge. He won the five biggest counties in Iowa, from the center of the state to the South Dakota border. He carried the young in a tidal wave. He outpolled Mrs. Clinton among women.

He did it with a classy campaign, an unruffled manner, and an appeal on the stump that said every day, through the lines: Look at who I am and see me, the change that you desire is right here, move on with me and we will bring it forward together.

He had a harder row to hoe than Mrs. Clinton did. He was lesser known, too young, lacked an establishment. He had to knock her down while building himself up. (She only had to build herself up until the end, when she went after his grade-school essays.) His takedown of Mrs. Clinton was the softest demolition in the history of falling buildings. I think we were there when it happened, in the debate in which he was questioned on why so many of Bill Clinton's aides were advising him. She laughed, and he said he was looking forward to her advising him, too. He took mama to school.

And so something new begins on the Democratic side.





Something new begins on the Republican side, too.
Everyone said Mike Huckabee was a big dope to leave Iowa Wednesday to fly to L.A. to be on Jay Leno, but did you see him on that thing? He got off a perfect line on why he's doing well against Romney: "People are looking for a presidential candidate who reminds them more of the guy they work with rather than the guy that laid them off." The studio audience loved him. And you know, in Iowa they watch "The Tonight Show" too.

Mr. Huckabee likes to head-fake people into thinking he's Gomer Pyle, but he's more like the barefoot boy of the green room. He's more James Carville than Jim Nabors.

What we have learned about Mr. Huckabee the past few months is that he's an ace entertainer with a warm, witty and compelling persona. He won with no money and little formal organization, with an evangelical network, with a folksy manner, and with the best guileless pose in modern politics. From the mail I have received the past month after criticizing him in this space, I would say his great power, the thing really pushing his supporters, is that they believe that what ails America and threatens its continued existence is not economic collapse or jihad, it is our culture.

They have been bruised and offended by the rigid, almost militant secularism and multiculturalism of the public schools; they reject those schools' squalor, in all senses of the word. They believe in God and family and America. They are populist: They don't admire billionaire CEOs, they admire husbands with two jobs who hold the family together for the sake of the kids; they don't need to see the triumph of supply-side thinking, they want to see that suffering woman down the street get the help she needs.

They believe that Mr. Huckabee, the minister who speaks their language, shares, down to the bone, their anxieties, concerns and beliefs. They fear that the other Republican candidates are caught up in a million smaller issues--taxing, spending, the global economy, Sunnis and Shia--and missing the central issue: again, our culture. They are populists who vote Republican, and as I have read their letters, I have felt nothing but respect.

But there are two problems. One is that while the presidency, as an office, can actually make real changes in the areas of economic and foreign policy, the federal government has a limited ability to change the culture of America. That is something conservatives used to know. Second, I'm sorry to say it is my sense that Mr. Huckabee is not so much leading a movement as riding a wave. One senses he brilliantly discerned and pursued an underserved part of the voting demographic, and went for it. Clever fellow. To me, the tipoff was "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"





My sense is that Mr. Huckabee's good supporters deserve a better leader.
His next problem may be not so much New Hampshire as Ed Rollins, the Reagan White House political aide who came in a week ago to manage his campaign. Mr. Rollins began his tenure announcing to respectful young reporters that he--"the grizzled veteran," the "old battler"--would like to sink to his knees and "shoot Romney in the groin" and "punch his teeth out." Such class is of course always welcome on the trail, but one senses the verbal ante will constantly be upped, and I'm not sure that will work well for Mr. Huckabee. Self inflated dirigibles, especially unmoored ones, can cast shadows on parades.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father" (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Fridays on OpinionJournal.com.
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« Reply #323 on: January 05, 2008, 06:34:58 PM »

Third post of the day:

Mike Huckabee recently named Richard Haas (the President of the CFR) as his advisor on foreign policy. CNN's WOLF BLITZER asked "Who are your principal foreign policy advisers, Governor?" Mike Huckabee responded: "Well, I have a number of people from whom I get policy. I'm talking to Frank Gaffney, I talk to Richard Haas.."
So what does Richard Haas believe in? Here's an article below which was written by Haas for the Tapei Times. It basically states the Bill of Rights and Constitution should be given up in favor of a cooperative world body run by elite consensus. Who needs individual rights in the techno-futuristic world police state? And you thought liberty was in jeopardy now? Just wait till you see what your children will have to deal with. Get activated folks, These police state freaks want to shape your future into a control grid enforced through the fear based reaction to state sponsored false flag terror.
State Sovereignty Must be Altered in Globalized Era
In the age of globalization, states should give up some sovereignty to world bodies in order to protect their own interests
By Richard Haass

Taipei Times - For 350 years, sovereignty -- the notion that states are the central actors on the world stage and that governments are essentially free to do what they want within their own territory but not within the territory of other states -- has provided the organizing principle of international relations. The time has come to rethink this notion.
The world's 190-plus states now co-exist with a larger number of powerful non-sovereign and at least partly (and often largely) independent actors, ranging from corporations to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), from terrorist groups to drug cartels, from regional and global institutions to banks and private equity funds. The sovereign state is influenced by them (for better and for worse) as much as it is able to influence them. The near monopoly of power once enjoyed by sovereign entities is being eroded.
As a result, new mechanisms are needed for regional and global governance that include actors other than states. This is not to argue that Microsoft, Amnesty International, or Goldman Sachs be given seats in the UN General Assembly, but it does mean including representatives of such organizations in regional and global deliberations when they have the capacity to affect whether and how regional and global challenges are met.
Less is more Moreover, states must be prepared to cede some sovereignty to world bodies if the international system is to function. This is already taking place in the trade realm. Governments agree to accept the rulings of the WTO because on balance they benefit from an international trading order even if a particular decision requires that they alter a practice that is their sovereign right to carry out.
Some governments are prepared to give up elements of sovereignty to address the threat of global climate change. Under one such arrangement, the Kyoto Protocol, which runs through 2012, signatories agree to cap specific emissions. What is needed now is a successor arrangement in which a larger number of governments, including the US, China, and India, accept emissions limits or adopt common standards because they recognize that they would be worse off if no country did.
All of this suggests that sovereignty must be redefined if states are to cope with globalization. At its core, globalization entails the increasing volume, velocity, and importance of flows -- within and across borders -- of people, ideas, greenhouse gases, goods, dollars, drugs, viruses, e-mails, weapons and a good deal else, challenging one of sovereignty's fundamental principles: the ability to control what crosses borders in either direction. Sovereign states increasingly measure their vulnerability not to one another, but to forces beyond their control.
Globalization thus implies that sovereignty is not only becoming weaker in reality, but that it needs to become weaker. States would be wise to weaken sovereignty in order to protect themselves, because they cannot insulate themselves from what goes on elsewhere. Sovereignty is no longer a sanctuary.
This was demonstrated by the American and world reaction to terrorism. Afghanistan's Taliban government, which provided access and support to al-Qaeda, was removed from power. Similarly, the US' preventive war against an Iraq that ignored the UN and was thought to possess weapons of mass destruction showed that sovereignty no longer provides absolute protection.
Imagine how the world would react if some government were known to be planning to use or transfer a nuclear device or had already done so. Many would argue -- correctly -- that sovereignty provides no protection for that state.
Necessity may also lead to reducing or even eliminating sovereignty when a government, whether from a lack of capacity or conscious policy, is unable to provide for the basic needs of its citizens. This reflects not simply scruples, but a view that state failure and genocide can lead to destabilizing refugee flows and create openings for terrorists to take root.
The NATO intervention in Kosovo was an example where a number of governments chose to violate the sovereignty of another government (Serbia) to stop ethnic cleansing and genocide. By contrast, the mass killing in Rwanda a decade ago and now in Darfur, Sudan, demonstrate the high price of judging sovereignty to be supreme and thus doing little to prevent the slaughter of innocents.
Conditions needed Our notion of sovereignty must therefore be conditional, even contractual, rather than absolute. If a state fails to live up to its side of the bargain by sponsoring terrorism, either transferring or using weapons of mass destruction, or conducting genocide, then it forfeits the normal benefits of sovereignty and opens itself up to attack, removal or occupation.
The diplomatic challenge for this era is to gain widespread support for principles of state conduct and a procedure for determining remedies when these principles are violated.
The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalization, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of either world government or anarchy.
The basic idea of sovereignty, which still provides a useful constraint on violence between states, needs to be preserved. But the concept needs to be adapted to a world in which the main challenges to order come from what global forces do to states and what governments do to their citizens rather than from what states do to one another.
Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The Opportunity: America's Moment to Alter History's Course.
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« Reply #324 on: January 05, 2008, 06:39:39 PM »

Frank Gaffney would be a great advisor for Huckleberry.....

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/12/28/huck-claims-john-bolton-as-a-foreign-policy-adviser-thats-news-to-john-bolton/
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« Reply #325 on: January 06, 2008, 08:46:47 AM »

The 9/10 Caucuses   
By FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, January 04, 2008

Last night, Iowa caucus-goers had the opportunity to vote for a wide variety of candidates who possessed foreign policy sagacity, an aggressive plan to fight sponsors of terrorism, and the competence and breadth of experience to lead the nation during the War on Terror – and the plurality of neither party chose to do so. Instead, they selected affable and charismatic figures who appeal to portions of the party’s base but who lack credibility on national security – an unsettling reality in a post-9/11 world.

The Democrats

The Democratic Party made its selection as the result of a self-conscious process. The party, now a wholly owned subsidiary of MoveOn.org, does not wish to fight the war; it wishes to end it, as its fruitless Congressional leadership has demonstrated in its every budget measure. The party rewards those who downplay homeland security to the benefit of "social justice," especially if doing so allows them to indulge in identity politics.

Barack Obama allowed them to do both more powerfully than Hillary Clinton.

Although not as beloved by the netroots as John Edwards, he has demonstrated a thorough naivete about foreign policy. In recent months, he’s expressed a willingness to unilaterally bomb the allied nation of Pakistan and to hold direct negotiations with rogue states like Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela.

He has boasted he was consistently against the war in Iraq, and he was; he thought the war was a conspiracy. On October 2, 2002, while still an Illinois state senator (Is anyone who was a state senator six years ago qualified to be a wartime president?), Obama told an antiwar rally he did not oppose all war:

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I’m opposed to. A dumb war.

Today, he’s running to become commander-in-chief of the forces fighting that "dumb war," a description certain to erode morale. While always careful to note the troops’ courage and valor, he also talks down their grand accomplishments at defeating al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia. On his website currently, Obama writes during the present surge, "our troops have helped reduce violence in some areas of Iraq, but even those reductions do not get us below the unsustainable levels of violence of mid-2006." This is both disspiriting and false. The New York Times reported late last month that "violent attacks in the country had fallen by 60 percent since June." Rather than the surge, which has driven al-Qaeda out of Anbar Province, Obama would have removed all U.S. troops by this March. The Obama Plan offers "at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries." But thanks to the Bush surge, in October alone, 110,000 refugees returned to the newly pacified Iraq.

Nor has our present military success taught him anything. He now pledges to "have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months." Who will take America’s place in newly destabilized Baghdad? Phantom troops and bearded mullahs. Four years after John Kerry made a similarly dishonest pledge, Obama parrots that he "will rally NATO members to contribute troops to collective security operations." But there is less European will to contribute to Iraq (or Afghanistan) now than in 2004 (and there was none then). Barack also announces "the most aggressive diplomatic effort in recent American history " – reaching out to all, "including Iran and Syria."

John Edwards’ second-place finish is more indicative of the party’s bent. Edwards, too, is a candidate dangerously underqualified, a one-term senator with "no international experience, no military experience" and who would need "on-the-job training in the White House on national security issues." At least, that’s how John Kerry described him. He is also a charter member of the Hate America Left. Outpacing Barack and Hillary, John Edwards believes we need to "reestablish ourselves after Iraq as a force for good in the world again. "His well-oiled machine nudged out the anointed candidate of the party elite.

Hillary Clinton also vied for the left-wing vote, pandering to the far-Left "Take Back America" conference and breaking her campaign promises, in the process hammering out a hopelessly contradictory and convoluted position on Iraq. Touting her "experience" in foreign affairs – a phrase that inspires titters when referring to the Clintons – she omits how she urged her husband to withdraw from Somalia in 1993, emboldening Osama bin Laden and leading America down the "Path to 9/11." However, in all her kowtowing to her party’s extremists, she has been careful to preserve wiggle-room to run back the center. She has refused to completely back down, instead crafting a policy that leaves all sides wondering which, if any, of her stated positions is the authentic one.

Under the present circumstances, though, this is a sign of strength. Hillary has been around power enough to know that, as president, she may need the authority and freedom of action her opponents vow to jettison. Ironically, this makes her moderately more responsible, and more conservative, than Obama or Edwards – and explains why she finished behind both.

The GOP

Among Republicans, too, a segment of the party faithful selected a candidate on the basis of personality and identity politics. Mike Huckabee is an amiable evangelical. Evangelicals made up 60 percent of caucus voters, and Huckabee won 46 percent of their vote while engaging in a tremendous get-out-the-vote effort. Huckabee won this position with his glib sense of humor and on account of his opponents’ social liberalism, uncertainty, or apparent apathy. But being a nice man – and demonstrating a general understanding of the threat of Islamic fascism – does not make him qualified on foreign policy. Next to Ron Paul, he is the least qualified candidate to poll any support.

This fact was not lost on his staff. A "senior aide"confessed last Friday that Huckabee had "no foreign policy credentials." Michael Dale Huckabee proved this in his witless Foreign Affairs article, in which he denounced President Bush’s "arrogant bunker mentality" and pined for other countries to like us again. Although it won’t be toppled by terrorists, the United States is:

more vulnerable to the animosity of other countries. Much like a top high school student, if it is modest about its abilities and achievements, if it is generous in helping others, it is loved. But if it attempts to dominate others, it is despised.

The war in Afghanistan-Pakistan, too, fits the high school student analogy. "Ultimately it is this popularity contest," he writes. Perhaps that explains why he offered America’s "apologies" for Benazir Bhutto’s assassination – a small misstatement perhaps, or perhaps an attempt for the big man on campus to be "modest about its abilities."

The nation is not ready for four years of locker room foreign policy when jihad is on the march.

Huckabee believes Bush has been far too demanding. "Instead of asking if someone is for us, instead of demanding that every ally be at the level of Great Britain, I will ask if we should be for them, if they can be useful in any way, however limited, however temporary."But that was exactly the plea President Bush made when he uttered that phrase. Huckabee demonstrates exactly how he is willing to go slumming for support, noting in his Iraq policy, "I support a regional summit so that Iraq's neighbors become militarily and financially committed to stabilizing Iraq." Iraq’s "neighbors" include Iran and Syria.

His feckless goodwill extends to Western Hemisphere dictators, as well. In 2002, the then-Arkansas governor signed a letter asking President Bush to lift the embargo against Castro’s Cuba. After receiving Cuban-American support in Florida, presidential candidate Huckabee reversed himself. What changed? Huckabee’s reply betrayed an impolitic sense of opportunism: "Well, what changed was I’m running for president." (See the video.) Elsewhere he added, "Rather than being seen as some huge change, I would call it rather the simple reality that I’m running for president of the United States, not for re-election as governor of Arkansas." He excused himself on the grounds, "I really wasn’t that aware of a lot of the issues that exist between Cuba and the United States." If true, that betrays a grave ignorance of both foreign policy and the American history of his childhood. (Had he never heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis? For that matter, had he never heard of Elian Gonzalez?) "Being in Arkansas," he claimed, did not place him in close "proximity to Cuba." (More video.)

Mike Huckabee is glib. He is likeable. And he would be out of his depth as leader of the free world.

His domestic record is not an exceptional improvement. Huckabee pardoned more criminals during his time in Little Rock than his previous three predecessors – including Bill Clinton – and more than all six of his neighboring states combined, although they have a population nearly 20 times larger than Arkansas. Democrats would relish a matchup that allows them to appear tougher-on-crime than Republicans for once.

He would also take the Republicans’ hottest wedge issue – immigration – off the table. (So, too, would McCain, and perhaps Giuliani.) Although he now proposes a version of Mark Krikorian’s excellent immigration plan, as Arkansas governor Huckabee fought to give illegal aliens state-funded scholarships and fibbed about allowing state troopers to enforce immigration policy. William Gheen, the president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, has described Huckabee’s strategy on immigration: "He knows he's wrong on immigration; he can't win if he’s wrong on immigration — therefore, lie." Feminists would love to run against a man who stated, "a wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband." And leftists in general would be happy to be represented by someone who favors voting rights for Washington, D.C.; caps on greenhouse gas emissions; and has a history of increasing taxation and social spending.

Then, too, there are the darker aspects of Huckabee’s down-home, "sit-a-spell" personality, aspects that prove he and the last president born in Arkansas have more in common than a hometown. Clinton surrogate Bob Kerrey drops Barack Obama’s middle name as an alleged compliment; Huckabee "innocently" asks a New York Times reporter, "Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"– a move as thuggish as it was bigoted. Hillary’s campaign strategist Mark Penn can say, "the issue related to cocaine use is not something that the campaign was in any way raising"; Huckabee can hold a press conference to announce he will not air a negative ad – assuring it is broadcast on every major network and earning it more visibility than his meager campaign could ever afford.

Huckabee also has notoriously thin skin – no pun intended – recently on display in his "shelved" attack ad. Opening the ad, he spat, "I’m Mike Huckabee, and I approve this message, because Iowans have a right to know the truth about Mitt Romney's dishonest attacks on me and even an American hero, John McCain." (Huckabee campaign chairman, and political powerhouse, Ed Rollins’ testiness with Chris Wallace last night also failed to win friends and influence voters.)

As likely as not, the Huck-a-boom is leading to a Huck-a-bust. The Manchester Union-Leader notes a "AP/Pew poll showed that only 18 percent of the GOP-leaning voters in New Hampshire consider themselves ‘evangelical’" – less than one-third the number of evangelicals voting last night. Among non-evangelicals, Romney won more than twice as many votes. Perhaps this explains why, for the moment, Huckabee is barely running ahead of Ron Paul in the Granite State. That may change, or Huckabee may suffer the fate of Pat Robertson in 1988 and Alan Keyes in 2000: winning a bloc vote in Iowa and losing a real vote in New Hampshire.

But if Republicans vote based on the most pressing issues facing their country, Huckabee’s support will almost certainly diminsh.
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G M
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« Reply #326 on: January 06, 2008, 09:25:27 AM »

**The only person that knows less about geopolitics and history than the average Ron Paul supporter, is.....Ron Paul.**

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2007/11/mccain-paul-dif.html

McCain, Paul Differ on Iraq

November 28, 2007 8:52 PM

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf and Ed O'Keefe Report: Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., played with populist fire during the Republican debate Wednesday night.

Segueing from an unrelated topic, John McCain, who has staked his political career on his support for the surge in Iraq and fight against global Islamic terrorism, turned to Paul, who was standing to his left and addressed him directly.

Watch the video HERE.

"Congressman Paul, I've heard him now in many debates talk about brining our troops home and about the war in Iraq and how its failed and I want to tell you that that kind of isolationism, sir, is what caused World War II. We allowed . . ."

McCain was obscured here by jeers and boos and cheers all at once from the crowed auditorium.  Poor CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper had no chance against the audience.

But the Arizona Senator continued, "We allowed Hitler to come to power with that kind of attitude of isolationism and (Ron Paul is looking right at McCain and shaking his head 'No')

McCain: "And I want to tell you something sir, I just finished having Thanksgiving with the troops and their message to you is, the message of these brave men and women serving over there is, 'Let us win. Let us win.'

Cheers mixed with jeers and boos and applause rose up all over again.

In a 30 second response, Paul, who recently raised $4 million exclusively from online contributors, calmly asked McCain, "The real question you have to ask is why do I get the most money from active duty officers, military personnel?"

"So what John is saying is just totally distorted. He doesn't understand the difference between nonintervention and isolationism. I'm not an isolationist. I want to trade with people, talk with people, travel. But I don't want to send our troops overseas using force telling them how to live. We would object to it here and they're going to object to us over there."

It was not the first time the two men tangled.

Earlier, talking about fiscal responsibility, McCain, who has been outspoken against pork barrel spending, lamented Republicans who got into politics to change Washington, but "we went to Washington and Washington changed us."

Several questions later, Paul, absolutist in his views and almost in alone in Washington in his opposition to just about every spending bill said to McCain, "Washington didn't change me."

At a later point in the debate, McCain and Paul sparred again.

Recalling Iraq once again, McCain asserted, "We never lost a battle in Vietnam, it was American public opinion that caused us to lose that conflict."

McCain then said that the difference between Iraq and Vietnam is al-Qaeda's determination to attack the United States.

"They want to follow us home, they want Iraq to be a base for al-Qaeda," McCain insisted.

Dr. Paul engaged McCain once again, saying that whether or not the U.S. "never lost a battle" in Vietnam is "irrelevant."

"(Al-Qaeda) want to come here ... because of our military base in Saudi Arabia," Paul retorted.

"They come here because we're occupying their country just as we would object if they occupied our country," he added.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., took McCain's side in the Paul-McCain clash.

"I wish we lived in a world that Ron is describing . . . unfortunately, Ron, I don't believe that is the case," Tancredo said.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #327 on: January 06, 2008, 11:01:58 AM »

Would someone please give me a URL for yesterday's debate?
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G M
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« Reply #328 on: January 06, 2008, 05:22:19 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_presidential_debates,_2008

Linked in the article.
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« Reply #329 on: January 06, 2008, 05:38:38 PM »

That you GM.

Here's Hillary's latest ad  wink  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h6Wab4QRt8&feature=related
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« Reply #330 on: January 07, 2008, 12:26:50 PM »

Outrageous that Fox did not include RP in the debates last night  angry
=================

http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/paul_fox_debate/2008/01/06/62102.html?s=al&promo_code=426B-1
 
Fox Under Fire for Excluding Ron Paul
Sunday, January 6, 2008 11:26 AM
By: Newsmax Staff   
 
When Fox News hosts its Republican candidates forum Sunday night, one of the leading candidates won't be invited.
The Fox debate is excluding Texas Congressman Ron Paul, even though he polls higher in New Hampshire, has raised significantly more money, and is campaigning more in New Hampshire than Fred Thompson -- who is invited.  The censorship of Paul has infuriated his loyal supporters, who note that he pulled 10 percent of the vote in Iowa, well ahead of Rudy Giuliani, who pulled just over 3 percent. Giuliani has also been invited to the Fox forum. Paul is also setting records in GOP fundraising, raking in $20 million in the last quarter alone.

New Hampshire Republicans are apparently not happy with Fox's arbitrary decision to exclude Paul.  This weekened the New Hampshire Republican Party issued a press release announcing it had dropped its affiliation with the Fox Republican debate.

"The first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary serves a national purpose by giving all candidates an equal opportunity on a level playing field," said Republican Chairman Fergus Cullen. "Only in New Hampshire do lesser known, lesser funded underdogs have a fighting chance to establish themselves as national figures."

Paul's campaign is also angered by the Fox effort to cut out his voice.

"The New Hampshire Republican Party did the right thing by pulling its sponsorship for Fox's candidate forum," said Ron Paul 2008 spokesman Jesse Benton. "'Fox News' decision to exclude Congressman Paul is unfair, but it won't stop Dr. Paul's message of freedom, peace and prosperity from resonating with the people of New Hampshire."

The Fox decision is not going over well with New Hampshire voters or media who don't like New York-based media coming to their state to dictate news coverage. This past Thursday, the Manchester Union Leader, New Hampshire's major newspaper, published a front-page editorial blasting news organizations that do not invite all candidates to their forums.  Fox said it decided to invite candidates who had received high standing in national polls, despite the fact small primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire will often back underdogs.   Paul supporters believe the move is an effort to marginalize their candidate, who has been a strong critic of the Iraq war.

"Fight Fox," a new Web site organized by Paul backers, tells readers: "We need to send a message to Fox's Rupert Murdoch & his fellow Neocon buddies that he is not Musharraf and the US is not Pakistan, yet! Fox News cannot just stifle public opinion. debate and impact a primary election by excluding Ron Paul just because they don't like his message of freedom and liberty."

Paul seems to share that view. According to a report in the Boston Globe, he called Fox News a "propagandist" for the Iraq war.
Despite the hoopla, Fox is sticking to its guns: no Ron Paul.

"We look forward to presenting a substantive forum which will serve as the first program of its kind this election season," David Rhodes, vice president of Fox News, said in a statement.
 

 
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 12:39:25 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
SB_Mig
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« Reply #331 on: January 07, 2008, 03:21:42 PM »

I'm not surprised. The media (on both sides) make their picks for candidates way before they even hit the road. The amount of coverage that anyone without a recognizable face receives is often negligible or filed under "oh those wacky candidates". And forget about being included in a debate.

I was disturbed by the treatment Ron Paul received from his co-debaters on Saturday. Agree with him or not, laughing in his face is just downright rude. Embarrassing behavior by supposedly mature adults. 
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« Reply #332 on: January 09, 2008, 10:32:08 PM »

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/251539.php

I think Ron Paul is regretting the media attention he is now getting....
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« Reply #333 on: January 10, 2008, 12:52:47 AM »

Hillary the Movie:

http://www.hillarythemovie.com/trailer.html
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« Reply #334 on: January 11, 2008, 11:15:12 AM »

RP leads military donations?!?  Superficial data says yes , , ,

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2007/10/ron_paul_leads_military_donations_race/
===========

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #335 on: January 11, 2008, 01:45:21 PM »

I thought it was a very good debate last night, with all the candidates having good presentations and strong moments. 

FOX pollster says my man Fred won though  grin  http://www.fred08.com/Virtual/luntz.aspx
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G M
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« Reply #336 on: January 11, 2008, 02:57:26 PM »

RP leads military donations?!?  Superficial data says yes , , ,

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2007/10/ron_paul_leads_military_donations_race/
===========



http://www.americanconservativedaily.com/2007/07/unspinning-the-latest-ron-paul-spin/

Unspinning the Latest Ron Paul Spin
Posted By: J.J. Jackson* on July 18, 2007
Filed Under Eyes on 2008

Apparently the Ron Paul supporters who are camping out this site just think that I am going to take their word for everything and parrot their talking points when they put a few emails in my mail box. The latest? A bold claim that Ron Paul got more donations than any other candidate from current and former members of the military.
You know, and this is just a word of advice ok, I don’t know where you get these talking points from but maybe you should keep them to your selves. You would probably do your selves a better service by just keeping me off your mailing lists. Because all you do by sending me these poorly contrived messages is compel me to double check what you say and unspin it if not true and post it for everyone to see.So I went to the Federal Trade Commission’s website and looked at 2nd quarter donations (http://query.nictusa.com/pres/2007/Q2/) and am here to bring everyone the truth. Which I am sure will bring even more condemnations from Paul supporters as my posts on him always seem to do.
The truth is that Ron Paul only outpaced all Republican candidates in donations by donors that declared themselves as either current or former members of the military. Notice I say “declared”. This is important since one is not required to “declare” their profession when giving to candidates.So, did Ron Paul out pace all other candidates in donations from members of our military? That’s impossible to say because so many of the donations for candidates did not declare a profession.
Ron Paul did certainly get a couple thousand dollars from members and former members of the military the data shows that. But let’s look at the facts. For other candidates, contributions from “undeclared” professions are in the millions. Romney and Giuliani, for example, had $2.7 million from such sources. McCain had $2.2 million from “undeclared” professions. Am I being asked to assume that none of these people ever served in the military?
So can Paul supporters say that Ron Paul got more support from military members than any other candidate? They are trying. For example, like this quote from a Paul supporter who simply calls himself “rEVOLution”:
You and your neo-con buddies are in for it in 2008. The military is squarely behind Ron Paul and he walloped all the other fake conservatives that you support in fund raising from members of the military! Report that!

or maybe this one from “Constitutionalist”:
Ron Paul! Ron Paul! Ron Paul! That’s all you are going to hear in 2008! Because now that it is a FACT that more members of the military support him than any other candidate it is going to grow into a national movement that will knock you neo-cons out of power! HA! Hopefully you’ll get over your hatred of Ron Paul and report this great news!

I think you see what I mean. The spin cycle is in overdrive.  However, the only “fact” that can be concluded from this data is that Ron Paul received more donations (total dollars that is) from members of the military that actually declared their profession as such when they donated. Nothing else is able to be concluded nor even implied.  And let’s be clear, these were not the only two emails.  There were enough of them that obviously someone is spreading disinformation and I want to head it off before it becomes gospel.
Make no mistake, when the Paul spin machine turns I will work it over just like I have for all the other candidates regardless of party. I don’t know where you guys are getting these talking points from, but either you misread them or the person feeding them to you is incorrect.  And you do a diservice to your candidate by doing these things.  Because instead of focusing on the good things about Paul, when stuff like this circulates the internet people only focus on the goofiness of his supporters.
Related Posts
Some Ron Paul Supporters Still Desperate To Claim Military Support
http://www.militaryforpaul.com/ claims that the VFW has endorsed Ron Paul (see post here http://www....
Ron Paul in 4th Place
Ron Paul Would be More Popular If He Was Pro-Iraq War
*Content posted by a user may not be completely written by that user. Content from another source is cited in either block quotes or quotes with a link to the original material when necessary. Content from other sites is posted for commentary and news purposes under fair use.
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G M
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« Reply #337 on: January 11, 2008, 03:01:01 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/01/11/reason-ron-paul-defended-his-newsletters-for-years/

More on Dr. Crazy's newsletters of yore......
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Russ
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« Reply #338 on: January 12, 2008, 12:54:10 AM »

Wow!  A great article about economic realities..... trade deficits with China, and Canada... the role of savings, and the impact of taxes.....

(and the U.S. Presidential Candidates misunderstanding of them).

In this issue:
What Are They Thinking?
The Reality of Trade Deficits
Fair Tax Nonsense
How to Create an Immigration Depression
Stimulate the Economy by Cutting Spending?
Tax Hikes to Help Us Grow?
Europe, Phoenix, and My Conference in La Jollal

In the past week, I have been in the car coming home late from work, with the presidential debates are on the radio. It is very discouraging to listen to what passes for economic literacy among the candidates. In reality, many candidates are espousing policies that are quite dangerous at worst, or simply misleading at best. Far too many in both parties tell a frustrated America what it wants to hear, rather than the economic reality. The Republicans have some of the worst offenders.

So, today we will look at some economic reality. We tackle trade deficits, the dollar, taxes (the "Fair Tax"), how should we stimulate the economy as we slip into recession, and global trade. I think we will cover enough that I can just about guarantee to offend most of my readers at some point. But the main point I want you to take away from all this is that the simple one-line answers given at these debates might work to fool most of the voters and tell them what they want to hear, but they are not based in economic reality. While this is of more interest to US citizens, the principles apply across borders. So, let's jump right in.

The Reality of Trade Deficits

The trade deficit jumped this month by almost 10%, to $63 billion. To hear the candidates talk, we can lower the deficit by forcing China to allow its currency to rise, increase our exports because of a lower dollar, stop our dependence on high-priced foreign oil, etc. Whatever the problems are, they are not of our making.

Let's look at the reality. I asked my friends at Plexus to create a few charts for me. First, let's see if a lower dollar will have a major impact on the deficit. The deficit is in red, and the numbers for the dollar index are on the right. Notice that from 1992 until 2002 the dollar got stronger and the trade deficit rose. Of course, there was the period from the end of '93 until '95 where the dollar dropped almost 20% and had seemingly very little effect on the trade deficit.

Now notice that from 2002 until the present the dollar has gone down and the trade deficit has exploded. If a weaker dollar were the answer, then one would expect the trade deficit to improve. Yet, the deficit has roughly doubled since 2002 while the dollar has dropped by more than a third. Using a trade-weighted dollar index would produce the same visual results, although the trade-weighted dollar has dropped by "only" 25%.

As I have maintained for years, I expect the Chinese to allow their currency to rise slowly. By the time the next president can have a foreign policy team in place to focus on the issue, the Chinese will have allowed the yuan to rise another 15% or so. This will bring it very close to the 30% increase in valuation that the China hawks in Congress have been wanting. The reality will be that the Chinese will have done almost all the heavy lifting within 18 months.

What will be the result? It means that the $325 billion in goods and services that we buy from China will cost us 10-15% more than it does now. Will we buy 15% less? Not if that is how we want to spend our money. And that brings us to the next chart. While there is not an exact correlation, the trade deficit rises as consumer spending rises, which makes sense if you think about it.

Want to see the real problem at the root cause of the trade deficit? The one that candidates absolutely cannot mention from the debate podiums? Look at the next chart:

No, the simple answer is that the trade deficit is not going to come down until the US starts to save more and spend less. In 1992, consumer spending was a little over 65% of GDP. It is now closer to 72%. Savings are down from 8% in that time, to barely above zero. If US consumers simply saved 5%, as we did 10 years ago, the trade deficit would come down by a lot.

But it would not go away, because we, like all developed countries, are addicted to energy consumption, and for now that means oil. We imported $34 billion in petroleum products in November, a jump of 10% over the next highest month on record. (By the way, you can get 47 pages of small-print numbers on all aspects of trade at the main web site at the US Census Bureau at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/current_press_release/press.html. The data I cite is from there.)

In large part, that is because of soaring oil prices. But it may get worse. We actually imported less oil in November in terms of barrels of oil than the average for the last year, but the price was up from an average of $72 in October to almost $80 in November. Oil at $95 has not yet made it into the actual price. Another $15 a barrel could add as much as $50 billion to the annual trade deficit.

That means oil alone will soon be more than 60% of our trade deficit, if oil stays above $90 a barrel. Hard to cut the deficit with a lower dollar if we keep buying expensive oil.

Some random items from pages 21-22 of the report. We imported $193 billion in autos for the first 11 months of the year. $618 million in sugar. $118 billion in TV's, VCR's and other electronic gadgets. We imported $219 billion just in crude oil.

Quick: who's our biggest trading partner? Canada, by a wide margin. We import almost the same from Canada as we do from China ($289 billion to $295 billion), but we also send them $229 billion. Yes, we ran a trade deficit with Canada of $59 billion for the first 11 months of the year. ($67 billion with Mexico.) The rapidly rising Canadian dollar has barely made a dent in the deficit. Yet Senators Schumer and Graham (bipartisan economic illiterates) think a rising Chinese currency will lower the trade deficit with China when it has done no such thing with Canada, and dropped the $112 billion deficit with Europe by just 10%, almost entirely composed of lower imports and only a little by increased exports.

And yes, our deficit with China is going to be in the $260 billion (annualized) range. Dropping that by 10% would not change the deficit that much. You reduce the trade deficit by spending less and exporting more.

However, we would have to grow exports by 90% to balance the trade deficit. Exports are up by 12% over a year ago, and most categories are up, but it is simply not realistic to think we can grow our way out of the trade deficit.

The heavy lifting on reducing the deficit is going to be by a reduction in spending. And that is only going to happen when people realize they have not saved enough for retirement and their homes are not a piggy bank that can be cashed out for retirement. And reduced consumer spending will not happen on just imports. It will be across the board and a drag on the economy. Wishing for a lower trade deficit may bring along problems that are not mentioned in the debates.

Yes, if we can develop coal-to-natural-gas technologies (there is considerable hope on that front), bio-fuels (not ethanol, which is a really bad idea, unless you grow corn) and a conversion to electric-based cars, the developed world can rid itself of oil addiction. But that is going to be at least 10 years down the road, if not a lot longer.

So, the next time some candidate says we have to lower the trade deficit, ask him how he plans to do that. Exactly what policy is going to make a difference, unless we erect trade barriers? See if the candidate says we need to spend less.

Fair Tax Nonsense

The only candidate I will specifically mention is Mike Huckabee. His espousal of the Fair Tax demonstrates his lack of understanding of reality and economics. Basically, Fair Tax proponents want a 23% sales tax to replace every type of government tax. No more income, corporate, social security, or Medicare taxes. And everyone gets a $5,000 or so "prebate" which covers the taxes up to the poverty level. What could be simpler or more fair?

No one would like to get rid of the IRS more than I. I spend way too much on accounting for taxes and such. But this is not the way to do it.

First of all, the 23% they talk about is really 30%. Under the proposal, if an item sells for $100, then $23 of that would go to the government (said to be tax-inclusive). That means the item really costs $77 and the tax is an additional $23 or about 30% (said to be the tax-exclusive rate). Add an average 7% for state sales tax and we are now up to 37%. But wait, it gets worse.

That 23% number simply won't produce the revenues they suggest. That assumes the government will pay the tax, so the budget has to go up. It also assumes that there is 100% compliance and everyone pays that 37% (yeah, right - just like they do the income tax). Bruce Bartlett writes this week in the Wall Street Journal:

"A 2000 estimate by Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation found the tax-inclusive rate would have to be 36% and the tax-exclusive rate would be 57%. In 2005, the U.S. Treasury Department calculated that a tax-exclusive rate of 34% would be needed just to replace the income tax, leaving the payroll tax in place. But if evasion were high then the rate might have to rise to 49%. If the Fair Tax were only able to cover the limited sales tax base of a typical state, then a rate of 64% would be required (89% with high evasion)."

44 states have income taxes. They would have to repeal their income taxes and raise their sales taxes in order for individuals not to have to file annual income tax returns.

Do you really want to add 30% to the cost of a new home? And pay an extra 30% in interest on the borrowing price? 30-40% more for your legal services? Do you want your rents to go up 30%? Do you really think that massive evasion would not follow? We would move back to a black market cash economy so fast it would take all of Ben Bernanke's printing presses working overtime to create enough cash for the black market economy.

Yes, in theory it would mean that exports would be priced more competitively, as corporate taxes are removed. The idea as theory is not entirely without merit, but every independent study I have read suggests the number for the tax when combined with state taxes would be north of 40% and maybe more like 50%.

Further, this is a tax hike on the middle class. If you make less than $15,000 you win. If you make more than $200,000 you win, because you actually save more and spend less of your income. This is a nice populist proposal which sounds good but is economically challenged. It only works on someone who has not read about the problems.

Let me give you two links if you want to read more. One is to Bartlett's article and the other is to the people at Fact Check (a very good site for lots of facts on a lot of things) http://opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110010523 and http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_the_fairtax.html.

What would I do about tax reform? Dick Armey had it right: flat and low and simple. It seems like every ex-communist country has it figured out. It is just we capitalists that can't get it right.

How to Create an Immigration Depression

The call by Huckabee and others to deport 12,000,000 illegal immigrants is simply economic suicide. It would create a depression (not just a minor recession) in short order. Let's reduce productivity by 10-15%. Let's reduce consumer spending by 7-8%. Shut down hundreds of thousands of businesses who could not get workers they need. Who will pick the crops? Or do any of a hundred jobs that Americans don't want to do? It would drive up labor costs and create inflation. It would be a disaster of Biblical proportions.

Now, I am all for controlling the border. I want to know who is coming in. But we have to deal with reality, and the reality is that we need those workers who are here. The economy simply will not function without them. You can't send them home and then tell them to apply and hope they can get back in, and then expect business to function as usual. It will take years for a bureaucracy to handle the paperwork.

Go ahead. Close the borders. Find out who is here illegally and make sure they do not have a criminal record. If so, they go. The rest need to get documented, and we need to radically increase the number of immigrants we allow (after we control the borders!), especially educated workers who can help us build our knowledge economy.

And yes, this is amnesty. That is the cost of not controlling the border all these years. Nothing we can do about it, unless we want to shoot ourselves in both feet just to prove a point. Sounds rather dumb to me.

The great irony is that within ten years we are going to need even more immigrants to replace retiring boomers, as well as to pay into social security and Medicare programs. We are going to be competing with Europe for those immigrants. We need to get a head start.

And yes, it is a lot more complex than this quick analysis. But pandering to voters who for whatever reason want to stop illegal immigration by throwing out everyone who is here illegally is not the answer. Establish fines, require documents, whatever. But recognize reality and stop telling voters what they want to hear when your policies simply cannot work and will be destructive.

Stimulate the Economy by Cutting Spending?

In the Republican debate in South Carolina last night, the candidates were asked what they would do to stimulate the economy if it is rolling into recession. Nearly every candidate said "I would cut spending" as an answer.

I guess they skipped that class in Economics 101. Deficit spending is a stimulus in the short term. Cutting spending in the short term would be the opposite. I am a huge proponent of cutting spending, smaller government, balanced budgets, etc. But you don't stimulate an economy that is rolling into recession by cutting spending. Dumb answer, and those who are doing the questioning should call them on their economic garbage.

Tax Hikes to Help Us Grow?

The Democratic candidates agree that the Bush tax cuts needs to be repealed. So, in 2010 we face the largest tax increase in history if that is to be the case. Want to double the dividend and capital gain taxes? Vote for Hillary or Obama. Watch your stocks tank.

They want to "tax the rich" and make more for middle class tax cuts. Sounds nice, but let's look at the facts. The bottom half of taxpayers only pay 3% of the total income taxes collected, which is 1% less than before the Bush tax cuts. 44% of the US population, or 122 million people, pays no income tax at all.

The richest 1% of the country pay 39% of all taxes ($365,000 income and up), which is 3% more than before the Bush tax cuts, under the Clinton tax policy. The top 5% ($145,000) pay 60% of all taxes (up 5% from 1999); and the top 25%, with income over $62,000, pays paid 86% of all taxes. It seems to me that the rich are paying their fair share. Every category is paying more now than under Clinton, except the bottom 75%.

Under any Democratic plan, they would want more than 50% of US citizens to pay no income taxes. If you pay no taxes, why do you care if we run deficits? Polls clearly show that those who pay no taxes are overwhelmingly against tax cuts, as they think it will cut their entitlements and benefits. The plan is clearly to build a constituency of voters who will vote Democrat to increase taxes on someone else and spend the money on programs for them.

Any increase in taxes at the levels proposed by Democrats is by definition anti-growth. Government spending is not as efficient or productive as private spending. It will also be a large drag on the stock market. 2010 is now less than two years away. Congress is going to have to deal with tax policy in 2009 or risk a major economic setback. See how safe your job or business will be in a second recession within a few years, like we saw in 1980-82.

A repeal of the Bush tax cuts would raise taxes on the bottom 75% of the country, and cut taxes for the rich, as a percentage of total taxes paid.

I can go on, but I have probably offended enough readers for one weekend.

Europe, Phoenix, and My Conference in La Jolla

I am going to be in Phoenix February 9-10, speaking several times at the Cambridge House Resource Investment Conference. This is a large, free conference with an outstanding line-up of speakers, mostly focused on natural resources and gold. If you are in the area, or simply looking for more information on gold and natural resources, you should consider attending. As noted, the conference is free if you pre-register. You can find out more by going to: http://www.cambridgehouse.com/mauldin/access.html and clicking on "Phoenix."

I am off to Europe next Saturday for a week, and am now scheduled to go back April 16-18. I trust the weather will be better in April. Details to follow in a few weeks on the second trip.

We are finalizing plans for the Annual Strategic Investment Conference, co-hosted by Altegris Investments in La Jolla. It will be April 10-12, so save the dates. This is a very high-level conference with nationally known speakers and some of the best hedge fund managers I know. Attendees consistently rate it the best conference they attend all year.

The kids are now off and gone after being here for most of the holidays. The house is quiet and the tree is (finally) out, with all the decorations packed for another year. It is a great pleasure to watch them grow and mature, talking about decisions, anticipating graduation and new jobs. Abbi has been an intern for the Tulsa 66ers, a minor league basketball team, but she was recently hired on as paid staff, running floor operations. Clearly management there knows a good thing. Now if Mark Cuban can get the same vision, maybe Abbi can move closer to Dad.

There have been times when I thought seven kids was a little much, but now I realize I am a blessed man. Seven is just about the perfect number.

It is time once again to hit the send button. Have a great week.

Your working harder than he would like to analyst,

John Mauldin
John@FrontLineThoughts.com

Copyright 2008 John Mauldin. All Rights Reserved
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #339 on: January 12, 2008, 01:04:53 PM »

Russ: 

Agreed in part, though I think the analysis of the Fair Tax to be cliched and flawed.  The Balance of Trade analysis is more or less corrrect, but substantially irrelevant-- the real issue is capital flows (which simply dwarf trade flows) and the value of the dollar.   With Gold approaching $900 and oil having kissed $100, it seems obvious that there are too many dollars out there.  (In Euro terms, in gold terms, gold's rise has been far, far less.)  Yet Bernake seems to be a clueless Keynesian looking to prime a pump when what he is really doing is pushing on a string.  I fear stagflation is coming and that, as you note, none of the Dems and few of the Reps seem to get it.

 The true issue as I see it is a matter of relative tax rates. (Here Fred is strong, Huck interesting but suspect, Rudy pretty good, Romney OK, McCain suspect)  Europe, (due to the dynamics of east Europe, Ireland?) has cut and simplified taxes and with a good chance of a Dem victory in November, the Bush rate cuts seem likely to "expire" -- not to mention additonal Dem tax increases and economic meddling planned.  The US corp tax rate is now second highest in advanced world IIRC.  THIS IS THE CORE PROBLEM IN MY OPINION.   Naturally a stampede for the exits begins in the stock market.

Staying with the subject of this thread (feel free to carry political economic subjects to the thread for them), this bodes ill for the Reps unless they can front someone who can fly into the face of the conventional wisdom and carry the day.
============

Here's this from the WSJ about Hillary's next incarnation:

Mrs. Clinton's Sex Appeal
By JAMES TARANTO
January 11, 2008

Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia has the most interesting poll result we've seen in all the years of the 2008 presidential campaign:

Let's not forget the enduring affection New Hampshirites have for their "Comeback Kid" Bill Clinton. He was everywhere, and he issued hard-edged--some say petty--blasts at Obama that received saturation attention in the media. Interestingly, Democratic voters in the exit poll were asked if Bill Clinton were a White House candidate in '08, would they have voted for him or their current candidate. By a margin of 58 percent to 27 percent, Hillary Clinton's voters preferred Bill, while all other Democrats kept most of their own voters. This is not a compliment to Hillary, but it's obvious that without Bill, she would not be in a position to win the party nomination.
Did any pollster think to ask Republican voters in 2000 to choose between their candidate and George Bush père? We're pretty sure not, and that's revealing in itself. Although George W. Bush undoubtedly benefited from his famous political name, it's highly doubtful that Republican voters would have preferred the elder Bush (who, having served only one term, was constitutionally eligible to run). Indeed, although the elder Bush now receives lots of backhanded compliments from those who despise his son (even George McGovern!), many Republicans remember him for tax increases, David Souter and Saddam Hussein's survival.

In Mrs. Clinton's case, the comparison to that feminist icon Lurleen Wallace seems more apposite all the time. But as we look toward November, it's worth pondering the nature of this longing for Bill Clinton.

It seems unlikely that it is, at its root, about policy. Mr. Clinton was not a defining ideological figure, no FDR or Reagan. To the extent that he moved his party, it was toward the center, and the party--including Mrs. Clinton--has in many ways moved back.

There is perhaps an element of nostalgia for the peace and prosperity of the 1990s, notwithstanding that the peace was illusory and the prosperity hasn't gone away.

But above all, Clinton nostalgia is about partisanship. Mr. Clinton endeared himself to his party, and especially its left wing, not via his policies but by provoking the enmity of Republicans--most notably, by being impeached. His final two years in office thus produced a partisan closing of the ranks behind him, to some extent despite his centrist policies. (Ironically, George W. Bush might now enjoy more support than he does among Republicans if the Democratic opposition were better organized.)

It's telling that in Iowa and New Hampshire, Mrs. Clinton did much better among Democrats than among independents. This may augur well for her in subsequent primaries and caucuses, many of which are limited to registered Dems. But it may bode ill for November, when the majority of voters will be non-Democrats. Bill Clinton, after all, never quite managed to get a majority of the popular vote, against fairly weak Republican opposition (albeit with Ross Perot available as an alternative).

To be elected, Mrs. Clinton will have to find an appeal broader than her husband's, a tall order given that many of her supporters prefer him. Off the top of our head, the only idea that occurs to us is one she seems to be trying: urging women to vote for her because she'd be the first female president.

There is a risk of taking this too far. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports on a bizarre comment Mrs. Clinton made yesterday while campaigning for the Jan. 19 Nevada caucuses:

Clinton and her busload of traveling press moved from there to the popular local Mexican restaurant Lindo Michoacan, where a "roundtable" that was actually square passed a microphone around to tell her people's concerns about the mortgage crisis and foreclosures. She took notes and munched on tortilla chips. . . .
A man shouted through an opening in the wall that his wife was illegal.
"No woman is illegal," Clinton said, to cheers.
No woman is illegal? She really seems bent on alienating male voters, doesn't she?
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« Reply #340 on: January 15, 2008, 09:36:57 AM »

Fred Thompson interviewed about 'war on terror':
http://pajamasmedia.com/pages/2007/11/fred_thompson_war_on_terror_co.php
From November, only dated in the sense that Bhutto was still alive. 

I predict Thompson will be the VP pick no matter who wins (other than him) and Republicans will have another upside down ticket like Dole-Kemp '96.  How did that work out?
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« Reply #341 on: January 16, 2008, 02:12:35 PM »

“Mitt Romney finally won the ‘gold’ yesterday, as he so effusively puts it, and the result is a Republican Presidential battle that is more muddled than ever. The most important story out of Michigan is that Republicans are still looking for a standard bearer. Mr. Romney has the immediate bragging rights with his victory, salvaging his campaign in the process. He was able to win in his native state, and to do so convincingly among Republican voters of all stripes. He helped himself by stressing the economy in a state that has lagged behind U.S. growth for years, even if he did go over the top with his pandering to the auto industry. Mr. Romney can’t stop jobs from leaving the state, no matter how often he claims he can... The result is a blow to John McCain, who was coming off a victory in New Hampshire and had won in Michigan in 2000... Mike Huckabee’s distant third means that he hasn’t yet been able to capitalize on his surprising Iowa victory. His political religiosity didn’t play well outside of evangelical precincts in either New England or the Midwest, and his attacks on President Bush’s foreign policy and corporations have pushed away parts of the GOP coalition... Another winner yesterday was Fred Thompson, who is competitive in South Carolina and is running as the conservative who can unite the GOP’s fractious wings. The former Tennessee Senator has laid out an impressive policy map, but he’s suffered in early contests because his heart and energy didn’t seem to be in the race. That has changed in recent weeks, especially with his pungent, quick-witted debate performances. If he can do better than Messrs. Romney and Huckabee among conservatives, he could surprise in the Palmetto State and give himself a genuine chance at the nomination. The abiding lesson from the last two weeks is that GOP voters are still sifting the field, searching for their next leader.” —The Wall Street Journal
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« Reply #342 on: January 16, 2008, 09:55:51 PM »

From the Muslim Observer

http://muslimmedianetwork.com/mmn/?p=1692

Unique Opportunity For Michigan Muslims
The American Muslim community can make a big impact on the political scene by voting in large numbers in the Michigan Primary on Tuesday, January 15. Every media headline makes us believe that the fight for the top position is between McCain and Romney on the Republican side. The democrats have no such match going on due the de-franchising of the Michigan democrats by the National Democratic Party, after the state decided to move its primary ahead. Edwards and Obama surrendered to the party bosses and dropped their names from the ballot and agreed not to campaign, except Clinton - she exhibited the courage to challenge the party leadership and has her name on the ballot.
The Muslim community in Michigan has a unique opportunity to beat the pundits by voting as a block for Ron Paul as the Republican candidate. The primary process in Michigan allows to pick either of the two ballots, Democrat or Republican, for the vote. This meets one of the goals of AMPEC, “Promote ideas and the people that are consistent with Muslim community thought. At the same time the Muslim community shall identify those elements that are highly undesirable for peace, stability and humanity, both inside and outside US, and ensure their failure right at the onset.” The Muslim community must very honestly understand that the system of governance in this country follows in the same general direction, irrespective of who is in leadership. With Democrats, the paths may be less treacherous than if the Republicans are in power, but are leading in the same direction! Unless the system gets an overhaul, there will be very little change in the way whole system operates in this country.
The Muslim community’s failure to recognize the importance of primary elections and their vital role in the overall elections process will mean that this year, as usual, a small minority of voters will make decisions for everyone else and the outcome most likely will not be pleasant for the American Muslims. Let’s beat the odds, let’s vote.
Ron Paul meets the Muslim community’s major concern about “War in Iraq” - an issue that every media outlet has ignored in the primary political campaign in Michigan. To the Muslim community, it is the source of major problems in America - security, jobs, education, healthcare, etc.; and the world peace. The Republican candidate who voted “NO” against War in Iraq, is against the Patriot Act and is in favor of bringing the troops back home - deserves our full support in the Michigan Primary; THAT CANDIDATE IS RON PAUL.
Vote Smart on January 15, 2008
Beat the political machine in Michigan - Vote REPUBLICAN and for RON PAUL

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« Reply #343 on: January 17, 2008, 07:29:35 AM »

For months, the Republican establishment in New York and New Jersey marched nearly in lock step behind Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former hometown mayor they were confident would become their party’s nominee for president.


But as Mr. Giuliani has plummeted from first to fourth — or worse — in some national polls, as he finished near the bottom of the pack in the nation’s earliest primaries, and as his lead evaporated even in Florida, the state on which he has gambled the most time and money, those Republican leaders are verging toward a grim new consensus:

If Mr. Giuliani loses in the Florida primary on Jan. 29, they say, he may even have trouble defeating the rivals who are encroaching on his own backyard.

“It’s pretty certain that he has to win Florida,” said Guy V. Molinari, the former Staten Island borough president, who is co-chairman of Mr. Giuliani’s campaign in New York.

Those supporters say they are confident that if Mr. Giuliani carries Florida or runs a very close second, he will remain the odds-on favorite to claim virtually all of the delegates from the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut primaries on Feb. 5, when Republicans in 22 states vote.

But if Mr. Giuliani is relegated to a distant second or worse in Florida, even some of his supporters acknowledge that New York’s primary one week later would most likely be up for grabs, with Senator John McCain of Arizona and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts being Mr. Giuliani’s strongest rivals. Like Mr. Giuliani, both are fielding full delegate slates in all 29 of the state’s Congressional districts.

“If he carries Florida, he carries New York,” said Fred Siegel, a Cooper Union historian who has served as an adviser to the former mayor and written a largely admiring biography of him. But winning Florida would require “a miraculous comeback,” he said, adding: “I wouldn’t bet on it.”

With 101 delegates from New York, 52 from New Jersey and 30 from Connecticut, the region accounts for about 15 percent of the magic number needed for the Republican nomination. All three are winner-take-all contests.

Mr. Giuliani’s precipitous decline in national and state polls in recent weeks has prompted many of his leading supporters in the metropolitan area to raise questions about his strategy of largely ignoring early races in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan to focus on Florida. He received little news coverage during those primaries, then finished poorly in each.

“I think that a lot of what’s happening in general is the early campaigning in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan playing an active role, and the fact that Rudy chose not to compete,” said Guy F. Talarico, a Giuliani supporter who is the former chairman of the Republican Party in Bergen County, N.J. “People are focusing on that and saying, ‘When are we going to get in the game?’ ”

Still, once the campaign circles back to the metropolitan area, “I think he’s going to win New Jersey,” Mr. Talarico said.

A senior Republican strategist, who is allied with Mr. Giuliani and is working with Republican legislative candidates in New York, said Mr. Giuliani’s decision to circumvent the early primaries was a “big gamble” that for the moment looked in danger of failing.

“Who knows if it will work,” said the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized by the campaign to speak publicly. “But the danger is what you are seeing now. We’re obviously concerned.”

In Florida, a Quinnipiac University poll of likely Republican voters found last month that Mr. Giuliani was leading the pack with 28 percent, followed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas with 21 percent and Mr. Romney with 20 percent. But a follow-up survey last week found the race statistically tied among four candidates: Mr. Giuliani, Mr. McCain, Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Romney.

Mr. Giuliani’s poll numbers have declined in Florida even though he has invested heavily there. The former mayor spent almost $600,000 on television advertising in Florida between Dec. 8 and Jan. 6, second only to Mr. Romney, who spent $676,851, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group, a political advertising research firm.

Almost all of Mr. Giuliani’s spending came in the final 10 days of that period, when Mr. Romney stopped buying ads.

The race has also narrowed in New Jersey, according to a poll released this week by Monmouth University/Gannett. The poll showed Mr. McCain leading by 29 percent to Mr. Giuliani’s 25 percent, a difference that is within the poll’s margin of sampling error. In September, the same poll found Mr. Giuliani 32 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival, Mr. McCain.

On Wednesday, Mr. McCain vowed to compete hard in New York. “I’m going there a lot for money,” he said. “I ought to go there for votes.”
------------

Page 2 of 2)

Nationally, a New York Times/CBS News poll released on Sunday found that Mr. Giuliani, who led the Republican field with 29 percent nationally in October and was tied with Mr. Huckabee at about 22 percent last month, had plummeted to 10 percent, behind Mr. McCain and Mr. Huckabee.

In New York, with its three million enrolled Republicans, polls indicate Mr. Giuliani’s edge was eroding even before the victories by Mr. Huckabee, Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan, respectively. In October, Mr. Giuliani led his nearest opponent by a commanding 33-point margin. By last month, he was still ahead, but his lead had shrunk to 22 percentage points.

New public polls are expected to show the race has tightened even more, polling experts said.

“I have a feeling that the sag in Florida and the sag in New Jersey will probably be matched by a sag in New York,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac Poll, which plans to release a new New York poll next week.

It is unclear what impact Mr. Giuliani’s weak poll numbers and poor primary finishes have had on his fund-raising, as new quarterly campaign spending reports will not be filed until the end of the month. But his campaign reported last week that some workers had given up their paychecks for the month to help save dwindling funds. The campaign reported having $7 million in cash on hand at the time.

There are also concerns among Giuliani supporters that if he does not gain momentum before Feb. 5, he will have to spend precious funds just to win New York, where advertising is particularly expensive.

Anthony V. Carbonetti, Mr. Giuliani’s senior political adviser, said on Wednesday: “Rudy has a long history of fighting for New York, and with his track record and the campaign team we’ve put together here, we’re going to win on Feb. 5.”

Mr. Giuliani has some clear advantages in the region. In addition to having more organizational support from Republican elected officials, he is counting on the fact that in New York and Connecticut, Italian-Americans constitute about one-fifth of the voters in Republican primaries.

But while his popularity soared after the World Trade Center attack, Mr. Giuliani is still reviled by some New Yorkers, including well-organized firefighters who blame him for communications failures on 9/11 and Republicans who have never forgiven him for endorsing a Democrat, Mario M. Cuomo, for governor against George E. Pataki in 1994. Mr. Pataki won.

Mr. Pataki said through a spokesman, David M. Catalfamo, on Wednesday that he was “continuing to evaluate all the candidates and will make an endorsement sometime in the future.”

But several people who worked in his administration, including his former counsel, Michael C. Finnegan, have made their allegiances clear: They are running as McCain delegates.


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ccp
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« Reply #344 on: January 17, 2008, 09:26:02 AM »

Well, actually I believe he does this to everyone but it is great to hear some African Americans (now that they have a Democratic alternative) speak this truth - finally - about the Clintons:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/politics/bal-te.preacher16jan16,0,1629577.story?track=rss

I don't care that Obama is reportedly more liberal than Clinton.  I don't care that he is Black.  I will take him any day over another Clinton.  Go Obama!
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« Reply #345 on: January 17, 2008, 11:58:07 AM »

I have zero tolerance with folks who praise Louis Farrakan.
======
WSJ Political Diary

Borderline

When it came to illegal immigrants, Mike Huckabee spent his decade as governor of Arkansas as a compassionate conservative. He pushed for a bill allowing immigrant students in-state tuition rates if they went to state colleges, failed to complete an agreement to let state police enforce federal immigration law and criticized federal anti-immigration enforcement efforts. He dismissed as "racist" the motivations of sponsors of a bill that would have required state residents to show proof of citizenship to vote. He often said it was wrong to punish the children of parents who had entered the country illegally.

Well, that was then and now Mr. Huckabee is running for president. Competing in the hotly-contested South Carolina primary this week, he signed a pledge to support a plan that would send all illegal aliens home.

The pledge, sponsored by the advocacy group Numbers USA, commits Mr. Huckabee to oppose any path to citizenship for illegal aliens now in the country and to use law enforcement measures to deport them back to their countries of origin.

Numbers USA leader Roy Beck had previously been a critic of Mr. Huckabee's immigration record, calling it "poor" and "a disaster." But yesterday, he was all smiles at a news conference with Mr. Huckabee in South Carolina: "Probably, this is the strongest no-amnesty, attrition plan of any of the candidates," he told reporters.

But anti-immigration backers of the former Arkansas governor should be wary. He can and often does turn on a policy dime. Jim Gilchrist, founder of the border control group Minutemen, endorsed Mr. Huckabee in December when the candidate "looked me in the eye" and pledged to fight for a constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship, which currently makes any child born inside the borders automatically a U.S. citizen. Now Mr. Huckabee says he doesn't support such an amendment and Mr. Gilchrist has been unavailable for comment to reporters asking how he now feels about his candidate.

-- John Fund
Has Romney Broken the Code?

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- One Republican who isn't changing his message after Michigan is Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts Governor finally hit pay dirt in an early primary by pounding away on jobs and the economy. His first campaign events here suggest he's sticking with the theme that won up north.

At the University of South Carolina yesterday, Mr. Romney launched into his now-honed stump speech about how "Washington is broken" and has failed to "secure the border," "fix Social Security" or "fight for every good job." Back in Michigan, Mr. Romney discovered that jittery voters responded strongly to promises to address the economy, especially those in the ailing auto sector who were quick to buy the argument that their problems begin in Washington. He continues to hammer away on that theme here, promising to cut taxes and reduce pork-barrel spending and insisting that "lobbyists" and "long-term politicians" are quaking "in their boots" after his Michigan win.

Can a weakening economy save Mitt Romney? It's too early to tell, since the South Carolina polls probably haven't caught up with the changing dynamics of the race yet -- they currently have him trailing John McCain and Mike Huckabee by ten points or more. But his crowd at the university was heaving -- so big that many couldn't fit in the main ballroom. And even if Grandpa Romney doesn't prevail in the end, attendees got an early view of another Romney politician in the making -- the governor's 20-month-old grandson, Parker, who delighted the masses by crawling into Mr. Romney's arms and burbling into the microphone.

-- Kim Strassel
Dr. Coburn Makes a House Call

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- This state was John McCain's Waterloo in 2000, in no small part because he struggled to gain traction with core Republican voters. The Arizona senator is now trying to avoid a repeat by shoring up his conservative credentials. One bulwark rolled out yesterday was an endorsement from conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

Senator Lindsey Graham set the tone for a packed auditorium here in the religious Upcountry, introducing Senator Coburn as a "rock-solid fiscal, social and economic conservative," who represents "everything that was right about the Republican Party." Senator Coburn (just in case anybody was still missing the point) began his own talk by noting that his "credentials as a conservative are unquestioned" and explained that Mr. McCain was the only candidate who could be trusted on the crucial question of appointing conservative judges and protecting "innocent life." Senator McCain hopped in next, praising his own pro-life record and promising to "nominate the closest thing to a clone of [Supreme Court Justice] John Roberts." Only at the end did anyone mention what has been Mr. McCain's traditional selling point elsewhere, his qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief.

The Arizona senator needs all the help he can get from conservatives like Dr. Coburn. Parked outside the rally were a variety of protest groups, some waving signs about Mr. McCain's immigration positions, others waving confederate flags (the candidate's criticism of which earned him the ire of many residents in 2000). But unlike in his 2000 race against George W. Bush, several GOP candidates this year are seriously chasing the conservative vote -- including Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. That may be Mr. McCain's salvation, and why he's currently the front-runner with support in the mid-20s.

-- Kim Strassel
The Biggest Loser

Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin fought tooth and nail to shake up the primary calendar this year and break what he called the "stranglehold" of Iowa and New Hampshire on the nominating process. But while the accelerated Michigan primary produced a contest of some significance on the Republican side, it was a complete flop on the Democratic side. The vote was virtually meaningless for the Democrats' presidential race, generating little local enthusiasm while producing a feud with the national party that has yet to be resolved.

Because most Democratic hopefuls acceded to the national party's request to keep their names off the Michigan ballot, Tuesday's turnout represented only 20% of the state's registered voting population and in real terms was only 4.8% larger than 2000, the last seriously contested primary. Compare that to the record-shattering Democratic turnout in both Iowa and New Hampshire this year.

Adding insult to injury, the Democratic National Committee voted earlier this year to strip Michigan of all 156 of its delegates to the national convention. While Mr. Levin remains confident the DNC won't make good on its threat and that Michigan's delegates will be seated in the end, the DNC took the unusual step of canceling the block of hotel rooms set aside for the Wolverine State delegation in Denver in August.

Florida Democrats, who casts their vote twelve days from now, are in a similar situation, having also been stripped of their delegates. But at least the Florida beauty contest will include all the candidates on the ballot, and the entire media universe will be watching the outcome, guaranteeing the Sunshine State a big impact on the presidential race as it hurtles toward a critical moment the following week on Tsunami Tuesday.

Not so Michigan. Even as Mr. Levin publicly urged Democrats to turn out Tuesday and register their choice between Hillary Clinton and "uncommitted," the eyes of his party were focused thousands of miles of away on the televised debate between the top contenders in Las Vegas. All in all, the outcome has not brought credit on Mr. Levin, who faces embarrassing question about whether the costs associated with his gamble were worth the unimpressive result.

-- Tom Bevan, executive editor RealClearPolitics.com

The Semi Natural

Sometimes it takes a well-connected journalist to articulate what a lot of people are feeling, but can't quite express in public.

Time columnist Joe Klein did just that when he used a Council on Foreign Relations meeting this week to suggest that "an element of unwitting sabotage" may be behind Bill Clinton's frequently unhelpful comments that have thrown his wife's campaign off-stride. According to the New York Observer, Mr. Klein suggested that Mr. Clinton may be "worrying" that "maybe she's going to be a better president" than he was. But Mr. Klein hastily added that Mr. Clinton is probably ambivalent about his wife's candidacy, because he also has been supportive in fundraising and other areas: "Consciously, I think that he sees her election as president as the final validation of his presidency."

Such amateur psychology would be meaningless if it were not for the fact that Mr. Klein knows the Clintons so well. He spent many long conversations with them during the 1992 campaign and afterwards. In 1997, he anonymously published the best-selling novel "Primary Colors," a thinly fictionalized retelling of Mr. Clinton's rise to the White House that later became a movie. In 2002, he wrote a largely positive non-fiction review of the Clinton presidency called "The Natural."

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« Reply #346 on: January 18, 2008, 11:35:58 AM »

Fred on the Bus
by Erick Erickson


Traveling through snowy South Carolina with Fred Thompson, I’m struck by the sense that finally, the man has arrived. The candidate so many conservatives were excited by early in 2007 is finally walking the land.

The Fred Thompson in South Carolina this week is the one America saw knock into Mike Huckabee as a pro-life liberal with “blame America first” beliefs whose economic policies would destroy the economy. And the crowds love it.

Though barely mentioned in the national media, Senator Fred Thompson has been on a barn storming tour crisscrossing South Carolina for more than a week. In a unique approach, he is not just going to major media markets, but to rural areas of South Carolina. On my first day on the trail with Senator Thompson, he drew a crowd of 180 people to a small Mennonite restaurant in Abbeville, South Carolina — population 26,000 with a median income of $15,370. He capped off the day at the Orangeburg-Calhoun County Technical College in Orangeburg, South Carolina with over 200 people braving a rare snow shower to hear him. The day before I joined him on the campaign trail, Senator Thompson’s campaign saw large capacity auditoriums overflowing with people standing outside the buildings waiting to get in.


The crowds are enthusiastic and relieved. Finally, the Fred Thompson they hoped for is on the campaign trail. “Saying the Reagan Coalition is dead is like saying the Constitution is dead,” Thompson began one speech, taking on Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. “The Reagan Coalition was never about the man. It was and is about the principles and values we apply to issues.” He continued, “The issues may change, but the principles do not.” The crowd roared its enthusiasm.

Later in the day, an elderly gentleman asked Senator Thompson about immigration. Senator Thompson responded, “Securing the border is popular for a lot of candidates to talk about these days. They’ve changed their positions. I embrace change, but some of these guys are wearing out the road to Damascus.” The crowd ate it up. Thompson pointed out that he, unlike the other candidates, has been consistently supportive of increased border security and consistently opposed to lax enforcement.

It’s refreshing to hear Senator Thompson. He is not the candidate the media likes. He gives good sound bites, but he is plodding, methodical, and issue oriented. Senator Thompson’s is not a personality driven campaign. It is about issues, issues, issues. And it is conservative to the core. On the campaign trail, it seems Thompson has never met an issue he was ready to solve based on what he perceives as real conservative principles. Chief among them is that if government gets involved, it will probably make the situation worse. There is no pandering. John McCain may give straight talk, but Thompson gives no bull.

Since Mitt Romney’s call for a government plan to save the automotive industry, Senator Thompson has been on a tear blasting him as the candidate who tailors his message to whichever group he is talking to. Taking on Mike Huckabee, Senator Thompson points out that he likes Mike Huckabee, but his policies and agenda are full of empty rhetoric and policies anathema to the entrepreneurial spirit in the United States. He points out that he and John McCain are friends, but he has “strong disagreements” with John McCain on issues such as immigration and taxes.

Polling in South Carolina shows Fred Thompson gaining momentum in the state. The campaign staff has noticed the crowds growing since Fred Thompson took on Mike Huckabee in the Fox News Debate. The message is clear -- Thompson is the real conservative in the race.

There is an opening for Thompson. Mitt Romney has written off South Carolina, ceding the field to John McCain. Mike Huckabee is losing ground as voters learn more about his liberal record. Conservative rallying has begun to impact John McCain. There is a palpable sense in the crowds and among South Carolina reporters that the momentum is with Fred Thompson. And so the campaign soldiers on.

In Orangeburg, South Carolina, Fred Thompson fired up the crowds with humor and substance. After a long day of talking, he coughed and took a sip of water. “Yeah, I’m choked up,” Thompson said, “but I’m not getting emotional.” The crowd roared. Then Thompson went into his hallmark campaign routine -- questions from the crowd. Every event ends that way.

An attendee asked Thompson what he would do about Israel and the Palestinians. While complementary of the President, Thompson said, “Every President has thought he could solve the problem on the force of his personality, but he can’t.” He continued, “There are a lot of things that are possible in that situation, but one non-negotiable — the right of Israel to exist.” More applause. Another attendee asked about immigration. “A nation that cannot control its borders ceases to be a sovereign nation,” Thompson responded. The crowd drowned him out with applause. Then Thompson does what so many of the other candidates fail to do. He talks specifics and policies, mixed with humor and the recognition that what he is doing is rather unique.

It is a unique campaign. Like John McCain, who was written off for dead last June, Fred Thompson has begun a comeback. He has come back as the candidate everyone wanted to get in the race. In the process, he is owning the crowd.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=24517
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ccp
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Posts: 4064


« Reply #347 on: January 18, 2008, 06:44:43 PM »

On the eve of SC/Nev we get Hillary "baring her soul" discussing the Lewinsky scandal.  Of course she always loved Bill and of course he always loved her......

Obviously her campaign feels her crying the day before New Hampshire got her the victory there so are now using emotion to manipulative the babe vote.  It will probably work.  There appears to be no end to the gullibility of some of the electorate for the Clintons:

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iD2pnjLSISPm_PmWZjz5fJmP4wqA
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G M
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« Reply #348 on: January 21, 2008, 08:44:42 AM »

Looks like the Ronulans have the cause of the world's problems figured out, although many have been saying this for years.....  evil

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=28664_Todays_Moment_of_Paulmania#comments
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G M
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Posts: 12030


« Reply #349 on: January 21, 2008, 08:55:25 AM »

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:wIq9wSEwbeEJ:www.ronpaulforum.com/showthread.php%3Ft%3D302154+ron+paul+forum+jewish+defector&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=safari

The Ronulans don't like the scrutiny. Busted by google!
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