Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Republican Debate in South Carolina

What’s new Today

Our #1 story looks at the Newsweek issue with the feature story of “Why Are Obama’s Critics so Dumb.”  #2 looks at the Monday night Republican debate and finds Newt to be the overwhelming winner.  #3 gives you the exchange between Juan Williams and Newt Gingrich at the debate that got Newt a standing ovation.  #4 is Congressman West’s appeal to President Obama and his reelection campaign not to try and use the race card.  #5 and #6 are current polls that don’t bode well for the Democrats.  #7 is Nancy Pelosi’s prediction that the democrats will take back the House while #8 is her prediction in 2010 that the Democrats would hold on to control of the house.  #9 shows how Climate Science isn’t the same as real Science. 

1.   Newsweek’s “Why Are Obama’s Critics So Dumb?”

First, the photo. Why that photo? Some people think he looks awful — old, squinty, puffy — but I think it's an effort to evoke the old "HOPE" poster. Actually, it looks more like "hope" than the original Shaperd Fairey image,  which looks a little hunched-up and blank by comparison. The new image shows Obama, burdened and beleaguered, having sacrificed his youth for us, peering into the future... and yes, there is still hope.

Second, the article, by Andrew Sullivan. Based on the cover headline — "Why Are Obama's Critics So Dumb?" — I don't even want to read it. It just seems like red meat for Obama fans. And what a cliché! Republicans are stupid. That's what they always say. It's not just red meat, it's the same old red meat they always serve…

Then one of the comments…

“That's what they always say. It's not just red meat, it's the same old red meat they always serve”.

Yes, just like Republicans want dirty air, water, starving children & grandmothers, and are beholden to Wall Street Fat Cats.

Nobody believes them anymore.

The Internet is the worst thing to happen to the left since Ronald Reagan.

These kinds of stories are a sign of desperation, kind of like Hitler at the end of World War II telling the German people he had secret weapons that would turn the war around.  It’s self-delusional  nonsense.

2.   Monday Night Republican Debate

Endgame Analysis: I don’t think Romney was mortally wounded, but he did stammer through some key issues such as the release of his tax returns. Clearly Newt had almost all of and the biggest moments. Probably Rick Perry’s best debate, Santorum was uneven. Probably Ron Paul’s worst debate.

If Newt’s goal was to knock Romney down, it probably didn’t work. If Newt’s goal was to establish himself as the leader of the Newt-Santorum-Perry grouping, it probably worked. To the extent a debate can make a difference, this should help separate Newt from Santorum, the question is if it was enough.


Newt was as tough as nails, and deserved extra praise for not taking Juan Williams’s race-baiting. “No, I don’t see that.” Every person who believes in a color-blind society, especially tonight, ought to thank Newt for that. He then went on to show (again) he will be able to challenge President Barack Obama on nearly every fact and anecdote that could come up should they ever debate. The standing ovation he received was more than well deserved. To paraphrase a little: When he is right, he is great. The ongoing problem is when he is wrong. But tonight he was right — about a lot, and said it better than anyone.

Newt Gingrich apparently won Monday night’s debate on Fox News. He was the political legend scoring one more time, but likely this is a case of a last-second touchdown when you are down by two touchdowns.  Seth Leibsohn of NRO gave the night to Newt:  “When he is right, he is great. The ongoing problem is when he is wrong. But tonight he was right — about a lot, and said it better than anyone.”

It seems most people think Newt won the debate.  This issue is whether or not it is too late.  If Newt ends up winning South Carolina, it will change everything.  If Romney does, it pretty much over. 

3.   Gingrich and Juan Williams Food Stamp Exchange Brings Debate Crowd to Its Feet

….JUAN WILLIAMS: The suggestion that he made was about a lack of work ethic. And I’ve got to tell you, my e-mail account, my Twitter account has been inundated with people of all races who are asking if your comments are not intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities.
You saw some of this reaction during your visit…
… to a black church in South Carolina. You saw some of this during your visit to a black church in South Carolina, where a woman asked you why you refer to President Obama as “the food stamp president.” It sounds as if you are seeking to belittle people.
NEWT GINGRICH: Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.

There is a video of this exchange.  If you haven’t seen it I suggest you watch.

4.  Mr. President, please don’t play the race card in 2012...

….As we proceed into this general election cycle, it would be a disgrace if Mr. Holder’s comment is the first salvo in the upcoming campaign to deflect honest assessment of the President’s performance in office. This campaign must be about ideas, policy and the direction of this country, and the President must not hide behind a curtain of so-called racial bias.

All Americans, black or white – and every shade in between – must be allowed to voice their opinions, level their criticisms and engage in candid discussion without fear of being labeled “racist” simply because of the color of their skin. This is precisely what Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of so eloquently, and what we celebrate today.

My message to President Obama is this: “Mr. President, your very presence in office demonstrates Dr. King’s dream has indeed come true. But how devastated would Dr. King be to know the Americans who are still fomenting racism at the highest levels are the very people for whom he fought for and died?”

Does anyone think for a moment that the Obama campaign will not use the race card?  Of course he will.

5.  Latest Poll from Rasmussen

For the second week in a row, Republicans hold a six-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot, this time for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 15.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Republican in their district’s congressional race if the election were held today, while 38% would choose the Democrat instead.

If you want to see the history of this poll, click the link.  But this is not good news for the Democrats. 

6.  Bad News for Democrats

There are plenty of Democrats and even some Republicans who view the Republican primary as a gift to President Obama. Sixteen debates, web videos and “you can’t even make this up” candidate behavior, have provided plenty of fodder for late night comedians and opposition researchers. Meanwhile, frontrunner Mitt Romney has solidified his place on top thanks mostly to the fact that his opponents have imploded.

Even so, three new national polls should give Democrats some serious pause. They show a very vulnerable president who is serious danger of losing re-election.

ABC/Washington Post polling shows Obama’s approval rating at 48 percent. Pollster Gary Langer writes: “In polling since 1940, just four previous presidents have started their re-election year with less than 50 percent approval. Only one of them won, Richard Nixon in 1972.”

Gallup’s Lydia Saad writes: ” Obama’s job approval rating has averaged 44 percent in Gallup Daily tracking the start of January. That is below the approval rating of seven out of eight previous incumbents at a comparable point in their presidencies.”

CNN/ORC poll asked voters who they saw as best able to “get the economy moving.” Just 40 percent chose Obama, while 53 percent picked Romney.

I guess the Klown Kar is looking better than the ONE is these days.

7.  Pelosi says Democrats aim to win 35 House seats in 2012 elections

Vowing that Democrats will win back the House this year, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said the party is gunning to pick up 35 seats.

Democrats would need to steal 25 seats from Republicans in November to take control of the lower chamber after two years in the minority, but Pelosi said party leaders are eyeing a 10-seat cushion. Expected gains in a handful of key states — including California, Illinois, Texas, New York and Florida — make that goal attainable, Pelosi argued….

Looking back in history we have this.

8.   Pelosi to Boehner: You're Not Taking My Gavel

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) said last Friday that she fully expects to hold on to her gavel even as Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) finishes every campaign-related speech by predicting he will be the next Speaker.

"Of course that's what he says," said Pelosi, in an exclusive interview with the Huffington Post. "Of course he does. But we are very confident we will [remain in power] because we don't take anything for granted. We run every race one race at a time, and I make it really clear to my colleagues that my responsibility is to reelect our incumbents, to win our Democratic open seats and then to go after some of their seats."

In a quick detour into the world of electoral politics, Pelosi predicted with gusto that Democrats will retain control of the House even during the likely tumultuous midterm elections. Part of the reason, she said, is that the slate of House Democrats in close races has already "fought the fight" with respect to health care reform, and has the time and confidence to win over their constituents before the election. The main factor, however, is that the GOP has yet to present itself as a threat…

I’m reminded of the old joke, “how can you tell when a politician is lying?  Their lips are moving.” 

9.  Science vs Climate Science

…So too the Large Hadron Collider was turned on, beams of protons collided with each other and the world did not end.

What is more we were led to the putative discovery of the Higgs. The physicists now making preliminary claims are very cautious. They quote the significance of their discovery at two and a half standard deviations above background. That is a chance of 1 in 100 of the discovery being a random fluctuation of the background. This is making some assumptions about the probability distribution. So they are properly cautious as people have been misled before, claiming results that were not confirmed by more accurate work.

This story makes an interesting contrast to the claims of impending doom from climate change.

There is, as for the Large Hadron Collider, the doomsday predictions of the end of the planet as we know it. But scientists started the Collider and we are all still here. With climate change, fossil fuels are blamed for the increasing temperatures that will ultimately damage the planet. Yet while we are using more fossil fuels the temperature does not appear to be rising as projected. We have survived so far.

Turning to the discovery of the Higgs, the estimated certainty for the discovery is 99%. This level of probability would qualify for “virtually certain” for the IPCC yet this is judged not to be sufficient proof for physicists.

Look at the claim that the use of fossil fuels explains the earth’s temperature rise since industrialization. The certainty is “estimated” (and this estimate includes expert opinions) to be 90% and styled “very likely” by the IPCC. Governments are taking action to protect the environment based on this level of certainty, urged on by climate scientists. But the same governments will not accept this level of certainty for the introduction of new drugs.

So we have two putative world ending actions. One has not occurred and may have enabled a remarkable discovery while the jury is still out on the other. But the contrast in the actions of the physicists compared to the climate scientists is remarkable.

The claims of climate scientists will take them into the realm of some astrophysicists who are judged “often wrong but never in doubt”.

Climate Science is not real science.  It is political science at least as it applies to AGW.

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