Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic mistakes

What’s new Today

Story #1 has a warning for Democrats from James Carville.  #2 looks at the actions by the Obama campaign and their actions indicate they know they are in trouble.  #3 looks at what happened yesterday and from the Democrats point of view it wasn’t a good day.  #4 relates Obama’s economy with Kim Kardashian’s wedding.  #5 has the latest on Elizabeth Warren’s troubles and it isn’t limited to her heritage.  #6 tells you the difference between Spain and the USA or the difference between learned helplessness and earned success.  Finally in #7 is an update about the primary in the Wisconsin governor recall. 

Today’s thoughts

How unpopular is Barack Obama in West Virginia?  In the primary yesterday Obama got 59% of the democratic primary votes and Keith Judd and federal inmate in Texas got 41%.  He won 10 counties and qualifies to have a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. 

The Wisconsin Democratic Primary had less than 627,000 voters (split among four candidates).  This was less than the 665,000 who voted for Scott Walker in the uncontested Republican Primary and far less than the 900.000 who signed the recall petition. 

It appears the Democrats can be for states’ rights upon occasion.  Nancy Pelosi claimed medical marijuana is both a health issue and a states’ right issue.

“They [Republicans] don’t care what anybody says except for themselves and their corporate masters, like the Koch brothers.”  Howard Dean demonstrating what Jonah Goldberg’s Tyranny of Clichés is all about. 

1.   Carville:  WTFU

A long time ago a great three-time governor of Louisiana, Earl Long, said about Jimmie Davis, the two-time not very good governor of Louisiana, "You couldn't wake up Jimmie Davis with an earthquake."

As I go around the country and see various Democrats and talk to them on the phone, honestly I'm beginning to think that we have become the party of Jimmie Davis.

My message is simple: WTFU. Translated -- wake the you-know-what up, there is an earthquake.

You think that Democrats around the country are going to win -- as I hear time and time again from people on the street.

Democratic fundraisers, activists, supporters, and even politicians alike have somehow collectively lapsed into the sentiment that the president is going to be reelected and that we have a good shot to take the House back while holding the Senate.

I ask: What are you smoking? What are you drinking? What are you snorting or just what in the hell are you thinking?

Look around the world -- do you see any governments or incumbents winning any elections out there? Did it happen in small elections in Germany or Britain, big elections in France and Greece or how about huge elections in the United States in 2008 and 2010? Please folks -- wake up!

The polling? Not that encouraging. The latest Democracy Corps poll was 47-47. The Real Clear Politics average of polls has the president up a whopping three-tenths of a percentage point. And I am hearing the garbage that Democratic donors are telling Democratic fundraisers ..."Obama has it in the bag."

Newsflash: Nothing is in the bag. Nothing can be taken for granted. Everybody from the precinct door-knocker, to the Chicago high command, to the White House, to the halls of Congress, to the Senate and House committees, to congressional leadership, here is a simple message: If we don't get on the offense, reconnect with the American people, talk about how the middle class is in a struggle for its very existence, hold the Republicans accountable and fight like the dickens, we are going to lose….

I agree with Carville’s observation about incumbents.  Obama is in big trouble and the Democrats don’t even know it.  Romney wins by at least as much as Obama did in 2008. 

2.   Obama the Underdog

Actions speak louder than spin, and the moves of Obama’s campaign officials this past week indicate they are awfully worried about their prospects. The most recent telltale sign is that they went up with an early, expensive $25 million ad buy on Monday in nine swing states, attempting to reintroduce the president in the best possible way. This was no rinky-dink purchase; it cost nearly one-quarter of the Obama campaign’s war chest of $104 million at the beginning of April. Going up with such a significant buy so early is the equivalent of abandoning the running game in football when your team is down by a couple of touchdowns.

The ad itself is in search of a cohesive message. The first part underscores how severe the recession was, as a preemptive defense for why the economy hasn’t turned around faster. The second half argues that America is “coming back,” thanks to job growth over the past year. It’s that part that will prove to be a tough sell. Indeed, it was top Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg who advised the campaign in February that this is the type of message -- saying things are getting better when voters don’t agree -- that polls miserably “and produces disastrous results.”

But Obama’s campaign officials can’t utilize the time-tested “are you better than you were four years ago” message because it doesn’t ring true, so they have to argue things are getting a little better and the administration needs more time. It shows how limited the Obama playbook is this time around—mobilize the base, lambaste the opposition, and hope enough independents will hold their nose and vote for you. It’s hard to believe that Obama’s campaign is confident of victory, as Time’s Mark Halperin reported on Monday. More likely, campaign officials are putting on an awfully good game face in light of what promises to be a very challenging reelection.

Obama seems to think he’s tried hard and so he deserves another term.  It doesn’t work that way. 

3.    Democratic good news:  The Earth still circles the sun

So, some great surprises on primary nights, beyond Indiana…

In Wisconsin , Scott Walker received more votes running against no one in the Republican primary than the two major Democratic candidates got combined.

In North Carolina, “No Preference” garnered 21 percent in the Democratic Party presidential primary against Barack Obama.

In West Virginia,“A felon incarcerated in Texas took one in three votes away from President Obama in West Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday. Keith Judd, who is serving time in a federal prison in Texarkana, Texas, for extortion, took 37 percent of the vote, with 50 percent of precincts reporting. Obama captured the remaining 63 percent.”

I’m sure the night could have gone worse for Democrats, but… I’m not sure how….

The more you look at the polls the more you realize how bad it is for the Democrats.  The close polls on the Presidential race show a bias toward Democrats.  If you eliminate the bias, Obama is significantly behind. 

4.   Desperately avoiding Obamanomics

The real unemployment rate, when you include the underemployed and those who’ve simply given up looking for jobs that just aren’t there, is almost 15 percent. Since Obamanomics was unleashed - increased taxes, increased regulations, wildly increased spending and weak-dollar monetary policy - a million fewer jobs exist in America, median household income has dropped nearly 10 percent, housing prices have hit an almost 10-year low, gas prices have doubled, a record number of Americans are on food stamps, and the federal debt races toward $16 trillion (around $140,000 per taxpayer).

The only way out of this abyss is, of course, private-sector economic growth. In the aftermath of the recession of the early 1980s, for example, President Reagan’s economic strategy was exactly the opposite of Mr. Obama’s: lower taxes, lower spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), reduced regulations and strong-dollar monetary policy. That produced an average GDP growth rate of 7.1 percent. Now, three years into Obamanomics, America’s GDP growth rate has slowed to a crawl: 2.2 percent.

The administration would like you to think we’ve turned the corner, but calling our current economic status a recovery is like calling the product of a Kim Kardashian wedding a marriage. Technically, it meets the definition, but, come on, nobody’s buying it….

I thought the analogy to Kim Kardashian’s wedding was a good one.  But even in Obama’s video he uses big employment numbers which get much smaller if you look at the rate per month.   We are heading for our third summer of no recovery. 

5.  Elizabeth Warren:  The more you know, the less qualified she seems

In fact, colleagues and media for years have complained about her scholarship. It's notoriously sketchy. And so is her pedigree.

First the research. Claiming to be an "authority" on bankruptcy law, Warren has written papers and books wildly inflating the role medical bills play in personal bankruptcies.

A Northwestern University peer review of her 2005 paper on the subject, for example, ripped it apart, arguing "the methods were so poor they gave cover to those who want to dismiss the problems of the uninsured — they can say the only paper out there uses a suspect method."

ABC News suggested she was exercising a hidden agenda to promote a government-run health system. Sure enough, President Obama in 2009 seized on her findings to argue for socialized medicine: "The cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds."

In fact, as ABC pointed out, the claim cannot be supported by empirical evidence. Asked where he got the flawed data, the White House cited the 2005 study by "Professor Warren."

In 2010, as Obama was floating Warren's name as someone to run his new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, "The Atlantic" magazine reviewed her academic work and found a disturbing "pattern" of using bogus metrics to inflate the case for left-wing causes. "Deeply, deeply flawed," it said of her research. "This isn't Harvard (Law) caliber material — not even Harvard undergraduate."

It was a nice way of saying she's a hack….

It appears this woman is a fraud in just about every way you can be a fraud in the academic world. 

6.  Earned Success vs Learned Helplessness

…In the end, I concluded, what set the United States apart from Spain was the difference between earned success and learned helplessness.

Earned success means defining your future as you see fit and achieving that success on the basis of merit and hard work. It allows you to measure your life's "profit" however you want, be it in money, making beautiful music, or helping people learn English. Earned success is at the root of American exceptionalism.

The link between earned success and life satisfaction is well established by researchers. The University of Chicago's General Social Survey, for example, reveals that people who say they feel "very successful" or "completely successful" in their work lives are twice as likely to say they are very happy than people who feel "somewhat successful." It doesn't matter if they earn more or less income; the differences persist.

The opposite of earned success is "learned helplessness," a term coined by Martin Seligman, the eminent psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. It refers to what happens if rewards and punishments are not tied to merit: People simply give up and stop trying to succeed.

During experiments, Mr. Seligman observed that when people realized they were powerless to influence their circumstances, they would become depressed and had difficulty performing even ordinary tasks. In an interview in the New York Times, Mr. Seligman said: "We found that even when good things occurred that weren't earned, like nickels coming out of slot machines, it did not increase people's well-being. It produced helplessness. People gave up and became passive."

Learned helplessness was what my wife and I observed then, and still do today, in social-democratic Spain. The recession, rigid labor markets, and excessive welfare spending have pushed unemployment to 24.4%, with youth joblessness over 50%. Nearly half of adults under 35 live with their parents. Unable to earn their success, Spaniards fight to keep unearned government benefits. ..

Obama is looking for Americans to accept learned helplessness.  Everything he is doing is with that in mind.  His attacks on success, expansion of the welfare state, and crony capitalism is moving us directly toward Europe and Spain in particular. 

7.  Meanwhile in Wisconsin

….Democrats have a huge enthusiasm gap

I saw it at my SW Madison polling place where some of the old folks, now widows, who supported me in my county board campaigns a decade ago, hobbled to cast their votes for Scott Walker.

Ann of Althouse also saw it. “Our casual assessment of yard signs in Madison says anti-Walkerites have resigned themselves to defeat. They've already attained closure. It was enough to force Scott Walker into a recall election. He's been unsettled and harassed. No point saying they're actually supposed to win, then, is there?”

The Hard Left is in a dither over Barrett's refusal to show up for an announced "Unity Rally" today in Madison. Instead, they’ll meet privately at Barrett’s Milwaukee home. They’ll probably be a news media “opportunity.”  Barrett has lost the true believers, people like The Crapper, the Big Labor blogger disciplined for blogging on the taxpayers’ time on his Milwaukee County job. On his Cognitive Disobedience blog, he says this about his party’s recall nominee:

"It's like having a boyfriend who says he loves you but doesn't want to be seen with you in public."

“Remember Barrett's rhetoric about putting Madison on a diet, and picking on prisoners with sexual identity disorders? Tearing us down by picking on public employees and vulnerable populations is not ending the civil war, it's tamping one side down.”

Liberals are preparing for doomsday. Saw James Hoffa of the Teamsters (role model for American youth) on the Mr. Ed Show Monday night on MSNBC, talking about Wisconsin. He starts out "Even if we lose ..." The camera went to Comrade John Nichols who, very uncharacteristically, was momentarily at a loss for words….

Wisconsin is looking good for Scott Walker.  The entire article is worth reading. 

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