Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More on Medicare

What’s New Today

Story # 1 is our signs of desperation is a story of cash in the bank.  #2 looks at Obama’s only weapon, the negative ad.  #3 tells of how the Republicans are looking to keep the Medicare issue alive.  #4 gives us a bit of history of President Obama mentioning that we should have a serious debate about Medicare.  #5 looks at the issue of normal or more specifically what’s normal.  #6 is about Voter Fraud.  #7 may be a chink in the MSM armor around Obama.  Finally #8 looks at good news about the environment. 

Today’s Thoughts

In a study of charitable giving among taxpayers making over $50,000 or more, red states give more money to charity than blue states, according to a new study on Monday. The eight states with residents who gave the highest share of their income to charity supported Sen. John McCain in 2008, while the seven states with the least generous residents went for President Barack Obama, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found in its new survey of tax data from the IRS for 2008.  Of course Democrats are more generous with your money.  

Obamacare has a 2.3% tax on medical devices starting in 2013.  It is design to help pay for the program but some doctors are concerned about the possibility of a cutback in research; in particular, the danger that companies will fail to develop joint replacements for children and tumor patients, a generally unprofitable niche.  Another feature we needed to pass the bill for so we could find out what’s in it.  

"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." -- Robert Heinlein  This is despite what the Obama administration wants you to believe.  

It turns out Democrats spent $1.5 million in ads (Akin spent $850,000) design to get Scott Akin the Republican nomination against Claire McCaskill because they thought he would be the weakest candidate.    

Lie of the Day

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Twitter:  Rep. Akin's stunning comments highlight a Republican Party—led by Romney and Ryan—whose policies on women's health are dangerously wrong.
Once again Little Debbie pushes the envelope and using one stupid individual to try to tarnish the entire Republican Party.  For this she is our lie of the day winner.

1.  Signs of Desperation—Cash in the bank

Mitt Romney extended his cash edge over President Obama in July and entered the final three-plus months of the campaign with about 50 percent more in the bank than the incumbent president.

Romney led Obama in cash on hand at the end of July $185.9 million to $123.7 million, according to numbers released by the Romney campaign and filed with the FEC by Obama’s campaign.

While both campaigns previously announced the amount they raised in July and Romney’s campaign announced its cash on hand total two weeks ago, Obama’s team did not say how much it had in the bank. Reports filed Monday, though, show Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee continued to spend more than they brought in in July and saw their cash on hand fall by about $20 million combined.


If Romney is doing a Rope-a-dope strategy, it’s almost time to see him come off the ropes and start going after Obama with a fury.  In addition to the $52.2 million advantage the Republicans have with the Party and the candidate, the top 7 Super PACs have over $161 million with the Republicans holding a $142 million to $20 million advantage (from Open Secrets).  The Democrats have a lot to be desperate about. 

2.  Obama’s only weapon:  The Negative Campaign

"You didn't build that" has become the defining line of campaign 2012, and it appears to have generated panic among the leaders of Team Obama.

Imagine the meetings in Obama/[?] Chicago campaign headquarters as the brain trust considers not only the accelerating momentum of Romney/Ryan, but also the emptying cupboard marked "Politics of Personal Destruction."

What does the exquisitely tuned mind of David Axelrod have left? Allegations of strip mining leading to deforestation? Charges of gun-running? Complicity in the making of "The Expendables 2"?
Townhall.com's Guy Benson spent last week cataloging the various wild charges that the president's underlings have thrown at Mitt Romney and the numerous and bipartisan denunciations of the various slimmings. That list, published today, will no doubt have to remain an open project as Chicago really has nothing else on which to run and plenty to run from.

More than a few Democrats down the ticket who are in increasing peril of another 2010 have to be asking themselves: Do Axelrod et al. really know what they are doing?

If you are a Democratic senator, that is a very good question. Yes, the president won a famous victory in 2008, but that was against an underfinanced and not particularly deft John McCain and Sarah Palin, amid a financial panic and with eight years of war as the context…

Obama claims he isn’t running a negative campaign.  Of course he is.

3.  Romney Campaign attempts to keep Medicare issue front and center

It's supposed to be the Democrats' signature issue, but Medicare has risen to the forefront of this year's presidential race — largely because Mitt Romney’s campaign has put it there.
On the Sunday political shows, surrogates for the GOP presidential hopeful amplified their attacks on President Obama's Medicare plans, saying the Democrats' reforms will gut the popular seniors program, leaving it up to Republicans to save it. 

That twist on the usual Washington refrain — Democrats for decades have accused Republicans of wanting to dismantle Medicare — combined with the aggressive nature of the GOP's messaging campaign all but ensure that the issue will remain in the headlines in the run up to election day.

In a sense, Republicans have taken a page from Obama's strategy of attacking the opponent's core strengths. Romney, a wealthy financial guru, has said his business success makes him best suited to fix the still-limping economy, but Obama's coordinated attacks on his tenure at Bain Capital have raised doubts about that argument. 

Republicans now are hoping to duplicate that trick with Medicare, charging full steam ahead with claims that Democrats are threatening seniors' health and Republicans are racing to the rescue... 

Ronald Reagan said “if you are playing defense, you’re losing.”  The Romney/Ryan team have put the Democrats on defense on a legitimate issue (as opposed to the democrats smear campaign).  This is a disaster for the Democrats. 

4.  Obama 2010:  I wish we could have a serious conversation about Medicare

This remarkable Video, culled from The One's appearance at the House Republican retreat in 2010, is quite illuminating.  The president calls Paul Ryan's initial reform package "serious" (it's since been updated to incorporate a bipartisan solution), he tells the truth about the drivers of our long term and unsustainable debt, and he acknowledges that Ryan's proposal "grandfathers in" those who are 55 or above (a fact that his campaign and surrogates now purposefully elide):  

In this thoughtful exchange with Ryan himself, the president calls the GOP plan "entirely legitimate."  He also asks, "at what point can we have a serious conversation?"  Contrast that Obama with today’s Obama:  

The Obama campaign released a new ad this morning warning voters that Romney and Ryan would “end Medicare as we know it.” The ad features Paul Krugman warning that Paul Ryan’s “voucher” plan would mean that “tens of millions of older Americans would not be able to afford essential care.” Obama traveling Press Secretary Jen Psaki, explained to voters this morning that Obama planned to feature Medicare attack points in a speech later today. “[H]e will lay out the choice between his plan and the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it, leaving new retirees with nothing but a voucher in place of the guaranteed benefits they rely on today,” she said. “This kind of plan forces people with Medicare to pay an extra $6400, all so Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires.”

Obama is answering his own 'seriousness' question: Not now.  Obama's new ad neglects to mention that simple math "ends Medicare as we know it" within 12 years, and that he has no plan to avoid that outcome.  This is far and away the biggest point.  The spot also enlists Left-wing columnist Paul Krugman to muddy the waters on the bipartisan Romney-Ryan framework, insinuating that it would affect "tens of millions of older Americans."  It would, in fact, not affect anyone over the age of 54.  It also fails to mention that the Romney-Ryan proposal is means-tested, so sicker and poorer future seniors will get the most help.  It's telling that Obama must distort the GOP plan in order to attack it…


At this point Democrats are flummoxed by what has happened to Medicare.  Stealing from it to pass Obamacare, the Democrats have given Romney two gifts.  First it points out a huge difference between Obamacare and Romneycare.  Second, it put the Democrats on the defensive regarding Medicare.  Back in 2009 when the Democrats were being pounded by the Tea Party, they made fun of the seniors who went to the rallies with signs “keep your hands off my Medicare” asking who did the seniors think provided Medicare.  Well, now they are reaping the rewards of ignoring those rallies.  2012 is looking more and more like 2010. 

5.  Is Normal the new Normal?

Paul Ryan was simply poetic, campaigning over the weekend with his mother, Betty Douglas, among the same senior citizens whom Democrats claim Ryan and his Medicare reform would purge unmercifully via cliff-dropping.  It was visual proof that at least some in the largely reliable senior voting block are not falling for the Obama Mediscare deception.  Oh, and Paul Ryan really, really likes his mom.  
But Ryan's charm and intelligence weren't what most struck me during his address.  What struck me was something far more fundamental -- something I haven't felt for so long that it struck me that I haven't felt this way in a very long time.  Normal.  And that normal was coming from a politician.  Can that be normal? 

For all my discontent with the Republican establishment -- my reasoned aversion to government in general -- the Romney campaign had me at RyanRyan's energy, youth, messaging, and smarts are our best hope for articulating economic truth and the limits of government to generations of dependents in a nation indebted, overtaxed, and over-ruled.  Dare I say Ryan might return us to some normal? 

Are we still allowed to evoke normal?  Not just any definition of normal, as progressives would have it, but the definition of normal.  The definition based in undeniable truth and virtue.  It might sound something like we hold these truths to be self-evident.  The common man appears to be demanding its return -- Navy SEALs, Chick-fil-A customers, taxpayers, Tea Partiers, Catholics, gun owners, the caterer at an Obama event donning a Romney campaign shirt, the "Crumb and Get It" Cookie Shop who refused Joe Biden's photo-op, and the vendor who refused an EBT card for the same indulgent desserts other customers must purchase with hard-earned cash.  The pitchforks are up.  The common man cometh.  He's seen "forward," and he wants normal back….

The left has tried to redefine normal.  It now includes illegal aliens being given green cards, gay marriage, Catholic institutions being required to provide birth control and abortifacient, and anyone not agreeing with them as being labeled a “hate group.”  This kind of bullying only works so long.  People will finally get to the point where they won’t take it anymore and will demand a return to normal.

6.  Voter Fraud a Real Issue

The 2012 elections will feature many close races, likely including the presidential contest. That makes concern about voter fraud and ballot integrity all the more meaningful, and a conference held here last weekend by the watchdog group True the Vote made clear just how high the stakes are.

“Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of voter fraud that has been documented by historians and journalists,” Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in 2008, upholding a strict Indiana voter-ID law designed to combat fraud. Justice Stevens, who personally encountered voter fraud while serving on various reform commissions in his native Chicago, spoke for a six-member majority.

 In a decision two years earlier clearing the way for an Arizona ID law, the Court had declared in a unanimous opinion that “confidence in the integrity of our electoral processes is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy. Voter fraud drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised.”

Indeed, a brand-new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that 64 percent of Americans believe voter fraud is a serious problem, with whites registering 63 percent agreement and African-Americans 64 percent. A Fox News poll taken last month found that 70 percent of Americans support requiring voters to show “state or federally issued photo identification” to prove their identity and citizenship before casting a ballot. Majorities of all demographic groups agreed on the need for photo ID, including 58 percent of non-white voters, 52 percent of liberals, and 52 percent of Democrats…

This issue comes up because everyone is saying this will be razor close election, the kind the invite voter fraud.  I don’t think it will be that close, but voter fraud is a very real problem.

7.  CBS Nora O’Donnell: Obama has to answer for the tone of his campaign

8.  Carbon Emission drop to 20 year low

Carbon emissions in the U.S. have hit a 20-year low due to a supposedly environmentally unfriendly drilling technique that has created an abundance of cheap natural gas. The free market, it seems, does it better than the EPA.

Environmentalists find themselves between shale rock and a hard place after a little noticed technical report documented how the natural gas boom caused by the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has actually helped the environment in a major way while also creating jobs and economic growth.

In the report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said that energy-related U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. EIA estimates that full-year emissions will be the lowest since at least 1995.

The untold story is that this has been achieved by the free market and private-sector technology, not government mandates…

All this despite government, not because of it.

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