Archives for January 2013

Think President Obama is popular? Think again

According to Gallup, President Obama ranks among the lowest presidents in terms of second term popularity.  In fact, he’s tied with President George W. Bush as the lease popular overall

While the mainstream press routinely reports that President Obama is riding high and that Republicans are reeling, Gallup tells a rather different story about the popularity of our newly reelected president.  Across Gallup’s entire history of presidential job-approval polling — dating back to 1945 — every president but one has had a higher job-approval rating in the January following his reelection than Obama has.  No president has had a lower rating than Obama’s.

While 52% may be comforting in terms of trying to prevail in an election, it does not set a very robust baseline from which to launch a second term.  (Interesting note: Reagan, Nixon, and Eisenhower’s approval ratings at this stage of their respective presidencies dwarf President Obama’s.) 

Obama’s foreign policy failures debated by Marco Rubio and John Kerry

Is President Obama falling into the same trap as President Bush?

After listening to the inaugural address last week, one could not help but feel a sense of déjà vu.  Though President Obama did not enlarge his support during his re-election the way that George W. Bush did, he seems to be operating under the belief that the country has suddenly lurched to the left on all things from global warming to religion to Second Amendment rights.  In an article by Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal he provides some interesting evidence:

The president’s address made clear that his principal domestic concerns are no longer petty ones of the economy (45 words in three sentences) or deficit reduction (19 words in one sentence, followed by 155 words in six sentences saying entitlements won’t be cut).
Instead, Mr. Obama’s priorities for his second term are climate change (nine sentences and 160 words) and "our generation’s task" (10 sentences and 358 words) of equal pay for women, access to gay marriage, the repeal of laws requiring photo identification to vote, immigration reform and gun control.

Rather than the President Obama in 2004 who uttered that “[t]here is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America.  There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America—there’s the United States of America,” the second-term President Obama seems to be more partisan than ever:

…Mr. Obama’s astonishingly partisan edge, echoed by a chorus of his aides. He ungraciously slapped at his defeated Republican rival, Mitt Romney, saying Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security did not make America "a nation of takers" (playing off a phrase uttered by Mr. Romney during the campaign). Mr. Obama also suggested that Republicans were name-calling absolutists and clowns, not a loyal opposition to be treated with any respect. So his point wouldn’t be lost, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer telegraphed it in Sunday’s Washington Post, saying, "[W]e don’t have a political system or an opposition party worthy of the opportunity."

Just like after President Bush prevailed in 2004 and then proclaimed that he had some political capital that he intended to spend, President Obama seems to be following the same pattern.  Given the character of the victory last November (which was sound but underwhelming for an incumbent looking for a vote of confidence in his leadership), America remains a divided and conflicted nation.  President Obama, on the other hand, seems to think there is unity behind pushing a new liberal arc to the trajectory of the country. 

Do Gun Control Laws Control Guns?

Ex-Prosecutor: Be weary of gun control laws (though well-meaning, they have unintended consequences)

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, a former Washington DC prosecutor discusses his view on how gun control in the capitol did little (if not exacerbate) the gun violence dilemma.

As a former prosecutor in Washington, D.C., who enforced firearms and ammunition cases while a severe local gun ban was still in effect, I am skeptical of the benefits that many imagine will result from additional gun-control efforts. I dislike guns, but I believe that a nationwide firearms crackdown would place an undue burden on law enforcement and endanger civil liberties while potentially increasing crime.

The gun laws in DC were extremely strict at the time.  Starting in 1976, a DC citizen could not own a gun.  They were even prevented from keeping one in their residence.  For those that already had firearms, they would not be confiscated, however, the gun was required to be disassembled or have a lock affixed to the trigger (…oh and by the way…it was illegal to remove that trigger lock without prior approval from the DC police, even in the event of a self defense during a robbery at gunpoint.). 

Though well-intentioned, the law had far-ranging negative effects and provided little by way of preventing gun violence:

The gun ban had an unintended effect: It emboldened criminals because they knew that law-abiding District residents were unarmed and powerless to defend themselves. Violent crime increased after the law was enacted, with homicides rising to 369 in 1988, from 188 in 1976 when the ban started. By 1993, annual homicides had reached 454.

The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department also waged a war on firearms by creating a special Gun Recovery Unit in 1995. The campaign meant that officers were obliged to spend time searching otherwise law-abiding citizens. That same year, the department launched a crackdown called Operation Cease Fire to rid the District of illegal firearms. But after four months, officers had confiscated only 282 guns out of the many thousands in the city.


Civil liberties were endangered. Legislative changes empowered judges to hold gun suspects in pretrial detention without bond for up to 100 days, and efforts were made to enact curfews and seize automobiles found to contain firearms. In 1997, Police Chief Charles Ramsey disbanded the unit so that he could assign more uniformed officers to patrol the streets instead, but the police periodically tried other gun crackdowns over the next decade—with little effect.

Martin Luther King’s Conservative Legacy

It is time for conservatives to lay claim to the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. King was no stalwart Conservative, yet his core beliefs, such as the power and necessity of faith-based association and self-government based on absolute truth and moral law, are profoundly conservative. Modern liberalism rejects these ideas, while conservatives place them at the center of their philosophy. Despite decades of its appropriation by liberals, King’s message was fundamentally conservative.

Debt Hypocrisy Wins Obama Rare ‘Upside-Down Pinocchio’ | Washington Free Beacon

Washington DC’s booming economy built on the backs of the country it leads

And interesting article in the New York Times details a recent development in and around our nations capital. During the past 10 to 15 years, there is been a massive economic boom within Washington DC, and the surrounding counties in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

How Washington managed this transformation, however, is not a story that the rest of the country might want to hear, because we largely financed it. As the size of the federal budget has ballooned over the past decade, more and more of that money has remained in the District. “We get about 15 cents of every procurement dollar spent by the federal government,” says Stephen Fuller, a professor of public policy at George Mason University and an expert on the region. “There’s great dependence there.” And with dependence comes fragility. About 40 percent of the regional economy, Fuller says, relies on federal spending.

Congress may have passed legislation to avert the middle-class tax increases of the so-called “fiscal cliff,” but it has only postponed what is known as the “sequester” — $1.2 trillion in budget cuts. And that’s on top of several hundred billion dollars in cuts that the Pentagon has already agreed to. The capital’s boom days, in other words, might be over. “Rather than leading the nation, we’re going to be lagging it going forward,” Fuller says.

The author goes on to explain why this came about, pinning much of the blame on the Reagan administration (curiously). Arguably, there are the multiple years of trillion plus dollar deficits that probably had an effect as well, though that is not emphasized very much in the article. The Cato Institute , in it’s usual clear style, add the following to say in the article:

David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, told me: “Washington’s economy is based on the confiscation and transfer of wealth produced elsewhere. Out in the country they’re growing food, building cars and designing software — all these things that raise our standard of living. Here in Washington, everyone is writing memos to each other about how to take some of that money and which special interest should get it.” I asked him if he liked living in the city, which has become undeniably nicer. Boaz sputtered a bit. “I can’t walk to lunch from my office without having to avoid the construction projects!” he said. “For Washington, it does mean better restaurants and better entertainment, and the potholes get filled faster. But for the country as a whole? I don’t think it’s a good thing for America.”

Nate Silver predicts Seahawks-Patriots rematch in Super Bowl

Nate Silver from the New York Times predicts that the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots will meet in this year’s Super Bowl. Given how accurate he was in predicting the election this passed November, this is good news for Seahawks fans.

Here is a video (from ESPN) with Nate Silver explaining his thinking and methodology.

Obama diversity deficit in his cabinet

If you want to watch the full clip, click here.