Arthur Brooks nails it: what ails the GOP isn’t its policies, but in its approach to the less fortunate

Arthur Brooks writes in the Wall Street Journal an interesting piece analyzing what is really ailing the Republican Party. As you might imagine, he doesn’t put forth the issue of policies as the “number one” issue. His prescription is not to moderate Republican brand, but rather to reemphasize its attention to assisting the needy.

Conservatives are fighting a losing battle of moral arithmetic. They hand an argument with virtually 100% public support—care for the vulnerable—to progressives, and focus instead on materialistic concerns and minority moral viewpoints.

The irony is maddening. America’s poor people have been saddled with generations of disastrous progressive policy results, from welfare-induced dependency to failing schools that continue to trap millions of children.

Meanwhile, the record of free enterprise in improving the lives of the poor both here and abroad is spectacular. According to Columbia University economist Xavier Sala-i-Martin, the percentage of people in the world living on a dollar a day or less—a traditional poverty measure—has fallen by 80% since 1970. This is the greatest antipoverty achievement in world history. That achievement is not the result of philanthropy or foreign aid. It occurred because billions of souls have been able to pull themselves out of poverty thanks to global free trade, property rights, the rule of law and entrepreneurship.

The left talks a big game about helping the bottom half, but its policies are gradually ruining the economy, which will have catastrophic results once the safety net is no longer affordable. Labyrinthine regulations, punitive taxation and wage distortions destroy the ability to create private-sector jobs. Opportunities for Americans on the bottom to better their station in life are being erased.

Obama: “You can’t do things on your own…”

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

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.

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

http://freebeacon.com/debt-hypocrisy-wins-obama-rare-upside-down-pinocchio/

Obama diversity deficit in his cabinet

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

Obama supporters shocked, angry at new tax increase

You may have caught this on Drudge already, but Joseph Curl, writing in the Washington Times, has an interesting take on the recent tax increases being felt by Obama supporters.  Here are a few of the (kind of funny) quotes that he obtained: 

“I know to expect between $93 and $94 less in my paycheck on the 15th,” wrote the ironically named “RomneyLies.”

“My boyfriend has had a lot of expenses and is feeling squeezed right now, and having his paycheck shrink really didn’t help,” wrote “DemocratToTheEnd.”

“BlueIndyBlue” added: “Many of my friends didn’t realize it, either. Our payroll department didn’t do a good job of explaining the coming changes.”

“My paycheck just went down. So did my wife’s. This hurts us. But everybody says it’s a good thing, so I guess we just suck it up and get used to it. I call it a tax increase on the middle class. I wonder what they call it. Somebody on this thread called it a ‘premium.’ Nope. It’s a tax, and it just went up.”

“$86 a month is a lot. That would pay for … Groceries for a week, as someone said. More than what I pay for parking every month, after my employer’s contribution to that. A new computer after a year. A new quality pair of shoes … every month. Months of my copay for my hormones. A new thick coat (on sale or at discount place). It would pay for what I spend on my dogs every month … food, vitamins, treats.”

These reactions are in response to the social security payroll tax holiday that held the rate at 4.2% until the fiscal cliff deal mandated that it go back up to (normal) 6.2%.  These samples are anecdotal  to be sure.  The majority of citizens out there probably understand (at least they should once it is explained) that the social security tax holiday wasn’t permanent and would eventually need to snap back to the 6.2% it was before.

 

 

 

NYT: Bloomberg, LaPierre and the Vo

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/opinion/sunday/douthat-bloomberg-lapierre-and-the-void.xml

Politico: the 34 days that determined the Romney/Obama election

POLITICO’s new campaign e-book: An early look – Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin – POLITICO.com.

This likely comes as no surprise, but the way that Obama’s campaign team out-strategized the Romney team happened far earlier int he campaign process than many had assumed:

Instead of hoarding cash for a tomorrow that might never come, Obama’s advisers— [David] Axelrod, [David] Plouffe, [Jim] Messina and [Stephanie] Cutter, and another veteran Obama hand, Larry Grisolano—were now telling him to blow up the campaign’s budget. They urged the president to pump more than $100 million into a barrage of negative ads in swing states attacking Romney where it hurt most—on Bain, his tax policy, and his disastrous opposition to the auto bailout that saved tens of thousands of jobs in Ohio alone.

“You could always get more money,” Axe recalled. “Time? Once that was gone, it was gone.”