A Tale of Two Clintons

February 9, 2016

imageEarly voting starts today in Tennessee and New Hampshire kicks off the voting in the Nation’s first primary, where Hillary Clinton faces the prospects of a drubbing at the hands of an avowed socialist.

With that in mind, I have a humorous story I’d like to relate about Hillary Clinton that I was once told while I was at the White House.

Hillary, as you might know, was the first FLOTUS to have an office in the West Wing as opposed to the East Wing. She demanded it.  That was the way things were for Hillary Rodham back in the difficult mid-1990’s.

While Bill would have you begging for something that he really wanted, Hillary had to pry from clenched fists. They would marvel at Bill’s ability to lie and make them like him, and gaze with sideways eyes at the calculating and robotic Hillary.  Where Bill could puff out his lower lip, gently press his thumb in the relative direction of his audience and then get away with murder, Hillary just had to murder.  Bill felt your pain.  If Hillary tried to feel your pain she might break something.  Really, the Clintons were very different people. Different political instincts. Different personalities. Different taste in partners.

For all their differences, Bill and Hillary shared one thing in common: They had mighty tempers. Even in this, though, the Clintons were very different.

Bill possessed a white hot temper that would flash without warning and it would not be uncommon to see the President wrangle a staffer by the collar during one of his perturbances. Bill would bark his angry orders while pinning his assistant to the hallway wall just outside of the Roosevelt Room of the West Wing, but like with most great bursts of violence, it was short lived. A short time later–moments, really, the President would act as though nothing had happened and everyone would go about their business.

Hillary, on the other hand, tightly clutched the reins of a bitter, smoldering anger. This sort of temper was the glacial kind. The kind that grudgingly melts away, revealing to your dismay a far more menacing lake of fury, trapped for what would seem like eons on the other side.  The lake would burst forth from its icy barrier, and engulf and destroy those who crossed it.

Needless to say, you didn’t want to end up on the wrong side of Hillary Clinton’s temperament. Which, of course, is the reason Abraham Lincoln became such a valued member of the Clinton Administration.

In the West Wing, there still sits to this day a white marble bust of Abraham Lincoln. In the 1990’s, Lincoln’s duty station was on a table just outside of Hillary’s aforementioned West Wing office. White House staffers, understandably wary of Clinton’s swings of disposition, took to placing their unwavering trust in their comrades who met with Hillary early each day, and in good ol’ Abe.

The key, you see, was to secretly position the bust of Lincoln each morning to correspond to the First Lady’s mood that day. This way, staffers could take heed of the bust the same way they might regard a railroad crossing gate. They used this crude early warning system to cope with the demands of working 60 to 80 hour weeks in the First Lady’s long pant-suited shadow.

For Hillary, interns adjusted a bust to get in her good graces. For Bill, interns also adjusted busts to get in his good graces, but in this too, the Clintons were very different.


The Coming Electoral Realignment

May 14, 2015

The rallying cry for Democrats after two consecutive electoral victories in presidential cycles has been described variously as the ‘Blue Wall’, the ‘Emerging Democratic Majority’, and as ‘Crusty Old White Male-itis’. The happy refrain for Democrats in all these memes is the same: Republicans are for the foreseeable future going to be crippled electorally by high turnout and growing numbers of minority voters. The GOP is going to keep losing elections for as long as they cling to out of touch Republican principles like the rule of law, respect for life and individual liberty, which apparently–as the conventional wisdom goes, does not appeal to Blacks or Hispanics.

Similar thinking saturated Republican groupthink in 2004 after Republicans had won the White House for the seventh time in ten elections (and Democrats had only once successfully received more than fifty percent of the vote during that time), until Barack Obama won twice. Success, sans perspective, tends to breed the misplaced expectation that it will continue unabated, and the corresponding rationalizations to reinforce those expectations in spite of facts. Just ask Yankee fans about the mid-2000’s. Or Republicans in the late 2000’s. Or Democrats… In 2016.

The fatal flaw in the permanent Democratic majority argument is hiding in plain sight, if only people looked. Barack Obama performed extremely well among Blacks and Hispanics in both 2008 and 2012, and minority voters are a fast growing segment of the population. The pollyannic plan for Democrat presidential success is going to be driven by growing minority populations and a dwindling White population makes the mistake of counting on continued Democratic growth from Hispanics and Blacks and also a static contribution from their White base (yes, Whites are still the majority of Democrat voters).

This is a really, really bad plan. First of all, Democrat election prospects in 2012 hinged on hyper-elevated turnout among Blacks and Hispanics (as well as young voters). Democrats and many pollsters make the mistake of assuming this trend will continue once the first Black president is no longer on the ballot. While it remains to be seen whether Barack Obama permanently changed the electoral landscape in 2008 and forever raised minority turnout in presidential election years, we can safely say that no such trend carried over into 2010 and 2014, when Republicans scored historic electoral victories. When Obama isn’t on the ballot or when he is campaigning for other Democrats, minority turnout returns to historical normalcy. In 2010 and 2014, this meant that Republicans won and the pre-election polls were mostly wrong. Why should we expect this pattern to change in 2016?

The working and middle classes are becoming more Republican. John Judis said, on the middle class: “In exit polling, they can roughly be identified as those who have college—but not postgraduate—degrees and those whose household incomes are between $50,000 and $100,000.” This group is now a GOP stalwart, and is growing in strength, not diminishing. The white working class, roughly defined as white, with no college degree, is gravitating toward the GOP so fast it is a small wonder it doesn’t burn up upon re-entry.

Judis goes on: “In the 1980 presidential election, the white working class made up about 65 percent of the electorate; by 1988, it was 54 percent; by the 2008 election, it was just 39 percent. Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin estimate that by 2020, it’ll be 30 percent of the electorate. On the other hand, voters with college degrees but not postgraduate degrees went from 26 percent of the electorate in 2004, to 29 percent in 2012, to 31 percent in the last election. ”

Thus, the GOP finds itself with one growing demographic and one shrinking demographic–but there are states where large white working and middle class voter blocs dominate in the Midwest and Rust Belt. Wisconsin (10 electoral votes), for instance, is 42% middle class voters, and 54% white working class. Obama lost whites in 2012 by 6%. Other states with large white working class and middle class demographics (and generally fewer minorities) include Iowa (6 electoral votes), Michigan (16), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Minnesota (10) and New Hampshire and her 4 electoral votes. That’s a total of 84 electoral votes that the GOP will be able to claim, possibly as soon as 2016.

Meanwhile, demographic trends in other states with large numbers of gentry liberals like Virginia (13 electoral votes) and Colorado (9), and those with heavy minority populations like North Carolina (15) and possibly even Georgia (16) could find themselves in the (D) column in coming years. That’s 53 electoral votes.

Consider this: When President Obama was elected in 2008, the Pew Research Center found that 44 percent of whites defined themselves more closely with Democrats, while 42 percent did so with Republicans. In 2014, that two-point deficit for Republicans has transformed into a nine-point advantage. According to Pew, 49 percent of whites now consider themselves Republicans, while just 40 percent view themselves as Democrats. That is terrible news for Democrats. With numbers like that, it might take a decade or so before they can claim states like Georgia and North Carolina.

The map is changing. The only question is when the dam will break.


Redskins’ Foes: Ironies Only A Yankee Would See

July 7, 2014
Redskins is disparaging because it focuses on skin color?  Oklahoma should be on notice--the state's name is Choctaw for "red people".

Redskins is disparaging because it focuses on skin color? Oklahoma should be on notice–the state’s name is Choctaw for “red people”.

There’s a certain sort of modern irony–a sweet, sweet irony–in the uproar among the very small minority in the media, academia, and in the public at large who find the Washington Redskins to be an offensive team nickname.  That is, it would be sweet, if the preposterous nature of the public crusade didn’t involve real attempts to ruin real people.  For several years there have been those in the sports media: Michael Silver and Bob Costas, for example; those in the political sphere like Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, and those professional offense-takers and publicity hounds, such as Ray Halbritter and Amanda Blackhorse who equate the naming of a football team the Redskins as akin to using the “N” word for a team nickname.

….

No.

Let’s pause for a moment.  If we are discussing the relative offensiveness of two words and you won’t even say one of them, you already lose.  By your own standard.

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The Apathetic Christian

July 2, 2014

When someone says they don’t follow politics or get involved in civics because they are Christians and are concerned most about the Kingdom of Heaven and therefore shouldn’t be concerned with the things of this world… I can’t help but think to myself… Do you know who won the Bachelor?

Are you glued to Royal Wedding/Baby/Bar Mitzvah coverage?

Can you recite the starting lineups of your favorite football teams or the cast of sitcoms?

What about the latest fashions, fads or hit songs?

Can we agree, then, that it is more likely that you personally just don’t care about politics? Don’t dress it up with any higher purpose than that, please. I do have questions for you, though, as a Christian who is disengaged civically but knows all of the lyrics to “Call Me, Maybe”: Which activity do you think is more likely to impact someone else’s life? Politics, or Glee?  And, just because you aren’t involved in politics yourself, do you think that precludes politics from becoming interested in you? Many Christians are finding that not to be the case, these days.  The hard way.

On the flip side, you shouldn’t be able to name your State Representative or know how many members of Congress there are, but not be able to name the Beatitudes, or to articulate the Gospel. If we claim to be Christians but our religion is informed by our preferences, and our views are conversely not informed by that faith, then we have just crafted an idol for ourselves to worship–not a real, reflective faith. Be informed in all the important areas of life. Just a thought.


Overstock.com Thinks You’re Un-American

June 29, 2014

 

Occasionally I’m reminded of the downward trajectory of the discourse in America over social issues like gay marriage. And, by occasionally, I mean several times a day. Proponents of gay “marriage” and all sorts of tolerance-toters typically speak in lofty terms about how open-minded and forward-thinking they are. However, when confronted with somebody’s viewpoint which does not fall lock-step in line with what they selectively call “tolerance”, these faux civil rights pioneers quickly devolve into name calling, shouting down opponents, and condescending or degrading those who think differently. After all, as it often is when debating the left, “the debate is over”–even though nearly 50% of Americans still oppose the redefinition of the institution of marriage.

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Overstock.com thinks you are un-American if you support marriage, according to a spokesperson.

It will only be a few short years before even the insinuation that you don’t believe that marriage is anything that any small minority of people might decide it is, or you believe that your gender is dictated by your genitalia and not your mood that day will get you fired from most any job (it has already happened to Brendan Eich at Mozilla) and run out of business by the government (cake bakers* and photographers* across the country can say Amen). Calm, reasoned argument is met with insult. Personal attacks; the new standard for a valid argument.

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Post Modern Family

May 25, 2014

A 2013 study released by New York Life of 2,000 Americans examined Americans’ financial and family values. The study asked respondents what they would be willing to exchange for a 50% pay increase. The study beamed that “very few” Americans would trade time off with their family. Despite these trying economic times, societal degradation, and moral decay, apparently Americans still value their families! America is okay after all, right?

Let’s look at the actual numbers. Of those surveyed, 43% of people would give up activities or hobbies for the 50% raise, and 35% would give up vacation time. 30% would give up sleep time every night… Fine, but 54% said they would give up evenings off from work! I don’t know too many folks spending their evenings at work who spend a lot of time with their family–and 54% is a strong majority. 45% said they would spend less time with their friends for more money–okay, but 20% said they would spend less time with their spouse (and these are just the people who admit it!).

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Courage in the new-America

February 26, 2014

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