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The Few, The Loud, The Marines

By 11.7.14

The colonists who founded the United States Marine Corps in Tun Tavern 239 years ago Monday certainly understood their demographic. The launch of the USMC in a Philadelphia bar makes sense in a way that the founding of NAMBLA in an old church does not.

Uncommon valor is indeed a common virtue in taprooms, particularly in those moments before last call. Captain Samuel Nicholas didn’t possess a computer algorithm of the like Amazon employs to tell customers who bought The Audacity of Hope that they might also enjoy Mein Kampf. But he intuitively grasped that people who liked fighting also liked drinking.

Appropriately, Marines gather around the world in barrooms, or at least banquet halls with bars in them, to celebrate owing their existence, like so many of us do, to a meeting in a barroom. I have the good fortune to attend one such event this weekend.

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The Charlie Watch

Democrats Don’t Show in Florida

By 11.7.14

The Florida governor’s race was supposed to be about turnout. It was. And Republicans turned out just enough to give incumbent Rick Scott another four years in the governor’s mansion by 1.2 percent. Scott beat Democrat Charlie Crist by 67,000 out of 5.9 million votes cast. A marginal improvement over his 61,000 vote victory in 2010.

Floridians who’ve been out of the state for more than a couple of years might be surprised to learn Crist is now a Democrat. When they left, Crist was passing himself off as a Reagan Republican. And now, after a short spell as an independent, Crist describes himself as an Obama Democrat. Tuesday completed the political trifecta for him. Crist has now lost statewide elections as a Republican (U.S. Senate,1998), as an independent (U.S. Senate, 2010), and as a Democrat (governor, 2014). My sources tell me the Greens aren’t interested in him, and the Libertarians won’t return his phone calls.

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Another Perspective

How Republicans Can Win the White House

By 11.7.14

While it sounds simplistic, in order to win in 2016, the Republican Party must define its objective. That objective is to win the White House. It is not to embrace ideological purity for the sake of itself. With its taking of the Senate, the Republican Party now has the chance to redefine itself — otherwise it may remain a foraging dinosaur lost in contemporary times.

The Republican Party needs to be a party of rigid principle: its first principle should be flexibility. The GOP has allowed itself to be viewed as the party of insular, middle-aged white men — ensconced in country clubs playing liar’s dice in plaid pants, waiting to tee off at twilight golf. Some in the party have shown a remarkable willingness to drive off the proverbial cliff with their flag fluttering, heads held high with self-esteem — all in the name of values. The GOP has inflicted much damage on itself by becoming labeled as anti-immigration, anti-women and minorities, anti-planet Earth, and anti-gays and lesbians. Many Republicans are hardly like this and are embarrassed by such an unwise, unyielding, and unsuccessful marketing message.

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Special Report

Meanwhile, Europe Is (Still) Burning

By 11.7.14

In case anyone missed it, the sick man of the global economy is getting much sicker. And it’s not just “peripheral” economies like Greece asunder in a sea of stagnation. Some of the European Union’s biggest players are in serious economic trouble. What’s especially striking, however, is so many European governments’ continued inability, and often unwillingness, to respond appropriately.

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A Further Perspective

T’was a Famous Victory

By 11.7.14

So did anything change on Tuesday? Very likely not. The ability of Congressional Republicans to enact legislation is not much changed from last Monday. Before Tuesday they held the House. Now they hold the House and the Senate. But it takes three branches of government to enact a law, and there isn’t much difference between holding one and holding two branches, if you don’t have the third.

To which I’d add two caveats. First, there’s an important psychological difference. The House Republicans caved on the debt ceiling last January because they didn’t think they had the voters at their back. They had held out in 2011, and then got shellacked in 2012. Perhaps they’ll feel differently now. That’s important because their ultimate power is that of the purse, and that requires staring down Obama, as they did in the debt negotiations of 2011.

That implies a long-ball strategy, where the Republicans try to enact the sort of things on George Will’s wish list. Otherwise they’re just whistling in the wind.

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Politics

The #WaronWomen is over—and we won

By 11.7.14

Republicans are jubilant after their electoral victories Tuesday night — but it might be that Democratic losses tell a more complete story than GOP gains.

While voters almost uniformly backed conservative candidates, they also supported ballot measures out of sync with the traditional Republican party platform. Sure, marijuana legalization — which passed in the nation’s capital and in Oregon — can be chalked up to a rise in libertarians (me included), lurking at the margins of the GOP like the outsiders we’ve been since high school. But voters also approved non-binding hikes in the minimum wage in four states and three major cities. That’s hardly a hardline conservative position. So what gives? 

The easy answer is that Americans are, on the whole, idiots, who tune into elections at the last possible moment, when they simply can’t avoid it any longer. Hence the increase in television commercials the last two weeks, as the parties compete to see who can more effectively convince voters that the other guys are more likely to murder their grandmother, child, puppy, or cable television package — whichever they might find more important.

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Another Perspective

Is Jason Aldean the Obama of Country Music?

By 11.6.14

On Tuesday night, whether he wants to face it or not, President Obama received a stunning blow from the 2014 election results. The prestigious 2014 Country Music Association (CMA) annual awards extravaganza gave a similar comeuppance to country music superstar, Jason Aldean. The message? Personal popularity doesn’t give anyone the license to flaunt either America’s Constitutional principles or the Judeo-Christian values that are the protection of our people and the foundation of our society. Everyone knows President Obama’s story; let’s look at Aldean’s.

Jason Aldean enjoys pushing the envelope in his music and his behavior, generating the same kind of fan adulation that President Obama had in the early years. Plus, just as Mr. Obama promised to “transform” America, Aldean has vowed to move country music into “uncharted territory.” But some die-hard country music fans didn’t like the new direction when he began merging rap and country in his “Dirt Road Anthem” and “1994.” Many complained that he wasn’t “country” anymore.

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A Further Perspective

Dear Newly Elected Officials: You Are Not Our Daddy

By 11.6.14

After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, comedian Chris Rock made headlines.

Emotions were running high, and he spoke in favor of President Obama’s call for more gun control:

I am just here to support the President of the United States. The President of the United States is, you know, our boss. He’s also, you know, the president and the first lady are kinda like the mom and the dad of the country and when your dad says something, you listen.

He went on to say that when you don’t listen to your dad, there are consequences. Rock’s comments — so obviously ignorant — even drew laughs from other speakers standing behind him.

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Special Report

Obamacare as Permanent Welfare

By 11.6.14

President Reagan gauged the success of a welfare program by how quickly people were able to move off government assistance and into remunerative work. Yet President Obama, the White House, and their allies are measuring the success of Obamacare by how many people can be enrolled in their new government entitlement programs.

The president celebrated the law’s “success” in getting seven million people enrolled in Medicaid and eight million (or so) people enrolled in exchange coverage, 87 percent of whom are receiving government subsidies for their insurance. And he hopes to lure another five million people onto Obamacare programs starting with the November 15 enrollment period. There is no expectation that participation in these government programs will be a temporary boost but rather that they will become a permanent fixture in people’s lives.

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Political Hay

Conservative Leaders Challenge GOP Congress

By 11.6.14

The American people spoke loud and clear: stop Obama. Period. What they delivered Tuesday night was an unmitigated defeat for liberalism. They want Obamacare repealed, the economy unchained, and amnesty opposed. Among other things.

Yet with planted news stories from GOP establishment operatives in both the Washington Post and the New York Times the idea was being spread that this overwhelming rejection of liberals was in fact a victory for the very ruling class mindset that was explicitly campaigned against by all those Republican winners.

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