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The Obama Watch

The Democrats’ Biggest Worry: Obama’s Fall From Grace With His Base

By 10.1.14

The Democrats’ biggest worry heading toward November is Obama’s fall from grace with his base. This could make things even worse for them than currently expected. Democrats’ only hope to offset Republicans’ anticipated midterm surge is their base’s high turnout. However, Obama’s deep drop with his strongest supporters seriously calls this hope into question.

Democrats know they will lose seats in November. The only question is: How many? At best, they hope to hang on to the Senate by a hair.

Losses for the party holding the presidency are nothing new. Simply, it happens because the presidential candidate, who brought in sufficient voters to win the White House two years earlier, is now off the ballot. The result: without the president’s additional supporters, his party suffers in Congress.

Four years ago, and just two years into Obama’s presidency, Democrats saw this play out spectacularly. They lost six Senate and sixty House seats — including control of the House. The reason was just as expected: a huge drop in their core constituents as a portion of the electorate.

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Politics

A Death Panel By Any Other Name?

By 10.1.14

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and heads the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been acknowledged as a prime mover and advocate for Obamacare. So his recent article in the Atlantic titled, “Why I Hope to Die at 75,” should scare the hell out of most of those still shy of that number. He is not kidding.

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A Further Perspective

‘A Workplace Violence Story’

By 10.1.14

Not so long ago the Left was mocking Oklahoma for joining the “anti-Sharia movement,” treating its worries about creeping radical Islam in America as paranoid. Liberals chortled over the silliness of the state’s measure to prevent judges from considering Sharia law in any of their decisions.

Last week those concerns looked considerably less idle. The state witnessed one actual beheading by a Muslim and another threatened one. The latter involved a Kenyan-born nursing home worker who was arrested after he reportedly told a co-worker he was planning to cut her head off, saying that he “represented ISIS and that ISIS kills Christians.”

The FBI is treating the beheading of a co-worker by Alton Nolen at a food processing plant in Moore, Oklahoma, as an act of “workplace violence.” This has met with the approval of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, for whom the story contains no connection to radical Islam. “It is a story that I read as a workplace violence story,” she said.

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The Current Crisis

Can It Happen Here?

By 10.1.14

Can it happen here? It is happening in Europe where French polls show that the National Front’s Marine Le Pen would win the election for president if elections were held tomorrow. Something like it has happened in Italy where an anarchist comedian, the happily named Beppe Grillo, garnered 25 percent of the vote last year. Most spectacularly, it almost happened in the United Kingdom last month. What am I talking about? An election in which the lowly voters overcome the professional pols and vote their minds. Now there is evidence that it can happen here.

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To Be Absolutely Frank

Ten Points About Islamic Jihad in America

By 10.1.14

Let’s see if we can all agree on a few points:

1. Whether our leaders wish to accept it or not, it is a fact that throughout America’s history, including current times, there have been and are people who do not subscribe to our way of life and wish to destroy us. Such people have been adherents to any number of noxious ideologies. In the past, they’ve been secessionists, anarchists, Bolsheviks, Nazis, black separatists, among other things.

2. Today, the most prominent and worrisome group is Islamists — more precisely, Muslim adherents to the doctrine of Sharia.

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The Public Policy

Federal Grant Spent $300K Studying How to Ride a Bike

By 9.30.14

Welcome to today’s edition of “Where are my tax dollars going?” The government’s latest creative use of tax revenue is a $300,000 study on how to ride a bike.

Oh, you thought you already knew how to ride a bike? Allow the National Science Foundation to correct you: “(Almost) everybody knows how to ride a bike, but (almost) no one knows how we ride a bike.”

Isn’t that deep?

The National Science Foundation gave a three hundred thousand dollar grant to professors at the University of California-Davis to “improve the fundamental understanding of how humans interact with bicycles.”

It seems the ultimate goal was to get more people biking and less people driving, in order to save the environment. If we just understood the complex dynamics between rider and bicycle, we’d be more likely to use bikes. The dynamics of driving a motor vehicle must be more understandable; that’s why we drive so much.

There can be no other explanation.

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Main Street U.S.A.

The Unwisdom of Solomon

By 9.30.14

Tee-hee; snicker-snicker. Look at those right-wing clodhoppers scrambling for cover. Yes, sir, Highland Park High School, in Dallas, having “reassessed” seven maligned literary classics — among them, the never-to-be-forgotten The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian  — restored them to its approved reading list, local bigots and prudes notwithstanding. (A local bigot is someone who suspects John Milton may be a greater writer than Stephen King.)

What a field day for those, um, intellectuals who specialize in ridiculing parents rude enough to question the grounding of high school students’ literary tastes in — as the Associated Press summed it up — “sex scenes and references to rape, abuse, and abortion.” Highland Park High — one of the best, most successful high schools in the country, by the way — suspended the use of seven titles protested by parents.

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A Further Perspective

The Past Cleverness of President Obama Is Finally Starting to Catch Up With Him

By 9.30.14

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

What a non-judgmental society amounts to is that common decency is optional — which means that decency is likely to become less common.

The biggest issue in this fall’s election is whether the Obama administration will end when Barack Obama leaves the White House or whether it will continue on, by appointing federal judges with lifetime appointments who share President Obama’s contempt for the Constitution. Whether such judges will be confirmed by the Senate depends on whether the Senate continues to be controlled by Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Why in the world would any sane American go to North Korea and put themselves at the mercy of a crackpot dictator?

Since Illinois enacted a law permitting more people to carry concealed firearms, more than 65,000 people got permits to do so. Rates of robbery, burglary, and motor vehicle thefts have dropped significantly, and the murder rate has fallen to a level not seen in more than half a century. If only the gun control fanatics would pay some attention to facts, a lot of lives could be saved.

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Media Matters

The Hit Job on Fox News

By 9.30.14

It was a hit job. Sixty veterans signing a much publicized “Open Letter to Fox News” — yet the signers were mysteriously never identified beyond the military branch in which they served.

No wonder. I have been through the list of sixty, and it is filled with Obama campaign workers, one ex-Obama White House aide, liberal activists, Democratic Party congressional candidates, Democratic Party state legislators, and more. The letter was sponsored by the Truman Project, a ten-year-old think tank with a focus on national security. Its board of directors includes Hunter Biden, the son of the Vice President. None of which was even whispered in the haughty “Open Letter” that was distributed to a media all too eager to go along with an attack on Fox News and two of the co-hosts on the Fox show The Five — Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld. Instead the letter was presented as a source of genuine outrage from average, non-partisan American veterans — while keeping the real identity of the signers secret.

And you wonder why Americans are cynical about politicians?

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Politics

Maybe Holder Should Run the Secret Service

By 9.29.14

In the wake of the news of Eric Holder’s resignation, many voices are weighing in on the legacy he will leave behind. Newscasters have called him the president’s most trusted ally. He is noted to be the first black attorney general. But here’s the core: Holder will be remembered as a man who completely politicized the Department of Justice.

In recent days, some have questioned the ability of the Secret Service to protect the president. However, no one has questioned Eric Holder’s ability to use the Justice Department to protect the president.

Abandoning any precept of neutrality, Holder has served not as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, but instead as the president’s top policy-enforcement officer. Holder has used the Department of Justice to impose the president’s positions and protect his reputation — from stonewalling the investigation of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal to dismissing voter intimidation by the Black Panthers.

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