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Sunday, January 03, 2010

 

New Year, New Decade, SOS

It's a New Year, a new decade, but it's the same old "shirt" from the Dems. Don't worry that two-thirds of the electorate oppose Obama care, they will like it once it passes and they see how it works. Umpteen Presidents have tried to pass health care, what an achievement that Obama is getting it done. And on and on go the spinmeisters and their cheerleaders on the Sunday AM news shows (led this morning by "faux historian" Doris Kearns Goodwin).

What the Dems don't seem to get, but what they will learn the hard way in November 2010, is that this time, the devil is not in the details, it is in the concept. What Americans don't like about the bill is less the spending and punitive provisions of the bill, only a few of which they understand so far, but the overall concept of delivering another 15% of GNP to public sector regulation and control. So whatever tweaks come out of the conference committee "negotiations" will be irrelevant to public opposition to the bill. They will only impact whether certain blue dogs are kept in line.

Statistics are always interesting and the poll numbers against the bill are really just a starting point. Obviously, these are not uniform around the nation. The eastern blue states tend to be more favorably disposed to the bill, while western and southern states tend to be more hostile. Guess where most of the blue dogs come from. So the typical blue dog Dem, probably a narrow winner in his or her last election, and certainly helped by Obama coattails in 2008, faces a 2010 electorate more than 60% opposed to the bill, where conservatives are more energized and liberals less so, causing the turnout group to be remarkably different from the one that occurred in 2008. This means many should expect to go down. In fact, Ben Nelson, the poster child for endangered blue dogs, is looking at something like a 2-1defeat by his likely opponent if the election were held today.

This adds up to a bleak outlook for Dems and for the rest of the Obama Administration's program. Unless there is a drastic change in the country's mood between now and November, there is no way the Dems can maintain a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and a very real chance they can lose the majority in one or both houses. As time goes by, the GOP will find it a lot easier to simply run out the clock. The Dems advantage in fundraising (always the incumbent's advantage) and news management won't matter if they can't convince the public that the federal monster isn't simply out of control in their hands.

So let the countdown begin. And let Republicans redouble their efforts to build their own proposals, and include more specificity, for getting the country back on track. I would suggest a committee that included Newt Gingrich, Governor Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Eric Cantor, Sen. Tom Coburn, and Mitt Romney to act as a think tank to formulate these proposals.

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As our blog nears its 200th post (this is #195), you might wonder how exactly to characterize it if, in fact, you choose to spread the word and help build our readership. One thing this blog is not is one of those extremely useful investigative reporting type blogs that brings new facts to light and does the key job of discrediting political and other blowhards based on their past
(mis)statements. Since I have a full time job, I don't have the time nor resources for that kind of reporting and make no apologies - we're just not up to it. This is commentary, and second derivative commentary at that, since largely, we are energized to respond to the comments of columnists and others of the self-styled intellectual elites.

It's a great thing that anyone, even a crackpot, has opportunity to vent his views in our society. Besides providing an outlet for blowing off steam, it is what separates an open and free society from a closed, repressive one. Internet blogs are simply the 21st century version of Thomas Paine's pamphlets, and we are seeing their impact even in repressive societies like Iran's, where brave posters risk their life and liberty to protest against their government.

There is much that is great in the traditional press, and as a member of the element of the population that is on the "back nine," I am a daily reader of WSJ and the very liberal Newsday, a reader of the bi-monthly Forbes magazine, etc. However, one of the things that is not so great is when elements of the traditional press take bloggers and other politically incorrect sources (a la Fox news) to task, while purporting to an objectivity that in fact, they do not subscribe to. Watching the network news shows, reading The new York Times, and even Associated Press news dispatches, one is subjected to the worst kind of slant, that is the subtle characterizations that are so offensive to us conservatives that others seem not to be aware of. In many cases, I doubt the writers are even aware of how often they give their biases away. I believe that my old friend Dave Espo of the AP actually believes he has tried mightily to present the Obama Care issue in an objective light, when, in fact, his reports have been anything but. His example is all too typical.

So, for better or worse, redwavemusings is likely to continue for as long as I can produce it. It's too important for all of us to speak up about what we see and what we believe.

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I have avoided much of any discussion of the Tiger Woods fiasco, not having any facts to add and not being all that surprised about what has occurred. Being in the spotlight is a hard thing for any public figure - politician, sports figure, entertainer, union leader, etc. One has to be comfortable with the fact that there is no more real privacy - you are "on," 24 by 7. I don't think I could live like that. There are some people so driven to succeed that they can do this, especially if their private support system is totally satisfactory. We know that for our parent's generation, this was more often the case than it seems to be for baby boomers and younger generations.

I think the reason for this is that somehow, later generations have come to believe that one of their entitlements is ongoing, totally satisfying relationships, indefinitely. Our parents had less ambitious expectations, understanding through experience and watching their own parents that there would be ups, downs, and that life's curve balls meant enduring despite periods of struggle or unhappiness. This is clearly a more realistic picture. Unfortunately, the baby boomers set a poor example in many cases for the current generation. Unwilling to tolerate unexpected dissatisfaction, the broken home became too common, and there became almost unlimited tolerance for man's susceptibility to temptation.

Today's youth seems unable to get through even short periods of unhappiness. Of course, Tiger's transgressions occurred over a longer period of time, not unlike the Spitzer like arrogance we have seen over and over in the political realm. One lesson for the public is not to be fooled by the squeaky clean, carefully cultivated image of those not yet outed. This is true whether the subject is sex, performing enhancing drugs, or addictions. I am not advocating a cynical view about all public personalities, only that I would tend to reserve judgment about those I don't know personally (and that is just about all of them).

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On December 28, we bought 100 shares of NVE Corp. (NVEC), a zero buy at 39.62.
On Dec. 29, we bought 100 shares of Wells Fargo Preferred (WPK) at 22.21, for the IRA. We closed out the year by buying 300 shares of Presidential Life (PLFE) at
9.27, even though the Company is in the midst of a wasteful proxy fight with its former, long-time CEO. We are still trying to work out what tweaks to make to our formula (and they may be more than tweaks) once Obama Care passes, which I now put at a 90% chance given the Dems insatiable desire for self destruction.

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