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Thursday, October 28, 2010


Are We Really The Enemy, Mark?

Loyal readers know that I have been frequenting a far left blog site, The Reality Based Community, hosted by a college classmate, the sometimes insufferable but well known political scientist professor Mark Kleiman. Lately, Mark, who is beside himself as he reviews the opinion polls that show his beloved Dems about to head off a cliff next week, has been hysterical about an incident that occurred recently in Kentucky, when a MoveOn.org activist approached Tea Party candidate Ron Paul in what was perceived by Paul supporters to be a possibly menacing way. The Paul operatives forcibly separated the female activist from the candidate and shoved her to the ground, in the process stepping on her head and / or shoulder. The claim is that she suffered a concussion, though on the tape showing her interviewed after the incident, she seems clear eyed, speaking calmly and clearly, and unbruised, complaining only of a "slight headache." Be that as it may, the whole incident was regrettable, both the instigation by the activist and the overreaction by the Paul people.

However, none of this rises to a level I would call violent, or prosecutable, but to Kleiman and his followers, the Paul people were storm troopers. Kleiman refers to Republicans, conservatives, tea partiers, even libertarians as "the enemies." Funny, but we on the right don't think about libs that way. Misguided, yes, occasionally threatening to our constitutional republic's way of life, but not enemies. That term is reserved for the people who would do us harm, Al Queda, the Iranian Mullahs, North Korean dictators, and Latin American communists.

I think the mindset of the baby boomer left, formed back in their college days, is one of self hate. They really think their country has always behaved badly, do not believe in American exceptionalism, do not believe that even where America is less than perfect, we all want to do the right thing. We may disagree about what that is, and how to achieve the solutions, but in our view, it's not out of a desire to conquer the world or take what's not ours. Of course there are thieves and bad guys here, and they infest every political party and persuasion, just as they do everywhere. But we make a special effort to expel them, in my opinion.

Where we have extreme blots on our record, like slavery we ultimately realized the magnitude of that tragedy and made the extreme and noble sacrifices to remove the taint. More Americans died in the Civil War than in any other.

The liberals of the previous generation, our parents, were driven by a completely different mindset. They bought into the mythology of FDR and the depression, which was really only ended by World War II. Their liberal beliefs were shored up by a period of long prosperity under Democratic administrations that enabled LBJ's Great Society programs, which they believed would really help the country's underclass. They just never got that when you give a man a fish, you make him dependent. Better to teach him how to fish, give him a rod and reel but tell him from now on, he has to catch his own damn fish or starve. You would think that Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich got that point across, but baby boomer lefties can't learn anything from the enemy. Besides, a dependent underclass is their source of political power.

So you can't convince boomer leftists, but you can have fun with them, and I do by commenting on Mark's blog. It's so easy to get under his skin. For a more eloquent explanation of their mindset, and how Obama fits in, read today's brilliant WSJ op ed by Stanford Fellow Shelby Steele, "A Referendum on the Redeemer."


Speaking of the referendum, the Dems had their little rush and their friends in the media gave them lots of opportunity to exult on the Sunday morning "news" shows, but the reality is that most of their candidates had peaked the week before, and the latest polls do nothing to make me believe that the GOP will come up short Tuesday night. Charlie Cook says the GOP will net 39-60 seats in the House, and I don't discount the possibility of achieving the high end of that range. Most have written off any chance for a majority in the Senate, and I tend to agree. The consensus is for a gain of 5-7 seats by the GOP. Yet, the last few days have seen Republican improvement in senate race polls in Washington, California, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Nevada. All of these are close races within the margin of error, and where there are incumbents, the usual phenomenon of undecideds breaking against them seems to be happening. So, who knows? By the way in recent years, the Rasmussen polls have been the most accurate. There are a lot of suspect polls out there where bias creeps in.

Here's your guide to what to watch for Tuesday night.

Not all of us are political junkies, so some want to know which are the early trendsetting races so they can go to bed. For that, watch Indiana, where the polls close early (6PM). It's a given that Coats picks up the senate seat, but you want to see how easily. If he is over 55%, my advice to Dem supporters is to start drinking heavily. There are 3 Indiana house races to watch. Indiana 2 is rated a toss-up though the incumbent Dem, Donnelly leads by 5 points according to the latest local poll. However, he has not reached the magic 50% in any poll, and this district elected Republicans until 2006. In Indiana 8, I don't have a poll and it's an open seat that the GOP has a good chance to take over for a gain. Their candidate is Larry Bucshon who survived a tough primary against a Tea Party candidate. In Indiana 9, incumbent Dem Baron Hill has only a 2 point lead against Todd Young. If the GOP wins two of these three seats, you can go to bed reasonably sure you will wake up to find that Boehner has replaced Pelosi as Speaker.

For those staying up later, watch Ohio 1, the Chabot - Driehaus (incumbent Dem) rematch, OH 15 where Stivers might be unseating incumbent Dem Kilroy, NY 1, an especially bitter race between Foley and Altschuler, NY 23 where Owens won in a fluky special election, Ill 14 where incumbent Dem Foster is in a toss up with Hultgren, and finally, the North Dakota at large seat where long time Dem incumbent Blue Dog Earl Pomeroy is in a toss up against Rick Berg.

In Senate races, beside the aforementioned 6 races see if Linda McMahon can come within 10 points of Blumenthal in Connecticut where returns come quickly. That will tell you a lot about turnout dynamic. Other races to watch closely, and which may keep us up late are Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. Missouri and Ohio are looking pretty good right now, so those will be confirmation of the trend if the GOP margin is solid.

As for Governors, I have interest in Ohio, where Obama has made at least a dozen campaign stops to try to save Strickland, Florida (a real toss up), Illinois and PA.

As for turnout dynamic, it was best expressed by Mark Lavin the other night talking with a caller about his need to show up at the polls in California despite being only luke warm about Carly Fiorina: "Look," said Mark, "I'd crawl over broken glass to vote against Boxer."
I promised a profit report on the Tomkins takeover. We cleared about $3,700. On Oct. 22, we bought 300 more shares of Pulte Homes (PHM) at 8.13. I hope I know what I'm doing. On the same day, we bought 100 Met Life preferred shares (MET.PR.B) at 24.95. We also sold our 2400 share position in Books A Million (BAMM), some at 6.16 and some at 6.17. We booked a profit of about $5,600 but the real story is our history with this stock which we will summarize for the next post. But this time, we did remove it from the buy/hold list since I fear Kindle technology will kill the bookstore business model, and i am not willing to endure another Blockbuster experience. On October 25, we bought 100 shares of Devon (DVN) at 65.61, a value buy. It was not all that long ago we were selling Devon shares for over a 100. Yesterday, we added a new name to the Redwave portfolio, Honeywell (HON) buying 50 shares at 46.59. I love the fact that the company is using its excess cash to overfund its pension plan. Much better than buying in stock or making unwieldy acquisitions.

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Sorry to hear that even Haverford isn't immune to the occasional production of wingnuts. Not really surprising. But I would have expected a higher standard of accuracy. If you really can't tell me from an actual leftist,I'll start to suspect you of having gone to Villanova instead. And if you really can't tell me from a political scientist, then I'm thinking Harcum.
Loved that comment, Mark. Thanks for reading and being such a good sport...redwave72. ps Regret I didn't spend more time hanging around Harcum JC.
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