Within the annals of ‘you can’t make this stuff up’, Congressman Eric Cantor and his colleagues in the House GOP “Leadership” have decided to travel the country in an effort to educate Americans on what it means to be an American. Lawmakers who swear oaths to protect and defend our founding document only to violate its precepts time and again, lawmakers who have not served a day in uniform risking life and limb to defend the right of Congressmen to speak their minds and act like fools, lawmakers who routinely ignore the will of their constituents and spend a lifetime living off the public trough aim to tell us what it means to be an American.
I appreciate that this is a publicity tour to support the policy agenda of providing amnesty to thirty year-old “child” illegal aliens. Whether or not you agree with the underlying goal misses the point. In a land, perhaps the only land, that values individual liberty above all else, what right does any one of us have to tell another of our fellow citizens that we know better what it means to be an American? One might consider calling Congressman Cantor 202-224-3121 and asking him that very question.
Originally published at http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/eyeonfreedom/Obama-stalker-in-chief
Last week, it was revealed that the United States government is creating electronic dossiers on its citizens. This presents a stark contrast with our traditions where law enforcement and national security personnel peer solely into the lives of individuals intent on doing us harm, not the population writ large. Rather than doing the investigative legwork necessary to convince a neutral third party that such snooping is warranted and reasonable, the government argues that it is perfectly legitimate to create such dossiers and obtain warrants to read them only after it has discovered information that it considers interesting. Of course, given that the government holds the keys to the proverbial file cabinet, it doesn’t really matter whether some third party agrees that the government ought to be able to read the contents of the files contained therein. Further, how would anyone outside the government really know whether their file has been read? Therein lies the crux of the problem.
On Friday, President Obama proclaimed that if we do not trust the executive branch (aka President Obama) and we do not trust Congress (after he finished telling us how awful they are) and we do not trust the courts (that informed me I am responsible for paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control though in her case I will pay happily) “we are going to have a serious problem.” Well heck yes Mr President, we do have a serious problem!
We have learned that the NSA is collecting Americans’ phone records, emails, audio and video chats, transferred files and credit card records. If news reports are accurate, the data is so refined that the NSA is even capturing keystrokes as they are typed. This is in addition to an administration that is capturing Americans’ health records and will begin to capture information concerning Americans’ driving habits beginning next year. If liberals had their way, the administration would begin capturing information about gun ownership as well. This data is in addition to the copious financial records collected by the IRS. We are told the NSA data snooping program has helped stop terrorist attacks. Yet, with all this information, it took an astute street vendor to prevent a bomb from exploding in Times Square. Two terrorists who managed to kill and injure scores in Boston, hid out for one week within one mile of the explosions only to be discovered by a guy who left his house for a smoke!
Consequently, many are concerned about the amount of information the federal government is accumulating about the behavior of law abiding American citizens and the potential for abuse. We are witnessing this abuse unfold with the IRS targeting of President Obama’s political adversaries. There are reports that the administration may have targeted CIA Director General David Petraeus, a critic of the administration’s policy in Libya. NSA employees may have eavesdropped on individuals with whom they had personal grudges. During Congressional testimony, Attorney General Eric Holder refused to answer in an open hearing whether the NSA targeted members of Congress as part of their surveillance program. It makes one wonder whether there is a reason Speaker Boehner has been rather muted in his criticism of the Obama administration of late.
President Obama suggested recently that “you can’t have 100% security and 100% privacy.” Perhaps that is true. On the other hand, in his dissent of a recent Supreme Court case that upheld Maryland’s collection and storage of prisoner DNA unrelated to solving the particular crime for which the prisoner was charged, Justice Antonin Scalia noted
“Make no mistake about it: because of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason. This will solve some extra crimes, to be sure. But so would taking your DNA whenever you fly on an airplane … (or) taking your children’s DNA when they start public school.”
Justice Scalia may have been summoning his inner Benjamin Franklin
”Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.”
Several months ago, I published a column on this blog about the Orwellian nature of the Obama administration. The Obama Presidency – George Orwell’s 1984 Redux. Allowing the federal government to maintain a database of our DNA, blow a gush of air beneath our skirts when we board an airplane and know all manner of our personal private information may help the government predict future crime. Then again as the Times Square attempted bombing and the Boston Marathon bombings demonstrated, it may not. What it will do is allow the government to increase its control over our lives.
At Ohio State University, President Obama suggested that some will “warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.” I agree. Justice Scalia concluded
“It may be wise, as the court obviously believes, to make the Leviathan all-seeing, so that he may protect us all the better. But the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would not have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection.”
Count me among those men!
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) June 10, 2013
Karl Rove published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he claimed that Republicans lost the 2012 Presidential election, in part, because Democrats maintain a significant data advantage over Republicans. While this may be true, Rove’s contention is that with its own “army of computer engineers, mathematicians and social scientists” Republicans will be able to win elections they would have lost otherwise. As a practicing mathematician, I can tell you that Rove has no idea what he is talking about.
Rove’s contention is the following: By hiring an “army” of mathematicians and data analysts as Obama did in 2012, the RNC or the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee can sift through voter files in order to rank and track likely voters. This is what marketers attempt to do when they sell soap. Unfortunately, politicians are not soap and no ad in Field and Stream of Mitt Romney and his lovely wife wrapped in white bath towels hopping out of the shower holding bars of Dove will make voters more likely to vote. The reason is simple. Voters HATE politicians. We hate them. We do not trust them. When people knock on our door or call us on the phone asking for our vote, we lie just to get rid of you. It is not accidental that 5 out of 6 Americans think Congress is doing a lousy job. So what would a mathematician tell Karl Rove if he asked for my advice about how to improve upon his 1.3% success rate in the 2012 elections? I would tell Karl to do some principal component analysis.
What is that? In short, it is a statistical tool to identify the most significant drivers of a physical process, in this case an election result. In other words, all other things being equal what is most important to voters to ensure that enough of them get out the door to vote for a candidate. I will save Karl the time and expense of hiring an “army” of mathematicians and answer the question for him. When voters are dissatisfied, if the opposition presents a stark contrast with the status quo and is believable, they win. That is how Obama won in 2008 and why Romney lost in 2012. When there is more than one election on the ballot, results are often driven by the result at the top of the ticket. It is just that simple. You do not have to be a mathematician to appreciate this fact. Rove does and is using his op-ed to deflect criticism.
A few facts. Obama lost 5% of his 2008 vote in 2012 yet still managed to win. This was, in part, because many voters were uncertain that the philosophical father of Obamacare, someone who spent the latter part of his campaign praising government run health insurance, would provide a significant enough contrast to Obama.
By campaigning as the 41st vote against the Obama agenda, Scott Brown increased turnout in Republican leaning counties by 77% to become the first Republican to represent Massachusetts in the United States Senate since Harry Truman was President. Two years later after embracing parts of the Obama agenda, Brown lost handedly to a more authentic liberal.
Karl Rove contends that “personal messaging” will help Republicans sway potential voters. Rove believes that was a source of Obama’s success. How many “independents” did “Republican” Linda McMahon’s door hangers sway when they asked voters to elect her to overturn the President’s health care law while simultaneously asking voters to re-elect the President? Apparently not many as McMahan lost in 2012 by the same 12 point margin that she lost by in 2010. Voters recognized a pander and we’re not swayed.
For all his years in politics, it is apparent that Karl Rove has never spent election day in an urban inner city neighborhood. Obama won re-election because he out-hustled Romney in urban neighborhoods where the vote favors Democrats. This was old-fashioned Democrat machine politics pure and simple. Republicans would do well to copy the Democrat model for election day grassroots organizing and focus efforts there. They should have local poll watchers maintain their own voter lists and deploy an “army” of volunteer election lawyers and poll watchers as the Democrats do.
Rove concludes “erasing the GOP’s data deficit is no substitute for effective messages and strong candidates.” I agree. While Rove wants to focus his efforts on helping Republicans “deliver those messages better,” I believe that our efforts would be better spent on delivering a more effective believable message that contrasts with the Democrats. In a country where conservatives outnumber liberals in 47 out of 50 states, you would think politicians would pander to conservatives to try and win elections. Clearly, there is a disconnect. You do not need to be a mathematician to appreciate that a believable message is the meat that gets your supporters to the polls. Everything else is gravy.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) March 21, 2013
Lessons For Republican Politicians and Political Operatives
Like the emperor in the Hans Christian Andersen fable, our modern day emperor parades before his subjects shrouded in a cloak of fantasy. He tells us the economy is “built to last” and yet it does not grow. He tells us HE “created six million new jobs” when the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms hardly any have been created and nearly 10 million of his subjects have left the workforce.
The emperor sows the seeds of resentment by proclaiming that he wants to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” and forgets to tell everyone earning a paycheck that their payroll taxes will rise. He does this, in part, to offset tax breaks for favored “millionaires and billionaires” and sweeps tax increases on health insurance, medical devices, income, investment, retirement and death under the rug.
The emperor promised that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period.” Apparently, the emperor forgot to tell Universal Orlando, one of many businesses cancelling health insurance coverage for part-time workers or converting full-time staff to part-time staff to avoid the requirement of providing health insurance coverage. The emperor forgot to tell his subjects that many will be forced to ‘trade up’ to more expensive health insurance plans that include many “free” preventative services often omitted from the less expensive catastrophic health insurance plans they are currently enrolled in.
The emperor tells his subjects that “we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings” when he knows that the inclusion of his 2009 “temporary stimulus” in the federal budget baseline is largely the reason the country is running trillion dollar annual deficits. The emperor claims to advocate a “balanced approach” to balancing the budget, yet strains to find $44 billion in spending cuts notwithstanding that his own auditor finds $125 billion in annual waste.
The emperor seeks to distract us by foisting ‘immigration reform’ to the top of the national agenda. He promises to secure our nation’s borders ‘this time’ despite testimony that “the Department of Homeland Security no longer uses control of the actual border as a measure of how well the Border Patrol is doing its job.” In fact, the emperor just busted 2000 criminal illegal aliens out of jail in an effort to “save money.”
Yet, the subjects re-elected their emperor largely because his opposition did not push back forcefully enough and expose these myths. What happens when Republicans in Congress raise taxes in the dead of night? Or when a swing state Republican governor signs the largest tax increase in his state’s history into law? Or even worse, Congressional Republicans and Republican governors across the country agree to fund a dramatic expansion of Medicaid under the emperor’s unpopular health insurance law, and a Republican United States Senator and a self-proclaimed fiscal hawk makes a campaign contribution to a liberal Democrat who supports the emperor’s legislative agenda? Republicans dilute their opposition to the emperor’s message of higher taxes, increased regulation and an ever more expansive federal government. As a result, more voters, especially those in states without clear partisan majorities, become less inclined to support Republican candidates since they do not see them supporting clearly articulated principles.
This brings us to Dr Benjamin Carson. Dr. Carson is a world renown pediatric neurosurgeon. He is not a politician or political operative. Nonetheless, the speech that he delivered to a room full of the country’s political elite received dramatic acclaim including over 500,000 views on YouTube, approximately the same number who viewed the emperor’s recent address to Congress.
In a calm and rational tone with the emperor seated two chairs to his right, Dr. Carson spoke of the dangers of moral relativism and political correctness. While the emperor speaks of throwing good money after bad in failing public school systems, he promotes his charitable foundation which builds libraries in schools that have none. He also describes the virtues of family, hard work and personal responsibility crediting all three for his resultant success. While the emperor promotes the expansion of government to ease the burdens many face in life, Dr. Carson promotes personal responsibility teaching that overcoming such obstacles makes people stronger. While the emperor promotes the dramatic growth of the welfare state through his unpopular health insurance law, He articulates the virtues and the feasibility of free market solutions. Dr. Carson admonishes the emperor for all the debt he has accumulated and reproaches the emperor for the seeds of envy that he sows. Dr. Carson expounds on the biblical origins of the fairest system of taxation, one in which everyone pays at an equal rate.
He does not claim to have all the answers and readily admits that several of his ideas might need “tweaking.” Yet, without imposing ideological rigidity or seeking to craft solutions that protect political interest groups, Dr. Carson has lowered the mask on the carnage the emperor has wreaked over the past four years. The author of a book titled “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great” presents an optimistic and specific vision about how to restore America’s greatness. He does not seek to tear us down and divide us like the emperor, nor does he craft solutions with an eye toward being able to point fingers and ascribe blame as some political strategists do. Like a scientist and a surgeon, he seeks to solve problems and heal a nation.
Washington politicians denigrate the Tea Party movement as uncouth. Yet, it attracts millions of followers because many do not feel their voices are represented in our nation’s capital. Dr. Carson spoke to half a million of us. Imagine how many more would listen if our nation’s leaders started whistling his tune.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) March 5, 2013