Forward into the Abyss

I feel like being “light” today after all the seriousness of last week. However, even in lightness, serious points can be made. I’ve always found the best way to do this is to rely on those who make it their livelihood—the political cartoonists. As you can imagine, the election gave rise to a flurry of new cartoons. Here are some of the best that have surfaced since last Tuesday, beginning with those that use the Obama slogan as their centerpiece:

In case you have trouble reading that sign in the distance, let me help you: it says “Dead End.” But wasn’t Obama’s reelection supposed to be part of the ongoing “success” of his first term? Isn’t the world supposed to be a better place just because he is in it?

If the pain of the last four years hasn’t been sufficient to educate some people, what is it going to take? Is Obama going to continue to blame George Bush for the next four years as well? I predict, if he gets his way, we’ll be in even worse shape by 2016. Both he and his adherents need to awaken to reality and start taking responsibility for the economic, social, and foreign policy disasters we are facing:

So Obama has his chance to make good this time. But what assurance do we have that he will do his homework and fully engage?

He’s already, less than a week after his reelection, shutting down even more public land to energy drilling. How is this helping?

Yet with the media constantly on his side, will his faithful followers ever figure out that he’s an ideological radical, and incompetent to boot? Not if the media keeps doing its outstanding job of distracting the people from his follies and failures:

Will his ineptitude and radicalism catch up with him eventually? Will the American electorate awaken from its stupor? Our job is to work and pray for that enlightenment. Only by God’s grace and mercy will we survive the next four years intact as a country.

Averting a Nightmare

Tomorrow is D-Day. The decision will be made, after a marathon campaign season. I will be speaking at a local Republican Club on Wednesday evening, giving my analysis of the election results. I hope it will be a joyous analysis.

If you have been watching any of the final campaign events, you should have no trouble spotting the difference between the candidates at this juncture. Obama sounds pugnacious, angry, even a little resentful. He resorted to the word “revenge” when calling upon his followers to vote. Revenge? For what? Romney is not in power. He hasn’t done anything for which one should seek revenge. That comment showcased a petty incumbent who seems offended that anyone would even dare to knock him off his perch.

Romney, on the other hand, has been quite winsome in his speaking, exuding optimism for the future and a quiet confidence that he will be able to get the job done. His crowds, unlike Obama’s, have been huge and enthusiastic. He’s now even foraying into formerly forbidden territory, making stops in Pennsylvania. Polls show he has pulled even in states like Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa. He’s slightly ahead in Wisconsin and making it a tight race in Minnesota, of all places. It may be somewhat clichéd to talk of momentum, but it is clearly visible on the Romney side.

Obama has so much to answer for—from a terrible economy to a government takeover of healthcare that threatens religious liberty, from a futile stimulus that spread its money to his cronies in the unions and green industries to a foreign policy that is unraveling. Libya is not going away, no matter how he tries to ignore it. Even with all the help he’s received from an obedient media, the word is getting out that his sympathies for Muslim extremists led to inadequate security and death. The word is getting out that he failed to protect our diplomats. The mainstream media no longer holds a monopoly on the news:

Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, one of the slain ex-Navy seals who gave his life to save others, has spoken out frankly about how the president’s inaction is responsible for his son’s death. Does anyone remember when Cindy Sheehan tried to make life miserable for George Bush when her son was killed in action? Recall how she became a media celebrity? Not so Charles Woods.

Evangelicals, despite Romney’s Mormonism, have rallied to his side because of Obama’s war on Biblical morality, from abortion on demand to same-sex marriage to trying to force Christian organizations to violate their deeply held beliefs with an Obamacare mandate. Obama has tried hard to accuse Republicans of a war on women. Nothing could be more hypocritical:

This may be the most important presidential election in American history because we’ve never before had a president so eager to transform America into a socialist utopia. If he succeeds in holding on to his office, the next four years will be nightmarish for those of us who want righteousness to prevail. The nightmare needs to be averted. I believe it can be. I pray it can be.

The Libya Coverup

The more we find out about the September 11 attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the worse it looks for President Obama. Some are referring to it as Benghazigate, as if this is another Watergate moment. Keep in mind, though, that no one was killed in Watergate—the burglars never even succeeded in stealing any files from the Democrat headquarters. One thing is constant, however, as we compare the two: the coverup is alarming.

Reports indicate the president was watching the attack unfold in real time. We’re also told that those on the ground in Benghazi begged for help at least three times, and were denied each time. Where does the buck stop? Who is the one who has the authority to give the go-ahead for the requested aid? Why didn’t he follow through and help those whose lives were in jeopardy?

Now we’re told the counterterrorism group never was convened during the crisis. What was the president relying on for the security of our diplomatic personnel?

Four Americans were murdered. You would think that would be a major story, wouldn’t you? But the media and the president’s apologists [but I repeat myself] are downplaying it.

Are some of our media outlets asleep at the switch?

Or is more nefarious than that?

Only one news organization, Fox, has given this event the serious treatment it deserves, but without any help from other news sources and with the reelection endangered if anyone is allowed to investigate thoroughly, it has been tough going to get all the information. President Obama says there is a rigorous government investigation ongoing right now—which will, of course, not be concluded until after the election. This is not the fog of war; this is a different fog:

There are a multitude of reasons why Barack Obama should be denied a second term For those who are interested, I had a week-long series I entitled “The Case Against Barack Obama” that ran in this blog from September 17-21—you can check it out by clicking on those dates on the calendar to the right. Any one of those many reasons are enough to disqualify him from returning to the Oval Office, yet this latest episode in Libya is sufficient all by itself. May this reign of error come to an end next week.

Benghazi: The Facts as We Now Know Them

Most people, I’m sure, had never heard of Benghazi, Libya, until last month. But on September 11, 2012—the date of which was not coincidental—it became the latest scene of Islamic terrorism against the United States. Nearly seven weeks later, we are still discovering the details of what occurred, and with every new detail, the Obama administration’s response to it looks increasingly worse.

What do we now know? I’ll try to summarize.

  • The consulate came under attack shortly after 9:30 p.m.
  • There was no demonstration beforehand that got out of control; rather, this was a well-planned act of terrorism
  • No internet trailer for a video was the spark; it was designed to occur on the anniversary of 9/11/01 to show the ongoing hatred the Islamic radicals have for America
  • There were Al Qaeda elements involved with it; they probably were the masterminds
  • The White House, and President Obama personally, were monitoring what occurred via drone pictures, so they had real-time information
  • Not only did they have the drone to help see what was happening, but there were reports coming in from the ground at the scene of the attack
  • Three times personnel requested aid, knowing they were in a precarious situation
  • Three times that aid was denied even though it could have been sent in a timely manner since this attack continued for seven hours
  • As a result of the lack of aid, four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, were killed
  • Two of those who later died first defied the direct order to “stand down,” and staged a heroic rescue of consulate personnel, taking them from the consulate to the annex a mile away, saving the lives of those personnel

Incredibly, the American government watched while these people risked their lives and did absolutely nothing to help them. We were then treated to at least two weeks of misinformation about the entire episode, with White House spokesperson Jay Carney, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Obama himself continuing to claim that this was in response to that video trailer. They knew for a fact the video was not the real cause for this attack. In the real world, we call that lying.

Even as late as September 25th, during his speech at the UN, Obama referred to the video six times while studiously avoiding calling it an act of terror. As the truth has leaked out, the administration has slowly, and painfully, backtracked on that scenario, but it has been a reluctant backtrack.

The big question has been “Why was the administration so adamant that this was not a pre-planned attack?” The best answer has to do with the campaign for reelection. The Obama team, knowing it has a losing hand on the economy, desperately needed a “win” in the foreign policy field. Their convention trumpeted the killing Osama bin Laden and the “fact” that Al Qaeda had been defeated. To admit Benghazi was a successful attack orchestrated by Al Qaeda would undermine their assertions and give them nothing positive to proclaim on the campaign trail. It would also destroy The One’s credibility even more.

Now they find themselves in an awkward situation, and they are going to have to depend more than ever on their biggest supporter to overcome this “bump in the road”: the media.

Obama can always count on the mainstream media to hide the truth from the public. The only—and I mean only—news organization that is digging up the truth on Benghazi has been Fox. All the other news outlets have given this episode only scant mention. Well, let me modify that. They were giving it good attention as long as the video was the centerpiece. Now that it appears this is a coverup of gargantuan proportions, they have shown little interest. On those few occasions when Obama allows any reporter to ask him questions, no one in the mainstream media feels any duty to press him on the Libya fiasco. He’s getting, as usual, a free pass.

In the midst of this “fog of reporting,” only the very brave few have ventured to lay the blame where it belongs. It’s always the president’s call as to when to send in the military to help. The night of this attack, President Obama was fully aware of what was transpiring, but he was the one who ultimately decided not to provide the aid that was required. He must shoulder the blame for those deaths because they could have been avoided. Yet he will never take real responsibility for his actions. Why do I know that? Because he never has for the last four years—for anything. It’s a pattern in his life. In his upside-down perspective, others are always to blame for whatever goes wrong; he is guiltless.

Obama’s very polished at manifesting faux outrage whenever anyone questions his actions [remember his well-practiced response on Libya in the second debate?], but the truth will eventually win out in this instance. Despite the media near-blackout, the word is spreading, and it can’t help but have an effect on the final vote one week from tomorrow.

Those Persistent Libya Questions

The Libya questions won’t go away, and for good reason. The timeline has gone something like this:

Shortly after our consulate was attacked with rather sophisticated weaponry, the administration’s line was that this was a spontaneous protest fueled by an obscure video trailer for a movie about Mohammed. All the blame was focused on that movie, and there was even some comment that it was a shame we couldn’t clamp down on such people because our First Amendment right of free speech got in the way:

Then that explanation began to unravel. Cameras on the scene revealed there was no spontaneous demonstration that morphed into an attack; rather, it was a full-scale, prepared act of terrorism. The administration tried to deflect attention away from the date of this act—September 11. No, they said, it was not done to commemorate September 11, 2001. And, by the way, we have taken Al Qaeda out of the picture. Bin Laden is dead; the organization has lost its teeth. At least that was the brave face put on it, as the Obama team didn’t want their candidate to appear impotent during his reelection campaign. However, that theme also began to fray at the edges when it became more obvious that Al Qaeda was indeed behind the attack, followed by the revelation that the people on the ground in Libya had repeatedly sought more security and had their request just as repeatedly denied. The intel was indicating that something was brewing, but the administration ignored the looming threat.

Hope that things would change was not enough. There was one thing that did change, though.

During presidential campaigns, we have gotten used to what the analysts have called “The October Surprise,” where one candidate comes up with something at the last moment to bolster his chances. The opposite seems to be happening this time around:

The latest installment in this tragic drama was the statement by Vice President Biden in last week’s debate when he said “we” had no knowledge of those requests for added security. The spin since then is that when he said “we,” he meant he and Obama hadn’t been informed about it. All the Obama people are now throwing the State Department—and by inference, Hillary Clinton—under the very familiar Obama bus, where others have been thrown in the last four years whenever anything threatened to expose the man at the top as ideologically radical, uninformed, or incompetent.

First, I don’t accept that definition of “we.” In context, it seemed pretty clear Biden was talking about the administration as a whole. For him to say nobody knew about the security request is ludicrous. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say the White House, per se, had not been informed. Why not? Why was the president and his national security team in the dark about this? What does it say about the nation’s leadership? What does it say about a president who has failed to attend nearly 60% of his daily intel briefings and who, on the very day the attacks were carried out and our ambassador was slain, flew to Las Vegas to meet with the Beautiful People for a fundraiser? Is this man even thinking about his day job?

Consequently, the administration has found itself in an unusual position: the press—or some of them, at least—are finally doing what the press is supposed to be doing—asking the right questions.

Since they’re not used to being held accountable for either their words or their actions, they seem more than a little befuddled as to how to respond. May I suggest a novel approach? How about telling the truth?

A Mature Electoral Decision This Time?

Yesterday was the day of shock. Top-ranking Democrats seemed to wander the nation unsure what to say or do in the wake of the Disaster in Denver. About the best the Obama campaign could do was to sponsor an ad that accused Romney of being mean. Well, what would you expect? They couldn’t exactly defend their candidate’s performance, so they dragged out the old canard of blaming the other guy. They’ve practiced it repeatedly the last four years with respect to George W. Bush, so why not use it again? Once you’re in the habit . . .

What they don’t want to admit is that they were trounced not just because of style or ability to debate, but that they had nothing substantially that they could legitimately defend when it came to the economy, and that was the primary subject of the debate. They already had a losing hand going in; the only suspense was if they could bluster and mislead cleverly enough to obscure the reality. It didn’t work.

Obama’s dismal appearance on that stage resurrected in the minds of some cartoonists the Clint Eastwood ploy at the Republican Convention:

This one had a slightly different take:

Obama was the student, Romney the instructor.

Even the media arm of the Obama campaign—otherwise known as MSNBC, NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS,the New York Times, etc.—has had a tough time trying to swallow what took place. They seem off-balance. If only they would revert to genuine journalism, but that’s a rather fanciful dream:

I actually think the media organizations, in their desire to protect the One, did him a real disservice the past four years. He has never been challenged with any regularity throughout his 2008 campaign or his presidency by a media seeking truth. They’ve coddled him, which is something he has been used to throughout his life. As a result, when faced with genuine questioning of his policies and his truthfulness, he has had no practice in thinking how to respond. When you lead a sheltered existence, it comes back to hurt you in the end.

So now we’re told the Obama team is retooling in preparation for the next debate. They’re revising their strategy. We’ll have to wait and see how that works out. Some conservatives have warned to expect the full Chicago treatment from now on. What October surprise will they attempt? Even if they can’t come up with one of those, they have the old tried and true advantage:

The real question is whether the electorate will once again be swayed by the goodies. Or will we make a mature decision instead?

The Romney Rout

Last night’s presidential debate wasn’t even close. It turned into a Romney rout. That’s not merely my judgment nor the judgment of Republican backers of the candidate, but of practically the entire political world, Right and Left, and everyone in between.

When even Bill Maher—the million-dollar-Obama donor—tweets that the president needed his teleprompter, and radical celebrity filmmaker Michael Moore moans, “This is what happens when you pick John Kerry as your debate coach,” you know Obama had an awful night. It was so bad I almost questioned whether my personal beliefs were getting in the way of evaluating the debate without an undue bias. Obama just kept endlessly repeating the same tired talking points. He was uninspiring and flat. As many commentators noted afterwards, he acted like he didn’t really want to be there.

Romney was the polar opposite. He was eager to jump in and give his perspective on taxes, the deficit, Obamacare, and how to get the economy running again. He had reason to be eager; his command of the facts was superb and his delivery was forceful without being arrogant or overbearing. Further, he, at times, channeled a bit of Ronald Reagan when he lifted the debate above the mundane economic facts and spoke of his vision for the country. Particularly satisfying to me was his reference to the founding documents—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—and his pointed reminder that there is a Tenth Amendment in that Constitution that says the federal government doesn’t run our lives, that the states and the people, respectively, are to have most of the governmental authority. One cartoonist, before the debate, predicted the essence of what took place on that stage:

Insta-Polls taken by CBS and CNN immediately following the debate showed an overwhelming victory for Romney. CBS gave him a 46-22 edge; CNN’s poll was even more amazing: a 67-25 Romney advantage. A focus group moderated by Frank Luntz on Fox News stunned Luntz. The majority of the 20-odd people in his group said the debate changed their minds, and they were now planning to vote for the Republican challenger. He said he’d never, in all his previous experience, witnessed such a turnaround.

How is this going to affect the polling going forward? Will this debate prove to be the watershed event of the campaign season? Will public opinion begin to trend toward Romney? That all depends. There are two more presidential debates; Romney has to continue what he started last night if he’s going to seal the deal. He will still have to battle a media that desperately wants Obama to be reelected. Pollsters are going to have to be more honest in their samplings and realize this is not a 2008 electorate. A lot depends on how many of each category—Democrat, Republican, independents—they include in their polling. There’s also the character and leanings of the pollsters themselves to consider; questions can be framed in such a way as to lead the electorate to the “proper” answer:

Next on the docket is the lone vice-presidential debate on Thursday, October 11. Paul Ryan has to make sure he is as well prepared as Romney was for last night’s debate. Frankly, I would be shocked if he didn’t deliver as strong a performance as Romney’s; Ryan is well prepared all the time, since he practically lives and breathes policy. He has another factor working in his favor—he gets to debate Joe Biden.

Biden rather infamously, in a speech earlier this week, decried how the middle class has been buried the last four years, apparently forgetting who has been in charge all that time. Even some Democrats refer to him as a human gaffe machine. May he live up to his reputation.

Last night proves there is still hope for a genuine change. It’s now more than a four-year-old empty slogan.