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  Politics and Elections
   President Barack Obama
Monday, January 21, 2013

This is not the USA I grew up in
A look at the headlines just now on MSN.com tells a dramatic story of change from what I knew as a child.
  • Obama appeals to his progressive base
  • For first time, gay rights get inaugural shoutout
  • Poll: Most want abortion legal
  • Cops: Teen hoped to kill more
  • Worst human-trafficking states
  • 5 shot on MLK Jr. Boulevard
Taken together they form a picture of an America that is on a journey to a God-less end - and well on its way to arriving.  Some of you might see the title of this post and think, "that's a good thing!"  But to a man who remembers morning devotions offered by my third grade public school teacher - during class time, a God-less America is a heartbreaking proposition.  Yes, I do hold firm to my faith in a sovereign God and believe with certainty that His plan is playing out even here.  But I can't help but sorrow for the path my country, my fellow Americans, have chosen.

Filed under: Christian faith  Education  Homosexuality  President Obama 

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:49pm 01/21/13::
Friday, November 9, 2012
2012 turnout matches 2008, not 2004
For much of September and October, talking heads on the right repeatedly pointed to the partisan breakdown of the polls and touted the predicted outcome of the election based on "unskewing" those polls.  Even I dabbled a bit in that line of thinking by posting my version of unskewed polls using three different turnout models - 2004, 2008, and an average of the two.  All along, I will say, I did offer in my discussion of possible poll skewing that if the turnout reflected 2008 instead of something less Democratic, the polls would be correct.

I never dreamed, given the economic mess, the trillion dollar deficits, the assault of traditional American values, the government takeover of healthcare, the blatant mismanagement and lying cover up of events in Benghazi that led to four American deaths including our ambassador, and a parade of other reasons to seek a change in the Oval Office, that a turnout even remotely resembling 2008 would be possible.  But, much to my chagrin and the detriment, I believe, of America's future, the turnout was almost exactly like 2008 in terms of partisan participation.

Four years ago, Democrats made up 39% of the electorate and held a seven-point advantage over Republicans who numbered 32%.  Last Tuesday, the Democrats' share of the vote accounted for just one point less than in 2008 and Republicans failed to improve at all on their 2008 number.  Frankly, those results shock me.  Republicans who couldn't bear to vote for Mitt Romney the Moderate or Mitt Romney the Mormon are now faced with having to bear four more years of Barack Obama, the Uber-liberal.

Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election  President Obama  Mitt Romney 

posted by Scott Elliott at 3:15pm 11/09/12::
Monday, August 20, 2012
EP update for August 20 - Obama approval in positive territory, House moves toward GOP
Since Gallup and Rasmussen released numbers last week giving President Obama a 43% approval rating, Americans' perception of his job performance has steadily improved.  Today's calculations give him an aggregate 48.7-48.0 positive verdict on this critical metric.  He isn't yet to the 50% mark, but he is closer than he has been since late June.  The improvement doesn't affect the projected Electoral College outcome, however.  The President is still ahead of Mitt Romney by a 332-206 count.

In the House, we have a party switcher to report.  A Siena poll testing Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Kathleen Hochul (NY-27) and her Republican challenger, Chris Collins gives Collins a two-point lead.  While that's not a lot of separation, it is enough to tilt the race for the GOP.  This new takeover reduces the projected net Republican losses to just one seat and moves the balance of power to 241-194 in favor of the red team.

August 20 Election Projection Update
  Electoral Votes Current Previous Change
  Barack Obama 332 332 no change
  Mitt Romney 206 206 no change
  Party switchers:  none
  Popular Vote Current Previous Change
  Barack Obama 50.1 50.1 no change
  Mitt Romney 48.4 48.4 no change
  Party switchers:  none
  U.S. Senate Current Previous Change
  Republicans 50 50 no change
  Democrats 48 48 no change
  Independents 2 2 no change
  Party switchers:  none
  U.S. House Current Previous Change
  Republicans 241 240 +1
  Democrats 194 195 -1
  Party switchers:  New York CD-27
  Governors Current Previous Change
  Republicans 32 32 no change
  Democrats 17 17 no change
  Independents 1 1 no change
  Party switchers:  none
Next update will be Wednesday morning.

Filed under: New York House District 27 Race  2012 Projection Updates  President Obama  2012 House 

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:46pm 08/20/12::
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Trial run by the numbers: Obama vs. Santorum
Today's Electoral College Projection show President Obama winning the popular vote against Mitt Romney by 2.6% and 332 electoral votes to just 206 for Romney.  Due to the fact that I continue to believe Romney will be GOP nominee, those are my official numbers.  However, after Rick Santorum's sweep Tuesday, I thought it would be interesting to the run the numbers with him as the nominee.

Somewhat surprisingly, Santorum captures the same number of electoral votes as Romney, 206.  His popular vote count doesn't fair so well.  The president bests him by just over 4 points.  What does this say?  At the moment, Romney is a stronger challenge to Obama - but not by as much as you might think.  And the way poll numbers can move up and down with the greatest of ease, who knows if Santorum might have what it takes to beat Obama in November.

The bottom line remains as it was always going to be in this election.  If the GOP nominates a credible candidate, this election will be a referendum on Obama's administration, and that will be driven by the state of the economy.  Lately we're starting to learn two things in that regard.  First, the economy is starting to look like it will be moving forward between now and November - a good sign for Obama.  And second, Rick Santorum is starting to look like a credible choice for the nomination - a good sign for Santorum.

Filed under:  2012 Presidential Election  Rick Santorum  Mitt Romney  President Obama 

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:34pm 02/09/12::
Thursday, October 20, 2011
More thoughts on job approval and re-election chances
Last week, I took a look at President Obama's quest for a second term with an eye on the Electoral College.  A large portion of the analysis dealt with the affect that job approval for a sitting president has on his re-election chances.  Using history as a guide, Obama's job approval will be perhaps the most predictive indicator of his re-electability.

Coincidentally, this week, I had a conversation with a very intelligent, liberal friend of mine about this very fact.  In our discussion, he asserted that job approval will only be an overriding factor if the GOP can nominate an electable candidate to challenge the President.  He believes even a dismal economy can be overcome if Obama faces a weak enough opponent.  I countered - and rightly so, I believe - that if Obama's job approval is in the low 40's come the weekend before Election Day, it won't matter who is listed below him on the ballot.

I firmly believe this - and the track record backs me up.  Every president with an approval rating of 49% or above since 1940 has won, while the three with approval less than that have lost. Moreover, if a president's approval dipped into the 30's, his defeat was sizeable.

I am very willing to stand on this prediction:  If Obama's approval is under 45% this time next year, he will lose - and lose big - no matter whom he faces.  But here's the caviat (and I didn't mention this in my discussion with my friend).  Obama's job approval will be somewhat tied to the GOP nominee.  If Republicans nominate someone who connects with voters, Obama's shortcomings will be accentuated, and his approval will sustain downward pressure.  On the other hand, a weak candidate will have the opposite effect.  If voters are presented with an unacceptable GOP challenger, they will begin to see such things as a bad economy as more palatable, and Obama's approval will rise as a result.

In the end, the corellation between job approval and re-election will be unbroken after Election 2012.  But where that job approval ends up will be a combination of many factors, not the least of which will be who gets to be the last speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next August.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Presidential Election  President Obama 

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:51pm 10/20/11::
Monday, October 10, 2011
2012 Elections - First look at the Electoral College
Three years ago, Barak Obama breezed into the White House winning 28 states, the District of Columbia and one electoral vote in Nebraska.  That's 365 electoral votes total.  In the process, he amassed 69.46 million votes, over 7 million more votes than any presidential candidate in United States history.  His margin of victory over GOP nominee John McCain surpassed 9 million votes.  Simple math would predict a large erosion of support would have to befall President Obama for him to fail to attain a second term.  However, looking at the Electoral College map, it isn't all that hard to see a Republican challenger getting the needed 270 EVs to unseat the incumbent.

Let's start with the closest of state races from 2008.  President Obama won North Carolina (0.32%), Indiana (1.04%), Nebraska's 2nd congressional district (1.19%) and Florida (2.82%) by less than 3%.  Assuming equal distribution across the nation, a GOP-ward swing of a mere 1.5% in the popular vote would flip these states to red and narrow Obama's EV margin to 305-235.  And if his portion of the popular vote were to decline just 3% more, Ohio (4.59%), Virginia (6.29%) and Colorado (8.95%) would give their 40 electoral votes and an electoral victory to the Republican nominee.  So, in light of the numbers, it is clear that the 2012 election will be won or lost in these three states.

Conspicuously absent from this winning GOP scenario are any of the traditional battleground states of Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and New Hampshire.  In 2000, George W. Bush needed all the states mentioned previously as well as Nevada and New Hampshire to get to a scant 271-267 electoral vote majority.  Next year, the GOP candidate can lose both Nevada and New Hampshire (10 EVs total) and still reach a more comfortable majority with 275 electoral votes.  Redistricting over the last two censuses has shifted at least 14 electoral votes to redder states and made electing a Republican president structurally easier.

Compounding Obama's re-election difficulties are his dismal approval numbers.  Realistically, a sitting president with a job approval rating under 45% has very little chance of winning 4 more years in office.  These numbers could improve, but with 13 months until Election Day, the odds are long that they would improve enough to for him to win.  Nate Silver actually posted the following graphic in an article he wrote back in January concerning this very phenomenon.

From Silver's analysis, Obama's current approval of 40% maps to about a 40% chance of re-election.  Considering the structural changes due to redistricting, I'd peg his chances at 35% or so right now.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Redistricting  President Obama  2012 Presidential Election 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:25pm 10/10/11::
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Job approval portends bad news for
Obama's re-election chances
Gallup just released their latest presidential job approval poll, and the news continues to be bleak for President Obama.  More than just a pulse of the electorate, this metric carries significant re-election ramifications.  Over the last several presidential re-election bids, job approval, as measured by Gallup, has been a very close predictor of an incumbent's popular vote count.

(A presentation illustrating just how close this correlation has been used to be posted here.  It served as a cornerstone of my first Election Projection formula back in 2004.  Unfortunately, it has since been removed, so I don't have the specifics readily available.)

At 42% approval, Gallup's survey indicates Obama would almost certainly be defeated if the election were held today - regardless of who his GOP opponent might be.  That's the bad news for Democrats.  The good news, of course, is that the election is not being held today.  In fact, the president still has 456 days to get that approval rating up above 50% and into winning territory.  For us political fans - liberals and conservatives alike - it'll be fun to watch how that quest progresses over the next 15 months.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  President Obama 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:07pm 08/07/11::
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
This is what Republicans need to arm themselves with
Yesterday, I posted my reactions to the debt ceiling debate speeches by President Obama and Speaker Boehner.  In the post, I opined that Boehner's rebuttal did not contain the "sound-bite ready material" necessary to head off the President's teleprompted spin on the debt ceiling showdown in the minds of undecided voters.  That sentiment showed itself to be not without merit in a conversation on the subject that I had with colleagues today.  Both of the gentlemen are anything but liberal - or even undecided - yet they came away from the speeches expressing reluctant agreement with the President that Republicans are being too rigid in their demands.

So what are we do to?  I'll tell you what.  Someone needs to shine an intelligent light on the falsities of Obama's claims of compromise.  David Limbaugh, in a TownHall.com column this morning, does just that.  You should go read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt that exemplifies the kind of message Republicans and non-liberal media should be touting long and loud.

It was reported that on Sunday night, he unilaterally rejected a bipartisan deal presented to him by Senate and House leaders.  "Sen. (Harry) Reid took the bipartisan plan to the White House, and the president said no," an aide said.

This is quite a different picture from what President Obama has been painting for the press.  At the exact moment he said he didn't want to point fingers, he complained that he and his Democrats had been willing to compromise but that Republicans were dug into their ideological cement.

He said, "And I think one of the questions that the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is, Can they say yes to anything?"  Are you kidding me?  This is the guy who still hasn't presented his own plan and obstructs all others not conforming to his unreasonable demands.

The criticisms Obama levies against others in this debt ceiling debacle are truer of himself, it turns out.  I just hope that truth will reach the ears of the ones who will determine whether he keeps his current job come January, 2013.

Filed under:  Budget  The Republican Party  President Obama 

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:40pm 07/26/11::
Monday, July 25, 2011
Obama's plays his teleprompter trump card
President Obama delivered a 14-minute speech on the debt ceiling debate this evening from the White House.  It was Obama at his teleprompter best, and it highlighted the challenges Republicans are facing in waging the all-important debt ceiling spin war.  Using everything from cutesy lines ready-made for sound-bites - "The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn't vote for a dysfunctional government" - to a quote from Ronald Reagan himself and assuming an elevated posture above the partisan divide, the President put Republicans on the defense tonight.

While many conservatives will claim Obama's speech was clearly short on substance and long on propaganda, I don't think that will be clear to the 25-30% of America's voters whose choice for president next November has not yet been made.  The "balanced" approach Obama laid out was decried by Speaker Boehner in his 5-minute rebuttal.  But, as I tried to listen with the ears of America's undecideds, Boehner didn't tell me why asking the wealthiest Americans to give up a tax break or two is a bad idea when he is asking Aunt Sandy to pay a higher price for her medicine.

Don't get me wrong; I was impressed with Boehner's delivery.  And I thought what he said was exactly right.  Unfortunately, I don't think he had the same sound-bite-worthy material that would resonate with folks who have voted both ways for president over the last several elections.  Those are the ones whom Republicans desperately need to peel away from Obama's 2008 vote count if he is to be a one-term wonder.  I don't want Republicans to budge from the promises they made on the election campaign - we did elect to rein in spending, not to raise taxes, after all - but if we don't figure out a way to present more compelling arguments that aren't just recycled talking points, Republicans may end up having to battle Obama's teleprompter prowess for another term.

Filed under:  Budget  The Republican Party  President Obama  2012 Elections 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:58pm 07/25/11::
Monday, January 24, 2011
Obama-one-term? Not so fast
Some of my conservative friends might want to spit after my next statement, but I'm just calling it like I see it.  I believe President Obama may very well be re-elected in 2012.  Here are four reasons why we may be in for six more years of a Democrat in the White House.

Improving economy:  The "published" unemployment rate is now pegged at 9.4%. (The real number is more like 16-17%)  That's down from 10.0% at its high.  The stock market today reached its mid-2008 level.  And the GOP-controlled House is sure to make continued ludicrous spending more difficult for the administration.  All this adds up to a somewhat better economic outlook as we head toward the election season next year.  At, say, 8.5%, the unemployment rate would be much-improved from early 2010 numbers, but still terribly high by recent historic standards. (It was around 5% near the end of George W. Bush's second term.) The president will no doubt point to the improvement in the number rather than the pitiful level at which it will surely still be, and the mainstream media will whole-heartedly echo Obama's sentiments.  The end will be the return of the message of "hope" we heard in 2008.  I can hear it now, "We are bringing the change we promised; we are delivering hope.  Let me finish the job!"  Never mind the grossly shifted reference point to which his administration's policies have driven us.

Those fickle, forgetful voters:  We the people stood up on November 2, 2010 and told Washington with a loud voice that we reject the fiscal irresponsibility of the Democrats in power.  We made no bones about our distaste for the expansion of governmental influence and control.  All those new Republicans are resolved to carry out our wishes in the upcoming 21 months before Election 2012.  But we the people are fickle and forgetful.  When the reining in comes and the long, constant line of "victims" is paraded in front us on the evening news and the morning newspaper, I fear we will forget the terrible price our government's economic impropriety has exacted on our country.  I fear we'll reject the very ones we elected to do the very job we elected them to do and run back to the waiting arms of the one who has promised us so much more than he can ever deliver.

Personality matters:  Presidential elections hinge on many things - economic conditions, fundraising prowess and blockbuster revelations to name a few.  But in the end, presidential elections pit one nominee against another.  If one of those nominees cannot connect with voters, a favorable economy - be that bad or good - mountains of campaign dollars, and a clean reputation might still not be enough to win the day.  I'm a bit pessimistic at the crop of potential Republican nominees for next year.  I could be wrong, of course, but Obama to me is still more electable than any of our guys.  After all, in spite of everything, Obama's approval has rebounded and now stands right at the 50% mark.  Look at the next point for a powerful reason why.

Media spin:  Sarah Palin might have been one of the least vetted vice-presidential candidates ever.  What the McCain campaign failed to do, however, the mainstream media was more than happy to do.  One the other hand, Obama was elected largely because that same media completely ignored any opportunity to reveal the real ideology behind the man.  Though Obama's record in the Senate - and his lifelong propensity for government solutions - belied an uber-liberal, a large proportion of voters in 2008 thought of him as a moderate.  That kind of media spin is still with us, and it will enable Obama's failures to have much less impact on the mind of the electorate and his successes to be touted far beyond their merit.

Don't get me wrong, there is no way Obama should be re-elected.  And I am hopeful he will be defeated.  But a victory celebration at my house on Election Night is far from certain.

Filed under:  President Obama  Election 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:17pm 01/24/11::
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Is divided power best?
I got an email from a self-described liberal reader recently posing an interesting question.  In light of indications of a coming GOP landslide in November, he surmises that, perhaps, it would be better for Obama if the Democrats lose control of Congress.  His reasoning is that a divided government would have to come to a consensus in which both parties make concessions to get anything done. Moreover, what would get done would be more reflective of the desires and wishes of America as a whole.  His question sought my thoughts on that scenario and the merits of it from my point of view.

As I contemplated his question, I couldn't help but think that I would never want either the president or the Congress to espouse a world view that is so diametrically opposed to my own.  With liberals currently in control of both the Capitol and the White House, that is the case on both accounts.  After November, I hope half that equation will be made right (no pun intended), but that would still leave a liberal in the White House.  Only a conservative majority in Congress and a Ronald Reagan-esque president would reflect my vision of what's best for my beloved country.  Unfortunately, that is a combination we have not enjoyed in this country in my lifetime.

Sure, George W. Bush was a godsend in terms of Supreme Court and other judicial appointments, but he was a far cry from Reagan-esque when it came to spending and government expansion.  If you would point to 2002-2006 as an example of total conservative control, you miss the meaning of conservative - it is not synonymous with Republican.  Bush's shortcomings and Congress' desire to toe the partisan line severely hindered what could have been 4 years conservative reform in all its glory.  Those "anti-conservative" factors also fueled a backlash against the GOP and ushered in the most liberal leadership in Washington we've ever experienced.  Now, our nation struggles under the burdensome weight of liberal policies that threaten to break her.

Getting back to the question, then, the answer in my mind is crystal clear.  Never, and I mean never, would I be willing to forfeit what's best for my country to enable the government to dabble in compromise and concessions.  I would always, always, always prefer conservatives in all three branches of our federal government.  The farther this country has moved from its founding principles of personal responsibility, self-reliance and moral living - predicated, whether you care to believe it, on faith in a Christian God - the more we have paid the price.  Conservatism, in this blogger's humble opinion, is the best way - from a political standpoint - to restore those principles, the very ones that made the United States of America the greatest nation ever.

Filed under:  Conservatism  Liberalism  President Obama  National heritage  Christian faith 

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:57pm 07/15/10::
Thursday, May 20, 2010
"We are no longer defined by our borders"
I heard our president say something yesterday at a state dinner that caused me to gasp out loud.  When discussing illegal immigration - specifically Arizona's illegal immigration law - he actually said, and I quote:
"We are no longer defined by our borders, but by our bonds" - Barack Obama
I kid you not.  So, to our sitting president, our commander-in-chief, the identity of United States citizens - Americans - as defined by our birth or our naturalization is inconsequential.  Apparently, Barack Obama's patriotism toward the nation defined by our borders is supplanted his support and promotion of our citizenship of the world.  And it only follows that those who merit his favor are judged, not by our American birth certificate, but rather by our 'bonds' to him and, by extension, his ideology.

Filed under:  President Obama  Illegal immigration 

posted by Scott Elliott at 6:30pm 05/20/10::
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
US foreign policy way off toward Honduras
Some of you know that I spent several years as a teenager in Central America, mostly in Honduras.  The time there is a wonderful memory which I will always treasure.  Honduras and her people hold a special place in my heart.  One of the many characteristics I have always loved about the country is the people's desire for peace and representative government.  From my earliest recollections, Honduras has been a model of Latin American democracy.  But that admirable trait has landed it on the wrong side of the Obama administration and its brand of U.S. foreign policy.

Aided by the slanted, disingenuous coverage of our stateside media, Obama's team has been allowed to perpetuate a lie about recent events there which have tested Honduran resolve to maintain the democratic process they have come to cherish.  According to mainstream media accounts, this two-month-long saga has been an unjustified subjugation of democracy in which an overzealous military "rousted Honduran President Zelaya from his bed at gunpoint and whisked him away--in his pajamas--to Costa Rica."  Honduras is now, they say, "deeply divided" and, they warn, "could easily spin out of control."

In order to punish the wayward beneficiaries of the military coup, the United States government has threatened to suspend aid to Honduras, and the U.S State Department announced last week that it would provide only emergency Visa service at the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa.  No non-emergency Visa requests will be considered.

Hold on now!  How about a little dose of reality?  The truth about the "coup" differs enormously from the tales coming from the press and the White House.  But these tales persist, not because the truth has been hidden, but because they fit the socialist template these liberal strongholds require.  To find the truth, one need look no further than a detailed account provided by the new president of Honduras in a recent Wall Street Journal Op-ed.  In this brilliant, clear and methodical telling of the events leading up to President Zelaya's ouster, interim President Roberto Micheletti lays out exactly why Zelaya had to be removed.

You should go read the whole thing, but in case you don't, let me include here Micheletti's list of key undisputed facts.  I have highlighted for emphasis much of these important bullets.

  • The Supreme Court, by a 15-0 vote, found that Mr. Zelaya had acted illegally by proceeding with an unconstitutional "referendum," and it ordered the Armed Forces to arrest him.  The military executed the arrest order of the Supreme Court because it was the appropriate agency to do so under Honduran law.
  • Think about how many decisions our own Supreme Court reaches unanimously.  To frame this in terms we Americans might understand, this decision is akin to our Supreme Court ruling 9-0 for either Al Gore or George W. Bush in the Florida debacle during the presidential election in 2000.  And how much more legitimate could this verdict be considering a majority of the judges are from Zelaya's own party?
  • Eight of the 15 votes on the Supreme Court were cast by members of Mr. Zelaya's own Liberal Party.  Strange that the pro-Zelaya propagandists who talk about the rule of law forget to mention the unanimous Supreme Court decision with a majority from Mr. Zelaya's own party.  Thus, Mr. Zelaya's arrest was at the instigation of Honduran's constitutional and civilian authorities - not the military.
  • To say this was a coup orchestrated by a military out of control could not be more wrong.  The Honduran government took exactly the proper path to this end and did so under the full support of Honduran law.
  • The Honduran Congress voted overwhelmingly in support of removing Mr. Zelaya.  The vote included a majority of members of Mr. Zelaya's Liberal Party.
  • The Honduran legislature supported removing Zelaya from power - when would a majority of congressional Republicans support the impeachment of, say, George W. Bush?  Or when would a majority of congressional Democrats support the impeachment of, say, Barack Obama?  I'll tell you when - when it is beyond debate that either did something so wrong that the very foundation of our democracy could not withstand it.
  • Independent government and religious leaders and institutions - including the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the Administrative Law Tribunal, the independent Human Rights Ombudsman, four-out-of-five political parties, the two major presidential candidates of the Liberal and National Parties, and Honduras' Catholic Cardinal - all agreed that Mr. Zelaya had acted illegally.
  • Illegally, yes, but so wrong that this drastic course of action was necessary?  Absolutely...
  • The constitution expressly states in Article 239 that any president who seeks to amend the constitution and extend his term is automatically disqualified and is no longer president.  There is no express provision for an impeachment process in the Honduran constitution.  But the Supreme Court's unanimous decision affirmed that Mr. Zelaya was attempting to extend his term with his illegal referendum.  Thus, at the time of his arrest he was no longer - as a matter of law, as far as the Supreme Court was concerned - president of Honduras.
  • Zelaya's actions constituted a breach of democracy so dire that they immediately rendered him Honduras' former president.  And that declaration comes directly from the constitution of Honduras.  So what kind of man would so blatantly trash his native land's democratic process?  This kind...
  • Days before his arrest, Mr. Zelaya had his chief of staff illegally withdraw millions of dollars in cash from the Central Bank of Honduras.
  • But where did this perverted thirst for power come from?  This total disregard for the rule of law?  Keep reading.
  • A day or so before his arrest, Mr. Zelaya led a violent mob to overrun an Air Force base to seize referendum ballots that had been shipped into Honduras by Hugo Chavez's Venezuelan government.
  • Therein lies the answer.  Zelaya's decent into Chavez-like behavior was ushered in by none other than Hugo Chavez, himself, America's loudest, foulest, and most brazen hater among the leaders of Latin America and friend of one, Barack Obama?  (The picture is becoming clear now, isn't it?)

    If you care to see just what measure of influence Chavez has had on Zelaya, you can read this article.  Chavez seduced the former right-of-center former president with the mother's milk of politics.  Again, my emphasis added.

    Zelaya took office in 2006 as the leader of one of the two center-right parties that have dominated Honduran politics for decades.  His general platform, his support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and his alliances with business organizations gave no inkling of the fact that halfway into his term he would become a political cross-dresser.

    Suddenly, in 2007, he declared himself a socialist and began to establish close ties with Venezuela.  In December of that year, he incorporated Honduras into Petrocaribe, a mechanism set up by Hugo Chavez for lavishing oil subsidies on Latin American and Caribbean countries in exchange for political subservience.  Then his government joined the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), Venezuela's answer to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, ostensibly a commercial alliance but in practice a political conspiracy that seeks to expand populist dictatorship to the rest of Latin America.

    Last year, following the script originally laid out by Chavez in Venezuela and adopted by Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Zelaya announced that he would hold a referendum to set up a constituent assembly that would change the constitution that barred him from reelection.

    So what can we conclude from all this?  First, I believe a hearty handshake and pat on the back - as well as a heartfelt debt of democracy-driven gratitude - is owed to the Honduran government for their flawless handling of Zelaya's Chavez imitation.  At each step, they were right, proper and completely above reproach.  It is a pity that they and the people of Honduras must be subjected to retribution at our hand for such courageous and noble actions.

    Second, it's hard not to conclude that the Obama administration's foreign policy designs are firmly planted in cultivating solid, friendly relationships with socialist totalitarians.  President Zelaya, along with Mr. Chavez, looked to be another potential member of Obama's diplomatic inner circle.  Now that the democratic process in Honduras has attempted to remove that possibility, Obama's government seems ready to use whatever it can to restore Zelaya to the socialist dictatorial fold.

    As I end, let me insert the last bullet in President Micheletti's list of undisputed facts.

  • I succeeded Mr. Zelaya under the Honduran constitution's order of succession (our vice president had resigned before all of this began so that he could run for president). This is and has always been an entirely civilian government. The military was ordered by an entirely civilian Supreme Court to arrest Mr. Zelaya. His removal was ordered by an entirely civilian and elected Congress. To suggest that Mr. Zelaya was ousted by means of a military coup is demonstrably false.
  • But it, nevertheless, continues to be the falsehood of choice for Obama and the American media.

    Filed under:  Honduras  President Obama  Foreign Policy  Hugo Chavez

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:31pm 09/01/09 ::
    Wednesday, August 26, 2009
    That's not a deficit!
    There's a famous scene in the first Crocodile Dundee movie where Dundee and his female companion are accosted by a knife-wielding mugger while walking alone at night.  The companion shrieks, "He's got a knife!"   To which Dundee replies confidently, "That's not a knife!" and as he pulls out a mega blade from its sheath by his side, he says proudly, "That's a knife!"

    Now that President Obama's first deficit has been adjusted even further up, echos of folks complaining about the budget deficits during the Bush years ring in my mind.  Sure, we ran up enormous, never-before-seen deficits during those years, and I won't even try to justify them.  Nevertheless, at $455 billion at their height, those deficits pale in comparison to the $1.6 TRILLION deficit we are projected to swallow this fiscal year.

    It is illustrative, I think, to restage that scene for this issue.  In our little re-enactment, Obama plays the part of Dundee, Bush stands in as the thug (I know my liberal readers will like that thought!), and we, the American People, are the female companion.  There we are walking hand-in-hand with President Obama, when out springs Bush brandishing his $455 billion deficit, "Eek! He's got a deficit!" we scream in dismay.  But our strong and confident Obama retorts eloquently, "That's not a deficit!"  And unsheathing his own deficit - all $1.6 TRILLION of it - he smiles and says, "THAT'S A DEFICIT!"

    Filed under:  President Obama  Budget deficit

    posted by Scott Elliott at 2:34pm 08/26/09 ::
    Wednesday, August 19, 2009
    Polls dip as Democrats seek to "go it alone" on healthcare
    The rage this week has been declarations of resolve by Democrats to get Obamacare passed regardless of Republican opposition.  Using their substantial majorities on Capitol Hill, Democrats certainly have the power to get their way (elections do matter, remember!), but polls are showing that they bulldoze ahead at their own peril.

    According to a new Pew poll, congressional Democrats now enjoy the favorable opinion of less than half of Americans (49%).  That figure is down 10 points since April.  President Obama's approval numbers continue to slide as well, down to 51% in the poll and in Gallup's daily tracking poll.

    By contrast, the Pew poll shows Republicans standing pat at a miserable 40% favorable mark, unchanged significantly all year.  However, with public opinion of the healthcare reform plan being tossed around between Obama and the Democrats reaching all-time lows, the GOP's opposition to it will eventually see that number begin to rise.  And with Democrats eagerly rushing to attach themselves to this sinking ship, things could look much brighter for the minority party when votes are cast once again a little less than 15 months from now.  For sure, taking a go-it-alone approach on the issue will tie the Democratic Party inexorably to its fortunes much like Iraq became Bush's make or break issue.  This conservative blogger, for one, welcomes their gamble.

    Filed under:  Approval ratings  The Democratic Party  Healthcare  President Obama

    posted by Scott Elliott at 9:56pm 08/19/09 ::

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