It doesn’t take an expert

WINNERS!

Alternate headline: Obama makes like Charlie Sheen to win in ’12!

Allahpundit headlined this yesterday:

Elections expert who’s called every presidential race since ’84: Obama will win.

“Even if I am being conservative,” Allan Lichtman says, “I cannot see how Obama will lose.”

Really? The headline at US News & World Report does even more to assuage liberal hand-wringing over Obama’s polling numbers: Never-Wrong Pundit Picks Obama to Win in 2012.

Allahpundit sums Lichtman’s “keys” to the race:

He’s got The One winning on nine of 13 counts:

1. No contested primary
2. Incumbency
3. No third-party candidate
4. Major domestic-policy changes in his first term
5. No social unrest
6. No major scandals
7. No major foreign-policy failures
8. Major foreign-policy achievements in his first term (killing Bin Laden)
9. Little charisma by his likely opponent

The GOP wins three categories:

1. The incumbent’s party lost seats in the last House election
2. The long-term economy looks poor
3. Little charisma by the incumbent

True, Obama won’t have a contested primary. I’m sure the White House repeats the mantra that over a quarter of Democrat voters want someone else on the ticket doesn’t really matter. It’s uncontested, y’all.

As for #4 and 5, I laughed upon reading it. Sure, Obama has “major domestic-policy changes in his first term.” So unpopular, in fact, that its popularity has hit new lows! Sounds like Obama himself, no? Winning combo, hitting new lows.

No social unrest? Really? Tea Party. Protests on the Mall. Protests across the country. Obama should consider himself lucky that the people most aggrieved by his disastrous administration are the responsible ones.

No major scandal. I can hardly contain my laughter at this point. Fast and Furious is a major scandal, one that should bring the Attorney General to his knees if not the President himself. But when your BFFs in the media plug their collective ears and sing tra-la-la-la to pretend all’s well, then it hasn’t become the explosive issue (no pun intended) that it should be. Lichtman calls the administration “squeaky clean.” Sure, if you wish hard enough.

No major foreign policy failures. ROTFLMAO. Reset button. Blame America. Pulling out of the missile defense shield in Europe. Libya. Um, what was that again? Oh, yeah, no major foreign policy failures. Lichtman argues that failure needs to be on par with Bay of Pigs. After three years of across-the-board embarassment, voters are tired of the blame America first tour.

Major foreign policy achievement. In case anyone’s forgotten, Obama didn’t receive much of a bounce in the wake of bin Laden’s demise at the hands of Navy SEALs. Maybe because of the administration blunders: revealing what Special Operations forces were behind the raid, burying the body at sea with Muslim prayers, etc etc.

Little charisma for the GOP opponent. Boy, they’re prayin’ for Romney, no? I’ll give poor Barry O the benefit of the doubt given the GOP ability to secure defeat in the least likely of circumstances.

So in my column, I have #4-7 going to the GOP and tossing BO the bone on #1,8 and 9.

New score: Obama 5, GOP 7. 

Allahpundit comments:

In which case, how can Lichtman seriously say, “I don’t see how Obama can lose”? Especially since, surreally, he’s counting the stimulus, which the public reviles, and ObamaCare, about which the public is deeply suspicious, as a point in Obama’s favor because they are, after all, major “changes” to American domestic policy. By that standard, even the dumbest, most hated piece of legislation should be treated as an asset to a presidential campaign so long as it’s significant enough to constitute “major change.” If you flip that Key to the GOP, then you’ve got six for the Republicans — enough to take the White House by Lichtman’s own metrics.

 

ACLU sues schools to prevent internet block of gay websites: Reason 10,016 to homeschool

At home you have control over the internet. Schools apparently do not:

A fierce legal battle on free speech and family values is brewing about Internet filters used by school administrators to block students’ access to gay educational and advocacy websites.

Gay rights groups say school systems cannot impose blanket bans on gay-related informational and cultural websites on school computers, while values groups warn that the absence of the blocking filters could leave children exposed to sexually explicit material.

Of course.

Mr. Cortman said the ACLU is not satisfied if schools remove the block on specific websites, such as those for the “Day of Silence” and “It Gets Better” campaigns.

Instead, the ACLUwants schools to remove filters on “entire categories” of content, such as “LGBT,” “sexuality,” “lifestyle,” “homosexuality” and “sex education,” Mr. Cortman said. If these broad filters are disabled, students likely will have access to inappropriate sexual material.

Who cares if the kids have access to inappropriate sexual material on the web when they receive the same in the classroom?

Linked by Pundette as a Recommended Read. Thanks!

Clarence Thomas the Frodo Baggins of the right?

So suggests Walter Russell Mead after reading Jeffery Toobin’s profile of Clarence Thomas in the New Yorker. He writes of Thomas:

his lonely and obscure struggle has led him to the point from which he may be able to overthrow the entire edifice of the modern progressive state

Few things have made me smile as broadly as I am now after reading this:

There are few articles of faith as firmly fixed in the liberal canon as the belief that Clarence Thomas is, to put it as bluntly as many liberals do, a dunce and a worm.  Twenty years of married life have not erased the conventional liberal view of his character etched by Anita Hill’s testimony at his confirmation hearings.  Not only does the liberal mind perceive him as a disgusting lump of ungoverned sexual impulse; he is seen as an intellectual cipher.  Thomas’ silence during oral argument before the Supreme Court is taken as obvious evidence that he has nothing to say and is perhaps a bit intimidated by the verbal fireworks exchanged by the high profile lawyers and his more, ahem, ‘qualified’ colleagues.

At most liberals have long seen Thomas as the Sancho Panza to Justice Antonin Scalia’s Don Quixote, Tonto to his Lone Ranger.  No, says Toobin: the intellectual influence runs the other way.  Thomas is the consistently clear and purposeful theorist that history will remember as an intellectual pioneer; Scalia the less clear-minded colleague who is gradually following in Thomas’ tracks.

If Toobin’s revionist take is correct, (and I defer to his knowledge of the direction of modern constitutional thought) it means that liberal America has spent a generation mocking a Black man as an ignorant fool, even as constitutional scholars stand in growing amazement at the intellectual audacity, philosophical coherence and historical reflection embedded in his judicial work.

I have long been a fan of Clarence Thomas. pjHusband and I read his autobiography in awe. Rarely in life will you find someone whose character has been so supremely shaped by the real adversity he faced growing up. Rarely in life will you see someone so completely caricatured and vilified, ironically with the very stereotypes the left claims to fight.

Read the rest of Walter Russel Mead’s piece, the New Blue Nightmare: Clarence Thomas and the Amendment of Doom. It might eke a smile out of you, too.

What was that faint sucking sound, Mitt?

Oh, yeah. The last gasp of your campaign.

Perry’s double-digit lead over Romney nationally widens. Furthermore, as Allahpundit illustrates, Perry leads Romney in every demographic: blue-collar, white-collar, college or no. So much for the dummy, eh?

So what will poor Mitt do? Attack. Alas, the stakes are high. Allahpundit:

Given the magnitude of the debt crisis, the thought of any Republican being hammered by another Republican for not loving entitlements enough makes me queasy.

Ain’t that the truth. Perry let the truth slip out this weekend as he called Social Security a Ponzi scheme that rips off young people. As a result, some wonder if he will carry the mantle of entitlement reformer, the role Mitch Daniels sought to fill.

I’m eager for the debate on the 7th to see how Mitt fares with Perry in the ring. Here’s to hoping Perry can knock him out early.

 

What liberals missed in Finland’s educational success

Most readers of Smithsonian magazine’s profile of successful Finnish schools glommed on to this as the explanation for Finland’s achievement and our demise:

In the United States, which has muddled along in the middle for the past decade, government officials have attempted to introduce marketplace competition into public schools. In recent years, a group of Wall Street financiers and philanthropists such as Bill Gates have put money behind private-sector ideas, such as vouchers, data-driven curriculum and charter schools, which have doubled in number in the past decade. President Obama, too, has apparently bet on compe­tition. His Race to the Top initiative invites states to compete for federal dollars using tests and other methods to measure teachers, a philosophy that would not fly in Finland. “I think, in fact, teachers would tear off their shirts,” said Timo Heikkinen, a Helsinki principal with 24 years of teaching experience. “If you only measure the statistics, you miss the human aspect.”

Of course. Missed the human aspect. No fantastic teacher would stand for marketplace reforms. Yada, yada, yada. What liberal readers missed a few paragraphs ahead was this:
“Whatever it takes” is an attitude that drives not just Kirkkojarvi’s 30 teachers, but most of Finland’s 62,000 educators in 3,500 schools from Lapland to Turku—professionals selected from the top 10 percent of the nation’s graduates to earn a required master’s degree in education.
Only the cream of the crop in Finland are allowed to teach. How egalitarian, no?  What a stark contrast to our own teachers of tomorrow, who show the smallest gains in learning, critical thinking or complex reasoning. Teachers’ unions exist to protect the weak and incompetent. That problem doesn’t exist in Finland.
 
More unexpected wisdom:
In 2010, some 6,600 applicants vied for 660 primary school training slots, according to Sahlberg. By the mid-1980s, a final set of initiatives shook the classrooms free from the last vestiges of top-down regulation. Control over policies shifted to town councils.
Two more “conservative” ideas on how to reform the education system, eh, competition and local control. The Finns even abolished the “inspectorate.” Wouldn’t we love to see that happen to the Department of Education? A fine idea, indeed.

Honor

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier remained guarded during Hurricane Irene as it has every second since 6 April 1948.

Photobucket

I told a friend recently that I can’t imagine what it’s like to hear the National Anthem and not get goosebumps. Or Taps and not feel the sting of tears. But when one percent of Americans serve, you realize that goosebumps and tears aren’t the norm.

h/t: Hot Air headlines

Light that fuse under liberals

Stephen Moore compares Obamanomics and Reaganomics. It ain’t pretty:

If you really want to light the fuse of a liberal Democrat, compare Barack Obama’s economic performance after 30 months in office with that of Ronald Reagan. It’s not at all flattering for Mr. Obama.

The two presidents have a lot in common. Both inherited an American economy in collapse. And both applied daring, expensive remedies. Mr. Reagan passed the biggest tax cut ever, combined with an agenda of deregulation, monetary restraint and spending controls. Mr. Obama, of course, has given us a $1 trillion spending stimulus.

By the end of the summer of Reagan’s third year in office, the economy was soaring. The GDP growth rate was 5% and racing toward 7%, even 8% growth. In 1983 and ’84 output was growing so fast the biggest worry was that the economy would “overheat.” In the summer of 2011 we have an economy limping along at barely 1% growth and by some indications headed toward a “double-dip” recession. By the end of Reagan’s first term, it was Morning in America. Today there is gloomy talk of America in its twilight.

My purpose here is not more Reagan idolatry, but to point out an incontrovertible truth: One program for recovery worked, and the other hasn’t.

Read the rest. The Keynesian naysayers currently in charge said the economy couldn’t recover then:

The Godfather of the neo-Keynesians, Paul Samuelson, was the lead critic of the supposed follies of Reaganomics. He wrote in a 1980 Newsweek column that to slay the inflation monster would take “five to ten years of austerity,” with unemployment of 8% or 9% and real output of “barely 1 or 2 percent.” Reaganomics was routinely ridiculed in the media, especially in the 1982 recession. That was the year MIT economist Lester Thurow famously said, “The engines of economic growth have shut down here and across the globe, and they are likely to stay that way for years to come.”

Of course they took credit when all was said and done:

The economy would soon take flight for more than 80 consecutive months. Then the Reagan critics declared what they once thought couldn’t work was actually a textbook Keynesian expansion fueled by budget deficits of $200 billion a year, or about 4%-5% of GDP.

I’d like to think that maybe the Obama administration has been a blessing in disguise for our nation. While they have wrought economic pain, international embarrassment, or as one commenter on Obama’s Facebook wall the other day noted, they have forced humility on our nation. This dude thanked Obama for the humbling of a once-great nation. He was sincere, and it angered me. But the silver lining in this is the rise of the Tea Party and the conservative stars along with it–Rubio, West, Christie, Walker. And Perry, too, who would not have been a viable candidate 4 years ago running on the record of a prosperous state economy.

That’s my glass-half-full take, and I’m sticking to it as my IRAs tank and my house loses more value. Obama’s Hope and Change will be judged on the failure that it is, and the serious discussion of entitlements begins. People want the freedom to make and do for themselves, not to sit idle as the government does for them.

H/t: memeorandum.

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