Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Disney Takes the “Splash” from “Splash Mountain”

ORLANDO- It looks like Disney’s “Critter Country” is about to become a “dry” county as construction crews and Imagineers at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom have been working overtime to put the finishing touches on its “reimagined” “Splash Mountain” log flume ride. 

And though Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox will still be there, the “splash” will be removed from “Splash Mountain”.

As part of the company’s five year old  “Me-ECO Mouse Initiative”, Disney executives have introduced renewable energy into the iconic vacation resort’s power grid and have installed recycling bins at all of the hotels and theme parks.  However visitors will really see the family entertainment company’s commitment to reducing water waste with the “Splash Mountain” retrofit.

“We at Disney wish to demonstrate that we are good corporate citizens through our commitment to retool our attractions so that they are friendlier to the environment,” said Disney vice-president of Green Affairs Millicent James.  “Visitors will enjoy the new Br’er Mountain just as much as they did Splash Mountain.”

For the past six months “Splash Mountain”, the dark/flume attraction that brought visitors through scenes from Br’er Rabbit’s adventures while coursing through minor falls with a climatic 53 feet, 45 degree slope run, has undergone a major overhaul to convert the water ride into a roller coaster, similar to Sea World’s Journey to Atlantis ride, though unlike the latter, which is part steel rail roller coaster and part water flume ride, the new “Splash Mountain” will be a roller coaster and renamed “Br’er Mountain”.

Disney’s Imagineers will retain all of the scenery, music, character dialogue and animatronics with the refurbished attraction.  Fog machines will mask the ride’s rail system and the final drop will be shrouded in a thick mist so riders cannot see the bottom.  As the mist would reflect camera lighting, the ride will no longer offer its trademark snap shot photos.  Guests will be invited to pose for pictures with Disney cast members dressed as Br’er Rabbit characters at the gift shop near the ride’s exit.

“We at Disney wish to demonstrate that we are good corporate citizens through our commitment to retool our attractions so that they are friendlier to the environment,” said Disney vice-president of Green Affairs Millicent James.  “Visitors will enjoy the new Br’er Mountain just as much as they did Splash Mountain.”

The latter had been a problem for Disney officials as some riders took advantage of the ride’s photo aspect, with some park patrons making a point of showing explicit hand gestures, wearing clothing with profane language printed and the occasional woman bearing her breasts (which led to the attraction being referred to as “Flash Mountain” by snarky Disney employees). 

Shortly after opening to park visitors in 1992, “Splash Mountain” had been criticized for its politically correct adaptation from the film “Song of the South”, the lone Disney feature to have never been released to home video.

While Disney has invested over $35 million (almost half the ride’s original construction price tag) on removing the water aspect of the attraction and adding metal rails, some park enthusiasts are less than pleased the more environmentally responsible ride. 

Schuyler Wheeler, a former park employee who runs the unauthorized Disney fan/gossip site WeAreAllEars.com, has been monitoring the negative feedback about the ride’s changes.

“Until the addition of the Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney Hollywood, Splash Mountain was the premier ride at the Florida parks,” said Wheeler. “Purists have really mourned the demolition of longstanding attractions such as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  The shift from a log flume ride to what amounts to a ‘wild maus’ roller coaster with animatronics is not an improvement.”

Republican Kissimmee Commissioner Wayne Guerra, a vocal critic of the theme park’s political correcting of attractions chided Disney for what amounts to be an empty gesture to the green-crowd. 

“Between the lakes and the swamps, central Florida is full of water.  There is no shortage of water here.  This is a typical corporate sop to the eco-lobby to cover up for the millions of gallons of water they use at their water parks and resorts.  Hell there’s a giant lake you have to cross just to get to the park.  Why don’t they just syphon some of that for the ride?” asked Guerra. 

Disney officials stand by their position.

“A greener society can be everyone’s ‘Happy Place’,” said James, playing off one of the songs from the attraction. 

“Right wing conservative cranks like Commissioner Guerra can spend their APRIL FOOL’S DAY piddling around a crappy glass bottom boat at Silver Springs with the rest of the losers.”

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Statement on the 2013 YRNF Convention and the Race for Chairman

To My Fellow Young Republican Leaders and Activists:

This week we will choose the individuals who will leader our organization for the next two years. 

Back in January I announced my candidacy for YRNF chairman hoping to use my experience as a parish (county) party leader, state committeeman, successful candidate for public office and campaign operative to reinvigorate the national organization and establish a greater role for the YRs in the senior party.

My primary goal was to leave the YRNF as strong in 2015 as it was when I attended my first YRLC in 1998, back when we had a paid-full-time executive director, a working office and a six-figure operating budget. 

As a candidate, it was my hope that we would have had the chance to directly share our vision and plans for the YRNF with our colleagues via the first chairman candidate debate in recent memory.

I have long felt that while horse trading and position bartering might make for successful “tickets” such practices do not necessarily result in successful administrations. 

Regrettably, the planned debate for the San Antonio national board meeting was officially scrubbed due to a lack of time, as a single hour dedicated for a public discussion about the future of the YRNF could not have been carved out from a two day schedule.

It is ironic that it was at that same venue Texas US Senator Ted Cruz talked about the importance of debates and forums to his election. 

And though the results of this week’s convention were set in stone at San Antonio, I do believe that this organization and the few hundred people who have traveled great distances at their own expense deserve to have a choice beyond the two active candidates.

Though I believe both are decent individuals, I cannot vote for either due to a matter of conscience in the case of one and philosophical differences with the other. 

And while I will do not anticipate to leave Mobile holding a national leadership position I would like to offer several ideas that I believe have merit and should be considered. 

First, we need selfless leadership who will be fully dedicated to building a stronger organization.  Our party suffers from a severe branding problem.  One of the sad ironies of the YRNF is that it is the most diverse of any of the auxiliary GOP organizations in the country yet our media presence is negligible. 

Rather than basking in the glow of Fox News, our officers should defer to extraordinary young leaders without profile to front for the YRNF on less friendly media outlets.  The YRNF is blessed by having a large number of non-traditional Republicans, individuals who can combat the prevailing negative narrative.  The YRNF does not need to be represented by club titles but different faces and articulate voices. 

Had I been elected I would have not conducted a single television interview and instead recruited a team of young, diverse spokesmen and women who do not fit the GOP stereotype and thus are that much more likely to be heard out than tuned out. 

Second, we need to become a younger organization.  At a minimum a “president rule” via constitutional amendment should be adopted prohibiting anyone over the age of 35 from being elected to a YRNF office.  A grace period of two years could be worked in to allow for this transition. 

Thirdly, quality control measures need to be implemented to ensure that participants receive a fair value from their board meeting registration fees.  Unhappy attendees communicate their displeasure by their absence at future events, which jeopardizes our capacity to attain quorum and conduct business.

And finally, the YRNF needs to become more engaged with the RNC.  We should have people representing this organization at their national meetings, if only to get the brand out.  Furthermore, RNC leaders should be invited to YRNF board meetings so they can hear what our activists have to say about the party and its direction. 

As the newly elected chairman of the Louisiana YRs, I fully intend to remain involved in the YRNF until I age out in 2015 and I will be happy to work with anyone to achieve the goals I have spelled out. 

I deeply care about this organization’s future and always considered service in the YRNF to be missionary work and not a springboard to higher political advancement. 

Since 1998 I have only missed a handful of national board meetings and have had the honor of holding two elected positions in the YRNF, winning SCA chairman at the age of 26 in 2000 and Regional Vice-Chairman a year later. 

But what gave me the most satisfaction was using my contacts with my state party and the RNC to leverage prominent speakers at events and to secure guest passes, floor access and aide positions for dozens of YRs to the past five national conventions.  I know exactly how hard my fellow activists work and how little recognition too many of us receive for our sweat equity.

It is my sincere hope that when I travel to Chicago in 2015 for what will be my final YR convention, that we will discuss what we accomplished over the past two years instead of ruefully speculating about what could have been. 

Michael Bayham

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reviewing the Red Dawn Remake

SPOILER ALERT: This column contains details related to the 2012 remake of Red Dawn.  If you plan on seeing the movie and don’t want know too much about the storyline before watching it, stop reading now.

The world that existed in 1984 when the original Red Dawn movie appeared in movie theaters and that of the remake are two very different times. 

The year before the original’s release the Soviet Union shot down Korean Airline Lines Flight 007 after the commercial jetliner flew through Russian airspace and the United States military invaded the Marxist-ruled Caribbean nation of Grenada. 

And in between burying Communist Party general-secretaries and rumbling mechanized units through Red Square on May Day, Moscow was locked in a bloody quagmire in Afghanistan.  The USSR, through the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and Communist FMLN in El Salvador, managed to establish a tenuous beachhead in North America.

Things were tense between the two superpowers in 1984, a tension that would eventually strain the Soviets beyond their capacity to compete and led to the collapse of Communist regimes across eastern Europe. 

In 1984, there was a better chance of World War III than the Soviet bloc’s largely peaceful dissolution that played out six years later.  The movie Red Dawn had an audience because Americans thought direct conflict between the US and the Soviet Union was likely.

The villains of yesterday are no more pleasant but seem less threatening.  Russian soldiers no longer patrol a divided Germany but their country’s western frontier with Ukraine.  And their ally Cuba, which played a role in bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war in the 1960s, is grudgingly adapting to capitalism. 

The Red Menace has been displaced by Islamist terrorists, but the real thing makes for a political unpalatable nemesis for the entertainment industry.  And it turned out that Plan B wouldn’t work either, but for financial reasons.

The Red Dawn remake was supposed to be released two years ago, though it underwent a seven-figure editing job to remove all spoken and visual references to the People’s Republic of China, which was slated as the movie’s original (and more plausible) aggressor, and inserted North Korea as the invader.

Now the thought of North Korea landing soldiers in the United States sounded ridiculous. 

The hilariously named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea can barely feed its people and its “green water navy” is best equipped for challenging coastal civilian fishing vessels than moving a large occupation force over 6000 miles (roughly the distance between Pyongyang and Los Angeles).

And even if North Korea could magically move undetected across the Pacific Ocean the world’s fourth largest army, their 1,000,000 person active force would be spread pretty thin along America’s 2100 mile long western coastline. 

With China “not appearing in this picture”, a North Korean invasion of the US not resembling King Arthur’s assault on the French castle from Monty Python’s Holy Grail requires a super-sized suspension of disbelief. 

So where did the 600 million screaming Chinese (a reference to the original film) and their 730 million cousins that didn’t get nuked in 1984 go? 

It turned out that Beijing takes not only a keen interest in what their citizens tweet and blog but also what comes out of Hollywood. 

The Global Times, a publication owned by the Chinese Communist Party, took public issue with its national military playing the villain and Red Dawn’s producers took the hint: sanitize the movie or its only entry into that country’s lucrative movie market will be through bootleg dvds. 

It might come to that anyway as the Global Times has even mocked the changes and called the Red Dawn movie style “brainless fun”.  I’d be willing to lay 60 yuan ($4) that a movie about popular insurrection against Communist military forces will never be projected upon the silver screen of a licensed mainland cinema, if only as a favor to their “Dear Friend” Kim Jong Un, AKA The Onion’s sexiest man alive.

So how do parts of the United States come under the jackboot of North Korea?

After a night of high school football in Spokane, Washington, the power across the entire town mysteriously goes out.  The next day the skies are clouded with North Korean paratroopers raining down on the eastern Washington State population center. 

It is later reveled that an EMP-like “super weapon” (the same thing that prefaced occupation in the television miniseries Amerika) knocked out communications and power across the country allowing the North Koreans to tiptoe across the world’s largest ocean. 

Spokane is targeted because the west coast and eastern seaboard have been devastated by a surprise quasi-nuclear attack. 

America’s capacity to launch a nuclear counter-offensive has been neutralized by the “super weapon” as our boomers (ballistic missile subs) were knocked out by the EMP.

It is also revealed that Russia, which is led by a radical nationalist, is behind the assault on America, leading the invasion of the east coast and having counter-insurgent personnel in Spokane.  There is also a weak-reference to Mexico and Cuba being involved, though that was also likely watered down to avoid upsetting Hispanics/swing-voters. 

Americans being a resilient and well-armed people (a little reminder that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting), unorganized citizen militias and detached military units operating independently stymie the invaders’ onslaught around Alabama in the southeast, Michigan in the northeast, Texas in the southwest and Colorado and Montana in the northwest.  

The movie largely is a recreation of the original, including an homage to the 1984 film’s signature ambush scene, but in a different setting and with a change in the Communist occupiers’ ethnicity.  The 2012 version of the Wolverines are more diverse than the 1984 band of rebels.

A few other things worth noting:

1)      Though they are very much villains, the North Koreans are portrayed more benign than the Russians from 1984.  Knowing how they treat their countrymen, I have a tough time believing the DPRK invaders would allow Americans to largely live as they did before, including operating businesses and driving cars.  I’m still stuck on the thought of them allowing civilian fuel consumption in the middle of a war.  Of all of the suspensions of disbelief, this was the toughest for me to overcome.

2)      The most interesting aspect of the movie is how American society is shown reacting to the occupation.  With few exceptions, most people seem to go along with the regime while more than a few actively collaborate with the invading forces, including the town’s mayor and the media, accepting subservience to the new state in exchange for necessities and privileges.  That got me wondering how many of our countrymen would readily exchange freedom for security, whether from immediate persecution or hardship. 

3)      The objective of the Wolverines was not merely killing the enemy and damaging their military hardware but inspiring their subjugated brethren to resist.  This is the reverse objective of terrorism, which aims to demoralize. 

4)      I can understand why the movie wasn’t released until after the election.  The film’s opening is a montage of actual press clips featuring President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fumbling America’s foreign policy as the global situation spirals down.  Also featured throughout the film are the North Korean occupying forces’ ubiquitous propaganda posters that decry corporate greed, stuff straight out of Occupy Wall Street and President Obama’s re-election campaign. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And the Romney Aides Snipe Back

Romney advisers recently began leaking their displeasure concerning criticism that has been heaped upon the 2012 GOP presidential nominee’s political carcass, with one unidentified aide specifically citing Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

The anonymous campaign aide mocked Jindal and Gingrich as “real profiles in courage” for sniping at Romney after the election.  Concerning the Indian-American governor, the aide emphasized his eagerness to be picked as Romney’s running mate, even after a tape of the presidential candidate’s infamous 47% comment was made public, a political faux pas Jindal pounced on after Romney lost.

Gingrich’s lack of praise for Romney should come as no surprise.  The ex-Massachusetts governor and the third-party Super PAC that promoted Romney’s candidacy carpet-bombed Gingrich in direct mail pieces and in television advertisements that tied the former speaker to “influence peddling” for the mortgage entity Freddie Mac and accused him of leaving Congress in disgrace. 

With the notable exception of John McCain, few of Romney’s intraparty rivals from his 2008 and 2012 GOP presidential bids professed much affection for him though all with one exception (Jon Huntsman) dutifully toed the party line in the general election, though without enthusiasm.

If Gingrich’s “airing of grievances” is rooted in his rocky past with Romney, Jindal’s is centered on the future…and his own.

The new Republican Governors’ Association head has one eye on the White House and another on what happened in the caucuses and the primaries, where Republicans dragged their feet in embracing the conservative-talking, yet moderate-governing presidential candidate.

Jindal is looking to carve his niche in the national GOP electorate by planting his flag as the anti-Romney for 2016.  Jindal’s initial criticism and its media recycling courtesy of the anonymous aide to the 2012 GOP nominee have helped the Louisiana governor towards that objective.

Though Jindal was an active surrogate for Romney in the general election, the Louisiana governor had initially backed Texas governor Rick Perry in the primaries and after the Perry campaign’s collapse in January, Jindal didn’t endorse the ex-Massachusetts governor until April.

While a charge of opportunism would be fair, Jindal can’t be accused of hypocrisy.  And Jindal’s words were far softer than what Romney had to say about the character of his fellow Republicans in the primaries and caucuses.

Besides, it’s not like Romney will be doing any favors for Jindal, as he is certain to line up behind whichever Floridian (Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush) ultimately throws his hat in the ring for 2016.

If Jindal can’t have Romney, then he’ll gladly settle for inheriting his enemies, especially since a Lyndon LaRouche endorsement might be more valuable than Romney’s come 2016.

And even if Jindal has ulterior motives for his harsh analysis of the GOP nominee’s campaign, how is it out of line? 

Should we attribute Romney’s defeat to “gifts” and call it a presidential cycle until another “country club” Republican declares himself the next “too moderate to fail” establishment candidate that we should quietly shuffle behind?

Now is the time to have this conversation, not in 2016 when Super PAC ads will drown out discussion. 

Mitt Romney talked about holding President Obama accountable for the current state of America, yet why shouldn’t Republicans hold accountable Romney, his campaign operation and the national GOP for blowing the election?

Romney talked about how President Obama wasted our tax dollars yet Republicans are not to inquire how our campaign donations were squandered?

Jindal’s not the only “veep-wannabe” that “Romney sources” have shived in the press. 

Days before the presidential election, “campaign insiders” put out word that New Jersey governor Chris Christie may have made himself conveniently available for President Barack Obama’s tour of his Hurricane Sandy-ravaged state in revenge for being passed over for the second spot on the GOP ticket. 

You would think Romney aides would have had more productive things to do than discreetly dump on their candidate’s top supporter in the primaries, but this seems to be their main area of expertise.  Just ask Sarah Palin.

That a Romney staffer chose to take public issue with Jindal’s critiques shows exactly how little his team understood politics, as the Louisiana governor’s gripes were a one day story that the mystery campaign aide kept alive for another week in the press.

If Jindal ever finds out which aide took issue with him, the governor might send him a fruit basket and a thank you note. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Election 2012: Four Senate Candidates Worth Backing

Four Candidates Worth Backing

With the federal election less than a week away the time for conservatives to make an impact is drawing near.  It’s not too late to lend a hand by phone banking from home,  writing a check or donating on-line in a number of important elections across the country.

There are a few Republican senate candidates who conservatives residing in either solidly red states or hopelessly blue states should consider supporting.

George Allen-  The former Virginia governor is in the midst of a political comeback this November and is running for the very seat he lost six years ago.  Admittedly it was a tough year for Republicans though Allen made even more difficult for himself by taunting a Democratic field operative at a campaign rally.  Had Allen survived that race, he would have sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and probably won it as conservatives were lining up behind his nascent candidacy.  And then the “macaca” hit the fan. 

Allen is locked in a tight race with Tim Kaine, a former Virginia governor and President Obama’s chosen chairman of Democratic National Committee.  Kaine was reportedly on Obama’s shortlist for running mate in 2008 and he is harboring ambitions for even higher office later.  As the presidential race is very close in the Old Dominion, helping Allen would help out Mitt Romney’s chances there.

Tommy Thompson-  Another former governor, Thompson served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush.  Thompson is seeking the seat held by retiring Democrat Senator Herb Kohl.  Thompson was elected governor of the swing state of Wisconsin on four occasions and is credited with creating “workfare” while in office. 

Despite his political success in a state is figuring to be important in this year’s presidential election and his conservative credentials as governor, Thompson endured abruising primary en route to winning the party nomination by only three points in a four-candidate field. 

Thompson’s opponent in the general election is Democratic US Representative Tammy Baldwin, one of the most liberal members in all of Congress.  Baldwin has been a vociferous advocate for same-sex marriage since her days in the Wisconsin legislature in the mid-nineties and co-authored a measure to impeach Vice-President Dick Cheney. 

Wisconsin voters should be worried that Baldwin’s focus as a US Senator will be on advancing her radical “progressive” agenda on the national stage and not the interests of her state.  While Tommy Thompson might not be the flashiest Republican running for office in America, “Senator” Baldwin will prove herself to be a constant source of excitement for conservatives of all stripes, social, defense and fiscal. 

The only way to stop Baldwin is to elect Thompson, who has a slight lead in the most recent polls though the presidential race in Wisconsin might carry the Democrat over the line if Obama wins the Badger State.

Josh Mandel-  Admittedly Mandel is a longshot.  His Democratic opponent, incumbent US Senator Sherrod Brown, has led in every poll I’ve seen though Mandel has closed the once large gulf between them.  But Mandel matters for a bunch of reasons. 

First, he’s running in Ohio- the state that the media has been saying that will choose the winner of the presidential election.  Well up until Romney took a slight lead.  The point is the stronger Mandel performs, the better for the top of the GOP ticket in the Buckeye State. 

Secondly, Mandel served in the Marine Corps Reserve and was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2008.    

Thirdly Mandel, who is Jewish, is not your typical Republican candidate for US Senator or for that matter any office higher than councilman.  He’s only 35 years old, which is exactly what the party needs for America to see- that the GOP doesn’t stand for Grumpy Old Politicians.      

Mandel is not a good bet to win but he is a great candidate running in an important state. 

Scott Brown-  The Massachusetts senate race is the second most important election in America.  While he’s not the most conservative Republican in Washington, Brown is the most conservative politician that can win in Massachusetts. And he’s running for re-election against what is perhaps the worst Democrat on the November ballot not named Barack Obama: Elizabeth Warren.

If you think the media’s in the tank for the president, get familiar with their fawning coverage of the leftist Harvard professor.  And the liberal establishment has big plans for her after Warren dispenses with the formality of her victory over Senator Brown.

Though burdened with sharing space on a presidential ballot in a state so blue its resident presidential candidate will be lucky if he breaks 40%, Brown has fought hard to keep the race within the statistical margin of error. 

In their first debate, Brown challenged the Warren, a Caucasian, on her “Cherokee” status and whether she exploited her ludicrous racial minority claim for personal advancement.  While in some cases physical appearances can be deceiving related to ancestry, Professor Warren has as much chance of being taken for a Native American as Joe Biden does as a Mongolian. 

Professor Warren represents the worst in liberal hypocrisy: a class baiting elitist who falsely masqueraded as a member of an ethnic minority to get ahead. 

That a Brown victory helps advance the GOP’s prospects of taking the senate is almost secondary to Warren’s defeat. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Purple Mountain Politics: The Fight for Colorado

If voters in the Buckeye State are agitated from all of the special attention they've been receiving from the presidential candidates, major parties and 527s, they might take some solace knowing that folks in Colorado feel their pain. The Rocky Mountain State has been one of most intensely fought over swing states outside of Ohio. And with Virginia, North Carolina and Florida seemingly drifting towards the Republican column, Colorado's importance rises as a both a firewall for President Barack Obama's re-election bid and as a potential detour around Ohio to reach 270 electoral votes. George W. Bush won Colorado in the razor-close 2000 election, which inspired a wealthy Californian to cook up a scheme where in the future Colorado would allocate its electoral votes on a proportional basis. Had such a system been in place in 2000, then-Vice-President Al Gore would have received enough electoral votes from his competitive second place finish in Colorado to claim the presidency. The idea was based on the hope that the 2004 election would be as close as four years before and thus hand the White House over to the fill-in-the-Democrat nominee. Fortunately the move got exposed for what it was and Bush won by an even bigger margin nationally, which would have made the electoral vote redistribution academic. In another, yet more legitimate, play for Colorado's electoral votes, the Democrats chose Denver as the site of its 2008 convention, where then-US Senator Obama, standing before faux Greek columns in an open air football stadium, delivered his acceptance speech as his party's nominee for president to his teary eyed faithful. After the Democratic Convention left town, Obama's campaign unleashed a torrent of television advertisements linking his 2008 opponent to President George W. Bush, going so far as including in the commercial an image of John McCain, who is partially disabled due to the torture he endured as a POW during the Vietnam War, awkwardly hugging the unpopular incumbent. Perhaps the Obama camp was also looking as much to exploit McCain's age and infirmity with that particular picture. Because McCain refused to budge from his commitment to cap his general election campaign expenditures by accepting matching funds, Obama, who had made the same pledge but later crawfished, was able to dominate the Colorado airwaves. There was also plenty of Obama art to be seen around town. Street artist Shepard Fairey's iconic "Hope" posters were plastered over boarded up storefronts and an impressive mural painted on the rear of the building that housed the popular Rocky Mountain Diner showed a contemplative Obama before a mountain range. The latter would have been the envy of any socialist country that promotes a cult of personality around their leaders. The huge investment by the Democrats in Colorado paid dividends as Obama handily carried the state. But things are different in Colorado this time around. While the Obama campaign is once again heavily investing campaign funds there, a fiscally unfettered Romney campaign is spending big money to win Colorado. In 2008, McCain's ads were drowned out by Obama's media buy. One evening in particular I had seen five Obama commercials before viewing my first McCain advertisement. Things have evened out between the candidates in 2012. In addition to money, Romney is spending a good deal of time in the state. The Republican presidential nominee recently held one of the biggest events of the campaign at the Red Rocks amphitheatre just outside Denver that featured Kid Rock and attracted thousands of people. It was just announced that Romney is returning to Colorado this weekend. In between visits to Colorado, Romney's sons have been meeting with volunteers at call centers that are focused on winning the early vote in 2012. Four years prior McCain had been buried so badly in early voting that he had essentially lost the state before Election Day. Colorado will likely be one of the closest states on November 6th. The most recent poll gives Romney a one point edge over the president though both candidates have traded slight leads over the past few weeks. In addition to the "air war", the Obama and Romney campaigns have assembled aggressive grassroots operations with supporters from the two camps waving posters at busy intersections and canvassing neighborhoods and rallying on street corners. While there are as many Obama yardsigns in 2012 as there were in 2008, this time the Republican candidate has a comparable presence on front lawns. One remarkable thing about the Romney campaign in Colorado is that it's mimicking Obama's first presidential run by attracting participation from people who had not previously been involved in politics. At a rally outside the Denver GOP's headquarters, Craig Romney asked those in attendance to raise their hands if this was their first time volunteering on a campaign. Half of those present did. There's no less than a 75% chance that whoever carries Ohio will be the one dancing with his wife at the January inaugural balls. However, if New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Iowa go to the other candidate, then a winner won't be projected until the most politically important state in the Mountain Time Zone checks in.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Case Against Re-Election

The conservative publication National Review is hawking on its website a poster that lists 689 reasons to vote against the re-election of the president. Granted some of their entries consist of punchlines and multiple refernces to Joe Biden. NR's humorous pokes at the incumbent aside, there are plenty of legitimate arguments why the president should be defeated for re-election as Barack Obama has failed on multiple levels, from policy to leadership. Failure On Energy President Obama's record on energy is disatrous on multiple fronts. First his hostility towards our primary energy resources (oil, natural gas and coal) defies comprehension and leads one to speculate that he's not for an "all of the above" approach to energy but is for a "cold turkey" shift away from our reliance on oil. Secondly, his fervent faith in green energy that are many decades away from remotely displacing oil and coal defies logic, though not politics. The Obama Administration is captive to special interests that have profiteered off his investment of taxpayer dollars into green companies like Solyndra that went belly-up and cost the public nine figures. Executives with that infamous green concern did manage to pay back one debt- to President Obama via campaign donations. President Obama has stubbornly refused to permit the Keystone Pipeline, which would bring in more oil from Canada and thus make the US less dependent on oil imported from outside of North America. His opposition to the Canadian pipeline is a good example of how the president prioritizes the wishes of his green constituency over America's national and economic security, since access to energy is critical to both. An Economic Failure The nation's unemployment rate stands at 7.8%, which is where it stood when President Obama took office. In between then and now, America's unemployment rate was at 8% or higher for over forty consecutive months. The president celebrates that as progress, but I don't think the over twelve million still looking for work were dancing in the unemployment lines when they heard the news. In another statistic that is a measure of how well/ill the Obama economy truly is, over 46 million Americans are on food stamps and tens of thousands are filing for disability. This past June, slightly more people filed for disability than landed jobs. The president has also failed as the country's fiscal manager. Instead of closing the deficits and chipping away at the national debt, his administration has added over five trillion dollars to it. Failure on Foreign Policy Obama's foreign policy has been equally misguided, pulling the missile defense rug out from under our staunch allies in eastern Europe while extending to Russia more trust than advisable. Iran has not shut down its nuclear weapons program but is four years closer to producing an atomic bomb. And while the details about the events that led to the slaying of our ambassador and three other Americans continue to trickle out of Libya, we do know that President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other White House officials misled the country by stating that the assault on the US consulate in Benghazi was a reaction to a YouTube video. They either lied to America or revealed themselves as dunces. Being guilty of either charge makes them unfit to occupy the positions they hold. Failure As A Leader Despite being a gifted orator, Barack Obama has tried to distract the electorate from the shortcomings of his first term by engaging in unprecedented demagoguery by a president to demonize the opposition. He's also a hypocrite concerning his pleas for bipartisanship. Joseph Cao, the country's first Vietnamese-American member of Congress, took the president at his word about working with Republicans on Capitol Hill. Cao was hardly a lockstep vote for the GOP, breaking party ranks often to support Obama's agenda yet the GOP freshman had his trust repaid in daggers when the president supported his opponent. President Obama has also dodged accepting any responsibility for the high gas prices and wheezing economy. You'd swear George W. Bush was in his third term the way Obama avoids accountability and furiously shovels fault on to his predecessor. Obama was only a few years removed from the Illinois legislature when he began his quest for the White House. It is with great disappointment that he has not grown beyond his community organizer roots during his time in office. Clint Got It Right While Clint Eastwood's address at the Republican National Convention has been widely panned and mocked, the Hollywood icon said something that is simple yet profound: the guy who was hired four years didn't get the job done and it's time to bring in someone else to do it. Only a blind partisan or someone whose vote is motivated by a far lesser consideration than his job performance could look past the president's record and vote to give him another four year term. Voting for change for the sake of having change is not wise though America has an able and mature alternative to the incumbent in Mitt Romney. The GOP candidate not only represents a different philosophy but a drastically different life experince that has prepared him for the job he is seeking. In contrast to the president's partisan and academic background, Romney was a consensus builder as governor of Massachusetts, a state dominated by Democratic officials on all levels of government. Romney's ascension wasn't based off giving a handful of high profile speeches but real accomplishments, having played the lead role in saving the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and achieving success in business and finance. Rather than being envious or jealous of Romney's earned wealth, Americans should look at his success in the private sector as a statement of qualification that he understands how the economy works and what solutions need to be put in place to create more jobs. I am optimistic that an overwhelming majority of American voters will be guided by reality as it is and not what Obama and his allies try to make it appear to be when they vote on November 6th. President Obama had his chance and it's time to go in a different direction. Mitt Romney should be elected our next president.