On Eye Contact and God-Kings

On Wednesday night, Mitt Romney was respectful of Barack Obama when Barack Obama challenged him. Mitt Romney looked Barack Obama in the eye when Barack Obama challenged Romney. He kept a smiling demeanor to his challenge in the room. Wednesday night, Mitt Romney was the challenge in the room for Barack Obama and Barack Obama would not look at him. Barack Obama kept his head | Read More »


Desperate Dems Hide Behind Big Bird

Mitt Romney sure ruffled a lot of feathers over his proposal to eliminate taxpayer funding for government-sponsored TV. As soon as the GOP presidential candidate singled out PBS for cuts during the presidential debate in Denver, the hysterical squawking commenced.
Left-leaning celebrities immediately erupted on Twitter. “WOW!!! No PBS!! WTF how about cutting congress’s stuff leave big bird alone,” Whoopi Goldberg fumed. “Mitt is smirky, sweaty, indignant and smug with an unsettling hint of hysteria. And he wants to kill BIG BIRD,” actress Olivia Wilde despaired. “Who picks on Big Bird!!! ...


Swing State Polls are Rigged

After Wednesday night’s smashing debate victory for Mitt Romney, we may expect the national and swing state polls to change in the Republican’s direction. But not by as much as they should. These polls are biased in favor of President Obama and here’s the data to prove it:
From noted Republican pollster John McLaughlin comes a clear and convincing exposŽ of the bias of media polls in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
McLaughlin reviewed exit polls in each state for the past four elections. From this data about who ...


The undoing of the Storybook Man

It was the Puss in Boots eyes.
If you’ve seen the “Shrek” movies or the spin-off cartoon starring the storybook cat voiced by Antonio Banderas, you know what I’m talking about. Whenever Puss in Boots really needs something from someone, he flashes these enormous kitten eyes that melt anyone in their path. Whenever my daughter really wants something, she tries to lay them on me, and I have to say, “Stop trying to give me the Puss in Boots eyes … you can’t have chocolate cake for dinner.”
I knew Barack Obama ...


A Debate Rout of Herculean Proportions

I am elated to report to you something you surely already know: Mitt Romney trounced President Obama in their first debate. The rout was so decisive that even the liberal media cannot spin it the other way.
There is no need to grade this on a curve. Romney did very well in absolute, not relative, terms. He didn’t just do well compared with Obama’s poor performance; he really shone, in every category. He proved himself to be very knowledgeable on policy and business, quick on his feet and able to deliver ...


Obama May Need a Reagan Comeback

The first presidential debate of 2012 is now behind us. The reviews suggest that many were surprised at how well Mitt Romney did and how weakly President Obama performed.
The Instant Polls conducted by CBS and CNN showed Romney as the big winner. In fact, CNN found that Romney emerged with the largest advantage from any debate since they began the instant debate poll three decades ago.
This leads to two questions. The first is: How much of a difference will it make?
As I noted last week, debates rarely have a major ...


Romney’s Real Debate Victories

Obviously, Mitt Romney won last night’s debate. His passion, charisma, energy, eye contact, personality, force of argument and earnest compassion contrasted with a washed out, tired, hesitant President Obama.
But seeing the debate from a professional’s eye, Romney scored a number of key victories in the turf wars that underlie this campaign. These victories are likely to last and will shape the final month of this race long after the glow from Romney’s performance has faded.
1. Romney got out from under Obama’s character assassination negative ads. By failing to discuss the ...


Obama’s Education Plan Means $17 Million in New Union Dues Revenue

Education turned into a key issue in Wednesday's first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. Their visions could not have been more divergent and stark. Romney called for putting...


David Brin: Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch Moment

A great Presidential debate rant by author David Brin: Romney's Etch-a-Sketch Moment.

In fact, what we were witnessing during the last week was brilliant prep work, perfectly timed, for his Wednesday night veer and hard charge toward the center.  When Romney flat-out denied holding ANY of the beliefs or policies cited above!  Not only that, but he blamed the president for failure to unleash the CFPB on Wall Street with more vigor!

With panache you just had to admire, Romney moved from chutzpah...  claiming that - because of his three-day-old new tax policy he had never ruled out revenue increases or asking the rich to pay more or ever proposed a vast supply-side gift of trillions to the top 1%...

...all the way to flat-out lying. For example that ObamaCare is not directly modeled on the health care system he and the Democratic legislature enacted in his home state, when he was governor, down to the details of actual language in the bill.  As more and more elements of Obamacare have come into action, and proved publicly popular, those portions have come into Mitt's category of "oh, well, I'll keep THAT part, of course."  And each time, he gets away with claiming that it is not a reversal.

Or his claim that Obama's 90 billion dollars of aid to sustainable energy was fifty times the 3-4 billions per year of tax breaks given to the oil industry... when that 90 billion is mostly not expenditure but loan guarantees resulting in much lower costs, and is spread across many years.

I was reminded of an old Saturday Night Live sketch, in which a wife comes home to find her husband in bed with a bimbo and screams "what's this?" To which he replies: "What's what?  I don't know what you're talking about."  He keeps up his denial while calmly getting dressed and the bimbo dresses and departs. Stonewalling her rage, he maintains the counterfactual with such puzzled calm and patronizing panache, while making coffee and suggesting that the wife is having blithering fantasies, that she winds up just sitting at the table with him, letting him change the subject to how her day went.

Seriously. Are we that stupid?  And is Obama such a klutz he will just stare at the lies, in pole-axed surprise?


The NDAA Retroactively “Ass Covers” Some of the More Broadly-Applied Gitmo Detainments Says Lawsuit Plaintiff [Updated/Clarified]

[Note: this piece has been updated with an
email clarification from NDAA lawsuit plaintiff Tangerine Bolen. My
apologies if I misquoted or misinterpreted anything she

With 500-some pages of text, the 2012 National Defense
Authorization Act (NDAA) covers a lot more than just section
1021(b), but the majority of the debates over the bill involve the
very reason the four letters N-D-A-A have become shorthand for
fears of government power finally crossing a Rubicon. Whether or
not that’s really true, the caginess of the government in respect
to who it can
indefinitely detain
[pdf] is disturbing and demands a
clarification that is not being offered. 

Section 1021(b) reads that someone who can be indefinitely
detained is:

A person who was a part of or substantially
supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are
engaged in hostilities against the United States or its
coalition partners, including any person who has committed a
belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in
aid of such enemy forces.

The government says the controversial bit of the NDAA
is nothing new, but seven plaintiffs, including Pentagon
Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, dissident writer Noam
Chomsky, and journalist Chris Hedges, sued in January, arguing that
they were under threat. Hedges in particular argued that his First
Amendment rights are violated by the NDAA since he has interviewed
numerous members of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but now fears
doing so.

Another plaintiff in Hedges v. Obama is
activist Jennifer "Tangerine" Bolen, founder of the
pro-whistleblower group
She worries
 her organization's support of WikiLeaks and
imprisoned soldier and accused leaker Bradley Manning might also
make her or her allies applicable for detainment under the

Section 1021(a) of the bill repeats the government's power to go
after perpetrators (and those who harbored them, etc.) of the
September 11th attacks (put in writing in the joint Authorization
for Use of Military Force
 resolution) but
1021(b) does read an awful lot like it's expanding powers, even if
the actual text of the NDAA and Obama administration officials
claim it isn't changing anything. (For a good overview of the NDAA
up until now, go check out this Young Americans for
Liberty blog post.)

Bolen believes part of the subtext to these argument is
that the government wants an excuse to go after Julian Assange
and Wikileaks."They don't want to go after The New
York Times,
" she says, "They’re willing
to cherry-pick who they apply
indefinite detention to." But once they can get
to Assange, this power will "cascade downward" and then
people like Bolen or Hedges could be under threat as

The government's initial argument was that the powers
granted in provision 1021(b) 
were exactly the same
as those granted by the AUMF. Yet,
argues Bolen, if the AUMF and the NDAA are the same, why is
the government so desperate to stop this lawsuit? Why did they
appeal less than 24 hours after Judge Katherine Forrest’s
permanent block
 of indefinite detainment on September 13?
Why do they claim that block could cause "irreparable harm" to the
United States? Well, no harm done for the moment. On Tuesday
afternoon, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, and
 stayed Forrest's block until a final decision is
reached in December. Until then, or until this hits the
Supreme Court, indefinite detainment is back on.

The about the NDAA, says Bolen, is that it's a retroactive "CYA"
— cover your ass. "The AUMF powers were so broadly overused
for 11 years...this is an attempt [by the Obama administration] to
codify powers they never had." The Bush administration's secret
prisons and detainment, both at Gitmo and
at CIA
black sites
 all over, Bolen says that the AUMF
didn't allow any of that, but the NDAA would.
NDAA is, says Bolen, an attempt to legalize the past 11 years of
the most heated debates of the War on Terror. And Hedges
v. Obama
is “the latch on Pandora’s box” for proving “this
incredibly broad application of the AUMF which was never

In their Tuesday ruling, the Second Circuit judges
 [pdf] that it was in "the public interest" to grant
the government appeal a stay. Part of their reasoning was
that the government finally clarified that the plaintiffs had no
reason to fear detainment, meaning that they had no standing to sue
in the first place.

When the government initially refused to offer assurances that
the plaintiffs could not be detained back in March, this made Judge
Forrest more sympathetic to the question of whether the seven
individuals indeed had standing to sue. Later, in August, seeing
that Forrest was indeed going to block indefinite detainment, the
government did try to offer assurances that journalists
who were independent were under no threat by offering a clarifying
brief. This, according to to Bolen brought up a lot of
questions still for the judge. Bolen says Forrest asked,
"“Are youtube videos independent? Are you going to form a
panel to decide who is independent?" and she was still not
satisfied, leading to the Judge's 112-page ruling
in which she express
ed incredulousness over the
government's utter failure to make their
case.  [Correction: updated language to reflect
better accuracy in the timeline of the case.]

The wording in the
 response brief just does not
 any of the plaintiffs and opens up more questions
over whether the government may actually be considering keeping an
eye on journalists who are not seen as "independent."

Bolen, for her part, thinks that the case will make it to the
Supreme Court. But it’s up to her and her fellow-plaintiffs to try
to change public opinion to make sure NDAA gets thrown out. As for
her opinion on Obama, whose administration is pushing so hard on
this, well, it doesn't sound as harsh as you might think. She
mentions the near-lies that lead to the Iraq war and says that the
government is trained to “out-speak everyone” and that’s what
they’re doing again. But “it’s less insidious and less horrific
than under Bush. Not to excuse Obama, but he inherited a total
nightmare…He can’t
suddenly deny himself powers…”

* Bolen's response email to me included these clarifying
paragraphs. I have the struck-through quote in my notes, but I am
not interested in disputing that, and Bolen has more than made it
clear that she opposes Obama on this measure and that he -- in the
literal sense -- could have denied himseld the NDAA powers, in
spite of roads paved for him by Bush.

Firstly, in reference to the secret prisons, GTMO, etc, I did
not say the AUMF did not allow those. What I said was that we
believe that the AUMF detention powers were over-broadly applied -
subsequently sweeping up innocent people - and definitely people
who had nothing to do with 9/11, or are members of Al Qaida or the
Taliban - which is the definition of those powers. Those prisons
are legal, in fact (perhaps not all of the secret ones - I don't
know -.... 

Finally, the quote at the end is not reflective of what I said
either. Obama is likely in a position whereby he feels he cannot
suddenly deny himself powers on which two administrations have come
to rely. He cannot afford a terror attack on his watch, and he is
likely convinced he has no choice here. That is quite a bit
different than what you quoted me as saying. There is no way I
think that Obama can't suddenly deny himself powers - I think he
believes that is the case and that he is stuck in a position of
political realism that this country does not understand. That does
not excuse his willingness to erode civil liberties and undermine
human rights just like Bush did - I expected, and expect, him to do


Honest Joe is back at it: Do Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars? Yes we do!

**Written by Doug Powers

Honest Joe wants the government to suck more money out of the economy and dump it into a bottomless pit that’s already consumed over $16 trillion and counting? Yeah, that’ll unbury the middle class:

“On top of the trillions of dollars of spending that we have already cut, we’re gonna ask – yes – we’re gonna ask the wealthy to pay more,” said Biden. “My heart breaks, come on man. You know the phrase they always use? Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars. Guess what? Yes we do in one regard. We want to let that trillion dollar tax cut expire so the middle class doesn’t have to bear the burden of all that money going to the super wealthy. That’s not a tax raise, that’s called fairness where I come from.”

Biden doesn’t want the middle class to bear the burden of all that money going to the super wealthy. That’s why he’s proposing a tax increase so all the money can go to the government instead, allowing the middle class to be “helped” with more Solyndras and stimulus cronyism that has left the middle class even more buried than they were before Obama and Biden arrived:

Hey, why does that sound so familiar?

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is making sure the press is kept a fair distance from Joe.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe


CHAT: Friday Lunch with Heritage Chat on the Debate

The first of three presidential debates was held on Wednesday night. The debate, focused on domestic policy, covered many issues, and some issues were missed. Join us on Friday, October 5, from 12-1 ET for our “Lunch with Heritage” chat. We will be joined by Heritage’s Senior Fellow in Government Studies, Brian Darling, and he will be taking your questions about the policies that President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney discussed in the first debate. If you cannot make the chat, leave a question in the comments and we will try to answer it for you. If you would like to RSVP for the chat, leave your email address in the form below.


Crestina Martinez Wasted Taxpayer Dollars on Failing Health Coverage Program

Mailers from the Martinez Campaign claim the candidate "worked to decrease uninsured rates and recruit employers to provide healthcare to workers in six counties." According to reports available at the Division of Insurance, however, CarePoint covers just 116 residents in the San Luis Valley area -- a mere 2.4 percent of coverage that was promised when the government program that funds CarePoint was first expanded.


More Than 67 Million People Watched Last Night’s Debate

How important was last night’s Romney-Obama debate, which nearly everyone agrees was a lopsided win for Romney? Time will tell. But one thing we can know for sure is that it was, by far, the most-watched event of the 2012 campaign. The importance of debates is itself endlessly debated, and you can’t really tell the role of the debates in a race except with hindsight. | Read More »


Will the Obama Administration Attack Libya Before the Foreign Policy Debate?

Will the United States military strike targets in Libya before the October 22 presidential debate, which, coincidentally, will focus on foreign policy and national security?


Would this attack fall into the “October Surprise” or “Wag the Dog” category?

Probably not.

The attack would certainly be no surprise. On September 11, terrorists killed four Americans in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Since 9/11, the U.S. has consistently responded to terrorist attacks on American citizens with force—and done so as expeditiously as possible. A U.S. strike after Benghazi would be nothing new.

The attack could not also legitimately be a “Wag the Dog” scenario, with the Administration constructing a crisis to divert public attention from another issue. Clearly, terrorist activity has been building in North Africa for some time. In particular, there were numerous threats and attacks on U.S. personnel in Libya before September 11, 2012. There was bound to be a reckoning in Libya sooner or later.

On the other hand, will the Administration play the “national security” card to make the President look more presidential?

Of course it will.

The White House has a consistent record of shaping, shifting, and spinning foreign policy events for that purpose. Vice President Joe Biden’s declaration during a political speech that “Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive” was a typical example of how the Administration trumpets its record—as it sees it—to make the President look more commander-in-chief-like.

Even during the first presidential debate, which was supposed to be on domestic policy, President Obama mentioned several times that he had pulled the U.S. out of Iraq. Of course, this was framed as an accomplishment without any discussion or debate that the withdrawal may have been premature, resulting in the current declining state of security that’s compromising U.S. interests in the region.

Will the President try to use military operations to shield himself from criticism or suppress the investigation into government activities before, during, and after the attacks in Benghazi?

Probably not.

The Administration is too smart to think it can use military operations to play duck and cover—that would just fuel Wag the Dog speculation. Nor is it likely that Governor Romney will go after the President for attacks in Libya. He no doubt learned a lesson to be more cautious and deliberate after the criticism he received in responding to the statement made by the U.S. embassy in Cairo before the anti-American riots broke out.

Will there be a serious discussion on foreign policy in the next presidential debate regardless of what happens in Libya?

You bet.

There is no subject on which the two candidates differ more than in their views regarding foreign policy and national security. They represent two profoundly different paths on nuclear weapons and missile defense policy; what constitutes a strong nation defense; the way U.S. engages with countries like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea; and a host of other issues. There is no way they can just rally around the flag for 90 minutes in a presidential debate on foreign policy and national security.

One way or another, the question of “Are you safer now than you were four years ago?” is going to get answered.


Stephen Colbert on George Will’s Political Post-Racial Journalism