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Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

It’s Official: Britain’s Muslim Population Doubled

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

The national census for England and Wales has come out, and, as usual, this once-a-decade event has had all of its most significant points overlooked.

By any measure, what it reveals is a country undergoing seismic change. Over the course of a decade up to four million more people have entered the country to live. In the capital, London, people identifying themselves as “white British” have for the first time become a minority. Perhaps most strikingly, the national Muslim population has doubled.

This last fact is perhaps one of the least considered of the census so far. Doubled? Surely not. This has to be the claim of Mark Steyn or some other demographics-obsessed nut. Well no, it isn’t, and it is now official: between 2001 and 2011 the Muslim population of the UK rose from 1.5 million to 2.7 million. Otherwise put, that is an increase from 3 percent to 4.8 percent of the overall population.

If in 2001 the British Prime Minister had said to the British public that over the next decade he intended to double the number of Muslims in the country, he would most likely never have been returned to office. But of course he did not say that, any more than any of his successors or predecessors did.

For the last decade, every major politician has lied about this issue. While talking tough, about putting a cap on immigrant numbers, pushing people to assimilate and much else besides, they have done nearly nothing. For instance, ten years ago Home Secretary David Blunkett talked as tough as he thought he could, saying that migrants ought to learn English. His successor, Jacqui Smith, said the same thing five years later. As did immigration minister Phil Woolas a couple of years after that. Throughout the last decade the Labor government managed to do exactly what the Conservative and coalition governments before and after them have also managed to do: go as far as they thought they could in rhetoric while going wholly against what they said — and the wishes of the country — in actions.

Now we can see the fruits of their labors. The census reveals that three million people are now living in households where no adult speaks English as their primary language. As Labor’s Sadiq Khan has admitted, local councils have spent their money on translation services rather than language classes, thus actually dissuading people from learning the language. The result is communities with inter-generational language barriers. There are parts of London where a quarter of the people are in the same situation. They have created a society where many people can speak about each other but many cannot actually speak to each other. And all the while politicians and pundits are busy trying to pretend that this is all the most wonderful result imaginable.

The London Evening Standard welcomed the news that white British-born people had become a minority in their own city, and ran a lead opinion piece accusing anybody unhappy about the doubling of the number of Muslims of being “Islamophobes.” Since then, the comments have barely gotten more enlightened. The author Will Self declared on the BBC’s leading talk show Question Time that people unhappy about the direction Britain is going on are “racists.”

On the BBC’s Newsnight I sat alongside two very nice, wealthy, successful immigrants who explained how positive the census results were for Britain, showing a “diverse” and “multicultural” society. I was the only one of the four panelists to point out that this wave of immigration might have any negative effects. And the only one to point out that the strange thing about a “multicultural” society of this kind is that it can celebrate every imaginable culture other than the one which allows all these cultures to co-exist alongside each other. In other words, it is the center which is the only thing not being celebrated, and the center that is being consciously eroded. Worst of all is that this happened in defiance of the repeatedly expressed views – as tested time and again in nationwide polls – of the general public.

Of course much of this simply confirms what the last Labor government appears to have intended. Three years ago, in the Evening Standard, Andrew Neather, a former adviser to the Blair government, said that the huge upsurge in immigration over the last decade was in part due to a politically motivated attempt by Labor ministers radically to alter the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity.’”

Jewish Values are the Salvation of the Republican Party

Monday, November 19th, 2012

A ‘malignant weapon’. That was the phrase used by a friend of mine — a national TV host who inclines toward Republicans but this year voted Democrat, to describe how Republicans use religion. “Why has religion made Republicans harsh. Shouldn’t it give them a soft heart?”

The congressional campaign I ran was based on the idea that the economic malaise in America was due to a values erosion. So long as we obsess over abortion, gay marriage, and contraception to the exclusion of any other values, we cannot fix our problems. I ran to start the process of replacing the austerity of some of the Christian social values, which have defined the GOP for decades, with the positive and life-affirming values of Judaism.

I also knew, from my many lectures before women’s groups, that the sexual obsession that has come to define Republican social values could cost the GOP the election. At the start of my campaign, one Republican leader told me, “Americans want to hear about the economy, not values issues.” He was right. But little did he realize that extremist social values rhetoric would wound Republicans. There is now a consensus that the GOP’s alienation of women due to the social sexual obsession, as well as the alienation of Latinos due to their position on immigration, did incalculable harm to the GOP.

Here is what confuses me about Republican Jewish donors. They give the party their money when their values are probably even more relevant at this juncture. Why do those Jews who support the party generously not clamor for a greater infusion of Jewish values that would change the conversation away from values that alienate to values that inspire?

I care about the Republican Party because of its strong emphasis on the dignity that comes from economic opportunity and self-reliance, a robust foreign policy that holds dictators accountable for slaughtering their people, its emphasis on school choice, and strong support for Israel. And anyone who cares about the party knows that it can no longer postpone a serious reexamination of its sexual values obsession. My great teacher, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, advocated a ten point plan for people to start leading more spiritual lives. Only one of those ten was about sex, namely, the laws of Jewish family purity. That’s ten percent focus on sex. But the Republican trifecta of abortion, gay marriage, and contraception, is one hundred percent about sex. How strange is that?

And for those Democrats who are gloating about the Republican loss, with all due respect, at least the Republicans are trying to highlight moral issues, even if they’re misguided. The Democrats do not offend with their values because, with the exception of economic values issues, they barely discuss the subject. Here, then, is what the GOP must do to rebuild itself.

1.     Repudiate the religious extremists who are obsessed with abortion, rape, and sex. If candidates want to speak about legitimate rape or divinely-sanctioned rape, let them do so from an asylum. Not as official representatives of the Republican Party. If they want to obsess over sex and reduce all of America’s greatness to a trifecta of social sexual obsession, they can. They can create the “All-sex-all-the-time Party.” But get this conversation out of the GOP. The Republican Party represents more than opposition to abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. Judaism, for the record, allows contraception, believes that sex is for intimacy and pleasure as well as procreation, and has a far more lenient position on abortion than Catholics or Evangelicals. And since the Christian position on abortion is based on the Hebrew Bible, specifically Exodus 21:22, the time has perhaps come for Christians to look to the Jews for a different understanding of this text.

2.     Preach positive inspirational values that lead to altruistic citizenry. Bring the values conversation out of the bedroom and show Americans you’re prepared to talk about values in the boardroom and the living room. Stop talking exclusively about gay marriage and focus on saving heterosexual marriage. Make marital counseling tax deductible. Pass legislation creating a year of national service so America raises generations of more altruistic youth. If the Republican argument is that Democrats are winning elections because they have become the ‘Free Stuff Party,’ then counter by making the GOP into the ‘Serve America’ party. Embrace and co-opt the JFK’s credo of asking more about what we can give to our country rather than take from it.

3.     Embrace the Biblical Teaching of Loving the Stranger. No one should come into this country by breaking the law. But there might be something personally virtuous in a man or woman who steals across the Rio Grande at great risk to feed their babies and send money back to poor families. America has to stop illegal immigration. But that doesn’t mean it has to demonize illegal immigrants. We need to distinguish between those who steal into our country to blow up buildings and those who come in because they regard America as a land of opportunity. Stop ignoring the twelve million undocumented workers who form a shadow economy and who are not paying taxes while benefiting from living here. Mass deportation is unrealistic and immoral. Penalize them for having broken the law, but give them a path to remain here and contribute.

4.     Focus on legal immigration from Latin American countries, as opposed to Europe. As my friend Robert Goldbaum, who was a Romney surrogate, told me, Latin American immigrants want to come to America because they love its opportunities and want to work. This is different from the entitlement-addled economies of Europe whose immigrants are used to, and expect, government programs. Latino immigrants are deeply in sync with American values of hard work and entrepreneurship. The Republican Party should be taking the lead in pushing for far higher quotas for Latino immigrants as opposed to other regions.

5.     Show the black community that Republicans understand the history of adversity African-Americans have faced. There is little chance that many African-Americans will vote Republican right now. But it makes no difference. The Republican Party should undertake a grand gesture to give the lie once and for all that it is a party insensitive to black concerns. This is, after all, the party of Lincoln. The Republican house should sponsor a bill for the construction of a monument on the national mall commemorating the greatest American evil of all, namely slavery, to demonstrate Republicans are attuned to African-American history and suffering. But while we commemorate the past, we move forward to the future. The Democratic Party often takes the Black community for granted, as I saw in my own race where my challenger did not even turn up for the NAACP candidates’ forum. President Obama skipped the NAACP convention as well. Drive home Republican emphasis on school vouchers and how the Democratic Party has caved to the teacher’s unions to put teacher tenure before children’s education. In my campaigning, most African-American parents whom I met strongly supported vouchers, charter schools, and school choice.

6.     Women, women, women, and more women. Destroy the myth that the Republican Party is hostile to women. According to Gallup, the 20-point gender gap in this presidential election set an all-time record. Republicans should stop obsessing on the uteruses of young women and instead pledge to reduce abortion by focusing on the Guttmacher Institute’s data that 85% of all abortions take place outside of marriage. Strengthen marriage, educate men to respect women, and you’ll automatically and significantly reduce the number of abortions. Stop making this a legal battle.

7.    Have more kids. For a party that so strongly opposes abortion, we sure aren’t having enough kids. People believe the Republican Party is the rich people’s party. This is an unfair and inaccurate characterization. But what is certainly true is that while immigrant communities (most of whom vote Democrat) continue to have large families, those who are better off economically have fewer children, statistically. Stop complaining about immigrants. The more Americans the better. But the growth of the indigenous population, of people reared from birth in this great nation, is just as important.

The Numbers Game

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

There’s only so many ways to skin a cat or win an election. Like gambling, you don’t just take the easy money, you look for the big score. The Republicans have always taken the easy money, setting up their own dime store New Deal after losing to FDR and Truman, setting up affirmative action and HMOs after JFK and LBJ; scoring short term political victories and long term defeats.

As we speak, a small horde of consultants and would-be consultants is urging the Republican Party to take the easy money of amnesty, tax hikes and anything else that will make them an inoffensive version of last election’s Democratic Party. And if any of that is followed by a victory, then the consultants order an expensive bottle of wine and the left goes on planning another big score.

The key to winning the game is in the numbers. Demographics.

The weakness of the kind of state that Western liberals love to set up, the one with 4-day workweeks where everyone is either in a university or a union, where no one goes to church or synagogue, where having more than 2 kids is frowned on and retirement can be had before your hair goes white, is that it demographically trends conservative. Not necessarily what most conservatives think of as being conservative, but nevertheless those retired 60-year olds who have one daughter named Inga and take four vacations a year, don’t much like change. They don’t like America, Israel, banks, war, monarchy and a lot of the things that the left expects them not to like; but they also form societies that lack the left’s radical appetite for change.

Older societies trend conservative. And a low birth rate means that the society will be old and the growth in children will come from more traditional households. Those children can be broken down in the mandatory public education system and influenced through cultural dementia, but the long run prospects don’t look good for the left. Eventually you end up with a society where everyone expects to retire at 55, even though there aren’t enough younger workers to take their place, and half of those potential younger workers are getting useless advanced degrees or dreaming of moving to America, while the other half are joining some revivalist religious movement. And that’s a bad deal either way.

The left’s utopias are not only economically unsustainable (what else is new) but also politically and demographically unsustainable. The economics can’t be fixed, but the politics and demographics can. As with all of the left’s solutions, they involve finding ways of making things much, much worse. And their answer to the demographic and political problem is immigration. Bring in young people from elsewhere who will have lots of kids and vote the straight slanted ticket. Preferably the kind who won’t get along with the locals and will be taught to constantly complain about racism, even though back where they’re from, racism was as accepted as daylight drug deals and beheadings.

Bring them in, run their kids through the same system, add a few holidays to the calendar, enjoy the new ethnic foods and hopefully teach their kids to stop having so many kids if they want to retire at 55 and fill their house with knickknacks from their vacations in Greece and Brazil. And then fill the new gap with more immigrants. It’s a plan that makes as much economic sense as the European Union and is twice as sustainable. After all lots of people in the world want free health care and a passport from a country that won’t collapse into a murderous civil war when the price of bread goes through the minaret.

And if the assimilation program doesn’t work, well then you only have to bring in half as many immigrants next time around, because all those countries you brought those immigrants from are now in your own country. Saves on jet fuel and coast guards. Not to mention language lessons, though it usually turns out that you need them anyway because your excellent schools no longer seem to be doing such a good job of teaching your own language and what used to be your language is now an argot composed of the languages of your immigrants and bits of your own language processed into the fake street slang of rap stars. And before you know it, you’re using it too.

It’s a dead end. It’s Rome with the barbarians sorting through the loot. It’s China when the wall fell. It’s Byzantium when the Bedouin raiders poured through and began the centuries long process of tearing apart Middle Eastern Christianity, that Islam wrapped up. It’s the long fall of civilization into night with a bloody pension and a hell of a retirement plan lost somewhere in the middle of a pile of broken marble columns.

But it keeps the left alive. Without diversity, the left is a bunch of corpulent unions protecting their pensions while the young people look at brochures of London and Los Angeles and finish their fourth degree. Without it, the left eventually dries up, blows away in the wind and dies after running a few protests against austerity and then has to implement it anyway.

Diversity isn’t a moral principle. It’s oxygen for a dead movement. It’s the only way that the left can stay alive long enough to fulfill the accidental mission of every parasite by killing its host. It’s the numbers game and as long as the left can cobble together these coalitions built on the backs of immigrants and tied together with community associations and piles of free stuff, then it can go on squatting on a society, dipping its proboscis in the sweet nectar of wealth and power, and then when the nectar runs out, switching to sipping its blood.

The left needs immigration to run its numbers game. It needs immigration to survive. It needs immigration to force further change on societies that would be static if left to their own devices. It needs immigration to provide it with a permanently disadvantaged working class from an infinite supply of billions. It needs to make its own failed society fail in new ways by injecting other failed societies into it.

Play the diversity of numbers and the kids stop dreaming of London and LA and start hanging out at clubs where diversity seems to make life more exciting. The declining native upper class and the immigrant working class shake hands over the bodies of the native working class and the whole broken train rumbles forward into the night.

But this numbers game depends on no opposition party emerging to represent the people left out of this arrangement. And there are two kinds of opposition parties. The cheerfully capitalist party whose leaders have gone to all the right schools and are obscenely enthusiastic about bringing some fresh blood into the country. And the other kind. The ones who aren’t interested in fresh blood.

The opposition party and its composition doesn’t matter that much until the crunch kicks in. That is what happens when economic unsustainability begins to outrace all the imaginary numbers and the accounting tricks that involve selling debt in exchange for debt and building all the debt into a tall house of debt cards and the knives come out and the sacrifices begin. And like all cannibal feasts, it’s a question of who gets cut and who does the cutting.

The unofficial cutting order on the left, after everything else has been drained, the rich have fled to their tax havens and small businesses sell things that fell off trucks on the way to the government giveaway, is native pensions, immigrant benefits and then their own salaries. The natives will howl, of course, but the question is will they be able to do anything more than howl.

The left can control the table but democracy is also a number. The right amount of votes can change the nature of the game entirely. It’s all a question of thinking long term and planning for the right moment, instead of the right sellout. Compromises don’t win elections, strategic tactical grievances do. And then when the moment comes, the overton window opens, the grievance gets hurled and the game changes.

The difference between the left and the right is that the left has a five-year plan and the right has a five-second plan. The left knows what it’s going to do four years from now when the numbers look even worse than they do today. But what is the right going to do? Run another cheerful capitalist who promises to use his Olympics experience to fix the economy, but never really seizes those grievances and goes for the throat? That’s what the left is counting on.

And until then maybe it’s time to serve up some more amnesty. Because who can have just one portion of a delicious demographic treat like unsustainable economics fused with millions of free votes?

No game is unwinnable. But you have to know the odds and play to win. Demographics, like all other games, is winnable, but you have to know how to play the game.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Jewish GOPers Ponder Party’s Future Course In Wake Of Romney Defeat

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

WASHINGTON – The Republican Party as a whole is reconsidering how it might have done better in an election that saw the party fail to win the White House and suffer modest losses in Congress, and Jewish Republicans and conservatives are coming forward with their own insights.

“There will be a lot of very frank conversations between our organization and its leadership and the leadership within the party,” Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said last week in a conference call that otherwise addressed gains that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared to have made among Jewish voters.

A number of Romney’s financial backers – including Fred Zeidman of Texas, Mel Sembler of Florida and Sheldon Adelson – are among the RJC’s leadership, and Brooks made clear that their voices would be heard.

“A lot of the major financial support the candidates received was from the members of this organization,” Brooks said. “There is a lot of weight behind their message on that.”

William Daroff, the Washington director of the Jewish Federations of North America and a former deputy to Brooks at the RJC, said Republican Jews would likely advise the party to take more moderate positions.

“The conventional wisdom is that the election will result in the shift of the Republican Party to the center, particularly on issues of immigration,” Daroff said. “To the extent that the party does shift, it would make Republican candidates more appealing to Jewish voters who may be inclined to vote Republican on foreign policy and homeland security issues but who have been turned off by conservative Republicans rigidity on social issues.”

Some of the leading voices counseling moderation of Republican policies have been Jewish conservatives. One of the first post-election posts from Jennifer Rubin, who writes the Right Turn blog for the Washington Post, said it was time to stop opposing gay marriage in the political arena.

“Republicans for national office would do well to recognize reality,” Rubin said. “The American people have changed their minds on the issue and fighting this one is political flat-earthism. As with divorce, one need not favor it, but to run against it is folly, especially for national politicians who need to appeal to a diverse electorate.”

Charles Krauthammer, the syndicated columnist, noted sharp Democratic gains among Hispanic voters and counseled a change in immigration policy, making clear that the current GOP emphasis on securing the borders should be followed by amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country.

Romney had advocated disincentives, including making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to get jobs and educations, that would push them to leave, or “self deport.”

“Many Hispanics fear that there will be nothing beyond enforcement. So, promise amnesty right up front,” Krauthammer wrote in his Nov. 9 column. “Secure the border with guaranteed legalization to follow on the day the four border-state governors affirm that illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle.”

Zeidman, the fundraiser, said Jewish Republicans had a special role in making the case for immigration reform.

“The rest of the party has to understand what we as Jews have always understood – that this is a nation of immigrants and to ignore them is to end up losing,” he said. A number of conservatives have lashed back against calls for policy changes, saying that the party was missing the ideas revolution underpinning the 2010 Tea Party insurgency that propelled Republicans to the majority in the House of Representatives. “There’s no point in two Democratic parties,” said Jeff Ballabon, a Republican activist from New York. “Any such victory would be pyrrhic.”

Singling out gay marriage or immigration was self-defeating, said Ballabon.

Recalling the drawing power of a figure like Ronald Reagan, Ballabon said positions on hot-button issues matter less than a party leader who can appeal across demographic lines.

“The only chance we have is there’s another bold visionary who can attract people not based on divide and conquer, but who can inspire people to core American ideals – liberty, freedom, personal responsibility,” Ballabon said.

Tevi Troy, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said the problem was not with policies but with how they were presented.

“There are messaging challenges,” he said. ”I don’t think any of our candidates should talk about rape.”

Indian Tribe Aliyah Approved

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Israel’s government approved the immigration of the Bnei Menashe, an Indian tribe that claims Jewish ancestry.

The approval comes after a five-year gap since the last group of Bnei Menashe arrived in Israel.

Members of the group, who claim descent from the lost tribe of Menashe, must undergo a conversion process even though it is accepted as fact that they have Jewish roots.

The Cabinet on Oct. 25 voted to restart the tribe’s aliyah. A flight of more than 270 Bnei Menashe reportedly will arrive in the coming weeks, according to Army Radio.

The new immigration reportedly will be funded and facilitated by Shavei Israel, a non-governmental organization that helps locate and reconnect to Judaism and Israel the descendants of Jews.

Some 1,700 Bnei Menashe are living in Israel, and as many as 9,000 remain in India and Burma, according to the Times of Israel.

Romney by Points, Obama Still Underpresent, Candy Crowley Not the Greatest Hall Monitor

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

I made the mistake of letting the CNN feed linger beyond the hour and a half of the second presidential debate tonight, and so I realized, as I often do in these cases, that the folks around the discussion table and I come from alternate universes—very close, many of the same details on both my and their planet Earth, but still different universes.

They said something about the president being forceful and challenging Romney at every turn, reversing the trend, stopping the bleeding.

I saw President Obama still finding it difficult to sound cool and calculated without his trusted teleprompter. Romney is also not the captain of the debating team, but compared with his opponent he came across coherent, strong, self assured.

This has nothing to do with my opinion of which one of these two men is better suited to be president, only with their performances tonight. And I’m beginning to think a freestyle conversation, just like a structured debate, is not something President Obama is good at.

I took copious notes, so I’m ready to do the play by play to make my point, but first a note about tonight’s moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley: decidedly not Martha Raddatz. Where Raddatz was authoritative while allowing Joe Biden and Paul Ryan some moving room to make their points – Crowley was all about making sure the next Hofstra student got a chance to ask his or her question. Instead of helping the candidates, she tripped them, consistently denying both of them the chance to respond to one another’s charges.

I wanted to hear those responses, and definitely cared more about what either candidate had to say about the other’s allegations than I did about whether or not every kid on Crowley’s list got to show America how bright they were (they weren’t—you got the feeling each question was an obvious softball for one of the candidates, Romney even thanked one of them for a question that served his campaign needs, letting him massage away the 47% freeloaders thing).

Crowley was less informed, less agile, less introspective, and in the end far less effective than Raddatz. To her credit, though, she was equally annoying to both candidates, cutting them off about the same number of times when they were in the middle of saying something interesting, or just going to.

So, now, the play by play.

The first question was: How can you reassure me that I will have a job when I graduate. It brought on a minor clash between the two men over the Detroit bankruptcy. Romney said that what he meant by his “let it go bankrupt” remark was that GM and the rest of the big car makers needed to undergo a court monitored Chapter 11 procedure, and emerge prosperous in the end. He lied, of course. He meant let them drop dead–check out You Tube. Obama managed to capitalize on the opportunity and called Romney on it, developing the point into an attack on Romney’s record in business and as governor.

But even that early in the game it became obvious that no matter how good a strike Obama will get tonight, he couldn’t hit it out of the park. He ended up making the necessary argument, but his delivery was choppy, he paused to think way too frequently in mid-sentence, in a manner that almost made me lose interest in his final answer.

He reminded me of those endless debates he had with Hillary, back in 2008, when Obama just couldn’t deliver the knockout punch. It’s not his strong suit. He’s not eager enough. Maybe he’s not that kind of a fighter. He is better at jabbing for points and avoiding being knocked down. But that makes for boring television.

Both candidates were stiff and reserved on the question “Do you agree that it’s not the job of the Energy Dept. to lower gas prices.” It was a strangely phrased question, too, not dealing with the issue of whether or not gas prices were too high, but with government’s role in tweaking them.

Of course, Romney took it to the arena of gas prices being too high (up from $1.80 under Bush to $4 today – although I thought it was more like $2.50 under Bush), saying Obama cut drilling licenses on federal land. Obama explained there were too many license holders who didn’t use them, and those were eliminated. He sounded presidential for a brief moment, showing deeper knowledge than his opponent of the working of government. But he didn’t relate specifically to the actual price shifts at the pump, letting Romney win the round on points.

On tax deductions and tax credits, Romney set the record straight on his own tax policy. He will not reduce taxes on the rich and will not increase taxes on the middle class. Addressing one of the main items Democrats present as his plan, Romney was forceful in saying it ain’t so.

Obama said he cut taxes 18 times and reduced taxes by $2,500. He added that it’s Republicans in Congress who are holding the middle class hostage, until they’re allowed to to cut taxes for the top 2%.

Romney challenged him quite comfortably, avoiding any reference to the stonewalling Republican House, naturally. He promised he would bring tax rates down, emphasized that he’s not interested in cutting taxes for the rich—they will continue to pay 60% in income taxes.

No, they won’t, of course, because their teams of attorneys would make sure of that. But Romney sounded extremely confident in stating, for the record, that he didn’t have a soft spot in his heart for billionaires.

Obama said Romany’s math doesn’t add up. He challenged Romney to show specifics. How would he cut taxes and increase spending on the military, for instance, without adding deficits?

This is one of Romney’s weakest points, and so he attacked Obama’s deficits, and didn’t offer specifics on his own plan. And Obama let him get away with it. This time it wasn’t the moderator’s fault. Obama remained seated and let the opportunity go by without hitting Romney hard on his “voodoo” economics .

In what ways do you plan to rectify inequalities in the workplace for women’s pay?

This was a softball for Obama. Romney, who answered first, proceeded to talk about his record as governor, with Massachusetts hiring more women than any other state. He promised flexible hours, so mothers can keep their jobs and take care of their families (when do these women sleep?). He attacked Obama on women’s unemployment under his stewardship. Well, sure, if you have 20 million unemployed Americans, 10 million are liable to be women. But Romney scored better than his opponent on women in the workplace, and for a Republican this is found money.

Obama attacked Romney on Planned Parenthood, which Romney had said he would eliminate. Once again, the president missed out on one of his biggest advantages over Romney. Even women who plan to vote Republican are afraid of what that would do to Roe V. Wade. Planned Parenthood survived a congressional attack this year and is thriving because women across party lines support it. Republicans this election year have made countless blunders on a woman’s right to abortion and contraceptives – and Obama was unable to deliver a good blow with that one?

Romney did very well on the question of what’s the biggest difference between Romney and Bush, which was tailor-made for him. He said he agrees with Obama on the failure of the Bush administration on deficits, and said Obama is making them worse. It was almost fun to watch Romney hit that one skillfully.

Obama attacked Romney, saying his policies promote the same tax cuts that brought us from surpluses to deficits under Bush. He attacked Romney on his outsourcing to China and on investing in companies that sell surveillance equipment to China. And he said Romney is worse than Bush on social issues, because Bush wasn’t against Planned Parenthood.

Really? This is when you finally turn on the Planned Parenthood attack? Phrase “too little too late” mean anything to you?

There’s no doubt about the difference between the two candidates tonight: Romney was smoother, more fluent. Obama was choppy. It’s a matter of personal style. Obama’s attempts to interrupt Romney were halfhearted. Romney didn’t do it as many times—or so it appeared—but when he did, he was robust, his heart was definitely in it.

A Black gentleman said he voted for Obama in 2008, and asked what the president has done since to earn his vote in 2012.

Obama reviewed the highlights of his record, and it was becoming more and more obvious that he was off his mark tonight. His speech just didn’t flow, he didn’t seem confident. He came up with the facts and figures, but he continued to sound hollow, continued to fail to be excited about his own record.

Romney delivered a simple attack on Obama’s record, and it worked. He listed Obama’s failures with conviction. I didn’t think he was a lot better than his opponent, but enough to sound like the more energetic of the two.

On immigration policy, Romney said that he’s for immigration, but will not grant amnesty to illegal aliens. He attacked Obama on not enacting the laws he promised four years ago, to reform immigration policy.

Obama was hesitating on what should have been his softball to hit into the parking lot. He was good on the facts but, again, not exciting. He was good on the Romney record supporting “self immigration” and the Arizona “papers please” law, but failed to make even the most elementary Democratic plea about compassion and the lives of countless individuals who are already contributing to American society.

In this clash between two styles of speech, Romney’s continued to work better tonight.

Romney hits Obama on immigration policy. It was amazing to see him hitting the president hard on not living up to his promises on an issue that Obama should own.

Obama’s counter attack was reluctant.

Then Romney hijacked the discussion to discuss his investments—an Obama charge from half an hour earlier—saying Obama’s pension fund also invests in China. He tried to engage Obama in revealing, basically, how much money he had, to which the president answered what we all know: a lot less than Romney. Score half a point to Obama.

Obama started sounding better when he noted that Romney’s adviser on immigration is the guy who designed the “papers please” law in Arizona. But he didn’t do much more than that with this gold nugget of a talking point. It was hard to watch – like sitting in the stands watching your kid’s team losing because he or she missed a free throw…

The question “Who denied enhanced security for the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya and why?” had only one great Democratic answer, which Joe Biden delivered last week: Paul Ryan did, when he slashed $200 million for embassy security from the budget.

Obama was really bad on the Benghazi question. He tried to sound commander-in-chief like but came across underpresent. He accused Romney of being irresponsible, sending out a press release while the action was still going on. Good point, but he couldn’t in his wildest dreams connect Romney to the abysmal intelligence failure that led to the consulate quadruple murders. Hillary said earlier that half the buck stopped with her – she accepted responsibility for Benghazi but it was someone else’s fault. Obama should have said: It was Congressman Ryan’s fault. End of discussion. Because otherwise that whole affair made the Administration look awful.

Romney sympathized with the losses, ignored the press release thing altogether, and accused Obama of going to fund raisers while the action on the ground was still going on and an ambassador had just been killed. He was strong and forceful – but still no knockout.

Obama defended his record on Benghazi, and sounded injured, telling Romney it’s offensive to say he doesn’t care. These people work for him, of course he cares.

The CNN experts later said this was among those big all-time presidential debates moments. I didn’t fall off my seat. But what do I know, they could be right.

Then Obama scored a point on fact checking, when Romney challenged his statement that he called the Benghazi attack an act of terror on the first day. Candy Crowley confirms. That was a win for the president.

But when Obama told Crowley to repeat out loud that, in fact, he called it an act of terror on day one, he sounded actually angry. He suddenly appeared very much aware of the tough night he was having, and that things were not going his way.

I believe Obama only had about four really good minutes, near the end. It started with a softball question to both candidates: What do you believe is the biggest misperception that Americans have about you as a man and a candidate.

Romney lapped it up and came across great, talking about how he’s really embracing 100% (not 47%) of Americans. And added some stuff about believing in God.

Obama said he does not believe in government-created jobs, as his opponents claim he does. But he believes everybody should have a shot, and everybody should have a fare share. He then delivered the first good attack of the night, saying Romney’s behind-closed-doors 47% comment betrayed his real scorn for the elderly, the veterans, the unemploed etc.Alas, too ,little too Late. Match goes to Romney, but I don’t expect this debate to have a dramatic influence on the polls. According to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Tuesday night’s debate, 46% of voters who watched said the president won, 39% said Republican nominee Mitt Romney did.

Nobody calls me from these polls…

 

The Emperor Obama?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

There certainly is wide enough room for thoughtful and well-meaning people to disagree about the appropriate approach to the presence in the United States of millions of people who have come here illegally. But those same thoughtful Americans should be very concerned with President Obama’s unilateral amendment of federal law in this regard. It is yet another indication that the president believes no federal asset is unavailable to him in his reelection bid and that he has a presumptive monopoly on knowing what is right for America.

Despite federal laws providing for the deportation of illegal immigrants, the president last week issued an executive order that generally will allow illegal immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16 and are younger than 30 to remain here without fear of deportation. Yet Congress has repeatedly refused to amend the law to adopt such a policy. And last year Mr. Obama himself rejected the importuning of immigration activists in this regard, saying the matter was beyond his authority:

With respect to the notion that I could suspend deportations though executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed and…the executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws and then the judiciary has to interpret the law. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.

Not a few commentators have pointed out that while the president has the authority under certain circumstances to refuse to enforce what he believes to be an unconstitutional law and to prioritize prosecutions because of limited resources, nobody is arguing that the immigration laws are unconstitutional, nor can he unilaterally carve out an exemption from the coverage of a law for an arbitrarily configured category of people.

Particularly disturbing are the blatantly political motivations of the president and his obvious attitude that everything goes. Even The New York Times, usually supportive of Mr. Obama to a fault, noted the politics of the executive order: “In many ways, President Obama’s unilateral shift in immigration policy was a bluntly political move, a play for a key voting bloc in the states that will decide whether he gets another term.”

Most chilling, though, is the president’s rationale that his actions “were the right thing for the American people,” as if that is a one-dimensional proposition to be determined by him alone. Indeed, here is what a White House official said:

We work to achieve our policy goals in the most effective and appropriate way possible. Often times, Congress has blocked efforts and we look to pursue other appropriate means of achieving our policy goals. Sometimes this makes for less-than-ideal policy situations – such as the action we took on immigration – but the president isn’t going to be stonewalled by politics, he will pursue whatever means available to do business on behalf of the American people.

This all bears careful consideration as we approach the November election.

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