Editorial Cartoon of the Day: October 25, 2013

Editorial Cartoon of the Day: October 25, 2013

Tom Stiglich, Creators Syndicate

Tom Stiglich, Creators SyndicateCartooning is Tom's life.

He started as a child and hasn't stopped. Born and raised in Philadelphia, drawing has been a great way to support a serious cheese steak addiction.

While in high school, his first cartoon was published by the Philadelphia Daily News.

Tom is a nationally syndicated political cartoonist whose work is distributed by Creators Syndicate. His cartoons have appeared in the USA Today, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Phila. Daily News, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Newsweek Japan, TIME magazine, TIME.com, Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Oak Ridge Now, Mad Kids magazine and in the annual book series 'Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year.'

He is a three-time recipient for the Citation of Excellence award from the United Nations and currently has a cartoon on exhibit at the Charles M. Schulz museum in Santa Rosa, California.

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Ted Cruz’s Moment in Time

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

The decision of whether to run for president of the United States is unlike any that a human being faces.

And yet Rafael Ted Cruz, the junior U.S. senator from Texas, faces it. Not now. Not even soon. Next year probably. Certainly by Thanksgiving 2014.

Imagine the discussion a candidate and his or her spouse will have. How hard will it be? It is 20 hours a day for two years. Calls with your spouse are scheduled. You will see every fleabag motel in the early states. You’ll freeze, eat terrible food, get sick, miss family events and rarely enjoy any private time.

And then, if you are the one Republican out of 10 who runs the table, lucky enough to become the nominee, you probably will face a 40 percent chance of beating Hillary Clinton (if she runs).

Should you win, you can look forward to eight years that turns you prematurely gray. You can never go grocery shopping alone again. You may have an assassination attempt. Everything you’ve ever done will be viewed in the worst possible light. Your life will be turned upside down.

Why, yes, I think I’ll sign up for that.

Anyone who thinks they should be president has a rare amount of personal confidence. Without that assuredness, success in politics would never have been possible in the first place.

Ted Cruz is certainly confident. And he has reason to be.

He is universally recognized, even by his harshest critics, as brilliant. Take the cream of the crop, put them at Princeton. Then take the cream of that crop, and put them at Harvard Law School. Then take the cream of that crop, and let them clerk for the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He exists in a frighteningly small intellectual universe.

Is that enough to win?

The odds that he wins the presidency in 2016 cannot be much worse than the odds facing him when he ran for the U.S. Senate. He started off below the margin of error in the polls, with no fundraising and little support. He relentlessly worked it — doggedly traveling the state, winning over workhorse activists and volunteers with his passion, his intellect and his ability to convince them that he would fight.

I see nothing that would prevent him from doing that writ large.

In politics, the races you don’t run are perhaps more important than the races you do. Had Hillary Clinton run against President Bush in 2004, she likely would have lost. But she didn’t run, and with her own patience and persistence she may be the first female President in 2017.

Ted Cruz is on a rocket ride right now. We don’t know where this is headed.

But we do know a few things:

• Longevity in the U.S. Senate is more likely to hurt you politically than to help you. Senators accumulate hard-to-explain votes, while catching Potomac Fever. Recent examples are John Kerry and John McCain. Short-timers such as Barack Obama knew this.

• The grass roots is clamoring for an authentic, smart, articulate, conservative fighter. Good men like Mitt Romney, Bob Dole and John McCain were unable to motivate the Republican base, which is job No. 1. Cruz’s ability to motivate the base is unquestioned.

• The political cost for Cruz running in 2016 is minimal. He is a newly elected U.S. Senator, not facing re-election until 2018. Even if he fails, he will grow his support and fundraising while becoming a more well-known national figure. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney all needed to run twice to win the GOP nomination.

I do not subscribe to the view that Ted Cruz is so Machiavellian that he has, eight months into his term in the U.S. Senate, already decided to run for president. I believe that he senses this may be his moment, but it is too early. He will continue to travel the country, and Texas, to sell conservatism to the masses. He will continue to do the work. He will pick his fights. He will not shrink from tough battles.

Obama determined that 2008 was his moment. Had he not run then, he may never have become president.

Increasingly, it appears to me that 2016 is Ted Cruz’s moment. Does he know it?

© Copyright 2013 Matt Mackowiak, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

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Matt Mackowiak

Matt MackowiakMatt Mackowiak is a Republican political consultant and pundit. He is the founder and President of Potomac Strategy Group, a political consulting firm based in Washington, DC, and Austin. He worked on the Bush-Cheney campaign during the 2004 presidential elections.From 2005-2007. Mackowiak was the Senate Press Secretary to U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-MT. From 2007 until April 2009, he performed the same job for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX. Mackowiak is an Austin native. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003 with a B.S. in Communications Studies, with a concentration in Political Communications.

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Election Will Decide Health Law’s Future

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

The highest court in the country upheld most of the Affordable Care Act in June. But everybody knew it was only an overture.

The law “will fall in November by a vote of the American people,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant pledged that day, speaking for many other Republicans. Democrats were more reluctant to paint the election as a referendum on what even they came to call “Obamacare.” But privately they admitted the stakes.

A victory for President Barack Obama today would seal the health act’s future and continue its myriad attempts at reform that even Republicans admit would be difficult or impossible to reverse.

“This election will determine whether Americans have health care they can afford or they are left on their own and at the mercy of the insurance companies,” said Ethan Rome, executive director of the pro-reform Health Care for America Now. “It’s the private market and the Wild West versus Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid.”

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney repeatedly pledged to “repeal and replace” the health act, which substantially increases medical coverage via state insurance exchanges and an expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor. Conservatives call the health act an unaffordable government grab into the economy and individuals’ lives.

“Obamacare fundamentally changes the relations between citizens and their government,” said Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, which promotes health care choice and competition. “It really undermines freedom. The American people understand that.”

If Romney wins and Republicans gain control of the Senate, “one of the principal casualties is going to be something like 30 million people who could gain coverage under the act,” said Edward Howard, executive vice president at the Alliance for Health Reform, a nonpartisan research group. “The Affordable Care Act is certainly at risk if you’re interested in preserving it.”

An Obama win would immediately highlight the challenge of opening subsidized, online insurance marketplaces on time by 2014. Both the administration and most states are deemed to be behind schedule.

Bryant and numerous other Republican governors, assuming or hoping Obama will be rejected, have refused to implement the health law. Meanwhile the Department of Health and Human Services hasn’t finalized potentially controversial rules for opening federally-run exchanges in the absence of state cooperation.

Few doubt that most Republican governors, if their states are forced to have exchanges, will want to run them locally. Nor is there much argument about whether most Republican states will eventually accept the health law’s optional Medicaid expansionthat is financed primarily with federal dollars.

“Except for the ‘hell no, we won’t go’ governors, most of the other ones are going to take a really hard look at this the morning after,” said Len Nichols, director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University. “And the hospital association is going to be in their face pretty quick. Because they want the coverage.”

But an Obama victory won’t guarantee that the health law would be implemented as envisioned. If the president wins reelection but Republicans gain control of the Senate, he would be on “an island,” surrounded by “a coalition arrayed against Obamacare,” said Michael Franc, vice president for government studies at the Heritage Foundation.

Congress could delay appropriating money to implement the law, he said. A Republican takeover of the Senate would presumably be accompanied by Republican gains in the states, where governors and legislatures could also put up road blocks.

Even if Obama wins and Democrats retain the Senate, the administration could reduce the subsidies supporting the insurance exchanges or agree to ditch a tax on medical devices as part of a bargain with Republicans to reduce the deficit. Or a second Obama administration might agree to reduce the act’s Medicaid expansion as a budget compromise, giving states more room to design their own, smaller plans.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to make the Medicaid expansion optional effectively gives the side that says, ‘We’re going to save money’ a way to do it without Obama losing face,” Nichols said.

A President-elect Romney would immediately be pressured to keep parts of the health law and be specific about what he would replace it with. He has said he supports insurers allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plans to age 26, but it’s unclear whether he would keep the Affordable Care Act’s compulsion to make health plans do so.

Analysts expect a President Romney would promote high-risk pools for the uninsured, interstate insurance sales to fuel competition and greater use of “consumer-directed” plans in which high deductibles prompt patients to pay more attention to what care costs.

Romney couldn’t repeal the health law alone. He needs a Republican Senate to try to start with a clean slate. Even then repeal efforts would be subject to filibuster by Democrats and restrictions on passing legislation via reconciliation, which doesn’t require the supermajority needed to end a filibuster.

Without a Republican Senate, Romney would be expected to employ the executive branch’s regulatory power to delay regulations germane to the act and give states as much leeway to ignore it as the law allows.

This article was republished from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family FoundationKaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News

Jay Hancock joined Kaiser Health News in 2012 from The Baltimore Sun, where he wrote a column on business and finance. Previously he covered the State Department and the economics beat for The Sun and health care for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and the Daily Press of Newport News. He has a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University.

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Bill O’Reilly: Missed Opportunities

Photo courtesy of Austen Hufford

Here’s the good news for Mitt Romney: In the first two debates, he established himself as President Barack Obama’s equal on the events of the day. The governor is well versed on the issues and has shown a mastery of both foreign and domestic policy.

Here’s the bad news: He has failed to pin down the president on his obvious policy shortcomings.

As someone who makes a nice living debating on television, I watch the president and the governor go after each other with a professional eye. And I can’t understand why Romney doesn’t close the deal. Three examples:

First, when Obama says his energy programs are helping the nation, all Romney has to do is keep it simple and ask: “Why then have gas prices more than doubled on your watch, Mr. President? That doesn’t sound like good policy to me.”

Second, the president continues to say he has created millions of jobs. But all Romney has to do is retort: “So what? The average income for working-class households in America is down almost $5,000, Mr. President. Workers are getting hosed, and your policies are at fault.”

Finally, number three, the Libya deal. This is crazy. There are just two vital questions, and Romney has not asked either one: Who pulled two American security teams out of Libya in August despite the concerns of slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens? Who ordered U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and White House spokesperson Jay Carney to mislead the world about what happened?

If the president doesn’t know, he looks incompetent. If he does know and won’t say, he looks corrupt. If he does answer the questions, Romney wins just by asking.

The problem with many politicians when they debate is that they cram so much information into their heads in anticipation of spitting it out there that they don’t actually listen to what their opponent is saying. In any debate, simple is best. State the facts clearly, and ask obvious questions about your opponent’s weaknesses.

Romney has a big advantage over Obama in the debates because Obama has to defend a record that contains some massive screw-ups. Nobody really cares about Romney’s record in Massachusetts, and he could easily pettifog any specific questioning of it.

But with the economy sluggish after almost four years, four dead Americans in Libya, and Iran still chugging along on the nuclear weapons highway, the president has a good deal of Ricky Ricardo ‘splainin’ to do. But the governor has not put him on the spot in a precise enough way.

Next Monday, Romney will have one final chance to pin the president against the rhetorical wall. The foreign policy debate opens up Libya big-time. If Romney wants to win, he’ll keep it simple and demand some answers.

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Bill O'Reilly, Creators Syndicate

Bill O'Reilly, Creators SyndicateVeteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of many books, including the newly released "Killing Jesus." . This column originates on the website www.billoreilly.com.

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Editorial Cartoon of the Day: October 5, 2012


Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons

Cameron Cardow is the editorial cartoonist for the Ottawa Citizen, and a two-time winner of the National Newspaper Award, Canada's top award for editorial cartooning.

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Editorial Cartoon of the Day: September 8, 2012

Marshall Ramsey, Creators Syndicate

Marshall Ramsey, Creators SyndicateCartooning whiz kid Marshall Ramsey began drawing when his mother, an art teacher, gave him a pencil and a piece of paper to keep him quiet in church. Those early doodlings eventually evolved into the slightly warped but right on target cartoons that Ramsey has been creating since 1994.

Full of biting wit, his cartoons provide a fresh, 'Generation X' point of view. Born in New Jersey, he grew up in Atlanta and earned a marketing degree at the University of Tennessee, where he was a cartoonist at the school newspaper. His honors include being named winner of the 1993 John Locher Memorial Award.

Ramsey began his professional career by filling in for the editorial cartoonist at the Knoxville Journal. He moved on to positions as creative director at the Conroe (Texas) Courier (woo hoo!) and at Copley News Service before becoming the editorial cartoonist at the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger. He was a Pulitzer finalist in 2002.

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Why I’m a Republican

Photo courtesy of Stuart Connor

In these partisan, highly divided times, people ask me why I’m a Republican.

Here’s why: I like parting my hair on the side and wearing penny loafers without socks, with real pennies in them. I like showing up for meetings on time, balancing my checking account and retiring for the night before 11.

But part of me longs to be a Democrat.

I love buying rounds for the whole pub — to heck with fiscal sanity on the weekend! I love making grandiose promises, particularly to women, that I know I can never keep.

I have had my struggles as a Republican.

Sometimes, I’ve been proud, such as during the Ronald Reagan era, when real reforms simplified our tax system and unleashed American ingenuity and economic miracles.

I was proud when Republicans took over Congress in 1995 and brought discipline to Washington. With the economy firing on all cylinders and spending restrained, our government soon began producing a surplus.

But I’ve often been disappointed.

In the early 2000s, a Republican Congress spent carelessly and basked shamelessly in the perks of power and corruption. A Republican president got us into an aggressive war with Iraq that would divide the country, give Democrats control of Congress and eventually help put a novice, Barack Obama, into the presidency.

Democrats have their flaws, too.

Democrat politicians are like Santa Claus. They love to give “free” things to people, then bask in the resulting praise.

Thanks to Democrats, college kids, even those from high-income homes, are qualifying for — and happy to accept — food stamps.

Democrat politicians thought health-care reform would win them praise. Their plan, essentially, gives people the goodies we all want — care for all, no more pre-existing condition concerns and so on — without worrying about how we will pay for it.

I love to be generous, too — but, being a Republican, I have never figured out how to do so using other people’s money.

The truth is that both parties have good and bad sides. How can they not? We have, essentially, two parties to represent almost every interest, good and ill, in a country of 300 million people.

Radical Democrat wing nuts occupy Wall Street and poop on police cars. They chain themselves to trees and curse at lumberjacks.

Some Republicans have their own nutty ideas. A few think a woman can’t get pregnant if she’s raped. Others say federal funds should be used to provide marriage counseling — as though the institution of marriage is not in enough trouble already.

By and large, though, most Republicans and Democrats are good people who go to work every day, pay their bills on time and want what is best for their country.

Most Republicans are not the unsympathetic rich, white caricatures that some people, particularly “objective” journalists who work for big-city media outlets, wish they were.

In any event, at this point, as America is about to go over a fiscal cliff, it is good to be a Republican.

Look, Democrats, have shown regrettably little aptitude for — or interest in — getting our fiscal mess in order. Our debt is soaring under President Obama. Is anyone confident that he can fix this problem?

Republicans, though, are finally doing some good work again. Republican governors have been bringing fiscal sanity and order to state governments — the very thing we must do at the federal level.

I hope the Republicans win the presidency, get our affairs in order and pave the way for another era of robust economic growth.

That’s why I’m a Republican — and also because I like tucking my Oxford shirts into my pants, even though nobody does that anymore.

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Tom Purcell

Tom PurcellAfter an eight-year tour in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a writer and communications consultant, Tom Purcell returned to his home town of Pittsburgh, PA, land of friendly, down-to-earth people. He spends his days in blue jeans pecking away on his laptop in a coffee shop. Purcell's weekly column, now in its 15th year, is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons to hundreds of publications and Web sites nationally and internationally. It has been featured on the Rusty Humphries Show, the Laura Ingraham Show and the Rush Limbaugh Show, as well as other radio programs in Canada and the U.S.

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Texplainer: Could Canadian-Born Ted Cruz Be President?

Photo illustration courtesy of Gage Skidmore and Todd Wiseman

Hey, Texplainer: Ted Cruz is so hot right now, some people are saying he could run for president. But Cruz wasn’t born in the U.S., so how does that affect his ability to run for the highest office?

Since Ted Cruz won the Republication nomination for U.S. Senate on July 31, columns have been written about Cruz as a potential presidential candidate in 2016 or beyond — and whether the circumstances of his birth may preclude him from some day running for the highest office.

Cruz was born in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, 1970. He is the son of a Cuban-immigrant father and an Irish-American mother from Delaware. At the time of his birth, Cruz’s parents were in Canada working in the oil industry. Both of his parents attended college in Texas and returned here around the time Cruz was 4 years old.

In some ways, Cruz’s story is similar to that of the two candidates who ran for president in 2008, Barack Obama and John McCain.

Both Cruz and Obama are the sons of American mothers and immigrant fathers. Like McCain, Cruz was born outside of the United States. (McCain was born in the unincorporated Panama Canal Zone in 1936.)

And, like some people are already doing with Cruz, both Obama and McCain had their eligibility for president questioned.

As with those candidates, constitutional experts say that there could be a candidate Cruz.

“He almost certainly was a citizen at birth. I think that he would be eligible for the presidency,” said Peter Spiro, a professor of constitutional law at Temple University.

What does the law say?

Article 2 of the Constitution lays out the three minimum requirements for a person to be the president of the United States.

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

Cruz is 41 years old, and has been a Texas resident for well over 14 years. The sticking point, says Brandon Rottinghaus, a professor of political science at the University of Houston, comes from what the definition of a “natural born citizen” is, and whether Cruz’s Canadian birthplace is addressed by the law.

“Natural born citizenship is not defined in the Constitution,” Rottinghaus said. “The reason they didn’t is not totally clear.”

Rottinghaus said that the writers probably meant to include both people born on U.S. soil and those born to citizens, but ultimately left the decision to be made by the states.

The Naturalization Act of 1790, passed by the First Congress, reads that any person “born beyond the sea or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.”

Citizenship was not directly addressed in the Constitution until the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868. Its first sentence reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”

A naturalized citizen is a citizen who was not a U.S. citizen at birth but later becomes one.  Scholars generally agree that a naturalized citizen, such as an immigrant, could not be elected president. The 14th Amendment, however, does not define what is considered a “natural-born citizen.”

The Nationality Act of 1940 outlined which children became “nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.” The law stated that a person is a U.S. citizen if he or she were born in United States; born outside the U.S. to parents who were both citizens; found in the United States without parents and no proof of birth elsewhere; or if a person has been born to one American parent, provided that parent has spent a certain number of years in the United States.

The single-American parent requirement has been amended a few times, said UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh. As it applies to people born between 1952 and 1986, they must have a parent who was a U.S. citizen for at least 10 years, including five after the age of 14, in order for the baby to be considered a natural-born citizen.

(Note: Volokh calls himself a friend of Cruz and on his website says they have known each other since college. However, Volokh also made the same conclusion about eligibility in 2008, when writing about Barack Obama.)

So how does all of this apply to Ted Cruz?

Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, came to the U.S. in 1957 to study at the University of Texas. He did not become a U.S. citizen until 2005.

Cruz’s mother, Eleanor Darragh, was born in Delaware and later moved to Houston. She graduated from Rice University in 1956. By virtue of being born in the United States, she is a citizen. Because she spent most of her life before Ted Cruz was born in the U.S., he also qualified as U.S. citizen at birth.

“Ted Cruz didn’t naturalize. He was natural at birth,” said Spiro, the Temple professor

Spiro said it’s possible that a person could challenge that the laws granting citizenship at birth do not define what it is to be a natural-born citizen. In fact, the phrase “natural-born citizen” is only used once in the U.S. Code — in Article 2 of the Constitution. Such a challenge would be unlikely to change the current definitions, however, he said.

What about those other guys?

Cruz’s situation probably falls somewhere between Obama and McCain in terms of how complicated they are to explain.

Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, two years after Hawaii became a state. His citizenship is spelled out by the 14th Amendment.

Cruz was born outside the U.S., but according to rules set out by the U.S. Code, he was a U.S. citizen from birth.

McCain was born outside the U.S., but not in another country — the Panama Canal Zone was an unincorporated U.S. territory in 1936. Legal theories differ on how that affected his eligibility. McCain was also born before laws were passed granting citizenship at birth to babies born in the Panama Canal Zone.

For what it’s worth, Congress in 2008 passed a nonbinding resolution declaring that McCain was eligible to run for president, and a lawsuit challenging McCain’s eligibility in 2008 filed New Hampshire was thrown out for lack of standing.

Bottom line: Despite being born in Canada, Cruz can be considered a natural-born U.S. citizen because his mother was also a U.S. citizen who lived in the United States long enough for him to qualify, according to constitutional experts.

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/texas-local-news/texplainer/texplainer-could-canadian-born-ted-cruz-be-preside/.

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John Wayne Ferguson, The Texas Tribune

John Wayne Ferguson was a Poynter Institute Fellow in 2009, and worked at various media outlets in New England after that. Recently, he made it down to Texas to write for the Texas Tribune, That's all we can put together right now.

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The Ticking Time Bomb of Iran and Obama

Photo courtesy of Daniella Zalcman

Last Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad posted on his website his most recent anti-Semitic tirade, saying global forces should join together to annihilate Israel. Meanwhile, in Orlando, Fla., President Barack Obama had a takeout plate of pulled pork and rice.

The Jerusalem Post reported Ahmadinejad as saying, “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the way for world justice and freedom.”

Those words came from the same international leader who called the Holocaust a myth and entreated that Israel should be “wiped off the page of time” in a 2005 speech.

One might think Ahmadinejad’s caustic influence would play out with only extremists, until one realizes that his words preceded Iran’s annual “Quds Day” (Aug. 17), a nationwide event and national holiday (since 1979) during which massive crowds condemn Israel and the U.S. with chants of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”

To add insult to injury, in the past week, Iranian officials have chided increased Western sanctions as “warfare.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds the last word on all Iranian state matters, retorted that his Islamic Republic can overcome the latest round of sanctions restricting their oil and money. And a top Iranian official said his government will share “experience and capabilities” with the regime of President Bashar Assad in Syria.

Tensions with Iran have been ramped up lately way beyond Obama’s foreign diplomatic abilities and sanction-only quasi-restrictions. To put it simply, the former senator from Chicago is way over his head. He’s playing chess with madmen.

Obama’s foreign-relations political waffling is not only a dismal failure but also a detriment to peace, stability and safety in the Middle East. One day he coddles Israelis, assuring them that America will stand by them. The next day he is the pro-Palestinian in chief, dissing Israel’s president to the French president. (Remember when Obama belittled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a hot-mic moment after French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he “cannot bear Netanyahu; he’s a liar”? Obama replied, “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you.”)

In 2010, The Jerusalem Post reported that only 10 percent of Jewish Israelis really believed that Obama is “more pro-Israeli” than pro-Palestinian.

With Egypt granting the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power, Syria percolating with chemical weapons — which some are saying were possibly smuggled from Saddam Hussein’s alleged surplus — Hezbollah perched in Lebanon and Hamas working internal affairs, Israel remains in the cross hairs of the Middle East thugs.

Imagine the volatility that will reign in the Middle East during the next four years! And 43 percent of Americans really want to re-elect a U.S. president who, rather than come to the active aid of our greatest ally in the Middle East, disses Israeli leaders on French soil?

Mark my words. America could very well aid and abet World War III with a leader like President Obama who is in his second term. Obama already has initiated that political momentum with his actions and inactions, but will we stand by and watch him carry it to fruition in a second term?

Foreign dictators and other extremists are praying U.S. citizens re-elect Obama. The truth is that the world’s stability is buckling under the lethal combination of a militant Ahmadinejad and a passive Obama — one pushing for the annihilation of Israel and the other sitting back and waiting for it to happen, one creating the bomb and the other sitting back and watching while the fuse is lit.

Add to all that the Obama administration’s second-term plans to radically reduce the U.S. military!

WorldNetDaily’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Aaron Klein, has just written (scheduled for release Aug. 14) a groundbreaking exposé and borderline prophetic look into exactly what will happen in a second term with Obama. For example, in “Fool Me Twice: Obama’s Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed,” Klein details Obama’s second-term “large-scale reductions to the U.S. military. Some examples: Scaling back the size of all U.S. ground forces by 20 percent; reducing the Navy’s surface fleet by 20 percent; reducing the Air Force by two combat air wings; reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal to no more than 292 deployed nuclear weapons and the complete elimination of the Trident II nuclear missile; the complete halt of all further missile defense development; the total cancelation of the second SSN-744 Virginia Class submarine.”

Fellow Americans, America and the world need a U.S. president who will restore our economy and steady chaos in the world, not usher in Armageddon with his anti-Semitic, noncommittal, conciliatory, laissez-faire leadership. The very personage of the U.S. president should emanate deterrence, not indifference.

We need a president who will honor the timeless traditional relationship between America and Israel and reciprocate a blessing back to the U.S. by simultaneously observing these eternal promises: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee!” “Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel, and cursed is everyone who curses you.”

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Chuck Norris, Creators Syndicate

Chuck Norris is one of the most enduringly popular actors in the world. He has starred in more than 20 major motion pictures. His television series “Walker, Texas Ranger,” which completed its run in April 2001 after eight full seasons, is the most successful Saturday night series on CBS since “Gunsmoke.” It is seen in more than 80 countries worldwide, ranking as one of the top U.S. shows in both sales and audience. A New York Times best-selling author of two books, including the 2004 autobiographical “Against All Odds,” Norris also has penned two books of fiction. Set in the Old West, the most recent installment of this series, “A Threat to Justice,” was published in September 2007. In 2006, he added the title of columnist to his illustrious list of credits with the launch of his popular Internet column on the independent news site WorldNetDaily.com. Norris’ commentaries have become so widely read that he was signed recently by Los Angeles-based Creators Syndicate to market his column to newspapers across the country

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The 2012 Presidential Race Up to Now

Photo illustration by DonkeyHotey. Really.

Richard M. Nixon is one of only two Americans to be nominated five times for national office by one of the country’s two major political parties. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the other. Both FDR and Nixon had identical records in their national campaigns: four wins and only one defeat.

So when Richard Nixon talked about American political elections, he was frequently worth listening to. Consider this insight of his: “It doesn’t matter if they knock down the wall when they vote for you or hold their nose. It all counts the same.”

The most recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal national poll reminded me of that Nixon dictum. Even after disappointing U.S. job numbers, increased American anxiety from the unpredictability of the European economic situation and the solid victory of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, President Barack Obama still leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 47 to 44 percent.

When respondents were asked if their presidential choice was more a vote FOR the candidate they were supporting or more a vote more AGAINST his opponent, the results totally differed. Seventy-two percent of Obama supporters said theirs was more a vote FOR Obama, and just 22 percent revealed theirs was basically a vote AGAINST Romney.

Romney supporters are just the opposite. Only 35 percent of the probable Republican nominee’s backers say they are voting more FOR Mitt Romney, while a full 58 percent of GOP voters admit they are motivated primarily by voting AGAINST President Obama. But as Nixon would remind us of those choices, they all count the same.

Because the NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey is written, conducted and analyzed by two of the nation’s most respected pollsters, Democrat Peter D. Hart and Republican Bill McInturff, I know it is straight and free of partisan tilt. Their three most recent surveys — April, May and June — found the race to be close. Obama led Romney 49 percent to 43 percent in April; Obama’s May lead was 47 percent to 43 percent; while in June, the president led his Republican challenger by 47 percent to 44 percent. The race is within the margin of error, which has to be good news for the challenger whose reputation was not enhanced following his primary season struggles against a flawed field of opponents.

But the news may be even better for Romney if you look at the voters who declare themselves undecided in the presidential race. The undecided voters were 8 percent of the total sample in April, 10 percent in May and 9 percent in June — an average undecided of 9 percent. (By way of comparison, the margin of victory in every U.S. presidential election since 1984 has been less than 9 percent.)

Thanks to Robert Nelson of Peter D. Hart’s office, I was able to look at who all these undecided voters were in the NBC News-Wall Street Journal polls for April, May and June. Their portrait provides cold comfort to Obama headquarters.

Consider these facts: When asked, “Do you generally approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president,” 47 percent of the total sample interviewed gave Obama a positive rating, while 48 percent disapproved of the job he was doing. Among the undecided voters, the president’s numbers were 24 percent approval and 55 percent disapproval.

Asked to rate their own feelings toward the president as very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or very negative, the total results were 48 percent positive and 38 percent negative for Barack Obama. But the undecideds’ positive feelings toward the president were just 28 percent, and their negative feelings were 40 percent.

Romney’s numbers were nothing to write home about. But the point is that the undecided voters are, as of now, not really undecided about Barack Obama. They are, with just over four months until Election Day, down on the incumbent, which is why getting to 50 percent plus in the national surveys is key to the president’s re-election.

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Mark Shields, The Creators Syndicate

Mark Shields, The Creators SyndicateThe Wall Street Journal has called Mark Shields “the wittiest political analyst around” and “frequently the most trenchant, fair-minded, and thoughtful.” The Washington Post has called Shields “a walking almanac of American politics.” His insights are first-hand and up-to-the minute, drawn from four decades of knowing, covering and savoring the country and its politics.

A nationally known columnist and commentator, Shields has worked in Washington through the administrations of nine U.S. Presidents. He was an editorial writer for The Washington Post where he began writing his column in 1979. That column is now distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Since 1988, Shields has provided weekly political analysis and commentary on national campaigns for PBS’ award-winning "The PBS NewsHour" where he has matched wits with David Gergen, The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Gigot and most recently with David Brooks of The New York Times. For 17 years, Shields was moderator and panelist on CNN’s Capital Gang. He now is a regular panelist on Inside Washington, the weekly public affairs show which is seen on both ABC and PBS.

A native of Weymouth, Mass., and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Shields served as an enlisted man in the United States Marine Corps before coming to Washington where he began working in 1965 for Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire. In 1968, Shields went to work for Robert F. Kennedy in the New York Senator’s presidential campaign and later held leadership positions in three other presidential campaigns. Over 11 years, Shields helped manage campaigns from the courthouse to the White House in some 38 states.

In addition to attending 17 national party conventions and working on or covering the last 11 presidential elections, Shields has taught American politics and the press at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Public Policy and he was a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy Institute of Politics. "On the Campaign Trail," his book on the 1984 presidential campaign, has been praised as “funny,” “irreverent,” and “for bringing that race to a magnificent light.”

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