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A Matter of Judgment

Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan

from The Unwisdom of Barak Obama from the Wall Street Journal by Peggy Noonan:

Mr. Obama can see the trees, name their genus and species, judge their age and describe their color. He absorbs data. But he consistently misses the shape, size and density of the forest. His recitations of data are really a faux sophistication that suggests command of the subject but misses the heart of the matter.

You can run down the list. His famous “red line” comment was poor judgment. He shouldn’t have put himself or his country in that position, threatening action if a foreign leader did something. He misjudged the indelible impression his crawl-back would make on the world.

Last month it was the “I don’t have a strategy” statement on the Islamic State. That’s not something an American president attempting to rouse the public and impress the world can say. But he didn’t know.

ObamaCare top to bottom was poor judgment. It shouldn’t have been the central domestic effort of his presidency, that should have been the economy and jobs. He thought his bill could go forward without making Republicans co-own it, thought it would be clever to let Congress write it, thought an overextended and undertalented federal government could execute it. He thought those who told him the website would work were truthful, when he should have been smoking out agendas, incompetence and yes-sir-ism. He shouldn’t have said if you like your doctor you can keep him. That was his domestic red-line comment. It was a product of poor judgment.

But none of this looks clever. It looks like poor judgment beginning to end.


He is bright enough to discuss concepts, to teach a class. to weigh simple decisions.  But he is bereft of wisdom and that is required for the judgement this office requires.  Such wisdom requires a depth of experience and study, broad and strong personal relationships, intellectual diversity, and most of all humility.  He is sorely lacking on all of these fronts.  He may have the intelligence to be a great advocate or community organizer, but he lacks the wisdom, judgment and strength of character to be a decent president in the times we are in.

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Selective Free Speech

In today’s WSJ Harry Reid Rewrites the First Amendment by Theodore Olson


The critics also ignore that Citizens United and McCutcheon make it easier for the unions on which the Democrats rely to spend money on elections. Unions outspent businesses by more than 2 to 1 in 2013. If money corrupts, then one would expect Mr. Reid and his colleagues to condemn the “corrupt” influence of unions in politics. And these Democrats presumably would brand liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s pledge to commit his political-action committee to spend $100 million to defeat Republicans in 2014 as especially corrupting—but Mr. Reid has instead welcomed the support.

Democrats claim that the Supreme Court has made politicians and political parties less accountable by encouraging donations involving outside interest groups. Outside of what? Democrat fundraising circles? Their actual fear is that less traditional candidates—including outsiders—will have the funding necessary to challenge incumbents in primaries without the blessing of party elders.

It hardly enhances democracy to pine for the days when candidates were chosen by party bosses in secret, rather than by voters presented with candidates expressing a range of political viewpoints. If Democrats are concerned about the vitality of political parties when contending with outside groups, then Democrats should embraceMcCutcheon, which enables citizens to increase contributions to parties.

“In the entire history of the Constitution,” the late Ted Kennedy once stated on the Senate floor, “we have never amended the Bill of Rights, and now is not the time to start. It would be wrong to carve an exception in the First Amendment. Campaign finance reform is a serious problem, but it does not require that we twist the meaning of the Constitution.”

Let’s all pay attention to Kennedy’s words and drop this foolishness.


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A Disguised Dictator

from Carpe Diem

…. are from Ludwig von Mises, writing in Human Action.

1. A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.

2. Every socialist is a disguised dictator.

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The Statesman and the Political Opportunist


by Henry Oliner

I have often heard the voters’ frustration with politics voiced as a call for statesmanship,  but what do we expect from a statesman?  Perhaps we can clarify by examining its opposite.   The opposite of the Statesman is the Political Opportunist.

The Statesman thinks of the next decade and the next century.

The Political Opportunist thinks of the next election.

The Statesman acts from principles gained from careful and thoughtful consideration and study.

The Political Opportunist acts from pragmatism- only what works NOW is important.

The Statesman is attuned to the morality of his actions and decisions.

For the Political Opportunist the ends justify the means.

The Statesman carefully nurtures allies, strengthening relationships even when they are not urgently needed.

For the Political Opportunist allies are commodities that serve or do not serve the situation at hand.

The Statesman understands that a strong nation cannot be built on a society of weak individuals.

The Political Opportunist will subvert individual liberty for the power of the moment.

The Statesman understands that we should not sacrifice a good solution for an unproven perfect solution.

The Political Opportunist is willing to sacrifice an unperfected solution for what often becomes a worse solution or no solution at all.

The Statesman understands coalitions to govern require understanding and recognition of political opposition.

The Political Opportunist will use demonization and populism to ignite a righteous rage against stereotypical straw men, and will subvert rational arguments in their pursuit of power.


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Straw Men


From American Thinker, Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist by Danusha V. Goska:


It astounds me now to reflect on it, but never, in all my years of leftist activism, did I ever hear anyone articulate accurately the position of anyone to our right. In fact, I did not even know those positions when I was a leftist.

“Truth is that which serves the party.” The capital-R revolution was such a good, it could eliminate all that was bad, that manipulating facts was not even a venial sin; it was a good. If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs. One of those eggs was objective truth.

Ron Kuby is a left-wing radio talk show host on New York’s WABC. He plays the straw man card hourly. If someone phones in to question affirmative action – shouldn’t such programs benefit recipients by income, rather than by skin color? – Kuby opens the fire hydrant. He is shrill. He is bombastic. He accuses the caller of being a member of the KKK. He paints graphic word pictures of the horrors of lynching and the death of Emmett Till and asks, “And you support that?”

Well of course THE CALLER did not support that, but it is easier to orchestrate a mob in a familiar rendition of righteous rage against a sensationalized straw man than it is to produce a reasoned argument against a reasonable opponent.


Populism on the left requires demons more than either accuracy, facts or reality.  Modern accusation of racism are a clear sign that reality and intelligence have become optional.