Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Narrativity

Via Instapundit today, we get this from CNN:

But for the average American household, which has an income of over $62,000 a year, the increase in gas prices represents a relatively small portion of total spending.

The Washington Post trotted out this same argument just last week (which I covered here):

Gas spending and household budget
While the we may be paying a bit more, the portion of income spent on gas remains a relatively small percentage.

Why, it's almost like the media is trying to birth a narrative or something...

But really, this amounts to not much more than the proverbial, "who are you going to believe, the experts we quote in our news stories or your lying, empty wallet?"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Obama: So Transparent You Can See Right Through Him

Victor Davis Hanson writes in The Corner:

...[The history of Obama calling for higher gas prices] has been so widely reported that one can even hear it at the gas pump — where those filling up mumble that Obama wanted these high gas prices.

In response to that political problem, the Obama team has not yet explained why they no longer believe the above. Secretary Chu merely concedes that he’s changed his mind, but that was an embarrassingly political concession. In other words, the public believes that Obama and his associates privately still think that high gas prices help the environment, cool the planet, make preferred subsidized green energy viable, and curb the gas-guzzling culture of the American middle class, but with a wink and a nod simply cannot say that any longer since they are now in a reelection cycle. And because Obama does not now either defend or refute his embarrassing remarks about the price of power needing to “skyrocket,” or similar views of his subordinates, voters believe that he will probably go back to his earlier positions if reelected or out of office.

Oh, but Obama did explain, although perhaps unwittingly so since he was not using a teleprompter at the time. The explanation was quite direct as to why Obama wants gas prices to go down. And voters can be reassured that it is all about the election.

Via Real Clear Politics on March 6:

Ed Henry, FOX News: Your critics will say on Capitol Hill that you want gas prices to go higher because you have said before that will wean the American people off fossil fuels onto renewable fuels. How do you respond to that?

President Obama: Ed, just from a political perspective, do you think the President of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go up higher? Is that -- is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?

Of course not, Mr. President. Everyone knew that it's just political and only about the election. I'm just not sure many people thought you'd come right out and say it, though.

Obama 2012
The Most Transparent Administration In History
(Mostly Because We're Just That Bad At Hiding Our Intentions)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

If A War On Women Is Being Waged, One Party Is On The Offensive

Ed Morrissey gives us this post:

RNC Video: You wanna talk about the “war on women”? Let’s talk about it!

Good vid. Go watch. The focus of the video is the hypocrisy of calling out Rush Limbaugh on the one hand and accepting a million bucks from Bill Maher on the other. That was covered here as it relates to David Axelrod. The video also touches upon the subject of a 2011 book by Ron Suskind that portrayed the Obama White House as a "boys club".

Well. Let's offer a couple more points on the Obama woman problem to add to the catalog. In October of 2009, Obama began catching grief that all his basketball games were limited to men. So Obama invited Melody Barnes, his domestic policy advisor to join in one of his golf foursomes.

And for a trip even further down memory lane, let's point out this piece from Jim Geraghty from June of 2008 (believe it or not, this was in the full swoon of Hope and Change, though many weren't paying attention to stories such as this):

Defending Her Honor
The-100-percent-sexism-free Democratic primary.

In the coming days, you will hear many asking whether Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House fell short because of sexism. And there will be that related question, “is Obama sexist?”

There is really not much evidence that Obama is sexist. There is only, “Hold on a second, sweetie. We’ll hold a press avail,” which he told a reporter at an event outside Detroit. And perhaps his comment to a factory worker in Allentown, Pa., that “you’re gorgeous, you look like you might be a dancer.”

Okay, there’s also the time Obama, after a particularly tough exchange with Hillary, told a crowd, “You challenge the status quo and suddenly the claws come out.” And, “You know, over the last several weeks since she fell behind, she’s resorted to what’s called ‘kitchen sink’ strategies. . . . She’s got the kitchen sink flying, and the china flying, and the, you know, the buffet is coming at me.” Also, “I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal.” (This one is especially benign, considering he went with “periodically” instead of “every 28 days or so.”)

And when Obama offered the backhanded compliment “You’re likeable enough, Hillary” in a New Hampshire debate, some women may have wondered why we never heard this kind of jab at John Edwards or Bill Richardson.

So many clues so early on regarding Obama and yet so many unwilling to see it when it mattered.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Language David Axelrod Uses

David Axelrod, senior guru (unofficial title) of Obama's re-election campaign, had some harsh words for Bill Burton, head of the Obama SuperPAC.

Here's what Burton said regarding Bill Maher's vile words towards conservative women:

“First of all, obviously, some of those things were vulgar and inappropriate and said over the course of years of a comedian’s life. It’s not language I would use or language we would use at Priorities USA,” Burton said

First, Axelrod took to twitter to express his dismay about such a response:

And when [he] says it's "not the language I would of used," what does that mean? What about the spirit of what [was] said? Was that OK?

Axelrod later expanded on that in an interview:

"What about the spirit of what was said?" Axelrod asked ... "I thought that was a cowardly answer, and it was a test of leadership, and one that he failed."

Wait. What?

Oh, right. Axelrod wasn't talking about Bill Burton's answer regarding Maher. He was perched atop his high horse which was standing on his soap box regarding Mitt Romney's response to Rush Limbaugh's comments regarding Sandra Fluke:

Last week, Romney made a brief comment about the Fluke incident, saying that Limbaugh calling Fluke a "slut" was "not the language I would have used."

"What about the spirit of what was said?" Axelrod asked of Romney's response. "I thought that was a cowardly answer, and it was a test of leadership, and one that he failed."

So Romney and Burton used nearly identical words to respond to Limbaugh/Maher respectively. But Axelrod only views one of those responses as cowardly.

But of course. David Axelrod doesn't think Bill Burton is cowardly or a failed leader. Because Axelrod has standards. Two of them. You might even call them double standards.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Obama Blows (Through Money)

Via Ace, here's Karl Rove on Obama 2012 campaign finance deform:

The final financial challenge facing Mr. Obama's campaign is how fast it is burning through the cash it is raising. Compare the 2012 Obama re-election campaign with the 2004 Bush re-election campaign. Mr. Obama's campaign spent 25% of what it raised in the second quarter of 2011, while Mr. Bush's campaign spent only 9% in the second quarter of 2003. In the third quarter it was 46% for Obama versus 26% for Bush; for the fourth quarter it was 57% versus 40%. In January 2012 the Obama campaign spent 158% of what it raised, while the Bush campaign spent 60% in January 2004.

Ace concludes:

At least he's consistent. He spends his money like he spends ours.

I don't know if Ace realizes just how right he is.

From the 2011 Financial Report of the United States Government (pdf):

During FY 2011, nearly equivalent increases in Federal tax receipts and outlays resulted in a cash-based U.S. budget deficit that remained essentially flat at $1.3 trillion. The Government’s net cost decreased from $4.3 trillion to $3.7 trillion due in large part to decreased estimated costs for federal employee and veteran benefits as well as a decline in projected costs for the Government’s economic recovery programs and a slight revenue increase from $2.2 trillion to $2.4 trillion.

So the U.S. raised $2.4T in revenue and incurred $3.7T in spending.

For those keeping score at home, the U.S. spent roughly 154% of what it raised in fiscal year 2011, compared to the Obama campaign spending 158% of what it raised in January 2012.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

No Matter The Cost

Let's do some conflationism, shall we? And let's use Jim Geraghty to do so.

Step One: WaPo tells us to relax about gas prices. Really, they're not that bad

In this post, Geraghty included this graphic from the Washington Post, arguing that the problem of high gas prices is mostly overblown:

And if you click through to the article and pull up the graphic there, you get this:

Gas prices are spiking, and a new poll found that seven in 10 of us find the issue very important ... But for most of us, a bigger number on the pump makes only a small dent in our annual expenses.

"So stop complaining all you bitter clingers" is the not entirely subtle message.

This old Dean Barnett article from 2008 is quite on point any time you hear non-bitter clingers spout off about gas prices.

Step Two: Sandra Fluke has given us the ol' woe-is-me lament that she and her fellow classmates can't afford (and shouldn't be expected to bear the costs no matter the cost of) birth control. Last I was seen on Geraghty's Campaign Spot was on this post in which we learned:

What is the cost of birth control? Planned Parenthood puts the cost at “$15–$50 a month.”

So, taking the midpoint of the Planned Parenthood estimates, we got to wondering...

Oh, you see where this is going don't you?

Of course you do. I re-worked one of the WaPo's graphics:

The Price of Gas and the Price of Contraception: Together At Las

(BTW - I cleaned up a typo in that graphic the layers of editing at WaPo missed.)

What does this mean? Well. According to WaPo and Obama and those on the left, birth control is so expensive that I have to pay for Sandra Fluke's. And according to WaPo $4 per gallon gas it is not so bad, really.

So I'm pretty sure that chart must be lying. And sexist. And it probably has declared a war on all women. Some charts are like that.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Change Is Cool Again Here

Wow, now here's a new format. I started playing with blogger.com's templates, and here we are. Nothing all that noteworthy other than it's a change. Not a fancy change, not a technological change. Not a change with any purpose than to, well, make a change.

Eh, why not. Obama's "Change" as promised in 2008 has proven illusory. No, wait. It's proven painful. Obama gave change a really bad name.

So for 2012, TheVIMH is going for painless change. We're taking Change back.

We'll alleviate President Painful Change come November.

Politicians Talking About Quick Fixes For Rising Gas Prices

Via Ed at Hot Air, here's Obama on gas prices:

Now, here’s the thing, though — this is not the first time we’ve seen gas prices spike. It’s been happening for years. Every year, about this time, gas starts spiking up, and everybody starts wondering, how high is it going to go? And every year, politicians start talking when gas prices go up. They get out on the campaign trail — and you and I both know there are no quick fixes to this problem — but listening to them, you’d think there were.

Obama's right about politicians getting out on the campaign trail talking about quick fixes. Like this guy in 2008:

Barack Obama will require oil companies to take a reasonable share of their record-breaking windfall profits and use it to provide direct relief worth $500 for an individual and $1,000 for a married couple. The relief would be delivered as quickly as possible to help families cope with the rising price of gasoline, food and other necessities.

So Obama was promising quick fixes in 2008. And what a fix -- because raising the taxes of oil companies would never, ever result in them raising their prices or anything, with Obama unilaterally repealing the Law of Unintended Consequences and all. Of course Obama was in that quick fix, promise-making mood when he was campaigning for office but not actually responsible for anything. And now that he is the one responsible, he's telling us there are no quick fixes.

Four years later and here we are with President Obama telling us what a cynicial, typical politician Candidate Obama was in 2008.

Why, I don't think Obama ever meant one word of what he said in 2008 on the campaign trail.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why, I Don't Think Obama Ever Meant One Word Of What He Said In 2008 On The Campaign Trail

Via Jim Geraghty, this is from the Washington Post:

More than half of Obama’s 47 biggest fundraisers, those who collected at least $500,000 for his campaign, have been given administration jobs. Nine more have been appointed to presidential boards and committees.

At least 24 Obama bundlers were given posts as foreign ambassadors, including in Finland, Australia, Portugal and Luxembourg . . .

But, but, but, from the campaign trail in 2008, Obama had some really good intentions:

We need a President who sees government not as a tool to enrich well-connected friends and high-priced lobbyists, but as the defender of fairness and opportunity for every American. That's what this country has always been about, and that's the kind of President I intend to be.

You know what they say the road to hell is paved with.

Via Ed Morrissey, (and thanks for the h/t on that, Ed!) this is a fun tale weaving together Obama, Warren Buffett and lower taxes through the muscle of high priced and well-connected lobbyists for . . . corporate jet owners (you may remember how much I liked Obama's corporate jet owners shtick):

As the parties battle over taxes, the deficit and economic inequality, two arguments that have been marshaled to advocate for the Democratic position are that taxpayers should not be subsidizing private jet travel and that Warren Buffett’s tax bill is way too low — lower, Democrats and Buffett himself have repeatedly noted, than his secretary’s. ...

But when a Buffett company had a chance to tackle both problems, it chose to do the opposite. And it spent handsomely on K Street to get it done.

Berkshire Hathaway-owned NetJets Inc. spent more than $2.5 million on a squadron of lobbyists who successfully crafted tax legislation to benefit a handful of private jet companies, according to a HuffPost analysis of lobbying disclosure records.

But, but, but, from the campaign trail in 2008, Obama talked a really good game:

When big business doesn't like something in the tax code, they can hire a lobbyist to get it changed, but most working people can't afford a high-priced lobbyist. Instead of honoring that core American value - opportunity for all - we've had a system in Washington where our laws and regulations have carved out opportunities for the few.

To quote Obama of 2008: "just words".

There's no doubt the Obama of 2008:

The American people have spoken out, and they are saying we need to move in a new direction... Are you really ready for change? Because if you are ready for change, then we can go ahead and tell the lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda are over.

...would have a lot of problems with President Obama. But then again, as I argued in 2008, the Obama of 2008 should have had a lot of problems with Senator Obama.

Four years later and here we are again, with Obama having lived down to my expectations as a cynicial, typical politician who would just as easily disown his lofty campaign rhetoric of 2008 as he did Reverend Wright.

Why, I don't think Obama ever meant one word of what he said in 2008 on the campaign trail.

Is Obama His Brother's Keeper?

From Instapundit:

THE POLITICS OF HATE: Dems Incite Death Threats Against Limbaugh. And Limbaugh’s already had to call the bomb squad to his house. That’s their approach. Marginalize, then brutalize.

When will President Obama speak out against this hatred and extremism? Probably never. But since it’s been established that this sort of thing happens via close coordination between the White House and Media Matters, etc., there’s no denying responsibility now. I call upon the President to denounce his supporters’ hateful violent rhetoric, to promise not to engage in or encourage it again, and to apologize to Limbaugh for stirring up this cesspit of hatred among his followers. A President is supposed to lead, not incite violence

Well. Obama held his first press conference in a number of months this week and was asked this question:

has there been a double standard on this issue? Liberal commentators have made similarly provocative or distasteful statements and there hasn’t been such an outrage.

In response to this question Obama dodged the “double standard” aspect, not letting such a politically inconvenient question derail what he has seized upon as a politically advantageous issue. Obama knows that it remains advantageous only as long as the villains can be limited to his political adversaries.

In his response Obama did however invoke his daughters Malia and Sasha. Perhaps it’s part of his effort to prop up his campaign. Or not. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt -- this was not so much a calculated campaign ploy as it is a standard line. If you'll remember, he brought his daughters up in his speech after the Virginia Tech shooting, in reference to Don Imus's remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team as well.

But on the subject of little girls, is there another he has forgotten?

How can Obama sleep at night knowing that, according to him, all these lefties are really, really letting Christina Taylor Green down:

I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here - they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.

That's what I believe, in part because that's what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations.

I have a hard time believing that Obama truly believes that as he remains conspicuously silent in the face of vitriol directed toward conservatives by liberals, but ubiquitously outspoken against the same when directed at liberals by conservatives. It seems what Obama really believes is that he should live up to the expectations of Christina Taylor Green unless it would be politically inconvenient or hurt the narrative, at which point Obama can be expected to ignore whatever it is he has imagined her expectations to be.

And since Obama is bringing up family here, let’s remember Obama’s love of quoting the Bible that we should be our “brother’s keeper”.

Because the thing is, he never gets that one quite right. I mean, sure the Bible has a lot of themes in it that can be related to the idea that we ought to take care of each other, to love another. But the story in Genesis from which the words “brother’s keeper” is being quoted has absolutely nothing to do with any of that. In fact it is quite the opposite.

In Genesis, Cain had just killed his brother Abel. God asked Cain where his brother was (knowing, of course that Cain had killed him, being ominiscient and all). "Am I my brother's keeper?" was Cain's effort to dodge the Lord's question and avoid revealing what he had done. And Cain's question was purely rhetorical, assuming that the answer was "no".

For once the quote would be appropriate were Obama to invoke it. When asked about hate-filled rhetoric from his own side of the ideological spectrum, Obama, by dodging such a politically inconvenient and narrative-wrecking question is implicitly asking us, "Am I my brother's keeper?" attempting to convince enough people that the answer should be "no".

But from all the evidence, Obama only shows a desire to be Rush's keeper -- conservatives' keeper -- when it comes to using his bully pulpit to denounce hateful violent rhetoric. And from that one can only conclude that it is entirely political.