Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Quick Hits - September 11, 2012

A week ago, the key question being asked in the wake of the Republican National Convention was the variation of Ronald Reagan's 1980 question to voters - 'Are you better off today than four years ago?'  This weekend, in the wake of the Democrat National Convention, one would think that we would be asking the same question and debating if the question was adequately answered by the President and his supporters during the DNC.  Given the August jobs numbers report was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, asking this question again and debating the answer would seem to be a 'no-brainer'.

But a funny thing is happening....that isn't the question that is being addressed at this time.  With the releases of polls that were taken during the DNC, and the appearance of a 5 to 6 point bounce coming to Barack Obama, largely on the basis of strong speeches by Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton, the question being asked and debated is if the tide has turned in the very close race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama - in Barack Obama's favor.

CNN released a poll showing Barack Obama has a 6 point lead among registered voters.  Gallup's daily tracking, prior to the effect's of Friday's dismal jobs report, had the President up by 4 points.  All of this on the heels of either a non-existent convention bounce for the Romney-Ryan ticket - or one that lasted just until the start of the DNC.

Across the right side of the blogosphere there were signs ranging from concern to those who seemed on the verge of hitting the panic button.  The pollster for the Romney campaign even released a memo to the public advising caution and patience.

Things are not as dark as they might appear to be with the race - for all of the usual reasons.

The definition of a bounce is a temporary boost before the numbers fall back to where they were usually.  We also have the effects of a mainstream media that has a vast majority openly supporting, advocating, and shilling for the President and his progressive policies and for the defeat of a political viewpoint that they diametrically oppose.  There is the blatant bias and dishonesty that is at work - the efforts to 'move the goalposts' away from the economy and jobs to other issues, in particular social issues.  Then there is the outright lies and fabrications done in the manner of the 'ends justifies the means'.

CNN's poll showing a 6 point lead for the President?  50% of the sample were self-identified Democrats - and only 4% were Independents.  This in an electorate that in 2010 was about 35% Democrat, 35% Republican, and 30% Independent.  Given the majority of the polls prior to the conventions show that nearly 60% of the Independents supporting the challenger - under surveying this class can only help skew the numbers for the President.

ABC and the Washington Post has a new poll out today that shows among registered voters (which already skews Democrat by about 4 points before party affiliation is considered) that also shows a 6 point lead for the President - but within that same poll, if only likely voters are considered, it is only a 1 point lead - within the margin of error. 

Regular readers of QH will recall that this is also a poll that has had a significant skew for Democrats within it's sample - ranging from a D+7 to D+12.   This poll?  A D+10 skew.

With a sample including 10 points more Democrats participating than Republicans, the best the President can do with likely voters is a 1 point lead?  This isn't good news for the President.

Furthermore, if one looks closely at the polls that sampled / interviewed their participants through the weekend, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - after the DNC ended and after the August jobs report, whatever bounce the President gained from Wednesday and Thursday is quickly slipping away.

Looking back at the conventions, I am struck by not only the differences between them, but the similarities.

The differences are easy to identify.  When we look at the DNC convention, there was little about the Obama record over the last 44 months....the most memorable part of the Clinton speech was the assertion by the former President that no President could have possibly turned around the economic conditions that Barack Obama inherited in January 2009 - particularly if we ignore the first term of Ronald Reagan.  Speakers ranging from Sandra Fluke, to the head's of NARAL and Planned Parenthood, pushed the 'war on women' meme - trying to make a case that this election is about women - and the only issue of import for women are free contraceptives and abortafacients as well as abortion without limitations or restrictions.  The floor battle and kerfuffle over 'God' and Jerusalem is something the left-wing media wants to slide into the memory-hole.

Looking at the RNC convention, we had a number of strong governors, many governors of swing states, advocating the conservative economic vision - and how that vision has moved their states in the right direction.  While many of the media didn't focus on them, women and other minorities showed the GOP wasn't just a club for rich white guys - and the deliberate exclusion was done to permit the media to continue to push that canard.

What strikes me in retrospective are the similarities of many of the messages of those who spoke at both conventions - up to a critical point.

Regardless if one was a progressive or a conservative, many of the speakers started their talk about their humble beginnings.  Whether 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation Americans, many talked about how their families emigrated to the US, the land of opportunity, with very little in terms of wealth or possessions.  They spoke of their upbringing - not being of the wealthy class.  The sacrifices made to make things better for the younger / next generations.  The hard work that had to be done.  The optimism and hope instilled in them by their parents and grandparents that dreams could be achieved in the United States because of the unique nature of this country.  

But this is where the similarities end and the differences begin to be highlighted as conservative or progressive  then addressed how they actually achieved their dreams and goals.  As the subject and focus of these speeches changed  - we are given a real contrast between conservatism and progressivism.

Many of the speakers advocating the progressive agenda, ideology, and direction as a solution for the challenges we face started talking about how government and government services made the difference that they needed to help them achieve their dreams and goals.  These ranged from pell grants and student loans (referencing only government loans - not private student loans) to help them attend college and graduate school to government entitlements which helped their families get by.  We were told that government built infrastructure, like roads, were also critical for their success - as were government programs like affirmative action.  [Interestingly, Elizabeth Warren, who falsely claims being a Native American - didn't reference this - but a Dean from Harvard Law School is now commentating that one of the key differentiators for the hiring of Warren was 'affirmative action' - and the school's listing of having just one Native American (Warren) on staff.]

We were told of college students being denied free contraceptives - even though they could obtain them from local stores off campus.  One month's contraception cost the same as 2 latte's from Starbucks - but a great disservice is being done if the taxpayer doesn't pay these and organizations are required to provide these despite religious or moral objections.

To the progressives, government and government invoked 'fairness' and 'social justice' is required in order to have a successful society.

This differed considerably from the message of the conservative speakers at the RNC.  From the similar beginnings, conservatives focused on their success coming not from government assistance or government assurances of 'fairness' and 'social justice', but from the continuation of their embrace of traditional American values - leveraging the private sector, their own innovation and hard work.  If government was referenced in a manner of not being an additional obstacle to be overcome, it was in the limited safety net that government provides to help them recover from stumbling in their efforts to become successful.

Many of the conservative messages hearkened back to the optimism, hope, and confidence of Ronald Reagan  - which turned the country around from a path very similar to the one that we find ourselves on now.  They touted this lesson of history - that the best days of the US (and us) are in front of us if we are willing to embrace the same traditional American values that were referenced by both conservative and progressive speakers as to why their families came to the US and how they achieved here what they were very unlikely to achieve if they remained in their native country.

This is the fundamental choice that we face this November.  What direction are we, the voter, to set the country on?  Are we to embrace more of the last 44 months - embrace 'fairness', 'social justice', and more government (size, control, power, and influence) as the course we need to follow?  Or are we to look at what was accomplished in 1981-1984 - during just one Presidential term - and follow the same model today.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing again and again while expecting different results.  We, and other nations, have embraced both of these directions before - and are doing it today.  We're seeing consistent results when the progressive / socialistic agenda is implemented - and when a conservative agenda is implemented.  We're told that when the progressive / socialistic agenda fails, it's not a failure of the plan, but a failure of the implementation.

Progressives today touted that the conservative approach, the traditional American values, and focus on the private sector, individual rights and opportunities, the equality of opportunity was what made their relatives successful - or put them in the position to be successful themselves.  But now that they have achieved success - they want the focus to move from equality of opportunity to equality of results with the elite intellectuals of progressivism being in government and determining winners and losers in the name of 'fairness' and 'social justice'.  Now that they got theirs - they want to change the rules for others while telling us its for the better....even though every time the progressive agenda has been implemented it has failed.

And that is why they are wrong.

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