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Democrat Party Leaves Jewish Americans — Obama Leading from Behind

President Truman holds the Torah presented to him by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, May 25, 1948 (Photo: Bettmann Corbis)

Why are American Jews abandoning the Obama administration in such large ways lately? Following the news this year, you would never know that over 800 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip? The WSJ weighed in yesterday with two op-eds on Israel. This first excerpt is from one entitled, Israel Under Fire:

If this incoming fire were landing in Texas from Mexico—or in southern Spain from North Africa—it would be a major story. Instead, the world has largely ignored the attacks while obsessing over a possible Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran is a principal arms supplier to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which operates out of Gaza and is responsible for many of the recent attacks. Iran’s war against Israel, in other words, has long been underway.

Could it be that President Obama simply does not care? That is my position. But hey, I’m not Jewish and I’m not the POTUS, so my opinion doesn’t really matter much at all. But a prominent Jewish American’s opinion matters. For those who don’t know this fact, Sheldon Adelson was a major contributor to the Gingrich campaign and later to Romney for their policy positions on the state of Israel. Mr. Adelson penned a great opinion piece in the Journal entitled, I Didn’t Leave the Democrats. They Left Me — Excerpts:

When members of the Democratic Party booed the inclusion of God and Jerusalem in their party platform this year, I thought of my parents.

They would have been astounded.

So why did I leave the party?

My critics nowadays like to claim it’s because I got wealthy or because I didn’t want to pay taxes or because of some other conservative caricature. No, the truth is the Democratic Party has changed in ways that no longer fit with someone of my upbringing.

One obvious example is the party’s new attitude toward Israel. A sobering Gallup poll from last March asked: “Are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?” Barely 53% of Democrats chose Israel, the sole liberal democracy in the region. By contrast, an overwhelming 78% of Republicans sympathized with Israel.

Nowhere was this change in Democratic sympathies more evident than in the chilling reaction on the floor of the Democratic convention in September when the question of Israel’s capital came up for a vote. Anyone who witnessed the delegates’ angry screaming and fist-shaking could see that far more is going on in the Democratic Party than mere opposition to citing Jerusalem in their platform. There is now a visceral anti-Israel movement among rank-and-file Democrats, a disturbing development that my parents’ generation would not have ignored.

President Truman holds the Torah presented to him by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, May 25, 1948.

Another troubling change is that Democrats seem to have moved away from the immigrant values of my old neighborhood—in particular, individual charity and neighborliness. After studying tax data from the IRS, the nonpartisan Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that states that vote Republican are now far more generous to charities than those voting Democratic. In 2008, the seven least-generous states all voted for President Obama. My father, who kept a charity box for the poor in our house, would have frowned on this fact about modern Democrats.

Take, for example, President Obama’s adopted home state. In October, a nonpartisan study of Illinois’s finances by the State Budget Crisis Task Force offered painful evidence that liberal Illinois is suffering from abject economic, demographic and social decline. With the worst credit rating in the country, and with the second-biggest public debt per capita, the Prairie State “has been doing back flips on a high wire, without a net,” according to the report.

Political scientist Walter Russell Mead summed up the sad results of these findings at The American Interest: “Illinois politicians, including the present president of the United States, have wrecked one of the country’s potentially most prosperous and dynamic states, condemned millions of poor children to substandard education, failed to maintain vital infrastructure, choked business development and growth through unsustainable tax and regulatory policies—and still failed to appease the demands of the public sector unions and fee-seeking Wall Street crony capitalists who make billions off the state’s distress.”

At times, it seems almost as if President Obama wants to impose the failed Illinois model on the whole country. Each year of his presidency has produced unsustainable deficits, and he takes no responsibility for his spending.

Whenever President Obama deplores the wealthy (“fat-cat bankers,” “millionaires and billionaires,” “at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” and so on), it tells me that he has failed to learn the economic lessons of Illinois, and that he still doesn’t understand the vital role entrepreneurs play in creating jobs in our society.

As a person who has been able to rise from poverty to affluence, and who has created jobs and work benefits for tens of thousands of families, I feel obligated to speak up and support the American ideals I grew up with—charity, self-reliance, accountability. These are the age-old virtues that help make our communities prosperous. Yet, sadly, the Democratic Party no longer seems to value them as it once did. That’s why I switched parties, and why I’m now giving amply to Republicans.

Although I don’t agree with every Republican position—I’m liberal on several social issues—there is enough common cause with the party for me to know I’ve made the right choice.

It’s the choice that, I believe, my old immigrant Jewish neighbors would have made. They would not have let a few disagreements with Republicans void the importance of siding with the political party that better supports liberal democracies like Israel, the party that better exemplifies the spirit of charity, and the party with economic policies that would certainly be better for those Americans now looking for work.

The Democratic Party just isn’t what it used to be.
[emphasis added]


American Values: “In God We Trust” — “Liberty” — “E Pluribus Unum”

Twitter Follow: @VicLundquist – Dedicated to all members of The United States military and their families

Pennsylvania: Governor Ed Rendell (D): “We’re Nervous”

THANK YOU to all of you! Those of us at Mitt Romney Central are witness to thousands of people across this great land of America who are working diligently, night and day, in so many critical ways to help Governor Romney get elected. As we research for the site, we receive comments, emails, tweets, and Facebook discussions in which it is apparent that many millions of man-hours are being logged in creative grassroots efforts everywhere, not to mention the prayers of faith. Only five more days of hard work. Keep it up. THANK YOU.

PENNSYLVANIA. George H.W. Bush is the last Republican to win it; that was 1988. Senator McCain lost it to Senator Obama in 2008 by 10%. You may recall that Governor Romney called it September 28th telling a crowd he would win the state. About two weeks ago, a reputable in-state poll was showing Romney leading Obama in Pennsylvania 49% to 45%.

Governor Romney greeting cadets at the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, PA in September (Photo: Brian Snyder / Reuters / File)

Governor Romney has directed significant resources this past week into Pennsylvania and the Obama camp is saying he is desperate. It never occurs to the Obaminions there might be a strategy involved (“strategy” is Romney’s second middle name). Romney obviously has known for months that 96% of the Pennsylvania electorate vote in person on election day making the state a perfect blitz state for the last week. What is it called when desperate people call others desperate? What was it? “Panic?”

Writing for the WSJ yesterday, Matthew Kaminski provides outstanding insight in support of what appears to be a brilliant strategy by the Romney team.

Pennsylvanians have no problem voting Republican. Out of 67 counties, 52 are in GOP hands. So are 12 of 19 congressional districts, both houses of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. Republican Pat Toomey won a Senate seat in 2010.

As party hacks know, the trouble for the GOP here is at the top of the ticket. The state last turned red in a presidential race 24 years ago for George H.W. Bush. His son made it a priority in 2004 and lost by 2.5%. Barack Obama’s 10-point win in 2008 was supposed to take it out of the swing column this year.

Yet one of the surprises of the past month is a quietly competitive race for Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes. Since the Denver debate on Oct. 3, Mr. Obama’s lead has narrowed to 4.7%, according to the RealClearPolitics average of state polls.
[...]
If Pennsylvania stages a surprise next week, it’ll come out of suburban Philadelphia. The four so-called collar counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery) were once moderate Republican bastions. In the past two decades, the suburbs have gone for Democratic presidential candidates. You can’t win without them. Bucks (pop. 626,854) is the bellwether: A mix of educated middle-class, rural and blue-collar communities, it votes both ways in local elections—and always for the presidential winner.
[...]
Republicans in the collar counties had little reason for enthusiasm before the first debate. The morning after Denver, the party office in Bucks was overrun with people looking for Romney-Ryan lawn signs. The Romney message strategy echoes that of Sen. Toomey and other successful GOP candidates here two years ago: Talk about jobs and debt, appeal to bipartisanship, and avoid the subjects of abortion and religion as much as possible.

As it happens, Mr. Romney is the first Northeasterner to get the Republican nod since the Connecticut native Bush 41 in 1988. He looks and sounds like Republicans whom Pennsylvanians have voted for in the past. Texas swagger and Sarah Palin didn’t play well in Bucks.
[...]
Then comes a series of queries about high gas prices, a tough job market and how to balance budgets. A local software provider and Fitzpatrick supporter standing next to me in the audience says: “There’s only one businessman I know of who is doing better” than four years ago “and he’s a bankruptcy lawyer.”
[...]
A visible difference from 2008 is the improvement in the Republican ground game. As in Ohio, the Romney campaign has been able to tap local evangelicals and tea-party activists and has built up a decent infrastructure with 24 offices and 60 staffers in the state.
[...]
Ed Rendell, the former Democratic governor, says in a telephone interview before the Romney TV buys were announced that any late ad push may backfire for Republicans. “It would remind people that there’s an election going on,” he says. Republicans “clearly hope Democratic turnout collapses.” The Obama campaign, calling the Romney buys “a desperate play,” is going on air in response.

I love it. The Obaminions calling Romney’s move into Pennsylvania “desperate” is classic for, “Wow, we didn’t see this one coming and we better get our act together now and fast!” And you know how we know the Obaminions are wrong? Check Governor Rendell’s two word quote at the end of the next paragraph.

The Democratic game is about turnout. The president’s re-election campaign is a formidable operation. In a signal that Pennsylvania is not a closed deal, Mr. Obama last week gave an Oval Office interview to Michael Smerconish, a Philadelphia radio talk-show host who was born in Bucks County and has a following in the collar counties. Gov. Rendell sums up the mood among Democrats: “We’re nervous.”

[emphasis added]

And this from CNN:

On Monday’s Obama call, campaign manager Jim Messina said of Pennsylvania, “We’re not going to take anything for granted.”

The reason I am watching Pennsylvania so closely is because I think it is signaling something much larger. Somewhat akin to tremors in my state of California before a large earthquake. If Pennsylvania can fall from the Dems, what other states could we see hitting for Governor Romney? The Obaminions never thought their blue state would ever be up for grabs. They never saw this one coming. They are scrambling in full panic mode.


American Values: “In God We Trust” — “Liberty” — “E Pluribus Unum”

Twitter Follow: @VicLundquist – Dedicated to all members of The United States military and their families

Obama’s Silent Agenda


Barack Obama’s principal agenda for America has been anything but transparent; he would profess transparency and has stated such, however if we delve into the details, Barack Obama has hidden his real intent from America. The underpinnings of the man, his philosophies and ideologies are far from the forefront. We are offered illuminating insights in Dinesh D’Souza’s two tomes, The Roots of Obama’s Rage and Obama’s America. Further, in their film, 2016: Obama’s America, D’Souza and Jerry Molen provide illustrative utterance to Obama’s foundational ideologies. And, in On The Brink, America’s Choice 2012, I offer some fundamental ideologies espoused by Mr. Obama.

As we look to this election, it is frightening what lies in store for America in the mind of Barack Obama. Let us not forget his statement to Dimitri Medvedev, which still sends chills up the spine.

Kimberley Strassel provides a current view of what Obama intentionally isn’t saying about his agenda for the next four years in her latest opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

President Obama has a reputation for talking, but not necessarily for saying much. He has achieved new levels of vagueness this election season. Beyond repeating that he’s in favor of making the “rich” pay for more government “investment,” he hasn’t offered a single new idea for a second term. This is deliberate.

The core of the Obama strategy is to make Americans worry that whatever Mitt Romney does, it will be worse. That’s a harder case for Mr. Obama to make if he is himself proposing change. And so the Obama pitch is that this election is a choice between stability (giving Mr. Obama four more years to let his policies finally work) and upheaval (giving Mr. Romney four years to re-ruin the nation).

The pitch is profoundly dishonest. While the choice between four more years of Obama status quo and Mr. Romney is certainly vivid, it isn’t accurate. The real contrast is between Mr. Romney’s and Mr. Obama’s future plans. And while the president hasn’t revealed what those plans are, there is plenty of evidence for what a second term would look like.

Let’s dispense with the obvious: An Obama second term will be foremost about higher taxes and greater spending. The president has been clear about the former and will consider victory in November a mandate to raise taxes on higher-income Americans and small businesses—at the least.

Meanwhile, no matter how the coming budget sequester sorts out, nobody should forget why it came into being: It was the result of Mr. Obama’s refusal to consider any real changes to Social Security or Medicare. There will be no reason to budge in a second term. Absent reform to these drivers of debt, and given Mr. Obama’s ambitions to further “invest” in education, energy and infrastructure, a second term means proposals for even broader and bigger tax hikes—and not just for his favorite targets. Continued and growing deficits are likely as well.

Presidents often use re-election to revive leftover policy objectives. A New Yorker magazine article in June noted: “The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change.” Such an unpopular policy focus might seem crazy if Republicans hold the House, but then again Mr. Obama will want an issue where he can press his advantage and blame an obstinate GOP. The president has to date been unconcerned by how his agenda hurts congressional Democrats; he’s unlikely to begin caring once he has been re-elected.

Yet since the probable outcome of his approach would be continued gridlock, his real efforts will be devoted to fine-tuning the regulatory apparatus he has designed specifically to go around Congress—as the administration has done the past two years. The Environmental Protection Agency in particular will resurrect rules it delayed implementing before the election (see: costly ozone regulations) and move to take over new areas like natural-gas fracking.

The same goes for other agencies, from the Labor Department to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The National Labor Relations Board will continue to cement union dominance over employers. The Solyndras will continue. What Mr. Obama cannot accomplish via regulation, he will attempt through executive order—much as he did with his recent immigration directive.

Most voters understand that a second Obama term means the continuation of ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulations. But there is also the carte blanche that re-election will give the president to supercharge those laws, which are only now entering key rulemaking periods. The same Obama appointees who have already taken vast liberties with these laws (see: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s ObamaCare slush fund) will be crafting the new regulations. The bureaucrats will also have four more years to put in place key civil servants who can be counted on to keep the rules going even past an Obama administration.

It is likely the Supreme Court will offer up another vacancy, and Mr. Obama might finally have his chance to shift the balance of the court. A slew of appellate-court positions are also in limbo as the campaign proceeds; they would be filled by a second-term Obama.

Just as important are the things Mr. Obama will not do. His record gives no indication he will revive America’s leadership in free trade. Nor is he likely to restore America’s influence in the international arena. And so we will inch closer to a nuclear-armed Iran and the threats that the regime will pose to international peace and order.

None of this is hyperbole. Mr. Obama is open about his tax aims, is proud of his spending and has never apologized for his regulatory ambitions. Despite a shellacking in the midterms, he moved left, and a November victory will reinforce his sense that he was correct to do so.

While Democrats will take careful pains in coming convention weeks to avoid outlining the president’s intentions, they are sitting in plain sight. The real choice this fall will be between Mitt Romney’s reform agenda and a Supersized Obama. No wonder the Democrats are keeping mum.

Write to kim@wsj.com

Specifics Mitt Romney Rarely Discusses About His Past

The Los Angeles Times published a front page article in its Sunday edition yesterday. It is titled, “Image Gap” [The Romney we see on the campaign trail doesn't seem to be the one revered by friends and colleagues], by Maeve Reston. I highly recommend reading the entire article by clicking the link above: “Image Gap.”

Those of us that have studied for years the life and career of Mitt Romney are well aware of the many stories that clearly define him as generous with his time; as someone who is patient and genuinely kind to others — a man of service. I have heard some people voice frustration that he does not speak of these experiences and they wish he would. Any student of “servant leadership” knows that a characteristic attribute of such leaders is humility.

Following are excerpts from the article:

Mitt Romney visits with a future voter at a fundraising event in Nantucket, Mass. (Photo: Evan Vucci, Associated Press / August 26, 201)

The article starts off by describing how Mitt Romney gave a bridge loan to save the home of an executive of Staples at a critical time.

That was the Mitt Romney known to friends and business associates: a man generous to those in need, whose charitable acts stemmed from a deeply rooted sense of duty to help his neighbors.
[...]
If the country knows little about what makes Mitt Romney tick, that is in large part because the campaign has walled off large swaths of his background, including some of the most humanizing components, to public discussion.
[...]
As a result, 10 weeks before the election Romney remains an enigma to many Americans.
[...]
Romney’s advisors have long shrugged off his likability problem, arguing that voters care most about competence and insisting that Obama’s middling job approval rating is a far more important number.
[...]
While some might see a contradiction between Romney’s private acts of generosity and his plans to shrink government programs that help the poor or college students, those close to him say there is none. It stems from his belief in individual responsibility and self-reliance, and the view that every American has a duty to help others either through their community or through their church.

“He believes government has a certain role as far as helping people, or helping provide an infrastructure in areas where you can help create opportunities,” Romney advisor Kevin Madden said. But his guiding principle is a belief in “putting our faith in individuals and free markets and free enterprise” rather than “government being the only engine.”
[...]
To date, many of the stories friends and advisors tell of Romney emphasize his tendency, as one put it, to personally “run at problems and fix them.” One often-cited episode was his decision to shut down Bain Capital and organize a multiday search party to find a partner’s teenage daughter, who had vanished after a party. After he recruited Bain’s lawyers, accountants and other business associates to walk the streets of Manhattan showing her picture, authorities found the girl in a New Jersey basement. (Notably, the story was used by Romney in advertising for an earlier campaign, before Bain became the focus of months of Democratic gibes.)

Cindy Gillespie, who worked closely with Romney when he ran the Salt Lake City Olympics and then moved to Massachusetts to work with him, recalled a less dramatic illustration of Romney’s approach. When movers left her bedroom set stranded in the driveway of her new town house after failing to maneuver it up a narrow staircase, Romney — then the governor — arrived with three of his sons and

(more…)

Fundraising and Spending: Management in Microcosm

The latest news of the campaigns’ cash on hand is telling: Mitt Romney is not only very good at raising money, he’s very frugal in spending it.

Reports indicate that despite President Obama holding a record number of fundraisers while in office (nearly twice that of the next president on the list), the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee are significantly financially better off than their Democratic counterparts. From Reuters:

Romney, the Republican National Committee and the Victory Fund they use jointly said they had $186 million left in cash on hand at the end of July. Disclosures filed on Monday showed Obama, the Democratic National Committee and their own joint funds having a total of $127 million left in cash on hand.

That money is an important gauge of firepower saved up for future advertising or investments in hiring, offices and events.

Why the discrepancy? It’s true that some funds are inaccessible to Mitt until he’s the official GOP nominee. But still, why such a difference when there wasn’t even a primary battle on the Democrat side? First, Jane Mayer in the New Yorker suggests President Obama doesn’t seem to relish fundraising, particularly from wealthy donors.

Ms. Mayer suggests an altruism on the part of Democrats holds them back from doing the same sort of fundraising the GOP does, particularly from, in a youthful Obama’s words, “the enemy” (big business / Wall Street). It’s clear the Obama camp and the left views money and those that possess it with some level of disdain. And as Mitt says, if you vilify something you may very well end up with less of it. Lest you be fooled, however, into believing Ms. Mayer’s suggestion that all the left’s motives are pure, and therefore the right’s are not, Matthew Continetti in the Free Beacon deconstructs Ms. Mayer’s thesis, calling it the “biggest myth of 2012″ that Democrat donors don’t expect or receive some form of payback from their politicians. Mr. Continetti’s piece is worth a read. Perhaps it’s not progressive altruism that keeps the Obama campaign from raising funds as much as it’s that Obama’s track record is now a limiting factor.

(more…)

Romney’s NEW OP-ED: What I Learned at Bain Capital

Mitt Romney at Bain

Romney Economics! Investing in Companies and Creating Jobs.

The original may be found on yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page.

The back-to-school season is here, and as parents take their children to shop for school supplies, I suspect that many of them will be visiting a Staples store. I’m very familiar with those stores because Staples is one of many businesses we helped create and expand at Bain Capital, a firm that my colleagues and I built. The firm succeeded by growing and fixing companies.

The lessons I learned over my 15 years at Bain Capital were valuable in helping me turn around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. They also helped me as governor of Massachusetts to turn a budget deficit into a surplus and reduce our unemployment rate to 4.7%. The lessons from that time would help me as president to fix our economy, create jobs and get things done in Washington.

A broad message emerges from my Bain Capital days: A good idea is not enough for a business to succeed. It requires a talented team, a good business plan and capital to execute it. That was true of companies we helped start, like Staples and the Bright Horizons child-care provider, and several of the struggling companies we helped turn around, like the Brookstone retailer and the contact-lens maker Wesley Jessen.

My presidency would make it easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses to get the investment dollars they need to grow, by reducing and simplifying taxes; replacing Obamacare with real health-care reform that contains costs and improves care; and by stemming the flood of new regulations that are tying small businesses in knots.

My business experience confirmed my belief in empowering people. For example, at Bain Capital we bought Accuride, a company that made truck rims and wheels, because we saw untapped potential there. We instituted performance bonuses for the management team, which had a dramatic impact. The managers made the plants more productive, and the company started growing, adding 300 jobs while Bain was involved. My faith in people, not government, is at the foundation of my plan to strengthen America’s middle class.

I also saw firsthand through these investments how energy costs impact the ability of a business to grow. Today, energy costs are weighing on job creators across America because President Obama has limited energy exploration and restricted development in ways that sap economic performance, curtail growth, and kill jobs. I will take a sensible approach to tapping our energy resources, which will both create jobs and make energy more affordable for every sector of our economy.

In the 1990s, when the “old-technology” steel industry in the U.S. was failing, Bain Capital helped build a new steel company, Steel Dynamics, which has grown into one of the largest steel producers in America today, holding its own against Chinese producers. The key to its success? State-of-the-art new technology.

Here are two lessons from the Steel Dynamics story: First, innovation is essential to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. We are the most innovative, entrepreneurial nation in the world. To maintain that lead, we must give people the skills to succeed. My plan for a stronger middle class includes policies to give every family access to great schools and quality teachers, to improve access to higher education, and to attract and retain the best talent from around the world.

The second lesson is that we must have a level playing field in international trade. As president, I will challenge unfair trade practices that are harming American workers.

Running a business also brings lessons in tackling challenges. I was on the board of a medical diagnostic-laboratory company, Damon, when a competitor announced that it had settled with the government over a charge of fraudulent Medicare billing. I and fellow Damon outside board members joined together and immediately hired an independent law firm to examine Damon’s own practices.

The investigation revealed a need to make some changes, which we did. The company, along with several other clinical-laboratory companies, ended up being fined for billing practices. And a Damon manager who was responsible for the fraud went to jail. The experience taught me that when you see a problem, run toward it or it will only get worse.

That will be my approach to our federal budget problem. I am committed to capping federal spending below 20% of GDP and reducing nondefense discretionary spending by 5%. This will surely result in much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Washington. But a failure of leadership has created our debt crisis, and ducking responsibility will only cripple the economy and smother opportunity for our children and grandchildren.

I’m not sure Bain Capital could have grown or turned around some of the companies we invested in had we faced today’s anti-business environment. Andy Puzder, the chief executive of CKE Restaurants Inc., which employs about 21,000 people at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, has said that the “current unfriendly economic environment perhaps best explains why American companies are sitting on over $2 trillion which they could invest.”

President Obama has piled on excessive regulations, proposed massive tax increases, added more than $5 trillion in federal debt, and failed to address the coming fiscal cliff—all of which is miring our nation in sluggish growth and high unemployment.

I know what it takes to turn around difficult situations. And I will put that experience to work, to get our economy back on track, create jobs, strengthen the middle class and lay the groundwork for America’s increased competitiveness in the world.

A few comments from Paul Johnson, if you’ll indulge, about why what Mitt says is so important:

1. Mitt’s succeeded before. We have some serious problems, but Mitt has displayed an unusual ability to solve difficult issues. From his tenure at Bain, to establishing and turning around other companies, to turning around the Olympics, Mitt Romney knows success and how to replicate it. (more…)

Romney Notes G.I. Bill Anniversary: Day One, Will Work to Create Jobs for Vets

It’s a battle they shouldn’t have to fight…

Commander-in-Chief Obama has bequeathed an onerous economy upon Iraq and Afghanistan U.S. veterans. According to last month’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, vets face a 12.7% unemployment rate (the actual number is higher than reported due to many having stopped searching for work). Here’s a punch-in-the-gut story of IAVA Member Carlos Pena of Jamaica, Queens:

… Carlos has served 12 years in the National Guard and three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. On his last deployment in 2011, he helped run security for the US Army Corps of Engineers on construction projects throughout Afghanistan. The number of combat patrols he went on might not mean much in the civilian world, but the fact that he had worked on multiple infrastructure projects that totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars certainly does. While Carlos’ peers were practicing economic hypotheticals in the classroom, he was conducting real world scenarios in a warzone under the most stressful conditions. Yet, he’s struggling to find a full-time job to support his family now that he’s back home. And unfortunately, his story is all too familiar to those in the military and veterans community.

A look at one of a number of job fairs held yesterday for vets:

Governor Romney is keenly aware of the struggles our U.S. vets have been handed by the Obama administration as they seek to find civilian work. He’s committed to strengthening veterans’ employment opportunities by solving our economic crisis and ensuring this century is an American century for them and all of us.

In honor of our vets and in commemoration today of the 68th anniversary of the G.I. Bill, Governor Mitt Romney made the following statement:

“Sixty-eight years ago today, the G.I. Bill became law. It was an exemplary act that gave unparalleled opportunities to America’s Greatest Generation, the millions of veterans who answered our country’s call in the supreme emergency of World War II. Today, we have a new Greatest Generation that has answered our country’s call in the aftermath of 9/11. They have stood for us through many hard trials, and we must stand by them. That obligation begins with restoring our economy to health. Those returning from the front lines should not be coming home to unemployment lines. As president, I will work from day one to turn around America’s economy and create good jobs for veterans and for all Americans.”

(more…)

Noonan: Obama as “Bush League President” — Incompetent, Boring, Scattered, Lacks Joy

To see five reasons Governor Romney will defeat Mr. Obama in November, see article below the political cartoons under the fold.

Bored? Credit: AFP / Getty Images

I can’t believe that I am actually writing about the President of the United States when hearing the jokes at last night’s White House Corresponsdents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C. Consider these selected by Mr. Obama, among many others:

Where he was born (this one starts at 3:20, and he actually winked after saying, “And I, of course, was born in Hawaii.”)…Eating dogs (several jokes on this topic)…His rumored, radical, second term agenda…Hillary Clinton’s beer drinking in Colombia (”she won’t stop drunk texting me from Cartagena.”)…Wait, let’s not forget the toilet flush. Did we really need to envision the president sitting on the toilet, seconds before he was to address the White House Press Corps?

Potty jokes as president? Demeaning the Secretary of State? Okay. We learned after Mr. Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize that he and Michelle and friends were disappointed in how he was perceived:

The trip spurred a thought the Obamas and their friends would voice to each other again and again as the president’s popularity continued to decline: the American public just did not appreciate their exceptional leader.

Is it surprising that some Americans are seriously considering leaving our nation in an Atlas Shrugged manner? Or maybe it’s only those from California, which state Mr. Obama seems to be modeling his economic policy after. BTW, consider this CYA truth by Obama in the Bin Laden operation (one tenet of strong leadership is to credit success to others and take responsibility for failures — Obama never learned this).

Newsmax gave us this earlier in the week:

“They’re a very confused campaign right now,” Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades tells Newsmax. “They’ve had years to build out the infrastructure, and they’ve certainly done that. They say they have 700 people. But campaigns are really won on message and the candidates themselves. And they’re a campaign without a message right now.

UPDATE #1 (hat tip to @Fla4Romney): Obama has held more re-election fundraisers than previous five Presidents combined as he visits key swing states on ‘permanent campaign’

UPDATE #2: From the WSJ: “Obama the Unseemly — A more aggressive press corps might have motivated him to preserve his dignity.”

Peggy Noonan wrote an outstanding opinion piece titled, A BUSH LEAGUE PRESIDENT that is both worrisome regarding Mr. Obama but optimistic regarding Governor Romney:

There is every reason to be deeply skeptical of President Obama’s prospects in November.

Republicans feel an understandable anxiety about Mr. Obama’s coming campaign: It will be all slice and dice, divide and conquer, break the country into little pieces and pick up as many as you can. He’ll try to pick up college students one day and solidify environmentalist support the next, he’ll valorize this group and demonize the other. He means to gather in and hold onto all the pieces he needs, and turn them into a jagged, jangly coalition that will win it for him in November and not begin making individual demands until December.

But it still matters that the president doesn’t have a coherent agenda, or a political philosophy that is really clear to people. To the extent he has a philosophy, it tends to pop up furtively in stray comments and then go away. This is to a unique degree a presidency of inference, its overall meaning never vividly declared. In some eras, that may be a plus. In this one?

She mentions the power of incumbency and continues and nails it, spot on. She so perfectly describes what you can see in his eyes and demeanor, as she admits that what she is about to write is rude: (more…)

04/13/12 – NRA Convention 2012

Mitt Romney Delivers Speech on Freedom at NRA

Watch the video of the speech here.

Chris Cox, thank you for that kind introduction.

And thanks to all of you for that warm welcome.

It’s great to be with so many friends from the National Rifle Association.

This fine organization is sometimes called a single-issue group.

That’s high praise when the single issue is freedom.

All of you can be proud of your long and unwavering defense of our constitutional rights and liberties.

In 207 days, we’ll do something that is really quite amazing:

Americans will choose not only a President but an entire House of Representatives and a third of the US Senate.

The entire world will be watching us.

And by around midnight on November 6th, maybe a little earlier or later, we’ll know the results of millions of Americans exercising their right to vote.

In doing so, Americans will make a profound choice, a decision that is much more important than the candidates or the political parties.

We will not just select the President who will guide us; we will also choose between two distinct paths and destinies for our nation.

So many of the big issues in this campaign turn on our understanding of the Constitution and how it was meant to guide the life of our nation.

It was one of Missouri’s greatest sons, Harry Truman, who expressed a guiding conviction that you and I share.

In a ceremony that placed the Constitution and Declaration in the permanent care of the National Archives, President Truman offered a word of caution.

Liberty, he said, “can be lost, and it will be, if the time ever comes when these documents are regarded not as the supreme expression of our profound belief, but merely as curiosities in glass cases.”

Truman believed, as we do, that the principles of our Constitution are enduring and universal…that they were not designed to bend to the will of presidents and justices who come and go.

The belief that we are all created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights – these are not relics from another time, they reflect truths that are valid in every era.

The framework of law created by the Declaration and the Constitution is the source of our greatness.

It has generated unparalleled opportunity and prosperity.

Our Founders understood this, which is why they created a system of government that is limited.

This President is moving us away from our Founders’ vision.

Instead of limited government, he is leading us toward limited freedom and limited opportunity.

This November, we face a defining decision.

I am offering a real choice and a new beginning.

I am running for President because I have the experience and the vision to lead us in a different direction.

We know what Barack Obama’s vision of America is – we’ve all lived it the last three years.

Mine is very different.

My course restores and protects our freedoms.

As President, the Constitution would be my guide, and the Declaration of Independence my compass.

Today, I want to talk about this administration’s assault on our freedoms – our economic freedom, our religious freedom, and our personal freedom.

And I want to share my plans to return America to the first principles of our founding.

The American economy is fueled by freedom. Free people and their free enterprises are what drive our economic vitality.

The Obama administration’s assault on our economic freedom is the principal reason why the recovery has been so tepid – why it couldn’t meet their projections, let alone our expectations.

The President’s assault on economic freedom begins with his tax hikes.

By their very nature, taxes reduce our freedom. Their only role in a free economy should be to fund services that are absolutely essential, such as national security, education, and the care of those who cannot care for themselves.

And, yet, President Obama has proposed raising the marginal tax rate from 35% to 40%. The Vice President has proposed a new global business tax. Medical device companies are soon to be subject to a new tax on revenues. And the President is now touring the country, touting a new tax on investment and the wealthy. Congress does not need more money to spend; Congress needs to learn to spend less!

Dodd-Frank is another example of the President’s attack on economic freedom. It’s an 848-page behemoth that will be followed by thousands and thousands of pages of new regulations. Regulations are necessary. But burdensome regulations serve only to restrict freedom and imperil enterprise. The victims of those regulations are not nameless, faceless banks. They’re the employees, the business owners, and the customers who rely on financial institutions that lose out.

Under President Obama, bureaucrats are insinuating themselves into every corner of our economy, undermining economic freedom. They prevent drilling rigs from going to work in the Gulf. They keep coal from being mined. They impede the reliable supply of natural gas. They tell farmers what their children can and can’t do to help on the farm.

Will Rogers famously said that he worried whenever Congress was in session. Today, our freedom is never safe – because unelected, unaccountable regulators are always on the prowl. And under President Obama, they are multiplying. The number of federal employees has grown by almost 150,000 under this president.

For centuries, the American Dream has meant the opportunity to build something new. Some of America’s greatest success stories are of people who started out with nothing but a good idea and a corner in their garage. Today, Americans look at what it takes to start a business and they don’t see promise and opportunity. They see government standing in their way.

The real cost isn’t just the taxes paid and money spent complying with the rules. It’s the businesses that are never started, the ideas that are never pursued, the dreams that are never realized.

We once built the interstate highway system and the Hoover Dam. Today, we can’t even build a pipeline.

We once led the world in manufacturing, exports, and infrastructure investment. Today, we lead the world in lawsuits.

We once led the world in educating our kids. Today, half the kids in our fifty largest cities won’t even graduate from high school.

If we continue along this path, we’ll spend our lives filling out forms, complying with excessive regulations and pleading with political appointees for waivers, subsidies and permission. That path erodes freedom. It deadens the entrepreneurial spirit. And it hurts the very people it’s supposed to help.

Freedom is the victim of unbounded government appetite – and so is economic growth, job growth, and wage growth. As government takes more and more, there is less and less incentive to take risk, to invest, to innovate, and to hire.

This administration thinks our economy is struggling because the stimulus was too small. The truth is we’re struggling because our government is too big.

I am running for President because I have the experience and vision to get us out of this mess. My agenda takes America in the right direction. It preserves freedom. It encourages risk taking and innovation. It fosters competition. It promotes opportunity.

Instead of expanding the government, I will shrink it.

Instead of raising taxes, I will cut them.

Instead of adding regulations, I will scale them back.

The answer for a weak economy is not more government. It is more freedom!

Economic freedom has not been the Obama administration’s only target. Our first freedom – our religious freedom – has also been under attack.

Recently, in a labor regulation case, the government claimed that a church should not be free to determine who qualifies as a minister under the law.

It claimed that the government instead could interfere with that decision. The government! The Constitution came to the rescue: the Supreme Court rejected the Obama administration’s attack, in a 9-0 unanimous decision.

Now, the Obama administration has decided that it has the power to mandate what Catholic charities, schools, and hospitals must cover in their insurance plans. It’s easy to forget how often President Obama assured us that under Obamacare, nothing in our insurance plans would have to change. Remember that one? Well, here we are, just getting started with Obamacare, and the federal government is already dictating to religious groups on matters of doctrine and conscience.

In all of America, there is no larger private provider of healthcare for women and their babies than the Catholic Church. But that’s not enough for the Obamacare bureaucrats. No, they want Catholics to fall in line and violate the tenets of their faith.

As President, I will follow a very different path than President Obama. I will be a staunch defender of religious freedom. The Obamacare regulation is not a threat and insult to only one religious group – it is a threat and insult to every religious group. As President, I will abolish it.

Like economic and religious freedom, our personal freedoms have been under attack.

Few things are more important to us than our health, and our healthcare. The 10th amendment preserves the right to choose our own healthcare, and all rights not specifically granted to the federal government by the Constitution, to the states, and to the people. Obamacare violates the Constitution. I’m counting on the Supreme Court to say exactly that.

But it’s not just health care. Mike and Chantell Sackett have seen firsthand how the Obama government interferes with personal freedom. They run a small business in Idaho. They saved enough money to buy a piece of property and build a home. But days after they broke ground, an EPA regulator told them to stop digging. The EPA said they were building on a wetland. But the Sackett’s property isn’t on the wetlands register. It sits in a residential area. Nevertheless, the EPA wouldn’t even let them appeal the decision. Fortunately, the Constitution confronted the Obama administration: the Supreme Court ruled unanimously for the Sacketts and against the Obama EPA.

This administration’s attack on freedom extends even to rights explicitly guaranteed by our Constitution. The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they’ve been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it.

I applaud true conservationists like Rob Keck who work to preserve lands, herds and flocks for hunting. I applaud Ambassador Bolton for opposing international efforts to erode our rights. I applaud Congressman Issa and Senator Grassley for their work in exposing the “Fast and Furious” scandal. And I applaud NRA leadership for being among the first and most vocal in calling upon Attorney General Holder to resign.

We need a President who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners.

President Obama has not; I will.

We need a President who will stand up for the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and those seeking to protect their homes and their families. President Obama has not; I will.

And if we are going to safeguard our Second Amendment, it is time to elect a president who will defend the rights President Obama ignores or minimizes. I will.

We’ve seen enough of President Obama over the last three years to know that we don’t need another four.

In a second term, he would be unrestrained by the demands of re-election. As he told the Russian president last month when he thought no one else was listening, after his re-election he’ll have a lot more, quote, “flexibility” to do what he wants. I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that, but looking at his first three years, I have a very good idea.

Consider the courts. President Obama has an unusual view of the Supreme Court and its responsibilities, as he reminded us just the other day. He said, quote, “I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

Of course, what President Obama calls “extraordinary” and “unprecedented,” the rest of us recognize as “judicial review.” That concept has been a centerpiece of our constitutional system since 1803.

Judicial review requires that the Supreme Court strike down any law that violates the Constitution – the founding document that is the bulwark of our freedoms. But President Obama seems to believe that Court decisions are only legitimate when they rule in his favor, and illegitimate if they don’t. He thinks our nation’s highest court is to be revered and respected – as long as it remains faithful to the original intent of Barack Obama.

That’s the problem with those who view the Constitution as living and evolving, not timeless and defining. They never explain just who will decide what the Constitution means and in which way it will “evolve.”

In his first term, we’ve seen the president try to browbeat the Supreme Court. In a second term, he would remake it. Our freedoms would be in the hands of an Obama Court, not just for four years, but for the next 40. That must not happen.

As President, I will uphold the rule of law – and put America back on the path toward the Founders’ vision. I don’t want to transform America; I want to return America to the principles that made this nation great.

Our Founders began this great American Experiment. They created a nation conceived in liberty and they entrusted us with the duty to preserve it and defend it.

In the generations since, more than a million Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice.

One day toward the end of my term, my office got a call telling us that a soldier had been killed in Iraq. His casket was on a U.S. Airways flight, but his family had not been notified in time to get to the airport and receive his body. I was asked if I could go to the airport in their stead. I said, of course.

We drove over to the airport and on to the tarmac. The jet came in and the people disembarked. The luggage came down the conveyor, and then, after a little while, the casket appeared.

The State Troopers who were there with me all saluted. I put my hand on my heart. And then I glanced up at the terminal. There’s a big wall of glass at the U.S. Airways terminal in Boston right where the plane had come in. The people coming off the plane had seen the police cars, so they’d stopped to see what was going on. And then the people walking down the hall saw the people leaning up against the glass, so they pulled up behind them. A huge crowd had formed up there.

Every single person had their hand on their heart.

When I think of our country, scenes like this come to mind. Should I have the honor of serving as president, that’s how I will seek to lead – not by pitting one group against another, but by bringing us together.

Americans want a leader who will tell them the truth, who will live with integrity, and who will preserve this great nation – and protect our Constitution.

We have a sacred duty to restore the promise of America. And we will do it. We will do it because we believe in America.

We’ll stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad.

There was a time – not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans. That meant something different to each of us but it meant something special to all of us. We knew it without question. And so did the world.

Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny.

We believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are still ahead. We are, after all, Americans!

Join me in this great cause.

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

03/20/12 – Illinois Victory Speech

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thank you, Illinois! What a great night!

I’d like to congratulate my fellow candidates on a hard-fought contest. I’d like to thank our volunteers and our friends for their hard work and unwavering support. And, tonight, we thank the people of Illinois for their vote – and for this incredible victory.

Elections are about choices. And today hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters have joined millions across the country in our cause.

We began this movement on a small farm in New Hampshire on a sunny June day, surrounded by a small group of friends, family, and supporters. We shared a conviction that the America we loved was in trouble and adrift without strong leadership. Three years of Barack Obama had brought us fewer jobs and shrinking paychecks, but many of us believed we were in danger of losing something more than the value of homes and 401(k)s.

After the years of too many apologies and not enough jobs, historic drops in income and historic highs in gas prices, of a President who doesn’t hesitate to use all means necessary to force Obamacare on the American public but leads from behind in world affairs, it’s time to say, “Enough!”

We know our future is better and brighter than these troubled times. We still believe in America – and we deserve a President who believes in us.

Yesterday I gave a speech at the University of Chicago, not far from here and where Professor Barack Obama taught Constitutional Law. It was a speech on economic freedom and as I was writing it, I thought back to the lifetime of experiences I’ve had learning the unique genius of the American free enterprise system. It started when I was just a kid, and my dad, who never graduated from college, would tell me about his dad, who was a contractor and never quite made it but never gave up.

Later I helped start companies that began just as an idea and somehow made it through all the inevitable difficulties to create thousands of jobs. Those jobs helped families buy their first homes, put kids through school, live better lives, dream a little bigger.

For 25 years, I lived and breathed jobs, business, and the economy. I had successes and failures but each step of the way, I learned a little more about what it is that makes our American system so powerful.

You can’t learn that teaching Constitutional law. You can’t learn that as a community organizer. The simple truth is that this President just doesn’t understand the genius of America’s economy – or the secret of our success.

The American economy is fueled by freedom. Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in lifting people out of poverty. It is the only principle that has ever created sustained prosperity.

But, over the last three years, this administration has been engaged in an assault on our freedom.

Under President Obama, bureaucrats prevent drilling rigs from going to work in the Gulf. They keep coal from being mined. They impede the reliable supply of natural gas. They even tell farmers what their 15-year-old sons and daughters can and can’t do on the family farm.

The administration’s assault on freedom has kept this so-called recovery from meeting their projections, let alone our expectations.

And now, the President is trying to erase his record with rhetoric. Just the other day, he said, “We are inventors. We are builders. We are makers of things. We are Thomas Edison. We are the Wright Brothers. We are Bill Gates. We are Steve Jobs.”

That’s true. But the problem is: he’s still Barack Obama. And under this President, those pioneers would have faced an uphill battle to innovate, invent, and create.

Under Dodd-Frank, they would have struggled to get a loan from their community bank.

A regulator would have shut down the Wright Brothers for their “dust pollution.”

And the government would have banned Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Oh, that’s right. They just did.

The real cost of these misguided policies are the ideas that are never pursued and the dreams that are never realized.

For centuries, the American Dream has meant the opportunity to build something new. Some of America’s greatest success stories are people who started out with nothing but a good idea and a corner in their garage. But today, Americans who want to start a new business or launch a new venture don’t see promise and opportunity. They see government standing in their way.

We once built the interstate highway system and the Hoover Dam. Today, we can’t even build a pipeline.

We once led the world in manufacturing, exports, and infrastructure investment. Today, we lead the world in lawsuits.

When we replace a law professor with a businessman, that will end.

Every great innovation, every world-changing business breakthrough begins with a dream. And nothing is more fragile than a dream. The genius of America is that we nurture these dreams and the dreamers. We honor them, and, yes, we reward them.

That’s part of what is uniquely brilliant about America. But day by day, job-killing regulation by job-killing regulation, bureaucrat by bureaucrat, this President is crushing the dream and the dreamers.

The proof is in this weak recovery. This administration thinks our economy is struggling because the stimulus was too small. The truth is our economy is struggling because the government is too big.

You and I know what President Obama still has not learned, even after three years and hundreds of billions of dollars in spending: The government does not create prosperity; prosperity is the product of free markets and free people.

This November, we face a defining decision. Our choice will not be one of party or personality. This election will be about principle. Our economic freedom will be on the ballot.

I am offering a real choice and a new beginning. I am running for President because I have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess. We know what Barack Obama’s vision of America is – we’ve all lived it the last three years. Mine is very different.

I see an America where we know the prospects for our children will be better than our own; where the pursuit of success unites us, not divides us; when a government finally understands that it’s better for more to pay less in taxes than for a few to pay more; where the values we pass on to our children are greater than the debts we leave them; where poverty is defeated by opportunity, not enabled a government check.

I see an America that is humble but never humbled, that leads but is never led.

Today we took an important step toward that America. Tomorrow, we take another. Each day we move closer not just to victory but to a better America. Join us. Together, we will ensure that America’s greatest days are still ahead.

Thank you and God bless America.

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