Obama's Debate Debacle
"[T]here is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust." --James Madison
If you were among the 67 million Americans who tuned in to Wednesday night's presidential debate, you saw Barack Obama utterly outmatched by Mitt Romney in such dramatic fashion that Obama's Leftmedia sycophants could only wail and gnash their teeth. The irony is that the media had a hand in his defeat.
Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto several years ago devised a theory that the Leftmedia so pamper leftist politicians that they are unable to defend themselves when presented with a strong conservative argument from a determined opponent. Certainly we saw the "Taranto Principle" in effect Wednesday, as Obama could do little to deflect Romney's rhetorical blows other than simply repeat his feeble demagoguery.
The debate began with the economy. Obama has a demonstrably abysmal record on this subject, so he had to start where he always starts -- by blaming Bush: "[F]our years ago we went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression." Though he boasted about creating five million jobs over the last 30 months, he quickly skipped over his own term in office, saying, "[T]he question here tonight is not where we've been, but where we're going."
This left the perfect opening for one of Romney's best zinger's of the night. "I'm concerned," Romney said, "that the path that we're on has just been unsuccessful. The president has a view very similar to the view he had when he ran four years ago, that a bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more -- if you will, trickle-down government -- would work." After answering Romney's charge by listing a few of the government programs he had or will set up -- trickle-down government -- Obama spent the rest of the evening smirking grimly and staring down at the podium, which was in stark contrast to Romney, who looked directly at Obama whether he was speaking or listening.
Moving to taxes, Obama accused Romney of planning a $5 trillion tax cut that we can't "pay for" and that only benefits the wealthy. We were pleased to see Romney thoroughly debunk such nonsense and explain why his plan to cut tax rates by a further 20 percent across the board would lead to economic growth and, therefore, more tax revenue "by more people working, getting higher pay, paying more taxes. That's how we get growth and how we balance the budget."
Romney also reminded voters that Obama's policies have squeezed the middle class, not helped them. Obama might call this "economic patriotism," but as Romney noted, "Middle-income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a tax in and of itself." Meanwhile, prices for gasoline, electricity, food and health care costs are soaring. All told, as Joe Biden helpfully put it the other day, "[T]he middle class has been buried the last four years."
Cue Obama looking down at the podium.
During the argument over taxes, Obama left one major question unanswered. If, as he says, "we should go back to the rates that we had when Bill Clinton was president, when we created 23 million new jobs," why wasn't that his economic prescription four years ago, or two years ago, when he and other Democrats agreed to keep the Bush tax rates for fear of hurting the economy if they raised taxes? Not only that, but they passed the payroll tax cut. Obama didn't explain how raising taxes on small business owners now will help them create jobs when the economy is once again listing toward recession.
It was Romney who provided the answer. "[W]hy lower the rates?" he asked. "[B]ecause small business pays that individual rate; 54 percent of America's workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate but at the individual tax rate. And if we lower that rate, they will be able to hire more people." Furthermore, regarding Obama's claim that "under my plan, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up," Romney replied, "[T]hose businesses that are in the [top] 3 percent of businesses happen to employ half of all the people who work in small business. Those are the businesses that employ one-quarter of all the workers in America. And [Obama's] plan is to take their tax rate from 35 percent to 40 percent."
Cue Obama looking down at the podium again, clearly hoping that a teleprompter would somehow appear among his notes.
On health care, Romney is perhaps ironically the perfect candidate to oppose Obama because as Massachusetts governor, he signed into law a plan that provided the template for ObamaCare. After naming a few of the differences, however, Romney eventually hit the key point: "The federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the Tenth Amendment, which gives states the rights for these kinds of things, is not the course for America to have a stronger, more vibrant economy." From a purely political standpoint, this makes it hard for Obama to reach voters in the middle with a message of Romney's supposed extremism.
In his closing remarks, Romney laid out the choice before voters: "This is an important election and ... I'm concerned about the direction America has been taking over the last four years. ... I know this is bigger than an election about the two of us as individuals. It's bigger than our respective parties. It's an election about the course of America. What kind of America do you want to have for yourself and for your children? There are two very different paths that we began speaking about this evening, and ... they lead in very different directions."
We hope that Wednesday's debate was an indication of which path will prevail.
This Week's 'Braying Jackass' Award
"Why wouldn't we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? My attitude is, if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it." --Barack Obama
This from the guy who spends so much time at taxpayer expense on the most expensive jet in the world, Air Force One. A just-released book compared the Obama administration's record-breaking expenses to the British Royal Family, for which British taxpayers spent $57.8 million last year. Robert Keith Gray writes in "Presidential Perks Gone Royal" that, just last year, American taxpayers spent $1.4 billion on the Obama family.
'Yes We Can'
"You know the phrase they always use? 'Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars.' Guess what? Yes, we do, in one regard: We want to let that trillion dollar tax cut expire so the middle class doesn't have to bear the burden of all that money going to the super wealthy. That's not a tax raiser. That's called fairness where I come from." --Joe Biden once again helping the cause
"[Y]ou said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. Look, I've been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you're talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant." --Mitt Romney
"You put $90 billion ... into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers." --Mitt Romney
Summing it Up
"Jim, I -- you may want to move on to another topic..." --Barack Obama
Quote of the Week
"They're still hosing down the stage, washing all the blood off of it. I don't know if you watched the debate [Wednesday] night, but it was horrific. For two hours, we watched a rich, privileged white man savagely beat and humiliate a black man as an audience of millions cheered on. It's hard even to contemplate. ... Who am I kidding... THAT WAS AWESOME!!! ... We've been waiting forever for someone to smack that little arrogant twerp Obama around. And who can we thank for that lovely massacre? The MSM, for keeping Obama so sheltered he had no idea how to defend his horrible record." --humorist Frank J. Fleming
Government and Politics
Univision Drops Fast and Furious Bombshell
The major Leftmedia outlets, with the notable exception of CBS, have largely ignored the Fast and Furious scandal at the Obama Justice Department. Spanish-language network Univision, however, launched a devastating report this week detailing even more horrific crimes committed with guns walked to Mexico in the operation. Univision reported that 57 previously unidentified guns -- not included in the 122 in Congress' recent report -- were found at crime scenes ranging from kidnappings to two massacres. In one incident a Mexican drug cartel opened fire on a gathering of 60 teenagers, killing 14 and wounding 12.
After the massacre, Mexican authorities apprehended a cartel boss who possessed numerous Fast and Furious weapons. Unfortunately, Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez -- known as "El Diego" -- wasn't captured before he ordered the hit on that teenage birthday party. How could this happen if the intent was to track the weapons? Obviously, as we have noted, tracking was never part of the plan.
Despite the congressional report and the 14 DOJ and ATF officials scapegoated, neither Attorney General Eric Holder nor President Barack Obama have been held accountable. And they likely won't, because the two are still hiding behind executive privilege. Meanwhile, Kevin O'Reilly, who served on the White House National Security Staff and had regular communications about Fast and Furious with the responsible ATF agent, was transferred in July 2011 -- to Iraq. As the Univision reporter noted, "[T]he United States government has many things that they ought to make public." With an estimated 300 dead Mexicans, that's an understatement.
So what's Obama doing? His Department of Agriculture has met with the Mexican government 30 times to promote the use of food stamps among Mexican immigrants to the U.S.
Campaign Trail: Bad Sloganeering
The Obama campaign team is pushing the creative envelope heading to Election Day. The new "e-card" messaging posted on the Obama campaign website and around the Internet isn't providing a list of reasons why voters should re-elect Obama -- because there really aren't any. Instead, they're trying to scare voters about Republicans.
Two messages focusing on women play up the idea that Mitt Romney's proposed repeal of ObamaCare will mean an end to affordable birth control and an all-out assault on women's reproductive rights. Despite these ridiculous claims, however, women won't have to borrow $18,000 from mom, as one of Obama's e-cards suggests, to cover their birth control. This outlandish figure is Planned Parenthood's estimate of the lifetime cost of birth control, which leftists demand be covered by taxpayers. Birth control pills can be obtained for about $9 a month from any number of retail pharmacies, so $18,000 would cover several reproductive lifetimes.
The second message declared, "Vote like your lady parts depend on it." Evidently, even leftists saw that this degrading language went too far -- it was soon removed from the campaign's tumblr page.
Campaign messaging to target the youth vote is similarly misleading. One e-card tells young voters to support Obama because Romney will raise taxes on Social Security beneficiaries. This message overestimates young voters' concern for a program that, without serious reform, will be gone by the time they retire. It also misrepresents the true details of the Romney reform plan, which would not raise taxes on retirees. And it's light on the specifics of Obama's plan for reforming Social Security. Oh, that's right -- he doesn't have one, because as he said in the debate, it's "structurally sound." Who knew that $8.6 trillion in unfunded liabilities was "structurally sound"?
If these items won't sway voters to vote against Romney, then perhaps one of the latest Obama posters will do the trick. It features the caption "Forward," once a favorite with European communists, below a picture of the president, stern-faced and looking up into the distance. Looking at the image, it's obvious -- as we noted when he first adopted the slogan -- that the Obama campaign took its cue from old posters of Stalin, Lenin, Mao and other heroes of the communist cause.
GOP Senate Races
The GOP's attempt to regain the Senate, where Democrats enjoy a 53-47 majority, has turned out to be tougher than expected. In Indiana, Tea Party-supported Richard Mourdock, who defeated longtime RINO Richard Lugar in the primary, is now facing a stout challenge from Democrat Joe Donnelly. Connecticut Republican candidate Linda McMahon has seen her advantage shrink in recent weeks, and Democrat Senate candidates in Virginia, Montana and North Dakota remain competitive -- mainly by steering clear of Barack Obama.
In Missouri, Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill was once thought to be a long shot for re-election until Republican Todd Akin's campaign all but imploded over his idiotic remarks about "legitimate rape." Akin repeatedly apologized for the remarks, but he refused to drop out of the race despite calls to do so from both conservatives and the GOP establishment. The RNC initially turned its back on Akin and all but wrote off the state, but now seems to be having a change of heart with Akin's gradual recovery in the polls. Chairman Reince Priebus now promises to support the full Republican ticket in Missouri, stating, "I have an obligation to make sure we win as many seats in the Senate as possible." The Senate Conservatives Fund, led by Jim DeMint (R-SC), has fully endorsed Akin and pledged $290,000 to his campaign. Newt Gingrich and former governor and senator Kit Bond have also publicly supported Akin.
The GOP must win at least three seats (four if Obama wins re-election) to gain control of the Senate, making every race critically important.
Voter ID in Pennsylvania, Military Votes in Virginia
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson blocked the state's voter ID law from implementation for the Nov. 6 election, handing a temporary victory to leftists looking to open the floodgates to non-citizen and repeat voters across the country. The suit, originally brought by the ACLU, alleged that a state law requiring voters to present valid identification at the polls would disenfranchise voters. Simpson actually rejected these claims last August, but was ordered to block the law by the state supreme court until it could be determined that there would be no voter disenfranchisement. Simpson followed through only because he believed that there wasn't enough time to meet this requirement in the next few weeks. After the election, the law will be implemented in full. In other words, it's hardly the victory leftists are claiming.
In related news, the Military Voter Protection Project (MVPP) announced this week that only 1,746 military personnel in Virginia have requested absentee ballots so far this election cycle. There are 126,251 service members in the state, and the ballots provided represent a 92 percent drop from 2008. We smell a rat. According to MVPP, data gathered from Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado and other states indicates a widespread drop in military absentee-ballot requests. A 2009 law was supposed to streamline the voting process for active-duty military personnel, but the Federal Voting Assistance Program has apparently dropped the ball. There have been high-level personnel changes at the agency, and there is little on-site guidance at military installations. Could it be that the Obama administration isn't motivated to help service members vote because they tend to vote Republican?
Judicial Benchmarks: Supreme Court Session Begins
Last Sunday, Washington Post Supreme Court correspondent Robert Barnes noted the absence of the Court as a topic in the election debate. Both presidential candidates rarely mention the Court in campaign speeches. Usually, we hear statements about the importance of the selection of justices to pending cases and the overall direction of the country. After all, consider the ramifications of Chief Justice John Roberts' decision on ObamaCare. Also consider that the sitting justices are aging and one or more new justices are likely to be appointed during the next presidential term.
More immediately, there are numerous cases this term that are on Court watchers' radar. First up, preferential college admissions based on ethnic criteria rather than academic achievement. This is a reverse-discrimination suit in which a white plaintiff is challenging the University of Texas admissions system, alleging that if she were a minority she would have been accepted into the school.
Two cases related to same-sex marriage also face the Court. The first challenges portions of the Defense of Marriage Act that forbid the granting of certain benefits to partners in same-sex marriages. The second is related to Proposition 8 in California and seeks a decision declaring unconstitutional that referendum definition of tradition marriage as well as others like it.
Finally, another big issue will be whether U.S. courts can take jurisdiction over acts outside the United States that don't affect U.S. citizens. Elsewhere, this is called "universal jurisdiction" and is usually applied in the area of human rights. The case was brought by Nigerians against Shell Oil and its Nigerian subsidiary and seeks damages for "crimes against humanity ... and other international law violations committed with defendants' assistance and complicity."
Around the Nation: Obama's America
Barack Obama's Labor Department came to his rescue after Wednesday's debate debacle, announcing this morning that 114,000 jobs were added in September, and revising upward by 86,000 the numbers for July and August. The headline unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent, a 44-month low.
A little digging, however, tells a far different story. For example, in order for the rate to drop 0.3 percentage points 31 days before a presidential election, 456,000 people would have had to either find work -- or drop out of the labor force. So what happened to 342,000 people?
Also, buried in this Associated Press dispatch is a notable caveat: "Still, many of the jobs added last month were part time. The number of people with part-time jobs who wanted full-time work rose 7.5 percent to 8.6 million." Indeed, the U-6 unemployment rate -- a better measure because it includes the underemployed and those who have given up -- remained unchanged at 14.7 percent. Though on the "bright" side, government unemployment is down from 5.7 percent in July to just 4.3 percent in September. In fact, the previous two months' upward revisions are entirely due to government employment.
As James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute put it, "If the labor force participation rate was the same as when President Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 10.7%. If the participation rate had just stayed steady since the start of the year, the unemployment rate would be 8.4% vs. 8.3%. Where's the progress?"
While millions upon millions remain unemployed or underemployed, Obama and his campaign are trying to claim progress with a new number: five million jobs "created" by his administration. In Wednesday's debate, the president also made the claim, "Over the last 30 months, we've seen 5 million jobs in the private sector created."
That's interesting because in August, the campaign was bragging about creating 4.5 million jobs. We know math is hard, but September's job numbers weren't enough to raise it from 4.5 million to 5.1 million. Besides, the administration is cherry-picking data. As the AP notes, there are only 325,000 more jobs than when Obama took office. The White House doesn't begin counting until halfway through Obama's first year.
Against that backdrop, we remind voters of that "stimulus" spending binge, which the White House promised would keep headline unemployment, at worst, below 8 percent, and by September 2012 it would be just 5.6 percent. When Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, unemployment was just 4.6 percent.
What else do we have to show for all that spending? Well, the official numbers for FY2012 are in and the deficit reached $1,275,901,078,828, easily topping $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. While that's lower than the high-flying days of Democrat hegemony in Washington in 2009 and 2010, it's higher than 2011. Total U.S. debt at the end of September reached $16,066,241,407,385, or roughly $136,690 per household.
Income Redistribution: Delaying the Bad News for Obama's Sake
Back in 1988, during a string of high-profile factory closures and company mergers, Democrats passed a law called the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. In its current form, WARN requires employers of 100 or more to give 60 days notice before a plant closing or mass layoff. The inconvenient truth of a possible federal budget sequestration set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, meant that defense contractors hit by these massive budget cuts would have to give notice to their affected employees shortly before Election Day. That deadline was clearly unacceptable to Team Obama.
So defense contractors and others who could be affected were offered a deal by the White House: Refrain from following WARN and not only will you not be liable for the penalties, the government (read: taxpayers) will pay any reasonable legal costs incurred if an affected worker sues under the WARN law provisions.
In July the Labor Department, realizing sequestration was actually a possibility, advised affected contractors that hewing to the WARN statute would be "inappropriate" given the chance a deal could be struck. This was reinforced by the Office of Management and Budget's guidance, dumped late last Friday, which included the legal cost provision. On the other hand, companies that follow the law won't have this legal protection. Nice company you have there -- it'd be a shame if you lost it.
After the Friday announcement, major defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which was poised to send out the required WARN Act notices to its workers, decided to hold off until after the election. Most peers followed Lockheed's lead, sparing Obama an embarrassing November surprise at a time when employment numbers for October would be coming out.
Ironically, in 2007 then-Senator Obama helped an effort to strengthen the WARN Act by requiring a 90-day notice and increasing the number of employers covered. Now that he's president, no such requirement can be accommodated.
Regulatory Commissars: EPA's Protection Racket
In a normal world, obtaining a permit is a process of give-and-take -- companies want to maximize the economic viability of a particular project while government has appointed itself the guardian of environmental or other interests. Normally both sides meet somewhere in the middle and the project proceeds.
Not so with the Lisa Jackson-led Environmental Protection Agency, which has become a protection racket against anyone wishing to utilize America's abundance of mineral wealth. The latest example of the EPA's crushing entrepreneurial energy projects is a proposed copper and gold mine on state-owned land in southwest Alaska. EPA is telling an investment group called the Pebble Partnership to take a hike and not to bother even submitting an application. The reason? Based on a hypothetical model mine of their own creation -- using outdated standards to boot -- the EPA determined that the mine would harm a watershed in the region. The Army Corps of Engineers is supposed to be the primary authority under the Clean Water Act, but Mother EPA knows best.
Needless to say, those who actually practice environmental study consider this approach "pure hogwash." But unless a court slaps down the EPA once again, the $132 million already invested in the project may go for naught.
Snowballing in Benghazi
The twisted saga at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the murders of four U.S. citizens, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, has become even more twisted. A brief recap may help: The U.S. had several credible warnings of impending terrorist attacks in Benghazi. The State Department chose to ignore those warnings, likely because they didn't track well with the Obama administration's Middle East fairytale that holds that the Arab Spring was a huge success, that everyone in the Middle East -- including all of Libya, of course -- now loves America and freedom, and Obama's bow-to-your-enemy appeasement turned out to be a winner. Predictably, a 9/11-anniversary terrorist strike did occur, and Team Hope 'n' Change instinctively blamed anyone and everyone but itself, deciding in the end that ultimate blame rests with a "hatemonger" who posted a YouTube movie trailer insulting Mohammed. When this alibi cratered under the weight of a cursory laugh test, blame then shifted to the standard fallback -- the intel community.
The only problem is that overwhelming evidence now surfacing highlights that the intel wonks nailed the threat, warned about the high probability of impending terrorist attacks, and were effectively told by the State Department to "shut up and stay between the lines of your coloring books." Additionally, three days before the attack, Libyan security officials warned U.S. officials in the region of the imminent danger of terrorist attacks in Benghazi. Not only did the State Department fail to beef up security in response to intel reports and the Libyan warning, it also sent Ambassador Stevens on a highly public tour into the city.
After three weeks of excuses and delays, FBI investigators finally investigated the site this week -- for a whole 12 hours -- and now we await their findings. Those responsible for the egregious security lapses should account for them.
One thing is sure: Obama officials at the highest levels of the State Department (think: Hillary Clinton) misjudged the threat from the start, despite clear warnings; failed to act accountably when predictable failure came and instead acted like children ("The video did it -- honest! It's not our fault!"); and failed to apologize for the deaths directly resulting from their negligence. Currently, the administration only admits that it has "revised [its] initial assessment to reflect new information that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack." Apparently, the Libyans had the bubble on this fact a week before the crack team at State. No wonder Congress is hot. Meanwhile, back stateside, 24 Marines laid the caskets of the four slain to rest. That's 24 more than were posted when the consulate was attacked.
Warfront With Jihadistan: The Disconnected Commander in Chief
The Obama regime's Afghanistan war "strategy" continues to go from worse to farce, and it's our troops that pay the price as the death toll recently surpassed 2,000. It was less than 600 under George W. Bush. We've noted previously how our troops are being gunned down by insider Afghan terrorists and how, golly, that wouldn't be the case if only our troops had more sensitivity training. Now, with Obama's 2014 surrender, er, withdrawal date in sight, the Taliban and al-Qa'ida fighters are sitting tight, knowing that Obama is handing them victory in less than two years.
In 2009, Obama ordered a surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan so as to win the "right war," as he called it during the last presidential election. While our troops fought well, as always, and made major gains, the effort died out due to a lack of White House leadership and Obama's advertising that we'd exit Afghanistan by 2014. Unfortunately, the Taliban are still a potent threat, and American generals and officials have all but written off Obama's original goal of some kind of victory, replacing it with the far more modest goals of allowing the Afghans to work out something among themselves after Western forces depart and ensuring Pakistan agrees to any settlement. Officials acknowledge that attempts to bring the Taliban to peace failed because the 2014 deadline is in sight. They now expect that any Afghan "peace" settlement will come only in 2014 after the bulk of NATO troops have left.
Meanwhile, clueless Dear Leader really has no idea what's going on in the Afghan theater, though we suppose it's difficult to follow world events when you're playing "eye candy" for vapid TV shows. On the same day that Obama declared that "al-Qa'ida is on the path to defeat," his commander in Afghanistan, General Allen, said, "al-Qa'ida has come back. Al-Qa'ida is a resilient organization." Can there be a better illustration of Obama's disconnect from reality?
Immigration Front: Border Agent Killed as California Licenses Illegals
Another tragedy befell the U.S. Customs and Border Protection community and the nation this week with the killing of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie. A near-five year veteran of USCBP, husband, and father of two, Ivie was gunned down and another agent wounded on Tuesday near Naco, Arizona, while investigating a tripped motion sensor. In a haunting twist, the USCBP station where Ivie was based was recently named for slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in 2010 with a weapon traced to the Obama Justice Department's Fast and Furious operation. One can only wonder if Ivie was another victim of this government debacle.
Meanwhile, as if spitting on the work of Ivie, Terry and every other U.S. Border Patrol agent, on Sunday California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill granting drivers' licenses to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. Of course, California is simply taking cues from the Obama White House, which earlier this year -- sans congressional authority, i.e. illegally -- implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, granting two-year amnesty to certain illegal aliens. This week, Mitt Romney announced that, if elected, he would keep the two-year amnesty and would have "full immigration reform" before the visas expire.
Undoubtedly illegal immigration demands a response, but a careful one. As immigration expert Mark Krikorian notes, "Rather than attempting 'comprehensive' reform, whatever shape it would take, try instead a few bites at a time. ... A little modesty is called for in policymaking, as hilariously naive as that may sound." The president's approach is blatantly illegal, but we caution Romney that a better approach isn't to pledge immediate and far-reaching overhaul but rather to tackle the issue one item at a time. A good starting point would be securing our borders to ensure Agents Terry and Ivie didn't die in vain.
Faith and Family: California Bans 'Gay Cure'
The fiscally dysfunctional state of California has once again made sexual (dis)orientation its number-one priority, further wasting its dwindling resources. Last week, Democrat Governor Jerry Brown signed into law S.B. 1172, which forbids professional therapists from offering reparative or conversion therapy to anyone suffering from gender-disorientation pathology who is under the age of 18. Also known as the "gay cure," this therapy has been controversial for many years. Opponents claim that it's not only ineffective, but psychologically harmful; proponents consider it a viable therapy that can change sexual orientation and heal broken lives. Reasonable minds can -- and do -- disagree on the issue, but, as is so often the case, the government has only complicated matters by trying to legislate the hearts and minds of its constituents. And, as is so en vogue these days, it has trampled religious rights as well. The ban on the therapy includes all professional counselors, even those who are also priests, rabbis and other religious leaders.
Several conservative groups, led by the Liberty Counsel, are challenging the law as unconstitutional. In addition to the religious concerns, they contend that the ban violates the code of ethics guiding the field of psychotherapy. The goal of therapy, they point out, is conflict resolution, and how can anything be truly resolved when therapists are bound by law not to explore all avenues of treatment? The law also effectively gives the state the decision-making power, taking it from parents who may want to consider this therapy for their child.
In the wake of Barack Obama's debate disaster, explanations for his faltering abound. But as columnist Charles Krauthammer observed, "[P]eople say Obama was off his game -- this is his game." In other words, his bumbling and rambling responses were entirely predictable. That didn't stop the Left from rolling out some entertaining excuses.
Obama himself said that it wasn't the "real Mitt Romney." "It couldn't have been Mitt Romney because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts in favor of the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that." Actually, the only one promising Romney's tax cut would favor the wealthy was Obama, so it's not surprising that Wednesday's debate shocked him.
Politico editor Jim VandeHei claimed it was because "the president had to be president ... so he didn't have nearly as much prep time." MSNBC's Chris Matthews was beside himself with frustration, shouting, "What was he doing?" Matthews then insisted, "Obama should watch MSNBC. ... He will learn something every night on this show and all these shows." The reason for that, of course, was Matthews' slip: "[I]t's like first grade for most of us." Indeed.
Campaign adviser David Plouffe blamed the media, but not in the way we do. He claimed that they "are itching to write the Romney comeback story." Seriously?
Best excuse of the week, however, goes to Al Gore, who knows a thing or two about losing presidential elections. Gore told the other has-been pundits on his obscure cable network, "Obama arrived in Denver at 2 p.m. [Wednesday] -- just a few hours before the debate started. Romney did his debate prep in Denver. When you go to 5,000 feet, and you only have a few hours to adjust..." Yep, he's blaming the altitude. What, not global warming?
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team