Obama Skips Louisiana, While Romney Tours Damage

From Human Events:

Mitt Romney scrambled his schedule Friday to visit Louisiana and examine first-hand the damage caused by Hurricane Isaac and to meet with Gov. Bobby Jindal whose request for full financial assistance was snubbed by President Barack Obama.

Obama has not traveled to either Louisiana or Mississippi to view the storm’s damage.

The Category 1 hurricane killed four people in Louisiana and Mississippi and stranded 500 residents who were rescued by first responders in boats. Nearly one million homes and businesses have lost power, almost half the state of Louisiana, the Associated Press reported.

Jindal and Republican Sen. David Vitter asked Obama to fully reimburse the state for its cost to handle and clean up after the storm, but federal assistance will only supplement state and local efforts to prepare and respond.

The president was kept informed of the hurricane during a campaign swing this week across college campuses, while First Lady Michelle Obama made television appearances on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” “Dr. Oz,” and “Rachael Ray.”

 (Read Full Article)

Delegates see bright future with Ryan, Rubio

From Washington Times:

TAMPA, Fla. — While Mitt Romney was clearly the main event at this week’s convention, the rise of stars like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan convinced many delegates the GOP has finally left behind the party of the past decade, now so closely identified with runaway federal spending and foreign interventionism.
Many conservatives in the party wanted to see Mr. Rubio, who was given the honor of introducing Mr. Romney on Thursday, on the ticket, and the freshman Florida senator was greeted with a raucous reception.
“Mitt Romney knows America’s prosperity didn’t happen because our government simply spent more money,” Mr. Rubio said, according to prepared remarks. “It happened because our people used their own money to open a business.”

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Without teleprompter, Condoleezza Rice brings GOP faithful to their feet

From The Daily Caller:

TAMPA, Fla. — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice rallied the GOP faithful at the Republican National Convention with a barn-burner speech Wednesday night.

The only speaker of the convention thus far to take the podium without the assistance of a teleprompter, Rice spoke of the challenges facing the country, both foreign and domestic, and the need for a leader.

Commencing with an anecdote about the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Rice transitioned to the economic crisis and turmoil abroad. She pointed out that around the world people ask “Where does America stand?” only to find that the answer is ambiguous. To Rice, the country is in need of leadership.

“I know too that there is a weariness I know there is a sense that we have carried these burdens long enough,” she said, noting that the country has no other choice by to be a leader, because “either nobody will lead and there will be chaos or someone else will who does not share our values. We do not have a choice. We cannot be reluctant to lead — and you cannot lead from behind.”

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Three Reasons Clint Eastwood Worked for Republicans

From Human Events:

Honestly, I wasn’t sure how Clint Eastwood’s rambling appearance would play with voters, though I knew immediately how it would play with most Beltway types. For me, it was, without doubt, the most entertaining convention speech in memory — hell, the most of any political event. But let’s concede for the sake of argument that Eastwood’s performance (with an empty chair as a prop) at the Republican National Convention is all the terrible things that Democrats and many in the media have been saying it is:

1. It was fun. How many potential voters actually changed their minds — or made up their minds – on the basis of an ad-libbed comedy routine by a celebrity? If anything, chances are probably higher that that some mildly curious voters found the idea of an iconic actor giving a speech — one, incidentally, that didn’t adhere to Republican orthodoxy — at the RNC as evidence that the GOP wasn’t as rigid and unapproachable as everyone’s been telling them.

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GOP brought together by anti-union rhetoric

From Washington Times:

TAMPA, Fla. — Union bashing has been a unifying theme at this year’s Republican National Convention, as few topics have generated louder, longer and more robust cheers and applause during keynote speeches.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bragged he wasn’t afraid to take on “the third rail of politics public sector unions.”
And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker got spirited response from the convention audience Tuesday when he talked about his polarizing anti-union “reforms.”
Yet the amped up anti-union rhetoric exhibited in Tampa this week contrasts with the tone of past conventions, when the party in large part avoided confrontations with organized labor.
In 2000, the GOP went so far as to invite Teamsters President James P. Hoffa to its convention. A dozen prominent Republicans spent two hours wooing the labor leader at a reception then, hoping to win an endorsement for then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s presidential bid, or at least prevent the labor organization from backing Democratic candidate Al Gore. The tactic failed, as the union later endorsed Mr. Gore.

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Rubio rhapsodizes on the American dream, says Obama has taken US ‘backwards’

From The Daily Caller:

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took to the podium Thursday night at the Republican National Convention to address the importance of the 2012 presidential election and introduce Republican nominee Mitt Romney. But he accidentally drank from surprise guest speaker Clint Eastwood’s water bottle before he got started.

Rubio reflected back on his family’s history and his disabled Cuban grandfather’s message: that as an American he could do anything.

“I don’t recall everything we talked about, but the one thing I remember is the one thing he wanted me to never forget: The dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve,” he said. “But there was no limit to how far I could go, because I was an American.”

Rubio said that like his grandfather, Romney understands America’s uniqueness.

“Mitt Romney knows America’s prosperity didn’t happen because our government simply spent more,” he explained. “It happened because our people used their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who then invest or spend their money in the economy, helping others start a business and create jobs.”

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Romney Offers Vision of Hope for America, sets Himself Apart from Obama

From Human Events:

TAMPA, Fla. — “Mitt Romney needs to introduce himself to the American public,” former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told Human Events shortly before Romney delivered his long-awaited acceptance speech. “The public doesn’t really know him. He’s the challenger to a sitting president and, unless you’re Ronald Reagan, not many challengers are well-known. If Gov. Romney can do that tonight, then he’s off to a good start against Obama.”

A few hours later, preceded by speakers who knew him in business, church, and the Olympics he once oversaw, and as governor of Massachusetts, the 65-year-old Romney took to the convention podium and clearly lived up to the bar set by Barbour. In the process, the former Massachusetts governor and business executive drew the sharp contrasts he needed to draw between himself and Barack Obama.

In spelling out his agenda of a no-tax, small government, and opportunity society, the businessman-candidate also reached out to social conservatives — who have long mistrusted him — vowing to protect “the sanctity of life.”

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Photo courtesy davelawrence8, flickr

Guess Who Wants to Raise Your Taxes — Again!

Back in the days before he joined the dark side of “The Force,” Arnold Schwarzenegger was a compelling advocate for taxpayers. He noted that “from the time they get up in the morning and flush the toilet, they’re taxed. Then they go and get the cup of coffee, they’re taxed….This goes on all day long. Tax, tax, tax . . . ”

The Governator has come and gone but Californians are still among the most heavily burdened taxpayers in the nation. We rank first in state sales tax and gas tax, second in income tax and, even with Proposition 13, we rank 10th in taxes per owner occupied residence. You’d think this would be enough for the Sacramento politicians and powerful special interests but, as always, it is never enough.

The current governor wants voters to approve Proposition 30, a $65 billion tax increase, and he has raised $11 million so far to pay for a massive campaign to convince voters they are not paying enough of their hard earned money to government.

Not surprisingly, of the top 10 contributors to pass Proposition 30, 6 are government employee unions that expect to benefit from more government income. But many will find it curious that those who also want you to pay more include major industries in health care, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, insurance, entertainment, telecommunications, financial services, beverage manufacturers and distributors and Indian tribes, just to name a few.

Not only is it hard to go through the day without being taxed, as Arnold (version 1.0) pointed out, it is hard to go through it without using the services of companies such as Blue Shield, Aera Energy, Occidental Petroleum, America Beverage Corp., Disney, Warner Bros., Viacom, CBS, NBC, Sony, Dignity Health, Anthem Blue Cross, State Farm, California Cable & Telecommunications Assn., Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola. These and dozens of other major business are supporting the Sacramento politicians’ efforts to raise taxes.

Back in 1978, when Howard Jarvis was working to pass tax relief for average Californians, he was frustrated by the level of support for the opposition from major business interests. Bank of America, Atlantic Richfield, Southern Pacific Railroad, Standard Oil of California, the Title Insurance Corporation, several large brokerage houses and many others, all made significant contributions to fund the campaign against Proposition 13.

The reason that so many large businesses are supporting higher taxes today, while so many opposed tax relief 34 years ago, is precisely the same. Howard would say that the principle inventory of these big businesses was cowardice, but he understood what was at stake for many of these firms. He explained it this way: “Actually, a number of people in a position to know told me that the Bank of America and other big corporations that came out against 13 wanted to support it. But Assembly Speaker Leo McCarthy let them know that if they didn’t oppose 13, the Legislature would find a way to punish them.”

Ironically, all the faces in Sacramento have changed but one. Jerry Brown was governor then and is governor now. Rumor has it he has been working the phones hard with a heavy handed message. And any business that is subject to state regulation and/or is under threat of a potential tax increase is likely to listen very carefully to even a polite call from the governor.

Like Howard, I have been told personally by officers and lobbyists from many of the organizations and interests who have contributed to Brown’s tax hike proposal that they have been threatened with harmful legislation if they didn’t financially support the massive tax hike. Jerry’s biggest weapon? The veto pen. So much bad legislation is on its way to his desk representing the worst of heavy handed regulation and higher business exactions that he can “persuade” businesses to contribute lest he sign the offensive new proposals into law. With one party rule in California, the adage “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” is in full play — especially in this last week of the legislative session.

As with Prop 13, while many business interests will side with Brown publicly, privately they will vote against him with enthusiasm.

For those who want to know more about who is working to raise their taxes can go to www.hjta.org and look under “Hot Topics.” Maybe a phone call or two to these businesses interests from their customers might remind them that “doing the right thing” is the right thing to do.

(Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association -– California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights. Originally posted on HJTA.)

The Ryan Reset

Mitt Romney’s selection of the Wisconsin congressman as running mate has made the 2012 presidential race a fundamental clash of ideas about America’s future.

Mitt Romney should be grateful that party nominating conventions have not been abolished, as some commentators argue they should be. Without the Republican National Convention, Romney would have lacked a national stage on which to introduce his campaign’s greatest asset: vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

Before this week, Romney had spent months casting November’s election as a fundamental choice between two different views of America. Yet most voters would have been hard-pressed to identify the nature of this difference. Romney’s image as a technocratic problem-solver resembled President Obama’s, and the two candidates seemed to differ on little except whether or not to raise taxes on the top 1 percent of earners. When he announced his selection of Ryan as his running mate earlier this month, Romney finally began to change that dynamic. And now that Ryan and his ideas have made it into millions of American living rooms, Romney may be poised to reconfigure the race. For the first time, American voters not only have a good sense of who Ryan is, but more importantly, what his choice as VP nominee tells us about Mitt Romney’s agenda.

Ryan has done more than any congressman to warn the United States about the unsustainability of the nation’s fiscal path. Of course, with negative real interest rates on government debt, it’s easy to dismiss this concern—and several leading economists, Paul Krugman among them, have argued that the federal government should spend even more while money remains cheap. These pundits remind me of the left-leaning economists who gave spendthrift Italy similar advice as late as 2009. We know what happened there: the market woke up to the Italian fiscal mess, and now even the most draconian budget cuts seem insufficient to fix that mess. What happened in Italy can happen here.

And yet, as we know, few politicians have paid anything more than lip service to the looming fiscal calamity in the United States, let alone proposed the harsh medicine necessary to remedy it. Ryan has. It’s easy to nitpick Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” plan—that it spends too much on defense, say, or that it doesn’t specify clearly enough where all the budget cuts it calls for should come from. But Ryan’s plan is notable for proposing hard choices for those on both sides of the political aisle.

From the moment Romney named him as his vice presidential selection, Ryan has been subject to attacks exceeded in intensity perhaps only by those directed at Sarah Palin four years ago. Whether casting him as a fanatical devotee of Ayn Rand or a Catholic zealot, Ryan’s opponents have sought to paint the Wisconsin congressman in extremist hues—particularly as it regards the function of government in American society.

But Americans are learning that Ryan is no cold-hearted, anti-government ideologue. His budget proposals make clear that his objective is not to dismantle the American safety net: “In a free society built on entrepreneurial risk-taking and hard work, such protection provides insurance against the vagaries of life.” His argument, rather, is that we need to bring an end to the corporate-welfare system that wastes billions in company subsidies, agricultural subsidies, and bailouts, all of it fostering corruption and cronyism. Ryan opposes these subsidies, not only because they waste taxpayers’ money, but (more importantly) because they create perverse incentives: they encourage businesses to lobby Washington for preferential treatment rather than to compete in the global marketplace.

Ryan’s view of a limited but effective government that ensures a level playing field without interfering in the competitive process is antithetical to Obama’s enthusiasm for industrial policy, which tries to pick winners and losers according to the preferred goals of government bureaucrats. Ryan understands that the fundamental question is whether America should move forward in the global marketplace or retrench, protecting U.S. firms from competition but at the expense of our economic future.

With Ryan on the ticket, Romney’s campaign has found the clear rationale that it had lacked previously. Romney seems finally to have understood that running against Obama’s health-care reform or the president’s poor stewardship of the economy, or even on his own proven managerial talent, would not be enough. He needed to run forsomething.

Now he has articulated a vision of America worth fighting for: a nation that believes in fiscal stability, not fiscal profligacy; that believes in the power of the free-enterprise system, not government bureaucrats; and that seeks to restore American exceptionalism and avoid a Southern European-style, crony-capitalism. With Paul Ryan at his side, Romney has made 2012 a fundamental election for America’s future.

(Luigi Zingales is a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, and author of A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity (Basic Books, 2012). Originally posted on City Journal.)

Rubio rhapsodizes on the American dream, says Obama has taken US ‘backwards’

From The Daily Caller:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took to the podium Thursday night at the Republican National Convention to address the importance of the 2012 presidential election and introduce Republican nominee Mitt Romney. But he accidentally drank from surprise guest speaker Clint Eastwood’s water bottle before he got started.

Rubio reflected back on his family’s history and his disabled Cuban grandfather’s message: that as an American he could do anything.

(Read Full Article)

Florida Senator Marco Rubio