In the race to fill the Massachusetts 4th Congressional seat being vacated by Barney Frank (D-MA), trust fund Democrat Joe Kennedy III is pitting his name, inexperience and ignorance against Marine and small businessman Sean Bielat.
So far, Kennedy has had problems in knowing that Jerusalem (not Tel Aviv, as he proclaimed) is the capital of Israel. Nor could he name a current military program that he wishes to cut, despite that being a primary area he’d like to slash in the federal budget. (The two programs he did name are either nonexistent or already cut.)
But his utter lack of fundamental knowledge in all things foreign policy and military defense became crystal clear in a recent debate at Wellesley College. A man in the audience asks Kennedy whether he supports the drone program. His jaw-dropping response is, “I am a supporter of the President’s drone initiatives. I am a supporter of certainly the strike that the President launched to, that ended up in the killing of Osama bin Laden.”
[The clip cuts off quickly, but Kennedy doesn’t attempt to correct his reply. For those thinking it is impossible that he simply misspoke, the entire question and Kennedy response is at the end of this clip, and Bielat’s response to the question is at the beginning of this clip.]
It’s no wonder that Kennedy wants to dodge the issues when he’s just running on his name. Catch the clip from the Today show here where they follow Kennedy to knock on voters’ doors. The woman can’t get out her entire question before he interrupts her to inform her his grandfather was Robert Kennedy:
Bielat makes an excellent point, in that the trust fund kid is utterly unqualified for a Congressional seat.
In a conference call, Bielat and his senior media consultant Sarah Rumpf said the campaign’s internal polling has been showing Kennedy’s numbers as steadily declining, noting that even among those that support Kennedy, one-half of them say they are not sure about him.
Rumpf offered other anecdotal evidence that Kennedy’s leading, but diminishing, support is soft by noting that Scott Brown for Senate signs tend to have a Sean for Congress sign next to it, but the Elizabeth Warren for Senate signs often stand alone.
The campaign has also found that when they approach supposedly committed Kennedy voters and provide them with information on Bielat’s positions, the voters are frequently willing to switch their position.
The campaign is feeling very optimistic about their chances, if they can just reach enough voters in time. “Not only is it winnable,” said Bielat, “but we will win this race.”
But the thing that will help Bielat the most is a campaign contribution. He’d like to raise $500,000 more to pound the airwaves in Boston this week. (He is already on air in the Providence media market.) His internal polling indicates that they have significantly closed the gap, and a blast of ads could push him to victory.
Go here to view the Final Surge video (with great tidbits such as Joe Kennedy the Third has only worked 27 months in his entire life, and up until 10 months ago, he was still living with his mother). That’s where you can contribute to the campaign as well, or visit SeanForCongress.com for more information on keeping this House seat Kennedy-free.
For a bit of fun, Bielat’s campaign has put together a clever website KardashianOrKennedy.com illustrating the banality of the Kennedy campaign through a “Kardashian or Kennedy: Guess Who Sent the Tweet” quiz.
In the final presidential debate of the 2012 campaign season, President Barack Obama tried to score points by lampooning Governor Mitt Romney’s criticism that under the Obama administration, our US Navy had fallen to levels not seen since 1916.
In doing so, Obama sneered that we don’t have many bayonets or horses in the military either because times change.
Yet, our Marines are indeed equipped with bayonets. And the soldiers serving in Afghanistan use military horses.
In fact, Vice President Joe Biden was in New York City at Ground Zero for the dedication ceremony for a statue heralding the proud service of our horse-mounted soldiers.
A statue honoring soldiers who served in Afghanistan on horseback was rededicated Friday at the World Trade Center site. The 16-foot-tall Special Operations Horse Soldiers statue, located on Greenwich Street near the Path Station, commemorates when U.S. Special Operations team members rode horses into combat during the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Riding with and advising Northern Alliance warlords fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda on steep terrain in Northern Afghanistan, it was the first time U.S. troops rode horses in a military operation since 1942.
“Having the terrorist attacks here, bringing this back home, it’s priceless, words can’t describe the pride and honor we all feel,” said U.S. Army “Horse Soldier” Master Sergeant Michael Elmore.
“Only one had ever been on a horse in his life. He is a no kidding cowboy. The other men had never been on a horse. In the spirit of great Special Forces guys they adapted and began to conduct a horse-mounted operation with their Afghan counterparts,” said Special Operations Deputy Commanding General Lieutenant General John Mulholland Jr.
The statue was made possible by private donations, with $750,000 raised in six weeks.
“Mulholland and his guys would never ask for anything and that’s the beauty of it. They’re the quiet professionals so we wanted to do something to recognize them and all those who went and served to fight the battle of 9/11,” said Constellations Group CEO Bill White.
“The message is that military service to your country is an honorable thing,” said Sculptor Douwe Blumberg.
Among those on hand for the ceremony was Johnny Spann, whose son Mike was the first American to die during the invasion while working with the CIA.
“Hopefully the dedication of this Horse Soldier Monument will make people more aware and maybe they will get interested in reading about it or whatever. It’s a part of our history, and it’s important people know exactly what took place,” Spann said.
The statue was first dedicated by Vice President Joe Biden on Veteran’s Day.
During the debate, Obama also noted that he’d been at Ground Zero. Apparently he paid no attention to the statue there. Or perhaps he walked by it and just laughed at how preposterous he thought it was—just like he did in the debate.
It’s even odder to know that celebrity-obsessed Obama didn’t know about the horse soldiers because Hollywood knows. According to a special report at the Daily Caller, “Secret Mission: The Horse Soldiers of 9/11,” “producer Jerry Bruckheimer is producing a future movie about America’s ‘Horse Soldiers.'”
The Daily Caller story begins:
It was the news the world breathlessly waited for immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks: a report of the first American troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
All at once the world’s attention focused on an iconic photo of those Special Operations Forces doing something no American military had done in nearly a century: They rode horses into combat.
Their secret mission: secure northern Afghanistan by advising the warring tribal factions that formed the Northern Alliance. During the 2011 Veterans Day Parade on November 11, a new monument to these men — and to all Americans in uniform — made its way down New York City’s famed Fifth Avenue on the way to its final home, a stone’s throw from Ground Zero.
What a fascinating, uplifting story. One that our President should never belittle with derision dripping from his lips to score political points. In trying to make Romney look small, he mocked our heroes.
And in doing so, he proved he is a very small man with a large ignorance of military equipment.
(hat tip to @LifeOnAHorse for alerting me to the statue story. Follow the retired Navy man. And thanks to @MissSaraEliza for alerting me to the Daily Caller story.)
The rocky terrain found in remote areas of Afghanistan isn’t easy to traverse, even by jeep. Native horses become a mode of transportation. Pack animals, especially donkeys, also become familiar partners. For some of America’s elite troops, however, knowledge of horses and their four-legged relatives isn’t familiar territory. The first time they actually halter a horse, saddle it and ride it may be at Smith Lake Stables.
“That’s why the only horses we get, that the government buys, are what we call dead broke,” Rossignol says. “We can’t afford to have anyone get hurt.”
But there’s more to it than just learning about tacking up and riding a horse, Rossignol says. The troops also learn herd management and how to treat common equine health issues affecting equines.
“We teach them about anatomy and basic vet care,” he says. “That’s because many times these troops are working with the local people.”
That’s one side of the Special Forces that isn’t often seen by the Americans at home. In order to establish a good rapport with an agrarian or nomadic society, a Special Forces member might offer to help care for sick or injured animals owned by local peoples. It’s all part of spreading goodwill.
Yet despite the benefits of maintaining a select group of horses for military training, the horses associated with Fort Bragg have faced some budget cuts. Land originally used for pasture was deemed too valuable for grazing, and horses were moved from the actual military base to their current home at Smith Lake Stables, a few miles away.
There the moderator sits. A member of the Gang of 500, the Washington journocrats, The Journocracy, appointed to their role by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Oh, the prestige, the honor, the gleeful stab at those who have held them in lesser esteem.
As the debate begins, most moderators believe they will be fair and impartial. But as time rolls on, the moderator’s irrepressible bias slowly emerges.
See, speaking now is the candidate for whom the journalist has a natural affinity. It’s okay if they let the guy ramble on, they think. Using the “my primary duty is to be a facilitator” excuse, they can generously permit the guy to fully explain his position and make a few attacks on the opposition.
But then it’s the other guy’s turn. Ugh, thinks the moderator, some of his positions are just untenable. How can anyone fall for this baloney?
In a normal interview, the journalist would rake the guy over the coals with a passel of hard-nosed questions. But here on the debate stage, the journalist-as-moderator must foster an appearance of a balanced approach. So they begin tensing up, hoping the guy will shut up soon.
Just as we try to watch Sunday morning news shows with an open mind, the other side’s talking points are often like nails on a chalkboard, rife with so many lies, distortions, naivete and meaningless babble. We just want to scream at the stupidity, tell them a thing or two, or change the channel if it becomes too inane to handle.
But journalist-moderator is stuck there on stage, having to smile and listen to stuff they dislike. Sooner or later, they interrupt. They can’t help it. “All right, all right, I think we’ve got that. Now let’s hear the better side.”
Then when their secretly preferred guys speaks, it’s like a soothing balm. Ah, yes. There’s the logic that America needs to hear, they think as their guy goes over the time limit and beyond. The moderator thinks it would be impolite to interrupt while he is on such a roll. The moderator knows where the candidate’s rambling point is leading and will, with cheerful, hearty forbearance, give him a chance to get there—or perhaps sneak in a little prompting word or two to refocus him on the proper argument if he gets lost.
[Recall when Jim Lehrer rescued a momentarily stumped Obama with the key word “balanced,” to which Obama looked grateful and spilled out his stump speech on “balanced approach.”]
If the other guy attempts to break in or complain, they get the stink eye the first time and then the verbal rebuke the next.
When it’s finally wrong guy’s turn to speak, again with the grating wrong arguments, the moderator feels they are doing the audience a favor by ending such babble. Surely everyone else must feel the same need to cut him short. But to be generous, the moderator permits a few more seconds, endures it all just a tad more to show how reasonable and balanced they are. And then smack! “Let’s move on.”
Yet, there’s an inherent flaw that goes beyond the impatience the liberal journalist will have for the conservative candidate: The seasoned journalist covers politics daily and has heard much of this information before, but many in the television audience are just now tuning in, and most of it is rather new to them.
By not giving equal time, by constantly interrupting one but not the other, is to give the other side a clear advantage. Time is money. If a candidate were to buy four minutes of national wall-to-wall channel television ad time, just how much would it cost them? This may be the only shot a candidate gets to connect with the audience.
The moderators need to get back to benign moderating. If journalists feel incapable of doing it without putting their stamp on it, let’s have non-journalists do it. How about a business man? Or a housewife? Someone who will just moderate and get out of the way and be fair about it.
If the Commission on Presidential Debates had clocks running showing the audience and the candidates the amount of time they are getting, the moderators would have a much better guide than their internal tolerance clocks to ration out the critical time allotted to each candidate to make his case to the American public.
If you weren’t watching the 2012 Republican National Convention before it came on network television at 10pm on Thursday night, you missed some marvelous testimonials about Mitt Romney, the person. I hesitate to describe them because my words cannot do the content justice.
They are all relatively short, especially when considering your vote will last for four long years. It’s worth taking a moment to get to know Mitt Romney.
First, there’s the humbling tale of Pat and Ted Oparowski and their young son David’s terminal illness:
Second, there’s the moving testimonial of Pam Finlayson, a former member of Romney’s church:
Finally, there’s the video compilation of home movies and more testimonials to Romney’s life and career:
Pass the word. Share the videos with the ambivalent. Ask them to give Mitt Romney a chance.
Amazingly, the people who side with PETA and express smirking outrage over Mitt Romney putting a dog on the roof of his car think it’s hilarious to torture and humiliate a poor orange tabby cat.
In a nonsensical video to promote the host city of the Democratic National Convention, the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee hauled a distressed cat around town to awkwardly pose it in front of Charlotte landmarks with references to cats. The banality of it all is criminal enough, but look at the abuse they inflict on the animal.
The creature is obviously miserable throughout, seeking a getaway when not being manhandled and shoved into the video frame, legs akimbo. Good thing it didn’t sprint into traffic or leap into the path of the oncoming train. Look at its pitiful face in the final frame where one eye twitches and the Committee thinks looks like a wink. It’s not.
If this were a real movie, it is highly doubtful that the American Humane Association would sign off on the treatment of the animal during the making of the movie.
Shame on the DNC. Someone needs to rescue poor Fernando from their inhumane clutches.
A Prudence Paine wire service photographer managed to score a coveted ticket to see the new Romney-Ryan ticket up close and personal as their enthusiastic tour swings through the North Carolina Piedmont area.
Here the unexpectedly huge crowd queues up early in High Point, a city that was once the pinnacle of American furniture craftsmanship and other manufacturing industries. Today, many of its long-heralded companies, factories and stores are closed. The economy is decimated. The people are struggling to survive.
This is a crowd hungry for economic leadership, for a revival in American manufacturing, for simple pride in America.
The media likes to claim that Romney and Ryan are just for rich people. Look at all the rich people that poured into town to hear him speak:
The Absolute Style Furniture factory showroom could only hold 500 people (according to unofficial information given to our reporter), but thousands arrived, wanting to check out the new guy on the ticket…
A small gaggle of protesters turned up as well.
But the crowd was all smiles for the High Point police. No pepper spray was even needed on the protesters!
Once the crowd gets indoors, and into an overflow room, they discover it’s not much cooler indoors. But, as our reporter reports, everyone is feeling very patriotic being there.
NOTE: More pictures are coming in. Live-photo blogging it here.
As the heat inside built, so did the anticipation of seeing the candidates. Even the Secret Service guys were smiling.
As the main room was filled to capacity and the overflow rooms were getting packed, the crowd kept streaming in. The invitations has noted that people could not bring liquids to the event. Unfortunately, that made everyone rather parched after waiting for several hours to get into an oven-hot room.
The crowd grew so large that the small building couldn’t hold them all in one location, so many are moved into the company’s showrooms where they can view the rally on television screens. Yet the crowd remains cheerful, and your PrudencePaine.com wire reporter reports that “Everyone is sweating like hell but happy laughing and don’t seem to care. Secret service guys are friendly!!!”
Our reporter reported that the crowd at the furniture factory rally was primarily middle-aged, about 35 years old and up mostly. LegalInsurrection readers report that many of the crowd were women. This couple was representing the younger set.
The crowd was filled with many people who are already Romney and Ryan fans, and convention hats are already coming out of the mothballs. Paul Ryan told a reporter that he had Nirvana on his iPod. This hat smells like campaign spirit.
When the Romney-Ryan campaign arrived at the Absolute Style Furniture factory, they came in two official tour buses, with a few other assorted buses for press and others.
It’s interesting that the buses have different emphases in their messaging. This must be the Populist bus: “The Romney Plan: For a Stronger Middle Class” and “More Jobs. More Take-Home Pay.”
And this must be the Patriotic bus: “Believe in America.”
Electricity runs through the crowd when the Secret Service escorts arrive to lead the candidates into the factory.
And then the candidates take time to pass by the crowds that haven’t made it inside. (Squint hard! They’re at the back of the police car in this shot.
And then they head inside, where they thrill the people in the two overflow rooms with a brief visit of three minutes or so before heading into the main room to start the rally.
Our reporter reports that by the time the rally began, the heat and dehydration had gotten to a few patriots, as word spread through the crowd that as many as four people had fainted. (Or perhaps they were simply overcome with tingling for a balanced budget.)
For that many people to turn out in the depressed town of High Point, North Carolina, on such short notice, shows that Mitt Romney has indeed injected his ticket with lots of hope for change. The right kind of change. Toward fiscal responsibility. Who knew such a thing would ever turn out a crowd like that?
The Daily Caller is reporting that over 10,000 people turned out for the High Point rally, with 1,200 gaining entry to the event, and an estimated additional 10,000 crowding along the street outside the building. The AP (typically no friend to Republican candidates) seems to back that up, albeit with different numbers of people in the various locations:
Thousands came to see the GOP ticket at a furniture company in High Point, N.C., on Sunday near Greensboro. About 1,500 waited — some more than five hours — in a cavernous warehouse with struggling air conditioning, while 2,000 packed into a cleared-out furniture showroom where the air was sticky and heavy. Thousands more stood behind barriers erected on the street outside — Romney and Ryan stopped on their way in to give high fives to a few in the cheering crowd.
A bit about Absolute Style: It is a “minority-owned” business, in that its owner is a woman, Melanie McNamara. In May, the local Business Journal noted that it was adding five to six jobs to its 28-person workforce, and they had already received 200 applications. That illustrates the dire situation of the High Point furniture industry, and how small businesses willing to take chance are going to be the key to getting this economy back on track.
Obama Children Used as Political Props in the Obama 2012 Online Ads
The ad reads:
Obama-Biden. Help the Obamas stand up for working Americans. Join our campaign. Paid for by Obama for America.
We know that Michelle Obama is meddling in government affairs to try to force Americans to eat as she dictates and subject school children to weight monitoring and ridicule. But what we did not know is that Malia and Sasha are now actively working in our government.
This ad goes beyond the typical family shots of playing football or walking on a beach or through the woods together. You know, the silent little snapshots meant to say “Look at what a wonderful family man this candidate is. Look at how lovely his non-scary, humanizing family is.”
I don’t have a problem with candidates’ families participating in their campaigns, especially if the kids are now adults. Some adult children of candidates go on the campaign trail to stump for their parent. That somewhat opens them up to public scrutiny, but unless they are setting policy and injecting themselves into government, they deserve a modest zone of privacy.
Even with the little ones, having them cutely mug for the camera or perform for the audience is no big deal—as long as it is infrequently done. Otherwise, depending upon on them to soften up the candidate’s image is exploitative to them, and annoying to us. The candidate becomes like the coworker that won’t put the pictures of her grandkids away.
But this Obama ad is treading new ground, injecting his minor children into the political arena. Now the whole family is being sold as a package: The Obamas. We don’t get one. We get all of them.
Think Barack Obama has destroyed the American economy? No fear. The Obamas are much more benign!
Need new ideas for government child-rearing? Let Sasha and Malia craft a policy for you!
Your mean old boss wants to open a non-union factory? The Obamas children will lay down in front of scab trucks for you!
Ugh. I find this ad distasteful. I don’t want my President’s tweens anywhere near my public policy.
Plus, if the Obamas are gonna exploit their kids in such a cheap and tawdry way, why did they have to be so cheap about it? Mr. Millionaire-Wanting-To-Pay-More-Taxes can’t afford a new family portrait? He has to crop their White House Christmas portrait photo?
By the way, who paid for that Christmas card? Was that a government expense or a campaign one? Because if it were paid by the White House, this ad is also a campaign violation for misappropriating government property, and improper use of White House resources for a political campaign.
As a blend of harsh and vicious Republican candidate ads saturate the airwaves of South Carolina in advance of the GOP 2012 Presidential primary, NumbersUSA elbows its way into the fight with this ad:
Jobs, jobs, jobs. Everybody talks about creating jobs, but who will get the jobs? Not one candidate is talking about why the government is ready to bring in another one million legal immigrants this year to take American jobs. Legal doesn’t make it right when there are millions of jobless Americans. Ask the candidates: Who should get new American jobs? Unemployed Americans? Or will they bring in another million immigrants? Paid for by Numbers USA at NumbersUSA.org.
This ad isn’t against the people that skip across our borders in the dark of night. It’s against all those that qualify for work visas in fields that Americans haven’t been getting enough education to fill, such as engineering, or in fields that require years of training yet pay modest salaries, such as medicine practiced in rural areas. Sure, some may edge Americans out of a job, but shouldn’t America try to employ the best and the brightest?
NumbersUSA doesn’t claim any party, but with the election all about the GOP, this ad can’t help but be taken as a GOP effort to push the candidates into their brand of xenophobia.
The Republican party has enough problems being wrongly seen as anti-immigrant instead of what they really are: anti-illegal immigration. This ad will only solidify that misguided view.
When I watch the NumbersUSA ad, all that I’m hearing is this:
We definitely need to fix our immigration policies for those in the lower income brackets, and tweak our policies relating to high-skilled workers, to allow the U.S. to continually admit the optimum blend of eager workers in areas that Americans can’t or won’t fill. But legal immigration will not be stopped, and should not be stopped.
Ginning up animosity towards legal immigrants as a means to displace anger over our high unemployment rate won’t solve our problems created by the government’s central planning, financial boondoggles and regulatory schemes. It will only exacerbate them.
I used to think I agreed with NumbersUSA, because I made the improper assumption they were focused on illegal immigration. Now that I know they don’t want any immigrants at all, I can’t support them.
The Republican candidates need to push back against this “they took our jobs” nonsense and work to get the government out of the way of job creation for Americans.
I would show up as somewhat undecided. I have watched all the debates, been to all the websites, checked out their various interviews, even going so far as to spend hours viewing CSPAN, watching house parties and small gatherings.
With my desperate desire to pry Obama out of the White House, I am just as anxious to elect a Republican that will stop growing government, right now, not five or ten years down the road. To my mind, we have very little time left to save this country from a permanent descent into bankruptcy, socialism and worse. America as envisioned by our founders will be forever lost. Our greatness, our exceptionalism, gone.
Therefore, I want a principled candidate. I think any of our candidates can be “electable” if all the GOP coalesces around the primary victor, as we Tea Partiers are told we will need to do once a “moderate” wins. If everyone makes the best sales pitch, educates the masses, instead of tearing down the candidate like Karl Rove did in 2010 with Christine O’Donnell, we’ll do just fine.
So principles first. Electability will follow, if we chose the one the best for the country.
I’ve narrowed down my choices to three: Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. In that order.
Michele, time and again, consistently answers questions in practically the same way I would, takes the same stand. When it comes to ideology, we’re very simpatico. Plus, she can articulate these views, and she has done very little wavering in her views over the course of her political career. Lastly, she is bold. When all the rest of Capitol Hill was a little skittish in dealing with the Tea Party early on, she boldly took up its flag—not in an effort to usurp it but to promote it and fight for its causes. She would bring remarkable vitality to the White House, no matter whether we retake the Senate.
My primary doubt about Michele is the disastrous choices she has made in selecting staff. So many backstabbers. She desperately needs to surround herself with people who are both loyal and competent. If she can outlast other candidates, the talent pool from which she can choose should widen.
I’m pleased to see Santorum having his well-deserved “surge.” But the thing that keeps him from moving ahead of Bachmann in my heart is not that he backed Arlen Specter against the conservative Pat Toomey, or the various votes he cast that I disagree with. He is a good conservative. But when I try to recommend him to others and they want to know his positions on various issues, which I’ve heard him address in numerous forums, I can’t direct them to his website for specific information. It’s frustrating. The website is rather skimpy, with just three short essays that are supposed to answer all possible questions. And so there is no concise place I can send people (or myself) to, to review all of his ideas and plans and proposals and record. Why not put it all out there, Senator? Don’t make every one of your supporters memorize all of your stances. Help us out. Let us share your beliefs with others by giving us something substantial to show them that will address the specifics they need to back you. By not using your website to lay out all of your numerous positions, it makes it seem like you want the flexibility to shift nuances later. I know you wouldn’t do that. It just gives off that feel.
Just like Michele was dismissed for a nonsensical reason (the Guardisil kerfuffle), Rick Perry should not be completely cast aside because of his early poor performances in debates. I’m concerned about his stance on illegal immigration and a few other items (like why do so many Texas conservatives not like him?), but he is improving in his communications. I’m willing to give him another chance, to hear him out.
But for tonight, I would vote Michele. If it looked absolutely hopeless for her to place in the top three or four and by casting a vote for one of the Ricks would knock Romney out of the top three, I would change my vote for them. But otherwise, at this early stage of the game, just leaving the starting gate, I would vote my heart. And that’s Michele Bachmann.
(I will update this post a little later to provide links to the candidate webites and other enlightening interviews and information.)