April 26th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal / Opinion
With Newt Gingrich leaving the GOP Presidential race, Mitt Romney is now closer to realizing the ambition he has so long pursued: He has an even-money chance to become America's 45th President. He's more likely to fulfill that ambition if he overcomes his cautious nature and runs a campaign that is equal to America's current political moment.
This will not be the instinct of Mr. Romney or his close-knit group of advisers. Looking at the polls, they see a nearly even race, with President Obama below 50% despite the beating Mr. Romney took in the primaries.
The temptation will be to assume the public has decided to fire the incumbent and so run a campaign to become the safe alternative. Take no policy risk, stress Mr. Romney's biography, his attractive family and the seven habits of highly effective businessmen, and then hammer away on the economy.
It's possible, if job creation sputters again or Europe goes into bond-market arrest, that this kind of campaign will be enough to win. It's also possible—more likely in our view—that this will play into Mr. Obama's strengths of personal likability and Oval Office experience, especially if the economy keeps chugging on its current slow-growth path. Mr. Romney will have to make a case not merely against Mr. Obama's failings but also for why he has the better plan to restore prosperity.
On the economy in particular, such a larger argument would fit the country's current mood. The public's anxiety isn't merely about the failures of the last three years, as important as it is for Mr. Romney to score this Administration for its failed stimulus, crony capitalism, hyperregulation, soaring debt and ObamaCare.
Americans are more deeply worried than at any time since the 1970s about their country's long-term prospects. Why aren't middle-class incomes rising? Why are nonmilitary public institutions failing—from K-12 education to entitlements?
Mr. Obama understands these anxieties, even if he has no new answer for them. So his diversionary re-election strategy will be a combination of class warfare, more government subsidies (free student loans!), and personal attacks on Mr. Romney for being wealthy. Mr. Romney will need allies who can rebut these attacks.
But he'll find it easier to defeat Mr. Obama's argument—even to transcend it—if he offers his own economic narrative that reaches back to the mistakes of the Bush Administration to explain how we got here and how he can get us out. Politically, this will help shield Mr. Romney from Mr. Obama's inevitable attempt to link the Republican to the Bush era. Such a critique also has the advantage of being true.
Before Mr. Obama's stimulus, Mr. Bush joined with Nancy Pelosi and Larry Summers on the blunder of "targeted, temporary" tax cuts. Mr. Bush began playing business favorites for ethanol and green energy fads. Republicans in Congress spent like Democrats and protected Fannie Mae and the housing lobby. And Mr. Bush and most Republicans embraced an easy-money Federal Reserve that favored Wall Street and asset bubbles at the expense of real middle-class incomes.
Coming from outside Washington and with his business background, Mr. Romney can make the case for an economic restoration that corrects the mistakes of both the Bush and Obama eras. He can join with the younger generation of GOP reformers—in the states and on Capitol Hill—to pursue an agenda that promises to fix our ailing public institutions, wean Wall Street from Washington, and create more opportunity for all Americans.
This does not require a daily recitation of Paul Ryan's House budget. But it will require more policy content than the gauzy American exceptionalism that Mr. Romney offered in his Tuesday night speech. His remarks had the right tone, the necessary optimism and some nice lines, such as the rebuke of politicians who end up "spreading poverty" in the name of spreading the wealth. But the speech was policy-free. To be credible, a reform agenda has to have some reform substance.
To offer one example, Mr. Romney might as well go on offense on Medicare. This will no doubt horrify Stuart Stevens and his other advisers, since entitlements are supposed to be a Democratic strength. But it's not as if Mr. Romney can dodge the argument.
He has already endorsed enough of Mr. Ryan's premium-support plan to have to defend it, and Mr. Obama is vulnerable with his Medicare cuts and unaccountable rationing board that are part of ObamaCare. Mr. Romney won't win the election on Medicare, but even a draw will be a political victory. Leading on the debate will show voters he is willing to take on difficult issues and give him a reform mandate if he wins.
One of Mr. Romney's trickiest challenges will be how to handle Mr. Obama's, er, veracity. More than any President we've seen, this incumbent is willing to say things that aren't in the area code of the truth. Thus he gives himself credit for the natural gas drilling boom, the deficits are still Mr. Bush's fault, Mr. Obama has never raised taxes, and "green jobs" in his dream economy are blooming by the millions.
Mr. Romney can't let the President get away with this, or Mr. Obama will conjure a vision of unreality that enough voters might believe. The challenger has to find a way to mock the mirage of an "economy built to last" without sounding arch or personal. He needs his version of Reagan's "there he goes again."
For all of his challenges, the most important political news is that Mr. Romney has a fighting chance to win. The incumbent's accomplishments are unpopular and the economy is failing average Americans. To win the GOP nomination, Mr. Romney has shown reserves of tenacity and discipline. To win the White House, he'll need to show a larger vision and the nerve to pursue it.
April 26th, 2012
America's not laughing.....
April 26th, 2012
By Barry Secrest
The Obama birth certificate controversy may soon be ready to explode, ladies and gentlemen.
Many detractors, to include those of us belonging to the Conservative Refocus organization, web monolith WND, Dr. Jerome Corsi and numerous others have maintained the question of Obama's birthplace, almost from day one, due to the highly questionable nature of the available information.
Our skepticism has often placed us within the line of derision fire to include extraordinary criticism from all political sides with the ever-present charges of racism, etc. In many cases, we have faced whithering fire from even our own Conservative bretheren in the public eye, who dared not touch this case for fear of "losing credibility."
However, now we are given to understand that the stories from an Obama eligibility defense attorney, on the New Jersey Presidential ballot question, are confirming Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate as a forgery.
In an extraordinary development, the attorney for Obama admitted that the certificate was fake and that it had obviously been overdone for political reasons. The Drudge Report, which is a highly credible website, stated this:
NEW YORK, NY – After a Maricopa County law enforcement agency conducted a six-month forensic examination which determined that the image of Obama's alleged 1961 Certificate of Live Birth posted to a government website in April, 2011 is a digital fabrication and that it did not originate from a genuine paper document, arguments from an Obama eligibility lawyer during a recent New Jersey ballot challenge hearing reveals the image was not only a fabrication, but that it was likely part of a contrived plot by counterfeiters to endow Obama with mere political support while simultaneously making the image intentionally appear absurd and, therefore, invalid as evidence toward proving Obama's ineligibility in a court of law.
Unfortunately, the Obama defense attorney, Alexandra Hill's, seeming obfuscation, in an effort to bolster her client's argument, merely opens up a can of worms that the White House will not be so easily able to steer clear of, from here on out. You see, the White House actually posted this forged birth certificate on their own website just a day or so after this purported certificate was found, and officially indicated as the authentic certificate, displayed there even to this day.
April 26th, 2012
A minimum of 12 ballistic missile submarines must remain in service for the foreseeable future, a key congressional committee said, despite Navy plans to drop below that number beginning in 2029.
The provision is included in the markup of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, which was released Wednesday.
Although 14 Ohio-class “boomers” are now in service, the fleet is scheduled to begin shrinking in 2027 as the oldest units are retired. Current Navy plans show the force dropping to 11 ships in 2029 and reaching 10 ships in 2032, where the level holds for a decade before starting to rise again as new replacement submarine come on line.
The markup — the first legislative process in assembling a defense authorization bill to send to the full House of Representatives — also approves a Navy request for a new multiyear procurement authority for Virginia SSN 774-class attack submarines. The subcommittee granted MYP authority for 10 submarines beginning in 2014, and allows for incremental funding of the ships.
Other Navy-related provisions in the markup include:
• Authorization of an MYP for up to 10 Arleigh Burke DDG 51-class destroyers and allowance of $3 billion for two ships in the 2013 program, the first year of the MYP.
• Granting an extension of the incremental funding of the future aircraft carriers CVN 79 and CVN 80 from a five-year period to a six-year period.
• Limiting spending on the refueling and complex overhaul of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to $1.6 billion in 2013, the first year of a two-year incremental funding profile.
The markup also requires additional risk-reduction technology development for the follow-on aircraft of the Unmanned Carrier-launched Surveillance and Strike system — currently in technology development as the X-47B aircraft — and requires a “competitive acquisition environment” for the program. The markup notes the change in terminology from a “future unmanned carrier-based strike system” to “unmanned carrier-launched surveillance and strike system,” indicating an increased emphasis on the surveillance role.
It also repeals a provision in the 2008 defense authorization law that required all new classes of combatant strike vessels to be nuclear-powered, a pet project of former Seapower subcommittee chairman Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., who was defeated in the last elections.
The markup also directs the Navy to report on the issue of ship superstructure cracking, with an emphasis on the choice of superstructure material for the DDG 51 Flight III-class ships, the first of which is scheduled to be ordered in 2016. The subcommittee wants information “comparing the estimated construction costs for a deckhouse made of each of the three materials, or even a possible hybrid of two or all three, and then compares the estimated lifecycle costs for the designed life of the ship.”
The markup makes no mention for producing any other information other than cost factors.
The full committee will hold its formal markup sessions on Thursday.
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