Hello, I just wanted to take a moment to say, "Thank You!", for taking a moment in your day to check out the blog. A lot of events happened in 2012; and, I am sure that there will be plenty to occur in 2013. Only time holds the answer to that. I hope your holiday was a good one, as well. I want to wish all of you a healthy, successful, and Happy New Year! Sincerely, Bill
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
"Above my pay grade" - Obama's arrogant response to not comment on the subject of abortion when asked by pastor Rick Warren in 2008. Used to avoid giving straight or direct answers to questions.
Audacity - a fancy word for nerve or courage to do or say something
Birther(s) - a dehumanizing word created to put down or demogogue people who are skeptical of Obama's location of birth.
Double-down - a gambling term meant to hold tight to a bet; not to change an unpopular position.
Fair share - a Communist phrase meant to incite that contributions to society lack in comparision to personal finances. It is used by Obama to argue that successful and wealthier Americans should pay more in taxes than they currently do. The phrase is used in defense of Affirmative Action, homosexual marriage and welfare programs, among other things.
Folks - Obama's way of saying "people". It is an ebonics word used to subtly remind people that he is not 100% caucasian.
Game-changer - when something becomes completely different than first thought. It is used by the press when things go not as they originally theorized. It is when a variable enters that alters expectations.
"Hope and change" - Obama's winning 2008 campaign slogan which proved to be empty rhetoric in the years following when he showed himself to be inept or unable and unwilling to work with Republicans in Congress on anything.
Inherited - the rhetoric Obama uses when he blames President Bush for post-Bush problems he made worse like adding trillions to the National Debt and high unemployment. Used by Democrats in defense of Obama's ineptness. Ironically, hard-core liberals believe this and regurgitate it without a second thought even though Obama has been in office over 100 days.
"Level the playing field" - a Communist term meant to have the country's population be all poor and dependent on the government to prevent an uprising of informed citizens to overthrow it. Used to knock down or bully successful Americans into paying for government goods, services and shelter for politically considered "poor" Americans in what can be considered a "lower middle class". A new Robin Hood phrase also meaning to steal from the rich to satisfy the poor. Ironically, the poorest Americans who are destitute are not helped by the government programs; they are homeless, living out of cars, living in abandoned buildings, etc and do not always get the perks that the politically considered "poor" shamefully demand and receive.
Main Street - Obama's way of dividing people into those who do not work on Wall Street or in the business of finance and those who do. Used to demogogue New York City individuals involved with embezzlement scandals where millions were moved off the books without proper authorization. Also heard as Main Street America.
Narrative - propaganda the American media weaves in a story or a series of stories to the benefit of Obama. A blatant web of lies or cover-up spread by the media to push a positive propaganda view of Obama. Similar to the Clinton word spin.
ObamaCare - a word play off of the very unpopular similar 1990s HillaryCare. With "The Affordable Healthcare Act", along with components of it buried in other legislation passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress, it was illegally pushed through the House and Senate led by then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid without debate, Congressional meetings, bill-markups, public debate, and with backdoor bribing of fence-sitting Democrat Congress members. The act was passed by Democrats only, without any votes from Republicans supporting it. The controversial law adds layers and layers of bureaucracy to the American medical industry causing prices to rise, doctors to retire early and medical care to be more difficult to get. Very unpopular life and death law that first withstood being struck down Constitutionaly by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 by being a "tax" and will next ultimately (hopefully) be repealed in total off the books by Congress.
Occupy Wall Street - Obama's far left-wing group of grassroot thugs that protest Wall Street or capitalism. The group has gotten praise from Obama, Pelosi and liberal celebrities, among others.
Pakistan (pronounced PAK E STAWN) - Obama's foreign-sounding way to pronounce the country of Pakistan's name. The American way to pronounce Pakistan is PAK A STAN
Shellacking - Obama's reaction to Election 2010 when Democrats lost ground to T.E.A.-supported candidates swept into office ousting the unpopular and controversial Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House making John Boehner of Ohio the new Speaker under a new Republican majority. Republicans also picked up seats and took power across the country at various local, state and federal governments that night.
Shovel-ready - temporary construction jobs that never appeared from a 2009 stimulus bill passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress. It was full of controversial pork-barrel spending that did not create the falsely advertised jobs Obama and the media claimed.
"Spread the wealth" - same as "level the playing field". A communist phrase meant to create a lazy society of politically considered "poor" citizens dependent on the government for food, shelter and jobs. Another Robin Hood term for stealing or overtaxing the salary or savings of people above a threshold considered politically "rich" to pay for government charitable services to the "poor".
TEA-baggers - used to demogogue the Taxed Enough Already (T.E.A.) supporters before and after the 2010 election that swept into office candidates supported by them.
The Messiah - a tongue-in-cheek label opponents of Obama call him that he ironically believes himself to be. As a mixed race politican, Obama is viewed by the liberal press as their "Messiah" or God-like being elected to High Office that can at his whim make any law they desire since he was elected through Affimative Action campaign propaganda emphasizing his skin color. It is also a play-off of Obama being anti-Catholic and his relationship with Jeremiah Wright, a controverisal racist and anti-American preacher in Chicago.
Trajectory - a fancy word media commentators use to try to forsee the direction of employment, the national debt and annual federal budget deficits. Used to spin the ecomony is improving when it is not.
Typical - the arrogant and dismissive way Obama describes his caucasian mother as a person. Used to as a way to sarcastically describe something out of ordinary as red flags go up when this word is used. Obama's mother was an anti-American Traveler not the kind of person usually thought of from Kansas.
PLEASE REPLY WITH ANY FORGOTTEN OR LEFT OFF SO THAT THEY CAN BE ADDED. THANK YOU.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 8/17/2012 10:39:00 AM
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
There are two ways to run against Barack Obama: stewardship or ideology. You can run against his record or you can run against his ideas.
The stewardship case is pretty straightforward: the worst recovery in U.S. history, 42 consecutive months of 8-plus percent unemployment, declining economic growth — all achieved at a price of an additional $5 trillion of accumulated debt.
The ideological case is also simple. Just play in toto (and therefore in context) Obama’s Roanoke riff telling small-business owners: “You didn’t build that.” Real credit for your success belongs not to you — you think you did well because of your smarts and sweat? he asked mockingly — but to government that built the infrastructure without which you would have nothing.
Play it. Then ask: Is that the governing philosophy you want for this nation?
Mitt Romney’s preferred argument, however, is stewardship. Are you better off today than you were $5 trillion ago? Look at the wreckage around you. This presidency is a failure. I’m a successful businessman. I know how to fix things. Elect me, etc. etc.
Easy peasy, but highly risky. If you run against Obama’s performance in contrast to your own competence, you stake your case on persona. Is that how you want to compete against an opponent who is not just more likable and immeasurably cooler but spending millions to paint you as an unfeeling, out-of-touch, job-killing, private-equity plutocrat?
The ideological case, on the other hand, is not just appealing to a center-right country with twice as many conservatives as liberals, it is also explanatory. It underpins the stewardship argument. Obama’s ideology — and the program that followed — explains the failure of these four years.
What program? Obama laid it out boldly in a series of major addresses during the first months of his presidency. The roots of the nation’s crisis, he declared, were systemic. Fundamental change was required. He had come to deliver it. Hence his signature legislation:
First, the $831 billion stimulus that was going to “reinvest” in America and bring unemployment below 6 percent. We know about the unemployment. And the investment? Obama loves to cite great federal projects such as the Hoover Dam and the interstate highway system. Fine. Name one thing of any note created by Obama’s Niagara of borrowed money. A modernized electric grid? Ports dredged to receive the larger ships soon to traverse a widened Panama Canal? Nothing of the sort. Solyndra, anyone?
Second, radical reform of health care that would reduce its ruinously accelerating cost: “Put simply,” he said, “our health-care problem is our deficit problem” — a financial hemorrhage drowning us in debt.
Except that Obamacare adds to spending. The Congressional Budget Office reports that Obamacare will incur $1.68 trillion of new expenditures in its first decade. To say nothing of the price of the uncertainty introduced by an impossibly complex remaking of one-sixth of the economy — discouraging hiring and expansion as trillions of investable private-sector dollars remain sidelined.
The third part of Obama’s promised transformation was energy. His cap-and-trade federal takeover was rejected by his own Democratic Senate. So the war on fossil fuels has been conducted unilaterally by bureaucratic fiat. Regulations that will kill coal. A no-brainer pipeline (Keystone) rejected lest Canadian oil sands be burned. (China will burn them instead.) A drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico that a federal judge severely criticized as illegal.
That was the program — now so unpopular that Obama barely mentions it. Obamacare got exactly two lines in this year’s State of the Union address. Seen any ads touting the stimulus? The drilling moratorium? Keystone?
Ideas matter. The 2010 election, the most ideological since 1980, saw the voters resoundingly reject a Democratic Party that was relentlessly expanding the power, spending, scope and reach of government.
It’s worse now. Those who have struggled to create a family business, a corner restaurant, a medical practice won’t take kindly to being told that their success is a result of government-built roads and bridges.
In 1988, Michael Dukakis famously said, “This election is not about ideology; it’s about competence.” He lost. If Republicans want to win, Obama’s deeply revealing, teleprompter-free you-didn’t-build-that confession of faith needs to be hung around his neck until Election Day. The third consecutive summer-of-recovery-that-never-came is attributable not just to Obama being in over his head but, even more important, to what’s in his head: a government-centered vision of the economy and society, and the policies that flow from it.
Four years of that and this is what you get.
Make the case and you win the White House.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 8/14/2012 12:28:00 PM
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Democracy: Millions of Americans across the country lined up for hours to buy chicken sandwiches — and take a stand for free speech. That's a de facto demonstration, from a public fed up with overweening big government.
It was a majestic spectacle seeing citizens in cities large and small across America — including, yes, Chicago — line up at Chick-fil-A restaurants to support the right to free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association.
All of those were under attack when President Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, along with leftist aldermen in his city and the mayors of Boston and Washington, D.C., condemned Chick-fil-A as "hate chicken" and vowed to expel the chain from their cities.
Why did this happen? Because the company's CEO, Dan Cathy, expressed his personal support for traditional marriage, a view seen by the left as a threat to the one they're pushing: gay marriage.
Cathy didn't say anything about hating gays, nor did his restaurant refuse to serve food to gays, nor did he vow to never hire a gay person. He merely expressed an opinion and the leftist power structure — in the media and in politics — went ballistic.
But it's a common view in America.
Voters have rejected gay marriage propositions in the states 32 out of 32 times. That the left can rain its full intolerance and contempt down on the majority speaks volumes about its contempt for the public.
Emanuel himself declared the view "un-American" and contrary to "Chicago values."
It shows that the leftist political establishment's interests have nothing in common with what the American public sees as important — which is not just the gay marriage issue but, more fundamentally, the fact that free speech, the right to practice one's faith and freedom of association are under attack.
It's significant that West Hollywood's Chick-fil-A on Sunset Boulevard, a famous gay redoubt, was just as packed as Chick-fil-As in places like Opelika, Ala.; Waddell, Ariz.; Pompano Beach, Fla.
Even many of those who support gay marriage, such as Instapundit.com's Glenn Reynolds, have come out solidly for everyone's right to free speech without fear of big government intimidation.
The proof was in the pictures.
From Steve Hogge's photo of Rolls-Royces lining up at Chick-fil-A's Davie, Fla., drive-through window, to Political Derby's photo of troops and lawmen lining up in Charleston, S.C., the image was of a huge silent protest from the majority.
The call for free speech is a strong one because government has grown overarching, arrogant and more powerful as its size has expanded.
The protest Wednesday was a powerful echo of the Tea Party movement, which expresses the same voter cry of "stop" against massive government growth and all its economy-killing debt.
Movements like this — and this one incidentally attracted a lot of young women who are often a reliable indicator of a revolution hitting a tipping point — have potential to foretell real change ahead.
Already the Tea Party is proving this, getting representatives elected and re-elected to high office to force the government to cut down. The Chick-fil-A demonstration portends yet another wave. Many of the demonstrators said the Chick-fil-A lines were a foretaste of the Nov. 6 election.
Simply put, politicians need to wake up. It's no longer acceptable to expand grandly and declare civil war on people whose only "crime" is expressing views that are contrary to some politicians.
Worse still, it's despicable for political leaders to threaten to use their political power, entrusted to them by the people themselves, to drive people out of business, to banish them from the public square.
The Internet photos show that everywhere is the public square now. It's time to end the left's culture of political correctness, which can be done only by cutting big government. The message has been sent.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 8/08/2012 02:56:00 PM
Monday, July 23, 2012
September 09, 2010
Beryl and Bill Kahan of Gwynedd, and Willie Grzywacz of Montreal, Canada, announce the engagement of their children, Joshua Harris Kahan and Dr. Kelly Grzywacz. Kelly is the daughter of the late Francine Grzywacz.
Josh earned a law and society degree from American University in Washington, D.C. He also holds a master's degree in environmental policy from the University of Pennsylvania. Josh is co-founder and partner of Freedom Energy Partners, located in East Norriton.
Kelly, who earned a physiology degree at McGill University in Montreal, attended the University of Montreal Medical School. She completed a pediatric residency at the Thomas Jefferson University Dupont Hospital for Children. Kelly is currently serving a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology at Sainte Justine University of Montreal Hospital.
Sharing in the couple's happiness are brothers David Kahan and Warren Grzywacz.
Josh is the grandson of Pearl Kahan and the late Philip Kahan, and the late Mary and Joseph Orloff. Kelly is the granddaughter of the late Abram and Bronka Grzywacz, and the late Therese Wheaton.
The couple is planning a November 2011 wedding in Montreal.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/23/2012 09:24:00 AM
Thursday, July 12, 2012
October 12, 2007
Danny Davis on the phone while riding his trademark Trek 9300 mountain bike.
If you see a guy on a mountain bike riding down the West Side Highway, eating a sandwich and simultaneously having four conversations on his cell phone, chances are its Citi Habitats' top real estate agent, Danny Davis, on his way to see a prospective buyer.
Once the top rental agent in all of New York City earning in the seven figures annually, Davis helped ease Citi Habitats' transition from top rental company to an emerging leader in residential sales.
"I used to tell people to rent, not buy," says Davis, 39, in between meetings at his Sullivan St. office. "I used to say it's best to wait the market conditions out and rent a nice apartment. Now, I'm like, ‘You have to buy. It's the only way to go. You need equity. Renting is just throwing money away.'"
Funny, charismatic, aggressive but never in your face, Davis is a legend among other New York City brokers. For the past nine years, he's been the No. 1 producer in the entire company. An agent since graduating Columbia University in 1991, Davis has a relentless personality, traveling to more than 60 countries, living in a cave in India, going to over 75 Grateful Dead shows, and courting his Dutch wife-to-be on a boat off an island in Bolivia's Lake Titicaca.
He's almost a modern-day discoverer, with unique lofts, townhouses and apartments as his buried treasure. Very confident, but not arrogant, Davis contends to know the city and its neighborhoods better than anyone.
You can thank his trademark mountain bike for that. Davis rides a beat-up Trek 9300. He's gone through 11 bikes in his 16 years on the job. On Valentine's Day four years ago, he smacked head-first into an ambulance van. After two hours in the emergency room, Davis was showing apartments with his head still bandaged and bleeding.
"I've ridden this bike all over and I know pretty much every building in Manhattan," laughs Davis, a native Philadelphian who talks with the definitive air of a native New Yorker. "I remember running around Tribeca going to Blues Traveler concerts when there was nothing there. Today I live there with my wife and kids. But that's New York. Always changing."
Like the rental market. Vacancy rates have hovered around 1% in Manhattan for the past two years. Simultaneously, an increase in real estate agents and the high number of rental and sales apartments available have combined to make this market more competitive than any other. Not to mention the average rental price of a Chelsea one-bedroom has risen to $2,818.
"I have to be first into a newly available apartment whether it's a rental or sale," says Davis. "My job as a broker is to get my client into a space where they're happy. But there are a lot of new young brokers who are smart and high-tech savvy. That may be a problem for the old curmudgeon broker, but I like the competition."
Last year Davis rented an apartment to a client for $50,000 a month. That's a commission of almost $90,000. (For rentals, agents receive a standard fee of 15% of the annual rent.) Davis doesn't just cater to the high end. If it's rentable or sellable, Davis will show it. What he won't do is waste your time or his.
Davis recently received a letter from the CEO of NRT, the international real estate conglomerate that owns Citi Habitats, placing him in the top 1.7% out of a field of 60,000 agents worldwide. Last year, Davis totaled over $75 million in total rental and sales.
"I'm a dealmaker, not an apartment shower," says a constantly busy Davis, with whom it took almost five months to get an interview. "I listen to my clients. I can tell almost immediately what they want. I'll show them three apartments and chances are they'll find two very livable." With that, he's fast to say goodbye, on his way to meet a landlord renting a $5,000 condo in the East Village.
Gary Malin runs Citi Habitats. As the COO, he oversees 16 offices and 900-plus agents and employees. With over 6,000 rental listings online, the company is far and away the leader in New York City rentals. Agents like Danny Davis, who rented apartments before moving to sales, mirror the company's growth.
"Back in 1998, we wanted to move into a rental and sales company," says Malin, who came on board to help run the company started by a University of Michigan college friend Andrew Heiberger, (who later sold Citi Habitats to Corcoran for an estimated $49.6 million in 2004 and now develops residential property in the New York area). "If today's renters are tomorrow's buyers, then aren't today's rental agents tomorrow's sales agents? It just makes sense for us to move in this direction. Our training infrastructure is made for it."
Creating a thousand Danny Davises couldn't hurt any real estate company. Upon joining Citi Habitats, employees go through a comprehensive two-week training program learning the ins and outs of the rental market. Once completed, they work with office managers and top agents renting apartments. Within two years, sometimes sooner, these agents take an in-house sales course preparing them for the next step in becoming a top sales agent handling both rentals and sales.
"Rentals are a fast-paced race," says Malin. "Sales are about building client relationships. You have to understand inventory and market variables for both. Our training allows people to build knowledge and move successfully from a rental agent to a top sales agent."
It's worked so far. At last check, Citi Habitats was doing 45% to 55% sales. In the past five years, however, their sales volume has quadrupled.
If there's a knock on Citi Habitats, it's that they don't have a firm foot in the outer boroughs. Malin aims to change that with an influx of new rental agents who have a stronghold in those Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods becoming a hotbed of rental activity.
"Our young agents who live there now understand those neighborhoods and have friends who want to live there," he says. "Even without a physical presence of offices in these areas, our agents are showing properties in the outer markets every day. We'll gravitate where the deals are. The boroughs are our next frontier."
Now the only question remains is how fast Davis can hightail it from Tribeca to Bushwick. Like lightning, we imagine, if there's a deal to be made.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/12/2012 10:41:00 AM
CONGRESS ENACTED the first federal minimum wage in 1938. A provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, it covered about 6 million workers and set a wage floor of 25 cents per hour.
It also cost a lot of people their jobs. The Labor Department reported that as many as 50,000 employees, mostly poor Southern blacks, were thrown out of work within two weeks of the law's taking effect. In the months that followed, the carnage spread. "African Americans in the tobacco industry were particularly hard hit," wrote David Bernstein in his 2001 history of labor regulations and black employment. "In Wilson, N.C., for example, machines replaced two thousand African American tobacco stemmers in 1939."
The economic pain inflicted by that first minimum wage law hasn't stopped Washington from repeating the same folly over and over. In the 74 years since the lowest hourly wage at which most Americans could lawfully be hired was set at 25 cents -- the equivalent in purchasing power of about $4 today -- Congress has raised the amount 22 times. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, and a push is underway to raise it yet again.
On Capitol Hill, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has introduced legislation that would hike the minimum wage in three steps to $9.80 per hour, a 35 percent increase. A more radical proposal by Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois would increase the wage floor immediately, to $10 per hour.
At the state and local level, too, legislators have been pushing for minimum-wage hikes. The lowest legal wage in Massachusetts, for example, would jump to $10 an hour under a bill sponsored by state Senator Marc Pacheco and unanimously approved by a legislative committee in March. In New York City, a "living wage" measure passed over Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto would require companies that receive public subsidies to pay their employees at least $11.50 an hour, or $10 plus benefits. (Bloomberg plans to challenge the bill in court.)
Yet no matter how much politicians and activists may battle over minimum-wage laws, the real minimum wage in this country has never budged. It is $0.00. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that is the hourly wage being earned right now by 12.7 million Americans -- the 8.2 percent of the work force that is currently unemployed.
The pain of unemployment isn't evenly distributed among all population groups. It is much more severe among those with the least experience and skills. As of last month, the unemployment rate for black Americans had climbed to 14.4 percent; among teenagers it reached nearly 24 percent. And the unemployment rate for black teens -- the least-skilled, least-experienced subset of the workforce -- was 44 percent.
Minimum-wage laws are typically thought of as a mandate on employers. In reality they constrain employees. As it stands now, the federal wage law tells workers that unless they can find a company willing to pay them at least $7.25 an hour, they can't get a job. That may not seem like much of a barrier to Harkin, one of Congress's wealthiest members, but it might as well be the Berlin Wall to an unskilled teen or young adult with no high-school diploma or employment history whose labor is only worth, say, $5.50 an hour. No matter how much that person might leap at the chance to work for what he's worth, the minimum wage forbids it. Should Harkin's bill become law, life will become even harder for those seeking entry-level employment.
With the best intentions in the world, lawmakers cannot raise the value of anyone's labor to $9.80 an hour (or $7.25 an hour, or even 25 cents an hour) merely by passing a law. Making it more expensive to hire workers who are just starting out doesn't advance beginners' prospects; it worsens them. Decades of economic research and empirical studies confirm what common sense should tell anybody: Boost the minimum wage beyond what low-skilled workers are worth, and more low-skilled workers will be priced out of a job. That is why minimum-wage hikes are historically so devastating to those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
Minimum-wage laws are not cost-free. When legislators raise the price of low- and unskilled labor, it's usually low- and unskilled laborers who end up paying the price. As 50,000 Americans found out in 1938, jacking up the minimum wage turns the least employable into the unemployable. It may not be easy to survive on $7.25 an hour. But life gets a whole lot harder when your hourly wage is nothing.
Jeff Jacoby is an Op-Ed writer for the Boston Globe, a radio political commentator, and a contributing columnist for Townhall.com.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 7/12/2012 08:49:00 AM
Saturday, June 16, 2012
In what leaders at Adath Emanu-El in Mount Laurel consider the perfect shidduch, the arrival of Ben David as the temple’s newest spiritual leader in July will mark the first time a father and son simultaneously guide two of the tri-county area’s synagogues.
David, 35, grew up in Cherry Hill as the oldest son of Peggy and Rabbi Jerome David, senior rabbi at Temple Emanuel. When the former Temple Emanu-El of Willingboro prepared to move to Mount Laurel in the mid- 1990s, it changed its name to Adath Emanu-El to avoid being confused with the larger Cherry Hill congregation.
A 16-member search committee at Adath Emanu- El unanimously chose David after receiving more than 50 resumes to replace Interim Rabbi Stacy Offner, who will complete her 18-month stint in June.
“We also have tremendous respect for what his father has done for the community. With his background, Ben David was attracted to Adath because of its sense of family – that’s the kind of person he is and that’s what he was looking for.”
The younger David majored in English with concentrations in creative writing and Judaic studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. , spending his junior year in London. After graduating magna cum laude in 1999, he attended Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and New York, studying Talmud extensively. Following ordination, he taught at the Skirball Center for Jewish Learning and studied Hebrew Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University before becoming associate rabbi at Temple Sinai in Roslyn, N.Y., a position he has held since July 2005.
“I had it in the back of my mind to become a rabbi even as a teenager,” he said.
“Being a rabbi combines all my passions – teaching, writing, helping and inspiring people, bringing them closer to Torah and Judaism in ways appropriate for each individual.”
Jerry David was a tremendous role model. “I had a bird’s eye view from a very early age. He was a good rabbi, a good dad, a good friend to people. That was a big part of the equation for me, and he remains very much a guide for me,” Ben David said.
Jerry David said he and his wife are thrilled that their oldest son is returning to the area.
Ben David enjoys writing fiction and competitive distance running. He is a co-founder of Running Rabbis, which brings together Jewish clergy to run for causes such as autism research and feeding the hungry.
At Adath Emanu-El, he plans to focus on youth programs, adult education, social action and Torah worship – and, of course, getting to know the community and the congregation.
The Davids are buying a home in Mount Laurel. Ben and Lisa, who is the associate director of camping at the Union of Reform Judaism, have a daughter, Noa, 4, and a son, Elijah, 2, with a third child due in September.
Area native taking the helm of Mount Laurel synagogue By Kristen Coppock
May 28, 2012
Rabbi Benjamin David returning to South Jersey
Rabbi Benjamin David will assume the role of senior rabbi on July 1 at Adath Emanu-El in Mount Laurel. The Cherry Hill native is serving as associate rabbi at Temple Sinai of Roslyn in Roslyn Heights, New York.
MOUNT LAUREL — A New York rabbi is returning to his South Jersey roots as the new spiritual leader of Adath Emanu-El.
Rabbi Benjamin David will assume the post July 1. The former Cherry Hill resident succeeds Stacy Offner, who has led the community as an interim rabbi since early 2010.
About 500 member families worship at the synagogue on Elbo Lane. According to congregation president Ari Levine, Adath Emanu-El members spent a year searching for their next rabbi.
In a prepared statement, Levine said the congregation is “thrilled” to welcome David and his family to the community.
“He brings a youthful vision, a warm and engaging personality, and a sense of himself, both as a rabbi and a scholar, that will make him the ideal religious leader for our congregation,” he said. “As more people get to know our rabbi, we are confident that he will be seen as an inspiring leader, not only for us, but also for the South Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community.”
A graduate of Hebrew Union College’s Jewish Institute of Religion and ordained in 2004, David has served as associate rabbi at Temple Sinai of Roslyn in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., for about seven years.
He is credited with nearly tripling the size of Temple Sinai’s Hebrew high school and increasing its number of graduates by 10 times. He supervised youth groups, leading trips to Israel and on missions to assist people in need along the Gulf Coast and in Southern California.
David also developed and facilitated a number of adult education courses and worked with a variety of congregation committees, according to Adath Emanu-El.
In addition, David has contributed to Jewish publications and has been recognized with several awards and nominations for his work.
During a phone call from New York, he said he is looking forward to the move to Mount Laurel.
“This is a great opportunity for me, and it’s something that I’m honored and humbled by,” he said.
David said his “big-picture” goals for Adath Emanu-El include building on existing programs and creating more educational opportunities for the congregation.
“We’re looking to do more with an already strong youth program, and to expand the popular nursery school,” he said. “I have a real passion for teaching, and I’m looking to lead as many discussions and courses as I can.”
David and his wife, Lisa, are enrolling their daughter, Noa, 4, and son, Elijah, 2, in the nursery school while preparing for the birth of their third child. Employed by the Union for Reform Judaism as its associate director of camping, Lisa David plans to take an active role in the synagogue and with other congregation parents.
David said Adath Emanu-El is a “very good match” for him and his family.
“It’s a wonderful congregation. They’ve had a remarkable past and have a bright future. I am thrilled to be a part of that future,” he said. “We’re excited to be raising our kids in Mount Laurel.”
The move back to South Jersey also brings David closer to family members, including his parents, Jerome and Peggy David. His father is senior rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill.
“As parents, we are exceedingly proud of Ben, proud of his accomplishments, and prouder yet of the mensch that he is,” Jerome David said in a prepared statement. “I believe that Rabbi David and Adath Emanu-El are a great match and know that their partnership will be long and fulfilling.”
Benjamin David’s predecessor in Mount Laurel also expressed support for the appointment.
“I have been impressed with Rabbi David from our very first meeting,” Offner said. “He is a thoughtful and devoted Jewish leader and will be the perfect fit for this vibrant community.”
A rabbi for more than 25 years and former vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Offner will complete her 18-month service at Adath Emanu-El on June 24. She has been named rabbi at Temple Beth Tikvah in Madison, Conn.Kristen Coppock: 609-871-8073;
email: kcoppock@phillyBurbs.com; Twitter: @kcoppockbct
Father-son rabbis become colleagues By Sally Friedman
June 13, 2012
"Reform Rabbi Jerry David (left) of Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill and his son, Reform Rabbi Ben David of Temple Adath Emanu-El in Mount Laurel play with Ben's son, Elijah, 2. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer"
When Rabbi Jerry David wanted to practice his sermons, back when he was still relatively new in his role at Cherry Hill's Temple Emanuel, he always had one willing audience member. His firstborn son, Ben, then a toddler, would sit quietly and listen to his dad, seemingly engaged.
Jerry David, now 38 years into his pulpit, describes how Ben would then walk around the house muttering "Blah, blah, blah."
"I optimistically took that to mean that he liked my sermons," his father said.
While that may be a generous interpretation, something evidently did take for his son. He, too, became a rabbi, ordained in 2004, 30 years after his father's 1974 ordination.
And now, the father and son will reach a new milestone — and a first for the region. Starting July 1, Ben, who has been the associate rabbi at Temple Sinai in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., for the last seven years, will become senior rabbi at a Reform congregation five miles from his father's synagogue with a very similar name.
So it will be Rabbi Jerry David of Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill and Rabbi Ben David of Temple Adath Emanu-El in Mount Laurel. While some might assume this sets the stage for dueling clergy, this father-son pair have a healthy dose of respect and realism when it comes to their future as colleagues. There will be challenges (inevitable with two rabbis with the same name in same-sounding, nearby temples) and opportunities (like reviewing and discussing each other's sermons).
"People will want to compare us," says Ben. "And I'm entering a rabbinic community where my father has been for nearly 40 years now."
But the goal, Ben said, is not to emulate his father. And Jerry doesn't want to crowd his son.
"Most of all, I want to give Ben the space to develop and grow in his rabbinate, to be his own person. I want him to live the culture of his congregation, to meet the congregation where it is and to grow with it."
So it's not a contest to attract the most congregants, to be the most popular, Ben says. "My father is so well-known, and so well-respected. But we both understand very deeply that we're not in competition with one another. No loving father and son ever would be."
But this story doesn't start here, or even when Ben last year submitted his resumé, which synagogue president Ari Levine says "captivated" Temple Adath Emanu-El's search committee.
It started in 1939, when the seeds for Jerry's curiosity and passion for Judaism were planted. That's when Jerry's parents fled Nazi Germany — many other relatives and friends did not survive — and ultimately settled in Cincinnati.
"My home was first and foremost a home of Holocaust survivors," he says. "I can remember that by the age of about 5, I was asking my mother why I didn't have grandparents like my friends did. When she told me the truth — that the Nazis killed them — I was stunned. I then wanted to know where they were buried — and then why they weren't actually buried."
Yet when he was growing up, Jerry's family was not observant. They joined a Reform synagogue only at his insistence — this after a mortifying visit to a friend's synagogue where Jerry held the prayer book upside down.
"I was a Jew, my grandparents had died because they were Jews, and I didn't have the vaguest idea of what to do in a synagogue."
He became such an ardent student that by the time of his bar mitzvah, his rabbi — and mentor — told the congregation that they were probably witnessing the performance of a future rabbi.
Jerry eventually went to the University of Cincinnati, majored in psychology, and then headed for Hebrew Union College. "This is definitely what I was meant to do," he says.
The draw to be a rabbi was equally strong for the younger David, who once heard a professor in rabbinical school say, "Unless you have to become a rabbi, you shouldn't."
And Ben knew he had to. He was also driven by his great-grandparents' legacy. "So much of who I am can be traced to that history," he said. "I have that consciousness with me all the time. None of us would have been here if Hitler had his way."
By the time he was 8, he had started thinking about becoming a rabbi "and by 19, I was sure," says Ben, who saw close-up what that meant in terms of lifestyle.
"A lot has been written about the travails of being a ‘rabbi's kid,' and it was, at times, challenging. I certainly had to get accustomed to people approaching my dad wherever we were. It's a very public life."
So nobody had to caution Ben, an English major and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Muhlenberg College, that for a pulpit rabbi, days meld into nights, and personal plans often yield to the needs of others. Plus, his 14 summers spent at Camp Harlam in the Poconos — where he found Judaism, the outdoors, and his future wife, Lisa, at age 11 — deepened his commitment."Jerry and Ben David with the menorah presented to Rabbi Jerry by Temple Emanuel to celebrate his 15 years of service in 1990. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer"
These independent experiences are all the more reason why he wants to establish his own name and reputation in the community in which he grew up — and at least live in a different town than his parents. He and Lisa decided to move their family (daughter, Noa, 4; son, Elijah, 2, and one on the way) to Mount Laurel.
"Any concern we had that people might confuse father and son, and therefore conflate our two congregations, was quickly dispelled," said Levine. "Rabbi Ben David is his own man with his own approach. He is, quite simply, the right rabbi for us."
Ben's future congregation is smaller — about 480 families and still growing since a move from Willingboro, where it was established in 1959, to Mount Laurel in 1997.
Jerry's has about 1,000 families, and has a long history in Cherry Hill, where it was founded in 1950 as the town's first Reform congregation. It, too, has moved, but only from one end of Cherry Hill to the other.
The greatest frustration, it seems, will be the men's schedule conflicts.
"As much as I want to see Ben in action, the reality, and irony, is that we're in action at the same time. We work the same hours!"
But at least one thing is certain: For father and son, being back together in Eagles country is a major bonus.
"Long Island was not the best place for a devout fan of the Birds," says Ben. "Now, two rabbis can cheer for them together. Who knows? It may even help the cause."
Friday, May 18, 2012
Television's Dick Clark helps cut his 47th birthday cake during a break in rehearsals for an upcoming television special in Santa Monica, Ca., December 1, 1976. Helping him celebrate are (l) singer Barry Manilow and comedian David Brenner. Clark is wearing a smock to protect him while he is madeup.Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/entertainment/ci_20427084/dick-clark-man-behind-bandstand?source=rss
LOS ANGELES -- Dick Clark, the youthful-looking television personality who literally introduced rock 'n' roll to much of the nation on "American Bandstand" and for four decades was the first and last voice many Americans heard each year with his New Year's Eve countdowns, died Wednesday. He was 82.
Clark died after suffering a heart attack at a Santa Monica hospital following an outpatient procedure, according to a statement by his longtime publicist, Paul Shefrin. Clark's health had been in question since a 2004 stroke affected his speech and mobility, but that year's Dec. 31 countdown was the only one he missed since he started the annual rite during the Nixon years.
With the exception of Elvis Presley, Clark was considered by many to be the person most responsible for the bonfire spread of rock 'n' roll across the country in the late 1950s. "Bandstand" gave fans a way to hear and see rock's emerging idols in a way that radio and magazines could not. It made Clark a household name and gave him the foundation for a shrewdly pursued broadcasting career that made him wealthy, powerful and present in American television for half a century.
Nicknamed "America's oldest teenager" for his fresh-scrubbed look, Richard Wagstaff Clark was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Nov. 30, 1929.
Clark and "American Bandstand" not only gave young fans what they wanted, it gave their parents a measure of assurance that this new music craze was not as scruffy or as scary as they feared. Buttoned-down and always upbeat, polite and polished, Clark came across more like an articulate graduate student than a carnival barker.
He helped transform rock 'n' roll into a cultural force, and in the beginning he did it by introducing artists such as Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets, James Brown, Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers for the first time. All made their national television debuts on "Bandstand."
As the music matured through the years, Clark played a potent role in star-shaping, and the Mamas and the Papas and Madonna would join the long and eclectic list of performers who got that first big boost on "Bandstand." Clark himself joined many of his show's guests in 1993 when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On Aug. 5, 1957, from the no-frills Studio B of WFIL-TV on Market Street in Philadelphia, Clark greeted a national audience for the first time with the backdrop of a faux record store, a concrete floor and a crowd of giddy teens in clean-cut mode: Ties for boys, no slacks for girls and no gum chewing were the rules from the first day.
That 3 p.m. show, broadcast locally, quickly became the first hour and a half of national airtime devoted to teenagers, their music and their fashions. By the end of 1958, it was a full-fledged sensation with 40 million viewers tuning in to ABC to learn about the newest dance step, rock star or fashion style.
The first record on the premiere show was the then-shocking single "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" by the ribald Jerry Lee Lewis. The juxtaposition of bracing music such as that with the show's tame trappings -- party games, a roll call of giggling kids, viewer voting on the best couple -- would do more to put the emerging music into the mainstream than any other forum of the day.
While Clark embodied a "safe" aura on camera, off camera he was the prototype for the fledgling music scene's new-model impresario. There would be close to three dozen songs played on the show on any given day, and Clark huddled constantly with record executives and his staff to decide which tunes got the highly coveted airtime.
By 1959, there was grumbling in the industry that "Bandstand" was too beholden to Philadelphia interests, particularly those that intersected with Clark's growing portfolio of companies. From a hit record's birth in the vinyl-pressing shop to its christening on the radio station turntable, Clark had a stake in its business life.
For the fans watching at home, Clark was simply the chaperon on their first date with rock 'n' roll.
"It's got a great beat, and you can dance to it," or some permutation of that phrase, became the mantra of fan life during the "Bandstand" tradition of rating records. Three records would be played, and members of the "Bandstand" dancing brigade would give them a numeric grade anywhere between the odd parameters of 35 and 98. Clark would announce the average, and fame and fortunes could be decided with that calculation.
That staple feature, along with the lip-syncing appearances by new stars and the countdown of the day's hits made the show the template for the entire new television sector of music shows. "Soul Train," "Solid Gold," "America's Top 10" and "MTV's Total Request Live" were among the range of shows that would borrow from the formula. To artists, especially in the show's first decade, a booking on the show was a stamp of career arrival.
Clark would host "Bandstand" until 1989, leaving just a few months before the show's cancellation. Its impact had waned in the music video and MTV era, but Clark, the show's signature name, endured in his role as the unofficial emcee of American broadcasting.
On "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," launched in 1972, he counted down the last seconds of every year from Times Square in Manhattan. He found a surprise hit in the 1980s with "TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes," a franchise that correctly banked on the appeal of Hollywood stars flubbing their lines. His work and investments went into game shows, among them "$20,000 Pyramid" and "Scattergories," as well as television movies and awards shows.
Ryan Seacrest, who subsequently took over main hosting duties on the countdown show from Clark, said in a statement Wednesday, "I idolized him from the start. He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world."
"I loved Dick Clark. He was so instrumental in my career as well as all the other Motown acts and so many others in the recording business," singer and songwriter Smokey Robinson said.
Clark is survived by his wife, Kari Wigton Clark, whom he married in 1977. He is also survived by two sons and a daughter from two previous marriages.
In 1981, with "Bandstand" entering its twilight, Clark said that the show was No. 1 on his personal career countdown. "I feel about 'American Bandstand' the way I would about a member of my family.
"I'm sentimental about it. It was the beginning of everything for me."
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Election '12: The one thing that can be concluded from President Obama's sudden "evolving" support for gay marriage ahead of a big Hollywood fundraiser is that money talks. It's how he governs. Just don't call it democratic.
Politicians are often rightly criticized for twisting with the winds of polls. Obama is different, and not in a good way. Instead of making decisions based on principle — which might occasionally go against polls — Obama's decisions are based purely on who donates the most money.
His sudden shift on gay marriage this week proves it.
He changed his stance ahead of a $40,000 a plate fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of movie star George Clooney where wealthy gay- and gay-oriented donors had threatened to withhold donations, according to a Washington Post blogger.
The Post also reported that one out of six of Obama's campaign bundlers are gay and, as Obama declared his support for gay marriage against his previous vague stances, it was their big money that was talking.
Now, on principle alone, it's a given that Obama has probably always favored gay marriage based on his far-left orientation. But his most loyal constituents — including African-American and Latino voters, along with the majority of the voting public — are dead-set against it. That would explain why he's always hemmed and hawed about the issue, effectively voting "present."
In coming out for gay marriage, Obama showed that something's even more important to him than voter sentiment — campaign donations.
This week's resounding vote against gay marriage in North Carolina, the state that will host the 2012 Democratic convention, would seem to be reason enough for a politician on the fence to support the voters. North Carolina's rejection of gay marriage is nothing special in itself — 32 gay marriage measures have been put on state ballots, and all have failed.
That Obama didn't heed this says a lot about how he governs. Whoever gives him the most cash gets his agenda through, no matter what the public thinks of it.
And this isn't the first time.
Polls show that two-thirds of the public favor building the Keystone XL pipeline to bring Canada's tar-sands oil to U.S. refineries, a move that would seal U.S. energy security for years and create 20,000 jobs.
Obama, who takes big money from environmental groups and wealthy activists in favor of the same, is willing to buck the public to please those donors.
The same holds with the so-called feminist agenda, supported by big-dollar donors in places like San Francisco. Obama's move to let taxpayers pay for birth control under ObamaCare was unpopular with the public.
When a showdown with the Catholic Church occurred over whether it should be forced to pay for it in violation of its religious principles, Obama refused to budge. To him, his wealthy donors' cash is more important than the size of the Catholic vote.
And don't forget Big Labor and its agenda.
Polls show the public detested the Card Check bill, Big Labor's effort to force unwilling workers into unions by ending their right to secret ballot. Obama supported the unions. Why? Big Labor gave $400 million to elect Democrats in 2008 and a similar amount in 2012. Only a poll-driven Congress stopped him.
In all instances for Obama, the campaign money trumped voter sentiment. That's how he rolls.
Is that democratic? Hardly. Instead of consent of the governed, Obama's decision making amounts to rule by plutocrats, whose desire prevails no matter how outrageous their agenda is to the voters.
It also suggests a cynical view of elections — that whoever has the most money necessarily wins, regardless of his political agenda.
And it represents open contempt for the voters — a certainty that they will vote for Obama no matter what distasteful decisions he makes. Interesting.
Whatever comes of his gay marriage stance, one thing is certain — this is how Obama governs: He who has the most money wins.
It's a tad ironic, given Obama's nonstop class-warfare stances supposedly in favor of the 99%. Actually, nobody is more devoted to the 1% than he is.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
04 May 2012
Sovereignty: Even if he's not re-elected, the president hopes to leave behind a treaty giving a U.N. body veto power over the use of our territorial waters and to which we'd be required to give half of our offshore oil revenue.
The Law Of The Sea Treaty (LOST) has been lurking in the shadows for decades. Like the Kyoto Protocol that pretended to be an effort to save the earth from the poisoned fruit of the Industrial Revolution, LOST pretends to be an effort to protect the world's oceans from environmental damage and remove it as a cause of potential conflicts between nations.
Like its Kyoto cousin, LOST is an attempt at the global redistribution of power and wealth, the embodiment of the progressive dream of the end of the nation state as we know it and the end of political freedom by giving veto over all of mankind's activities to a global body — in this case something called the International Seabed Authority, located in Kingston, Jamaica.
The ISA would have the power to regulate 70% of the earth's surface, placing seabed mining, fishing rights, deep-sea oil exploration and even the activities of the U.S. Navy under control of a global bureaucracy. It even provides for a global tax that would be paid directly to the ISA by companies seeking to develop the resources in and under the world's oceans.
As Heritage Foundation senior fellow Peter Brookes notes, the U.S. government now can collect royalty revenues from oil and gas companies that wish to drill on our extended continental shelf — the undersea areas beyond 200 miles of our coast. But if we ratify LOST, we'd have to fork over as much as 7% of that revenue to the ISA for redistribution to poorer, landlocked countries.
Maritime and jurisdictional disputes would be settled by the ISA, which presumably would tell the U.S. Navy where it could and could not go. Freedom of navigation has been guaranteed by the U.S. Navy and, before it, the British Royal Navy. Now it would be the ISA. This meets perfectly the definition of the "global test" Sen. John Kerry, a backer of LOST, said in 2004 that our actions must meet.
With a possible new White House occupant and Republican majority returning to the Senate in 2013, LOST is back on the front burner. Kerry is quietly working to recruit Republican votes needed to ratify the treaty. LOST is also backed by Sen. Richard Lugar. It will be brought up soon for ratification, perhaps as early as next month, and was delayed — analysts believe — by Lugar's belief it would hurt him in the Indiana primary.
LOST was a bad idea when President Reagan refused to sign it in 1982 and actually fired the State Department staff members who helped negotiate it. It was drafted at the behest of Soviet bloc and Third World dictators interested in a scheme to weaken U.S. power and sovereignty while transferring wealth from the industrialized to the developing world.
Reagan rightly decided the U.S. shouldn't be a part of this global resource grab and redistribution of wealth. The treaty was co-authored by Elisabeth Mann Borgese, an admirer of Karl Marx and a socialist who ran the World Federation of Canada.
She views the oceans as the "common heritage of mankind" and in a 1999 speech declared, "The world ocean has been and is, so to speak, our great laboratory for the making of a new world order." We prefer the world order under Reagan, where we called our own shots.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 5/13/2012 10:25:00 PM
WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- Presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney, with three more states in his win column Tuesday night, went after his Democratic opponent.
The former Massachusetts governor, whose list of GOP rivals has been winnowed to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas through months of primaries and caucuses, picked up bunches of delegates in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, closing in on the 1,144 he needs to clinch the party's nomination at the national convention in Tampa, Fla., this summer.
While he still doesn't quite have the nomination in hand, Romney has started honing his political attack on President Barack Obama, CBS News said. On Fox News Channel's "The Sean Hannity Show," Romney criticized Obama's stance on women's issues and foreign policy while painting the president as a big-money incumbent.
"We've got a long way to go. The first chapter of the process seems to be over and we're coming together," he said. "Against an incumbent with a billion dollars he's raising, with an extraordinary machine that'll be attacking me on a personal basis day by day, that we're the underdogs."
Romney said there would be "incendiary effort on the part of the Obama team" he doesn't think will resonate with the American people.
Romney criticized Obama for trying to "make friends with some of the world's worst actors," such as Syrian President Bashar Assad, instead of trying to "communicate our strength, our determination, and indicate if people want to be friends with America, that they're going to have to hold to the principles that we find dear."
On women's issues, Romney said he found it "misguided and wrong and dishonest" to suggest Republicans don't respect women.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Newt Gingrich officially left the presidential race Wednesday, but he didn't back down from his commitment to seeing a U.S. base on the moon someday.
"I am cheerfully going to take back up the issue of space," Gingrich said in his announcement that he was suspending his campaign, the Atlantic Wire reported. "My wife has pointed out to me approximately 219 times, give or take three, that moon colony was not my best quote in this campaign ... but the underlying key point is real. If we're going to be the leading country in the world, we have to be the leading country in space."
"I am not totally certain I will get to the moon colony," Gingrich added. "I am certain Maggie and Robert [his grandchildren] will have that opportunity should they choose to take it."
Monday, May 07, 2012
April 24, 2012
NBC has now projected that Mitt Romney will easily win Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. New York is on the way.
Most effective line from his victory speech (full transcript here).
Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?
Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?
If the answer were “yes” to those questions, then President Obama would be running for re-election based on his achievements…and rightly so. But because he has failed, he will run a campaign of diversions, distractions, and distortions. That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time. But not here and not now. It’s still about the economy …and we’re not stupid.
The speech, by the way, was very good.
Scott Conroy, who's been covering Romney for five years, tweeted:
"Hard to recall a better Romney speech in 5+ years of running for president."
The general election began after Wisconsin, so I'm not going to go all Lord of the Rings and say "and so it begins." Instead, I'll just say: "So the beginning continues............"
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
There is a reflexive desire among a certain species of moderate Republicans to be perceived as "civil" by liberal opponents who believe that the mere existence of free-market, limited-government conservatism is an indecent affront to humankind. All aboard the U.S.S. Lost Cause.
This disastrous, bend-over bipartisanship is a hard habit to break. In 2008, Arizona Sen. John McCain rode the "Barack Obama is a nice guy, but vote for me" wave to crashing defeat. In 2012, McCain's endorsee, Mitt Romney, has made "Barack Obama is a nice guy but in over his head" a standard stump-speech talking point.
Conservatives of good will who've watched President Obama brutalize his enemies have one question for the nice-guy niceties: Why, GOP, why?
Romney's smarter-than-thou strategists explain that he can't scare off independents and Democrats with straight talk about Obama's thuggery. But he's turning off the conservative base, on whom his hold is tenuous. More importantly, Romney's McCain-lite impersonation is also writing off independents and Democrats who've come to realize what the myriad targets of White House bullying have learned the hard way over the past four years: Barack Obama is not a "nice guy."
Ask Gerald Walpin, the former AmeriCorps inspector general who was pushed out of his job by the Obamas after exposing fraud and corruption perpetrated by Democratic mayor of Sacramento and Obama friend Kevin Johnson. Walpin was unceremoniously fired and smeared by Team Obama. The White House baselessly questioned the veteran watchdog's mental health and never apologized for slandering him.
Ask the family, friends and co-workers of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. They have been forced to sue the Obama administration to combat the Operation Fast and Furious cover-up of deadly policy decisions that led to their hero's death. "I think they are liars, and I would tell them that," Terry's father, Kent, said of Obama's henchmen.
As Townhall editor Katie Pavlich makes clear in her devastating new book, "Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up," the president, his corrupt attorney general, Eric Holder, and their minions weren't "in over their heads." They knew exactly what they were doing and have obstructed investigations into the bloody consequences of their policies ever since.
That's not "nice." It's rotten to the core.
Nice? Ask those who have felt the wrath of Obama: tea party members, bitter-clinging gun owners and voters of faith; budget-reform leaders, such as Wisconsin's GOP Rep. Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker, Chrysler creditors and dealers, and Delphi auto-parts workers strong-armed and cut out of the White House auto bailout negotiations with United Auto Workers; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and their donors; Fox News, conservative talk-radio giant Rush Limbaugh; the Congressional Budget Office and the Supreme Court.
There is nothing shameful about shattering the left's defining fraudulent narrative -- which was promoted again this week by myth-making first lady Michelle Obama -- that the president has "brought us out of the dark and into the light."
There is nothing hateful about exposing Team Obama's hardball tactics and government witch-hunts against taxpayers, businesses and political opponents.
There is nothing unbecoming or un-presidential about questioning the Obama administration's Chicago gangster treatment of dissidents, whistleblowers and watchdogs.
Let it be noted that Mr. "Nice Guy" never goes out of his way to show his opponents respect. In 2008, Obama openly bragged that his campaign strategy is: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun."
Remember when he sneered at millions who turned out for the nationwide Tax Day tea party protests in 2009: "You would think they'd be saying thank you."
Remember when he taunted GOP leaders: "We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."
Remember when he told Republicans to shut up during the stimulus debate: "I want them just to get out of the way" and "don't do a lot of talking."
Remember when he outrageously insinuated before the 2010 midterms that conservatives were racist: He called critics of his amnesty policies "enemies" who needed to be "punished" by Latino voters because they were not "the kinds of folks who represent our core American values."
Remember when he remained silent about his surrogates' misogynistic attacks on GOP vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Remember when he remained silent about the vulgar rallying cry of Teamsters Union President Jimmy Hoffa, who introduced Obama at a Detroit Labor Day rally by urging union members to work against Republicans and "take these son of a bitches out."
Romney's surrogates insist that conservatives should "stick to the issues." But Obama's by-any-means-necessary ruthlessness is an issue. Like Chiffon Margarine said, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature." And it's not nice to delude the American electorate in the name of comity, politesse and simpering civility.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 4/24/2012 09:04:00 AM
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Mitt Romney won a crushing victory Tuesday, winning twice as many states as Rick Santorum and more that two and half times as many delegates, but his triumph is being portrayed in headlines across the nation as sign of weakness and failure.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Romney picked up 211 delegates while taking six states, bringing his total delegate count to 415. Santorum won in three states and added only 84 delegates to bring his total to 176.
Romney scored a huge upset in Ohio, coming from way back to take a politically diverse state that is representative of the type of place he’ll need to win to beat President Obama.
Romney is being widely panned by the press for an “inability to close the deal,” and yet the description seems far more apt for Santorum, who now has blown huge leads in the most critical contests of recent weeks, Ohio and Michigan. If anything, the more voters look at Santorum, the more concerned they become and less likely they are to sign on the dotted line.
Worse for Santorum, he will continue for the foreseeable future to split the most conservative votes with Newt Gingrich – who stays in after winning Georgia – and with Ron Paul, who would remain in the race until 2018 if he could. And Romney has a war chest that will swamp Santorum in the upcoming air wars for closely contested states.
And yet, despite all the evidence Romney largely vanquished his rivals Tuesday night, here are some of the headlines this morning:
Wall Street Journal: Romney Ekes Past Santorum in Ohio
New York Times: With No Knockout Punch, a Bruising Battle Plods On
Los Angeles Times: Battle in Ohio Reinforces GOP Divide; Romney’s Slim Victory Leaves Race Uncertain
USA Today: Romney, Santorum See Momentum
CNN: No Knockout Blow for Romney
Reuters: Romney Narrowly Wins Ohio, Fails to Knock Out Santorum
You get the idea.
There are several reasons for this.
All reporting is now sports reporting. Reporters love a battle and they love to go on TV and rave about how exciting everything is. And editors seek a bracing and never-ending storyline because it draws readers and ultimately pleases their corporate bosses, who want to sell papers and generate pageviews.
The headline “Romney Scores Six Wins and Continues Methodical Drive Toward Nomination” is just not going to drive eyeballs to your story.
And reporters also tend to be moderate to liberal. Bloodletting among Republicans at some level is agreeable to many of them. I have to believe that if this was Obama instead of Romney, the stories would be about the growing inevitability of Obama’s nomination.
That Romney is in all likelihood on the march toward nomination will probably soon become too apparent for any serious journalist to deny. At that point, for the reasons listed above, we will begin to hear feverish talk about the prospects for a third party candidacy.
Michele A. Fetter
AGE: 42 • Marlton
(nee Virgilio) On March 9, 2012. Beloved wife of Benjamin D. Fetter. Loving mother of Austin Rollo, Jake Rollo and David Fetter. Devoted daughter of Thomas Virgilio and Florine "Bambi" Peters (James). Dear sister of Thomas and Nicole Virgilio. A former resident of Cranford, Michele worked as a Human Resources Manager for Interline Brands in Mt. Laurel for over 15 years. Relatives and friends are invited to the viewing 6-9pm Tuesday March 13, 2012 and 8:30-9:45am Wednesday March 14, 2012 at the BRADLEY FUNERAL HOME, 601 Rt. 73 South, Marlton, NJ. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30am Wednesday at St. Joan of Arc Church, 100 Willow Bend Rd., Marlton. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the American Cancer Society, 1851 Old Cuthbert Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.
Published in Courier-Post on March 10, 2012
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 3/10/2012 09:12:00 PM
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The rumors of Mitt Romney's political death in Michigan turned out to be greatly exaggerated. The former Massachusetts Governor won his home state by a relatively comfortable margin, besting Rick Santorum by four percentage points (as of this writing) and roughly 30,000 votes. We've ridden a public opinion rollercoaster through the Great Lakes State over the last few weeks: Romney swung from comfortably ahead to significantly behind after Santorum's unexpected three state sweep, then managed to piece together a final surge that put him over the top. "A comeback!" his supporters exclaim. Then again, just a month ago, few would have anticipated that a comeback would ever be necessary for Romney in his old stomping grounds. Nevertheless, a win is a win -- and Team Romney will gladly take it heading into Super Tuesday's ten contests. Here's Romney declaring victory and sharply criticizing President Obama (full transcript HERE):
His best lines were (a) "more jobs, less debt, smaller government, (b) the quip about America needing a "recovery from this so-called recovery," and (c) the reminder that President Obama also inherited an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. He proceeded to squander his chance to reignite economic growth in favor of Left-wing adventurism. Here's a cursory and somewhat haphazard look at that the exit polling data coming out of the Michigan rumble:
Women: Romney 42 - Santorum 38
Union Members: Santorum 45 - Romney 26
Crossover Democrats : Santorum 53 - Romney 17
Republicans: Romney 47 - Santorum 37
Independents: Romney 33 - Santorum 33
Very conservative voters: Santorum 50 - Romney 35
Tea Party supporters: Romney 42 - Santorum 41
Tea Party opponents: Santorum 39 - Romney 33
Catholics: Romney 43- Santorum 37 (!)
Santorum performed well among the most ardent ideologues -- at both ends of the spectrum. Democrats accounted for 9 percent of voters in the GOP primary, and they broke overwhelmingly for Santorum. The former Senator, who voted against right to work laws in Congress, also crushed Romney among voters affiliated with organized labor. Conversely, Romney won among self-identified Republicans by ten points. Over to you, Rick Santorum, one month ago:
"We want the activists of the party, the people who make up the backbone of the Republican Party to have a say in who our nominee is as opposed to a bunch of people who don't even identify themselves as Republicans picking our nominee," Santorum told voters on the call held January 29. "I don't like that. I believe that states should only allow Republicans to vote in Republican primaries."
By Phil Klein's back-of-the-envelope tabulation, if Santorum had gotten his way in Michigan, Romney's margin of victory tonight would have been 3.5 percentage points wider. As for Democrats' talking point that GOP turnout is depressed across the board (not true in Iowa or New Hampshire, and South Carolina by the way), Michigan's totals increased over 2008 levels. Romney has also eclipsed his personal raw vote tally from 2008, when he also won the state.
Finally, there was another election tonight in Arizona. Mitt Romney won that contest, too -- by a whopping 21-point margin (with 79 percent of precincts reporting). He also swept almost all major demographics, even tying Santorum among "very conservative" voters. Crucially, because of the state's winner-take-all system, the former governor pocketed all 29 delegates. So not only did Romney carry the popular vote in both states, he won the lion's share of the evening's 59 available delegates. WE'll keep you posted on the final tally once it's determined. Finally, a telltale sign that Romny had a great night: MSNBC's entire panel angrily dumped all over him after his victory speech, as did Paul Begala on CNN. The Left is transitioning into full blown slash-and-burn general election mode. If Romney continues to excel, expect a lot more of this sort of bigotry on parade in the months ahead.
Monday, January 23, 2012
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of this paper, complete with footnotes.
Among all likely candidates for President in 2012, none has a record in public office or in commentary on public affairs as long or as thorough as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He has been voting or commenting on every important issue facing American politics, almost without interruption, for more than 30 years. An exhaustive analysis of every nuance of each proposal is neither possible here, nor terribly useful for our purposes. This report will focus on the highlights of his 19-year congressional voting record, as well as the economic policy positions he has most consistently championed in his post-congressional writings up to the present day.
Gingrich is best known for leading the 1994 “Republican Revolution” that swept the GOP into the House majority for the first time in over forty years, and he deserves immense credit for that. His actual voting record in the House, however, was somewhat less stellar.
The Club for Growth did not have its own scorecard for members of Congress during Gingrich’s tenure from 1979-98, but the non-partisan and pro-free market National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has been issuing a congressional scorecard for decades and Gingrich’s record on economic issues, as provided by NTU, is worth analyzing. From 1979-98, Gingrich had an average score of 61% (with 100% being a perfect score on supporting lower taxes and limited government). The average Republican score over this time period was slightly lower at 56%.
The Club for Growth is committed to lower taxes – especially lower tax rates – across the board. Lower taxes on work, savings, and investments lead to greater levels of these activities, thus encouraging greater economic growth.
From an economic growth perspective, Newt Gingrich is excellent on tax issues, except when he’s not. In general, Gingrich does favor lower, flatter tax rates, and has a pro-growth instinct toward reforms that lower rates and broaden the base. But he also has a persistent habit of supporting big-government tinkering that manifests itself in many unhelpful ways.
First, the good stuff. On various high-profile tax votes in Congress, Gingrich amassed the following pro-growth tax record:
His vote and leadership against the 1990 Bush tax increase is especially praiseworthy, as it exhibited political courage to fight against a bad policy that was promoted by the president and congressional leadership of his own party.
- Voted YES on the Reagan tax cut of 1981
- Voted YES on the Reagan tax reform bill of 1986
- Voted NO on the George H.W. Bush “Read My Lips” tax hike in 1990.
- Voted NO on the Clinton tax hike in 1993.
- Voted YES on the capital gains tax cut in 1997.
Further, Gingrich can be one of the most clear-eyed and forceful advocates for supply-side economics and the value of free enterprise. He has most recently favored:
- an immediate and permanent repeal of the Death Tax;
- elimination of all capital gains taxes;
- reduction of the corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent;
- a 50 percent payroll tax cut for both employers and employees;
- a 100 percent tax write off for businesses’ equipment purchases.
Gingrich also favors broader fundamental tax reform. In a 2008 op-ed, he enthusiastically praised the idea of an optional, single-rate income tax reform proposal. According to Gingrich, “[a]n optional flat tax would save taxpayers more than $100 billion per year and reduce compliance costs by over 90 percent. This is a stimulus package that would have an immediate effect on our American economy.”
In addition, Gingrich has advocated a near flat tax proposal that would lower the current 25 percent income tax rate to 15 percent. This would, in Gingrich’s words, “in effect, establish a flat-rate tax of 15% for close to 90% of American workers.” Both of these options would be enormously good for our economy.
Now the bad stuff. Gingrich has an affinity – all too common even among conservative politicians – for gimmicky, special interest tax incentives that empower politicians to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. His favorite device is the tax credit.
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Gingrich proposed a six month, $1,000-per person tax credit for 50 percent of the cost of personal travel more than 100 miles from one’s home. The idea sounds nice, but just as Cash for Clunkers only expedited the purchase of cars people were going to buy anyway (at non-car buying taxpayers’ expense), Gingrich’s Cash for Getaways would only have subsidized trips people were going to make anyway, enabling a transfer payment to frequent travelers from families without the time or inclination to travel. This proposal would also require more government to administer and oversee compliance. It is not a fiscally conservative policy. While perhaps not a large issue in itself, this is indicative of an approach Gingrich has frequently advocated. At times he has sponsored bills or issued proposals to do the following:
- A tax credit for the purchase of home computers used for educational or professional purposes.
- A $1,000 tax credit for low-income first-time homebuyers.
- Refundable tax credits for auto companies for the cost of flex-fuels cars, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and the development of hydrogen cars.
- Tax credits to encourage investment in biofuels and “renewable forms of energy.”
- A permanent 50 percent tax credit for research and development, or at least for “companies that are willing to take on government's ‘grand challenges’ (for example, the first inhabitable moon base).”
- A special business tax credit for “corporations that fund basic research in science and technology at our nation's universities.”
Along with these gimmicky tax proposals, Gingrich voted for at least one tax increase during his time in Congress. In 1984, he supported a $50 billion tax bill that closed $15 billion in loopholes, eliminated a tax break on interest income, increased cigarette taxes, and raised taxes on distilled liquor.
The Club for Growth is committed to reducing government spending. Less spending enhances economic growth by enabling lower taxes and diminishing the government’s economically inefficient allocation of resources.
Gingrich’s record is mostly supportive of smaller government, but he likes to tinker with the economy using more federal government involvement in areas that he is most passionate about. This is most pronounced on spending issues, and has led him to some very bad positions.
During his time in Congress, he had an exemplary voting record on a lot of the top spending proposals:
- Voted NO on the Chrysler bailout in 1979
- Voted YES on the Gramm-Rudman balanced budget bill in 1985
- Voted YES on a balanced budget amendment (as part of the “Contract for America” effort that he led) in 1995
- Led the effort and voted YES to cut $16.4 billion from the budget in 1995.
- Voted YES on welfare reform in 1996
Gingrich has also been a vocal opponent of most of the big spending habits pushed by the White House and Congress over the past few years. He opposed the $787 billion stimulus proposal, the auto bailout, and Cash for Clunkers.
But Gingrich also has a recurring impulse to insert the government into the private economy. A particularly bad mark on his record came in 2003, when he urged “every conservative member of Congress” to support the Medicare drug benefit bill. He called it the “most important reorganization of our nation's healthcare system since the original Medicare Bill of 1965.” The drug benefit now costs taxpayers over $60 billion a year and has almost $16 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
This flaw appeared again in late 2008, when he backed the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. While he was initially opposed to it, he “reluctantly” endorsed it when successful passage was uncertain in Congress.
Prior to those big errors, and somewhat since then, Gingrich has shown an odd condescension toward fiscal conservatives who do not share his views. In 1998, he derided a group of House conservatives by calling them the “the perfectionist caucus” for opposing a 4,000-page omnibus spending bill, adding that “those of us who have grown up and matured in this process understand after the last four years that we have to work together on big issues.”
Free trade is a vital policy necessary for maximizing economic growth. In recent decades, America’s commitment to expanding trade has resulted in lower costs for consumers, job growth, and higher levels of productivity and innovation.
In 1994, William F. Buckley, Jr. called Gingrich a “profoundly committed free trader,” and his record and rhetoric over the years bears out that characterization. Gingrich has been a reliable advocate for free international trade, and a critic of both the politics and economics of protectionism.
In 1993, Gingrich supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, and later argued for including Chile into the deal, with the eventual goal of having the entire Western Hemisphere as a free trade zone.
In 1994, Gingrich supported passage of the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade, which established fast track authority for the president and the World Trade Organization.
In 1998, Gingrich supported Most Favored Nation (now Permanent Normal Trade Relations) status with China. And he supported free trade legislation between the United States and sub-Saharan African nations.
In 2010, Gingrich called for the creation of “Free Cities,” Hong Kong-style free trade zones, developed from scratch according to agreements reached between the United States and the “receptive governments” controlling the agreed-upon spots.
Evidence of any pro-protectionism support is scant. However, Gingrich did vote YES to keep trade-distorting peanut subsidies in 1985, although he later redeemed himself by voting against them in 1990.
Excessive government regulation stymies individual and business innovation necessary for strong economic expansion. The Club for Growth supports less and more sensible government regulation as a critical step toward increasing freedom and growth in the marketplace.
There’s a long list of big government regulations that Gingrich has opposed. Commendably, he advocates full repeal of Sarbanes-Oxley. He vocally opposed ObamaCare and favors repeal. He supports lifting restrictions on energy production like offshore drilling, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and nuclear plant construction.
Gingrich opposes the “Employee Free Choice Act,” or “card check,” especially its binding arbitration provision. And he opposed the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill in 2010, calling it “another big government power grab.”
Once again, however, Gingrich’s penchant for tinkering undermines his otherwise very strong record of pro-growth deregulation.
He fought President Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme and wants to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. He also opposes the Obama EPA’s controversial plan to regulate carbon emissions via the Clean Air Act, and has urged Congress to prevent its implementation. But previously, in 2008, he starred in a television ad with Nancy Pelosi urging a bipartisan solution to climate change. In a debate with Senator John Kerry in 2007, Gingrich said, “the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading in the atmosphere." While he insisted that government regulation wasn’t the answer, he said, “I would agree you would get more change more rapidly with an incentivized market rather than a laissez-faire approach.” That’s Gingrich-speak for government involvement.
More recently, Gingrich defended federal ethanol policies. Even Al Gore now admits ethanol subsidies hurt the environment and that he only supported them because of Iowa’s influential presidential caucuses. Gingrich singled out a Wall Street Journal editorial critical of ethanol policies, and suggested ethanol’s “big city” critics get their facts straight. Responding to the fact that, without subsidies, tariffs, and federal mandates, there would be no ethanol market, Gingrich said, “If they’re prepared to insist on a flex-fuel vehicle and every car in America capable of buying ethanol, I think the industry can stand on its own.” Thus, Gingrich would favor eliminating ethanol subsidies only after Congress mandates that everyone buy ethanol cars.
Gingrich has also long endorsed a federal role in supporting renewable energy projects and the development of clean energy technologies.
These inconsistencies are notable because they are inconsistencies. Gingrich’s default approach to regulatory issues is usually to favor the free market and empower entrepreneurs and consumers. Despite that good record, too often Gingrich seems overly compelled to find government answers to complex issues when the hurdles to free market solutions appear too high.
America’s major entitlement programs are already insolvent. The Club for Growth supports entitlement reforms that enable personal ownership of retirement and health care programs, benefit from market returns, and diminish dependency on government.
Gingrich has long advocated reforms, of one sort or another, of the federal government’s three major entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But he has three glaring mistakes in his record that can’t be overlooked.
On Social Security, Gingrich has been consistently pro-growth and pro-reform and for all the right reasons. He favors personal Social Security savings accounts owned by individual taxpayers and off limits to congressional spendthrifts. He has written:
“With large personal social security savings accounts, even low- and moderate-income workers will accumulate hundreds of thousands of dollars by retirement and will be able to leave a financial legacy to their children or other heirs. Personal social security savings accounts offer workers far greater personal choice, ownership and control than the current system.”In addition to his own plans, Gingrich supported President Bush’s effort in 2005 to reform Social Security with personal accounts, and a 2004 plan offered by Congressman Paul Ryan and then- Senator John Sununu that would have done much the same.
Gingrich also favors comprehensive reform of the notoriously inefficient Medicaid program. He originally proposed the idea of block-granting the program back to the states in 1995, giving them more flexibility to administer it.
He has long advocated expanded health savings accounts, tax free accounts coupled with high-deductible catastrophic coverage to allow people to build a medical nest egg, like a health care 401(k) plan.
As noted above, however, Gingrich has a few doozies in his record. First, in his 2008 book Real Change, Gingrich advocated an individual mandate for health insurance – a similar mandate is central to ObamaCare and is being challenged by 26 states in court as being unconstitutional. Gingrich wrote:
“[I]ndividuals are expected to help pay for their care. Everyone should be required to have coverage. Those with very low incomes should receive vouchers or tax credits to help them buy insurance. Those who oppose the concept of insurance should be required to post a bond to cover costs.”The second large error in Gingrich’s entitlement record was equally troubling: the former Speaker played a high profile advocacy role on behalf of President George W. Bush’s Medicare prescription drug benefit bill in 2003. Gingrich penned several op-eds supporting the general thrust and specific provisions of the bill, urging House Republicans to pass what was billed at the time to be a $400 billion expansion of the federal government.
Among the lowlights of his advocacy:
“Every conservative member of Congress should vote for this Medicare bill. It is the most important reorganization of our nation’s healthcare system since the original Medicare Bill of 1965 and the largest and most positive change in direction for the health system in 60 years for people over 65.”Gingrich still maintains his support for Medicare Part D, and in a 2006 op-ed lauded the virtues of the first year of its implementation.
“Congress should allow seniors to get the drugs they need by adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare.”
Finally, Gingrich supported the creation and eventual expansion of SCHIP, the government-run health care program for children of low-income families.
The Club for Growth supports broad school choice, including charter schools and voucher programs that create a competitive education market including public, private, religious, and non-religious schools. More competition in education will lead to higher quality and lower costs.
Education reform is another area that perfectly illustrates Gingrich’s dual (and occasionally contradictory) tendencies toward both pro-growth conservatism and big-government meddler.
For decades, Gingrich has been an unequivocal advocate for school choice, writing in a 2006 op-ed:
“The status quo is failing our students, and to truly see real change, we need to enact real change. The simplest and surest way to transform education is to give students and parents the freedom to choose where they will go to school. This means eliminating restrictive zoning laws that force kids into schools simply because they live nearby. This means introducing free-market forces into education, encouraging schools to compete for students, much like businesses compete for customers. This means that schools that do not perform will either improve or close their doors — which is as it should be. There is no middle ground.”Gingrich admirably advocates charter schools, vouchers for families with children trapped in failing schools, and greater flexibility in rewarding good teachers and dismissing bad ones.
But Gingrich’s tinkering side reveals itself when he suggests that the federal government “save the children.” In 2006, he wrote:
“Finally, Congress should tie education funding to school accountability. The No Child Left Behind law is making it blaringly obvious just how many schools are crippling and destroying children. We should save the children. Congress should require school systems to institute metrics-based performance standards in order to receive federal funding to ensure that every child is getting the education that they deserve.”
Demanding that the federal government get involved in what most conservatives believe is a state or local issue is something that Gingrich doesn’t seem to appreciate.
The American economy suffers from excessive litigation which increases the cost of doing business and slows economic growth. The Club for Growth supports major reforms to our tort system to restore a more just and less costly balance in tort litigation.
Gingrich has been a clear and consistent advocate for lawsuit abuse reform for years. The “Common Sense Legal Reform Act” was part of the Contract with America in 1994, and was passed by both the House and Senate, but vetoed by President Bill Clinton. The bill would have reformed the tort system by penalizing frivolous and predatory lawsuits by imposing “loser pays” rules and capping punitive damages.
More recently, Gingrich has supported tort reform in the context of health care reform and cost-containment. In 2009, Gingrich criticized President Obama’s health care overhaul for skirting the issue of lawsuit abuse reform: “The “plain and simple truth” is that leaving the tort system ‘as is’ ignores more than $200 billion in potential savings annually in health care.” Specifically, Gingrich cited statistics pertaining to the expensive and wasteful practice of “defensive medicine,” in which doctors perform unnecessary tests solely to protect themselves from predatory lawsuits.
In 2002, Gingrich called for a cap on “pain and suffering” awards in medical malpractice suits, and cited the dangerous shortage of doctors in many states that had not – to date – reformed their liability laws. In 2006, Gingrich noted the quick reversal of Texas’ trend of losing doctors after the state passed medical malpractice reform.
Gingrich has also called for the establishment of special “health courts” to manage the glut and exploding costs of medical malpractice litigation.
POLITICAL FREE SPEECH
Maximizing prosperity requires sound government policies. When government strays from these policies, citizens must be free to exercise their constitutional rights to petition and criticize those policies and the politicians responsible for them.
Except for one large blemish, Gingrich has what seems to be a clear, strong, and positive stand on behalf of political free speech.
In 1995, he countered calls for spending restrictions in campaigns by noting the 1992 presidential campaigns combined spent half of the major television networks’ news budgets. He said giving journalists free, unlimited access to the public while restricting campaign contributions represented “a nonsensical socialist analysis based on hatred of the free enterprise system.”
Gingrich has rightly been a harsh critic of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act, saying in 2006 that it ought to have been named the “McCain-Feingold censorship law” and compared it to the Sedition Act of 1798.
According to Gingrich,
“A truly functioning campaign system would take power out of Washington and return it to its owners—the American people. Such a system would allow individuals to make unlimited contributions to candidates for Congress in their district, so long as it is reported immediately on the Internet and is transparent and accessible.”Gingrich strongly supported Citizens United in their challenge against the constitutionality of the McCain Feingold bill, and recently appeared in a video produced by Citizen United commemorating the anniversary of the successful ruling.
Nevertheless, Gingrich supported the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987, a proposal that would force broadcasters to air all sides of a controversial issue. It obviously infringes 1st Amendment rights and it can only lead to bigger government as bureaucrats haggle over what’s controversial, what’s “fair”, and other details.
POLITICAL ACTIVITY & ENDORSEMENTS
Robust political activity is essential to producing a federal government that is more respectful of free markets and produces more pro-economic growth policies. The Club for Growth’s PAC has been active in some of the more central battles within the Republican Party nominating process in recent years, supporting pro-growth candidates over pro-government ones.
Whereas in most policy areas Gingrich’s record has been consistently or largely good, his record of involvement in political activity in which a clear pro-growth and anti-growth choice was available has been frequently poor.
In the 2009 special election for Congress in New York’s 23rd district, Gingrich was outspoken in his support of liberal Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava, up to the moment she finally quit the race after center-right voters rallied behind Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman. Long after most prominent conservatives had endorsed Hoffman, Gingrich held firm in his advocacy for a liberal candidate who supported Obama’s stimulus plan and the pro-union “card check” proposal, among other bad positions.
In 2010, Gingrich openly campaigned for embattled U.S. Senator Robert Bennett in Utah, whom Gingrich’s wrongly called “a true-blue conservative.” In 2008, Gingrich aggressively supported and campaigned for liberal Congressman Wayne Gilchrist (R-MD) when he faced a conservative challenge from now-Congressman Andy Harris. In 2006, same thing, when Gingrich backed liberal Congressman Joe Schwarz (R-MI) when he was challenged by conservative now-Congressman Tim Walberg.
It is of course common for leading Republicans to support incumbent Republicans who face primary opposition. However, Gingrich has taken this to another level, supporting incumbents even when he had long been out of office himself, and doing so with a vigor and passion that is entirely inconsistent with the level of conservatism that the candidates themselves espouse.
In Gingrich’s worldview, he appears to elevate partisanship to principle. His conflation of party expansion with genuine political or policy success is a common mistake, especially among establishment leaders and Washington insiders. This mistake can easily morph into a strange contempt for serious conservative reformers within the GOP. After all, from a pro-growth perspective, it is clear that the candidates Gingrich strongly opposed, Senator Mike Lee and Congressmen Andy Harris and Tim Walberg are far superior to the RINO incumbents they defeated.
Here again, Gingrich’s penchant for condescension appears. In that NY-23 race, for instance, Gingrich went so far as to attack conservatives who supported Hoffman (whom Gingrich belatedly endorsed himself), saying: “So I say to my conservative friends who suddenly decided that whether they’re from Minnesota or Alaska or Texas, they know more than the upstate New York Republicans? I don’t think so.”
As a historical figure, it is undeniable that Newt Gingrich has played leading roles in some of the most important battles on behalf of economic growth and limited government in the last quarter century.
His opposition and momentary defeat of the 1990 Bush tax increase, his leadership of the 1994 Republican Revolution, and his spearheading of the provisions of the Contract With America are major league achievements. His consistent support for pro-growth tax reform, free trade, Social Security reform, tort reform, and political free speech also evidence a clear and impressive understanding of the fundamentals that underlie the free enterprise system that has made America prosperous.
Unfortunately, the problems in Speaker Gingrich’s record are frequent enough and serious enough to give pause. On two of the most important recent issues that confronted limited government conservatives (creating the new budget busting Medicare drug entitlement, and the Wall Street bailout), Gingrich was on the wrong side. His advocacy of an individual health care mandate is problematic. His penchant for tinkering with rewards for favored industries and outcomes shows a troubling willingness to use federal power to coerce taxpayers into his preferred direction. And his occasional hostility toward conservatives who do not share his desire to support liberal Republicans or to compromise on matters of principle is worrisome.
The totality leads one to be rather unsure what kind of president Newt Gingrich would be. Past is often prologue, and in Gingrich’s case there is an enormous volume of past on which to base a judgment. One could reasonably expect a President Gingrich to lead America in a pro-growth and limited government direction generally, possibly with flashes of real brilliance and accomplishment, but also likely with some serious disappointments and unevenness.
Highlights By Joyce Kavitsky
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Phillips Philes Proudly Presents Joyce Kavitsky's Amazon.com Lists - March 2, 2010
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Delran High School 1994 ALUMNI HUB - August 25, 2014
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Phillips Philes Has Access To More Readers Through Jersey Report Link! - February 6, 2017
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