Close to a month ago, Ace at Ace of Spades HQ posted a long but excellent article about the so-called neutral story lines that the mainstream media regularly uses to bash Republicans while still giving the appearance of being neutral. Here’s a snippet of Ace’s full article, for people who can’t be bothered to read the whole thing:

Mickey Kaus often notes the media likes Neutral Story Lines, as they’re easy to write, but are supposedly nonpartisan, as they usually criticize some procedural defect in both parties.

What makes the “Neutral Story Line” not neutral at all is that the media seems most interested, each cycle, in the “Neutral Story Line” that hurts the Republicans more….

And this is how media bias works 75% of the time. Most of the time, the media is selecting between several possible “rules,” many of which are arguably correct, but which are contradicted by nearly opposite rules, which are also arguably correct. The media never decides which rule is correct in the most cases; instead, they choose whichever “rule” benefits the Democrats this cycle.

Are we too interested in personal scandals which don’t really have much to do with a party’s governing philosophy? The answer is “No” if you mean Mark Foley or Mark Sanford; the answer is “Yes” if you mean Eric Massa or John Edwards.

Is it out of line for a former vice president to toughly criticize a new president of a different party? Well, if you’re Al Gore criticizing Bush, you’re just being patriotic and expressing the frustrations of millions of Americans. If you’re Dick Cheney criticizing Obama, you’re deliberately weakening a new president and endangering national security.

Have you noticed that when Republicans are in power, there are lots of news stories about the homeless? But these stories dry up when a Democrat is president. It’s certainly not because homelessness ceases to be a problem; if anything, based on the increasing number of panhandlers I’ve seen recently, it seems to be getting worse. It’s just not deemed newsworthy when a liberal is in charge. Such stories might make the liberal look bad, and we just can’t have that.

Back in 2006, I got a mass mailing from my then-Congressman. In part of his letter, he was bemoaning the increasing price of gas as it was nearing $3 a gallon. Today, I bought some gas for my lawnmower, and I paid $3.059 a gallon. (Interestingly enough, gas prices are one of the few remaining usages of the mill, valued at 1/10th of a cent.) Do you remember the nightly news stories in 2006 about the rising price of gas? Do you remember newspaper articles about hypermiling and avoiding auto use, the vilification of the oil industry, and calls for a “windfall tax” to take away their evil profits? I sure do. But here we are under a Democrat leader, and the news stories about astronomically high gas prices have vanished.

My wife has suggested that Republicans should always be in power, for one simple reason: they keep the media doing its job. When Republicans hold the reins of government, the media carefully scrutinizes everything they do. But when Democrats are in power, the media seems to relax, then becomes lazy and fails to fulfill its Fourth Estate responsibilities. It’s almost as though the reporters’ drive has vanished away, just like those “neutral” news stories.

There is an inherent problem with the concept of passing a bill because it is popular. The problem was brought to my attention again when I was doing some research about how many Americans are dependent on the government and its handouts. (Answer: too damn many – 54% in 2000 and growing since then.) In my searching, I stumbled across a post on ThinkProgress.org about the high support for Obamacare in August, 2009:

New poll finds that 77 percent of Americans still support the public option.

In recent weeks, the fate of the public option in new health care legislation has been uncertain. Yet, while the issue continues to be hotly debated in the halls of Congress, a new poll by Survey USA finds that the idea is as popular as ever amongst the American public:

More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to have a “choice” between a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday.

A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.

The SurveyUSA poll finds similar results to several other polls that also show that the public option is very popular, a fact that some members of Congress consider to be a detriment.

Quick, pass Obamacare! 77% of Americans support it! Well, not so fast. If you live by the poll, what do you do when the polling goes against you? The answer, as evidenced by the way liberals act, is to ignore the polls when they turn unfavorable and press on with the legislation anyway.

I’ve not heard of SurveyUSA before, but I have to discount this poll. Looking at Rasmussen polling from Jun 27, 2009 to Mar 14, 2010, I see only two times when the polling has been favorable for Obamacare: Jun 27-28, 2009 has it 50% for and 45% against Obamacare, and Sep 12-13, 2009 when it was 51% for and 46% against. Of the remaining 37 polling times, one was tied (Sep 11-12, 2009) and the rest opposed to Obamacare. If I compare this to a sport team’s win-loss-tie score, it comes out as 2-36-1. That’s 2 wins, 36 losses, and 1 tie. Pitiful. A coach with that sort of record would get fired. Heck, coaches get fired for performances that rate significantly better than Obamacare. But liberals in power are charging ahead with this legislation.

Why the rush? The people certainly aren’t clamoring for it. Industry isn’t begging for it. Health care in American hasn’t collapsed in the many months since President Obama and fellow Democrats first started claiming it was broken. And history has shown again and again that socializing medicine results in greater expenses and reduced services, so informed Democrats can’t possibly believe this bill will create an improved health care system. So why are they pushing so hard for it that Speaker Pelosi says it is worth losing elections for?

The answer is power. Democrats want to take the business of medicine and bring it under their political control. And when you have no option other than government for your health care, then government can tell you what to do and how to live your life. It’s happened in the UK, and in numerous other countries where medicine has been socialized. Do you really believe that some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. knows better than you how to live your life? And even if you believe he could, do you really think some bureaucrat has the right to make your life choices at all?

Contrary to what the SurveyUSA poll said in August of last year, most Americans are and have been against Obamacare. But if the American people were asked if they would be in favor of government taking more control over their lives, I believe the number supporting government takeover would drop to single digits. If Democrats continue to push for an unpopular health care takeover, then they will pay the price at the poll that matters most: the November 2, 2010 elections.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave herself an “A” for effort, grading her performance in office. In a “This Week” interview, Speaker Pelosi told ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, “I think I get an A for effort. And in the House of Representatives, my mark is the mark of our members. We have passed every piece of legislation that is part of the Obama agenda.”

Asked why nearly 300 bills passed by the House are stalled in the Senate, Pelosi blamed the “delaying tactics of the Republicans in the Senate.” [source]

I can’t answer for you, but I’m guessing the last time I was recognized for my effort and not for my results was probably back in grade school. In the real world that I live in, results matter. I don’t care that the postman has to work through all sorts of weather; I just want my mail. A hungry man doesn’t care that the baker started his day before dawn; he just wants his bread. Olympic judges don’t care how hard the weightlifter works at it; they just want to see the successful clean and jerk.

Isn’t “I tried real hard” almost always followed up with “but I didn’t make it”? Isn’t it just an excuse to explain why the job isn’t done?

But Speaker Pelosi has an answer for that: it’s the evil Republicans who are blocking everything. But that’s just another excuse. Until Senator Scott Brown was sworn in the beginning of February this year, the Democrats had held a 60-seat majority in the Senate. That was sufficient to stop any filibuster attempt by the Republicans. If the Democrats failed to pass anything in the Senate, they failed because they were not united behind the bill. You can’t blame the Republicans when the Democrats could have done it without them.

Well, obviously you can blame the Republicans. Speaker Pelosi gets an A for her efforts to do so.

Phil over at The Clue Batting Cage *plug plug* linked to an online news quiz. It’s short with just a dozen questions by the Pew Research Center, so it shouldn’t take you long.

 

I got a score of 12 out of 12. Does that make me super smart? Heck, no. But I will say that I don’t get my news from either the TV or print. I get my news from the radio and online. Make of that what you will.

12 out of 12

They published a breakdown of the twelve questions that’s worth reading. I found the breakdown of correct answers between Republicans and Democrats to be interesting. (I have blanked out the answers. No peeking.)

Republican/Democrat differences

10 out of 12 questions were answered better by Republicans, and one question was a tie. In only one question did Democrats answer better than Republicans. So if we take this small sampling and project it to the leadership in Washington, which party has a better grasp on reality?

The Democrats are using the phrase often attributed to Queen Victoria, “We are not amused.” What is the cause? A $3 bill that was up for sale at the Evergreen State Fair’s Republican Party booth. Here is part of the report from the local KOMO news:

A $3 bill has both Democrats and Republicans talking.

The controversial bill features Barack Obama wearing a headdress, propelling a widespread myth that he’s Muslim. Some call it a joke, but not everyone’s laughing.

Carol Ronken is, in fact fuming over the bill which she found at the Evergreen State Fair’s Republican Party booth.

“It’s racist. It’s disgusting,” she said.

On the bill the words “da man” are printed under his face, perpetuating the myth. Obama is, in fact, a Christian.

Uh, using “da man” perpetuates the myth that Obama is Muslim? I don’t know who wrote this story on the KOMO staff, but that’s just silly. I also find it silly that Carol Ronken got her undies in a bunch over the bill. How exactly is it racist? It has a picture of Obama on it, but that doesn’t make it racist, or all photos of the Obamessiah would also be racist. Is it the headdress, making a satirical link between the Muslim-born, Muslim-raised, Muslim-taught, but now Christian Obama and Islam that is racist? If that’s it, please explain how Islam has become a race.

But who is this concerned citizen, Carol Ronken? Could she be an impartial observer concerned about the tone in this Presidential race? The article doesn’t identify her party affiliation, but when the article quotes Geri Modrell later on, it clearly identifies her as the Republican county chair. So who is Carol Ronken? The article doesn’t say, but a quick search shows that she is the chair of the Stanwood Democrats. So of course she is upset about someone mocking The One.

Waaah freakin’ waaah.

Come on, folks! Making fun of our political leaders is a long-held tradition. There are plenty of bumper stickers mocking President Bush and other Republicans, and I remember seeing $3 bills for President Clinton and Senator Clinton. Here in the States, we don’t have touch-me-not royals who must never be mocked by the plebes. Instead we have the freedom of speech that allows us, among other things, to make fun of our political leaders–from the noblest to the most infamous.

I see your disgust, Carol Ronken, and I trump it with the First Amendment. Go peddle your imitation of Queen Victoria elsewhere.

Here is some good news from the White House as reported by Bloomberg.com:

President George W. Bush said today he’s lifting a presidential ban on drilling for oil and natural gas on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, setting up a showdown with Congress over a separate ban it put in place in the 1980s.

“Today I’ve taken every step within my power to allow offshore exploration of the OCS,” Bush said in a statement at the White House. “This means the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action by the U.S. Congress.”

Of course, for every action is an equal and opposite political reaction. In this case, Democrat leaders peeing in the good-news punch the President is serving:

Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress rejected the president’s call, saying the move to end the moratorium would have no effect on prices and better options are available.

“If offshore drilling would provide short-term relief at the pump or a long-term strategy for energy independence, it would be worthy of our consideration, regardless of the risks. But most experts, even within the Bush administration, concede it would do neither,” Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement today.

Lifting of the executive ban on offshore drilling won’t have any short-term effect on gas prices as long as liberals continue to stand between America and America’s oil. And as far as thinking long-term is concerned, eventually the sun will burn out, too, but we shouldn’t let that paralyze us from making plans for the future.

I can tell you what would have an effect on oil prices: a two-pronged approach that targets both supply and demand. We need to increase supply by drilling for all the oil and natural gas we can find in the U.S. Every state or federal official who resists drilling for America’s oil is telling you, the American public, that high prices due to politically reduced supply is a good thing. We also need to decrease demand by inventing the technology to free us from the use of oil for fuel. An organized effort on the scale of the Manhattan Project or Apollo Program is what I’d like to see. Every state or federal official who resists promoting technology is telling you, the American public, that high prices due to increased demand is a good thing.

I find it interesting, the awkward position liberal Democrats have placed themselves in today. As the U.S. continues to suffer from the effects of high oil and gas prices, they stand to benefit politically this November. But if they work to help America by reducing the high price of oil and gas by freeing supply and innovating to decrease demand, the praise will go to the sitting President–a Republican. In effect, as America suffers, Democrats benefit. It’s no wonder that they are unwilling to drill for oil anywhere. They know that doing so would improve America’s economic situation, and that would not currently be a benefit to their party.

Rather than pulling together to help America, liberals are more anxious to benefit politically from our pain. So why should we elect people who are more interested in furthering their own political careers than in meeting America’s needs?

UPDATE (7/16/2008 7:53:28 PM): Oil prices have fallen for two days after President Bush’s announcement that he was lifting the executive order banning drilling on the U.S. continental shelf, but all of the articles I have read, like this one in The New York Times, have identified other reasons for the drop.

Concerns about a slowing economy and rising inflation pushed oil prices down sharply for a second day on Wednesday, an unusual dip in the oil price rally that began more than six years ago.

The two-day decline totaled more than $10.50 a barrel, but analysts cautioned that it was still unclear how far prices would fall and that the respite may be temporary.

There have been concerns for a while now, so why the drop yesterday and today? The only specific thing I could point to is President Bush’s executive order. But once the investors realize that the liberals in Congress and the leaders in the states will continue their own drilling ban, the futures price of oil will head back up. Once they realize that the U.S. won’t drill to increase supply, then you will see oil prices head back up, regardless of the state of the U.S. economy and inflation.

Democrats in Congress engaged in an unwitting April Fools prank this April 1st. Some members of Congress summoned the leaders of the five largest oil companies in the U.S. for a nice modern-day inquisition:

Top executives of the five biggest U.S. oil companies were pressed Tuesday to explain the soaring fuel prices amid huge industry profits and why they weren’t investing more to develop renewable energy source such as wind and solar.

The executives, peppered with questions from skeptical lawmakers, said they understood that high energy costs are hurting consumers, but deflected blame, arguing that their profits – $123 billion last year – were in line with other industries.

“On April Fool’s Day, the biggest joke of all is being played on American families by Big Oil,” Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said as his committee began hearing from the oil company executives.

With motorists paying a national average of $3.29 a gallon at the pump and global oil prices remaining above $100 a barrel, the executives were hard pressed by lawmakers to defend their profits.

The first thing I noticed in the article was that every Representative quoted in the article was a Democrat. But that’s not all that surprising, since Democrats in Congress have little to no clue about how the economy works. Let’s tackle the ideas in this article one by one:

“[O]il companies were pressed Tuesday to explain the soaring fuel prices amid huge industry profits”–And why should the oil companies have to explain fuel prices and their industry’s profits to Congress? Oh, right. Members of Congress are being meddlesome busybodies for a grandstanding photo op. “Americans can tell we care about them because we were so mean to the oil businesses” may be applauded by liberals, who believe it is the government’s job to manage a company’s prices and profits. But government control of business is the definition of statism, as illustrated by the statist philosophies of fascism and communism.

“[W]hy they weren’t investing more to develop renewable energy source such as wind and solar”–It is the responsibility of the business itself to determine how it will best invest for its future. Unless you are a fan of big government or a liberal (but I repeat myself) who believes that government should dictate how a business spends its own money, you already understand that. I would have loved to see one of the oil executives ask the Congressmen about why they weren’t spending more of their own salaries on charities and other projects, but that would be just as wrong. After all, your money, whether you are a sanctimonious Democrat or a Big Oil chief, is your money. I have no moral justification allowing me to tell you how to spend your money, and you have no moral justification to tell me how to spend mine.

“[T]heir profits – $123 billion last year – were in line with other industries.”–Oil companies make about 5% profit in bad years, and about 10% profit in the good ones. This puts them in the middle of business profits. Just to compare, the defense industry earned a 6.8% profit in 2007, the oil industry earned 8.4%, and the pharmaceutical industry earned 20.9% profit.

But this talk of rising gas prices and oil company profits ignores the fact that the oil companies don’t set the price of gas. They don’t even set the price of oil. Even OPEC cannot set the price of oil, although they do their best to affect the price. The price of oil is set by the commodities market, but not even arrogant Democrat Congressmen are dumb enough to try to call commodities traders on the carpet.

Here’s the kicker: if the oil companies need to be called on the carpet for their huge profits, then what does about government’s obscene profits from gas taxes? Red Planet has a great cartoon showing the comparison between Exxon’s profit per gallon and the government’s tax on that same gallon. Who is making obscene profits now?

Obscene profits?

If Exxon and the other oil companies are making obscene profits at 10 cents on the gallon, doesn’t that make the government’s profit from that same gallon of gas four times as obscene? Not if you are a liberal Democrat who doesn’t comprehend the free market. To badly paraphrase Benjamin Franklin from 1776, a liberal Democrat has no problem with profit in the first person, such as “my profit.” It’s only in the third person — “their profit” — that they object.

Reread the article, and you will see this attitude evident in the attitudes of Democrat Representatives as they grill the oil executives. Heaven save us from these clueless, grandstanding liberals!

Stephen Green of Vodkapundit is blogging about the Super Tuesday primary results while drinking at Pajamas Media and I surfed in from an Instapundit link. Here’s the paragraph that Green wrote that caught my eye:

Superdelegate Christine Pelosi (daughter of Speaker Nancy) tells Sean Hannity that she’s “torn between my gender and my generation.” Either she’s a perfect example of the identity politics that plague the Democrats, or there’s not one difference between Clinton and Obama important enough to sway Pelosi with substance.

Since I haven’t stated it before, let me do so now for any Democrat who reads my blog.

If you vote for Sen. Obama because he is black, you are racist.

If you vote for Sen. Clinton because she is a woman, you are sexist.

If you vote for either one because of their politics or stated principles, then apparently you are not Christine Pelosi. Frankly, I don’t care about the race, sex, or even looks of any candidate. I care about the candidates’ track records and their stated positions. Since I rarely get my news from the TV and mostly from reading it on the Internet, I am not influenced by the way a candidate looks or, for that matter, sounds. Instead, I’ve been paying much more attention to reading what they say and seeing what they have done.

And in my mind’s eye, what the candidates say and do is waaaaay more important than their sex or race.

I noticed a headline on the Drudge Report today that said the presidential debate audience is fading away. I’m not surprised. I have not watched a single debate so far, and I don’t think this will change as we get closer to the November 2008 elections. My apathy doesn’t come from a general disinterest in politics, but from the lack of debate in the debates. The questions are mostly insipid, and the 30-90 seconds allotted each person for a response gives us meaningless sound bites and mumbles.

When Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated during 1858, they met seven times and spoke for three hours each. The first speaker spoke for 60 minutes, the other spoke for 90 minutes, and the first then finished up with a final 30-minute address, with Douglas and Lincoln alternating for the first speaker slot. While they were speaking, reporters transcribed the addresses in full and published them in newspapers for people to read. These debates weren’t even for the presidency — they were for a Senate seat. When I look at the debates between Douglas and Lincoln, I have to laugh at what passes for a “debate” nowadays.

I can’t help but believe that our society just doesn’t have the patience for long debates anymore, based on the crappy formats we have now. How can politicians fully discuss a complex issue or stance when there are only seconds to debate it? The simple answer is that they can’t. We end up with short sound bites, sniping remarks, and politicians ignoring the question they were asked in favor of answering another question of their own choosing.

I also can’t get all that excited about a presidential election that is still more than a year away, especially when none of the current presidential hopefuls excite me much. Is it any wonder that people don’t care much about meaningless debates between third- and fourth-string candidates so early in an election cycle?

The surge of troops in Iraq has been fully staffed, and Congress will get a report in September about the result of this troop surge. But Democrats in Congress are not willing to wait until September. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has three times said that we have lost in Iraq, and Democrats as a party have embraced defeat in Iraq. But rarely do Democrats stand up and so clearly state the truth that Democrats have wedded themselves to failure in Iraq. But Rep. James Clyburn, House Majority Whip, has said exactly that, as reported in a Washington Post report.

Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be “a real big problem for us.”

Did you catch that? Positive news in Iraq would be a real big problem for Democrats. I’ll state it again: America winning in Iraq is a real big problem for Democrats. And one last time: America winning is a problem for Democrats.

Do you understand now why Democrats scream when people question their patriotism? They scream because it is a question that cuts them to the quick.