Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan’

IRS Scandal Follow-up: The Show Must Go On

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

…But nobody actually asked Koskinen about the Sonasoft contract. Wonder why?

On Saturday, it was revealed that the IRS has been contracting with Sonasoft for the back-up of emails since 2005, and indeed, looking at Sonasoft’s clients list, listed there is the Internal Revenue Service.  Adding to my list of things about which the Republicans should seek testimony (if they’re serious,) the specific details of the performance requirements of this contract must now be considered.  Undoubtedly, in soliciting bids for back-ups, there must have been a policy for back-ups the bidder must have been prepared to fulfill.  These details would have been dominated by a records retention schedule that would have been designed to comply with statutory minimums. In any event, such a contract would have been carefully vetted for specific performance requirements, the methodology by which performance could be verified, and the chain of responsibility for those on the government side of the contract to make sure performance was fulfilled, or to seek remediation if the requirements were not met.  There would be a schedule of audits of the performance, and there should be no excuse for pretending somebody hadn’t known their specific duties, on either side of the contract. Here’s the point: We very likely have an organized criminal conspiracy, and if the Republicans don’t begin to immediately turn over rocks to find the culprits, the evidence will be destroyed, but that may be precisely what the GOP leadership wants.

People continue to question whether I’ve entered the realm of “tinfoil-hat-wearing” conspiracy kooks, because I doubt the seriousness of the intent of the House Republican leadership in pursuing this scandal.  After all, they ask, why would the Republicans seek to cover the scandal?  Let’s be blunt, shall we?  As long as this scandal has been going on without serious investigation, how much evidence has been destroyed in the interim?  It is true that if there is a cover-up, there will always be some evidence of that, because it’s impossible to completely cover the tracks of what has been done.  Permitting a delay of the investigation would allow the culprits to destroy the evidence so that any crimes perpetrated in the original scandal would be hard to substantiate to the satisfaction of a jury, or an impeachment proceeding, even if the evidence of a cover-up would be harder to conceal.  In the end, however, let us imagine that there had been a few Republicans who had wanted to hammer the TEA Party, like John Boehner, or Mitch McConnell.  They’ve said as much in open contempt for the TEA Party.  By permitting the administration and its lackeys to destroy evidence, the evidence of their own complicity would be hidden too, and all that would remain are the allegations and evidence of a cover-up of something, in which the Republican leadership would not be implicated.  After all, they’ve been conducting an investigation, right?

If this sounds too conspiratorial to you, consider that these are the same people who invented voting for a thing before voting against it.  John Cornyn had no problem voting for cloture on the Senate Amnesty bill last year before coming home to Texas to tell voters he had voted against the final bill, which he had.  He repeated the procedure at the time of the government shutdown last October, again voting to bring the bill for a vote, so that he could vote against it thereby claiming “conservative credentials” all the while have enabled the bill to see the light of day in the first place.  They bank on we voters remaining largely ignorant of their scandalous manipulations, so that a less-than-vigorous investigation wouldn’t provide much of a surprise. By the way, and by way of evidence of the establishment’s thesis in operation, John Cornyn won his primary by pretending to be a conservative while relying on the longterm detachment and ignorance of voters.  Still, roughly forty percent of the Republican electorate in Texas was able to see through his nonsense, but not enough to replace him as our Senator.

My point to you is this: It may be too late to salvage the data, because this has been left withering on the vine for much too long.  The list of particulars I provided yesterday should have been exercised more than two years ago, and it should have been done with vigor.  If there is no active complicity by Republican leadership, there is at least gross incompetence verging on the criminally negligent.  Are we to believe that none of the people in leadership had any idea, and that none of their staff had any idea how to approach such a scandal?  Are we to believe they had no access to any person with sufficient technical understanding who would have apprised them of the sort of things that would need to have been done to “disappear” such data?  Are we to believe that those who were conducting the preliminary investigations on behalf of House committees could not imagine to immediately contact people specializing in data recovery?  Why has it taken until yesterday to discover that the IRS had contracted with Sonasoft?  What were these investigators investigating?  Didn’t they look at the IT expenditures and contracts of the IRS for clues?  You see, once you consider all of this, it’s easier to understand how an observer could reasonably conclude that the Republicans didn’t want to investigate, and having been forced into it by public pressure, have done a half-hearted job of it.

How can we be nearly three years into this investigation, and we’re only now finding there had been a back-up company contracted?  I will not be surprised to learn that the IRS contract with Sonasoft required them to hold emails for a period of only three years, so that by now, Lois Lerner’s emails have fallen off the archive due to age.  A serious investigation would have immediately discovered the existence of a contract with Sonasoft, and those records could have been pulled three years ago.  What will we get as a result?  At best, some underlings who were a part of the cover-up will be burned, but the chain of command to the top will be obfuscated, and then we will get some dog-and-pony IRS Reform bill that will require the agency from this date forward to maintain all emails for ten years, or some such thing.  Then it will all go away, and the original participants in the scandal of targeting TEA Party groups and their members will be forgotten, and life will go on in Washington DC, with we being the only victims, now poorer and less free, and deprived of justice.

The questions I’ve posed over the last thirty-six hours are the sort I would expect of a serious investigation.  To date, we’ve had a lot of finger-waggling by Republicans asking questions of witnesses, but we’ve gotten no meat from these bones.  Certainly, it does not help that we have a Department of Justice that is led by a crook and crony, and it does not help that the media covers everything up on behalf of this administration, but if the Republicans had been serious about getting to the bottom of this scandal, they would have taken significantly more exhaustive steps by now, but to date, all they’ve done is generate ominous soundbites that tend to feed the red-meat aspects of politics, yet have resulted in no arrests, no indictments, and no justice.  In three years?  This scandal is well on its way to becoming a cold case, and that’s just how Washington DC likes it.

Update: The Daily Caller reports that the IRS cancelled its Sonasoft contract only weeks after Lois Lerner’s hard-drive “crash.”

John Boehner’s Dog and Pony Show

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

On Friday, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives continued its wholly political, and ultimately theatrical investigation of the IRS Tea Party-targeting scandal.  Chairman Dave Camp’s(R-MI) committee brought current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen before the committee to testify as to the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails, among other misdeeds.  You may argue that Paul Ryan(R-WI) was very aggressive in his examination of the witness, but that entire exchange was mere political theater that will evince nothing at the end of the investigation.  Had the Republicans in Congress the first inclination to get to the bottom of this scandal, they would begin by taking the following series of steps:

  1.  Bring before the committee the entire IT staff that supports the IRS, particularly its executives.
  2. Audit the purchase records and replacement schedule of equipment used to support Lois Lerner’s computer usage. Congress should want to know how old her computer had been when the hard disk “died.”
  3. Require IT staff managers to testify as to the method of email archiving, email storage, email backups, and the entire email system used by the IRS.
  4. Seek a federal court order requiring the production of all existing equipment that is currently, or has ever been in use by the IRS in storing email,over the period of the last six years, including particularly SAN devices and servers.
  5. Seek a federal court order requiring the immediate production of all backup media on which IRS files and email may have been copied.
  6. Form a select committee with broad investigatory powers to pursue the entirety of this affair, particularly with an eye toward fraud, destruction of government records and data, as well as political influences brought to bear on the IRS from any branch of government or outside interest groups.
  7. Bring in experts to audit access records for servers and storage devices to discover when anybody interacted with the equipment in question. These devices and servers maintain extensive logs of the commands issued from administrators. Knowing who did what will be a key to cracking this case. The government may well have logging servers to which all events are reported.

For those of you who are less than technically inclined, I will be glad to explain to you why this whole “lost hard drive” claim is a dodge, and for those who may have less than a strong understanding of the politics, I’ll be glad to explain to you how I know the Republicans are playing a game for show, but do not want the truth to come out.

As an information systems professional, who works with storage systems, backup systems, networks, servers, and workstations every day, and who works with the applications and databases which is the purpose of all of that lovely, grotesquely expensive equipment, let me tell you a few things you won’t read in the media.  You might even take a moment to learn a bit more about your own computer.

First, the email system the IRS uses is almost certainly an IMAP or MAPI variant.  This means that on the most basic level, emails are not stored on the client, except as a temporarily cached copy.  Deleting it may cause the email to appear deleted for that user, but the mail archiving functionality will maintain a copy for a period as prescribed by policy, usually determined in applicable statutes and regulations. Most corporate and government environments will not even permit users to store mail in local folders(email folders solely on your local computer) unless they are first archived in the email archiving system, which is generally part of the same overall system. Nevertheless, examining the event viewer in Windows will offer some insight into what may or may not have been done on a given workstation or server. Linux and other operating systems have similar logging facilities.  (If you have Windows, you can get an idea by going to your Control Panel, then to Administrative Tools, and Event Viewer. You will be surprised what you can learn about your computer’s routine operations.)

In the second place, the number of servers used for an email system to support an organization the size of the IRS must be quite large.  It undoubtedly consists of multiple servers, at multiple server farms, in a redundant scheme of some sort intended to prevent the loss of data.  You, the taxpayer, has spent billions upon billions since the advent of email to provide these facilities for our federal bureaucracy.

Third, since email storage in such an environment is bound to be monumental in scale, there are undoubtedly many storage blades of some form, probably Storage Area Networks(SANs) to handle the storage needs of the mail system servers.  These are also geographically dispersed for reasons of data security, and what you should know about these technologies is that if your Storage Administrators are doing their jobs, there is virtually no credible fashion in which data of this sort could be lost simply because somebody’s office computer’s hard disk died.

To put it in context, consider one of the leading manufacturer’s systems.  Called an ISE2, it’s made by X-IO and it can contain two datapacs that contain what are essentially a stack of hard disks that are effectively “self-healing,” and in common usage, contain more than fourteen terabytes of data in each datapac.  By design, such a device already creates a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks(RAID) by virtue of its design, permitting the administrator to choose either RAID 1(mirroring) or RAID 5(a form of quasi-mirroring).  The way these devices are used is to create storage volumes in the datapacs and attach those volumes to servers.  They can be swapped in and out, and they can be mirrored as individual entities across other devices.  The servers in question see these volumes as hard-drives, and in effect, they function in precisely that manner.    I would be stunned to find that the US Federal government is not using such an arrangement, whomever the vendor, and there are many.  Chances are high that wherever the server farm is that operates the IRS email system, there are likely to be many SAN units, or other storage containers that have similar functionality.

Putting of all of this into simplest terms, the series of failures that would be required to disappear Lois Lerner’s emails, along with those of six other IRS executives, is an astonishing string of virtual impossibilities and displays of incompetence and malfeasance that should result in the ouster of every IT manager supporting the IRS.  It’s not that I don’t believe there are incompetents working in government, or that I don’t believe there are some slothful folk administering systems for the IRS, but that the totality of this loss of data represents a complete failure at virtually every level and every step of the organization.  Even in a clunky, bureaucratic, top-heavy organization like the IRS, there are still some competent people who keep it working despite all the obstacles placed in their way. The manner in which their storage systems and server farms are designed tends to preclude the chance that something so seemingly innocuous as the loss of one person’s email(or seven) is even a remote possibility.

Knowing how such systems work, and knowing that the government spends more money on the core computing technology than any entity on the planet, their claim to have lost the email due to a hard drive failure on a client machine is an absolute farce.  To claim even that no data was recoverable on that hard drive is pretty hard to believe too, since I’ve seen data recovered from hard disks that have been in computers essentially destroyed by fires.  In fact, given the nature of the data I have handled over the course of my computing career, it is common that when a computer reaches the end of its service life, organizations resell the computers but strip the hard drives out of them for mechanical destruction so that no data may be recovered from them. (In many cases, this involves drilling holes through the platters, using a cutting torch, or other methodology designed to destroy the actual storage media in the drive, which is generally very hard metal platters.)

All of that doesn’t matter in the least, however, as the servers and archive servers and storage devices in the systems are apt to have contained one or more(probably many more) copies of the target emails. Then there are backup tapes or other backup devices. No, ladies and gentlemen, if the administration’s hacks like Mr. Koskinen come forward to tell you in smug tones that the data was irretrievably lost, they are lying.  It may have been irretrievably destroyed, but that would require a conspiracy because no one computer technician could possibly have access to all the relevant systems in an organization so large.

The technician who was responsible for maintaining and repairing Lois Lerner’s computer is not the same technician who administers the email system.  That administrator is not the same person who operates and maintains the bulk data storage containers, nor is that the same person who operates all backups and certainly not the same person who maintains and administers the network on which all of this computing takes place.  It’s not plausible in an organization the size of the IRS.  In many cases, data is duplicated and moved off-site for disaster recovery purposes.  No, if this data is unrecoverable, it is because it was ordered to be placed in that state.  Knowing this, and knowing what would be entailed in literally destroying any trace of these emails, I can only conclude that this administration is lying, and is an active participant in a criminal conspiracy and cover-up of crimes that would tend to place Lerner and her superiors in jeopardy of long jail terms, and this president in the direct path of impeachment proceedings.

At the beginning of this article, I explained to you that I believed that the claim about the emails being “lost” is nonsense, and a lie.  I hope I’ve managed to illuminate a few of the reasons why you should not believe such claims, but I also contended that you should not believe that the Republicans are very serious about uncovering the truth, despite their harrumphing to the contrary.   You see, if the Republicans in Congress were serious about all of this, they would issue subpoenas to the entire IT staff.  They would drag them in, one at a time, starting at the top, and working their way down to the lowest technician.  They would have questions, specific technical questions, prepared for them by people like me, or actually those rare birds who designed such systems, and they would begin the grilling.  Under oath.  Somebody would crack.  A lie of this sort cannot be hidden if there is a consistent and tireless effort to uncover it.

The problem may be that to uncover Lois Lerner’s email would reveal something no Representative in that committee hearing room wants you to know:  Lerner may have been receiving emails from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill urging audits and investigations into Tea Party groups.  The IRS was used in this instance to quell a peaceful, political uprising by making the formation of a group so painful and problematic as to frustrate into capitulation all but the most insistent and persistent persons.  The Republicans tried first to co-opt the Tea Party phenomenon, making it their own, but when they found they were unable to control the myriad of organizations springing to life around the country, their next motive was to destroy it because they posed a serious challenge to the orthodoxy of establishment power in Washington DC.  Most Republicans in Washington DC want the Tea Party buried, some of them more fervently even than the Democrats.

If the Republicans in the House cannot muster a select committee to look into this and other matters of extreme government corruption, it is only because they do no want the truth discovered.  If they will not bring an endless string of witnesses to testify as to their role in the email “losses” and the system design of the email and data facilities of the IRS, then they don’t want an answer.  Paul Ryan and others can put on one Hell of a show in the committee room, but the truth is that saying “I don’t believe you” in an exchange with an IRS commissioner isn’t going to turn over many stones.  If you want the truth, you bring in the subject matter experts and responsible parties, and you grill them and continue to remind them of their oaths.  At some point, some junior flunky intern who was told to ditch a hard disk in the Potomac is going to squeal, because he doesn’t want to go to prison.  Then you bring back the person who gave him that order, and then the person who issued that order from higher on the food chain.   Work your way down to get them on the record, until somebody cracks, and then work your way back up, exposing lies until the scheme is revealed in full.

If the Congress won’t do this, they’re not serious about the matter.  It suggests strongly that they don’t want the truth revealed any more than the administration.  There are plenty of smart people on Capitol Hill, and they have plenty of contacts who understand such systems and could provide technical advice both in the formation of questions and in the manner by which to challenge the credibility of the answers.  Those behind this atrocious abuse of government power must be held accountable and jailed for their crimes.  Make no mistake about it: Grievous crimes were committed both as a part of the targeting, as well as during this extended cover-up.  If the Republicans now fail to uncover those crimes and see this investigatory process through to a just ending, you can be sure that they hadn’t wanted the truth to be discovered, because their fingerprints are all over this too.

 

 

 

Confronting Our Worst Fears About the GOP

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Peas in a Pod

It should come as no surprise to conservatives that we’re being shafted on virtually every issue by some gang-of-eight or other assembly of Republicans who simply will not stand up to the Democrats.  Normally, I don’t spend much time guessing at their motives, instead tending to examine the results of their positions. I don’t necessarily assume that our GOP establishment opponents are evil, but merely misguided.  This view has been changing, because the more closely I examine their positions, the more baffled I become by any logical standard of measurement.  The problem is that discovering their motive has become increasingly important to the prospect of defeating them.  If we understood what it is that they’re after, we might find it somewhat easier to beat them or make them irrelevant. Sadly, I have begun to conclude that my worst fears may be true.  The GOP’s establishment wing clearly runs the show, leading us to perpetual defeat. It is time to ask ourselves why by considering the issues on which they’ve abandoned conservatism.

My first question must go to folks like Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan(R-WI) on the issue of immigration reform: “Are you stupid?” I know this will seem a bit blunt to some people, but it’s a sincere question.  The Senate Gang-of-Tr8ors bill offers to create between twelve and thirty million new citizens over the coming decade.  We already know that the overwhelming majority of them will be Latinos of Mexican origin, and that their tendency is to vote for the Democrats by a seven-to-two ratio or worse, once they become eligible.  What sort of complete and utter moron must one be to believe this could in any way redound to the benefit of the Republican party, conservatism, or even our nation’s future?  Given the stance of Ryan and his cohorts, we are left to conclude that there can be only two things driving their position.  Either they are among the most pathetically irrational and moronic persons, or they must know what will happen and wish to gain that result.  There are no alternatives.

On the issue of the budget, the establishment Republicans insist that we must support Paul Ryan’s pathetic, tinkering attempt at reform, even though it establishes no concrete foundation of reform, instead promising to reduce the rate of growth of the deficit, but not arresting it entirely, never mind addressing the mounting debt.  More, when you call members of the House or Senate to demand an explanation as to how the official National Debt count has been stuck for two months running, despite the fact that the government is taking on more debt, none of the Republican members seem all too interested in finding an explanation.  Once again, we are confronted with the question: Are these people simply oblivious?  Why aren’t they screaming at the top of their lungs? Here you have an administration that is exceeding the statutory debt limit by billions of dollars, and in order to disguise it, they’ve stopped the debt clock. Other than the frozen clock, they’ve continued business as usual.  What good is a sequestration of funds?  What good is a debt limit fight if the guys who must engage have already surrendered?  Do you believe for one moment that Paul Ryan or the rest of the RINO phalanx in Washington DC is unaware?  Do you believe they are so incompetent as to miss the significance of these Treasury Department actions?  It is either true that they are so incompetent that we must for the good of the nation replace them, or they are willing to let Obama do what he’s doing, in which case we must be rid of them for the same reason.

I have said many times that it doesn’t really matter whether they’re simply foolish or guilty of collusion, but I’ve come to change my view on this.  One can’t forgive negligence born of incompetence, but one must punish willful misdeeds more harshly as a warning to other would-be scoff-laws.  It’s a matter of intent.  Are the establishment Republicans in Washington DC, under the “leadership” of John Boehner(R-OH,) Mitch McConnell(R-OH,) and all the other big-government Republicans simply guilty of foolishness and incompetence, or is their behavior evidence of malice?  This is the ugly question we must ask ourselves, because we may choose one or the other alternative postulate, but never both.

It’s now clear to me that the Republican party as expressed by its “leaders” in Washington DC is in open collusion with the Democrats and President Obama.  There is no other way to explain their willingness to go along, knowing what the results will be.  On Benghazi, they help the Democrats obfuscate, and on the IRS scandal, they gum up the works, but on legislative matters of significance, they are lending an assist to Democrats: On immigration, the budget and debt ceiling, the funding of Obama-care, and a range of somewhat less significant issues at the moment, they are not merely capitulating, but assisting the Democrats.  They must be either the largest collection of stupid people in any government on the planet, or they intend the results their efforts are obtaining.  It cannot be both.

A conservative must now ask with pointed clarity: Does it matter if John Boehner or some lunatic Democrat wins his seat in 2014?  Does it matter in the least if Lamar Alexander or some Tennessee Democrat wins that Senate seat in 2014?  The answer is yes:  The prospective Democrat in either case is at least being honest about his or her  intentions, in the main, at least to the degree that by running as Democrats, we voters may make an accurate guess about what sort of legislation will result.  This cannot be said of the RINOs in the GOP.  By running as Republicans, there has been at least the implicit idea that such candidates will oppose statism, but that simply hasn’t been the case. If ever there had been a time in American history when the willingness of voters to be true to themselves was the most critical aspect of their political activism and engagement, now must be that time.  We must admit in the open what we have long suspected: The establishment wing of the GOP consists of traitors to every value and ideal we hold sacred, because they are in open collusion with those who are actively seeking the destruction of our country.

Make no mistake about it: They want the destruction too.

 

 

Boehner Calls Conservatives “Knuckle-Draggers”

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Knuckle-Draggers Oppose TARP

Speaker of the House John Boehner(RINO-Ohio,) has never appreciated conservatives.  In point of fact, he’s the most anti-conservative Republican currently serving on Capitol Hill, and it’s disgusting to see this man continue to defame and denigrate conservatives and conservatism.  In an interview “On the Record” with Greta Van Susteren, Boehner reveals his true feeling about conservatives.  Watch Speaker “Born-in-a-Bar” as he explains to Greta why Paul Ryan is a “practical conservative,” but he’s not a “Knuckle-Dragger,” because he voted for TARP.   In John Boehner’s world, “practical” translates into “go-along-to-get-along.”  I guess this tells us what he thinks of all of those who opposed TARP:

Great! It’s not bad enough that the left refers to staunch conservatives in such terms, but now we know how the highest ranking Republican now serving in the Federal Government views us.  “Knuckle-dragger?”  This guy has been sabotaging conservatives since he became Speaker of the House.  I think he should caucus with the Democrats, at least for the sake of philosophical consistency.  He’s apparently moving from the fifth column over into the fourth, as he continues to spit in the faces of conservatives.

The only good news to come out of this interview was that at least Boehner didn’t cry about it.

Disgusting.  Can we please have new leadership in the House?  Some leadership?  Any leadership?  Allen West(R-FL) won his primary yesterday.  What are his plans for the next two years if he is able to win his seat in November? “Speaker West?” That has a nice ring to it.

John Boehner should go home to Ohio and stay there.  In my view, this is the kind of alleged “leadership” the Republicans do not need.  He’s not conservative, and while we’ve known that for some time, this is the first instance in some time through which Boehner has made clear his feelings on grass-roots, Tea Party conservatives.

I’m sick of seeing this jack-ass and his tough talk for conservatives while crying over changes in wind speed and direction on Capitol Hill.   Maybe Boehner can tell we “knuckle-draggers” what TARP did for the country, apart from creating a big slush fund from which the Party of Washington bailed out all its friends.  If ever there had been a cause for crying, the day this guy was elected speaker, we should have bawled like babies.

You have to admire his approach to “party unity,” don’t you?

Confessions of an Electorate: When VP Picks Matter

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

When VP Picks Matter

In 1980, Ronald Reagan selected George H.W. Bush as his running mate.  The electorate yawned.  In 1988, George H.W. Bush selected Dan Quayle as his running mate.  Again, the electorate was unmoved.  In 2000, when George W. Bush selected Dick Cheney as his running mate, there was some discussion about the importance of Cheney, but most shrugged and went on.  In 1996, and again in 2008, but also now in 2012, everybody was really excited about the running mate selections.  In 1996, Bob Dole’s pick of Jack Kemp was going to rescue the Kansas Senator’s campaign.  In 2008, John McCain wisely chose a woman who had the ability to move the base, though his own staff seemed to sabotage him.  This bit of historical truth should be considered carefully as the Republican party faithful prepare to descend on Tampa for their Presidential nominating convention.  In 2012, Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan in an attempt to ignite the base, but I’d like you to consider the nature of the picks and their relative importance to their respective campaigns, and what they confess to the electorate about their candidates:  Only when the party’s nominee is a weak candidate does the Vice Presidential pick matter much at all.

The elder Bush could have won having picked Mickey Mouse when running against Michael Dukakis in 1988, and Ronald Reagan could have picked Caspar Milquetoast in 1980(and in fact, some say he did.)  The salient point to take away from the excitement about the Vice Presidential pick by Mitt Romney isn’t that he chose Paul Ryan, so much as it is the fact that it matters who he picked.  Think about it:  Vice Presidential picks only matter when the Presidential candidate is desperately weak.  It’s why Biden doesn’t matter.  What this entire episode should tell you is what most conservatives will have known already:  Just as in 2008, we have a weak presidential candidate, and the importance of the Vice Presidential pick has grown only by way of compensation.

Consider the pressure brought to bear on Sarah Palin in 2008.  She had the unenviable chore of trying to excite a base that was mostly disgusted with John McCain.  The truth of the matter is that without Gov. Palin on the ticket, McCain would have lost by larger margins.  His own campaign’s staff, primarily Steve Schmidt, concocted a notion to suspend the campaign to deal with the financial crisis.  This action sank McCain, but Palin, being the fighter and champion of all things America refused to yield and almost rescued McCain from his own staff.  Almost.  The problem is that Sarah Palin shouldn’t have mattered so much.  The only reason she did is because McCain himself was such a terrible candidate.  There will be those who become angered with me for stating it this bluntly, but if Sarah Palin mattered so much, it meant also that McCain himself mattered too little.

Observe the hysteria of Saturday morning after it went out via the Romney-app that Paul Ryan would be the pick.  Consider that there had been such an application for smart-phones at all.  What does this tell you about the relative importance of the Romney VP pick?  It was crucial.  It’s Romney’s last big push to bring resistant conservatives along, and this matters.  It doesn’t matter, however, because it’s a good choice or bad choice, but only because the fact that it matters at all reflects the weakness of the top of the ticket.  I would ask my conservative and Republican friends, preparing to head to Tampa, Florida in body or spirit for the RNC convention:  If the VP pick matters this much, isn’t there still time to pick a new ticket?  The truth is that there is time, but the problem is that few will think outside of the box Romney has constructed for them.  Most will accept this Vice Presidential pick with unthinking adulation, but we conservatives really must elevate our game if we are going to rescue the country.

The importance of the VP selection in some elections signifies a sort of confession, not only by the campaign, but also by the electorate, about their general assessment of the candidate in question.  Mitt Romney’s VP pick matters only because there are so many lingering, long-held doubts about Romney himself.  The same was true of McCain in 2008, and we shouldn’t expect a different result.  When you consider the Republican presidential nominees of the last thirty-two years, the only time a Vice Presidential pick mattered to any great degree had been instances when the party’s nominee was desperately weak vis-à-vis the competition.  In each of those cases, Republicans lost the election.  In 2000, when Cheney had mattered more than a little, and Lieberman had mattered also, it was predictable that we would see a campaign fought out between two inferior candidates, with the victor being the candidate whose VP pick mattered least.  Advantage Bush.

This should give conservatives and Republicans a moment of pause.  History’s formula is clear:  If the VP pick matters, it is only because the Presidential nominee is weak, and weak nominees generally beget defeat.  Jack Kemp was a great guy, and Sarah Palin really is a phenomenon, and Paul Ryan seems to be a decent politician, so this isn’t really about them, as the bottom of their respective tickets.  It’s about the top of the ticket, and the problem is the same in all three cases.  When there comes to be this much focus on who the Vice Presidential candidate will be, it is as good as a confession by the campaign and also by the electorate on the weakness of the top of the ticket.  Republicans may go to Tampa with their heads in the clouds if they like, buoyed by the selection of Paul Ryan, but if you’re serious about winning, you’ll take the time to confess at least to yourself what all of this chatter of the importance of the VP pick really means.  It isn’t good.

 

Poor Paul Ryan…

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Mitt Keeps Tight Grip

Mitt Romney has announced his running mate, selecting seven-term Congressman Paul Ryan(R-WI) to fill the post. While I like Paul Ryan, I don’t think this choice will change the trajectory of this campaign, and like Sarah Palin in 2008, he may be the campaign’s biggest individual victim. Ryan has been inside Washington DC for nearly two decades now, a creature of the establishment who has worked for various well-known figures including Jack Kemp, William Bennett, Sam Brownback and others before kicking off his Congressional career.  Ryan is a technocrat in some respects, and while he is modestly conservative, his conservatism seems focused in the fiscal arena.  He’s been depicted by Democrats in television ads as the guy who pushed Grandma (in a wheelchair, no less) over a cliff.  What does he bring to the ticket?  Is Paul Ryan enough to save Romney from himself and a heretofore inept campaign?  Paul Ryan may be a nice guy, but is that enough in the face of a relentless attack the likes of which the Obama campaign is launching as I write?  I have my doubts, because running mates can’t overcome the inherent shortcomings of the top of the ticket, as the selection of Palin in 2008 proved, since even her talent wasn’t enough to overcome terrible advisers.  Can Ryan avoid the same fate?

Some might argue that what Ryan brings to the ticket is youth but also reliability.  After all, the seven-term Congressman has been toiling on budgetary matters for most of his career, and in the last number of years, he’s been focused on entitlements as the single largest factor in our continued deficits, and the consequent explosion in our national debt.  He was a fierce critic of Obama-care, laying out all of the ways in which it would explode our deficit, costing far more than promised by President Obama.  His willingness to tackle the entitlements issue when others ran for the tall grass earns him a gold star, and everybody should see this video of Ryan facing off with the President, explaining that hiding costs doesn’t reduce spending:

Romney is looking for a safe pick.  He wants a running mate who won’t embarrass him, but of course, Gov. Romney does enough of that on his own.  While in Norfolk,VA to officially launch his campaign, introducing Paul Ryan, Romney introduced Ryan as the “Next President of the United States…”  (We should be so lucky.)

Romney wanted a safe pick, and he got one.  Ryan is safe in every way an establishment Republican thinks is safe, but he isn’t a particularly charismatic or inspiring fellow.  He certainly seems like a nice enough fellow, but historical Republican losing tickets are littered with nice guys as running mates.  Dan Quayle is a nice guy.  Jack Kemp was a really nice guy.  What Romney’s ticket had needed was a bit more than a nice guy, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Paul Ryan except that he will not provide the boost Romney’s campaign needs.

Naturally, the Democrats were right out of the box with attacks on Ryan’s foreign policy experience, and true to form, Romney’s team countered with perhaps the most pathetic response ever:

“The ticket is no different than Obama and Biden.”

In the end, this may be why I agree with Mr. L on the 2012 election:

If the Romney campaign is going to defend Ryan’s lack of military and foreign policy experience on this basis, they’re going to lose. Who is running the Romney campaign?  To me, it looks like a re-run of 2008, with the weakest possible nominee, and a rising conservative lion in the role of sacrificial lamb.

I like Paul Ryan, and in fact, I like him too well to see him sacrificed on the altar of another losing campaign.  Just as Sarah Palin was sliced and diced by a dishonest press working on behalf of a desperate Obama campaign in 2008, I think we’re going to see the same thing in 2012 with Paul Ryan, although I doubt they could match their venom of 2008.  Why is it that for the second presidential campaign in succession, I have the distinct feeling that the Republican ticket should be flipped?

Of course, there’s one inescapable conclusion to be drawn from all of this, and it references those who Gov. Palin might consider part of the “permanent political class” of Washington DC, who move from campaign to campaign, party to party, back and forth and around again: It seems the same bunch is running the show in 2012 for the Republicans.  I noticed Elliot Abrams, who wrote a disgusting anti-Gingrich screed earlier this year was briefing Paul Ryan on foreign policy.  I noticed Andrea Saul, who worked for McCain in 2008, is doing Romney no favors in 2012.  It seems like the Romney campaign has hired many of the same faces who have remained behind the scenes, infecting Washington DC for a generation, and they all have something in common:  They know how to fight against conservatives, but they seem less than sincere in their fight against leftists.  One can only imagine why.

 Note to regular readers: Thank you for your prayers and get-well wishes as I’ve been recovering from an eye injury.  It’s still pretty sore, but on the mend. Thank you!

The Insufferable GOP Establishment Is Now Whining

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The Establishment Fears You

An article appeared in the Tampa Bay Times that should strengthen your resolve and hearten your efforts to defeat the Romney machine.  It’s titled Analysis of Rubio-Bush-Ryan Plan to Stop Rick Santorum,  and if ever you wanted to know what it looks like when the GOP establishment crowd is made to sweat, this is it.  The author, Marc Caputo, fairly gushes over the three well-known GOP politicians Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Paul Ryan.  When an article starts out this way, you have to know that it’s a real sob story:

Marco Rubio sounds worried. So do Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan.

Their candidate, Mitt Romney, is losing to President Barack Obama. The GOP primary is becoming “counterproductive.”

The assumptions made here are sickening.  First, there is the entitlement mentality, that suggests these guys have some right to expect their candidate to be the nominee.  What they know is what you should already know:  Romney’s presumed nomination is in trouble, as they’ve looked at the numbers and realize that 1144 delegates could be out of reach if Rick Santorum can make it through the month of April and into May.  The article acknowledges what I’ve been reporting about a potential brokered convention too:

“They are saying the only way they can win this race is by having a floor fight in Tampa in August,” Sen. Rubio said Wednesday of the “recipe for disaster” on Fox News. “I think that’s a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama. And our country — forget about the Republican Party — our country cannot afford that.”

Senator Rubio is simply wrong. A floor fight isn’t a recipe for disaster unless you’re a Romney supporter.  They way the establishment has controlled, manipulated, and rigged this process is a disaster for the country.  A real recipe for disaster in November would be for Mitt Romney to lose the election because he is incapable of positioning himself to defeat Barack Obama in any argument in a general election.

Predictably, this is where the article turns its attacks on Santorum, prefacing the assault this way:

“It’s as if Obama’s campaign is writing Santorum’s attack lines about how Romney is virtually indistinguishable from the president.”

Really? It’s as if a DNC ad-man wrote the article.  Media bias is what it is, but I have tired of people purporting to be part of News organizations, posing as journalists of some sort who make statements like this:

“If Romney loses Florida, he probably loses the election. If Santorum stays in and wins the huge Texas primary May 29, it’ll continue to make Romney look uninspiring and like the weakest of frontrunners.”

Note to Mr. Caputo:  Mitt Romney is uninspiring.  He is the weakest of front-runners. He won’t win Texas.  Of course, the absolutely most laughable part of this whining, pathetic plea is this:

“Santorum and Gingrich bear some responsibility for Romney’s problems. So does gaffe-prone Romney. Also, this poll and others indicate that the GOP’s stances on contraception and abortion have hurt the party’s brand among women and independent voters. The improving economy has worked against Romney and in Obama’s favor as well.”

It’s Santorum and Gingrich who are to blame for Romney’s inadequacies?  Mitt Romney has spent tens of millions of dollars on ads absolutely hammering his opponents, and we should blame his opponents for his unpopularity and his continuing inability to sew up the nomination?  Caputo’s article concludes with a plea that should embarrass anybody who is actually in the news business:

“Will Santorum give Romney the chance to make that case in time?”

Mr. Caputo should understand, as should the whining GOP establishment: Conservatives have no obligation to cede the race to Mitt Romney, or make it easier for him, or in any way enable his candidacy.  He hasn’t shown any inclination to get out of their way either, and I want to know only one thing from Mr. Caputo and those like him:

“Will Romney give Santorum and Gingrich the chance to make the case against Barack Obama in time?”

No? Then shut up and fight.

You’ll notice how the idiotic questions they pose for conservatives are never offered to the establishment.  They hope sincerely that we will not notice the fact that every question of this sort that they throw at conservatives could be turned around and thrown right back.  For instance, they are always demanding:  “But you will support Romney if nominated, right?”  I have yet to hear anybody in the big media ask Romney: “But you will support Santorum, Gingrich, or Paul, if nominated, right?”  Of course we won’t hear that question, because it would imply Romney could lose.  Newsflash:  He could lose.  Caputo’s article is proof of that fact.