Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tom Roeser slams Obama for the wrong reasons and falls for Mike Huckabee—the wrong man for the Republican Party for 2012

Roeser’s 2005 flirtations with Senator Bill Brady

My good friend Tom Roeser is at it again. He does this every once in a while, falling head over heels, temporarily, for some pol. Four years ago, about this time of the year, it was then Republican Primary gubernatorial candidate and State Senator Bill Brady and his “Irish Catholicism and… 12,000 watt smile,” that won a so-called “Conservative Summit.” Tom ultimately tires of the pol, as he did a while ago, with Brady, and reiterated that dissatisfaction recently, calling Sen. Brady “light as a Panama Hat.”

Roeser falls for Mike Huckabee

Today’s flavor of the moment for Roeser is Mike Huckabee. Tom was wowed by his “conversational, witty, brilliant,” talk show skills and his “strong base on the social issues.” For Tom, that seems to mean Huckabee, with ten years as a Governor of Arkansas, is less risky for movement conservatives than someone like Gov. Pawlenty [R-MN], who “seems far less experienced,” or former Massachusetts Gov. Romney who is “too smooth,” has gone through “too many contortions…to be credible.”

Roeser gets Obama wrong

And, according to Roeser, the nation is now ready for Huckabee because it has been “scared silly by Obama.” And “scared out of their wits by Obama.” Tom lists a number of his grievances of Obama and concludes Obama:

With his speeches… is coming very close to the caricature of Algonquin J. Calhoun, the fast-talking lawyer on radio and TV’s old Amos `n Andy…someone who can stretch definitions beyond the breaking point. [For a contra view to that of Roeser and a collection of criticisms of Roeser on "Obama, race and the media," see here].

The trouble with Tom’s analysis is that it starts with the proposition that if Obama differs with Tom—or me, for that matter—Obama must be stupid (or worse) and is probably quickly becoming less popular than George W. Bush, meaning there is a great opening in the country for someone like Huckabee, whose views (on many matters) and style differ greatly from President Obama.

Disagreeing without becoming disagreeable

But, people can differ with each other and still be plenty smart. I differ with Tom Roeser and Barack Obama on many things but I don’t think either is stupid. Far from it. I should be “so stupid.” As to Obama’s popularity, his approval minus disapproval margin has tumbled from about 40% at the start of his Presidency to about 11 %, but Obama is still plenty popular, even if more so than many of his policies.

And, many of Tom’s conclusions about his Obama grievances are simply premature. For example, when Tom asserts that America gave up, to please the Russians, the land based missile shield in Eastern Europe for nothing, we just don’t know that yet. There may have been a tacit deal for the Russians to help the U. S. with Iran. And, they may do so. We’ll see. But calling Obama another Neville Chamberlain, as Roeser does, based on the above, is simply not warranted by the facts.

Writing about Obama in bad taste

Analogizing Obama’s speeches to the caricature of an Amos and Andy character is not close to reality. Further, it is in bad taste and damages the credibility of Roeser, not Obama.

What President Obama has done wrong- doubling down on President Bush.

But the worst part of Roeser’s analysis is that it completely misjudges Huckabee and his competency to be the standard bearer for conservatives in 2012. If President Obama has gone wrong, it is on economics. It is that he agreed with Bush on the 700 Billion dollar financial sector bailout and the bailouts of AIG, etc. It is that he helped engineer a 1.4 trillion dollar 2009 federal budget deficit. It is the 800 billion dollar stimulus, which had little if any stimulus. It is the 9.8 % unemployment rate. It is the fact that these problems can only be cured by a sharp drop in federal spending and a sharp drop in tax rates, especially marginal rates of taxation on income and capital gains tax rates.

In short, many, but not all, of Obama’s economics policy mistakes come from his “doubling down,” on President Bush’s, Treasury Secretary Paulson's and Fed Chief Bernanke’s bail out policies. Unfortunately, Obama appears likely to let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010-- and the Bush Tax cuts are the policies that Bush got right. [Watch Art Laffer and Steve Moore on these issue].

Bernanke: the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Moreover, Obama unfortunately compounded Bush’s mistake by re-appointing Bernanke, the Princeton educator and MIT trained economist, to another four-year term as Federal Reserve Chairman... If ever the country needed a University of Chicago trained economist, it is now. Too bad Presidents Bush and Obama never took a course in economics from Milton Friedman, the greatest economist of the 20th Century, or from anyone in the University of Chicago economics department. How different things would be. As we say, ideas have consequences.

Huckabee: a bad choice for Republicans

In light of the above, it is hard to think of anyone worse than Huckabee as a 2012 Presidential candidate. The sad fact about Huckabee’s “experience” as Governor in Arkansas is that he was a tax raiser, not a tax cutter. He was a spender as a Governor, not someone as Roeser suggests who simply spoke of increased spending in 2008 to offset his socially conservative stances.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

In short, Tom, with all due respect, in 2010, as Bill Clinton said in 1992,“it’s the Economy stupid.” And, on the economy, Mike Huckabee is as wrong as wrong can be.

Cap and Tax

Also, Tom, you have ripped Cong. Mark Kirk (R-IL, 10th CD) for voting for Cap and Trade. And, rightfully so. But, your boy, Mike Huckabee, along with John McCain, was for Cap and Trade. On morality grounds, no less. So, if you are going to rip Kirk, you had best rip Huck. Fair is fair.

Why God put Republicans on this earth

But, most importantly, as the late Bob Novak said repeatedly, “God put Republicans on this earth to cut taxes.” If the Republicans are going to come back in 2010 and 2012, they had best start migrating toward conservatives who believe in and have a record of cutting income and capital gains tax rates, not raising them.

That dog won’t hunt

Your boy, Huckabee, might have given a Hell of a speech. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. My good friend, Senator and 2010 Republican Gubernatorial Primary canidate Kirk Dillard, didn’t invite this journalist to be his guest at the show in Rosemont. [Hell, this journalist can’t even get guv candidate Dillard out to do his TV show,"Public Affairs," even though Dillard promised him four months ago he would do so]. No matter how good Huck’s speech was, his ten years as Governor were not good economics and they were not good for taxpayers. Mike Huckabee for President? Sorry, Tom. That dog won’t hunt. Cornpone, or not cornpone.
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