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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Other People's Money-Bailout Mania

Other People’s Money: Bailout Mania

In the consulting world, a baseline maximum is:  “If you have a problem that can be solved with money, you don’t have a problem, you have an expense.”   But at what point is the spending of money the problem itself?   

Let’s look at other US Government programs, wars and social programs, in terms of their “inflation adjusted” costs in 2008 dollars.      On the American Thinker    author Ethel C. Fenig lays out the cost of big government programs (wars, social programs, bailouts), based on research from the Jim Bianco, who works at the Arbor Research & Trading, Inc.    For more info    Who is the Bianco Research Service
?  Bianco Research specializes in investment research for the professional and institutional investor. Using "macro" analysis of the fixed income, equity, and commodity markets as a foundation, Bianco Research provides unique insights into the markets.   So what did Jim Bianco research show on these US government expenditures?

            The current Credit Crisis bailout is now the largest outlay In American history.   Jim Bianco of Bianco Research crunched the inflation-adjusted numbers. The bailout has cost more than all (italics added) of these big budget government expenditures - combined:

• Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion

• Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion

• Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion

• S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion

• Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion

• The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)

• Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion

• Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion

• NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL of historical US Government programs, wars and bailouts: $3.92 trillion

So just how much is the US and it’s G-20 partners spending on the massive bail out of the financial system mess?      The liberal leaning climate change advocacy Institute for Policy Studies has a new report out that estimates the cost is over $4 trillion dollars!  “The approximately $4.1 trillion that the United States and Europe have committed to rescue financial firms is 40 times the money they're spending to fight climate and poverty crises in the developing world,” according to the recent report released by ISP

Why would a group like the ISP be concerned about spending Other People’s Money?    Their concern is not from a conservative perspective of fiscal responsibility, but because the US and it’s G-20 partners are spending it on bailing out financial markets, not on climate change or global poverty.  

            Others estimate the spending binge and commitments by the US Government are even higher than $4 Trillion.   Deroy Murdock, writing in Human Events estimates that the US Government spending, loan guarantees, commercial loans and other financial bail out actions may total $8 Trillion before the spending spree is finished.

            “As president, neither Al Gore nor John Kerry could have gotten away with such aggressively socialist policies as the allegedly “conservative Republican” Bush administration’s dizzying parade of massive outlays, fiscal injections, equity purchases, mandatory subsidies, and even nationalizations.

These and other new commitments -- totaling a mind-blowing $8.347 trillion and counting -- assume that Washington should pump money into the economy. But it cannot do so without sucking money from the economy. Uncle Sam cannot spend a dollar without first extracting it from taxpayers or lenders, or by printing it in order to spend today the purchasing power that inflation will demolish tomorrow.”  Deroy Murdock, 11.28.08

            The United States estimated Gross Domestic Product (all economic activity for the nation combined) is $14.8 trillion for 2008.   See the web site the Financial Forecast  for details on the GDP forecast.   To put the financial bail out and massive spending being originated in Congress and the US Treasury in context, it is more that 50% of the total US gross domestic product.    The total US tax revenues (collected for 2006) totaled $2.5 trillion dollars, of which 44% ($1.3 trillion) was collected from individual’s income taxpayers.

            So the massive bailout of 2008, orchestrated by the Democrat controlled US Congress and an outgoing “lame duck” president will be paid for by the US taxpayer in form of higher taxes (as Barack Obama has promised), increased US debt and inflation from money being printed to cover deficit spending.  Whatever the method, the spending in the Washington DC is out of control.    And the incoming Democrat Congress and new Democrat President has said we’ll put a hold on reducing US Government debt and spending until the US economy is back on track.   Huh?   

            Once again the temptation for politicians at all levels, especially those in Washington DC, to spend Other Peoples Money is too easy and too great to resist.   It’s probably a good time to buy some gold, save some money and avoid more personal debt.    We could be in for some wild financial times, given the spending spree in Washington.

© 2008, Four Corners Media, Jasper Welch

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Replay that 90's Tape

Replay that 90’s Tape

As the Obama team runs trial balloons on their presidential appointments, the first few don’t appear to be “Change We Can Believe In”, but rather “Replay That 90’s Tape”!     Rather than new faces and new ideas in Washington, President-Elect Obama is floating names and looking to appoint Washington and New York insiders to key positions in the new Obama administration.  In fact, it appears that former members of the Clinton years are reappearing with a regular frequency in an Obama administration.   Even the Obama supporting Washington Post (Pravda on the Potomac) is coming to the President Elect’s defense, “Some critics are unhappy about the number of Clinton administration veterans -- the derogatory word is retreads -- in the new administration. As we've said before, we have no sympathy for this complaint. The best thing the new administration has going for it in comparison to the last Democratic president is the amount of executive branch experience it has to call on. Mr. Obama's willingness to do that and to bring on board those who supported his chief rival -- indeed, to enlist his chief rival herself -- underscores his own confidence.”  Washington Post, 11.22.08, Page A14 

         This is the typical liberal and progressive defense offered by the press advocates at the Post.   If your motives are pure and liberal, and we like your progressive policies, then the actual facts on the ground really don’t matter.  And further, the Washington Post editorial writers, use moral leverage, “we have no sympathy for this complaint” (of appointing Clinton retreads).   Rather, the progressive writers compare the replaying of the 90’s tape to the wonderful Obama willingness to appoint his chief rival, none other that Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton herself as the Secretary of State.

         This is part of the legacy media and Obama team storyline of the “Team of Rivals”, popular book by Doris Kearns Goodwin (2005) about President Lincoln and his cabinet picks in the 1860’s.   This Lincoln-esque approach is being promoted as how the new Obama administration is being put together.    While this story line is classic and lends the Obama as the “next most famous president” imagery to his manufactured resume, even the liberal LA times is having a hard time swallowing the “team of rivals” story line.

         From the editorial by Matthew Pinsker in the November 18, 2008 edition of the Los Angeles Times, “People love Doris Kearns Goodwin's book on the Lincoln presidency, "Team of Rivals." More important, for this moment in American history, Barack Obama loves it. The book is certainly fun to read, but its claim that Abraham Lincoln revealed his "political genius" through the management of his wartime Cabinet deserves a harder look, especially now that it seems to be offering a template for the new administration.

"Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his Cabinet," is the way Obama has summarized Goodwin's thesis, adding, "Whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was how can we get this country through this time of crisis."

Matthew Pinsker, a civil war historian concludes the well written editorial, “Over the years, it has become easy to forget that hard edge and the once bad times that nearly destroyed a president. Lincoln's Cabinet was no team. His rivals proved to be uneven as subordinates. Some were capable despite their personal disloyalty, yet others were simply disastrous. Lincoln was a political genius, but his model for Cabinet-building should stand more as a cautionary tale than as a leadership manual.”  LA Times, 11.18.08

         So what will become of the newly minted Obama administration that has a large share of Clinton administration retreads?     How will the 1990’s tape of liberal ideas and policies replay in the context of more challenging 21st Century problems facing the United States?     What most of our progressive friends and liberal politicos are silent on is the fact that from 1994 to the end of his term (during the impeachment debate), former President Clinton had a more conservative Republican Congress to balance his liberal agenda.   The negotiated policies (reform of welfare, more responsible fiscal policy, a Federal government surplus) of the 1990’s, which the Clintons claim full credit for, were in fact a negotiated bipartisan outcome between a Republican Congress and a Democrat Congress.

The President Elect, in his weekly radio address continues to push the idea of reform and change in Washington, “That is the chance our new beginning now offers us, and that is the challenge we must rise to in the days to come. It is time to act. As the next president of the United States, I will.”   Barack Obama, Saturday 11.22.08

         So in 2009 we are back to one party rule, Democrat style.  This is something the United States hasn’t seen since 1992, or during the “new society” Democratic Lyndon Johnson years.    It appears that we are gearing up to a replay of the early 1990’s.   And it is clear that our new President-Elect will act.   The question is how will a self proclaimed “change” president lead the US forward with a host of 1990’s retreads pulling in the opposite direction.  Or is “change we can believe in” really a move backward “to the 20th Century past” with Clinton era cabinet appointees? 

© 2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media   www.jasperwelchorg      

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So Exactly What Change is Obama Planning On?

So Exactly What Change is Obama Planning On?

         In the American democracy, we are in a debate about ideas.   In the world of Washington, think tanks are where these ideas are tested, propagated, blogged and released to the media.  So what is a think tank?   According to a research study authored by Dr. James McGann of the Think Tank and Civil Societies Project,  “Think tanks are public policy research, analysis and engagement institutions that generate policy-oriented research, analysis and advice on domestic and international issues that enables policymakers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy issues. Think tanks may be affiliated or independent institutions and are structured as permanent bodies, usually a non-profit organization or foundation.”   For more info on the Foreign Policy Research Institute

         Quick highlights from Dr. McGann’s research on think tanks:  Over 5,000 worldwide, of which 1776 are in the United States, and 91% of these policy influencing organizations were created in the last 50 years.  The United States based think tanks make up about one third of the world’s think tanks.  Among the top thirty think tanks in the United States (as per research by Dr. McGann published under Routlege Research in American Politics, 2007), include the well-known organizations such as the Cato Institute, Manhattan Institute, Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, RAND, Urban Institute and the infamous Council on Foreign Relations.

What kind on budget and staffing levels do these think tanks have? University of Michigan has great web resource including direct links to home pages to think tanks. Some examples include the Brookings Institute  (founded in 1927, staff of 400, annual budget $48MM), the conservative Heritage Foundation (founded in 1973, staff of 200, annual budget $60MM), the American Enterprise Institute (founded in 1943, staff of 190, annual budget $28MM). 

So what exactly is meant by “Change Has Come to America?  (President Elect Obama’s opening line of his election night address)Let’s look at one of the progressive (liberal) think tanks in Washington DC, which 8 days after the election of Barack Obama, released the Blueprint for the new administration.   It can be found at or you can order online from    The US think tank behind this Obama blueprint is the Center for American Progress.     According to their web site, the CAP organization was founded in 2003 and is headed by Chicago native John Podesta.    Mr. Podesta is a former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton and (surprise) was recently appointed by Barack Obama as the head of his President-Elect transition team.   (See Fox News for interview transcripts)   If you’d like to check out John Podesta’s writing (as a liberal progressive), the CAP website has many of his “progressive” white papers.

         Back to the Blueprint.   Here are some pull quotes from the Obama “change book”.   Not exactly conservative policy positions.   The old tired “liberal Democrats policies” are now being recast as “progressive”, thanks to the work of the Center for American Progress.   Here is Obama change, in a politically progressive style we can believe in:

 On immigration, change means “in the short term, the 44th president must shift focus away from destructive workplace and neighborhood raids, and focus instead on abusive employers. This shift should be accompanied by an overhaul of the immigration detention infrastructure” Cecilia Muñoz, a noted immigration expert.

On voting, along the lines of Obama’s favorite group (ACORN) and other voting rights groups, and we quote from the Blueprint: In voting, the new president should lead the fight for universal voter registration, which would add up to 50 million American citizens to the rolls. He should also fix electronic voting and push for public funding of elections, with an emphasis on boosting the power of small contributors. And he can use the bully pulpit to urge the states to curb gerrymandering after the 2010 census and to move to a national popular vote for president. Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law.

         On health care, moving to socialized single payer system Making health coverage affordable would expand it, and covering all Americans would, after an up-front investment, reduce system costs. Jeanne Lambrew, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

         So according the Center for American Policy (CAP) blueprint for the 44th President, we are recycling liberal big government ideas from the 20th century under President’s Johnson, Carter and Clinton, and promulgating them as 21st “Change” Obama style.    Actually progressive policies is the term being used, as “liberal” is now out of favor, probably because the American people remember how most of the big government, higher tax “liberal policies” don’t work very well.  The “New Deal” of FDR is an old deal, being recast at the “New Deal” Obama style.   (See the recent Time magazine cover of Obama type cast as FDR)

         Seeing that recycling is a good green approach to the waste paper stream, it is good to see the progressive policies being championed by the Obama transition team that are simply recycled ideas from the last century.    We’ll see if they work (or don’t) this time around.

© 2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Voters Support Traditional Marriage

In California, Proposition 8 was passed, despite an overwhelming “elite class” campaign to say “No” on Prop 8.  At the end of the voting, 52.5 percent of those casting ballots on Tuesday voted for the measure. Records show that 47.5 percent voted against the measure. Simply put, Proposition 8 asked California voters to affirm that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California" - a concept that voters previously backed when they approved Proposition 22 in 2000. California voters adopted the measure (Prop 22) on March 7, 2000 with 61.4% approval and 38.6% against. This time around, Proposition 8 overturns a May 2008 California Supreme Court decision legalizing gay nuptials and rewrites the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Exit poll data in California showed seven in 10 black voters and more than half of Latino voters backed the ballot initiative, while whites and Asians were split. Though blacks and Latinos combined make up less than one-third of California's electorate, their opposition to same-sex marriage appeared to tip the balance. Both groups decisively backed President-Elect Obama, regardless of their position on the initiative.

According to the liberal web site Huffington Post, in a blogger post by Raymond Leon Roker, the campaign to support “Yes on 8” was effective, “So who did [support Yes on 8]? For starters, the churches, religious leaders and advocacy groups in support of 8 were a very formidable force. Surveys showed religion played a major role in voter's decisions. Even “No on 8” supporters have admitted that their camp was too complacent, arrogant and far to unorganized.”  Mr. Roker, an African American, who indicated that he voted “No on 8” despite some misgiving, felt that the overwhelming African American support was mischaracterized by opponents of Proposition 8, “I've read several editorials already about how the ungrateful blacks betrayed gays right after America gave them their first president…(and that is) a gross oversimplification of what happened.” [Quoted from Huffington Post , November 7, 2008]

Now that Proposition 8 passed in California, those that demand special rights (for gays) are trampling on the rights of their fellow citizens.    According the Yes on 8 advocacy web site , “since Proposition 8’s victory, a series of protests against churches, small businesses and individual supporters of traditional marriage have taken place in cities across the state.  Tragically, some opponents of Proposition 8 who claim to cherish tolerance and civil rights are unabashedly trampling on the rights of others. Protests and boycotts have taken place against a Hispanic restaurant owner in Los Angeles, African American religious leaders in the Bay Area, and a musical theater director in Sacramento, among many others.” November 12, 2008

As both sides battled to influence the vote on Proposition 8, campaign finance records show that total contributions for and against the measure have surpassed $70 million, which set a record in campaign spending on a social issue ballot initiative.  Opinion polls indicated that the Proposition 8 vote would be close, as voters still favor the traditional definition of marriage, 49 to 47 percent, according to the most recent Public Policy Institute of California poll.  In the end, the Proposition 8 passed with enough support, from a diverse group of “Yes on 8” advocates.

Former California governor and career politician Jerry Brown, prior to the vote in November 2008, aided opponents of Proposition 8.   He is now serving as the Attorney General in California.    As a “lifer Democrat”, he was able to help the “No on 8” advocates by changing the Proposition 8 ballot title.  The proponents' original title for Prop. 8 was "Limit on Marriage." What voters saw on their California ballot pamphlet, thanks to career politician Brown, was that Proposition 8 "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."   Advocates of the “Yes on 8” went to the California Supreme Court to keep the original title.    The same California Supreme court that sought to overturn the will of the people (in 2000, and now in 2008) ruled in favor of Brown’s rewording of the title language. 

So despite the huge amounts of money spent on both sides, and the established California (liberal Democrat) leadership and their allies pushing “No on 8”, it passed as a result of a strong grassroots campaign by the Protect Marriage coalition.  The “Yes on 8” advocates had significant support, “This victory would not have been possible without the support of our 70,000 contributors and over 100,000 dedicated volunteers. It was accomplished with the strong participation of about 80% of California voters, or nearly 14 million people participating in this expression of the People’s will” according to the  web site news release of November 12, 2008.

Now that the ruling of a group of activist California judges was overturned, it is worthwhile to reflect on the significance of what the Protect Marriage coalition achieved in November 2008. The people of California did not do anything rash or drastic in their vote of support. The majority of voters simply decided to enshrine the definition of marriage as one man and one woman in the California state constitution.   At this point, 30 ballot issues defining marriage as between a man and a women have passed in a number of states in the US.   And while the pro-gay marriage activists and their allies have put their considerable political weight, aided the Legacy media, to overturn traditional marriage, their efforts have not been supported by a majority of voters.     And when activists’ judges attempt to overrule the people or their legislatures, the voters have risen up to reverse these actions in most cases.  Such is the case of America throughout the States, as the US is a country built on the traditions of marriage, family and the right to vote.   Even if that means that a few overreaching judges, and their “courts first arrogance, the people second” are overruled in the process of ballot elections that express the will of the people.

© 2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Loyal Opposition

The Loyal Opposition

As a conservative, what is the approach that we should take following the US election in which liberal Democrats picked up more seats in the US House and US Senate?  And what is the conservative response to our newly elected US President, Barack Obama?   We are the loyal opposition:  Loyal to our country, our republic and the US Constitution.    We are supporting the peaceful (and gold standard) process of the transition of power in American, following our national elections.  America is unique in the world in how we elect our leaders and how the change in power occurs peacefully.    The pundits, politicians and press are now debating the demise of conservative principles and the weakened Republican Party.   While that is a debate worth having, as a member of the loyal opposition, I both support the newly elected President Obama, but I also oppose many of his ideas and policies that have been proposed in the campaign.   Unlike my liberal friends who bashed President Bush (and the office of the President), I will not engage in that disloyal behavior.   Sure, I had some tough words and pointed criticism of Senator Obama as a presidential candidate.    But he is the President Elect now, and that electoral victory and historic accomplishment is to be admired and respected.    This is American.   A country in which a presidential candidate from a diverse background can be elected to the Office of the President with the support of the minority and majority citizens of the United States.  That is the dream of every American.

But I will respectfully disagree with our newly minted President, when he proposes more Federal government spending, not less; when the security of the United States is compromised in the interest of getting along with our enemies or if the hand of the US government becomes heavy through taxes, regulations or limits to personal freedom.   In this case, as a member of the loyal opposition, I’ll express my contrary views.    Fortunately, the days of Bush bashing  are fading away, into the dusty Texas sunset. (Although Bush bashing is still lingering the MSM and in left leaning blogs)  Let our former President George W. quietly retire to his Crawford Ranch.  As for President Elect Obama, he has my loyal support and respect.    He was elected by a majority of the States, with a plurality of the vote of our fellow citizens.    However, his vision for American is still yet to be unfolded in the policy details of 2009.      The Obama campaign platitudes sounded pretty good, but as a member of the loyal opposition, I was suspect as to what will really happen in Washington DC under President Obama and the Democratic Congress. 

Meanwhile, I’m looking at the conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats in Congress   as a member of the loyal opposition.   These are self selected Democrats that have a moderate to conservative view on budget and fiscal issues that come before the US House of Representatives.   In the 2006 House elections, there were 47 “Blue Dog Democrats”.    Since 1996, 27 Blue Dog Democrats have been elected to the US House, replacing incumbent or retiring Republicans.    In the 2008 election, 20 new Democrats were elected to the Congress, with a likely number of these new Democrats willing to join the Blue Dog coalition as fiscal conservatives.      The question will be: Are the Blue Dog Democrats willing to stand up to President Obama and the liberal Democratic House leadership on overspending and increased government programs that run up the US deficit?   We’ll see in January 2009.    As a member of the loyal opposition, I’m counting on Blue Dog Democrats in the House and the GOP members of the US Senate to provide some fiscal restraint and balance to Presidential initiatives from the Obama administration.

© 2008, Jasper Welch,  Four Corners Media,

Friday, November 7, 2008

GOP Takes a Licking at the Polls

GOP Takes a Licking at the Polls

Some straight talk.   The Grand Old Party (GOP) and the Republican brand took a licking at the polls in the November 2008 election.    At the national level, the GOP has lost Congressional seats in the past two elections.   The trend may continue in 2010, unless the Dems overreach the political center from their left leaning majority position in Congress and the Congressional Republicans get back to conservative basics.   The GOP positions during the later Bush years that tolerated bigger government, more spending and open-ended wars played to the Democrats strengths.  Why support Democrat-lite (GOP) when you can vote for the real thing (full-throated Democrats)?

For example, in the past two election cycles Colorado lost both Republican held US Senate seats (Campbell, Allard). These contested open seats were won by Democrats (Salazar, Udall).  And the Governor’s mansion in Colorado is now held by Democrat Governor Bill Ritter.    In New Mexico, the open US Senate seat due to the retirement of the legendary Republican Pete Domenici was picked up the other Udall (Democrat Tom Udall).   And both Republican Congress members from New Mexico (Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce) chose to run for US Senate, thereby leaving their US Congressional seats open, which were lost to Democrat candidates.   So New Mexico, like Colorado has 2 Democrat US Senators, a solid Democrat group of Congressional members (NM has 3 Dems, Colorado is 5 Dems, 2 Reps) and both states have Democrat Governors (Richardson, Ritter).    

Pundits, pollsters and politicos will dissect, deliberate and determine a variety of reasons.   From a campaign perspective at the national level, the GOP ran a traditional political campaign: fire up the Republican base, capture some independents and don’t worry about the Democrats.    The Obama campaign ran as a movement: The traditional Democrat party apparatus was only a part of the coalition.   Like-minded 527’s, complimentary organizations (like ACORN) and interest groups aligned their political resources as a team.    Add to that approach the electronic and web media, a favorable Main Stream Media (advocacy) and countless volunteers, supplemented by a well-organized Obama ground game.  The Presidential election result:  Blue states were even more blue, swings states went blue and some red states swung to the blue electoral result.   Congratulations to President Elect Obama, who was elected along with increased Democrat majorities in the House and Senate.

The Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton? years are finally over.   It is unlikely that a Bush or Clinton will ever serve in the White House again.    So what will we see?   It is likely that the Obama machine plans on running in 2012.   Why not see if the movement can dominate the weakened (and disorganized) Republican Party again?    Meanwhile, the GOP has to regroup, refocus and rebuild.    More of same (fuzzy on conservative principles, lack of out reach to independents, straying from the conservative message) by the GOP will yield a similar result (loosing elections).  

But shouldn’t we as Republicans be more moderate to win the middle?    This may sound like a logical approach, but it the best way to loose an election.   In Colorado, the voter registration is split three ways: Republicans, Unaffiliated and Democrats.     Assuming the party candidate (Democrat or Republican) can maintain their base (and loose the opponents base), the real battle in for the middle.   In a swing state like Colorado, not voter can be taken for granted; most voters will split their ticket; so the quality of the candidate and their campaign matters.    So can a conservative Republican win in a blue state or blue district?    Sure, it is more challenging, but if our approach is to look like a Democrat, then the voters will probably go for the real thing (vote Democrat).   Rather, a principled conservative approach that reaches out to the unaffiliated voter and the conservative leaning Democrat is the winning combination.  More on the common sense conservative approach that gets results (using La Plata County, Colorado example) in an upcoming Four Corners Media post.

© 2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama is Elected President

Obama is Elected President

In an historic US election, Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States.  After a long campaign, with many surprises, twists and turns, Senator Obama overcame and defeated the GOP Senator from Arizona, John McCain.   The American hero and Republican nominee gave a gracious and honorable concession speech, flanked by his wife Cindy and VP nominee Governor Sarah Palin (and her husband).  An historic campaign based on the first US President of African American descent, an unprecedented $1 billion dollars spent (combined) by the Dems and GOP and the lack of media scrutiny of Obama by the Legacy Media.     With a background of 2 unpopular wars, an economy in turmoil and a weakened 2nd term President, combined with a sharp, disciplined and focused campaign by Barack Obama, the new President Elect earned an impressive Electoral College victory.

So on Election night, President Obama is to be congratulated.  Barack ran a well organized, well financed and well disciplined campaign.  And his ability as a Presidential candidate is unmatched in the modern era.

As to how will a President Obama govern, is a large and unanswered question.   The conservative assessment of a left leaning Democrat President will wait for tomorrow.

© 2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Final Electoral College Predictions

The Final Electoral College Predictions

Today is the day.    The Legacy Media has moved from a watchdog role in public affairs and elections to an Obama advocacy role.    The Legacy Media has waived off serious questions about the Democrat candidate, and according to the predictors of the US Electoral College, Senator Obama is poised to become President-Elect Obama.  Does the Republican candidate John McCain have a chance to win?  According the pundits, pollsters and Legacy Media it is over.   The left leaning Legacy Media, in their advocacy role, is heading to Grant Park in Chicago for the coronation event for their new leader, Barack Obama.   How far to the left will America go politically?   That will be the big question.   It will remained unanswered until the American people realize that Change We Can Believe In is more of the same liberal tax and spend approach to government.   Is a Harry Truman upset in the works?  It will depend on Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.   However, the odds for a McCain victory are slim at this point.  The pollsters will be left with their final prediction, as the American voters will decide the final outcome.

The Electoral College predictions range from a close Obama victory to a landslide victory.   The overall vote totals ranges from the margin of error (+/- 3%) to a 10% margin for Obama over McCain.  Here is the line up of web sites and their 2008 predictions:     Obama=311, McCain=174, Toss-Up=53  Obama=291, McCain=247   Obama=338, McCain=200   Obama=338, McCain=200   Obama=353, McCain=174, Toss=11   Obama=346.5, McCain=191.5

From the polling research on Election 2008, the Democrat candidate Barack Obama is predicted to win all of the Blue states from 2004 and he is poised to compete in a number of Red states such as Virginia, Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina.

         On the US Senate side of the political races, it is likely that the Republicans may loose six to eight seats to the Democrats.    Now we have 49 Dems, 49 GOP and 2 Independents as members in the US Senate.   At the end of the Election 2008, it is likely to be 56 Dems, 42 GOP and 2 Independents.     However the 2 Independents (Sanders and Lieberman) usually vote with the Democrats.       However, if the GOP does even worse in the US Senate, and Republicans loose their ability to filibuster the Democrat majority, there will be no boundaries for a liberal, left leaning Congress and likely Democrat President. 

© 2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Case for John McCain

The Case for John McCain

On February 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.   Back in 2000, US Senator John McCain ran in the GOP primaries against George W. Bush.  He resumed his quest for the Presidency in 2007.     One could make the argument that both men were running for president well before the 2008 election cycle actually began.

            Now are at the point of final decision.    Many voters in “early voting states” have already cast their ballot for the candidate of their choice.  The undecided voters are still yet to weigh in, along with Democrats, Republican and Unaffiliated voters in 50 states across the United States.    The pundits, polls and conventional wisdom say that Barack Obama has won the election.   In fact, the Obama campaign is building a huge stage and preparing for “world victory party” event in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois.   But don’t count John McCain out just yet.

            Here is the case for John McCain:  First, he is well versed and experienced in military affairs and foreign policy.   With 22 years of military experience in the US Navy, 6 years of brutal imprisonment in the Hanoi Hilton, and his time of service on the US Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain has been involved in every major foreign policy and military decision over the past 25 years.    As the Commander in Chief, this hands on experience really matters.    Senator Obama simply lacks the experience, judgment and resolve in military and foreign policy matters.

            Secondly, Senator McCain has demonstrated a conservative perspective in the selection of judges, yet he has maintained a pragmatic approach in the US Senator.   He as worked with Democrat and Republican presidents to confirm the most qualified judicial appointments.    John McCain supported Justices Alito and Roberts.    And he was part of the Gang of 14 that was composed on 7 Democrats and 7 Republican Senators that helped break the partisan logjam that was holding up judicial confirmations.

            Thirdly, John McCain is a maverick.  He has challenged his own Republican party, the President of the United States and the Democrats on the other side of the isle.   He has also worked with members of his party and the opposition Democrats when compromise was necessary to move a difficult issue forward.    Was he always successful?  No, but he did make progress on many issues.   Did McCain challenge the status quo?   Yes, but not without being criticized by his own GOP colleagues and Democrat Senators.  As for Senator Obama, his has a very thin resume of accomplishment in the US Senate.    He has been too busy running for higher office to actually get things done in the US Senate.

            The fourth reason for electing the Maverick from Arizona is that, John McCain has made friends and his share of enemies.   Both friends and enemies respect and know who John McCain is.    Not a perfect person, but an accomplished American.  A man who still goes to the nursing home to visit former Congressman Mo Udall, a fellow Arizonian who reached across the isle to help the younger candidate McCain over 40 years ago.  Senator Obama on the other hand his an interesting web of “friends’, who tend to be on the radical left of the American politic, and when these “friends” are not politically expedient, they are cast aside in favor of Obama’s ambition and looking good.

            The fifth reason is John McCain’s position supporting the culture of life.   From his pro-life record, to his family’s adoption of those less fortunate, Senator McCain has made the case for the human and civil rights of those youngest and least cared for in American.   His answer to Rick Warner’s question about when the human rights begin for an unborn child was straightforward.   In contrast, Barack Obama tried to dodge one of the most critical civil rights question of our day by responding that a clear answer from him was above his pay grade.    Really?

            Finally, John McCain is a reformer and advocate of lower government spending.   He has proposed a spending freeze at the Federal level and he has targeted Congressional earmarks and pork barrel spending.    In the first Presidential debate, Senator Obama couldn’t answer the “what programs or initiatives would you cut or delay?” question from PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer.   Senator Obama has no clear record of reform as an elected official, nor has he stood up to his own party on issues of reform (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Congressional earmarks, unlimited amounts of campaign dollars or government corruption).     John McCain has taken on reform issues from campaign finance, to immigration to the reform of Fannie Mae.    Along with Governor Sarah Palin, a President McCain will reform the broken culture of overspending in Washington.

            The case for John McCain is solid and strong.    While his opponent is well spoken and smooth, he lacks what John McCain has: credible authenticity to be entrusted as the President of the United States.

© 2008, Four Corners Media, Jasper Welch

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Final Polling Numbers

The Final Polling Numbers

Here is where the pollsters really want to get it right.   Polls are a guessing game, somewhere between a “wild assed guess” (WAG) and a “scientific wild assed guess” (SWAG).     As the US general election campaign comes down to Election Day, now is the time that the pollsters are really working hard to be “right” on their polls.

Here are the three that I track and these pollsters have been the most accurate predictors over the previous US election cycles:

         Zogby Interactive

         Tipp OnLine:

         Rasmussen Reports:

The next area of polling that gets interesting is the base models and adjustments that the pollsters put into their polling research.    For example, what is the Democrat and Republican base (voter strength) and how with the Unaffiliated voters weigh in?   Unaffiliated voters are the wild card in terms of turn out (usually lower numbers vote as compared to Dems or GOP voters) and which way will these “independent” voters trend?    Other factors that enter into the polling are how the polls are taken (by phone, in person, on-line, from exit polling, etc.) and how is the sample determined?    With larger numbers of early voters in many states, the predictive dynamics are changing as well.

Among developed nations, the US has some of the best polling organizations in the world, but despite all our best efforts, running polls is as much an art form (practice) as it is a science (statistical models). 

So in the end, the voters will decide.  In the meantime, the pollsters are trying to guess what we will ultimately decide on November 4, 2008.     Let the final poll numbers and pollsters behind them compete for the most accurate prediction of election 2008.

© 2008, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,