Stopping Us Out of the Gate

Off to the RacesAfter seeing the movie “Secretariat,” I came home wondering what made it so affecting.

Most of us know the outcome; Secretariat was a great horse that won the Triple Crown. Some, like me, even remember it. How could it be as dramatic and powerful as it was when we all know the story?

Last week, Rush Limbaugh mentioned it on his radio show. He, too, was struck by the American-ness of the story. An average American, a housewife, achieves greatness. Penny Chenery Tweedy, despite all odds, despite discouragement, in the face of common sense, had an undeniable belief in her horse and herself. She persevered and fulfilled the American dream.

But there’s a lot more to it than that.

I think it all boils down to one line delivered near the end of the movie. Secretariat is at the Belmont, the final race that pits endurance against speed, seemingly not his forte. The jockey doesn’t want him to get out too far at the beginning, but to pace himself and come on strong at the end. The horse doesn’t see it that way. He begins to break away at a frightening pace halfway into the race. The crowd groans to see this as it would appear to doom him to falling back and losing.

Secretariat pours it on. He defies conventional wisdom. His owner suddenly gets it. He has to give it his all, even if it means he fails or dies. Penny screams to the jockey, “Let him run!” It’s a glorious outburst. The horse’s soul is in that race and she understands that he must try to fulfill his destiny.

Not only does he win, but he wins by 31 lengths and a record time – ever – for one and a half miles. It’s an achievement unmatched even 37 years later.

The story is the can do attitude. It’s the pursuit of happiness. It’s what the American people have done since our founding. The nation let people fulfill their dreams. It let them strive for the best. It let them fail. It let them do it, unfettered.

It’s what has made the country great and what has powered the globe.

That attitude seems in stark contrast to today, when we are not told to strive. We are told we can’t do it. We are not let loose to do our own thing and bring excellence to others. Although this trend has been going on since FDR started shackling us, the erosion of rights has purposefully been gradual enough so that younger generations don’t even seen the manacles.

Under Barack Obama, the trend has accelerated.

The entrepreneur who wants to provide a service or create a product is overwhelmed by rules and regulations. He must have quotas, he can’t discriminate, he must have union workers. The project must be environmentally friendly. We can’t offend other countries. Making too much money means the taxman comes or the social justice worker who wants redistribution of wealth. The media pounces on problems or actively looks for errors or trouble. Then the city, state and federal government roll out a list of taxes, licenses and fees.

Even something as simple as cutting hair can’t be done just by opening up a shop. The owner must be licensed. He has to pay fees. He has to have insurance. He has to take classes like chemistry. He cannot go to another state without going through the whole rigamarole again.

It’s stifling.

We’ve gone from running free to struggling with crutches.

Our economy suffers and people are dispirited.

Maybe that’s why this movie is so powerful.

Maybe that’s why this election is so important. We’re running to get our soul back.

Shelby GOP Enthused

Mark LuttrellMark Luttrell spoke about his goals as Shelby County Mayor.

Charlotte BergmannCharlotte Bergmann, in a “Fire Pelosi” cap, said she was “energized.”

“Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated,” said John Ryder, last night, quoting Mark Twain.

Ryder, National Committeeman for Tennessee at the RNC, adressed a crowd at the Victory Celebration/fundraiser at Oaksledge. “Or, to quote Winston Churchill, ‘There is nothing so invigorating as being shot at – and missed,'” Ryder continued, speaking of the U-turn the electorate has taken from the Democrat party to the Republican since the 2008 election. “We are on the brink of an historic election, the likes of which most of us have not seen in our lifetimes. Obama offered change, but we don’t want it. We don’t want to be France without the wine and cheese. We want to be Americans!”

Predicting a 63 pickup in the House and 8-10 more governorships, Ryder pointed to our own community as an example of what’s happening throughout the nation.

“Locally we are up by 26%. Our base is energized and fired up. In Tennessee for the primary, the Republican turnout was 700,000 while only about 200,000 Democrats voted. In 1994 when Tennessee swept the state we had a turnout of 464,000.” People don’t like the Obama agenda, he said, in particular the health care reform. “It lost in Missouri with 71% voting against it,” he noted.

“In this election, vote as if your country depends on it,” Ryder urged.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell echoed those sentiments. “There are three things we must do in this election. Number 1 is turnout. Number 2 is turnout and Number 3 is turnout,” Luttrell said. “Our work is not done. In August 30% of Memphians voted, which means that 7 out of 10 didn’t. If you don’t vote, we lose our government.”

Luttrell says there are two methods to stop this and he intends to use both. Elected officials “must be good stewards and we must instill confidence in voters and show them we are worthy of their trust. ”
According to Luttrell, his own style of governing will not be flashy.

“I don’t want to just catch headlines. I want to show we are managing things well and preparing for the future. And we must find good people to keep working for us.”

One such person Luttrell found was new Sheriff Bill Oldham. “Oldham’s a straight arrow and will be a better sheriff than I was,” Luttrell said.

Oldham says he has had a good six weeks so far. “Thanks for embracing my candidacy,” Oldham said. Like Luttrell, Oldham pledged to manage our resources well, with an eye to future planning. “Too often it’s the next election people are focused on.”

Charlotte Bergmann, candidate for House District 9 seat, said she felt energized about her campaign. Her workers have been fanning out and making calls, hoping to bolster Republican turnout.

Shelby Republicans enjoyed wine and drinks with pizza and pasta as they mingled with friends. Memphis Flyer report Jackson Baker covered the event.

It Figures

If anyone defends Barack Obama on his handling of the economy, here are some clarifying facts as condensed from the American Thinker. For too long Republicans have shouldered some of the blame for our perilous state and even fingered George W. Bush for some of the problems. Anyone who is so deluded needs sobering up. This information can help:

  • Gallup says unemployment was 10.1% in September. For ages 18-29 it’s 14%.
  • Unemployment has been 9.5% for 14 consecutive months. That’s the longest stretch since 1948.
  • Underemployment is estimated at 18.8%.
  • Congress gave $160 billion in unemployment benefits, up 30% from last year.
  • Nearly 42 million Americans are on food stamps. The number has grown each month. One in seven of us are on them; in New York it’s one in five.
  • The Census Bureau says the poverty rate is 14.3%. It’s a 15 year high.
  • The dollar tumbled to a 15 year low against the yen. In the last 6 weeks the dollar has declined against currencies 7%.
  • Personal spending dropped 2.8% this year. It’s the first decline on record. However, health care spending increased by 9.6%.
  • This year alone the trade deficit hit $350 billion.
  • The federal budget deficit nears 1.3 trillion, which is 9% of GDP.
  • This fiscal year the federal government spent 3.45 trillion. That accounts for 25% of GDP.
  • One quarter of our economy is driven by government spending, but that doesn’t even include spending on the state and local levels.
  • The national debt is 13.6 trillion, which is greater than 90% of GDP.
  • In the last two years we added to the national debt by 30%.
  • Unfunded liabilities such as Medicare and Social Security are estimated to cost 65-200 trillion, a virtually insurmountable hole.

Worried yet?

Did You Hear About This?

Barack and book
Barack Obama smiles as a book soars past him. (Source: Washington Post)

When President Obama visited Philadelphia Sunday for a Democrat rally, someone threw a book at him. It got very little scrutiny, which is odd.

Consider how much time the media spent on Tariq and Michaela Salahi, the White House party crashers in November 2009. It was a cause celebre for weeks with people wondering how it happened and even requiring them to appear in Congress for an investigation. Liberals beat their breasts on how dangerous this was for our president and that people were derelict in their protective duty.

And when President Bush ducked a shoe thrown at him in Iraq, the media also went into a frenzy. This time they loved it. They could say how much the rest of the world despised Bush and his crazy freedom policies. They practically applauded the perpetrator, ranting and raving about his rights and freedom to express himself.

But when the book was thrown at Barack Obama, very little was reported on it. In fact, Britain’s Daily Mail had more coverage than American newspapers. The networks didn’t do much either; Ann Compton of ABC News dismissed the incident as the action of an “overexuberant supporter.”

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection attributed this to disappointment on reporters’ parts.

They would have preferred that it “was a Bible thrown by a Glenn Beck worshiping Tea Party activist who belongs to a militia and dresses up as a Confederate soldier on weekends in fields near his double wide trailer which is heated by burning Korans, where his teenage wife home schools their uninsured barefoot kids about creationism…”

The truth is quite different.

The book thrower was Sajid Ali Khan and the tome was his own “How to Become Wise.” He wrote on his blog that the day was one of “daring courage and lunacy.” Khan calls himself a wisdom coach and wanted to share his tips with Obama.

“The President is extremely intelligent and is always looking for new ideas so I could see that he took several good looks at the book,” he wrote.

Khan’s idea of “wisdom,” which he calls “a fragrance of the brain,” has some odd takes. He questions “why the man’s sperm is tiny while the woman’s egg is huge” and “why horniness is a 24/7 epidemic that must be stopped.”

All quite main stream, eh?

Could it be that the media didn’t want to call attention to his Middle Eastern sounding name?

Or, that they ignored it because maybe this is your typical Obama voter?

What the press doesn’t report is sometimes much more important and insightful than what they do report.

My Mantra: The Facts

When the sorry state of the current economy is discussed on some talk, news, TV or radio show, inevitably the Democrats will blame it on policies of George W. Bush. Infuriatingly, sometimes Republicans will chime in and say Bush was also responsible for our problems, in particular, the ballooning deficit.

Hearing this makes me start screaming at the TV.

So many Americans forget that the economy was perking right along until the Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 elections. Remember Nancy Pelosi’s “Six for ’06” slogan? Number one on that list was an increase in the minimum wage. Cassandras told those who would listen that this would have a very negative effect on the economy. And, that summer, jobs for young people started to disappear. Under their watch. And it metastasized through other age groups.

Many of us also forget that when Bush came into office the Defense Department had been gutted. In order to balance the budget, Clinton slashed and burned our military programs. So when 9/11 came along, we were not in a position to quickly engage the enemy. Yes, the spending did increase because of the two wars, but isn’t defense the number one priority of government? Could it be any better spent? From the luxury of 2010 we look back and feel safe. But on September 12, the country felt and was vulnerable.

I like to remind the ignorant of these points when they start yammering about deficits.

Those pundits who now want to give President Obama time to come out of the malaise – they feel two years is not enough – forget that in the spring of 2001, the dot com bubble and Enron scandals inherited from Clinton brought warnings that Bush had better get it under control immediately or he would lose in 2004. On top of this Bush was hampered by a late start in getting his cabinet confirmed, thanks to Al Gore’s reluctance to accept defeat. Even so, they cut him no slack.

Somehow, Bush managed to push us over the recession, even with the events of 9/11. What ensued were 52 straight months of job expansion. The stock market hit 14,000 and unemployment went to a negligible 5%.

With Obama we now have 17 months of unemployment over 9% even after that enormous stimulus. We have an underemployment estimated at 17.1%, up .4% in September alone. So since his 2003 inauguration Obama’s unemployment has gone up 26%. Now even his own advisors say it will remain high into 2011 and estimates this morning say at this pace we won’t recover until 2020.

In Obama’s first two years, food stamps have gone from 21 million people to 41 million. Gold is skyrocketing and the dollar losing ground daily.

Charles Krauthammer notes that two trilliion of capital sits on the sidelines because Obama’s economic policies are threatening to business. They are looking at more regulation, nationalization and increased taxation. He should shun these ‘tions’ because they scare small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Add to that, the Democrat controlled Congress has not passed a budget. It is the first time since 1974 that has happened. Nor do we have a tax bill or appropriations bill. As Krauthammer notes, Congress gives us Stephen Colbert instead.
So when someone starts in on the economy and bad policies of Bush, serve them up a few of these facts. We need to repeat them like a mantra until the message gets across.