Is the Election for Obama to Lose?

Much hay has been made over Obama’s low poll numbers.  The July Gallop poll suggests that a generic Republican can beat Obama.  But is this really the case?  For as much as people are dissatisfied with Obama’s promised “change,” I’m not sure that “one-term presidency” is in the cards.  The problem for the GOP is that there isn’t a candidate that anyone particularly likes.  Yesterday, Perry launched negative ads against Romney.  Last month, Ron Paul launched a negative ad against Perry.  Cain picked some obscure issue about Perry’s ranch from about thirty years ago and made headlines.  Welcome to the GOP circular firing squad.  The quest for a candidate almost seems like a gang initiation.  To join, the potential invitee is thrown a blanket party.  Surviving that, the members rally behind the beat up and bruised candidate.  Love hurts.  And this is looking to be a very painful election process.

Any significant swings GOP debate tonight only mark the fluidity of the race.  At the very least, Perry will be worth watching.  He was heralded as the cat’s meow when he first announced his candidacy, and then he tried to debate.  And then  conservatives took a look at his immigration policy.  Amazingly, virtually all the popularity Perry lost, Herman Cain gained.  Herman Cain, has his own issues.  Jon Stewart makes well sure that everyone knows about those too.  While most people are not enthused with Romney, he only needs to focus on not pulling a Howard Dean.  I also wouldn’t joke about being unemployed either.

Listening to the radio on the way in to work today, one disenfranchised voter from New Hampshire didn’t really feel a whole lot of excitement toward any of the candidates.  With primary voters decidedly undecided, one is left to wonder whether the eventually GOP candidate will be received as enthusiastically as Sarah Palin.

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Mental Fortitude in the Early Morning

Today the sun rose at 5:52AM this morning and I’m proud to say that I was up – well up before then.  Back in the day, which technically isn’t incredibly far removed – I would be running already – maybe have even completed a good portion of ten miles.  It was an incredible feeling when one could start and finish the workout before the the sun appeared over the mountains.  For me, I had already accomplished something – a workout, part of my training routine during the cross country or track season.

Yet it required a great deal of mental fortitude.

I’m not sure that that waking up early ever comes easily – with or without coffee.  It’s almost as if the heavy presence of tryptophan in the air continually pulls down on my eyelids until I wake up at the same time as of the sun.  Maybe this is as life should be.  In heaven.

But again, I’ve reverted to my early bird discipline – not with running in the morning (I’m only disciplined enough to work out in the evening), but with attempting to seize the day – err morning.  (How many of these blog posts are actually *written* in the morning?  Few).  In following with my last post, the morning time helps to re-evaluate and formulate my objectives in the short term.  I know, impromptu habit/discipline sounds like a New Years Resolution – which, in that case, it’s either overdue or premature.

I wonder how much Congress could accomplish by grabbing a cup of joe and hashing out the details of cutting a trillion dollars from the budget in the disjointed raucous of a heavily trafficked coffee shop in downtown D.C.  (or Phoenix) in the early morning.  My guess is that they may be able to accomplish more here than behind closed doors.  Sarcasm aside, I think the larger sentiment reflected by the myself and portion of the nation is that we are less than optimistic over any budget deals.

With the election battle lines being drawn, the economics the debt ceiling and sequelae  will be pushed back until at least December where a vote isn’t required until just before Christmas.

Until then, we can only hope that our government will possess the mental fortitude needed to place the nation ahead of politics.  And that’s a venti hope.

When Parties and Politics Actually Mix

Normally, it’s bad form to discuss politics at a party.  Last time this happened, the topic of conservation nearly caused a brain hemorrhage in liberal woman who naively solicited my opinion.  At this current party, I again was in the minority – not necessarily because of my conservative leanings (although, that may have been true), but because I was the only person there to not speak Farsi.  Thankfully, everyone also knew English too.

I began speaking to one young man, Allie, who – at 22 – is a graduate student in the architecture program at Arizona State University.  He is a United States citizen, but he travels to Iran regularly.  He commented that one the largest differences he has noticed between the United States and Iran is the notion of “career” in the workplace.  Iran, like many other countries, employs a “siesta”-type work system whereby shops close mid-day to allow time for relaxation and eating.  Allie argued that this system provided the advantage of strengthening families by providing more “together time.”  In contrast, America works hard; it encourages its women to work hard; and  it purports to create a proportional relationship of work to “success” .  Unfortunately, according to him, America does this at the expense of family development.

Weakening the family unit, he posited, in turn will lead to a less stable society.  Eventually, this will undermine a nation’s strength.

Core governance begins at an individual level but it ends on a national level.  The more self-discipline one possesses individually, the less need one has for corporate government.  To maintain a strong national government, the lower spheres should be equally considered and strengthened.  Extrapolating Allie’s larger point, weakening the lower levels of government – namely the family – will slowly erode a nation’s strength.

The aim of ExDeserto, obviously, is to encourage reform that supports the pillars underpinning America’s national dominance.  ExDeserto accomplishes this goal by fostering discussion of these conservative ideas through this blog – and apparently by face-to-face communication at Persian parties too.

Setting the Stage for 2012

Say what you want for 2010, but it seems as if the battle lines for the 2012 presidential election were drawn in the sand this December. What are these issues? The forefront of the election will center on the economy. It’s not quite surprising is it? After all, since 2008, “we” – Congress that is – bailed out banks, car manufacturers and it was even proposed that the pornography industry could benefit from this economic “stimulus.” As if.

Even while economists claim a glimmer of hope exists for the coming year, this reassurance is hardly comforting given that 2010 has been so dismal. Housing prices have stagnated, and no one seems quite sure if they have bottomed out. It’s just as difficult to read the tea leaves of applications for unemployment benefits. Still we try. Even the television stations try to spin the news to make it palatable to the American public. The problem, of course, is the reality of the situation. The mirage of future economic prosperity being right around the corner does little to placate the family whose house is underwater and the homeowner who has become recently laid off.

One of our greatest problems is our fundamental failure to understand that we are far more than a stone’s throw away from our economic solution. For the past two years, we’ve tried putting on band-aids to plug the aortic rupture of our financial problems. In doing so, our congressional leaders have used neither a scalpel nor a hatchet to operate on the economy. Rather, we’ve treated the symptoms but failed to address the cause. How have we treated the symptoms? Predominately though stimulus and bailouts.

If we use a band-aid when stitches are required, we jeopardize exacerbating the condition. Unfortunately, this is the case. The federal deficit is larger now than at any time in American history – the last two years have added more to it than any other administration, Washington through Regan, combined.

Taxes, too, form part and parcel of the economy. Too high, taxes retard growth and depress the economy. Too low, the government cannot provide for the safety and welfare of its citizens. The Bush-era tax breaks, of course, were only extended for two more years and will lapse shortly after the next presidential election absent congressional intervention. For many Americans, this issue will remain dormant for the next twelve months until 2010 when the gears of political machinery will place this in contention.

So what of 2011? If past is prelude, 2011 won’t be greatly different from 2010. Certain those on Capitol Hill will continue to suggest that recovery is nigh, but I suppose that isn’t any different from the past twelve months. It’s not that I’m pessimistic, but I’m not quite even guardedly optimistic. Until our leaders decide to take more aggressive steps to address federal spending and the deficit, I expect the band-aid to stay on another year.

Government Healthcare – DMV Style

A friend recently forwarded me this video and I wanted to pass it on here.

Brought to you by CatholicVote.org, the video is a satirical public service announcement explaining government heath care as promoted by many Hollywood celebrities.

Who wouldn’t want the government to run health care the same way it does the DMV? Think of the short lines and cleanliness at the DMV; it’s a role model of efficiency. Why shouldn’t big government run health care?

Do you support a soda tax?

With the debate surrounding health care reform (Question: How do we pay for it?), another possibility to bettering the health of this nation is warranting a second look. (Answer: the soda tax). Certainly this possibility comes as bitter news to the sugary soda industry but lawmakers suggest that a nominal tax would help offset the trillion dollar price tag attached to universal health care.

I am favorably disposed to a soda tax because harmful actions should be discouraged; e.g. over-consumption of sugar.

As Derek Thompson from The Atlantic explains,

The added benefit of a sin tax is that by taxing something you consider harmful, you can win in two ways. If you don’t discourage consumption of the taxed good, revenues go up. If you do discourage consumption of the taxed good, then congratulations, you’ve reduced the sin you considered harmful in the first place. Considering the enormous impact of obesity on soaring health care costs, that would be a very good thing indeed.

Now, I do not believe it is the government’s role to dictate what we eat, how much we eat, and when we eat. I’m a firm believer in personal responsibility for my eating habits. However, I do believe the government has an interest in protecting the health of its citizens by passing regulations or taxes consistent with such goals.

And considering the enormous impact obesity impacts health care costs, it seems reasonable to tax those responsible for incurring such expenses.

I’m certainly curious to hear what others think. Why do you (or do not) support a soda tax?