Flashing Right

John McCain lost the 2008 election for three basic reasons.  He ran an incompetent campaign, the global banking market crashed on the Republican’s watch, and no one knew who the heck Barack Obama was. These three facts conspired to drive many center and center-left independents toward the Democrat nominee.  Obama’s call for hope and change was exactly what many war weary folks wanted to hear, and he rolled over the McCain camp like an Abrams tank on cruise control.  Put bluntly, it was ugly.

During his campaign, Obama used a lofty rhetoric that inspired even his most devout adversaries at times.  People voted for him in droves because he was different, an unknown quantity, and everyone was pretty much burned out with who they knew.

This anonymity was arguably Barack Obama’s greatest asset.  Folks did not know what his politics would end up being, but they liked him.  Sure he seemed a bit left, but all candidates campaign for their their core constituents and then move to the center once elected.  How bad could this guy be after all?  With that, our nation made a calculated hard left turn. The destination was a mystery, but everyone hoped for a smoother ride.

The bad news for Barack is that the anonymity that he had enjoyed in 2008, is no longer his ally.  Left leaning voters that put him in office are now looking back at the change that was promised, and wondering what happened. Unemployment is still 9.1% officially, but in reality it is much higher.  In fact, many US cities are still well over 10%. African-American voters, who pulled the lever for Obama 96% of the time, have actually seen modest increases in unemployment numbers since his election and are also starting to ponder their decision. Pacifists have also been let down.  Three years after his election, Guantanamo Bay is still open for business and the US is still involved in military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As wide as the chasms are getting between factions on the left, they are even wider between Obama’s camp and the right.  Unlike the 2008 election where Obama was able to steal McCain’s platform and make it his own; in 2012 he has set himself apart as a hard core liberal in bed with environmentalists, big labor, and big government ideologues.

Three years after Obama’s election, we can look at Republican presidential hopefuls like (this blog’s favorite) Herman Cain, and see clear cut differences in vision and direction for our nation. We see a new focus on individual responsibility and liberty vice government nanny-ism. Republicans are offering new and innovative “free market” friendly solutions like Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan for Prosperity, and the polls show folks are taking notice.

The 2012 presidential election is shaping up to be a potential landslide for conservative values.  Contrary to the opinion of many currently camping out on Wall Street, this is not because “greedy corporations” are controlling our minds with chemicals in our Big Mac patties, but rather because Americans are no longer buying all the big government Utopian BS.  Like 2008, our nation is at a fork in the road.  Utopia at the left and the real world to the right.  Americans are tired of the left’s empty promises and class warfare laden hyperbole, and just want to go to work and pay their mortgages…like in the old days. They are tired of not being able to do so, while at the same time being asked to pay the freight of others. Make no mistake about it dear friends (and others) the fork is approaching fast and, to the chagrin of the current administration, the nation’s blinker is flashing right.

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Four Doctors Support Health Care Bill

BREAKING NEWS  – Head Muscle Press (March 4, 2002) In a tightly choreographed media event yesterday, President Barack Obama announced to an eager crowd of supporters that his administration had located four doctors that agreed with his new health care bill.  Speaking with renewed determination, President Obama impugned the hastily assembled crowd to get the bill passed now.  “This is really an exciting moment for us,” one supporter confided.  “We have really been hoping that the medical community would step up to support this bill, and it looks like it has finally happened…I mean…well…at least four of them have.  We have also heard rumors that there is a pharmacist in Rapid City who likes the bill too, but no one has confirmed it yet.” In an attempt to dig a bit deeper,  HM Press caught up with one of Obama’s staffers after the media event. On condition of anonymity,  she agreed to speak with us.  Transcript follows:

HM: This seems to be a big event for the President.

Staffer: Absolutely! He is thrilled.

HM: So, these four doctors actually agree with Obama’s new plan?

Staffer: Yes, they think that this bill is the only way to save our health care system.

HM: But there are only four of them…

Staffer: Only four?  I would say that this is a pretty impressive showing.

HM: but..

Staffer: (breaking in) Let me finish.  We may only have four now, but we think that there are a lot more out there.  Maybe double that number!

HM: So you are saying that there may actually be eight doctors out there that agree with the new bill?

Staffer: Well we cannot say for sure, but some of our analysts think it is possible.  Look, the fact is, there is a silent super minority of doctors out there who are clearly leaning our way –  and we want to find them.

HM: What exactly is a silent super minority?

Staffer: Well we are not sure about that either, but we think it is an important demographic.

HM: How so?

Staffer: Think about it. We are changing one sixth of the US economy to support about seven percent of the population.  Given those numbers, finding four doctors that support this bill is huge!

HM: But polls still show that the vast majority of doctors are against the bill.

Staffer: Not anymore.  In our latest poll, one hundred percent of the doctors surveyed supported it.

HM: Wow, that is impressive who conducted the poll?

Staffer: We did of course!

HM: Oh really, what sample size did you use?

Staffer: That’s beside the point.

HM: No, I think it is important; how big was your sample?

Staffer: Well, quite a few…um…maybe about four I think.

HM: (shocked) So what you are saying is that you only polled the four doctors on stage.

Staffer: Well yes, but it was unanimous….pretty much.

HM: Pretty much?

Staffer: OK, initially one of the doctors was undecided, but Obama was able to change his mind.

HM: How? Did he offer the doctor some type of political position or favor in return for his support?

Staffer: Oh no, Obama will never make that mistake again.

HM: How did he do it then?

Staffer: Cash…I think.

HM: (changing subject)You must forgive my skepticism, but it just seems to me that having four doctors on board is nothing to get excited about.

Staffer: Well, I will admit the stage looked a bit sparse with just four doctors behind the President, but this is only the beginning. Let’s say that our analysis is correct and we can find another four out there somewhere. The ramifications would be huge!

HM: I am sorry, I don’t understand.

Staffer: (rolling eyes) Well a television screen is only so wide.

HM: (confused) Excuse me?

Staffer: (irritated)  OK, work with me here… just imagine if we had eight doctors on stage all bunched up real tight with Obama.   We could almost make the average American believe that our nation’s medical professionals were behind this bill, not just our liberal friends at the DFA and AMA.

HM: So, what you are really saying is that you want to dupe gullible Americans into thinking this bill is a good idea?

Staffer: Well, I would not use the term “dupe” …

HM: What term would you use?

Staffer: I dunno, “creatively manipulate” maybe?  I mean it really is for their own good.  Most Americans are incapable of understanding this bill anyway, and just need to let us pass it.  After all, we know what is good for them; we’re the government!

HM: I see.

Staffer: Well I am very sorry to cut this short, but I need to get back to work.  I only have an hour to get the white coats back to the costume shop…see ya!

At that point, our interview ended as our staffer dashed from the press room.  We are not sure where this all will lead, but one thing is clear.  We have witnessed political theater at its finest and, if successful, we will likely see many such stunts in the future.  Rumors are already circulating that Obama staffers have rented a half dozen polar bear suits for an upcoming climate change conference. <<DEVELOPING>>

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From Hope to Nope to Hope

If you read Head Muscle regularly you know that we travel quite a bit.  We love exploring different cultures and brining those perspectives to our HM readers.  One indisputable downside to traveling however, is having to spend so much time in airports.  Airports are what I like to think of as “transitional spaces.” They are neither here nor there, but somewhere in between; a traveler’s purgatory if you will.  At best they are full of antsy people trying to be somewhere else, while at worst they are prisons full of involuntary suitcase ladened captives.

Most cities, Newark New Jersey excluded, understand this about their airports and do their very best to disguise them as shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, and even theme parks (Newark on the other hand has gone for the Gothic dungeon look).  They load them up with overpriced kiosks and boutiques designed to momentarily separate us from our airport angst, and a bit of cash while they are at it.

On a recent flight from Washington DC, my friend Tracey (famous for his McDonald’s photo) and I had a couple of hours to explore the mysteries of Dulles International Airport.  If you have never flown out of Dulles,  it is the one airport in the country that actually makes Newark International Airport appear “not so bad.”  Since it was built in the early 60’s by President Kennedy, it has seen few updates and is by all standards – exhausted.

Tracey and I walked by several airport vendors completely detached from our circumstance when something caught Tracey’s eye.  “Hey Chuck wait a moment,” he exclaimed reaching for his cell phone.  “I gotta get a picture of this.”  We were standing in front of a DC memorabilia store that just several weeks earlier had been littered with the usual pro-Obama teeshirt displays.  Shirts printed with the popular bromides “Hope” and “Change” had literally been hanging from every available ledge since last November.  For months I had breezed by this store without giving it much more than a passing glance. I suppose that their gratuitous pandering to the current administration was even somewhat irritating. “Why on Earth does Tracey want to take a picture of ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ teeshirts?” I thought to myself.  “This store is nothing but a retail propaganda arm for the Democrat Party!”  As Tracey leveled his camera on the display table however, I walked up beside him to see what all the fuss was about. My jaw dropped when I saw the subject of his photograph:


It was as if, in the middle of the night, the political memorabilia fairies had come and swapped out Hope for Nope!  This was not just one shirt either. There were dozens of shirts on prominent display decrying everything from the bailout to public health care. In addition to all the shirts, the table was rimmed with anti-Obama mugs, wallets, pens, and ball caps as well. Not only could you by anti-Obama clothing in any number of sizes and colors – you could accessorize! In fact, as I looked from side to side I could not find as single solitary “Hope” teeshirt on display anywhere.  I was dizzy with partisan joy!

Now, it is no secret that Obama has been slipping steadily in the polls. Many political blogs have devoted countless posts to analyzing the meaning of our Commander-in-Chief’s waining numbers. In fact, the Daily Rasmussen Report shows that only 26% of Americans strongly approve of Obama’s performance while a whopping 41% strongly disapprove.  The reality however, as we all know, is that polls will be polls.  Skilled pollsters can elicit any result they desire simply by crafting bias into their questions.  So, politicians routinely use “friendly” polling organizations to accomplish their political objectives. Yawn.

Unlike the polls however, something about this teeshirt display really struck me.  This was a retail organization selling to the public. Unlike politicians, they make money the old fashioned way – by selling products that people want.  Certainly if “Hope” and “Change” were still selling, the displays would be full of the usual paraphernalia. Then it hit me. The only explanation for the change in inventory was that folks just weren’t buying the “Hope” thing anymore.  This little teeshirt shop had actually been able to capture American sentiment through the purest of all venues – the free market.  People vote with their wallets and, at least in the airport teeshirt and coffee mug business, the “Hope” market appears to have run its course. If “Hope” and “Change” were still selling, they would still be selling it – pure and simple. It was like someone had hit me in the face with a bucket of cold water (still in the bucket).  Could America be waking up from its ideological coma? Could the light at the end of the tunnel be something other than a socialist locomotive? I felt a surge of energy coarse up my right leg as I pondered the significance of the table of T’s before me. Yes, this could truly be a sign of what awaits our liberal compatriots in 2010!  I want to believe it- I really do!

<Pause for deep breath…>

Now, whether or not this is only a temporary reprise or a true grassroots shift to the right is clearly difficult to say. I also reluctantly admit that airport goers are not a fair sample of all American voters.  The only clear fact is that, at the moment,  Americans seem to be shifting from “Hope” to “Nope” – which may just mean that there is hope after all.

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