Women have taken over this election cycle. We’ve heard over and over again the fake outrage from Democrats that Republicans want to force women into back alleys, make sure they’re treated unfairly at work, and turn back the clock on women’s rights. Every once in a while, this dialogue needs some perspective.
Malala Yousufzai, a 14 year old Pakistani girl, was shot by the Taliban on October 9th for speaking out and advocating for the education of girls. Not a radical view, but one that the Taliban felt merited a shot in the head. As she recovers slowly, the region continues to see an obscene amount of violence against women. Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women, not far from the top spot holder Afghanistan.
But the violence isn’t confined to just those two states. The entire region is plagued with anti-women sentiment. On Wednesday, young girls in Cairo had their haircut as punishment for refusing to wear headscarves at school.
These countries are unsafe for women. This will continue to be the case if President Obama is re-elected. He has turned his back on the women of the world, given a green light to radical uprisings in the Middle East that place power with those who hold dangerous views for women of all ages. In Egypt, he gave full support to their revolution. This is Article 68 of the Constitution that the government our President supports is almost done drafting:
“The state shall take all measures to establish the equality of women and men in the areas of political, cultural, economic and social life, as well as all other areas, insofar as this does not conflict with the rulings of Islamic Shariah.”
As Roger Cohen pointed out, this is the same as saying, “We commit to equality between the sexes except when we don’t.”
In addition to supporting groups who write that level of discrimination into their founding documents, he has set a date to pull out completely from Afghanistan. Our presence in the region has sparked a dramatic increase in the access of education for girls and it is not clear if that progress would be sustainable if we leave now.
The state of women is horrendous under this administration. If you’re really voting because you care about women’s rights and not just because you want cheaper birth control, you would not vote for Obama.
Mitt Romney continues to fight hard for women in Iowa today. The “We Know Mitt” bus tour, which consists of a group of former female cabinet members who served under Romney during his time as Governor of Massachusetts, seeks to correct the misperception many have about Romney’s views on women. This comes the day after President Obama held a rally at Cornell College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he mocked the much belabored “binders full of women” comment.
As Katie discussed earlier today, Romney “had more women in high power positions during his time as governor than any other governor in the country.” His record on women is crystal clear when looking at the facts, but women still favor Obama. This is changing, and the “We Know Mitt” tour might help aid this change. These leading women will hold roundtable discussions in the critical battleground state on the importance Romney places on getting women in leadership positions and the roles they played during his administration.
Although the idea of a group of women parading around Iowa saying, ‘Mitt Romney is not sexist’ seems a little ridiculous, this is, sadly, a needed move. No matter what the candidate says anymore, it will inevitably be labeled derogatory towards women. Iowans will be given the opportunity to hear first-hand from those who know him best why Mitt Romney has a better record for women. It will likely fall on deaf ears for some on the left, but could have a large impact locally where the gap between Romney and Obama has narrowed steadily.
Heidi Heitkamp understands it’s hard to run on unpopular Democratic policies in a state that heavily leans Republican. This is especially true in North Dakota, where Romney has a solid 14 point lead over Obama. So the Democratic candidate for US Senate has decided not to. Heitkamp would rather focus on questioning her Republican opponent Rick Berg’s business career than the issues facing the state. The DSCC recently released another ad attempting to link Berg to a company he doesn’t work for:
Berg’s campaign has repeatedly defended their candidate and questioned the veracity of the ads. Finally, the DSCC was forced to admit dishonesty and pull them. Although they will still run revised versions attacking Berg’s connections to Goldmark, he’ll continue to rightly defend himself.
Here are the facts:
• Rick Berg started a company named Midwest Management Co. He left in 1987.
• In 1994, seven years after Berg had moved on, that company changed its name and became Goldmark Property.
• Goldmark Property has allegedly engaged in questionable practices. These evil actions include fire code violations and allegations of mistreating tenants.
• He recently worked for a company, Goldmark Schlossman Commercial Real Estate Services, an independent entity from Goldmark Property and there are no legal ties between the two companies.
• Berg listed Goldmark Property as his employer on campaign forms. He has insisted that this was due to a clerical error.
That’s it. Heitkamp’s primary attack against Berg is centered around these facts. There's nothing scandalous and nothing that reflects negatively on Berg. Even if everything Heitkamp says is true, it doesn’t reveal anything about Berg’s ability to lead and represent North Dakota in the Senate. It doesn’t mean he has poor character or engaged in illegal or unsavory activity. It’s a ridiculous argument and shows the desperation of Heitkamp’s campaign, although attacking an individual’s success is nothing new this election cycle.
Unfortunately, Heitkamp’s attacks may be working to some degree. A new poll shows Berg tied with Heitkamp 47-47 in the only race in the state where the Republican does not have a clear advantage. This could be explained by his lower favorability ratings. 46% of likely voters recognize Heitkamp favorably as opposed to 42% recognizing Berg the same way. This is only a slight advantage, but could make all the difference on Election Day. Properly shutting down Heitkamp’s personal attacks, no matter how ridiculous, is essential for Rick Berg given these latest numbers.
With a population of just over half a million and an unemployment rate of 3%, politics plays out differently in North Dakota. Issues that don’t resonate with voters on a national stage, like the failure of the House to pass a Farm Bill, are of primary concern to North Dakota voters. Although solidly Republican when it comes to voting for a president, they have had a Democratic Senator for over fifty years. For this reason, the Senate race between current Representative Rick Berg (R) and former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) has shaped up to be a hotly contested race for control of the Senate with national groups on both sides pumping millions of dollars to prop up their side and run ads attacking the other.
Old-fashioned retail politics might be more effective, though. In a small state like North Dakota, personalities tend to be more important than they might be elsewhere. Heitkamp has tried to downplay her support of President Obama and his how nice she is. One supporter embodied the attitude perfectly when he said, “I don’t necessarily agree with her, but I trust her.”
Speaking to the New York Times, Berg explained what he would rather focus on: “Everyone’s pretty likable. The issue is not about a personality contest. This whole thing kind of boils down to, do you want someone who’s going to fight against President Obama.” Berg has been trying to pivot to national issues and how North Dakota should be a lesson for the rest of the United States.
New polling data released Friday shows that the race is still very much up in the air. It shows Heitkamp up 4% with a margin of error of 4% and 8% of people undecided. This means the candidates are virtually tied with a sizeable portion still waiting to be swayed. But, as Berg was quick to point out, this poll was funded by the Democratic Party and the company that conducted it (Stone Research Services) was the same one that showed Obama winning the state in 2008 by 8 points. It’s hardly the most trustworthy data. Still, with just over a month to go, the solidly Republican state’s open U.S. Senate seat is anyone’s game.
Democrats in Iowa are starting to get nervous. With what was once President Obama’s strength- his foreign policy record- quickly eroding as he grossly mishandles a terrorist attack and security failure for political gain, it’s easy to see why the Iowa Democratic Party is encouraging early voting.
As CNN reports, early voting, which began yesterday, is up drastically over 2008 levels. Democrats account for over 80% of all absentee requests, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.
While some point to this as a good sign for President Obama, Iowa GOP strategist Steve Grubbs points out that this is a difference of strategy: “The Republican Party will put a little more into the last three weeks, and the Democrats a little more into the first initial blast of early voting.”
It’s not hard to see why. September's jobs report will be released next week and no one expects good news. This is in addition to the continuous flow of negative reports from the Middle East that show not only a complete disaster surrounding the Benghazi attack but also an icy relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama. Democrats need to vote early because they only have fewer reasons to vote for Obama as the election grows closer.
Iowan Democrats are well aware of this and are doing all they can to push early voting. The Obama campaign even asked Jason Alexander to make a stop in Des Moines to encourage voters and try to hype up enthusiasm. With each day bringing more and more questions on the President’s leadership, or lack thereof, Iowa Democrats understand that the quicker they can get people to cast their ballots, the better.
Anti-American protests have been spreading like wildfire throughout the Middle East. It was inevitable that they would make their way to our pseudo-ally Pakistan. Demonstrators, over 5,000 of them, have attacked the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, resulting in over fifty injuries so far. And the government, who receives millions of dollars in aid from the United States, is not helping the cause. As BBC reports, “the Pakistani government has called a national holiday on Friday to enable people to demonstrate peacefully.”
The Taliban could not be happier. Not only are they failing to condemn the violent protests, the Pakistani government is actively encouraging the anti-American sentiment by rewarding the radicals with a government-approved day off so they can participate.
In spite of this blatant slap in the face to the United States, Pakistan is still attempting to feign friendship with our country. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, as part of her four-day trip to Washington, DC, met with the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday. She urged “understanding” for Pakistan’s interests and emphasized Pakistan’s own security priorities in Afghanistan. She discussed with the senators how our nations can work together to bring stability there. This came the day before her government approved protests against the United States. Is this what cooperation and understanding looks like?
Prior to Khar’s arrival, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced legislation to end Pakistan’s status as a “major non-NATO ally.” Calling Pakistan “the Benedict Arnold nation in the list of countries that we call allies,” he urged the House of Representatives to reconsider our classification of the nation. This comes on the heels of Representative Rand Paul’s (R-KY) adamant call for a vote on a bill to end aid to Pakistan. Ending our ties to Pakistan should not even be a question up for debate at this point. Granting a holiday to set fire to our Embassy proves definitively that they are no ally.
On this solemn day, most of the nation mourns the loss of life that occurred on this day eleven years ago and contemplates the changes that have occurred since then. Most, but not all. Kurt Eichenwald, contributing editor for Vanity Fair and writer for the New York Times, published an inflammatory op-ed accusing former President Bush of not preventing the attacks:
“While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed.”
Trust me, he tells us. He read the documents and knows that the administration responded with “negligence.” This is no light accusation. Eichenwald is accusing the President of knowingly putting the American people at risk. Exactly why President Bush would do this is never specified beyond the explanation that, “the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled…” The evil and ever elusive “neo-cons” were behind this alleged (and completely undocumented) negligence.
According to Eichenwald, solid evidence demonstrating an imminent threat was outlined in Presidential Daily Briefings. The same briefings Bush attended religiously because he prioritized our national security. Eichenwald cites the most damning:
“By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible….Operatives connected to Bin Laden, one reported on June 29, expected the planned near-term attacks to have ‘dramatic consequences,’ including major casualties. On July 1, the brief stated that the operation had been delayed, but ‘will occur soon.’”
What could the President have done with this information? They believed there was a group planning an attack soon. Where were they planning? What would this attack look like? What are the names of the people involved? If these details, which would help Eichenwald’s case, were present in the documents he obtained, why would he not include those? All this proves, if it is to be taken at face value, is that there was a threat, not that Bush didn’t take it seriously or could have prevented it.
Eichenwald insists on drawing broader conclusions though, despite the limited nature of the facts before him. He reaches a new level of indecency and complete disregard for history when he continues:
“Yet, the White House failed to take significant action…Could the 9/11 attack have been stopped, had the Bush team reacted with urgency to the warnings contained in all of those daily briefs? We can’t ever know. And that may be the most agonizing reality of all.”
Eichenwald’s whole argument falls apart with these sentences. It’s a cop out to speculate that had someone acted differently, the outcome would have been different. This could be said about anything. It’s demonstrative of Eichenwald’s ignorance and eagerness to throw Bush under the bus that he doesn’t say what this different action would look like.
In an interview this morning on Morning Joe, Eichenwald could not defend himself and was completely torn apart by Former NY Governor Pataki:
Eichenwald asserts that the Clinton-Gore administration understood the changing roles of nation-states better than the Bush administration. Since President Bush did not, according to Eichenwald, accept this view of the evolving system of international relations, he was fooled. But when asked by Jon Meacham if a hypothetical President Gore could have taken some mysterious, unnamed preventative action and stopped 9/11 from happening, Eichenwald cannot answer definitively.
It’s easy to retroactively look back and say things should have been done differently. It’s harder to lead through those difficult times and take the necessary actions to make America secure again, as Bush did. Governor Pataki could not have said it better:
“To look 11 years later and say, ‘this was happening before September 11th, in the summer,’ and to go through and selectively take out quotes and say, ‘you should have done that, you should have done that,’ I think is incredibly unfair and a disservice to history.”
To no ones surprise, Democrats at their convention this week do not want to talk seriously about the economy or national security, two of the most important issues to voters in this election. Instead, their goal lies in continuing to transform distractions into the primary talking points.
In their efforts to open up the convention to those not able to attend, they plan on playing an online convention special hosted by Kal Penn and featuring a number of celebrities before President Obama’s speech on Thursday. To advertise this event, they posted a video with stoned “Harold and Kumar:”
There’s nothing wrong with some light hearted fun, but when fluff becomes the rule rather than the exception, there’s a problem. Distractions have come to dominate the Democratic Party’s talking points. The obsession with Paul Ryan’s marathon time is only the latest example. Ridiculous allegations of racial code words are thrown around after practically everything a Republican says. “Women’s issues” seem to be more important to leading officials on the left than American issues. Hopefully, voters will see right through their ploys and ask themselves if we really are better off than we were four years ago. The answer is patently obvious.
A secret U.S. program has released an undisclosed number of terrorists over the past several years from a military prison in Afghanistan, but not to worry. They were only released if they promised to give up violence.
What a relief.
Unfortunately though, this has been done before. Prisoners promised to stop their violence as a condition for release from Guantanamo Bay. It didn’t work.
But the Obama Administration decided to try again. In order to end the war by the predetermined deadline Obama imposed of all U.S. combat troops withdrawing by 2014, the releases were practically necessary. Imposing arbitrary deadlines means that sacrifices to U.S. national security and the safety of U.S. troops currently fighting are completely justifiable.
With a goal “to quell violence…particularly as troops continue to withdraw,” the program seeks to allow for the opening of diplomatic channels between us and the terrorists in order to make the war fit Obama’s artificial timetable.
One official remarked to the Washington Post (on the condition of anonymity) that:
Everyone agrees they are guilty of what they have done and should remain in detention. Everyone agrees that these are bad guys. But the benefits outweigh the risks.
Releasing guilty terrorists with the hope that the Taliban might like us more is granting the group legitimacy and caving in to their tactics. No “benefit” can be derived from attempting diplomacy and negotiations with terrorist organizations. The only result possible from this secret program is that the American military and people are more at risk.
Yesterday, while speaking to the Environmentalist Defense Fund, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that ‘man-made’ Global Warming is now an issue of national security. Any reasonable person might ask why, and Panetta explains:
“The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security. Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
Rising sea levels will cause the United States to spend more money in aid, thus hurting our national security? Panetta fails to connect the dots in his logic. He also assumes that the world will face a massive disaster from drastic changes in the sea level. Although sea levels are on the rise, there is still debate as to the cause and it is not as bad as expected.
But Panetta did not stop pandering to environmentalists there. He continued by citing the costs to the Department of Defense of high gas prices as a reason the department is looking to alternative fuel sources. The Armed Forces Press Service reports that, “He pledged to continue to keep the Defense Department on the cutting edge in the push for clean energy.” Increasing oil exploration and production at home, rather than investing in alternative technology that is still inefficient, would be win-win for the department. It would lower their fuel costs and increase our national security by making America less reliant on foreign producers. Why would he not be advocating this rather than solutions that only make the problem of fuel costs and energy efficiency worse?
Allowing this hijacking of the Department of Defense by environmentalists distracts attention, manpower, and funds from work that actually protects our national security.