14 October 2012

The "United States is" vs. "United States are": A step towards socialism/progressivism

Regardless of one's opinion of the Civil War, the one thing that most liberty-lovers can agree upon is that one outcome of the North's victory was a major shift in the way people, both at home and abroad, spoke about the United States.

Gone are the days of the primacy of the several States over a limited Federal Government, and in their place, the Federal Government grew.  No longer were the United States referred to as a plural collection of several states, but a singular, "unified" federal-centric nation.

  • The "United States are" = individual states joined in a union with constitutionally limited federal power 
  • The "United States is" = increased federal power and decreased state sovereignty

Perhaps worse, during this shift from plural to singular, it became the predominant view of the Federal Government and the majority of citizens alike to see the states not as sovereign entities, but rather as mere administrative divisions of the central Federal Government.

I believe that this change in thought is what helped pave the way for the "progressive" amendments to the Constitution in 1913 (the 16th and 17th Amendments), and has allowed for creeping socialism ever since--because most citizens now think of the country as a Federal Government that has primacy over the several states, rather than the proper balance: the several sovereign states as the "incubators of democracy", with a Constitutionally limited Federal Government.

05 October 2012

Top 10 Republican and Democrat Counties in Colorado

Based on numbers from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office (accurate as of 1 October, 2012), here are the top 10 counties by percent of active Republicans and Democrats within the county.  Now you'll know where to move to--or avoid--based on the concentration of Republicans or Democrats in a particular county.

I find the disparity between Republicans and Democrats congregating together to be interesting--when averaged, the top 10 Republican counties come out to 65.38%, whereas the top 10 Democrat counties come out to 51.96%.  Apparently Republicans like living around other Republicans more than Democrats like living around other Democrats.

Other interesting food for thought: Arapahoe County has the 3rd most registered active Republicans AND 2nd most registered active Democrats in the state (94,971 and 94,695, respectively).  I'm sure this is why it is a swing county.

Maybe now I need to do top 10 best performing Republican and Democrat counties.  That could be fun and illuminating... but, without further delay, the numbers for this post...


10) Kit Carson -- 59.94%
9) Phillips -- 60.14%
8) Lincoln -- 61.12%
7) Moffat -- 61.73%
6) Custer -- 61.99%
5) Hinsdale -- 63.52%
4) Cheyenne -- 66.7%
3) Rio Blanco -- 72.49%
2) Washington -- 72.79%
1) Jackson -- 73.42%

(Note: El Paso County has the most total active registered Republicans, at 132,755--but only 46.59% of the registered voters in El Paso are Republicans, which is why they didn't make the list)


10) San Miguel -- 45.07%
9) Mineral -- 46.81%
8) Pueblo -- 47.1%
7) Saguache -- 49.29%
6) Huerfano -- 50.01%
5) Denver -- 50.79%
4) Conejos -- 51.68%
3) Lake -- 51.9%
2) Las Animas -- 54.79%
1) Costilla -- 72.17%

(Note: Denver County, no surprise here, has the most total active registered Democrats, at 152,176, and you'll notice them on the list at number 5)

04 October 2012

Opinion: Debate Analysis

It was obvious to even the non-objective observe that Romney won last night.  Obama almost didn't even bother to show up.  Maybe if he brings his teleprompter next time, just because he's so used to seeing it, it will help him psychologically to be more "in the zone" (not that we really want him to be).  It's no big secret that Obama is not a great speaker, he's a great reader.  Or maybe he speaks well, he just can't impromptu.  At all.

Romney had some great moments.  He had a few good zingers, at the beginning especially (bring up the "middle class has been buried" line was inspired).  He made excellent points on things like the debt not just being an economic issue, but a moral one, and that $90 billion of subsidies to bankrupt energy companies (all but one I believe are now bankrupt, but don't quote me on that) was like 50 years worth of subsidies (my personal favorite line of the night--his later point about that being able to hire 2 million teachers I thought was much weaker).  He seemed much more solid and alive than I've ever seen him this campaign.

Romney also had some bad moments.  Let's be honest--and hope he gets better before the next debate.

Areas to improve on or watch for next time:
  • When Obama lies, don't whine about it ("But... but... but... he LIED about my economic plan!" sounds like a 5 year old, not a Presidential candidate).  It's not like it surprises anyone on our side of the fence that Obama lies, and that would have been a great time for a joke, not a whine. 
  • Be careful not to cross the line between being strong and not letting the media/moderator run roughshod over you and coming across like a jerk.  I think Romney came awful close to that line last night, so he needs to watch that carefully.  On the plus side, I was pleased to see him actually appear to have grown a pair and was glad he kind of took charge there.
  • Do not cave on things like regulations, taxes and getting the federal government out of things it doesn't belong in (like healthcare and education).  Romney really worried me with his statement about how the free market can't exist without regulations, and his repeated statements about not actually wanting to lower taxes (he usually meant, I think, to the point where it adds to the deficit, but didn't always add that in) or get rid of regulations or keep parts of Obamacare (which should NOT be a federal issue in the first place) or that the Federal Government should help out with education at a state level (again, so NOT a federal issue) are very troubling.
  • Romney must get a better answer on the Obamacare vs. Romneycare issue and stop saying repeal and REPLACE.  It should be repeal and repudiate, then repeal all the federal regulations that are causing price spikes in healthcare.  Even with Obama barely there, Romney lost that section from what I saw.  He has to get stronger on that, and quickly.
  • What struck me as odd last night was Romney's attempts to make his positions sounds like Obama's on several issues, and then have Obama be the one trying to draw distinctions.  Usually, it is the other way around.  I didn't like that approach and hope it is never used again.

Overall, even with areas to improve on, I thought Romney did surprisingly well--certainly much better than I expected, to be perfectly frank.  I also really liked the format of this debate as compared to previous Presidential and primary debates.

A brief note now on "independents" and the "audience" for the debate:
  • Most people who claim to be "independent" or are registered that way are NOT middle of the road, no matter how much they tell you that.  A significant portion always vote for one party or another, they simply don't want to be affiliated with a party for whatever reason.  Anyone who says otherwise is probably lying.
  • Most Republicans who left the party to become independents didn't do so because they wanted the GOP to be more "liberal", but because it wasn't conservative enough, or pro-liberty enough.  Pandering middle of the road-to-left in a general election, therefore, further alienates that voting block--and Romney is going too far left for many of them, from what I've been hearing.
  • Debates don't win elections.  Most people have their minds made up by now, even if they don't want to admit it.  Most people either don't like Romney or Obama, but the "undecideds", based on my experience, are largely looking for a reason to vote for Romney or Obama, not just against the person they don't like.  People watch the debates to get a positive reason to vote, and I'm not sure that last night's debate did that for either candidate.  Yes, Romney came across strong for the first time, and yes, he obviously won.  But he also said some very troublesome things about the free market, taxes, regulations, etc.  Wanting to save parts of Obamacare doesn't help him, either.  Obama totally not showing up certainly didn't help him.
  • Finally, who watches these debates?  Honestly, it's largely the wonks and people who have already made up their minds (how many Romneyites or Obamaheads were tweeting/blogging/facebooking/commentating last night?  LOTS...).  Any arguments that Romney "had to" go left because of the audience is just plain naive.  Additionally, no candidate should ever change their message because of the audience.  How it is presented, yes--absolutely.  But never the content of the message.  Romney can't say he want to cut taxes on the campaign trail just to turn around in the debates and say... well, not really, and many other things that sounded to me like contradictions.  Flip-flopping, or at least appearing to, will not win you an election because it erodes trust.