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Romney Badly Needs Debate Zingers He’s Probably Not Going To Get

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The word on the streets is that Romney’s speech was okay. Sadly, for the GOP okay is not nearly good enough. Generating excitement in all the right places was what he needed to do and he did not get the job done.

The speech was ultimately a failure for a myriad of reasons.

  • It wasn’t unified by a single message.
  • It didn’t provide any substance.
  • It relied far too much on a mild attack on a personally popular incumbent.
  • Its appeals to key demographics were poorly focused. 
  • Clint Eastwood preceded it. 
The plan seemed to be this. Ryan did the wonk stuff, Romney delivered the vision thing. But the big picture part required a far strong rhetorical basis, and Romney’s delivery was lackluster and rushed. It wasn’t a bad show. It just wasn’t good enough.
On the final night of the DNC in Charlotte, President Obama will deliver a top quality speech that will be viewed by many millions of people. It will make the right appeals, with the right rhetorical beats and it will be effective.
What little bump Romney gets from last night will easily be overwhelmed by the DNC battering ram. 
And where will that leave Romney? 
The answer is simple. He’ll be relying on the debates to deliver hit-home zingers on the ice-man. Last time, Obama, a first-term senator with little national experience ate John veteran McCain’s lunch on both nights. This time, Barack Obama is a confident one-term President. He is not going to make any mistakes, and Mitt Romney is going to look real bad trying to get him to make them.
It’s possible that Obama can be derailed, but his 1-3 point leads in key swing states, while slim, are ironically solid. Those last points are the hardest for Romney to turn, and he’ll need a home run to get those swings. 
TINP doesn’t see it happening. 

Written by coolrebel

August 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Afghanistan: A Real War Cannot Just Be Ended. It Must Be Won Or Lost

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The United States has apparently been at war in Afghanistan for over a decade, the longest conflict in US history, and has decided in its munificence that enough is enough. It’s ending the war.

Not so fast.

First of all, the Taliban – the enemy in this conflict – have not been party to the ending of this war. There has been and will be no peace treaty. The Taliban have not surrendered, unconditionally or otherwise. As far as they are concerned, the US is withdrawing its forces, some might even say retreating. We would vehemently deny this, but we’re giving ground, freely, because we don’t think the costs anymore outweigh the benefits.

But war has its own logic, which is not the same as Obama’s twisted version that suggests that its time for the Afghans to stand up and show us what they can do. Armies are cultural phenomena. You can’t just create a good one. We tried to train a winning army in Vietnam and failed. It will fail again. Training the locals is almost always a smoke screen for our strategic unwillingness to do what it takes to win.

If a war is worth fighting for strategic reasons for over a decade, why would it be strategically wise to then simply withdraw, unless the situation on the ground makes that withdrawal strategically valid.

It has not.

We’re leaving this “war” in the hands of Afghan Forces. We did the same in Cambodia, relying on South Vietnamese troops to take Phnom Penh. They were unceremoniously repulsed, desperately hanging onto Huey Skids to escape being torn apart by Montagnards and VC. The same will happen again. Untried and untested, except under the strict tutelage of US forces, the Afghans will quite simply crumble. Easy pickings against hardened insurgents, who have shown that they can easily strike at the heart of Kabul with ease.

And then where will we be? Over the next decade, the Taliban will regain ground, and perhaps choke off what’s left of the Afghan government. And when the Afghan Army has its backs to the wall, will we go back in to bail it out?


So much for the President’s vaunted logic, so majestic so often, so lacking when it comes to matters of warfare.

Written by coolrebel

May 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm

There’s Fire In Her Belly – Palin’s Opportunity

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Things are getting a little desparate in the GOP presidential field when people are bemoaning the departure of Mitch Daniels from the running. Widely regarded as one of the most boring and technocratic faces in American politics, he joins Mike Huckabee as among the wise few who realize that pending some crushing blow Obama is pretty much unbeatable. Among the so-called sensible candidates, we’re left with Romney, a man who gives dripping insincerity a bad name, Newt, a man of wit, great intelligence and Tourette’s syndrome, Tim “Who”-Lenty, a man defined only by his crushing ordinariness, and the Silver Mormon Jon Huntsman, a relatively moderate voice in an otherwise rabid mob with a resume that includes working for that Muslim Kenyan guy.

Then there are the loons, like Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and that Pizza dude. And the late maybes like Jeb “Son of a” Bush, Chris “Fatboy” Christie, and Rick “Texas McMiracle” Perry.

Am I forgetting anyone?

Oh, yeah. Sarah Palin, formerly the star of 95% of all known news stories. She of the famous tweets, content-free bestsellers, reality shows, and Fox News contracts. Remember the days when her ridiculous “Death Panel” Facebook post defined the attack on “Obamacare” and very nearly sank the whole enchilada? She used to be quite a big deal. Could she be again?

Answer: You betcha. If she wants to be.

Palin is the only potential player in the GOP field with “serious” candidate credentials, who fits neatly into the “loon” category too. She can command a Tea Party crowd with a flash of her shiny red pumps, and with a little coaching could even be credible in these days of diminished credibility requirements. She knows better than anyone how to toss out the red meat and as Nate Silver showed the other day, she gets more hits on Google than all the other candidates combined. I wouldn’t fancy the chances or Bachmann, Santorum, or Paul – either alone or as a tag-team – in a catfight with Palin. She’ll maul them but good.

Palin also has the huge advantage of bottom-feeder expectations. We know she can gussy up the knuckledraggers, but if she strings a few words together that actually make sense she’ll be hailed as a genius, and although she’s not known for her bookwork, it’s at least possible that she’ll get a few hours of quality schooling in if the White House beckons. Lets face it, for an ego the size of Sarah’s nothing else will do.

These are utterly facile political times. Don Trump, a man who’s utter absurdity knows no bounds was doing pretty nicely in the Cracker poll-of-polls until he bowed out when he realized the reality of having to drop his reality show. To say that is a sad commentary on the state of our politics is a gross understatement. But it’s good news for Palin. She’s got the looks, she’s got the sass, she’s got some gal who writes her tweets and she’s got the star appeal. Heaven knows one needs little else these days.

And if she runs, she doesn’t need money. She’ll have free media coming out of her ears. Every time she coughs, someone will parse it. And then, of course, if she gets traction, the money will come, and the oh-so-amenable and preternaturally calm ads will follow. Big donors might start to think, hey we can run this gal. Maybe it won’t be so bad for the Street or the Chamber. Maybe she can even beat the big man. I mean, we’re probably going to get our lunch handed to us anyway. Why not do it with style? Doubts about the other boring farts will begin to gnaw at them. Heck, wackier things have happened in American politics, which is already way, way stranger than it’s ever been.

Sarah also has a problem. If she doesn’t run she’s finished. Her career is going nowhere but down if she doesn’t get the facetime that’s offered by the big show. She already knows the devastating nightmares that can happen to a celeb if they stay quiet. People stop giving a shit. So she needs to get in or essentially retire. Maybe she’ll take the latter path, but my gut says she loves the big time, and would rather swing and miss than not go up to the plate at all. If she doesn’t, she faces obscurity, which for Sarah Palin is probably a fate far worse than defeat in a Presidential election, which she’d no doubt suggest was just a ‘little fun to pass the time between memoirs’. That “fire in the belly” comment she made was pitch-perfect. I ain’t in. I ain’t out. But if I go for it, I go all out.

With Huckabee hanging them up, Palin has an opening in Iowa as a late-comer who fires up the State Fair. She can work the social conservatives, and play debt-diva on the side if the need calls for it. She’s 99% history in New Hampshire, but if she can put in a decent showing she wins anyhoo. The key for SP (and everyone else) is South Carolina. Even if she runs second in Iowa, she can stay very competitive going into Super Tuesday with a win in SC, where the more shameless and outrageous you are the better. Down there she also has a big ally. The SC Governor Nikki Haley owes Sarah her career. Maybe it’s payback time. State GOP footsoldiers might give Sadie the edge.

Palin’s dirty laundry is just about all public knowledge, so the nasty, campaign-ending discovery factor is low. Her name recognition is a non-issue too. She can hit the ground running, and she’s hired Mike Glassner as an early campaign manager, a guy who worked for Bob Dole for decades and knows a little about being, well, reasonable, which is worrying. That hire tells me she ain’t as dumb as she looks. She knows what she has to do. Play up to know-nothings in the primaries, then turn on a dime, and appear reasonable and moderate and inclusive for the General. People will laugh at me for saying this, but I genuinely believe that with the right svengali, she can do it. And as for whether the people will buy it, I only have this to say. If they buy Trump’s threadbare doormat of a hairdo, they’ll buy Sarah being a compassionate conservative.

Of course there’s still Barack to face in the big show if she makes it that far. But there hangs the problem. She’d play the girlish victim to a tee, lash out with sharp red nails when she can, and disarm the gentlemanly President with her oddly compelling charm. And if she learned to spout ‘moderation’ and mean it (which nobody but me thinks she could) people would soon forget that she’s a nutjob with a gun and a witchcraft problem. In short, the poor, dignified prez would always be on eggshells. She could really cramp his style, and mess up his latest Madison Avenue Masterplan. He might even – you know – make a mistake for the first time ever, which would be huge. And there’s this. When Barack was running against McCain it was legit to not even mention her name. But if she was the candidate, that stuff ain’t gonna fly no more. Finally, Obama would have to steer clear of the insidious racism inherent in the confrontation. How dare a black guy beat up on the little white gal? It’s total BS, but if he got medieval on her for one moment. Ouch.

Finally, Palin thrives on being hated. She eats it up. And it’s a great quality in a politician, which actually gives her a great deal of wiggle room with the GOP establishment. Unlike Newt, who buckled under to their insanity the first time he talked sense on the Ryan plan, Palin couldn’t give a rat’s ass what the grandees think. And history is on her side too. The GOP establishment hated McCain and he ran roughshod over them to win. They truly hate Palin too, and maybe, just maybe she has it in her to take them on.

Is she up for the fight?

Thereisnoplan says she’ll go for it.

Written by coolrebel

May 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Iran and Palestine. A Step-by-Step Guide To Middle East Peace

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Iran nukes out. Palestinian State in. No problem.
You and your damn logic, Mr. Spock!

Struggling with a Middle-East Peace Process that seems to have bogged down in a matter of months, President Obama is probably thinking he needs Iran’s nuclear ambitions like a he needs a Republican filibuster.

But looking a little deeper, it’s possible that Iranian nukes and creating a Palestinian state could be connected, and each helps the other problem go away.

How come?

We’re told that President Obama is a chess grandmaster when everyone else is still getting a handle on checkers. So let’s get some moves going and find out.

There’s no chance an Iranian nuke could be lobbed at the USA, but it’s totally unacceptable to both Israel and Saudi Arabia that Iran gets to nuclear “breakout”.

Neither of these countries has a chance of knocking out Iran’s nuclear facilities alone.

The Saudis are militarily weak and let other people do their dirty work.

Israel acts belligerently, but would have to overfly US controlled airspace to strike Iran, at maximum range, against advanced surface-to-air missile systems, and against hardened underground targets. It’s a stretch that they’d do anything more than enrage the Arab world, and make us Great Satan all over again. People try to suggest that Israel could do the job on Iran just like they did on Saddam’s nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981. But Osirak is a first-grade spelling test next to attacking Iran’s hardened bunkers.

The only nation that can stop Iran from reaching nuclear break-out is the USA. From our bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and other long-range bases, the US could bring to bear overwhelming air and naval power, to protect air-delivered special forces that could knock out Iran’s nuclear facilities and then get the hell out of Dodge when the job’s complete.

Are we going to reach that point? It’s not unlikely, it’s probable.

President Ahmadinejad wants nukes. His power base in the Revolutionary Guard requires it. He must continue the Iranian weaponization program at full speed in order to please the hardliners who prop him up.

Initially, Iran will politely block and obfuscate the international community. Frustrated, the world will apply UN authorized sanctions against Iran, which will cause nothing but a hardening of attitudes in Tehran. The sanctions will fail to deter Iran from moving closer to weaponization.

At the eleventh hour, Iran will be forced to expel the IAEA nuclear inspectors in advance of completing their bomb, triggering a serious US response that will begin by lobbying the UN Security Council for “tougher action” against Tehran.

Ultimately the UNSC will not authorize a military strike on Iran, because either or both China and Russia will veto, wary of US action against Iraq, nearly a decade before. The US will therefore have no choice but to stand down or strike Iran unilaterally. Politically, the former will be unacceptable to the President.

All this may even happen before the end of Obama’s first term, only a couple of years after President Obama was awarded his Nobel Peace Prize.

But if the US attacks Iran it will be doing so on behalf of Israel and Saudi Arabia, and therefore it should extract a price from both. That price is peace in the Middle-East. In other words a viable Palestinian State.

The following is a run-down of the high-level but top-secret discussions that will have to take place:

The President ask Israel a simple question. Which is a greater security threat to Israel. An Iranian nuclear weapon or a Palestinian State? The answer is clearly the former. So the President tells the Israeli Prime Minister, we’ll deal with Iran and help you develop an anti-missile shield for added security if you agree to a Palestinian State. Terms set by the United States. Simple as that. If Israel tells us where to go. We say fine. Enjoy living with those nukes.

While Jerusalem is hating us and thinking about it, Obama calls Riyadh and asks Abdullah what he wants least.  Iranian nukes within 300 miles of his Presidential Palace or normalized relations with Israel.

King Abdullah will mumble something non-committal but we’ll make the issue clear. If Saudi Arabia thinks it can say no to the deal and engage in a nuclear arms race with Iran, we’ll treat its nuclear ambitions the same way we’re treating Iran’s – as an unacceptable threat to regional security, and the cozy relationship between Washington and Riyadh will be over. Not to mention the fact that Saudi oil fields and shipping lanes will be under the threat of a nuclear cloud which will drive the markets crazy and totally destabilize the Saudi oil economy. The alternative? Normalize relations with Israel.

There’s a good chance both sides will agree to our terms.

And if they do, the world could witness a historical peace summit brokered by the US – probably in Geneva – where Israel and the Palestinians, backed by Saudi Arabia (and most likely other regional Arab states) would sign off on an agreement to create a new Palestinian state. We’d let them take full credit for the deal of course.

Six months later, after Iran has thrown out the IAEA inspectors, and deliberations in the UN have ended in the usual stalememate, Iran will assume they’re out of the woods.

At which point the attack begins.

Maybe this is all just a good yarn. But it’s a story that might, just might come true.

Written by coolrebel

November 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Obama Just Can’t Get Enough Love

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Obama is leading like a President who wants to be loved. In case he hasn’t noticed, he’s about as loved and admired as anyone can be without levitating.

It’s time to try something a little different. Like leading.

This morning the President announced that he’d ordered the EPA to ‘review’ the block on California’s strict emission regulations.

Everybody knows what that review is going to do. It’s going to remove the block on California’s strict emission regulations. By delaying he just gives his enemies a chance to rally their lobbyists.

Last week, Obama met with GOP house leaders and asked for their input on the economic stimulus package.

Everyone knew what was going to happen. The GOP did give Obama their input. It consisted of a single finger. With America on the brink in so many respects, we really don’t have time to chit chat, especially with a Republican party that’s on the verge of marginalizing itself. What they say isn’t important. We need to ignore them. That will make them look even more truculent and outmoded than ever.

The trend here is simple. Obama wants his enemies to be his friends. That’s very sweet, but it’s going to get frustrating real fast.

I’ve been hearing an awful lot of talk these days about how Obama is using bipartisanship as a Trojan horse to get good policies through the quagmire.

Not going to work. There isn’t a quagmire. We run the show. With the help of Senators Spector, Collins, and Snowe, and a strong whip in the Senate, we have total filibuster-proof control. The days when preventing the tyranny of the majority are gone. Bipartisanship is only good when the other side agree to what you want to do your way.

Now is not the time for offering compromises. We won. They lost. It’s our turn to lead. And if the people don’t like it. They can vote us out next time.

It’s called democracy.

I once directed a feature film. The experience taught me more about leadership than anything I’ve ever done. These are the rules; 1. Keep your mouth shut unless it matters. 2. Be decisive. 3. Keep it brief. 4. Never ask for advice. Keep your game face on. 5. Forget about being liked.

Great film directors are not nice people on set.

Presidents are always on set.

Written by coolrebel

January 26, 2009 at 2:48 am

The True Power Of Charm – Obama’s Killer Smile

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Barack Goes Nuclear

Obama’s got it. McCain don’t got it. Bill Clinton had it. Sarah Palin can’t spell it.

It’s 2008’s special sauce.


If there’s one phrase that can truly chart Obama’s rise to glory it’s charm offensive. He never gets angry, he never gets mad, he always forgives, he’s always polite. In about three years time Obama’s charm is going to drive us all nuts, but right now, it’s the best way as “That One” would describe it, to get things done.

Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I don’t for one minute think that Obama really believes all that bipartisanship BS he keeps spouting. It’s great to get you elected, but it’s a terrible way to run a country. Any mere mortal, of course, would be sticking it to the GOP right now. The idea that Obama could even bear to be in the same room as McCain after the latter basically accused him of being public enemy number one in about fifty-two different ways during the campaign seems extraordinary. But there they were today in Chicago, sitting side by side in weird tasteless chairs that looked as though they belonged in the Syrian presidential palace. But it was a brilliant move, because Obama’s magnanimity forced McCain to play nice and do the new boss’ bidding. Obama is the kind of guy who has no compunction about kicking a man when he’s down. He does it with a warm enigmatic smile on his face. That hurts.

I have a feeling that Obama’s killer smile is going to come in very handy for a very long time. With the Democrats in the ascendancy, it’s easy to reach out the hand of friendship to the other side. Obama knows that the kneejerk knuckledraggers who run the GOP these days will turn down the new President’s overtures. And Obama will accept the snub at face value and freeze them out. Hey, they had their chance, he’ll say. And he’ll be right. All he needs are the two ladies of Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and he can break any filibuster. And he’ll charm them too.

Take the decision not to punish Lieberman. Think about it. Sure it was a Senate call, but the hand of Obama is clearly on the decision. And now, well he owns Lieberman. This is a classic case of forgiveness as weapon.

Obama’s charm will also play very well in foreign policy. The Europeans are already enamored of his intelligence, and the Arabs will buckle at the knees when the boy called Hussein takes tea in their tents. But when Obama makes overtures of peace, he’ll be cutting off the Arabs at the knees. Iran in particular wants respect, and if it takes the bait which I’m sure it will, then it will be forced to talk peace, which will devastate Ahmadinejad’s and the Mullah’s popular power base.

There’s only one place the weapon won’t work. Moscow. He’ll have to try another tack there.

Written by coolrebel

November 17, 2008 at 2:28 pm