IDs For Convention, But Not To Vote

A double standard for Democrats. While the President Barack Obama Administration wants to outlaw voter ID laws in State and national elections, they were perfectly OK with requiring them to vote at their own convention. In fact, they required two forms of identification before a delegate could even enter the hall in Charlotte. Anyone detect a little bit of hypocrisy here?

Another debt downgrade in Illinois. Despite recent tax increases on businesses and individuals, the red ink continues to flow in Illinois. The State’s budget deficit just hit a staggering $43 billion. Even worse is $83 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. As a result, Standard and Poor’s just downgraded its rating on Illinois’ bonds, giving them the worst credit rating of any State besides California. Looks like the boys back home have been inspired to copy the example their most illustrious politician has been setting in Washington.

How about a holiday honoring job creators? The most meaningless holiday in America has now ended. Do we really need a national holiday honoring “labor” anymore? Lawrence Reed, the president of the Foundation for Economic Education, points out that “Labor without capital looks like Haiti or North Korea: plenty of people working but doing it with sticks instead of bulldozers.” Maybe it’s time we started honoring the people who create jobs by starting or expanding a business.

Dems do an about face. Well, that didn’t last long. When controversy raged over the Democrats leaving God out of this year’s platform, they voted to put Him back in. Or did they? After taking three voice votes, it sure didn’t seem to most observers that the measure — allegedly ordered by the President himself — got the necessary two-thirds vote. No matter; it was declared approved.

–Chip Wood

The Obama Campaign’s Litany of Lies

Man, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Flacks for President Barack Obama are going absolutely ballistic at Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, denouncing them as liars and implying they are thieves, felons and even murderers.

And then they have the nerve to accuse Romney and Ryan of running a dirty campaign!

What’s even more disgusting is how their lapdogs in the mainstream media faithfully repeat every new accusation — while never coming within a country mile of holding Obama or Vice President Joe Biden to the same standard. It’s almost enough to make you think you’ve stumbled into a Will McAvoy rant on “The Newsroom.”

I’ll get to all the fuss and fury about Ryan’s auto-plant remarks in a moment. But first let me ask you, what do you think has been Obama’s biggest lie since he took office nearly four years ago?

There sure has been a bunch to choose from. Some were ridiculous, or at least extremely unlikely, when he made them. I’ll put his promise to close the prison at Guantanamo in this category. Or to bring all the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some were just plain impossible, such as his pledge that if Congress gave him $863 billion in stimulus spending, he would slash the Nation’s unemployment rate to 5.6 percent. He got every penny he asked for, and some extra goodies besides. Yet unemployment remains stuck above 8 percent. (If you add in the underemployed and people who are no longer counted because they’ve quit looking for work, the actual number is well over 15 percent.)

Or how about his promise, just after his election, to end the political rancor in this country? Remember when he said he would “heal the divides that have held back our progress”? That promise sure got tossed out the window when it came time for his re-election campaign, didn’t it? This one is shaping up to be one of the nastiest in memory.

Or how about the President’s promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term? Remember when he called George Bush’s deficits “obscene”? Barack Obama has run trillion-dollar-plus deficits every year since he took office, with no end in sight. He’s helped saddle our children, and our children’s children, with obligations they will never be able to repay.

I could go on and on, from his tax-the-rich schemes to his class warfare rhetoric. But of all the promises that Obama has broken, I think the biggest was the one he made when he was sworn in as President. I’m referring to his oath of office, in which he promised to “preserve, protect and defend” our Constitution.

I submit that had he kept that promise, none of the others would have mattered. In fact, most of them wouldn’t have been possible.

But of course the mainstream media never reminds you of any of Obama’s misstatements. And they all but ignore Biden’s numerous gaffes. Can you imagine what they’d do if any Republican said anything close to Biden’s “put you back in chains” comment? Well, actually, you don’t have to imagine; just check out what they did to Todd Akin for his “legitimate rape” comment.

Now, Ryan is catching a lot of flack for his speech last week at the Republican National Convention, especially his comments about a shuttered GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wis. Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for the Obama team, set the tone for much of the mainstream media when she leveled this accusation: “There’s no delicate way to put this, but he lied. He blatantly lied – and brazenly.”

No, he didn’t. Here is what Paul Ryan said:

President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

Chris Matthews and the gang over at MSNBC attacked the VP nominee like rabid dogs for these remarks. You could almost see the foam dripping from their mouths. Anderson Cooper on CNN tried to be a little more subtle, but the slick-sounding sleezeball was just as nasty in his comments about this part of Ryan’s speech.

But despite all of the weeping and wailing from the sanctimonious liberals, and below-the-belt accusations by the likes of David Axelrod, what Ryan said that night was 100 percent accurate.

Please note: He did not say that Barack Obama caused the plant to close. Or even that he should have kept the plant open. No, what Ryan said — and what is completely and absolutely true — is that candidate Obama told a Janesville audience back in February 2008 that if they would help elect him, “this plant will be here for another hundred years.”

Well, maybe the plant will be — as a darkened, shuttered hulk. But there won’t be any jobs there.

By the way, when candidate Obama returned to Janesville in October 2008, he repeated his pledge. Here’s what he said then:

As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America.

Of course that’s not what we got. Instead, the President “saved” GM and Chrysler. He did it by costing taxpayers $25 billion, screwing the bondholders out of every penny they were due and giving the autoworkers union a huge chunk of the company’s stock.

None of which produced a single job in Janesville, Wis.

I can’t wait to see if Biden says anything about all of this when he and Ryan meet in their televised debate. I hope we get a little more substance than we’ve seen so far, which has been the equivalent of a bunch of school kids chanting, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

It would actually be amusing — if the fate of our Republic weren’t at stake.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Don't Count Palin Out Yet

Is Sarah Palin’s star fading? So saith CNN, which noted that the former Vice Presidential candidate was not invited to speak at this year’s Republican National Convention. What the article didn’t mention, however, is how many candidates Palin has endorsed and campaigned for this year have been winning elections. If Ted Cruz becomes the new Senator from Texas or Debbie Fisher wins in Nebraska (or several other candidates that I could name win), they will owe a big thank-you to the former Governor of Alaska. Don’t count the lady out yet.

Haters target Brad Pitt’s mom. When Jane Pitt, the movie star’s mom, read a letter to the editor in her local paper saying that Christians shouldn’t vote for a Mormon, she disagreed. So she wrote a letter to the editor herself, saying that if you care about traditional values, you should vote for the candidate who shares those values, even if he doesn’t share your faith. Then she added, “Any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is casting a vote for Romney’s opponent, Barack Hussein Obama – a man who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.” For daring to speak out, she was promptly deluged with hateful emails, Twitter messages and even death threats.

Now here’s a really cushy job. In this space last week, I mentioned how meter maids in one California city were earning nearly $100,000 a year for collecting coins. But this is even crazier. The contract between the Detroit Water and Sewage Department and Local 207 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees requires the city to pay for a horseshoer — even though the department does not have any horses and hasn’t for years. Can you say “featherbedding?”

Another Marxist for Obama. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says that “real revolutionaries” should ignore any criticism of his regime by U.S. President Barack Obama. “Obama is campaigning. He’s a candidate,” Chavez said on Venezuelan TV. So you have to overlook when “a good guy” says such things.

–Chip Wood

The Republicans’ Pretty Good Party

Now that 20,000 soggy delegates, alternates, lobbyists and political hangers-on have left Tampa, Fla., what can we say about the just-concluded Republican convention?

Ron Paul fans weren’t given much to cheer about. Yes, there was a brief video tribute to the man himself. And his son, Rand Paul, the junior Senator from Kentucky, was given a second-tier speaking slot. But the convention rules were rigged so that Ron Paul’s name could not even be placed in nomination for President — with the result that none of his delegates had a chance to vote for him.

Oh, there was one other nod to the Paul camp: The Republican platform endorsed his longtime demand to audit the Federal Reserve. Granted, an audit is a long way from Paul’s far more meaningful campaign to abolish the Fed. But it’s a start.

We should also be cheered that a bill demanding such an audit actually passed the House of Representatives this year. It’s no surprise that Harry Reid made sure it never saw the light of day in the Senate. But I think it’s safe to say that Paul’s “End the Fed” campaign made more progress this year than in the past 20. And I was glad to see that it got at least a crumb or two from the Republican powers that be.

Conservative friends who were at the convention have told me, with considerable pride, that the Republican platform for 2012 is “the best one we’ve seen in the past 20 years.” Looking over the various provisions in it, they’re probably right. But so what?

Sorry, but how many minds do you think will be changed — or how many votes will be won (or lost) — by anything that is in either party’s platform? Party platforms are much ado about nothing. I liked the suggestion from House Speaker John Boehner, who suggested that the whole thing should be boiled down to one page. “Do you know anyone who’s ever read the platform?” he asked. Clearly, the question was meant to be rhetorical.

I don’t have anything to say now about Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech. Thanks to the deadline schedule for Personal Liberty, I have to turn this column in before he delivers it. But let me say a few words about some of the other tub-thumpers I heard leading up to it.

First, Paul Ryan did exactly what he was supposed to do. In his acceptance speech for the Vice Presidential nomination on Wednesday night, he lambasted Barack Obama for his failed policies and lack of leadership. He came across as smart and sincere, ready to argue the issues and passionate about helping change the country’s direction. He was interrupted by applause more than any other speaker in Tampa; let’s see if the head of the ticket does as well.

Let me also note something everyone agrees on: Ann Romney did a wonderful job in her prime-time speech Tuesday night. She was warm, personable, loving and sincere. Brit Hume, Fox News’ veteran analyst, said it was the best convention speech he had ever heard, bar none.

I thought she did a decent job trying to humanize her husband and an incredible job appealing to other women. No one could doubt the passion and the trust in her voice, when she declared: “This man will not fail. This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America.”

I wondered how the left would try to turn Romney’s smashing performance into a negative. On Wednesday morning, I got my answer. The New York Times began its coverage of her speech with this: “She may be too good. Ann Romney is so gifted at politics, she may actually make her husband look a little bad.”

How’s that for damning with faint praise? But wait, it gets even worse. Here’s the rest of the article’s opening:

Their personality gap — her ease, his discomfort — has been evident in most of the many joint interviews they have given television reporters.

But it really stood out during her bold, boisterous testimonial to him at the Republican convention on Tuesday night. She was electric — when Mitt Romney came to her side at the end, he somehow sapped the energy from the moment.

Gee, just think how nasty The Times would have been if she’d done a bad job! Still, I suspect the overwhelming majority of Americans — men and women — will prefer Ann Romney’s enthusiastic sweetness to Michelle Obama’s icy toughness. If the Mitt Romney campaign is smart, we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more from Ann Romney over the next two months, both in live appearances and in commercials.

I wasn’t blown away by Chris Christie’s tough-love keynote address. He may have had the best one-liner of the convention, though, with this remark: “Real leaders don’t follow polls. Real leaders change polls.”

The theme of his remarks was the need “to choose respect over love.” It seemed to me that it got a little stretched when he said that choosing respect over love meant telling the truth about entitlements to senior citizens and telling the truth about debt to working families. Somehow, I don’t see either of those becoming a popular bumper sticker.

Several reporters jumped all over the New Jersey Governor for talking a lot more about himself than he did about Mitt Romney. Although I didn’t have a stopwatch on him, it’s probably true that Christie didn’t mention the Republican nominee by name until he was 16 minutes into his peroration.

OK, so maybe he did go on about his Sicilian mother a little too long. But give the guy a break. His job was to put some juicy red meat in front of the assembled delegates. Overall, he performed that task very well.

By the way, so did someone who got very little coverage in the mainstream media. I’m referring to Artur Davis, the black former Congressman and longtime Democrat who actually seconded Obama’s nomination in Denver four years ago. Davis is now a Republican. His speech on Tuesday should help win over some independents and disenchanted Democrats. I hope a bunch of them saw it.

Now, forgive me as I sign off. I want to hear how Marco Rubio does introducing Mitt Romney — and how the candidate himself comes across. Forget sweet and cuddly; what America needs now is a strong and forceful leader. Let’s see if Romney can convince enough Americans that he’s the one.

Those two talks on Thursday night will go a long way to determining whether Romney or Obama carries Florida this November. Whoever wins the Sunshine State will probably win the White House, too.

So tell all your friends in Florida to vote early and vote often.

Just kidding. This isn’t Chicago, you know.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Obama Puts Millions More On The Dole

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get more people to sign up for food stamps?

I kid you not. One of the most absurd examples was “a 10-part series of Spanish-language ‘novelas’ that trumpeted the benefits of the food stamp program.”

In the public service announcements, several people pressure a wife and mother named Diana to sign up for assistance, even though she says she doesn’t need it.

In the fourth commercial, Diana says (in Spanish): “I don’t need help from anyone. My husband makes enough to take care of us.” That’s a great example of traditional American values, wouldn’t you say?

Apparently, it isn’t for the folks at the USDA, who produced the advertising campaign in 2008.

Diana’s friends keep badgering her to wise up and get with the program. Ultimately, they win her over. By the end of the series, Diana has her own food stamp Electronic Benefit Transfer card and has become an enthusiastic proponent of letting Uncle Sam buy her groceries.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was just one of many Congressmen who condemned the series of messages: “It has become increasingly clear that, in recent years, the mission of the food stamp program has been converted from targeted assistance for those in need into an aggressive drive to expand enrollment, regardless of need.”

Indeed it has. In the past decade, Federal spending on the food stamp program (technically known as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) has more than quadrupled. In Fiscal 2011, more than $76 billion worth of food stamps were distributed to 45 million Americans.

But those staggering numbers aren’t enough for some people. As Sessions put it: “The program administrators take personal offense when people who technically qualify for their largesse decline to accept — and see it as an obstacle to overcome.”

In the 1970s, just one American in 50 received food-stamp benefits. Now that number is one in seven. In other words, 15 percent of the U.S. population is dependent on food stamps.

Earlier this year, House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi said that Barack Obama should wear the title of “Food Stamp President” as a “badge of honor.” If so, he’s a very honorable man; participation in the food stamp program jumped 50 percent since he took office. During the same period, the cost to U.S. taxpayers has almost doubled.

But the Federal food stamp program is just one example of Washington’s relentless drive to get more and more Americans on the dole. For example, did you know that more Americans have started receiving disability payments under Obama than the amount of new jobs that are being created?

As hard as that may be to believe, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that although the economy has created 2.6 million new jobs since June of 2009, during that same three-year period, some 3.1 million people began receiving disability benefits. In other words, the number of new disability enrollees is rising 19 percent faster than the number of new jobs being created. Counting dependents, more than 10 million people receive a disability check each month.

In fiscal 2011, the disability insurance program paid out $119 billion. Hold onto your hat, because the Congressional Budget Office says at the rate we’re going, that number will jump to $204 billion over the next 10 years. That’s a 71 percent increase.

But let’s not worry about what happens in 10 years. The CBO says that long before we get there, the disability trust fund will be insolvent. At the rate we’re going, we’ll hit that wall in just four more years.

By the way, here’s another depressing statistic about our disability program. Once someone gets on the program, by and large the only way that person ever leaves it is by dying. According to Social Security Administration numbers, only 1 percent of disability recipients ever get healthy enough to return to work.

And finally, let me add a few words about another effort by the Obama Administration that makes it it easier to receive a welfare check.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton and Republicans in Congress agreed to make sweeping changes in this country’s welfare program. The reform bill they passed, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and required welfare recipients to look for work to be eligible for benefits. It even specified which activities would qualify as “work.” And as the name of the program implied (note the word “Temporary” in the title), such benefits were supposed to be short-term. Of course, there is nothing so permanent as a “temporary” government program.

Nevertheless, the results of the welfare-reform legislation were startling. Throughout the Nation, welfare caseloads, which had remained unchanged for decades, dropped dramatically. Poverty numbers declined; employment among single mothers soared. And ever since, the measure has been hailed as a remarkable bipartisan success story.

Until last month, that is. On July 12, the Health and Human Services Department issued an administrative order that effectively reversed the 16-year-old work requirements contained in that landmark legislation.

Republican Congressmen are outraged at what they see as another illegal seizure of power by the Obama Administration. Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) declared: “Gutting welfare work requirements with the stroke of a pen and without congressional input is simply unacceptable and cannot be allowed to stand. Neither the Obama Administration nor any Administration should have the power to unilaterally change the law as it sees fit.” (I wonder if he hasn’t been paying attention for the past four years.)

Add it all up and what do you get? Yes, massive new increases in Federal spending; that goes without saying. But the other result is millions more Americans on the government dole.

And now for the $16 trillion question: How do you think these new welfare recipients will vote?

A good quote — erroneously attributed at various times to both Alexis de Tocqueville and Alexander Fraser Tytler — to keep in mind is:

“A democracy… can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury.”

But it sure is accurate, isn’t it?

I’m not saying that this country has reached the point of no return. But it’s become pretty obvious that Obama and his allies are doing everything they can to get us there.

Will they succeed? You had better do everything you can to make sure the answer is no.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Will Biden’s Gaffes Cost Him?

Will Biden get dumped? Barack Obama’s Vice President has a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease. First, Joe Biden told an audience in Virginia that with their help, “We can win North Carolina again.” Then he warned another audience that if Mitt Romney wins: “They’re gonna put y’all back in chains.” Biden’s gaffes have some Democrats urging Obama to drop him from the ticket. Who’s their favorite choice to replace him? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A tough day on the campaign trail. During a Barack Obama campaign event in Davenport, Iowa, the caterer showed up wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed, “Government Didn’t Build My Business, I Did.” Meanwhile, in Virginia, a bakery owner told Joe Biden’s advance team “no!” when they asked to stage an event at his shop. When word spread about the “cupcake mutiny,” locals flocked to the store and snapped up everything on the shelves. Wonder how many more stories like this there will be between now and November? Whatever the number, you can be sure the vast majority will be ignored by mainstream media.

Newsweek’s shocking cover story. Now here’s something I never thought I’d see: The headline on this week’s cover story in Newsweek is an eye-opening “Hit the Road, Barack. Why We Need a New President.” It was written by Harvard professor Niall Ferguson, who is catching all sorts of flak for what he said. It’s hard to quarrel with Ferguson’s conclusion, though, that Obama has broken a ton of promises. Or that “we are becoming the 50-50 nation — half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.”

No wonder California is going broke. Do you know anyone who’d like to pull down almost $100,000 a year, along with great healthcare benefits and a generous pension? Tell them to get themselves out to Hermosa Beach, Calif., and apply for a job as a meter maid. Oops, wrong title. If you’re lucky enough to be hired there to collect coins from parking meters, you will actually be called a “community service staffer.”

–Chip Wood

Too Much Spending Is The Problem

Even taxing all their money won’t do it. The Administration of President Barack Obama plans to raise taxes on anyone making more than $250,000 a year, which will collect about $85 billion more revenue, a recent study concludes. But last year’s Federal deficit was $1.3 trillion. Even taxing every penny the “rich” make over $250,000 won’t close the gap. Clearly, the problem in Washington isn’t too little revenue; it’s too much spending.

Feed them all Chick-fil-A. I mentioned in last week’s column, The Beautiful Backlash From Chick-fil-A Bashing, that Mitt Romney made a mistake by refusing to comment on the Chick-fil-A controversy. Now, Newt Gingrich has come up with an interesting way to make amends: Serve Chick-fil-A meals at the Republican National Convention. That would be one heck of a take-out order, wouldn’t it?

The biggest little winner at the Olympics. Which country won the most medals at the London Olympics on a per capita basis? That honor goes to the tiny Caribbean nation of Grenada, which has one medal for its 110,821 residents. India fared the worst. With a population of 1.2 billion people, the country won just six medals (two silver, four bronze, no gold), or one medal per about 207 million people.

Most poignant Olympic comment. My nominee is this one, from Chinese diver Qin Kai, who started training at the age of 6 and almost never gets any time off: “Sometimes, I get to see (my family) every other year. If the competition schedule is not that tight, maybe sometimes I can spend a whole week with my parents in a year.” Happily, the United States has proven that you can still produce champions without making participants robots of the state.

–Chip Wood  

Hurray For Mitt Romney’s Bold Choice

My friend prides himself on asking provocative questions. So when we learned last Saturday that Mitt Romney had selected Paul Ryan to be his running mate, I wasn’t surprised when he asked, “Do you think two boring white guys can beat Obama and Biden?”

My short answer was, “I sure hope so.”

To be honest, I was a little surprised that the Romney team made such a bold — even courageous — choice. I can’t imagine any selection Romney could have made that would make the battle lines between the two parties any clearer. Will this country vote to grow government and increase taxes or to bring runaway Federal spending under control, reduce taxes and begin to balance the budget?

I wish I were more confident of the answer. But with almost half of the population dependent on a government check (and not paying anything in Federal taxes), you can be pretty sure of which side they’re going to vote for.

There are now 45 million Americans receiving food stamps every month. And the Administration of President Barack Obama is actually spending millions of dollars running ads encouraging more people to sign up.

Even more people are now getting Medicare. How many of them will buy into the Democrats’ lie that Romney and Ryan will end Medicare as we know it? Sad to say, probably a lot of them will.

Remember that incredible TV commercial the Democrats ran two years ago, where a Ryan look-alike pushed an elderly lady in a wheelchair off a cliff? That will be mild compared to what we’ll see this year. Heck, the Obama fanatics have already accused Mitt Romney of being a felon and a tax cheat and of killing a woman by denying her healthcare. And they’re just getting started.

The sleaze is going to come thick and fast, my friends. The Democrats know their only hope of winning is to make Romney and Ryan look like dangerous, irresponsible extremists. Sadly, they can count on the support of much of the mainstream media to do exactly that. In fact, The New York Times ran its first editorial on the Romney/Ryan “extremism” the day after we learned that Ryan was Romney’s choice to be his Vice Presidential running mate. It will only get worse.

You can expect to see and hear a lot more — and a lot that’s nastier — over the next 12 weeks. After all, the Democrats can’t run on the accomplishments of the Obama Administration over the past four years, can they?

By the way, I don’t agree with the “boring” label my friend used. I was impressed with what I saw and heard on Saturday morning, when Romney and Ryan appeared together aboard the USS Wisconsin. (Nice choice of venues, incidentally.) And I was impressed again on Sunday night, when the two men made their first media appearance on “60 Minutes.”

I liked what both men had to say. I was especially impressed to hear Ryan say during his first remarks as Romney’s Vice Presidential choice:

America is more than just a place … it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.

This idea is founded on the principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed.

This idea is under assault. So, we have a critical decision to make as a nation.

We are on an unsustainable path that is robbing America of our freedom and security. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The commitment Mitt Romney and I make to you is this:

We won’t duck the tough issues … we will lead!

We won’t blame others … we will take responsibility!

We won’t replace our founding principles … we will reapply them!

That message and promise will resonate with a lot of voters. In fact, it garnered more applause than anything else either gentleman said that morning.

Yes, conservatives love the Ryan selection. In fact, it’s done a lot to increase their trust and maybe even their affection for the man at the top of the ticket. I can’t imagine anyone Romney could have chosen who would do more to solidify his support among the party’s base than the man whom Human Events named “Conservative of the Year” for 2011. He’s young, energetic, full of enthusiasm and very, very bright.

I can’t wait to see Ryan versus Joe Biden in the Vice Presidential debate. Ryan will make Biden look like the pompous blowhard he really is. It’s too bad we won’t get to see Ryan debate Obama. I don’t think there’s any question who would be the smartest guy in the room. And Ryan is just as eloquent without a teleprompter.

Michael Reagan, Ronald Reagan’s son, described the selection as Romney’s “first great move.” He said his dad would have approved of the choice, adding, “It’s going to really infuse some excitement and a lot of excitement probably within the conservative ranks.” Indeed, it already has.

Obama strategists claim they are also delighted with the choice, arguing that Ryan will be easy for them to attack. I think this is more bravado than brains. Sure, some of their faithful followers will applaud every new “Mediscare” taunt they launch. But hopefully enough voters will see through Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric and budget-busting programs to say: “Enough!”

The coming election will present the electorate with the clearest choice we’ve seen in generations. Will we allow our leaders to continue to pile trillions of dollars in debt on our children and grandchildren?

We’ll know the answers in three months. In the meantime, I’m delighted Romney selected a running mate who is such a passionate and effective advocate for our side. Aren’t you?

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood 

The Beautiful Backlash From Chick-fil-A Bashing

What a mistake the gay and lesbian agitators made when they decided to attack Chick-fil-A and its outspoken president, Dan Cathy!

It was a mistake that several prominent politicians promptly compounded, with some of the most absurd threats ever uttered by a city official.

It was also an incredible blown opportunity for the Republicans’ candidate for President. Sorry, Mitt, but you got some lousy advice on this one.

The whole kerfuffle began when Dan Cathy, the son of Chick-fil-A founder Truet Cathy, said he was “guilty as charged” for supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Had he stopped there, I doubt anyone would have paid much attention to his remarks. After all, the Cathy family has been known for years for its Christian beliefs. The company has always put faith ahead of profits, refusing to let any of its more than 1,600 outlets open on Sunday.

No, it was a different Dan Cathy comment that gave his detractors apoplexy: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”

The left went absolutely ballistic. Gay rights groups called for a nationwide boycott of the business. The Jim Henson Company said it would no longer supply toys or other merchandise to the chain.

Politicians couldn’t wait to join the parade. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said that “you can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population.” He warned that the company would find it very difficult to get city licenses.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee tweeted: “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”

In New York, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wrote a letter to the president of New York University asking him to boot the fast-food outlet off campus. She also started a petition demanding Cathy apologize and change his stance on gay marriage.

In Chicago, where bare-knuckle bruising is a normal part of the political process, Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno said he would do whatever it takes to prevent the chain from opening an outlet in his community. And Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel piously declared: “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.”

What a bunch of bullpucky. What colossal egotism Emanuel must have to think he can speak for the values of everyone in Chicago. No wonder he was such a good fit with his old boss back in the White House.

Let me point out that the media have not been able to find a single Chick-fil-A outlet in the country that has ever denied service to anyone because of his sexual orientation. If the mainstream media had been able to find even one example of such discrimination, don’t you think it would have made screaming headlines in the press and led every TV news show?

Where do these politicos get off, threatening a popular and well-respected business just because its president said something they didn’t like? Have they never heard of freedom of speech? Somebody better give them a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

The story probably would have ended there had it not been for Mike Huckabee, the former Republican Presidential candidate and FOX News host. He wrote on his website: “I have been incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick fil-A company… It’s a great American story that is being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left.”

Huckabee declared Aug. 1 as “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” He urged people to visit a nearby outlet to show their support for the chain and its embattled president.

And, boy, did they! The Rev. Billy Graham issued a strong statement of support for Truett and Dan Cathy and promised to “Eat Mor Chikin” on that Wednesday. Several million people did so as well. In many places, the lines stretched for blocks as customers waited for an hour or more to get their order filled.

In Texas, Senate candidate Ted Cruz celebrated his come-from-behind victory in the Republican primary by serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his victory party. Sarah Palin, who had flown to Texas to speak at a Ted Cruz rally, tweeted a photograph of her visit to a local Chick-fil-A outlet. And on it went.

By the time Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day came to an end, the chain had sold more chicken sandwiches and waffle fries than on any day in its history.

Sad to say, there was one prominent Republican who was conspicuous by his silence on the issue. Mitt Romney told reporters that he did not intend to say anything about the controversy. He would not endorse Dan Cathy’s support for the traditional definition of marriage. And he would not criticize the big-city politicians who threatened to punish the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain.

“Those are not things that are part of my campaign,” Romney said. Campaign officials promptly “clarified” the candidate’s remarks, explaining that while Romney favors the traditional definition of marriage, he wants to keep the focus of his campaign strictly on the economy.

Bad call, Mitt. You missed a great chance to gain the support of a huge segment of voters who aren’t convinced you’re one of them. I’m referring here to the so-called “values” conservatives, the men and women of faith who believe social issues are incredibly important.

Granted, Romney’s gaffe here won’t cause any of them to vote for Barack Obama this November. But it will certainly dampen the enthusiasm of what could be one of the hardest-working groups of political activists in the country.

Namby-pambiness won’t win this election, Mr. Romney. Heck, it won’t even counter all the Democrats’ lies and smears.

It’s time for an ardent defense of our country’s values — and a little bit of righteous indignation at the assaults on them.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood 

Texas Tea

The Tea Party’s huge victory in Texas. Congratulations to all of the Ted Cruz supporters who saw their man come from behind in the Republican primary in Texas and score a smashing victory over his opponent. Cruz trailed the establishment’s choice, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, 45 percent to 34 percent, in the May 29 primary. But less than three months later, he easily won the runoff, 57 percent to 43 percent. The results should be a wake-up call for anyone who has written off the Tea Party in this year’s elections.

The Romney money machine is working. The Republican National Committee says it collected $101.3 million in July for the Mitt Romney campaign, making it the third month in a row that the Republicans raised more money than the Democrats. Barack Obama supporters said they raised about $75 million in July and warned, “Make no mistake, we will be outspent.”

More bad news on the jobs front. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy added 163,000 jobs in July. This looks like an improvement over previous months, until you read the fine print and realize that 348,000 people stopped looking for work in July and are no longer counted among the unemployed. If all of these discouraged workers are added to the “official” numbers, the true unemployment rate in this country is well above 10 percent.

Playing to lose at the Olympics. Thus far, there has been a heartening lack of scandals at the London Olympics. About the worst we’ve seen was the four doubles teams who were disqualified from the badminton championships for not trying hard enough to win. Seems the pairs — two from South Korea, one each from China and Indonesia — deliberately threw preliminary matches so they would face a weaker opponent in a subsequent round. Not exactly in the Olympic spirit of giving it your all.

–Chip Wood