The 100-Hour War

On Feb.27, 1991, an amazing thing happened: The President of the United States went on national television to announce that the United States had won a war.

President George H.W. Bush told a grateful nation, "Kuwait is liberated. Iraq’s army is defeated. I am pleased to announce that at midnight tonight, exactly 100 hours since ground operations began and six weeks since the start of Operation Desert Storm, all U.S. and coalition forces will suspend offensive combat operations."

Would that his son had paid more attention to how quickly his daddy ended his Gulf War. (And would that daddy hadn’t stopped quite so quickly, but had gone into Baghdad and toppled Saddam Hussein.)

In the week following Bush’s remarks, the Dow gained 108 points. This capped a 20 percent surge in the stock market during the six-week Gulf War.

My, how times have changed.

– Chip Wood

More On The Lying Liars, Idiot Dictators And T(Sl)ime Magazine

*Obama’s lying liars and the Federal debt. I caught a lot of flak three weeks ago for my Straight Talk column about raising the debt ceiling. Some of Obama’s apologists didn’t like my title, which I just repeated. But consider something I didn’t include in that article: The Obama Administration took ownership of two long-time money-losing operations known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Together, these corrupt lenders are on the hook for $5.6 trillion in debt. (That’s T as in “terrible.”) But guess what? Thanks to some fraudulent bookkeeping on the part of Uncle Sam, not a penny of this shows up in an accounting of Federal debt. But you’re on the hook for every penny of it, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer.

*The idiots who ruled Egypt learn a lesson. So it’s so long to Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s tough-guy dictator for the past 30 years. We were supposed to like him because he was allegedly tough on Muslim extremists. Of course, he was also tough on Christian evangelicals, conservative traditionalists and any young people who wanted a taste of freedom and self-rule. Of all the dumb things he and his cohorts did, though, trying to ban the Internet might have been the stupidest. That’s like King Canute ordering the tide to recede. I don’t know what the future will bring in that often unhappy land. But hopefully it will be a smarter, better ruler than the idiot who just got deposed.

*Time magazine continues its legacy of falsehoods. Back in the day when I made a few bucks traveling around the country giving speeches, I liked to refer to Time magazine as slime. I told my audience I wouldn’t trust the page numbers in it unless I counted them myself. But even Slime outdid itself on a recent cover, when it Photoshopped a photograph of Ronald Reagan embracing Barack Obama. Coming right before the nation commemorated what would have been Reagan’s 100th birthday, that’s pretty despicable even for such a rotten, lying, liberal rag.

–Chip Wood

Which President Did That?

You wouldn’t think Disney World would be a good source for presidential trivia. But during a recent visit, I came across a piece of history that stumped my good friend Chris, who is a world champion at presidential trivia.

Here’s what happened. It’s been many years since I had visited the Hall of Presidents, so during a recent visit to the Magic Kingdom I decided to take a break between the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean (two of my all-time favorites) and pay it a visit.

I’d forgotten about the display of historic mementoes in the exhibit area outside the theater. There was a wine glass from the James K. Polk Administration — sort of strange when you think of it, since Polk was an ardent teetotaler who refused to serve wine at White House dinners. There was a high-school essay by George Bush. And there was a golf club belonging to the President “who played more rounds of golf than any other while serving in office.” Can you guess who it was?

If you, like me and my friend Chris, said Ike, you’d be wrong. According to the experts at Disney, the answer is Woodrow Wilson.

Chris isn’t sure they got that one right. But he’s absolutely certain he knows the answers to the following 25 questions. Let’s see how you do on this Presidents’ Day Quiz he prepared for us.

  1. Which President never married?
    1. James K. Polk
    2. Benjamin Harrison
    3. James Buchanan
    4. Martin Van Buren

  2. Name the first President born west of the Mississippi River.
    1. Ronald Reagan
    2. Nixon
    3. William Howard Taft
    4. Herbert Hoover

  3. Which man was both the 22nd and 24th President?
    1. Benjamin Harrison
    2. Grover Cleveland
    3. Wilson
    4. Rutherford B. Hayes

  4. In which movie did Nancy Reagan play opposite her husband Ronald?
    1. Bedtime for Bonzo
    2. The African Queen
    3. Rockne, All American
    4. Hellcats of the Navy

  5. Who was the first President to leave the Continental United States?
    1. William McKinley
    2. Woodrow Wilson
    3. Roosevelt
    4. Chester Arthur

  6. Which State has provided the most native-born sons as Presidents?
    1. Massachusetts
    2. Virginia
    3. Ohio
    4. New York

  7. How many men have become President because their predecessors were assassinated?
    1. 3
    2. 4
    3. 5
    4. 6

  8. Which President won the Nobel Peace Prize for his assistance in ending the Russian-Japanese War?
    1. Grover Cleveland
    2. Wilson
    3. Harry Truman
    4. Theodore Roosevelt

  9. Theodore Roosevelt insisted upon proceeding with a scheduled speech in Milwaukee despite which incident?
    1. His train arrived 2 hours late
    2. had been sick with a flu for several days
    3. He was shot outside the arena
    4. His wife Edith was rushed to the hospital

  10. Name the only President to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy.
    1. Franklin Roosevelt
    2. Dwight Eisenhower
    3. Richard Nixon
    4. Jimmy Carter

  11. Name the only President born in California.
    1. Herbert Hoover
    2. Ronald Reagan
    3. Richard Nixon
    4. James Garfield

  12. Name the first Vice President to succeed to the Presidency due to the death of the President.
    1. Martin Van Buren
    2. John Tyler
    3. Zachary Taylor
    4. Millard Fillmore

  13. Name the first President to appear on television.
    1. Harry Truman
    2. Dwight Eisenhower
    3. John F. Kennedy
    4. Franklin Roosevelt

  14. Name the man who was present as each of three Presidents lay mortally wounded by assassins’ bullets.
    1. Roscoe Conkling
    2. James Blaine
    3. Robert Lincoln
    4. Upton Sinclair

  15. Which incumbent Vice President did not win election to the Presidency?
    1. Martin Van Buren
    2. George H. W. Bush
    3. Al Gore
    4. Thomas Jefferson

  16. Which member of the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy later became President himself?
    1. Lyndon Johnson
    2. Jimmy Carter
    3. Gerald Ford
    4. Richard Nixon

  17. Name the only man who has been both President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
    1. John Marshall
    2. Woodrow Wilson
    3. Herbert Hoover
    4. William Howard Taft

  18. Name the only President to have been a Rhodes Scholar.
    1. Jimmy Carter
    2. Dwight Eisenhower
    3. Bill Clinton
    4. John F. Kennedy

  19. Name the dog made famous in Richard Nixon’s 1952 campaign speech.
    1. Fala
    2. Liberty
    3. Checkers
    4. Laddie Boy

  20. Name the only President buried in Washington, D.C.
    1. Franklin Roosevelt
    2. Woodrow Wilson
    3. John F. Kennedy
    4. William Howard Taft

  21. While dying from cancer, he worked feverishly to complete his memoirs, so the royalties it would earn would provide for his family.
    1. Harry Truman
    2. Dwight Eisenhower
    3. James Monroe
    4. U. S. Grant

  22. Which President started the tradition of tossing out the first ball on baseball’s Opening Day?
    1. Theodore Roosevelt
    2. William Howard Taft
    3. William McKinley
    4. Warren G. Harding

  23. Which President received a ticket for speeding in Washington, D.C.?
    1. U. S. Grant
    2. Lyndon Johnson
    3. Andrew Johnson
    4. Calvin Coolidge

  24. Which President’s wife was nicknamed Lemonade Lucy for her refusal to serve liquor in the White House?
    1. U.S. Grant
    2. Abraham Lincoln
    3. Rutherford Hayes
    4. James Garfield

  25. Name the only President born on the 4th of July.
    1. James Madison
    2. Calvin Coolidge
    3. Franklin Pierce
    4. Andrew Jackson

Think you got them all correct? Here are the answers: 1 = c, 2 = d, 3 = b, 4 = d, 5 = c, 6 = b, 7 = b, 8 = d, 9 = c, 10 = d, 11 = c, 12 = b, 13 = d, 14 = c, 15 = c, 16 = c, 17 = d, 18 = c, 19 = c, 20 = b, 21 = d, 22 = b, 23 = a, 24 = c, 25 = b.

Thanks, Chris, for helping to educate us about our Presidents. And to everyone reading this, be sure to visit the Hall of Presidents next time you’re at Disney World. This audio-animatronic presentation is almost as good as The American Adventure at Epcot. Morgan Freeman’s narration is simply magnificent.

And while you may resent the fact that the current occupant of the White House gets longer to speak than any other President, take heart by knowing that in two years he’ll be replaced on the platform — and in the White House.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

The Origins Of The Teddy Bear

One of the most popular toys in history made its first appearance 107 years ago this week. On a hunting trip a few months earlier, then-President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear cub, saying it would be unsportsmanlike.

Toy maker Morris Michtom saw a cartoon of the incident and was inspired to create a stuffed bear cub. He sent the first one to the President with a note asking for permission to call it “Teddy’s bear.” The President agreed. The animal became an immediate success, leading Michtom to found the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. to keep up with demand.

At the same time, a German company produced a stuffed bear based on a design by Richard Steiff, which also became a hit. Other manufacturers joined in and soon “Roosevelt Bears” were a national craze. Ladies carried them everywhere; children begged for one for Christmas; the President himself even used one as a mascot in his bid for re-election.

Their popularity continues to this day, with millions of Teddy Bears being sold every year. All this because a political cartoonist at The Washington Post tried to make fun of the President.

–Chip Wood

The Packers, The Tea Party Caucus, Earmarks And Diversity In Arizona

*The Packers saved us a bundle. I don’t know which team you were cheering for in the Super Bowl, but a friend of mine said there are 5 million reasons we all should have been cheering the Packers. That’s approximately how much money they saved us poor beleaguered taxpayers by beating the Bears. How’s that, you ask? Well, had the Bears won, President Obama announced that he and his entourage would fly to Dallas on Air Force One to attend the Big Game. How much would that have cost the taxpayers? Many, many millions. So thanks, Cheeseheads.

*Now here’s a caucus I can support. Last Thursday, the Senate Tea Party Caucus held its first-ever meeting. Among those present was Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Where were your Senators? The group pledged support for the very first piece of legislation Ron Paul’s son introduced in the Senate — a bill to cut $500 billion from Federal spending this year. Go for it, guys — we’re behind you all the way.

*Guess who said this? What famous politician lectured taxpayers two years ago about the benefits of earmarks? Why, it was none other than Barack Obama who said, “Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct Federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts and that’s why I’ve opposed their outright elimination.” Now, of course, our Teleprompter-in-Chief says he’ll veto any bill that contains even a single earmark. Gotta admire someone whose principles don’t change just to please the crowd, don’t you?

*How’s this for a rainbow coalition? Thanks to the Alert Reader who sent me the following: A white Catholic male Republican judge was murdered when he went to greet his friend, a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old gay Mexican-American college student, and eventually by a Korean-American combat surgeon, all of whom were eulogized by our first African-American President. And it all took place in that bastion of conservative politics, Arizona. Is this a great country or what?

–Chip Wood

Abraham Lincoln, Political Tyrant

We’ve spent a lot of time recently bashing “the worst President who ever lived.” (That’s the description of the current occupant of the White House by many of my readers.) Instead, this week let’s do something different. Let’s turn our attention to the President whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow… the Great Emancipator, who is generally acclaimed as the greatest American President of them all.

But was he, really?

I don’t know what they teach in United States history classes today, but back in the middle of the last century, when I was in elementary school, there was absolutely no question about how we were to regard Abraham Lincoln. We were taught to feel a reverence bordering on awe for Honest Abe, the eloquent martyr who saved the Union.

We were required to memorize the Gettysburg Address. And if we were lucky enough to join a field trip to our nation’s capital, one of the most significant events was our visit to the Lincoln Memorial. (A few of us rapscallions spoiled the solemnity of the moment by sliding down the sides of the monument.)

That was what we were taught in the grade schools of Cleveland. And I suspect it wasn’t any different in any other school in the North. Some of you sons and daughters of the South will have to tell me what your teachers and history books said.

It wasn’t until I became an adult and started reading history on my own that I began to doubt the version of events I was taught several decades earlier. For example, did you know that Lincoln suspended civil liberties in the North, including the writ of habeas corpus? That he filled the jails with more than 13,000 political prisoners, all incarcerated without due process? The Supreme Court protested Lincoln’s disregard for our Constitutional protections, but the President replied he had a war to fight. Since he commanded the army, Lincoln won that argument.

And speaking of the war, guess who uttered these words:

"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable — a most sacred right — a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much of their territory as they inhabit."

I’ll admit this is a trick question. The speaker was Lincoln. But he was not talking about the Southern states that tried to secede from the Union. No, these remarks were made in 1847, when Lincoln was defending the right of Texans to demand their independence from Mexico. A dozen years later, when six Southern states tried to declare their independence, Lincoln’s response was to smash them to bits.

As a child, I never questioned the assertion that the South was wrong to secede. And that Lincoln was right to use as much force as necessary to preserve the Union. Later, as I grew to understand the strength and uniqueness of our Constitutional Republic, I began to question both assumptions.

The U.S. Constitution, I came to believe, was a contract — a contract between the various states and the Federal government they created. Note that the Constitution had to be approved by the states, not a majority of the citizens. There was no "majority rule" here, no popular vote taken.

But this raises the question, if it was necessary for the states to adopt the Constitution, why wouldn’t it be legal for some of those states to rescind that vote, especially if they felt the contract had been broken? More and more, I found myself thinking that the South was legally and morally right in declaring its independence. And the North, by invading those states and waging war on them, was wrong.

And what a terrible war it was. By the time it was over, nearly 625,000 soldiers (and another 75,000 or so women, children and elderly civilians) were dead — more American servicemen than were killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. Fully one-fourth of the draft-age white population of the South was dead.

The devastation in the former States of the Confederacy is hard to imagine. Sherman’s march from Atlanta to Savannah is notorious for its savagery. But he was far from the only Northern officer who ordered his troops to lay waste to Southern farms, fields and plantations. Union troops routinely destroyed crops, sacked homes and even stabled their horses in Southern churches.

As H.W. Crocker III puts it in The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War (Regnery Publishing, 2008), "If abiding by the law of a free republic and fighting a defensive war solely against armed combatants be flaws, the South had them and the North did not. Lincoln ignored the law, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court when it suited him. His armies waged war on the farms, livelihoods and people of the South, not just against their armies."

Of all the big lies about the War Between the States, the biggest of all may be that it was necessary to end slavery. The truth is that many illustrious Southerners, including Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, recognized that slavery had to come to an end. But it should not come by force of arms, they felt; not at the point of a gun, but rather through the free consent of the owners, with the proper preparation of the slaves. To get them ready for their own freedom, for example, Lee’s wife insisted the family’s slaves be taught to read and write, and the women how to sew.

Despite what most of us have been taught, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves. It wasn’t a law, but an edict. It specifically exempted the Border States and any parts of the South that were already under the control of Federal forces. It applied only to areas that were still in rebellion. So the Proclamation, of and by itself, did not free a single slave.

What it did, however, was change the nature of the conflict. Now the war was no longer about restoring the Union or preventing Southern independence. Now it was about the morality, and the legality, of slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation did not make the war more popular in the North, but it did end the possibility of other countries, especially France and Britain, from coming to the aid of the South. They might have been willing to assist Southern independence; but support a war in favor of slavery? Never.

As Crocker notes, "In Southern eyes, the Emancipation Proclamation was the ultimate in Yankee perfidy — an attempt to incite slave uprisings against Confederate women and children."

Then he notes, "Happily, while the proclamation did encourage slaves to seek their freedom, there were no slave uprisings, no murders of women and children — which might say something good about Southerners too, both white and black."

Lincoln, more than any other President who came before him, changed the very nature of our government. There would never again be as many limitations on the powers of the Federal government. And just as tragic, the concept of States’ rights suffered a blow from which it has never recovered.

I’m told that more than 14,000 books have been written about Lincoln. Most, of course, are incredibly adulatory. The few that attempt to balance the scales are virtually ignored. While it may not be true that might makes right, it is definitely true that the winners write the history books.

If you’re open-minded enough to consider another point of view, let me recommend two books by Thomas J. DiLorenzo to you: The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked. In these two books he presents a vastly different view of Abraham Lincoln than you’ve heard before, I promise.

Both are available at Amazon.com. (What isn’t?) Also, do yourself a favor and go to the website of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, where DiLorenzo serves as a senior fellow. You’ll find an extensive selection of articles, essays, and yes, books you can order that are way out of the academic mainstream.

So there you have this contrarian’s view of Abraham Lincoln. I’m eager to hear what some of you think — especially the sons and daughters of the South, whom I suspect, were raised with a somewhat different slant than I.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Happy Birthday “Blondie”

One of America’s all-time favorite comic strips is celebrating a birthday this week. "Blondie," starring Dagwood Bumstead, made its debut on Feb. 17, 1933. The strip was started by Chic Young, who continued to produce it every day until his death in 1973. His son Dean took over and, with a team of writers and cartoonists, continues producing it every day.

Dagwood is famous for his weird haircut, fights with his boss at J.C. Dithers & Company, naps on the sofa, singing in the bathtub and concocting tall, multi-layered sandwiches. And here’s something you probably don’t know: Dagwood was originally the heir to the Bumstead Locomotive fortune, but was disowned by his family when he married a flapper over their strong opposition.

Even though the strip is more than 75 years old, none of the characters in it, including the children Alexander and Cookie and their dog Daisy, has aged a day.  And unlike too many modern comics, "Blondie" still tries to make us laugh.  Thanks, guys.

Super Bowl Predictions, Debt, Greenspan and Billionaires

*The Super Bowl predicts a rising stock market. You’ll be glad to know that no matter who wins the Big Game this Sunday, it will mean a good year for U.S. stocks. That’s because “the Super Bowl predictor” — a statistical oddity first noted by market analyst Robert Stovall — says that whenever the winner is an original member of the National Football League, the market will end the year higher than it began. Since both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers meet that criterion, expect good things for the Dow in 2011. Don’t scoff — the predictor has been right 35 out of the past 44 Super Bowls, giving it a 79.5 percent accuracy rate. Can you pick stocks that well?

*Guess who’s getting out of debt — and who’s not? The final figures for 2010 aren’t out yet. But here’s what the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report says happened in 2009. Households in this country reduced their debt by an average of 1.7 percent. Businesses did even better, cutting debt by 2.3 percent. States and local governments went the other way, increasing debt by 4.9 percent. But our greedy, grasping Federal government was the worst spendthrift of all, piling on another 22.9 percent of debt to an already massive load. No wonder people are screaming “stop!”

*Alan Greenspan says “me bad” … almost. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, who did as much as any man alive to turn on the money spigots in Washington, now says: “We have at this particular stage a fiat money which is essentially money printed by a government. It’s usually a central bank which is authorized to do so. Some mechanism has got to be in place that restricts the amount of money that is produced, either a gold standard or a currency board.” And what will happen if we don’t? The maestro warns, “All of history suggest[s] that inflation will take hold with very deleterious effects on economic activity….” Wish you’d followed that good advice when you were in charge, ol’ buddy.

*Another quote worth chewing on. Market analyst Marc Faber offered up this stunner last week: “If you measure the stock market not in dollars but gold, it is down 80 percent since 1999. I no longer regard the U.S. dollar as a valid unit of account. People shouldn’t value their wealth in dollars because one day, in dollars, everyone will be a billionaire.”

–Chip Wood

The Sorry State Of Obama’s Disunion

Is it just me? Or did you also think that “America’s greatest orator” came across as flat, dull and uninspired in his State of the Union speech a week ago?

Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal columnist who is one of my all-time favorite observers of the Washington scene, certainly did. Listen to how she summed up what she heard:

“Rhetorically the speech lay there like a lox, as if the document itself knew it was dishonest, felt embarrassed, and wanted to curl up quietly in a corner of the podium and hide. But the president insisted on reading it.”

No, POTUS did not give the SOTUS I expected. He did not move decisively to the center. But I did get one thing right: I predicted a week ago that the State of the Union Speech (SOTUS) by the President of the United States (POTUS) would be filled with promises and platitudes. This one sure was.

But looking at what appeared to be a bored and disbelieving audience, I got the impression that hardly anyone in the House believed him. To be honest, I didn’t either. The image that kept coming back to me during his 62-minute oration was of a man standing there with one arm stretched out — and the other behind his back with his fingers crossed.

Still, I have to admit that there was some very clever oratory. Whichever wordsmith on his staff decided to substitute the word “investment” for “spending” is an absolute genius. A genius whose talents are promoting the dark side, true. But it’s a brilliant rhetorical cover for one of the most damaging legacies of this administration.

And what about that promise to “freeze” Federal spending for the next five years? The man has been throwing money around with such abandon that he’s given drunken sailors a bad name. And now we’re supposed to applaud when he says, “Hey, no more increases for five years. Let’s just hold things where they are, okay?”

That is akin to sending a son off to college with a brand-new credit card. For two years he spends like crazy on wine, women and song. Oh, and maybe a book or two. You bail him out again and again, but no sooner have you paid off the staggering balance then there he goes again, running it up to the limit.

Finally, you’ve had enough. You threaten to take the card and cut it into tiny pieces. You tell him that from now on, he’ll be on a strict cash allowance. His response is to promise you that, if you’ll give the card back, he won’t spend any more in the future than he did in the past. Would you accept this as a fair deal? (If you would, let me tell you about some swampland I’d like to sell you.)

When it comes to healthcare, the President urged his audience not to “re-fight the battles of the last two years” but to fix what needs fixing and move on. Nice try, Mr. President, but it ain’t gonna work. In fact, as you know only too well, the House voted the previous week to abolish the entire healthcare monstrosity that you’re so proud of.

Plus, a Federal judge just ruled that a huge part of your bill is unConstitutional. More than half of the States have already initiated legal action to get the measure overturned or at least blocked in their jurisdictions. This fight ain’t half-begun, sir. And no amount of pious platitudes from you will change that.

The media reported after the SOTU that the President was interrupted 80 times by applause. You can bet that the White House had orchestrated every palm slap more carefully than a State Dinner. As I watched all of those politicians jump up and down every other sentence or so, I was reminded of a giant game of Whack-A-Mole. Up, down, up, down. All of it was about as spontaneous as a Pittsburgh Steelers’ pass play. Even the participants seemed bored by their actions.

But to be fair, I have to say that there were parts of President Barack Obama’s speech I felt like applauding myself. Such as when he said, “I am prepared to work with Democrats and Republicans to protect our borders [and] enforce our laws.” My problem is that I don’t believe him. Had he been Pinocchio, I think his nose would have grown a foot. In other words (and it saddens me to say this about a U.S. President), I think he was lying through his teeth.

Oh, and what about the doozey that “a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code?” Can you name a single lobbyist who ever cast a vote on the floor of the House or Senate? Me neither. But Obama and his buddies cast thousands. Let’s put the blame for our tax code squarely where it belongs, Mr. President — on you and your cronies.

I did like the President’s promise to lower the corporate tax rate “for the first time in 25 years.” I hope he delivers on this one; he’ll have the support of every Tea Partier in Congress if he does.

You probably never thought of it, but many of the most successful companies in America make a huge chunk of their profits — often more than 50 percent — from their sales in other countries. If you’ve traveled abroad recently you know it sometimes seems there is a Starbucks on every street corner, a McDonald’s next to it and Coca-Cola everywhere.

But most of those companies don’t bring their profits back to the U.S. of A. Why should they, when this country has the highest tax on corporate profits in the Western world? If you were the CEO, wouldn’t you keep the money overseas and put it to work there? That’s certainly what your shareholders — the real owners of the business — would want.

And how about the goal of giving 80 percent of us access to high-speed rail in the next 25 years? If people really wanted this, they’d be willing to pay for it. And a bunch of businesses would be eager to put up the money for it. No, this is just more of the same “we know better than you and we’re going to force you to do what we want” that’s led to the astronomical idiocy of ethanol, wind farms and electric cars.

Bah humbug to all the Soviet-style central planners who want to take away our freedom to choose. And then he dares to make a joke about how great it will be when we can travel around the country “without the pat-down.” Who do we have to thank for that gross indecency, Mr. President?

How did you like hearing “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment” from the same person who gutted NASA?

But for absolute effrontery — for a pompous promise that he knew was totally insincere, even as the words tumbled from his mouth — nothing Obama said that night could match this: “Every day families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.”

If you think Obama believes a single word of that you shouldn’t be trusted with a dull knife, much less the right to vote.

“We do big things” was how our panderer in chief ended his address. Indeed we do, Mr. President. And one of the “big things” we’re going to do next is find someone to replace you in the Oval Office.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Happy Birthday, President Reagan

This week would have marked the 100th birthday of the greatest President of my lifetime. Ronald Reagan was born on Feb. 6, 1911. He not only saw a lot of history, he made history.

While I’ll grant that as President he didn’t do everything he said he would — he never abolished the Department of Education or Health and Human Services, for example — his words were an inspiration to the world. He once said, “What I’d really like is to go down in history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again.”

I think we can agree he accomplished that.

Here’s my favorite all-time Reaganism: “Government is not the solution; government is the problem.”

Followed closely by this one: “We don’t have a trillion-dollar-debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar-debt because we spend too much.”

Here’s another of my favorite quotes by him: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence, rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.”

Don’t you wish we had a President now with half the vision of Ronald Reagan?

– Chip Wood