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Markets Recover; So Do Campaigns

Monday, October 13, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The markets opened strongly today, convinced that the international financial crisis was being addressed. Anyone care to bet the house on where the averages will be in three weeks?

McCain is down in the polls right now, but not out as Walter Shapiro
notes.
McCain’s best arguments have the additional advantage of being true, to steal an old line from Henry Kissinger:

1. Obama has a history of terrible judgment when it comes to friends and allies –Ayers, Dohrn, Rezko, Wright and ACORN to name just a few– and he must staff 3,000 senior jobs in the federal government that will touch almost every aspect of every American life;

2. He doesn’t understand the war and will imperil the fragile stability and emerging victory in Iraq;

3. Allied with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the most left-wing government in American history will do enormous damage to both the short term and the long term economic growth of America via soaring taxes and protectionist anti-trade policies, precisely at the time when a robust growth agenda is necessary to recover from the financial panic; and

4. The American military will be defunded and demoralized as under Carter and Clinton;

5. The Obama-Pelosi-Reid troika will target the estates of the Greatest Generation via a renewed death tax.

John McCain needs to make each of these points over and over again between now and elecrtion day. He’s not a great candidate, but he is a great American, known and trusted, experienced and ready to lead. He will close and it will be close, though every engine in the MSM boiler room is working overtime to persuade you otherwise.

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“Obama’s Cluelessness in Our Time of Surprises” by Clark Judge

Monday, October 13, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Monday morning guest column from Clark Judge:

Obama’s Cluelessness in Our Time of Surprises
By Clark S. Judge

With the MSM turning a blind eye to his every policy gaffe, Barack Obama has made more than his share of commitments that-if he acts on them-could shatter a fragile economy and undermine US security.

From raising taxes on entrepreneurs (in an economy in which entrepreneurship is among the few remaining drivers of growth) to retreat from victory in Iraq (an act that would make the success of Obama’s pledge to then seek in Afghanistan all but impossible to achieve), one clueless commitment has followed another all year. But the worst may turn out to be one most Americans have all but ignored-his vow to renegotiate NAFTA.[# More #]

As were the last eight years, the next eight are likely to be a time of surprises. Eight years ago Islamicism was all but unknown to Americans and the terrorism perpetrated in its name considered a remote nuisance. The US’s neighbors may be about to make their own move from the periphery to the center of our concerns, just as we (if the polling numbers hold up) elect a president committed to the single policy that would most effectively undermine relations with them.

Why the growing importance?

For Canada, it is a matter of fire and ice. Energy is the fire. The emerging strategic importance of the Arctic is the ice.

Both presidential campaigns have adopted the mantra of “energy independence.” We all know that if this long-discussed goal is to become more than talk, we will need vastly increased domestic oil production and many more nuclear generating plants.

Now consider the political barriers to drilling in the US-not to mention to nuclear power plant development. According to one senior government official in a recent not-for-attribution briefing, more than 400 leases to drill for oil off the Alaska coast were let in recent years. As of today, no site has been exploited. Environmentalists have tied up every single permit in court challenges.

The point here is that achieving independence from “foreign” oil inevitably will require expanding what we mean by “domestic” oil. Our problem is not that most of our petroleum comes from outside our borders but that it comes from politically unfriendly countries, where much of the money is used to undermine US national security.

Obviously Canada is a different story-stable, friendly as few countries are, particularly in the past two decades, since the ratification of the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement in the late 80s and of NAFTA in the mid-90s. If we start thinking of “independence” as referring not just to the US but to North America, “energy independence” starts to become plausible. As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said, with its vast reserves and openness to the exploiting of them, Canada is an emerging “energy superpower.”

That is the fire. As to the ice, in its recently released global “Strategic Survey 2008,” the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies listed control of Arctic resources and shipping routes as a major emerging global issue.

The IISS noted that the Arctic basin “could be home to up to a quarter of the world’s unexplored oil and gas reserves.” Russia has been making a major play for control over these resources, including planting its national flag on the seabed under the North Pole and applying for international recognition of its sovereignty there.

Meanwhile, according to European Space Agency measurements, the waters along the top of North America were navigable for the first time during the summer thaw of 2007, potentially cutting thousands of miles off shipping from Europe to Asia. Sovereignty over these waters is in dispute.

As one prominent British security expert explained to me recently, the Arctic is among the least demarked regions of the world. Given Russia’s assertiveness and the resources and trade routes potentially at stake, the US has a huge interest in a solid relationship with Canada. And, as this expert warned, the Obama campaign is headed in exactly the wrong direction-for US interests, a very dangerous and isolating direction.

Mexico is a different but-given the Obama policies — at least as ominous a matter. The challenge there is stability.

In the last year, the Mexican government has sent troops into a number of northern states trying to wrest control back from drug cartels. To date, they have met with mixed success, calling into question the security of national sovereignty. A senior US official described those parts of Mexico to me recently as “Somalia on our border.” They are politically volatile regions not under firm control of the national government.

The US has an incalculable economic and national interest in the Mexican government’s success in Northern Mexico. But again, the Obama commitment to abrogating NAFTA runs exactly opposite to and is destructive of those interests.

NAFTA may not currently figure large in the campaign, but among the few certainties in this time of surprises is that Obama’s commitment to undermine the agreement will figure large in the nation’s fate in the years ahead.

As John McCain prepares for Wednesday’s debate, he should consider how to make the Illinois Democrat’s continental cluelessness part of his brief for the final weeks of the campaign.

Clark S. Judge is managing director of the White House Writers Group and was special assistant and speechwriter to President Reagan.

McCain-Palin Playing To Win In PA

Sunday, October 12, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Does last week’s volatility in the financial markets foreshadow next week’s volatility in the political markets? Gambling on subprime loans led the nation and the world to last week’s financial destruction. Will the prospect of an enormous gamble on an unknown and untested, hard left Chicago-machine pol with an Ayers-Rezko-Wright-ACORN resume and backed by a Pelosi-Reid Congress trigger a massive sell-off in Obama futures?

Politico.com reports on the battle for Pennsylvania.
McCain-Palin is focused on the Keystone State as the battleground in the final three weeks, and on a growth agenda that will contrast with the “shared misery” of Obama-Pelsoi-Reid.

The financial panic helped Obama establish a lead and he and Joe Biden are doing everything they can to project inevitability (and getting a lot of help from their MSM friends in doing so, right down to the “hate-speech-at-McCain-rallies” stories).

But as the shock of market losses wears off, the American public is asking how to repair the damage, and they know from example after example that the statist model being proposed by Obama-Pelosi-Reid not only doesn’t work, it deepens all economic woes. The Dems anti-trade stand and their addiction to non-strategic spending guarantees at best a very weak return to growth. The massive tax hikes promised by Obama will kill any prospect of vigorous growth for the foreseeable future.

Every vote for every Dem is a vote for a prolonged recession and ruinous fiscal and trade policies. Last week’s stampede in the markets created a stampede in the polling as well, but three weeks is a very long time for people to consider their economic and security futures, and all the battleground states are either tied or low single digit leads for Obama.

Here’s where McCain’s relentlessness and experience of last year and the early primaries pays off. He knows –and Obama’s team knows– that this is an environment in which a massive shift can occur. The message is two fold: Voters can’t trust Obama, and they need Reaganesque policies.

We can skip the Carter years 2.0. We don’t have to have four years of failed experiments in redistributing wealth and sharing out pain that ends up with everyone poorer, much more unemployment, and a terribly weakened national defense.

McCain-Palin are stumping in the land of the bitter, gun-clinging God loving Steeler and Eagles fans. It will be wonderful irony if the people Obama insulted at a cocktail party in San Francisco turn out to be the ones who kept their heads and turned the tide for John McCain.

Reading For A Long Trip

Saturday, October 11, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

I will be broadcasting from HI next week as part of my first local market trip to the Aloha State. The reading list for the week long trip:

Prompted by our two hour long conversation this past week (the best guide to the election yet, transcript here, and podcasts here and here), Victor Davis Hanson’s A War Unlike Any Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War

A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War

Paul Johnson’s The Renaissance,

The Renaissance: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)

and Robert Kurson’s Shadow Divers

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II

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