Bristol Palin is the Norm for U.S. Teenage Moms

Mar 12 2009 Published by under Featured News

Statistics show that while Sarah Palin may face some whispers and criticism from those in her own party, because her pregnant teenage daughter didn’t get married, Bristol Palin’s situation is actually the norm in the U.S. where less than 8% of teenage moms marry the father of their child.

A press release released put out by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, highlighted some interesting statistics that pointed out that 8 out of 10 teenage fathers don’t marry the marry the mother of their child, and teenage mothers who don’t marry the father are also less likely to be married by age 35. There is also a changing cultural dynamic against teenage marriage. In 1975, 11% of teenagers were married, but by 2002 this percentage had dropped to 2.5%. In 1980, 52% of teen births occurred in marriage. By 2002, this number had dropped to 20%.

One other statistic serves to refute the social conservative argument that pregnant teens should get married. Teen marriages are twice as likely to fail as those that occur when the woman is at least 25 years old. This would seem to be common sense, because a general rule older people are more mature. However, these statistics would seem to deal a blow to the social conservative myth that pregnant teen couples are better off getting married.

“Marriage and birth patterns among teens have changed over time, shifting from a general trend of marrying before pregnancy, to marrying as a result of pregnancy, to becoming pregnant and not marrying,” said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “Even though many unmarried teen mothers have high expectations for eventually marrying the father of their child, few ever do.”

Sarah Palin is drawing criticism, while her daughter’s decision is being praised. Bonnie Erbe over at US News and World Report wrote that, “From where I sit, Bristol Palin displays a lot more personal maturity and decision-making ability than her mother, who obviously tried to persuade Bristol to wed her “baby daddy… Is this good for her mother’s political career? Obviously not. Social conservatives believe strongly the daughter should have been forced into marriage.”

I think that this whole episode shows the fallacy of the social conservatives’ position on teenage sex. Abstinence doesn’t work, and forcing teenagers to get married is a recipe for creating a broken home that would benefit the child less than being in a loving single parent home. Although some Republicans don’t want to face it, Bristol Palin is the norm, not the exception.

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Michael Steele Flip Flops on Assault Weapons

Mar 10 2009 Published by under Featured News

RNC Chairman Michael Steele continues to reinvent his positions to be more in line with the party now heads. His latest change is to reverse his position on assault weapons.

Here is what Steele wrote in an email to supporters yesterday, “The Obama Administration has revealed its intention to reinstate the so-called “assault” gun ban — Step One of their plan to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Having already taken advantage of our country’s current economic woes to speed the largest, most pork-laden spending spree in history through the Democrat-controlled Congress, the Obama team is again using fear tactics to impose bad policy. Attorney General Eric Holder announced his desire to once again deny law abiding Americans their 2nd Amendment rights, using the ongoing violence in Mexico as justification.”

This sounds like the standard Republican position, so how does one reconcile this with what he told the Washington Post in 2006, “Society should draw lines. What do you need an assault weapon for, if you’re going hunting? That’s overkill. But I don’t think that means you go to a total ban for those who want to use gun for skeet shooting or hunting or things like that But what’s the point of passing gun laws if we’re not going to enforce them? If you want to talk about gun control, that’s where you need to start. We’ve got 300 gun laws on the books right now. At the end of the day, it’s about how we enforce the law.”

How seriously can gun rights advocates take Steele when three years ago he held the same position as the Obama administration? Michael Steele is turning into a big headache for the GOP. In fact, his situation is starting to remind of what the party went through in 2008 with Sarah Palin. All sorts of little surprises and inconsistencies are coming out about Steele because the RNC chose to elect a candidate based more on appearances than positions.

It is getting very obvious that Steele isn’t a good fit to lead the RNC. After they have taken two consecutive drubbings at the polls in 2006 and 2008, Republicans need a leader with credibility on the issues. Steele also suffers from a bit of Mitt Romney disease. Steele is from a blue state and like Romney he was more of a moderate then. Steele isn’t the sort of red meat conservative that the GOP rank and file seems to be craving. I am not a Republican, but flip flops such as this one, would seem to make Steele a part of the problem, not the solution, but the RNC is getting what it deserving for electing a leader based on skin color, not qualifications.

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Poll: Sarah Palin, GOP Women, and the Hillary Effect

Feb 27 2009 Published by under Featured News

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll released today finds that among Republicans thinking about the 2012 election Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney are the clear favorites. More interesting is the fact that there seems to be a Hillary effect in action when it comes to Palin and Republican women. Could Palin 2012 suffer the same fate as Clinton 2008?

The poll numbers break down as 29% for Palin, 26% for Huckabee, 21% for Romney, and 9% for Bobby Jindal. This poll was taken before Jindal laid his bomb heard around the world after Obama’s speech Tuesday night, so his slight support isn’t a reflection of his performance this week.

What is interesting is the impact of what I have dubbed the Hillary Effect, which is the mobilization of women, especially older women, who might not have normally been active in the primary. Older women were the bedrock of Hillary Clinton’s base of primary support. In many cases these women hadn’t been motivated by either Gore or Kerry. The early evidence from the CNN poll is that this same thing could happen to the GOP in 2012.

Palin, Huckabee, and Romney poll about evenly with men. The difference between them is that Palin has a 10 and 12 point lead over Huckabee and Romney respectively with Republican women. Republican women participated in the 2008 primary at about a 40% rate. It is likely that if Palin can keep her momentum, she will reenergize Republican women for the primary in the much the same way that Hillary Clinton did for Democratic women in 2008. The problem for Palin is that this alone probably won’t be enough to power her to the nomination, as women make up a smaller percentage of the GOP than they do in the Democratic Party.

Pallin’s path to the nomination would be a coalition of social conservatives, and women supporters. Palin is a big government Republican, like George W. Bush, so the fiscal conservatives are likely to support Romney. Huckabee’s base is with social conservatives, and that is what Palin would have to cut into. The other problem for the GOP is that in swing states like Colorado the power base is shifting. A post 2008 analysis done by the dear departed Rocky Mountain News found that the top voting bloc in the state has swung from Republican men to Democratic women.

Perhaps, no single group of voters despises Sarah Palin as much as Democratic women do. Palin like Hillary Clinton with voters in the other party as well as Independents. Palin may be able to motivate Republican women, but with such limited appeal, she would be looking at being routed by Barack Obama in the general election. The Republican, who could give Obama the most problems in 2012, if the economy doesn’t improve, is Mitt Romney. It might pain Hillary Clinton supporters to read this, but there as some definite parallels between Clinton 2008 and Palin 2012, which could lead them both to suffer the same fate.

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Ayers: Obama is making a Colossal Mistake by sending more Troops to Afghanistan

Feb 23 2009 Published by under Featured News

During the 2008 presidential campaign Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin tried desperately to link Barack Obama to 1960s radical Bill Ayers. Now, it turns out that Ayers is opposing Obama’s decision to send an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan.

An interview with Ayers will be on Fox News Channel’s Hannity program and here is what he said about Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, “It’s a mistake. It’s a colossal mistake. And, you know, we’ve seen this happen before, Alan. We’ve seen a hopeful presidency, Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, burn up in the furnace of war. I fear that this brilliant young man, this hopeful new administration, could easily burn their prospect of a great presidency in the war in Afghanistan or elsewhere.”

Ayers’s assessment of the Afghanistan situation sounds like a pure 60’s radical. I also believe that he is completely wrong. I don’t see the comparison between Afghanistan and Vietnam, but more importantly if Obama was the kind of radical that conservatives tried to paint him as during the campaign, you would think that he and Ayers would agree on this issue. In fact, the McCain campaign tried turning Ayers into a de facto advisor for Obama, but obviously nothing could be further from the truth.

Much to the dismay of many on the far left, or in Ayers’s case, the very far left, Obama is turning out to be much more of a moderate than they expected. Obama was never going to be a far left liberal. Presidents can’t effectively govern in this country from the far left or right. Obama is correct to get the nation out of Iraq, where unlike Afghanistan, there are no terrorists. President Obama was never a close friend of Bill Ayers, and his comments of FNC, show how stupid that attack was.

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Vanilla Ice: The Republican Party Goes Hip-Hop

Feb 19 2009 Published by under Featured News

In an idea that apparently came from the movie Bulworth, new RNC Chairman Michael Steele said that the party will make a hip-hop outreach to minority voters. I personally can’t wait to hear Mitch McConnell to bust a rhyme about tax cuts on the Senate floor.

According to The Washington Times Steele said, ”There was underlying concerns we had become too regionalized and the party needed to reach beyond our comfort” zones, he said, citing defeats in such states as Virginia and North Carolina. “We need messengers to really capture that region – young, Hispanic, black, a cross section … We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-surburban hip-hop settings.”

He continued, “Where we have fallen down in delivering a message is in having something to say, particularly to young people and moms of all shapes – soccer moms, hockey moms. We don’t offer one image for 18-year-olds and another for soccer moms but one that shows who we are for the 21st century.” This is an example of Republicans living in denial. Did it occur to Steele that the problem isn’t the delivery, but the message itself? The problem that the Republican Party has is that they are on the wrong side of many issues that are important to minorities.

I don’t think a rap on immigration reform is going to fix the fact that the Party’s stance on the issue has caused Hispanic voters to desert the party in droves. African-Americans are not going to vote Republican because of hip-hop packaging of the same unappealing proposals. This idea is born out of the same belief that led to the McCain selecting Sarah Palin for the ticket. Republicans think that people are stupid. The logic behind selecting Palin was that women will vote for another woman, just as putting a hip-hop message into the GOP will attract minority voters.

How is this new hip-hop initiative going to play with the party’s white, country music loving, God fearing, NASCAR base? I would guess not very well. Steele’s idea could alienate the base of the party. The Republican Party is still in denial. They need an ideological makeover, not an image makeover. They are trying to look for the easy way out, while unwilling to face the reality that they need to rebuild their party, and that takes time. If anything these cynical stunts will cost the GOP more votes in upcoming elections. People aren’t that dumb. Even though, Ice, Ice, Baby was a hit, everyone knew Vanilla Ice wasn’t a rapper. The GOP’s problem is that they don’t even have the political equivalent of Vanilla Ice in their stable. This is another bad idea from desperate party in decline.

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Palin: Obama Should Have Vetoed the Stimulus Bill

Feb 17 2009 Published by under Featured News

Sarah Palin was on Fox News ‘s On The Record With Greta Van Susteren, where she voiced her opposition to the Obama stimulus bill because Congress didn’t know what was in it, and it would add people to the rolls. The problem is that no one, including Gov. Palin seems to know what she is talking about.

Palin said, “I wish he would veto it and send it back until our lawmakers can read it and know what’s in it. I think I speak for a lot of Alaskans who say also understanding that the impacts on individual states that this stimulus package has, they are unknown impacts. So until our guy and our gals in Congress can read it and understand what the impacts are, I don’t want to see it signed.”

Host Greta Van Susteren asked Palin if she thought that Obama should veto it, “I would call for a veto, absolutely, and let’s do this right, understanding that there is going to be some kind of stimulus package. There is going to be some kind of attempts for economic recovery. I say construction projects that put people to work, that fits the bill, but these big huge expanded social programs where we are adding people to the rolls, and then the economic stimulus package dollars from the feds are going to dry up at some point. States then are going to be beholden to these programs. We will have to pay for them. That’s not right, that’s not fair. We just want to make sure that whatever is it is that is passed makes sense for the states, for the residents of our individual states.”

When Palin came out against adding people to the rolls, does this mean that she is against expanding unemployment benefits, and food stamps? Is she against expanding the SCHIP program to provide more children with health insurance? Maybe, she is against increasing Pell Grants? The only programs that will be adding people to the rolls are food stamps, unemployment, and SCHIP. The Medicaid expansion was removed from the bill.

Frankly, I don’t buy the excuse that the members of Congress don’t know what is in the bill. This bill had been going through the ringer for a couple of weeks before it was passed. There was plenty of time to review the bill. Also, Palin was completely wrong about federal stimulus dollars drying up and states having to pick up the tab. States are dying to get this money, because it will help fund already existing joint federal-state program. The stimulus bill doesn’t create a single new program that the states have to pay for.

There are two reasons why Sarah Palin would hate this bill. First, she wants to run against this bill in the 2012 election. Her sloppy and inaccurate attempt at framing the stimulus as an unfunded mandate is a preview of her line of attack. Secondly, anything that promotes green energy is bad for her state of Alaska. The Alaskan economy is dependent on oil, which means that if the America goes green, Alaska will be hurting.

I sincerely believe that Sarah Palin has absolutely no idea what she is talking about. She views every issue through a narrow ideological prism. Her opposition to the stimulus bill boils down to her ideological belief that people should not be added to the rolls. Thank you very much, President Hoover. Palin is the female George W. Bush. She doesn’t have a good reason for opposing the stimulus bill. She just knows that she should, and this is the reason why Sarah Palin poses no threat to Barack Obama in 2012. She is a sideshow, not a leader or a visionary.

Video of Sarah Palin On The Record

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More Token Politics: Republicans Push Bobby Jindal as the Conservative Obama

Feb 11 2009 Published by under Featured News

The era of GOP token politics took another step today when the Congressional Republican leadership announced that Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) has been chosen to deliver the GOP response to President Obama’s address to Congress on February 24. It also helps that Jindal is young and his parents were immigrants from India.

House Republican Leader John Boehner said of Jindal, “Gov. Jindal embodies what I have long said: the Republican Party must not be simply the party of ‘opposition,’ but the party of better solutions. His stewardship of the state of Louisiana, dedication to reforming government, and commitment to bringing forth new and innovative ideas make him a leader not just within the Republican Party, but in our nation as a whole.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Gov. Jindal’s leadership during a time of recovery in Louisiana, his commitment to real government reform, and his protection of hardworking American families make him an excellent choice to offer Republican solutions for the challenges which lay ahead.” Hmm, Jindal is a government reformer who brings new and innovative ideas while fighting for working people, well that sounds a lot like someone else we all know. In fact it sounds a lot like that guy from Chicago who currently resides in the White House. Could it be that the Republicans are looking to build up Jindal as the conservative answer to Obama?

I think it is obvious why the Republicans offered this plum national television to slot to Jindal. The GOP is trying to play more token politics. It seems like are promoting anybody in the party who isn’t white to counter Barack Obama’s election. This move, along with the election of Michael Steele as RNC chairman, is a cynical and shameless attempt to appeal to minority voters. Bobby Jindal is young, but as of yet, has not impressed me as being presidential material. The more intriguing question is, if the party is going to push Jindal, what does this mean for Sarah Palin?

She has already begun her campaign for 2012, and if the party thought that she really was the future then they should have offered her the chance to follow Obama. Palin’s limited popularity likely scared off many Republicans from the idea of putting her national television to represent them. I don’t see the charisma in Jindal to rival Obama. The Republicans are desperately grasping at anyone hoping that someone will be able to lead them out the abyss that they currently find themselves in. The GOP looks more content to try finding a quick fix for their recent election losses, instead rebuilding their party.

McConnell and Boehner Press Release

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The Sarah Palin/Ashley Judd Feud Continues

Feb 06 2009 Published by under Featured News

This week the group Defenders of Wildlife launched a campaign against Alaska Governor, and probable 2012 Republican presidential candidate. Sarah Palin’s state program of aerial wolf hunting. Palin defended the program as animal control, while the group calls it slaughter.

Here is the Ashley Judd narrated video:

Ashley Judd, who during the 2008 campaign call women who vote for Palin suicidal, said in a press release, “I am outraged by Sarah Palin’s promotion of this cruel, unscientific and senseless practice, which has no place in modern America. Because she is apparently determined to continue and expand this horrific program, I am grateful that Defenders will aggressively fight to stop her. I am proud to be a part of that effort.”

In a statement Palin called the campaign a distortion, “The ad campaign by this extreme fringe group, as Alaskans have witnessed over the last several years, distorts the facts about Alaska’s wildlife management programs. Alaskans depend on wildlife for food and cultural practices which can’t be sustained when predators are allowed to decimate moose and caribou populations. Our predator control programs are scientific and successful at protecting vulnerable wildlife. These audacious fundraising attempts misrepresent what goes on in Alaska, and I encourage people to learn the facts about Alaska’s positive record of managing wildlife for abundance.”

Today Scientific American weighed in with an article that features an interview with wildlife biologist Shawn Haskell who has studied wolf and caribou populations in Alaska. Haskell said that there is a stronger link between bears and caribou than between wolves and caribou. He suggested that the Alaska predator program should be more targeted towards bears.

“Wolves, however, aren’t necessarily the big problem. Bears can be a bigger issue than wolves when it comes to the survival of moose young. The whole predator control focus seems to be aimed at wolves from a general standpoint. I’m not sure that’s always appropriate. Bears are held to a different standard. You have to hire a guide to hunt a bear if you are a nonresident—it’s a big business in Alaska. They are also less visible. Wolves exist in packs. They howl at night when they are hunting,” Haskell said.

“Moose calves have a “hider” strategy. They hide in the vegetation, and that makes them susceptible to bears. That’s why I find it very interesting that people want to increase moose populations, but they talk about culling wolves. I’ve questioned that myself. It doesn’t have to do with science, it’s just the way it is,” Haskell continued. I think Mr. Haskell hit the nail on the head. This has little to do with science, and everything to do with politics and tourism. Bear hunting brings tourists and money.

Plus culturally the wolf has been assigned the role of the villain, so it is easy to hunt wolves because they are the predatory bad guys. As far as the Ashley Judd is concerned, this won’t be the last time she will be taking shots at Palin (pun intended). Politically, this could work out for both Palin and Defenders of Wildlife. The group probably got lots of visitors to their new website, and Palin gets to appeal to conservative base by doing battle with liberal conservationists.

She is claiming that the group is trying to use her to raise money, “Shame on the Defenders of Wildlife for twisting the truth in an effort to raise funds from innocent and hard-pressed Americans struggling with these rough economic times.” It was a terrible idea for Palin to issue a statement from the governor’s office about the ad campaign. Her actions once again prove that she views the governor’s office as nothing more than a stepping stone to a White House bid.

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Sarah Palin’s Lies and Half Truths about Drilling in ANWR

Feb 02 2009 Published by under Featured News

In an editorial written for today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke out against a bill working its way through Congress that would prohibit drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Palin once again tells more lies at the behest of big oil.

Palin prefaced her argument by writing, “Let’s not forget: Only six months ago, oil was selling for nearly $150 per barrel, while Americans were paying $4 a gallon and more for gasoline. And today, there is potential for prices to rebound as OPEC asserts its market power and as Russia disrupts needed natural gas to Europe for the second time in three years.” This is a fair point for developing alternative energy sources as the United States can’t extract and refine enough oil domestically to meet demand.

Governor Palin goes on to make a claim that is a flat out lie, “Oil from ANWR represents a huge, secure domestic supply that could help satisfy U.S. demand for more than 25 years.” According to the 1998 assessment of ANWR done by the US Geological Service, ANWR contains 10.4 billion barrels of oil, which sounds like a lot, until you know that the US uses 20 million barrels of oil a day. I am no mathematician but 20 million divided by 10 billion does not equal 25 years worth of domestic oil.

Palin also claims that drilling ANWR will create hundreds of thousands of America jobs, “ANWR development would create hundreds of thousands of good American jobs, positively affecting every state by providing a safe energy supply and generating demand for goods and services.” What Palin doesn’t tell you is that her data come from a 1990 study done by the American Petroleum Institute. According to the Sierra Club the study assumes that drilling ANWR will lead to a 5% drop in world oil prices which will stimulate the economy and create jobs in every state. The truth is that thousands of jobs will be created in Alaska, and they will last for 5 years.

Something is wrong with any argument that is based ignores the statistics of the federal government, and bases its reasoning on studies done by petroleum industry. The petroleum industries are the people who stand to benefit from drilling ANWR. Remember the oil doesn’t belong to the United States, but to the oil companies, and anyone who thinks that the oil companies will undertake the expensive process of drilling in ANWR only to be mandated that they have to sell the oil domestically doesn’t understand business. The incentive to drill ANWR is gone if they can’t sell the oil on the open market to the highest bidder.

In her editorial, Palin delivers an argument that is full of half truths, and political propaganda. If her plan is play the energy card in 2012, when the hopefully the country is on its way to creating more alternative energy, she will look as out of step with the times as Rudy Giuliani did invoking 9/11 in 2008. Palin is revealing herself to be a one trick pony, and her tricks are getting less relevant by the day.

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Endangered: Republicans Only Have an Advantage in 5 States

Jan 28 2009 Published by under Featured News

A new Gallup analysis of their 2008 polling data has found that not only has the electoral map shifted towards the Democratic Party, but also that states with a Republican advantage are becoming an endangered species. Only Utah, Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, and Nebraska have more registered Republicans than Democrats.

Today’s results were the first in a four part series to be released on Democrats now hold a voter registration advantage in 35 states, 10 states are considered up for grabs, and Republicans only have an advantage in the five abovementioned states. Four of the strongest of the Democratic states are not surprisingly, in New England (Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts). The rest are predictable Democratic strongholds (Illinois, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia).

Twenty nine states were found to have a Democratic advantage of 10 or more points. What has to be troubling for the Republican Party is the possibility that the South is trending away from them. North Carolina, Arkansas, and Kentucky all have double digit Democratic voter affiliation advantages. However, John McCain won two of these three states in 2008, along with West Virginia which has a 19 point Democratic advantage.

It can be argued that in states like West Virginia and Kentucky race played a role in pushing white voters towards McCain. Believe it or not, by these numbers, McCain did well to win 22 states. Barack Obama deserves the credit for pushing this movement of voters towards the Democrats into hyper speed, but voters have been trending away from the Republican Party since 2004. Democrats traditionally have had an advantage in terms of party affiliation. Republicans were able to close the gap with a superior voter turnout operation. This changed in 2008 as the Obama machine turned out Democrats in massive numbers.

The lesson here for Republicans should be that can’t choose presidential nominees who appeal strictly to the party base. The base is not large enough for them to win a presidential election. Republicans need candidates that appeal to Independents and conservative Democrats. The problem is that the base that controls the nominating process favors evangelical hardliners like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. Until Republicans move back to the middle, Democrats are going to continue winning elections.

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