Thursday, February 9, 2012

To: Friends & Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer


Santorum Strong In Ohio

For the second time in as many weeks, there is polling data suggesting that the strongest Republican candidate in Ohio is not Mitt Romney but rather Rick Santorum. A Rasmussen poll released this morning finds that Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney 45% to 41% among likely Ohio voters, whereas Santorum and Obama are tied at 44% each.

What accounts for this difference? Voter enthusiasm among the GOP base. According to Rasmussen's data, Romney gets only 80% of the Republican vote against Obama, while 8% of Republicans said they would vote for Obama over Romney. Santorum gets 84% of the GOP vote, and just 6% of Republicans would vote for Obama over Santorum.

Here are some more statistics that should worry the Romney campaign:

  • Just 19% of Ohio Republicans have a very favorable opinion of Mitt Romney.
  • Among self-identified conservatives, only 12% have a very favorable opinion of Mitt Romney, and only 70% of conservatives would support Romney over Obama.
  • In contrast, 41% of Republicans and 42% of conservatives have a very favorable opinion of Rick Santorum. And against Obama, Rick Santorum captures 80% of the conservative vote.

This strikes at the core of the entire "electability" argument. If Mitt Romney cannot win overwhelming support from conservatives, it is hard to see how he wins Ohio. And if the Republican nominee does not win Ohio, it will be virtually impossible to win the White House.

Mixed Messages On The Mandate

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that the White House was seeking "to ease mounting objections" to its controversial mandate ordering religious institutions to pay for sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans. Some have pointed to a model in Hawaii as a possible compromise. Good news, right? Maybe not.

Richard Doerflinger, who is in charge of monitoring pro-life legislation for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the Hawaii model isn't much of a compromise in that it still requires religious institutions to "tell all enrollees how they may directly access contraceptive services and supplies in an expeditious manner." In other words, it would essentially require a Catholic school to refer its employees to Planned Parenthood!

While administration officials may be talking about compromise in public, privately Barack Obama is saying the exact opposite. ABC News reported yesterday that "President Obama 'reinforced' his stance on the controversial contraception mandate while speaking at the Democrats' annual retreat at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C."

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) emerged from the meeting and told reporters, "It is our clear understanding from the administration that the president believes as we do… It's medicine, and women deserve their medicine." Sorry, senator, but human life is not a virus; pregnancy is not a disease.

Ecumenical And Bi-Partisan Opposition

While the media have portrayed this as largely a Catholic issue, it is not. There is broad faith-based opposition to this latest Obama dictate from Evangelical, Jewish and Protestant leaders. This week leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention lent their voices to the growing chorus of opposition. Here is an excerpt from a statement released by Dr. Richard Land and Dr. Barrett Duke of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission:

"We consider this callous requirement by the Obama administration to be a clear violation of our nation's commitment to liberty of conscience and a flagrant violation of our constitutional protection to freedom of religion. For many people of faith, this requirement is abhorrent. …The Obama administration has declared war on religion and freedom of conscience. This must not stand. Our Baptist forebears died and went to prison to secure these freedoms. It is now our calling to stand in the gap and defend our priceless First Amendment religious freedoms."

Tuesday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the mandate as "abhorrent to the foundational principles of our nation." Yesterday, Speaker John Boehner took to the House floor and said that the mandate "constitutes an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country." Boehner added, "This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country must not stand, and will not stand."

Democrats are beginning to break ranks. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) called the contraception mandate "un-American" and a "direct affront to the religious freedoms protected under the First Amendment." Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Bob Casey (D-PA) are also opposed. And one former congresswoman who backed ObamaCare now regrets doing so because of this abuse of power.

There is a lesson here for the GOP. Job growth is improving and the unemployment rate is falling (at least according to the Obama Labor Department). Obama's approval rating is up. But for the first time in months, the administration is playing defense -- and it's over a cultural issue. Values issues are very powerful, and the Democrats have more to worry about than we do. If Obama does not carry the Catholic vote, there is very good chance he will be a one-term president.

How Fair Is That?

Barack Obama announced a major settlement today between the big banks and state attorneys general regarding one aspect of the housing crisis. We don't know all the details yet -- it was another Obama special negotiated behind closed doors with the results being announced to us mere "peasants." We'll delve further into it later, but I wanted to share my initial thoughts.

For months now the president has been framing his left-wing agenda as a matter of "fairness." For example, Obama and the left argues that it is not fair that people like Mitt Romney pay only 15% on dividends and interest. Using Obama's yardstick of fairness, how does this multi-billion settlement measure up?

Imagine two home buyers five or six years ago who purchased homes on the same street in the same neighborhood and paid the same $200,000 price. One buyer and his family made years of sacrifices to save up for a $40,000 down payment. He and his wife have done whatever they had to do over years to faithfully make their mortgage payments, even though value of their home has declined below what they owe.

The couple next door didn't have savings, and didn't want to wait to buy a house, so they took out a no money down loan with an adjustable interest rate too. As the economy began to decline, they were finding it almost impossible to make payments each month. Listening to liberal rhetoric telling them they weren't responsible for their situation, that it's all Wall Street's fault, they stopped paying their mortgage.

Now here comes the "fairness president" announcing today that the guy who sacrificed and made his payments on time gets nothing, while the family who was not prudent will by law have the size of its mortgage decreased. The bank will have to eat the loss. If that family had already been evicted in a foreclosure, they will get a $2,000 check as part of the settlement.

Since we've got the "smartest" president we've ever had, maybe he can explain to millions of hard-working Americans how this is fair to them. But wait…there's more.

When the family who defaulted gets this "Obama gift" of having its mortgage reduced, not only is the value of their house lowered, but so too is the value of the home next door. So the guy who played by the rules gets nothing from the "fairness president," has a less valuable home and looks like a sucker. This kind of manipulation of the market is frequently referred to as a "moral hazard" because it rewards and thus encourages bad behavior.

The public ought to be outraged. As usual nothing about the left-wing philosophy is fair to people who play by rules and pay their bills. When the goodies get redistributed, they are the ones who get left "holding the bag." Just think what would happen if several million homeowners reacted by no longer paying their mortgages until their loans were also decreased by tens of thousands. It would only be "fair."

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