Friday, 15 October 2010


Ken Berwitz

The Orlando Sentinel has dumped Alan Grayson, and endorsed Dan Webster for congress.

Read the following excerpts from the paper's endorsement and see why:

Our Endorsements: Dan Webster over Alan Grayson for Congress


Seeking his second term representing Florida's 8th Congressional District, Democrat Alan Grayson of Orlando carries the hyper-partisan fever that has gripped Washington, D.C. Fortunately for voters in the district, there is an antidote: his opponent, Republican Dan Webster of Winter Garden.

In only two years in the U.S. House, representing a district that runs north from Celebration into Orange, Lake and Marion counties, Mr. Grayson has become nationally notorious for his over-the-top attacks on Republicans. Who could forget these greatest hits? He declared that the GOP health plan was for Americans to "die quickly" if they get sick. He used a vulgar acronym to say that former Vice President Dick Cheney should shut up. He called Republicans "knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."

He has kept up this scorched-earth approach in his re-election campaign, branding Mr. Webster "Taliban Dan" and "a draft dodger" in a couple of ads. Independent fact-checking organizations have judged those ads as false. So have we.

Mr. Grayson's antics are not merely an embarrassment to himself and his district. They deepen the partisan divide that has left Congress almost dysfunctional.


And Mr. Grayson has wildly exaggerated his role in the other accomplishments he's claiming in this campaign. For example, he is taking personal credit for "saving schools" because he supported last year's economic stimulus package and its additional billions for education. So did virtually every other Democrat in Congress.

In sharp contrast to Mr. Grayson, Mr. Webster was a Republican state legislator for nearly three decades whose civility and statesmanship earned him the admiration of Democrats. He wasn't just a nice guy; he was effective. He played a leading role in raising education standards, reforming welfare and opening lawmaking to more public scrutiny. During his term as House speaker, Republicans and Democrats agreed to a statewide expansion of Healthy Families, a successful program to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Like other Republicans running this year, Mr. Webster has pledged to bring federal spending under control. His call, however, to roll back spending to 2007 levels is unrealistic, as is his vow to cut taxes. We take more comfort from his experience in balancing state budgets year after year.

Mr. Grayson has attacked Mr. Webster for his arch-conservative positions on abortion and other social issues. We don't care much for those positions, either. We urge him, if elected, to focus instead on bipartisan solutions to the nation's biggest problems, starting with reviving the economy. His experience in Tallahassee gives us good reason to think he can.

We endorse Dan Webster.

In the immortal words of Popeye the sailor man, the Sentinel said "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more"

Let's hope voters in Florida's 8th feel the same way. 

free` If they reelect grayson, I can only assume that those voters are as mean spirited and imbecilic as grayson is. (10/15/10)

Ken Berwitz free - sadly, it is not out of the question. You'd think that voters couldn't wait to dump a national laughingstock like Grayson, but who knows? Maybe they just want him for the comic relief. (10/15/10)


Ken Berwitz

This comes under the heading "I'll believe it when I see it -- but how I hope I see it":

Excerpted from James Stiles' highly interesting, informative article at

Arizona Democrats in Danger

For an angry electorate, Democrats attempts to backtrack on earlier positions may be too little, too late.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D.) serves a district, the Arizona 7th, that is almost 55 percent Hispanic. He probably wasnt surprised to hear the crowd cheering in Spanish at Wednesday nights congressional debate. But he almost certainly wasnt expecting those cheers to be directed at his opponent. Viva Ruth! Viva Ruth! Viva Ruth! supporters of Republican nominee Ruth McClung chanted as the candidates took the stage in Tucson. Ruth s se puede! they added: Yes, Ruth can! If she does, it will be one of the biggest upsets of this election cycle.


Grijalvas seat had long seemed one of the safest in the country (the four-term Democrat has never received less than 59 percent of the vote). So safe, in fact, that Grijalva apparently had no qualms about promoting an economic boycott of his own state, which has the second-highest poverty rate in the country. He did so in response to S.B. 1070, Arizonas controversial immigration law, which he vocally opposed. These positions could end up costing him his seat.

An automated survey conducted on September 29 showed Grijalva leading McClung, a real-life rocket scientist, by just two points: 40 to 38 percent. A more recent survey, taken October 56, showed McClung in the lead: 39 to 37 percent, with a whopping 24 percent undecided always a bad sign for an incumbent. GOP strategists believe they have a realistic chance of pulling off the upset. So does Americans for Tax Reform, which recently launched a $230,000 ad buy targeting Grijalva.

McClung, who has received endorsements from Sen. John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Sarah Palin, told National  Review Online that the survey results were consistent with the numbers her campaign was getting. She has slammed Grijalvas call for a boycott, calling it the straw that broke the camels back, and has asked him to apologize. To call for a boycott of his own state at any time, but especially during a recession, is just a slap in the face, McClung said.

Grijalvas district has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In Yuma County, unemployment is approaching 30 percent. With the economy failing to improve, Grijalvas boycott position has become impossible to defend. He finally backtracked during a debate last week, admitting he had made a strategic mistake, but he has not yet actually apologized.

Admittedly I have not seen or heard a lot from Raul Grijalva compared to many other house members.  But every time I have seen and heard him I've come away thinking that he is a USA hating agitator who would be far more comfortable on the board of La Raza than in the house of representatives.

Calling for a boycott of his own state because its Governor intends to act on the premise that it has a border with Mexico, is actually depraved.  If Mr. Grijalva does not want there to be a border, I suggest he go south of Arizona, into Mexico - where the powers that be, and the murderous drug cartels, seem very much in agreement with him.

And that is before we get to Grijalva's position on ObamaCare, which I'm sure you can guess (you're right).  Even as it becomes more and more clear that it will cost us through the nose, Grijalva's web site claims ObamaCare will save 1.2 trillion over the next 20 years. 

Want to see how Rep. Grijalva justifies that claim?  Then read his explanation..  What you will see is a series of tax raises and fees on pretty much every and any person or group that is in any way productive, including Medicare Part D retirees.  In short, a massive redistribution of wealth on a scale rarely (if ever) seen in the history of this country. 

Everyone who can pay pays, so that everyone who doesn't pay gets.  And all parties will happily go along.

Anyone who thinks this will work the way it is presented on Grijalva's web site, lives in an ivory castle on the top of a mountain in the geographic middle of a dream world between Brigadoon and Camelot, created by the tooth fairy.

So, though I am skeptical that it will happen, I am rooting - harder than hard - for Ruth McClung, the rocket scientist, to launch Grijalva into a new career.  Starting January 1.


Ken Berwitz

It is widely believed - with good reason - that if Republicans take over congress they will try to repeal ObamaCare.

But, then again, maybe they won't have to.

Excerpted from Jennifer Haberkorn's article at

Judge disses Dems' 'Alice in Wonderland' health defense


By JENNIFER HABERKORN | 10/14/10 4:29 PM EDT Updated: 10/15/10 5:25 AM EDT


A federal judge in Florida on Thursday said he will allow some of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care law to proceed  and criticized Democrats for making an Alice in Wonderland argument to defend the law.


U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson allowed two major counts to proceed: the states challenge to the controversial requirement that nearly all Americans buy insurance and a required expansion of the Medicaid program.


In his ruling, Vinson criticized Democrats for seeking to have it both ways when it comes to defending the mandate to buy insurance. During the legislative debate, Republicans chastised the proposal as a new tax on the middle class.


Obama defended the payment as a penalty and not a tax, but the Justice Department has argued that legally, its a tax.


Congress should not be permitted to secure and cast politically difficult votes on controversial legislation by deliberately calling something one thing, after which the defenders of that legislation take an Alice-in-Wonderland tack and argue in court that Congress really meant something else entirely, thereby circumventing the safeguard that exists to keep their broad power in check, he wrote.

There are something like 20 other states challenging this largely unwanted, and probably unconstitutional, legislation.  So, as this suit moves along, expect to see a lot more like it.

The Democratic rationale for ObamaCare may be like something out of Alice in Wonderland, but I doubt too many people in the current administration are grinning like cheshire cats right now.


Ken Berwitz

The Harper government in Canada chooses to be a friend and defender of Israel.

And that has significantly damaged Canada in the morally, ethically, spiritually dead cesspool that is the UN.

Please read the following excerpt from Paul Mirengoff's blog at - and pay special attention to the paragraph I've put in bold print:

I haven't gotten around to commenting on this report from earlier in the week that Canada's increasing ties with Israel and its position regarding Jerusalem have cost it a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Canada has been elected to the most prestigious United Nations body in every decade since 1948 until this one (if we include 2010 as part of the first decade of this century).

Canada lost out to Portugal after Portugal's natural ally, Brazil, lobbied Islamic countries with warnings that Canada's vote on Israel-related issues would be no different than that of the United States. Portugal, the argument went, would be more "balanced."

Where was the U.S. while this was going down? According to the above-referenced report, we were nowhere to be found.

South Africa, which consistently voted against Israel during its last stint, will also join the new Security Council. Israel has more reason than ever not to pay any attention to the U.N. on issues that relate to its security and well-being.

My congratulations - and thanks - to Stephen Harper for being a stand-up guy.  He elevates Canada and does his country proud.

But where was the U.S.?  Nowhere to be found, that's where.  That says it all.  It is the recurring refrain of the Obama administration.

I wonder how many U.S. Jews who voted for Barack Obama even know about this.  Lamentably, I'm betting only a small minority do. 

And if every Jewish Obama voter was aware of it, I wonder how many of them would figure out some rationale, however contorted and bizarre, to explain it away.  Even more lamentably, I'm betting a great many would do just that. 

When will some of us learn?  Maybe never.


Ken Berwitz

I did not see last night's debate between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle.  I only saw a couple of sound bites this morning. 

But I read two articles - with two differing views - about it in the Las Vegas Sun, which I am excerpting below:

From Anjeanette Damon's article:

Little new in Senate debate to sway undecided voters

Reid, Angle stay on their messages, continue attacks on each other in sole TV debate

U.S. Senate candidates Sharron Angle and Harry Reid had clear-cut strategies in their lone joint appearance before an audience of mainstream voters this campaign.

Angle, the Republican, sought to use Thursdays televised debate to buck the constructed image of her as an extreme conservative. Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, sought to convince voters he understands their economic plight, and defend the policies that so far have failed to generate a significant recovery in Nevada.

Neither candidate, analysts agreed, was able to deliver that perfect message capable of wrenching away their opponents supporters or moving undecided voters into their column.

From Jon Ralston's article:

Reid lost the debate to Angle

Lets get the easy part out of the way first:

Sharron Angle won The Big Debate.

Angle won because she looked relatively credible, appearing not to be the Wicked Witch of the West (Christine ODonnell is the good witch of the Tea Party) and scoring many more rhetorical points. And she won because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid looked as if he could barely stay on a linear argument, abruptly switching gears and failing to effectively parry or thrust.

Whether the debate affects the outcome I believe very few Nevadans are undecided it also perfectly encapsulated the race: An aging senator who has mastered the inside political game but fundamentally does not seem to care about his public role (and is terrible at it) versus an ever-smiling political climber who can deliver message points but sometimes changes her message or denies a previous one even existed.

Look upon these works, ye mighty, and despair.

A few observations:

My personal feeling is that Angle won the debate if she did nothing more than perform on a relatively even plane with Reid.  Let's remember that Reid currently is very unpopular among Nevadans (so much so that his own son is running for Governor of Nevada as "Rory", not "Rory Reid").  Quite possibly, the only reason Reid remains competitive is that a good many voters believe Angle is an extremist simpleton.  If her debate performance dispelled that negative image, therefore, she came out a winner.

I'm fascinated by Ms. Damon's comment that the policies touted by Harry Reid have "so far have failed to generate a significant recovery in Nevada".  It seems to suggest there has been a recovery of some kind, just not enough of one.  Can someone tell me about this recovery?  The last time I checked, Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in the country (over 14%).  Did that change recently?

I disagree with Mr. Ralston's intimation that the debate might not be important because "very few Nevadans are undecided".  Just as there is no problem unless there is a solution, there is no reason to reconsider a voting decision unless there is a change in how one of the candidates is perceived.  The fact that Angle performed as well as she did could certainly have moved some voters into the undecided - or even pro-Angle- camp.

FInally, my compliments to Ralston for using that line from the supersedingly great Percy Bysshe Shelley poem, "Ozymandius".  Since politics is not particularly uplifting, but great poetry is, I'll end by posting the entire poem - which Mr. Reid, and, very especially, his boss Mr. Obama, would do well to heed:


by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away. 


Ken Berwitz

Since I put up two opinions from the Las Vegas Sun, as a matter of fairness I am putting up a third view - this one from Sherman Frederick, publisher of the competing Las Vegas Journal-Review:

Angle mops the floor with Reid

Posted by Sherman Frederick
Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 at 07:04 PM


While both candidates -- Sharron Angle and Harry Reid -- started out slow and tight in their debate this evening, by debate close it was clear: Angle mopped the floor with Reid.


She hit hard on a variety of topics; showed she had the fire to be a U.S. Senator; demonstrated a command of the issues; and, of course, stayed gaffe free.


Reid meanwhile looked tired. Sounded entitled. He mixed up the Department of Education with the Department of Energy. Couldn't find his notes for the close and generally fell back on talking points on far too many questions.

So now there are three.  One review says it was a tie (which would work in Angle's favor since the biggest rap against her is that she is not in Reid's league).  A second review says Angle won.  And a third review - which you just read - says that Angle mopped up the floor with Reid.

There are no more debates scheduled, thus no way for Reid to recoup. 

No one knows for sure, of course, but I would think this puts Reid solidly on the losing side of town.


UPDATE:  Excerpted from the debate write-up by decidedly Democratic-left Newsweek:

It was billed as the contest Harry Reid had to win. But the Senate majority leader had better hope that's not true: his performance in Thursday night's lone Nevada Senate debate is being widely panned, with Reid coming off as wooden, inarticulate, and shiftless. Meanwhile, Reid's opponent, Tea Party standard-bearer Sharron Angle, avoided a serious gaffeno small feat, given her track record.

Why was the debate so important? It's the only face-to-face meeting in a campaign that has been incredibly close, with the candidates trading minuscule leads for weeks. While Reid's defeat seemed inevitable a few months ago, his strategy of painting Angle as extremeand giving her ample rope to hang herselfhas kept him in contention. On Thursday, Angle needed to avoid serious mistakes, while Reid needed to be forceful and charismatic. And almost everyone says she succeeded, while he didn't. 

Wow.  I guess she really did wipe up the floor with him.

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