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Friday, Oct 31, 2014

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

A ‘permanent campaign’ of too much information?

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By Tom Jackson

The trouble with William Galston’s column in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal — “The ‘Permanent Campaign’=Perpetual Paralysis” — is that he manages to isolate a real problem, but botches the solutions. The piece is behind the Journal’s resolute subscription-only pay wall, but I will attempt to do justice to its highlights and spirit.

Identified by Jimmy Carter pollster Pat Caddell in December 1976 and codified a few years later by journalist Sidney Blumenthal in his seminal book of the same name, “The Permanent Campaign” describes politicians’ and the media’s access to and obsession with real-time analysis of the public’s mood on any given issue.

We can see almost daily examples in President Obama’s wetted-finger-in-the-breeze leadership style, even if it seems to detect only how the progressive wind blows. This is not to say, by any means, that Republican officeholders aren’t equally susceptible to the allure of always knowing the electorate’s temperature. And this preoccupation with tacking to the folks’ good side, says Galston, an author and Brookings Institute senior fellow when he’s not writing for the Journal, is the single greatest impediment to tackling America’s toughest issues.

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Hillary’s trickle-down insufficiency

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By Tom Jackson

So it turns out we’re a long way from being finished with the TelePrompter. Like the White House occupant she presumably aches to succeed, it appears Hillary Clinton, the once and future frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, cannot be trusted off-script.

To her “dead broke” ad lib/lie at her book tour kickoff and her inability to cite even one certifiable achievement during four years as secretary of state (covering up the circumstances of the Benghazi massacre doesn’t count), add now her meandering slam of free market capitalism at a Boston campaign appearance Friday in which she humbled herself to play warm-up act to Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley.

No, as a matter of fact, the gig was not billed as “Two Portraits of Entitlement in Search of High Office.”

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Origin of all that Fangate commotion: Cheatin’ Charlie Crist

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By Tom Jackson

I am second to none in my fondness for fans. Box fans, ceiling fans, floor fans, window fans (especially the reversible kind), table fans. Whole-room air circulators and fans that oscillate. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a Florida block house without central air, I find comfort in a steady breeze accompanied by white noise.

In short, I appreciate Charlie Crist’s addiction, if not his obsession. I mean, Crist without his fan is like Linus without his blanket. Maybe that’s why the original agreement for Wednesday night’s debate — the one on which both camps signed off — included not merely prohibitions on “electronics,” but also, specifically, fans.

Crist’s authorized representative approved the debate agreement as written, but added a handwritten codicil granting “debate hosts” authority to “address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary.” Instructively, the amendment released by former state senator and campaign ally Dan Gelber lacks initials from anyone representing the Scott campaign, a fundamental requirement on any legal document that bears handwritten changes, or is altered from its original printed form.

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Democrats’ fiction-based Ebola delusion

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By Tom Jackson

Welded to the notion that the only proper response to a national emergency is (a) more public spending coupled with (b) blaming Republicans for causing the crisis in the first place, Democrats resorted to type this week as it became increasingly clear the official U.S. response to Ebola lacked the wherewithal to “stop it in its tracks.”

A bumbling and incoherent federal government, manifested lately by the Centers for Disease Control and its automaton director, Tom Frieden, has not inspired confidence. Nor, for that matter, has the Obama administration’s refusal to slam the door on travelers who originate from West African countries where the virus runs wild.

Regarding this last, Tucker Carlson expressed the mood of at least two-thirds of the nation when he remarked, rightly, on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Wednesday, “This is pressure from people who are treating this as a civil rights issue, that the No. 1 sin in their view is to hurt the feelings of others. No foreign citizen has a right to come to the United States, period. We should remind ourselves of that.”

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Amendment 2 and the whiff of desperation

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By Tom Jackson

There’s a whiff of desperation on the air where supporters of Amendment 2 once anticipated only the distinctive waft burning cannabis. And nowhere is that desperation more evident than that contained in the email blast which flew, ostensibly, from the keyboard of lawyer John Morgan to in-boxes across the land Tuesday.

Once the image of every activists’ dreams — a massive, billowing thunderhead rolling across Florida, as impressive and unstoppable as Tuesday’s storm front — Amendment 2 is blowing apart as voters in fast-increasing numbers are learning the referendum advertised as relief for the truly, desperately, exotically ill is actually a flimsily constructed Trojan horse for all-but-completely-legal pot.

The list of those formally opposed to Amendment 2 includes law enforcement, former state Supreme Court justices, business associations, doctors’ groups and state editorial boards, almost all of whom simultaneously express regret they can’t support an amendment that would almost certainly bring a measure of relief to certain long-suffering Floridians. But they’ve read the package, and they know the authors drafted language that is hopelessly, purposely loose.

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MSNBC’s problem isn’t diverse ancestry

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By Tom Jackson

At this point, MSNBC’s ratings would have to crawl back up the sewer pipe just to make it into the toilet, a fact noted by Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple: “MSNBC is sucking wind.” Given the cable channel’s wholesale rejection by news junkies, Wemple probably could have stopped at three words.

Wemple figures it has to do with the sinking approval of the Obama administration, and there may be something to that. Nearly two-thirds of Americans have quit on the president, but MSNBC’s anchors and guests continue to carry his water.

Even former Panhandle Republican Congressman “Morning Joe” Scarborough can’t bring himself to chide Barack Obama without setting the predicate by whacking George W. Bush. (Yes, I tune in; God help me, I can’t get enough of Mika Brzeznski’s smirk. But it’s OK; I’ve aged out of the coveted 25-to-54 demographic.)

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Biden hits the road with Crist’s changeable heart

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By Tom Jackson

Got an email from Vice President Joe Biden Monday morning alerting me to his barnstorming tour of Florida with Charlie Crist.

You remember Changeling Charlie: The man of no fixed ideological address; the Democrat who used to be an independent who used to be a Republican who believes only one thing unreservedly and that is this: He should hold elected office.

Here, except for the part where the veep asks you to chip in at least eight bits “before it’s too late,” is Biden’s note:

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Hookers, lies and Obama’s ruthless consistency

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The Right Stuff

Tom Jackson’s “The Right Stuff” blog updates throughout the week at TBO.com.

From getting formidable opponents disqualified to shaming others off the ballot by unsealing sensitive divorce records to reprehensibly inventing victims who cast his rival in the worst possible light, the one thing we know for sure about Barack Obama is that he is very good — because he is very ruthless — at winning elections.

The nation was awash in more evidence of Obama’s no-quarter tactics Thursday with news of Scandal No. 2,931: Contrary to administration denials (yawn), the White House was very much connected to the hookergate scandal that resulted in lost jobs for 10 Secret Service employees who did advance work for President Obama’s trip to Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012.

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Hookers, lies and Obama’s ruthless consistency

Published:
By Tom Jackson

From getting formidable opponents disqualified to shaming others of the ballot by unsealing sensitive divorce records to targeting groups determined to derail his campaigns, the one thing we know for sure about Barack Obama is that he is very good — because he is very ruthless — at winning elections.

OK, we lack the smoking gun on the last one, but the man has a track record.

The nation was awash in more evidence of Obama’s no-quarter tactics Thursday with news of Scandal No. 2,931: Contrary to administration denials (yawn), the White House was very much connected to the hookergate scandal that resulted in punishment or lost jobs for nearly two dozen Secret Service employees and military personnel who did advance work for President Obama’s trip to Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012.

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The Amendment 2 theory of inevitability

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By Tom Jackson

A fresh survey indicates Floridians by an overwhelming margin believe adding medical marijuana to the state constitution is a mere prelude to full legalization. As if legalization isn’t the essence of the purposely loose drafting of Amendment 2 in the first place.

Conducted by the University of South Florida, the annual Sunshine State Survey indicates 66 percent of your friends and neighbors — especially your youngish friends and neighbors in southeast Florida — think medical pot is a gateway amendment to removing the shackles from pot in all its various and soaring glories.

The poll doesn’t indicate whether respondents think this is good or bad, merely that it is. As USF political scientist and survey director Susan MacManus said in a release:

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