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3rd January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A story in the New York Times last week about President Obama’s TV watching habits set off a buzz among conservative commentators about whether it was appropriate for the White House to release the President’s “must see TV” shows.

Peter Roff, at U.S. News and World Report, wrote a response that should be required reading for any conservative politician, commentator, operative, and activist.

To summarize, the complaints about the piece boiled down to the idea that such revelations – if you can call them that – are unpresidential. That somehow the president’s television preferences are not the business of the American people.

It’s one thing for Obama to appear in a commercial hawking a late-night television show. It’s another thing entirely for the White House to take steps to make it known to the American people what the nation’s chief executive likes to watch in his downtime. In fact, it’s a stroke of brilliance.

What the liberals understand and conservative fail to grasp is that in the age of information everything is media. By disclosing what the president’s favorite television shows are or what his picks for the NCAA brackets may be or what music he likes to listen to, his political team is giving him the opportunity to meet the people where they are, not where they might want them to be.

This is a critically important concept that many Republicans fail to grasp. The country is turned off to politics. Americans think Washington is dysfunctional, that both parties are seeking political advantage, that neither are wedded to principle, and that they are ignoring what is in the country’s best interests in order to position themselves for the next election.

***

Obama was sold to the American people like new and improved laundry soap, the latest model sports car coming out of Detroit or Hollywood’s newest teen idol. The American people met him in places that were essentially on the fringes of the political arena rather than in the middle of it. By talking about what he likes to watch on television, his political team is keeping that conversation going, even stepping it up because – as his approval numbers continue to drop – the ancillary conversations about seemingly extraneous subjects become all the more important. Rather than attack the communications strategy it represents, Republicans would do well to analyze it, understand it and adopt it.

Roff nails it on the head when he discusses the need for conservatives to “meet the people where they are” the way liberals have been doing for generations. It is why, as I pointed out in my last post, we have to embrace popular culture that makes our arguments for us like Hunger Games, Divergent, and to rip one off from Obama, Downton Abbey (see my previous thoughts on that show here and here).

We have to stop viewing this as a culture war, in which we must vanquish the enemy (liberal Hollywood), and start to treat this as a competition.  Let’s embrace and make huge successes of the books, movies and TV shows that carry conservative messages.  At the end of the day, while Hollywood may think they are engaged in a “higher cause” with some of the liberal tripe they serve up, it’s really all about the money.

2nd January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What was that?”  My car had just made a very loud thump and I looked in the rearview mirror to see what it was.  “It” was 2013 and it was lying motionless in the road behind me, the life drained out forever.

Ok, that was a little graphic, but what’s behind us, is behind us. And we move on.

However, we know that we are supposed to learn from the past so that we don’t repeat our mistakes, so it’s probably worth thinking about what we can learn from 2013.

So, what’s the big lesson learned from 2013?

It’s time for conservatives to assert ourselves and push back on the complete tripe that the Left sputters on a daily basis.

Yes, we took a beating in 2012 – with Romney losing to Obama and losing seats in the U.S. Senate.  We were rocked back on our heels and needed to lick our wounds and regroup.

The conservative movement largely sat out of the biggest race of the year in 2013 – the Virginia Governor’s race – and as a result, the king of cronyism and corrupt business dealings, Terry McAuliffe, is now the Governor of Virginia.

So it’s time that we grab our bootstraps and pull ourselves up and make the arguments – from the head and from the heart – that less government involvement in our lives is a good thing.

And I know that we can win the argument.  We just need to help people see what is right in front of them.

Think about it.  The “Hunger Games” trilogy has been wildly successful and created two blockbuster films.  The story is a manifesto against bigger government.

Same goes for “Divergent” which will be released as a major motion picture this year.  We (conservatives) lament how the popular culture is working against us, but when something in popular culture makes our point, we need to celebrate it, promote it, expand on it.

The lesson of 2013?  Two young girls, each in their own way, asserted themselves to shine the light of truth in a dark world.  We need to follow their example.

Here’s to Katniss and Tris – true freedom fighters.

 

1st November
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smugness is obnoxious.  Since the failed ObamaCare rollout, there have been a lot of smug Republicans.

They gleefully recount healthcare.gov horror stories—hours spent on the site without being able to sign up—and people who haven’t been able to keep their plans, period.  Contrary to the pervasive joy in Conservative circles, these aren’t good things.

The average American may not have been a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act when it passed, but now that it’s law, they’d like it to work properly, make their lives easier.  They’re worried.  It seems like their government can’t do anything right.  Their country appears to be faltering.

They look around for an alternative, someone to rescue them from this leaderless chaos, and what do they see?  Republicans with sh**-eating grins on their faces taking triumphant turns on talking head shows.  We don’t look like the better option.

If Republicans don’t change our behavior and attitude, we will squander the opportunity to right the terrible wrongs of Obama’s presidency. We can’t dance in the end zone.

We need to let people know that we don’t want to win for the sake of winning.  We want to provide constructive solutions to improve their lives.  Sometimes, those solutions are just to get government out of the way, a point Obamacare is effectively illustrating for us.

We have to say, “I know you’re frustrated and disappointed the health care law is not working, we are too and here’s what we’d like to do to make it better.”  Or, “I recognize that aspects of Obamacare—letting young adults stay on their parents’ plan until age 26 or enabling people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage—really help your family, but we think there’s an even better way to help you and others, and here it is.”

As Republicans, we have the better ideas.  If we truly want the American people to give us the chance to prove it, we’d better shape up.

30th October
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From her blog posted at 4:31pm yesterday, it would appear Peggy Noonan is psychic.

In her advice to Republicans on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Noonan instructs, “Do not be defeated by Sebelius’s media coaches. Do not let the secretary’s slightly dazed unflappability get under your skin. All representatives of government are surrounded by communications advisers. Sebelius’s are no doubt advising her right now to do what they always tell officials in trouble to do: Come forth with long, meaningless yet on some level data-filled sentences that will steer clear of speaking plain truth and yet on some level imply the effort to be candid.”

Noonan then provides a hypothetical transcript that bears a striking resemblance to the actual transcript from today’s hearing:

Q: Madame Secretary, did you know or have reason to know the ObamaCare website would crash on opening day? If you did, did you tell the White House? Who in the White House? If you did not know, how did it happen that you, the person in charge of the program, did not understand the depth of its problems?

A: So, we know through historical experience that a vast, multitiered, horizontally integrated program will always yield or produce certain unanticipated challenges of a technological or other nature, which is inevitably and also predictably the pattern, and it’s increased by the scale and size of the endeavor . . .

Q: Let me ask: Did you know that as soon as the program debuted, millions of Americans would see their own health insurance policies canceled or terminated? And that they would often find that newer policies would be more expensive with less coverage? When did you come to understand this—during the writing of the law, after its passage, in the ensuing years? If you did not know that millions would lose their coverage, how did it happen that you did not know?

A: So, in the intervening days and months following the passage of the ACA, a focused task force composed of peer-reviewed stakeholders throughout the government and the private sector, in addition to appropriate designated agency officials, along with contractors and subcontractors . . .

Of course, initial headlines covering the hearing highlight Sebelius’s apology for the failed rollout.  Another delightful tidbit making the rounds online is this exchange between Sebelius and Mississippi representative, Greg Harper, in which Sebelius replies to Harper’s insistence that Obama is ultimately responsible with, “whatever.”

Really however, there was nothing new or earth shattering in the testimony.  In fact, for those of us who fought Obamacare since its inception, the failed rollout and millions of Americans losing their current plans is not at all surprising.  It’s what we always knew would happen.

As was clear in today’s hearing and this week’s coverage, Democrats have seized on our forewarnings of failure as proof that the failure is our fault.

That’s right.  Republicans’ mental power is so strong that we can make things come true simply by stating them out loud.  If that were the case, President Romney would currently be dismantling the Affordable Care Act, aided by a Republican controlled House and Senate.

No, responsibility for Obamacare—it’s failures and lies—rests fully with the president and congressional Democrats (reason #123 why it’s best to pass massive legislation with bipartisan support).

The Obamacare debate and debacle highlights big government liberalism’s inherent flaw:  Overpromising and under-delivering is the only thing government consistently does well.  Conservatives recognize this reality and legislate accordingly.  Democrats do not.  Thus, we knew Obamacare wouldn’t work, while they’re stunned it’s not going smoothly.

In the end, I guess the problems of Obamacare could be blamed on Republicans—despite our wisdom, we failed to defeat the bill.

17th September
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On this day in 1787, 38 of the 41 delegates at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention signed the document setting into motion the establishment of the greatest nation in the world.  Unfortunately today, many people have not even taken the time to read the U.S. Constitution, and even more are unsure of what it says.  In our classrooms, most kids can name what day the new iPhone comes out, but can’t name a single part in the Constitution. (Read it here – not a bad activity on a day like today)

Constitution Day was established in 2004 as an amendment to a congressional spending bill with the primary purpose of educating people on the founding principals of America. It seems that recently, the Constitution has been under particular scrutiny. Opinions on the interpretation of the Constitution have run the gambit and will continue to do so.

Two hundred and twenty-six years ago, the Framers of our Constitution may not have imagined the arguments that would take place today. What they did imagine is a nation where debate was encouraged, liberty and privacy respected, and each branch of government held in check by the other.

In practice, what they set out to create has continued to serve our nation, and the world, well. We can argue on any issue, and the precepts of that tattered document shine through like the beacon held by Lady Liberty protecting our nation.

The Constitution is the heart of America, breathing life into every decision that is ultimately made for its people. Everyone can pontificate the right and wrong decisions made by presidents, legislatures and courts throughout our history, but right or wrong, we have weathered the storms of wars, economic collapse, natural disasters, and other calamities. Our lifeline has always been the Constitution.

America has always had the “can do” spirit and optimism to overcome any adversity. The same spirit shown by those 38 brave Americans penning their name to the greatest document the world has seen.

 

13th September
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you have someone help set stuff up for you (like a blog page) it’s a good idea to write down passwords.  I changed computers a couple weeks ago and haven’t been able to log into NobleThinking – sorry about the silent treatment.

***

As you likely know, I fly. A lot.  So I read this headline with interest:

Friday 13th travellers take chance on flight 666 to HEL

Now, they aren’t actually flying to hell.  Every airport in the world has a three letter code, some which are obvious like LAX, PHX or SFO and some which aren’t as obvious like ORD (Chicago) or MCO (Orlando).  HEL is the airport code for Helsinki.

Would I take that flight?  Sure. I’m not superstitious (expect in baseball) and I’m writing this while on a flight on Friday the 13th already.

***

Sometimes it’s better to not listen to your kid’s playlist.  It makes you realize they are growing up way too fast.

***

When it comes to Syria, I can’t imagine it makes sense to say, “Hey Russia, great idea!” Russia may not be the menace that it was during the Cold War, but it is not an ally.  Still, Putin is way more cool than our President.

***

I’ve been in politics for more than 20 years and I figure I have pretty much seen it all.  But sometimes in politics I see something so beyond the pale that it still shocks me.  That is the case with the latest move by Senate President Harry Reid (D-NV) and other Senate Democrats.

They are really unhappy that Sen. David Vitter continues to denounce ObamaCare and is saying that lawmakers shouldn’t be getting subsidized health care coverage.  You may remember that Sen. Vitter was accused of having a relationship with a call girl a number of years ago.

With that context, check out this story by Politico:

Senate Democrats have had all they can take from David Vitter and his fixation on Obamacare — and they’re dredging up his past prostitution scandal to hit back.

Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has infuriated Democrats this week by commandeering the Senate floor, demanding a vote on his amendment repealing federal contributions to help pay for lawmakers’ health care coverage.

But Democratic senators are preparing a legislative response targeting a sordid Vitter episode. If Vitter continues to insist on a vote on his proposal, Democrats could counter with one of their own: Lawmakers will be denied those government contributions if there is “probable cause” they solicited prostitutes.

You couldn’t make this stuff up.  This is junior high school level bullying.  Now, I’ve never been a fan of Harry Reid, but this is so beneath someone who is supposed to represent the people that you have to call him what is: a real a**.  He truly demonstrates why the Democratic mascot is a donkey.

***

I love the Disney movie “Up.” So I read with interest that there was a guy who used hundreds of colored balloons to take off from Maine to cross the Atlantic Ocean.  That takes some serious guts.

Alas, about 12 hours into the trip, he landed in Newfoundland and proclaimed, “This doesn’t look like France.” At least he has a sense of humor.

 

10th August
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is said that Mormons are a “peculiar” people.  As such, especially in the present-day world we live in, we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.

In bars and restaurants across Manhattan, London, Chicago and D.C., people are talking about the LDS Church.  Is that a bad thing?

No, but I’m guessing when former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ezra Taft Benson spoke about a day when films, songs, musicals and plays would be written about the Book of Mormon he didn’t have the current Broadway show “Book of Mormon” in mind.

The first thing to know about the musical is that it was written by the same guys who created South Park.  Maybe that’s all you need to know.  Their humor can be irreverent, crude, biting and often downright offensive. But it can be very, very funny.

As it turns out, “Book of Mormon” is also irreverent, crude, biting and (depending on your sensitivities) downright offensive.  And it is very, very funny.

I bristled, I cringed, I clucked disapproval and shook my head in disbelief a few times. But most of all I laughed.

And during the performance of a piece called “I Believe” I had an epiphany.  Every line of substance in the song is something I have said or heard over the pulpit – maybe not in exactly the same way it is written – but substantively, it’s true. (Warning: the full lyrics are of a graphic nature)

Here is a sample:

 

I believe-

That the Lord God created the universe.

I believe-

That he sent his only son to die for my sins.

And I believe-

That ancient Jews built boats and sailed

to America.

 

You cannot just believe part-way.

You have to believe in it all.

My problem was doubting

the Lord’s will.

Instead of standing tall.

I can’t allow myself to have any doubt.

 

I believe-

That God has a plan for all of us.

I believe-

That plan involves

Me getting my own planet.

And I believe

That the current President of the church,

Thomas Monson, speaks, directly to God.

 

I know that I must go and do-

The things my God commands.

 

I realize now why he sent me here!

If you ask the Lord in faith

He will always answer you just believe

In him and have no fear.

 

The scriptures say that if you ask in faith,

If you ask God himself you’ll know.

But you must ask him without any doubt,

And let your spirit grow!

 

I believe!

That God lives on a planet called Kolob!

I believe!

That Jesus has his own planet as well.

And I believe

That the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.

 

If you believe,

The Lord will reveal it.

And you’ll know it’s all true-

You’ll just feel it.

 

Now, when this is being performed in a musical rendition meant to poke fun at how “naïve” Mormons are, it gets some big laughs – particularly the line about the Garden of Eden being in Jackson County, Missouri.

But strip away the mocking tone and in some cases adjust the language slightly, and the kid is singing Mormon doctrine.

I wouldn’t doubt that there have been some people who watched the production and then earnestly sought to know more.  In fact, early on in the run of the production the LDS Church bought space in the playbill with the message, “You’ve seen the musical, now read the book,” with an offer for an actual Book of Mormon.

Given that millions more people will hear about “Book of Mormon” than ever actually see it, the publicity is probably not all bad for the LDS Church or its members.  Given how over-the-top the humor is, there are bound to be questions about the LDS faith that will lead to thoughtful and serious conversations.

Look, we can’t take ourselves too seriously.  After all, we are a “peculiar” people.

 

7th August
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lately, President Obama has been giving “big, important, economic speeches” that give us that “meh” feeling.  But enough work, right?

Last night’s appearance on Jay Leno was to be a decidedly more relaxed environment before Obama goes on another vacation to Martha’s Vineyard.  Obama and Jay talked candidly about the issues of the day, from Trayvon Martin, Vladimir Putin, and the economy, to the infrastructure of our ports.  That’s when the president probably could’ve used a map… er, more talking points.

The president was mentioning the expansion of the Panama Canal and how improved port infrastructure is needed to allow for the new fleet of super-tankers that would soon be coming to the Gulf of Mexico, when he said:

“If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida — if we don’t do that, those ships are going to go someplace else.  And we’ll lose jobs.  Businesses won’t locate here.”

I checked a map to make sure global warming hasn’t changed the location of the Gulf or something like that. Sure enough, “the Gulf ports” of Charleston, Savannah, and Jacksonville are still on the Atlantic Ocean.  So yes, Mr. President, those ships will probably go to ports in New Orleans, Louisiana, or Mobile, Alabama, or Tampa, Florida, or one of the four ports in Texas.

It’s not really a surprise that Obama doesn’t know the geographical make-up of the Southern states.  He never really campaigned there, so why would need to?

 I’d like to say I’m surprised by the lack of media attention this major gaffe has received.  But I’m not.  I don’t think that a political gaffe should define multiple news cycles, but remember when President Bush would make one? The media would go in to a tailspin and Saturday Night Live would do a skit.  Now?  Not even a passing mention on the 24-hour news channels.

18th July
2013
written by Sean Noble
This week I had my kids in D.C.  At one point my daughter says, “Hey dad, can we go to Wal-Mart?”  She was dazed and confused that there isn’t a Wal-Mart in D.C.  It gave me a chance to teach her a little about social engineering and central planning.
You see, last week, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted 8-5 to require large retailers to pay their employees a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour.  The newly passed minimum wage requirement is more than 1.5 times the current minimum wage in Washington, which is already $1 per hour above the nationally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
This law was directly targeted at Wal-Mart, who until recently, was planning on opening six new stores in D.C.  Wal-Mart told the City Council that the passage of this law would force Wal-Mart to vacate its plans to build at least three stores in the area.
Sure enough, the City Council took the opportunity to crush thousands of job opportunities and affordable retail options for D.C. residents.  Many on the Left, including unions, are claiming victory that Wal-Mart will not be “disrespecting” D.C. residents with “low-paying” jobs.  Council members and political groups alike gloated that they had defeated the large business and that city did not need the large company to help create jobs.
Mona Charen of NRO refutes their baseless arguments pretty easily:

“That must be why the unemployment rate in D.C. is 8.5 percent — and 20.3 percent among blacks. That must explain the 37.8 percent unemployment rate for black teens, and the 43.3 percent rate for black male teens. It would explain why about a third of the District’s residents are currently receiving food stamps, Medicaid, or welfare — and why more than 18 percent are living below the poverty line.”

Sure, Wal-Mart isn’t a dream job for most people, but what about the D.C. residents who are just dreaming of a chance for a job?
Mayor Vincent Gray has to sign or veto the bill within 10 days of its passing.  So far he has committed to neither.  If Mayor Gray signs the bill, Wal-Mart will scrap its plans for three stores, and the plans for the other three will be left teetering in the balance of what to do next.
And my daughter may not have a Wal-Mart to shop at next time she’s in D.C.
27th June
2013
written by Sean Noble

Random thoughts…

 

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to listen into the White House conversations about Arizona, and in particular, Governor Jan Brewer?

Staffer: “Mr. President, that Governor that wagged her finger in your face is doing more than even Democrat Governors to implement your health care bill!”

POTUS: “ReallyShould we consider her for an Administration post?”

Staffer: “You want her wagging her finger at you at every Cabinet meeting?”

POTUS: “Good point.  Let’s just send her some flowers.”

It’s been interesting to watch the reaction from national reporters in watching Brewer cheerlead Medicaid expansion.  Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court gave State the “out” from one of the most egregious parts of Obamacare and a “conservative” Republican Governor not only decides to opt-in, she does so with the enthusiasm of a school girl getting ready for prom.

So there is a cognitive dissonance in the heads of DC-based reporters who, if you mention “Arizona Governor” immediately think about immigration crackdowns.  No open borders, but it’ll be open enrollment.

***

The Supreme Court ruling, striking down the federal component of the Defense of Marriage Act, affirms, for now, the state’s ability to define marriage.  This was expected, and as a believer in State’s Rights, it was the right decision.

While my friends in the gay community celebrated the “overturning” of California’s Proposition 8, what the Court did was much more nuanced and process oriented.  They basically ruled that the federal appellate courts had no jurisdiction over the appeal because backers of Prop. 8 didn’t have standing to carry the appeal.  Only the state could have done that.  Call it a victory for gay marriage on a technicality.  That is, the higher courts have not affirmed the district court’s overturning of Prop. 8 (yet).

That’s not to say that there isn’t a obvious trend towards gay marriage becoming more accepted and eventually legal across the board.  The challenge will be how to balance the rights of gay couples with the religious freedom of churches and faith-based institutions.

For example, while I believe gay couples should have the same rights afforded straight couples, I don’t think the Catholic Church’s adoption services should be required to facilitate adoptions by gay couples.  However, as a result of Massachusetts state law, the Catholic Church was faced with the choice of facilitating such adoptions or close their doors.  That’s a clear overreach of the First Amendment, which protects religious liberty.

Needless to say, this discussion is far from over.

***

Obama’s big play on dealing with “climate change” exposes, yet again, his complete disregard for Congress, the will of the American people or the rule of law.  Keep in mind, it was five years ago this month that Obama said, “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

This is a President who claims to be looking out for the little guy, but subsidizes his billionaire friends with “green energy” cash and wants to shut down coal-fired power plants, even admitting that “under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily sky-rocket.”  Who gets hurt? The poor and those on fixed-income.  With friends like these…

***

The Arizona Capitol Times had their “Best of the Capitol” awards dinner this week.  Inexplicably, I was nominated for a couple categories in which the competition was overwhelming.  Congrats to Arizona Chamber President Glenn Hamer for his “Power Broker” award and to Chuck Coughlin for “Best Political Operative.”  Well-deserved by both.

 

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