Mitt Wasn’t All Wrong About “Gifts”

Money GOP

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“What the president’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote, and that strategy worked.”

Thus did political analyst Mitt Romney identify the cause of his defeat in a call to disconsolate contributors.

Republicans piled on. “Completely unhelpful,” Gov. Bobby Jindal told Wolf Blitzer. We don’t advance the “debate by insulting folks.”

“A terrible thing to say,” Chris Christie told Joe Scarborough. “You can’t expect to be the leader of all the people and be divisive.”

Oh. Was not Abe Lincoln at least mildly “divisive”? Did not FDR insult Wall Street folks by calling them “money changers in the temple of our civilization”? Was Ronald Reagan a uniter not a divider when he said, “Let the bloodbath begin!” and mocked “welfare queens”?

And Harry Truman, did he not insult and divide — and win?

“I just think it’s nuts,” Newt Gingrich told ABC’s Martha Raddatz of Romney’s remark, kicking him again in an Austin TV interview:

“Gov. Romney’s analysis … is insulting and profoundly wrong. … We didn’t lose Asian-Americans because they got any gifts. He did worse with Asian-Americans than he did with Latinos. This is the hardest-working and most successful ethnic group in America, OK, they ain’t into gifts.”

Now, Newt does have a point.

What explains the GOP wipeout among Asian-Americans? Folks of Korean, Chinese and Japanese descent have a legendary work ethic, are academic overachievers, and are possessed of an entrepreneurial spirit. They should be natural Republicans.

But Mitt also has a point.

Consider America‘s largest, fastest-growing minority.

Hispanics constituted 10 percent of the electorate, up from 7.5 in 2008. But Mitt got only 27 percent of that, the lowest of any Republican presidential candidate.

This, we are told, was because of Mitt’s comment about “self-deportation” and GOP support for a border fence and sanctions on employers who hire illegals. If only we embrace the Dream Act and provide a path to citizenship — amnesty — the GOP‘s problem is solved.

The Republican capacity for self-delusion is truly awesome.

Set aside the idealized Hispanic of the Republican consultants’ vision. What does the real Hispanic community look like today?

Let us consider only native-born Hispanics, U.S. citizens.

According to Steve Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, which analyzed Census Bureau statistics from 2012:

— More than one in five Hispanic citizens lives in poverty.

— One in four Hispanic-American men 25 to 55 is out of work.

— More than half of all Hispanic women 25-55 are unmarried.

— Half of all Hispanic households with children are headed by an unmarried woman, and 55 percent depend on welfare programs.

These numbers do not improve with time, as they did with the Irish, Italian, Polish, Jewish and German immigrants who poured into the United States between 1890 and 1920. Third-generation Hispanics do worse than second-generation Hispanics in all the above categories.

This is a huge community being sucked into the morass of a mammoth welfare state. Consider a typical Hispanic household with children.

It is headed by an unmarried women who receives food stamps and public housing or rent supplements to feed and house her children.

Her kids are educated free from Head Start to K-12 and fed by school breakfast and lunch programs. Should they graduate high school, Pell Grants and student loans are there for college.

For cash, mom gets welfare checks. If she takes a job, she will receive an earned income tax credit to supplement her income. If she loses her job, she can get 99 weeks of unemployment checks.

For health care, there is Medicaid and Obamacare. And like 45 percent of all Hispanic households, she has no federal income tax liability.

Why should this woman vote for a party that will cut taxes she does not pay, but reduce benefits she does receive?

Rename Romney‘s gifts “government services,” writes Aaron Blake citing a Washington Post poll, and one discovers that 67 percent of Latinos favor “a larger government with more services.”

These are big government people. And why should they not be?

According to Heather Mac Donald, writing in National Review, a 2011 survey found that California Hispanics by four to one objected more to the GOP on class-warfare grounds — the party “favors only the rich,” Republicans are “selfish” — than to the GOP stand on immigration.

Writes Mac Donald: California’s Hispanics will likely prove more decisive in passing Proposition 30, to raise state income taxes to 13.3 percent, the highest level in the nation, than to Obama’s victory.
Nor is this unusual. Populist programs to stick it to the rich have always had an appeal south of the border.

There are 50 million Hispanics in America today. California is lost to the GOP. Nevada and Colorado are slipping away. Arizona and Texas are next up on the block.

With the U.S. Hispanic population in 2050 projected to reach 130 million, the acolytes of Karl Rove have their work cut out for them.

Is the GOP Headed for the Boneyard?

Cemetary Gate

By Patrick J. Buchanan

After its second defeat at the hands of Barack Obama, under whom unemployment has never been lower than the day George W. Bush left office, the Republican Party has at last awakened to its existential crisis.

Eighteen states have voted Democratic in six straight elections. Among the six are four of our most populous: New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California. And Obama has now won two of the three remaining mega-states, Ohio and Florida, twice.

Only Texas remains secure—for now.

At the presidential level, the Republican Party is at death’s door.

Yet one already sees the same physicians writing prescriptions for the same drugs that have been killing the GOP since W’s dad got the smallest share of the vote by a Republican candidate since William Howard Taft in 1912.

In ascertaining the cause of the GOP‘s critical condition, let us use Occam’s razor—the principle that the simplest explanation is often the right one.

Would the GOP wipeout in those heavily Catholic, ethnic, socially conservative, blue-collar bastions of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, which Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan swept, have anything to do with the fact that the United States since 2000 has lost 6 million manufacturing jobs and 55,000 factories?

Where did all those jobs and factories go? We know where.

They were outsourced. And in the deindustrialization of America, the Republican Party has been a culpable co-conspirator.

Unlike family patriarch Sen. Prescott Bush, who voted with Barry Goldwater and Strom Thurmond against JFK’s free-trade deal, Bush I and II pumped for NAFTA, GATT, the WTO and opening America’s borders to all goods made by our new friends in the People’s Republic of China.

Swiftly, U.S. multinationals shut factories here, laid off workers, outsourced production to Asia and China, and brought their finished goods back, tax-free, to sell in the U.S.A.

Profits soared, as did the salaries of the outsourcing executives.

And their former workers? They headed for the service sector, along with their wives, to keep up on the mortgage payment, keep the kids in Catholic school and pay for the health insurance the family had lost.

Tuesday, these ex-Reagan Democrats came out to vote against some guy from Bain Capital they had been told in ads all summer was a big-time outsourcer who wrote in 2008, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt!”

Yes, the simplest explanation is often the right one.

Republicans are also falling all over one another to express a love of Hispanics, after Mitt won only 27 percent of a Hispanic vote that is now 10 percent of the national vote.

We face demographic disaster, they are wailing. We must win a larger share of the Hispanic vote or we are doomed.

And what is the proposed solution to the GOP‘s Hispanic problem, coming even from those supposedly on the realistic right?

Amnesty for the illegals! Stop talking about a border fence and self-deportation. Drop the employer sanctions. Make the GOP a welcoming party.

And what might be problematic about following this advice?

First, it will enrage populist conservatives who supported the GOP because they believed the party’s pledges to oppose amnesty, secure the border and stop illegals from taking jobs from Americans.

And in return for double-crossing these folks and losing their votes, what would be gained by amnesty for, say, 10 million illegal aliens?

Assume in a decade all 10 million became citizens and voted like the Hispanics, black folks and Asians already here. The best the GOP could expect—the Bush share in 2004—would be 40 percent, or 4 million of those votes.

But if Tuesday’s percentages held, Democrats would get not just 6 million, but 7 million new votes to the GOP‘s less than 3 million.

Thus, if we assume the percentages of the last three elections hold, the Democratic Party would eventually gain from an amnesty a net of between 2 and 4 million new voters.

Easy to understand why Democrats are for this. But why would a Republican Party that is not suicidally inclined favor it?

Still, the GOP crisis is not so much illegal as legal immigration. Forty million legal immigrants have arrived in recent decades. Some 85 percent come from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Most arrived lacking the academic, language and labor skills to compete for high-paying jobs.

What does government do for them?

Subsidizes their housing and provides free education for their kids from Head Start through K-12, plus food stamps and school lunches, Pell Grants and student loans for college, Medicaid if they are sick, earned income tax credits if they work and 99 weeks of unemployment checks if they lose their job.

These are people who depend upon government.

Why would they vote for a party that is going to cut taxes they do not pay, but take away government benefits they do receive?

Again it needs be said. When the country looks like California demographically, it will look like California politically. Republicans are not whistling past the graveyard. They are right at the entrance.

Romney for President

Mitt Romney

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.”

So wrote John Jay in Federalist No. 2, wherein he describes Americans as a “band of brethren united to each other by the strongest ties.”

That “band of brethren united” no longer exists.

No longer are we “descended from the same ancestors.”

Indeed, as we are daily instructed, it is our “diversity” — our citizens can trace their ancestors to every member state of the United Nations — that “is our strength.” And this diversity makes us a stronger, better country than the America of Eisenhower and JFK.

No longer do we speak the same language. To tens of millions, Spanish is their language. Millions more do not use English in their homes. Nor are their children taught in English in the schools.

As for “professing the same religion,” the Christianity of Jay and the Founding Fathers has been purged from all public institutions. One in 5 Americans profess no religious faith. The mainline Protestant churches — the Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian — have been losing congregants for a half-century. Secularism is the religion of the elites. It alone is promulgated in public schools.

Are we attached to “the same principles of government”?

Half the nation believes it is the duty of government to feed, house, educate and medicate the population and endlessly extract from the well-to-do whatever is required to make everybody more equal.

Egalitarianism has triumphed over freedom. Hierarchy, the natural concomitant of freedom, is seen as undemocratic.

Are we similar “in our manners and customs”? Are we agreed upon what is good or even tolerable in music, literature, art?

Do we all seek to live by the same moral code? Abortion, a felony in the 1950s, is now a constitutional right. Homosexual marriage, an absurdity not long ago, is the civil rights cause du jour.

Dissent from the intolerant new orthodoxy and you are a bigot, a hater, a homophobe, an enemy of women’s rights.

Recent wars — Vietnam, Iraq — have seen us not “fighting side by side” but fighting side against side.

Racially, morally, politically, culturally, socially, the America of Jay and the Federalist Papers is ancient history. Less and less do we have in common. And to listen to cable TV is to realize that Americans do not even like one another. If America did not exist as a nation, would these 50 disparate states surrender their sovereignty and independence to enter such a union as the United States of 2012?

Nor are we unique in sensing that we are no longer one. Scotland, Catalonia and Flanders maneuver to break free of the nations that contain their peoples. All over the world, peoples are disaggregating along the lines of creed, culture, tribe and faith.

What has this to do with the election of 2012? Everything.

For if America is to endure as a nation, her peoples are going to need the freedom to live differently and the space to live apart, according to their irreconcilable beliefs. Yet should Barack Obama win, the centralization of power and control will continue beyond the point of no return.

His replacement of any retiring Supreme Court justice with another judicial activist — a Sonia Sotomayor, an Elena Kagan — would negate a half-century of conservative labors and mean that abortion on demand — like slavery, a moral abomination to scores of millions — is forever law in all 50 states.

President Obama speaks now of a budget deal in which Democrats agree to $2.50 in spending cuts if the Republicans agree to $1 in tax increases. But given the character of his party — for whom Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, Head Start, earned income tax credits and Pell Grants are holy icons — any deal Obama cuts with Republicans in return for higher taxes will be like the deal Ronald Reagan eternally regretted.

The tax hikes become permanent; the budget cuts are never made.

In the first debate, Mitt Romney said that in crafting a budget that consumes a fourth of the economy, he would ask one question: “Is the program so critical that it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”

If a President Romney held to that rule, it would spell an end to any new wars of choice and all foreign aid and grants to global redistributionsts — such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It would entail a review of all U.S. alliances dating back to the Cold War, which have U.S. troops on every continent and in a hundred countries.

Obama offers more of the stalemate America has gone through for the past two years.

Romney alone offers a possibility of hope and change.

Will Obama Paint Romney As Warmonger?

Flag Draped Coffins

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Usually, not always, the peace party wins.

Gen. Sherman’s burning of Atlanta and March to the Sea ensured Abraham Lincoln’s re-election in 1864.

William McKinley, with his triumph over Spain and determination to pacify and hold the Philippines, easily held off William Jennings Bryan in 1900.

Yet Woodrow Wilson won in 1916 on the slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War!” And Dwight Eisenhower won a landslide with his declaration about the stalemate in Harry Truman’s war: “I shall go to Korea.”

Richard Nixon pledged in 1968 that “new leadership will end the war and win the peace.” Vice President Hubert Humphrey, behind by double digits on Oct. 1, promised to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. He united his party and closed the gap to less than a point by Election Day.

George McGovern ran as an antiwar candidate in 1972. By November, almost all U.S. troops were home from Vietnam, however, and in late October Henry Kissinger had announced, “Peace is at hand.” Nixon had expropriated the peace issue. Result: 49 states.

Today, after the longest wars in our history in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans are sick over the 6,500 dead and 40,000 wounded, fed up with the $2 trillion in costs, and disillusioned with the results that a decade of sacrifice has produced in Baghdad and Kabul.

Aware of this war weariness, especially among women, President Obama and Vice President Biden seem intent on appearing before the nation on Election Day as the sole peace party. This fact leaps out of a close read of Biden’s debate transcript.

Lost in his manic grinning and mocking laughter at Paul Ryan‘s points and rude interruptions was a recurring theme: President Obama ended the war in Iraq and is dialing back the war in Afghanistan, but Ryan and Romney seem to be looking to new military interventions in Syria and Iran.

Consider but a few Biden comments nestled in the transcript of his half of that 90-minute debate.

“The last thing we need now is another war.”

“Are you (Ryan) … going to go to war?”

“We will not let them (the Iranians) acquire a nuclear weapon, period, unless he’s (Ryan) talking about going to war.”

“War should always be the absolute last resort.”

“He (Ryan) voted to put two wars on a credit card.”

“We’ve been in this war (Afghanistan) for over a decade. … We are leaving in 2014, period.”

About intervention in Syria, Biden said: “The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East, requiring tens of thousands if not well over a hundred thousand American forces.”

This drumbeat, implying Romney and Ryan are champing at the bit to get into the war in Syria or into a new war with Iran, was deliberate.

Biden’s words almost surely reflect what Democratic focus groups, pollsters, political analysts and pundits are advising the party to say and do: Play the peace card Monday night in Boca Raton, Fla., and tag Romney-Ryan as a trigger-happy ticket of the war party.

The charges Romney is likely to hear from the president and the questions he is likely to face from the moderator, pushing him toward bellicosity, are not that difficult to discern.

“Governor, President Obama has said Iran will not be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. You have said Iran will not be allowed to have a ‘nuclear weapons capability.’ What is the difference? Doesn’t Iran already have the capability to produce a nuclear weapon? What will you do about it?”

“Governor, Paul Ryan said in his debate Iran ‘is racing toward a nuclear weapon.” But 16 U.S. intelligence agencies said in 2007 and reaffirmed in 2011 that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. What is your evidence that Iran is ‘racing toward a nuclear weapon?'”

“Governor, you have said of America and Israel, ‘The world must never see daylight between our two nations.’ Does that mean if Israel attacks Iran, you would take us to war on Israel‘s side?”

“Governor, at VMI you said, ‘In Syria, I will work … to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters and fighter jets.’ Would you give surface-to-air missiles to the Syrian rebels?”

“Governor, Japan and China are at sword’s point over the Senkaku Islands. If war breaks out, are we obligated by our alliance with Japan to come to her defense?”

The Republican peril in Boca Raton is that headlines the next day will have Romney, consciously or inadvertently, laying down some marker for a new war.

Peace through strength,” the Eisenhower-Reagan slogan, is the GOP slogan that still resonates with American voters.

Even in 1940, FDR, though plotting war, ran as a peace candidate:

“I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”

Hopefully, Gov. Romney will say something like this, and mean it.

Stay out of the Syrian Maelstrom

Stay Out of Syria

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“In Syria, I will work … to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters and fighter jets.”

This commitment by Mitt Romney in his VMI address has thrilled the neocons as much as it has unsettled the realists in his camp.

And the reasons for the latter’s alarm are apparent.

Last year, U.S. planes scrambled to defend Benghazi against the “tanks, helicopters and fighter jets” of Col. Gadhafi. Now we are investigating the murders of our ambassador and three Americans in the city we saved.

To bring down helicopters and fighter jets would require U.S. F-16s over Syria or putting surface-to-air missiles in rebel hands. Do we really want to be passing Stingers around a no man’s land where al-Qaida agents could buy up a few to bring down U.S. airliners?

What Romney proposes is an act of war. Before we get into our fourth war in 12 years, let us consider the antagonists.

This is first a religious war with the Shia regimes — Hezbollah, Iran and the Iraqis we brought to power — lined up behind Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Aligned against are Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who have been sending arms to the rebels, and Turkey, which has allowed the transfer of arms.

Egypt has not gotten involved, but President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood has demanded that Assad stand down.

Among the rebels fighting Assad, however, are Islamic jihadists from across the Middle East and al-Qaida. And should Assad fall, his successor would likely be a Sunni favorite of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Does the Brotherhood “share our values”?

If Damascus falls to the Brotherhood, the Christians Assad sheltered would face the fate of the Copts in Egypt and Christians in Iraq: terror, persecution, expulsion. The Alawites, the Shia minority whence Assad comes, would go to the wall.

There is also an ethnic component to this war. If the regime and state collapse, Syria‘s Kurds could emulate their cousins in Iraq and Turkey and unite to fight for a separate Kurdistan in the heart of the Middle East.

Then there are the strategic stakes. If Assad falls, the Shia crescent — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon — is severed. Vladimir Putin’s navy, whose last base in the Mediterranean is Tartus on Syria‘s coast, would suffer a strategic defeat.

Thursday, the Turks forced down a Syrian airliner flying from Moscow to Damascus and removed what the Turks described as military equipment. An angry Moscow has protested.

And Israel? While nothing would please Israelis more than a strategic defeat for Tehran, Assad and his father kept the peace on the Golan for 40 years. And as the Sinai is turning into a no man’s land with Hosni Mubarak gone and the Muslim Brotherhood in power, might not the same happen on the Golan when Assad falls?

And how have the Turks benefited from their involvement? By siding against Assad, they made a mortal enemy of a friend. Assad in retaliation loosened the reins on Syria‘s Kurds, whose kinsmen are 20 percent of Turkey‘s population. The Alawites in Turkey, ethnic Arabs, number another 15 million. The hard line taken by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is becoming increasingly unpopular with his people.

How long would Americans support an administration that embroiled us in this maelstrom?

In the last week, shells from Syria have landed on Turkish soil. Is the Syrian army doing this deliberately? That makes no sense.

Are these mortar shells landing in Turkey a result of artillery duels between the Syrian army and rebels? Or are the rebels doing it deliberately to provoke Turkey into entering the war?

The Turkish line toward Syria is growing more belligerent. Are the Turks seeking a clash with the Syrian army so Ankara can invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty and force the United States to join Turkey in ousting Assad, if not on a march to Damascus?

In an Arab world that does not fondly recall an Ottoman Empire whose heartland Turkey was, that would not sit well.

The Syrian civil war could end suddenly with the fall of Assad. But it could also widen with Turkey and Hezbollah becoming directly involved, and Russia, Iran and Iraq sending military aid to prop up their ally. The whole region could go up in flames.

Yet what vital American interest is there in who rules in Damascus to justify yet another U.S. war in the Middle East?

While the Assads are despotic, George H.W. Bush made the father an ally in Desert Storm and Ehud Barak offered to return to Hafez Assad the Golan Heights in exchange for a peace deal.

If America has a vital interest in this multisided war, that interest is served by staying out, as we have done for its duration.

And how exactly have we suffered by not plunging in?

Folks, We Have a Brand New Ballgame

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Mitt Romney on Wednesday night turned in the finest debate performance of any candidate of either party in the 52 years since Richard Nixon faced John F. Kennedy, with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan‘s demolition of Jimmy Carter in 1980.

But where Reagan won with style and quips — “There you go again” — and his closing line, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Romney crushed Obama on both substance and style.

Mitt was like a contender so keyed up by his title shot that, between rounds, he could not sit on his stool, but stood in his corner to rush out and re-engage the champ the instant the bell sounded for the next round.

Obama was mauled, with facts, figures, anecdotes, arguments, jokes, quips. A smiling Romney was on offense all night. And the president’s performance seems inexplicable.

With the split screen showing his response to Romney’s swarm attacks, he appeared diffident, sullen, pouting, flustered, petulant.

Obama made no serious blunder. Yet, on the split screen, as Romney lectured him with a stern smile, Obama seemed a chastened schoolboy, head down, being instructed by a professor that if he did not get his grades up he would not be back next semester.

The verdict on the Denver encounter — that Romney turned in the performance of his life and one of the most impressive in the history of presidential debates, and that the president underperformed, was outclassed and lost badly — was virtually unanimous.

Indeed, liberal columnists and commentators are among those most angered and appalled at Obama’s performance.

Why did he not fight back, they ask, with all the ammunition at his disposal?

The defense being offered by the Obama spinners is that Mitt was brazenly changing positions right up there on stage, that he was not telling the truth about his positions, that he was misstating facts.

But that leaves a glaring question. Why, then, didn’t the president call him out? To this they have no answer.

Where does the race stand, a month from Election Day?

Members of the Republican commentariat who were grousing that Mitt had blown it may now become enthusiastic again, as clearly this race is far from over. Folks in the grandstand who were heading for the exit ramps are heading back to their seats.

We have a brand new ballgame here.

But if the campaign of 2012 is not lost, not by a long shot, it is not won, either.

The first sign of how great a recovery Mitt made will come next week in the head-to-head polls, when the nation has absorbed the news that Obama not only got waxed, he came off as man exhausted, weary with the duties of office, who lacks the fire and energy to lead us out of the economic doldrums in which this country finds itself.

Yet even if the national polls find Mitt surging, the polls in the battleground states will have to turn dramatically, as early voting is already taking place in half of the country. And that voting began when it appeared that Obama was coasting to a second term.

Can Ohio, for example, where Mitt has been consistently down by high single digits, be retrieved?

Is Wisconsin just too far a reach?

Perhaps the greatest advance Mitt Romney made in that debate was that, for once, he came off not just as a tough businessman and resolute budget-cutter who can put the nation’s fiscal house in order, but as something of a conservative of the heart.

This has always been the missing dimension.

The reaction of the Obamaites to the thrashing their man sustained is probably not going to be sportsmanlike. We will now hear more of the Gordon Gecko of Bain Capital writing off the 47 percent and more on the missing tax returns and Cayman Islands account.

But if we do, that will also tell the nation something.

It will testify to the truth that Barack Obama is not the nice guy he is portrayed as being. And if his campaign reverts to the low road, it will convey another unmistakable message: i.e., the president cannot win on his record; he cannot win in debates about the future. Where Reagan after his first term spoke of “Morning in America,” the only way Obama can win a second term is to demonize his opponent.

Gov. Romney still has miles to go before he sleeps. But the president is today facing a dilemma, as well.

Given his performance, one of the worst in debate history, Obama cannot afford to lose a second or third debate like that. This crushing defeat has to be shown to be, and to be seen as, an aberration.

Otherwise, the country may conclude that no matter how much it likes him, Obama as a leader is burned out, a mechanic who has tried every tool in the toolbox but cannot get the machinery running again.

The first debate made the race a toss-up again. The second could decide it.

No Apologies Needed, Mitt

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Mitt Romney has conceded that his thoughts, expressed at that Boca Raton, Fla., fundraiser, were “not elegantly” stated. Those mocking him might concede he has tabled one of the mega-issues of our time.

Can America continue down the path President Obama is taking us on, to a time soon and certain when a majority of wage-earners pay no income taxes but a majority of citizens receive federal benefits?

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” said Mitt, “the 47 percent who … are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. … These are people who pay no income tax … .”

What was wrong with this?

One slice of that 47 percent who receive benefits are students who will pay taxes later. A larger slice are retirees on Social Security and Medicare who paid into both programs all their working lives.

But what was right about what Romney said was discerned two centuries ago by that governmental genius John C. Calhoun.

“The necessary result … of the unequal fiscal action of the government is to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who … pay the taxes … and bear exclusively the burden of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into taxpayers and tax consumers.”

A nation sundered between taxpayers and tax consumers, said Calhoun, “must give rise to two parties and to violent conflicts and struggles between them, to obtain the control of the government.”

Is that not a fair description of where we are today?

Sen. Gene McCarthy used to say every citizen has three duties: to bear arms in defense of his country, to vote and to pay taxes. Is it a good thing that this ideal is laughed at, that the draft is abolished, that scores of millions pay nothing in income taxes?

Retired Americans living on Social Security, exempt from taxes because their income is modest, are not the problem.

But in 2010, some 4.4 million Americans were on welfare rolls, 22 million on government payrolls, 23 million were receiving Earned Income Tax Credit checks, 44 million were on food stamps, 50 million were on Medicaid, and 70 million wage-earners were paying no income taxes.

For most of these folks, Obama’s Party, which would expand benefits, tax the rich even more and redistribute the wealth, is their party. And understandably so.

By every standard, America is a far more prosperous country than in the 1950s. Yet, then, there were no food stamps. Today, 47 million Americans are on food stamps at an annual cost of $72 billion.

Does it not say something alarming when one in seven Americans cannot rely upon themselves or their families for their daily bread?

During the Chicago school strike, we learned that 86 percent of the 350,000 pupils were getting free or subsidized meals twice a day.

What kind of society have we become when children in a great city cannot rely on mothers or fathers for a bowl of cereal in the morning and a brown bag with a sandwich and apple in it for lunch?

Federal, state and local government together now consume 37 percent of the economy. Can we not see where this is leading us, by looking at Spain or Italy — or California?

In the Golden Land, the state tax burden has been shifted heavily onto the most successful, while state benefits have exploded.

Result: For the first time since California entered the Union, the young and middle class are moving out, not in, heading for Colorado, Arizona, Idaho and Nevada. And California has become the destination of choice for the immigrant poor, legal and illegal.

Yet, the November ballot has a proposal to raise the state income tax on the rich to the highest in the nation, 13.3 percent.

Romney indicated that folks deeply dependent on government are almost impossible for an advocate of smaller government to win over. Is he entirely off base when Washington, D.C., the most government-dependent city in America, went 93-7 for Obama in 2008?

In his 1935 State of the Union, Franklin Roosevelt himself warned about exactly what Mitt Romney is talking about.

“Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. … The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief.”

That greatest generation got off the narcotic of dependency.

Unfortunately, for tens of millions today, that narcotic has become indispensable. And “spiritual and moral disintegration” describes exactly the condition of all too many who have come to rely upon it.

No apologies needed, Mitt.