Hillary's Fall from Grace Continues as More Shoes Drop

Editor’s Note – The once seemingly inevitable Democrat Party nominee now appears more like a meteor burning through the atmosphere on the way to an impact of epic proportions if the shoes keep on dropping over her email lies.

People in New Hampshire are sure seeing it as Bernie Sanders has surpassed in her in the polls for the first in the nation primary state. Additionally, it appears America in general is catching on finally as well as another poll, this one nationally, shows that Trump would now beat Clinton by as much as five percentage points as well.meteor

It is encouraging to see that people are taking notice, we just wondered why it took so long. In our opinion, Hillary Clinton should have been indicted long ago and been declared unfit to even run for any office.

Even her former employees are running for the hills, figuratively, like Bryan Pagliano who set up her now infamous server.

He fears he will be indicted for having access to such secret material and likely fears Clinton’s wrath as much as going to prison so he has declared he will not cooperate with the investigation nor Congress and would plead the fifth – very damning indeed!.

Another week of embarrassing shoes dropping for Hillary

New York Post Editorial Board

Team Hillary keeps insisting there’s nothing to that whole e-mail embarrassment — even as the shoes keep dropping.

Three in just the past week.

First came news that Hillary Clinton’s private e-mails included highly classified information on North Korea’s nuclear-weapons stockpile.

That comes from multiple intelligence sources speaking on the condition of anonymity to The Washington Times. The nuke info apparently came from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a highly classified satellite and mapping system.

Hillary Clinton and Brian Pagliano (AP Photo/John Locher)
Hillary Clinton and Bryan Pagliano (AP Photo/John Locher)

Such info is automatically classified at the very highest level, even when not so labeled — and knowing that rule is part of the secretary of state’s job.

So much for Clinton’s repeated claims that she didn’t know she was putting secrets at risk via her own personal e-mail server.

Also on the faux-innocence front: Clinton aide Bryan Pagliano, who helped set up and maintain the private server, says he won’t cooperate with the FBI, the State Department inspector general’s office or the congressional Benghazi committee that uncovered the private-e-mail issue in the first place — invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

He has every legal right to do so, but it sure . . . looks . . . bad. After all, Team Hillary keeps insisting it’s eager to cooperate with the investigations.

The cherry on this fetid sundae is the Bloomberg News scoop that the FBI is looking for any signs that hackers breached Clinton’s system — and for clues on whether any hackers were foreign-based.

Oh, there “were no security breaches,” Clinton insisted weeks ago. But how would a woman who jokes about wiping a server “with a cloth” know?

“At the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions, but there are answers to all these questions,” Clinton told Andrea Mitchell on Friday.

Problem is, her answers keep turning out to be incomplete or just plain false.

At this point, almost nothing in Hillary Clinton’s original claims about her use of the private server still stands as even possibly true. Perhaps worse than the lying, though, is her cavalier attitude toward national security — namely, that the rules aren’t for her.

Lynch Confirmation 50/50 – McCain Against Lynch

Editor’s Note – It is no surprise that Loretta Lynch’s confirmation to succeed Eric Holder as Obama’s Attorney General is on the cusp of needing a tie-breaking vote by VP Joe Biden. What is a surprise is that so far, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) may vote for her confirmation.

Fortunately, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is not going to vote yes:john-mccain-lindsey-graham

As two hefty primary challengers loom back home in Arizona ahead of his expected run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has come out publicly against the nomination of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General because of her support for President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty.

“No he’s not voting for her, because she called the Obama executive action on immigration ‘reasonable,’” McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said in an email to Breitbart News in response to a breaking story from Politico that Lynch’s nomination is a “cliffhanger” that’s going down to the wire.

Only four Senate Republicans currently publicly support her, meaning that assuming all Democrats vote for her and no other Republicans do, she would have 50 votes—and Vice President Joe Biden would come in to cast the tiebreaker in favor of her nomination. (Read more at Breitbart.)

The vote is next week and we hope for all our sakes, and oddly, Graham’s Presidential aspirations that he changes his mind and follows in the footsteps of his running buddy, McCain.

Loretta Lynch nomination a cliffhanger

She currently has the bare minimum number of votes to succeed Eric Holder.

By Seung Min Kim – Politico

Just days before her nomination as attorney general goes to the Senate floor, Loretta Lynch is stubbornly stuck right around 50 votes — suggesting a confirmation fight the Obama administration once seemed certain to win with relative ease will go down to the wire.

Barring an 11th-hour surprise, Lynch is likely to be confirmed. But with four GOP senators currently backing her along with unanimous support from Senate Democrats, Lynch would secure the bare minimum required to be installed as the nation’s top cop – as long as senators hauled in Vice President Joe Biden to break a tie.AP124250231731-640x480

Several Republican senators who could have been potential “yes” votes are signaling ahead of the confirmation vote that that they will instead vote against her.

The overwhelming bloc of opposition from Republicans stems from President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and Lynch’s confirmation is also plagued with remnants of congressional Republicans’ toxic relations with current attorney general Eric Holder.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said when he met with Lynch more than two months ago, he asked the federal prosecutor to lay out how the Justice Department’s agenda would differ than that of Holder, who’s led the Justice Department since 2009.

“She told me it would not be different,” Burr recalled of his conversation with the nominee. “I voted against Eric Holder and he’s lived up to exactly what I thought he would.”

But Lynch, who would be the first black woman to lead the Justice Department, is drawing potential opposition on other issues. Republican Sen. Dean Heller said in an interview that he is “leaning no” on the confirmation vote expected next week, a view that is based on Lynch’s answers to his concerns about how to regulate gambling.

The Nevada senator said Lynch’s responses to a letter he sent following up on the issue left him “not very comfortable.”

“She said she has very little knowledge of what occurred in the Wire Act,” a 1961 law that banned certain types of interstate gambling, Heller said. “And yet at the same time, she prosecuted illegal gambling, offshore gambling. You can’t be prosecuting illegal gambling and say you have very little knowledge of the Wire Act itself.”

The confirmation showdown is set for next week. Senate Majority Leader McConnell hasn’t indicated how he will vote, though two members of his leadership team – Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, the fifth-ranking Republican – are confirmed “no” votes.

Senate Republicans who are backing her are Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine.

Democrats have argued that Republicans’ anger over Obama’s executive actions on immigration – which would halt deportations and give work permits for more than 4 million immigrants here illegally – shouldn’t be a factor in whether or not to confirm Lynch. She said during her confirmation hearing in January that she believes the presidential directives are legal.

But that hasn’t swayed Republican senators, who say they were troubled by her stance on the immigration matter.

'Sequester', Continuing Resolutions, and the Un-Budget

By SUA Staff – All the talk about cuts and ‘sequestration’ is mind-numbing to say the least. If you listen to or read what the White House has issued, you’d be hiding under your bed in a fetal position. If you listen to reason though, after cutting through the political spin and tortured explanations, you see a different picture.

Check the actual budget numbers here. As required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, Obama finally reported on the impact:

These are among the findings in a new 394-page report by the White House that was delivered Friday to Congress, detailing line by line what will happen next year if Washington fails to act to head off about $100 billion in military and domestic spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 2. The Obama administration had been reluctant to specify the impact of sequestration, as the automatic, across-the-board spending reduction is called. But once forced to do so by Congress, the White House budget office did not scrimp on the details. (Read more here.)

Always remember one fact – there are no cuts in the baseline budget – its just a reduction in planned increases to the non-existent “Un-Budget.” The cuts they speak of are in the increases now ‘portraying’ an actual budget.

Many followed the “sky is falling” lead and gave us their look at the impact based upon White House and administration assertions, but those of course are a function of leadership or lack thereof. Read the article by Matthew Green at KQED: “The Sequester Explained in Plain English” and you will see how far they reach; try not to laugh too hard.

But, this week, even Obama had to walk back a lot of what was being told but the real impact is on the military but indeed the ‘sequester’ is in place and next is the CR, or continuing resolution:

Across-the-board federal spending cuts began Friday, clearing the way for a series of budget battles that will consume much of Congress’s energy and threaten to eclipse other items on President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda.

Mr. Obama signed an order late Friday directing $85 billion in cuts to domestic and defense programs, after holding a fruitless meeting with congressional leaders who remained at odds over how to avoid the reductions, known as a sequester.

The more immediate concern is the need to keep the government operating after March 27.  Next week, the House is expected to pass a Republican bill to extend funding for many government programs—including defense, education, and veterans’ benefits—at the ‘pre-sequester’ level of $1.043 trillion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the same level as the year before. But it would also carry a provision saying that sequestration would apply. That would bring the cost of the bill below $1 trillion, which is considered key to winning support from House GOP conservatives. (Read more here.)

Of course, a detailed look at the many duplicated programs, other waste, fraud, and corruption would have easily eclipsed the measly 2% the $85 billion ‘sequester’ this year if they were removed. Obama had promised in 2008 that he would do just that, but alas, in over four years, none of that took place. “And, absolutely, we need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”

The only persons of note who did look were Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) (See his budget here.) and Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) who has been producing his “Waste Book”. Take a look at the 2011 and 2012 reports from his office. Here are a few highlights:

“Waste Book” 2011:

  •  $75,000 to promote awareness about the role Michigan plays in producing Christmas trees & poinsettias.
  • $15.3 million for one of the infamous Bridges to Nowhere in Alaska.
  • $113,227 for video game preservation center in New York.
  • $550,000 for a documentary about how rock music contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • $48,700 for 2nd annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival, to promote Hawaii’s chocolate industry.
  • $350,000 to support an International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy.
  • $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” for Pakistan.
  • $35 million allocated for political party conventions in 2012.
  • $765,828 to subsidize “pancakes for yuppies” in the nation’s capital.
  • $764,825 to study how college students use mobile devices for social networking.

“Waste Book” 2012:

  • The most unproductive and unpopular Congress in modern history – (Congress) $132 million
  • Professional sports loophole – (Taxes) $91 million
  • OH SNAP! Junk food, luxury drinks, soap operas, and billions of dollars in improper food stamp payments – (Department of Agriculture) $4.5 billion
  • Oklahoma keeps unused airport open to collect federal checks – (OK) $450,000
  • Moroccan pottery classes – (U.S. Agency for International Development) $27 million
  • Out-of-this-world Martian food tasting – (HI) $947,000
  • When robot squirrels attack – (CA) $325,000
  • USDA’s caviar dreams – (ID) $300,000
  • Bailed out tourist boat sinking private business – (AK) $3.3 million
  • Phantom, unused grant accounts draw fees – (Department of Health and Human Services) $2 million
How broken is the Federal Government? Its just insanity and the President does not want it to change – that is the only explanation that adds up. Then there is the stimulus watchdog, VP “Sheriff” Joe Biden – let’s see that accounting as well. Take a look here, or here, its not a pretty picture, and the accounting is still incomplete. So we ask, how is the ‘sequester’ really important other than the now and future diminished military, and what happens next when the CR is upon us in the weeks ahead?

Army Details Where Sequestration Will Hit Hardest

By Michael Hoffman – Military.com

Army leaders got down to the gritty details of how sequestration will affect the service with examples ranging from the reduction of day care hours to delaying weapons programs to asking soldiers to collect trash on post.

On Tuesday, the Army executed a four-hour, service-wide planning exercise to outline the choices service leaders will have to make should Congress fail to avert the $500 billion in budget cuts associated with sequestration, which is slated to start Friday.

The Army stands to lose the most from their budget mainly because it’s the largest service in the military. In 2013, Army budget officials must cut $18 billion from the service’s budget before Oct. 1 should sequestration occur.

The $18 billion cut is not solely due to sequestration. An extension of the continuing resolution that funds the military at 2012 levels will cost the Army $6 billion in 2013. Another $6 billion bill is included in the $18 billion total due to emerging requirements from the war in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Karen Dyson, the director of the Army’s budget office, explained.

No matter the source, Army leaders said Wednesday that the service will have to make drastic cuts across the Army to services, training and operations. The sequestration legislation handcuffs Army officials from protecting certain accounts other than pay, operations in Afghanistan and Korea, and the Wounded Warrior program.

Making matters harder for officials will be the furlough that Defense Department civilians must take as part of the Pentagon’s cost saving measures in dealing with sequestration. Starting in April, civilians will have to take one unpaid furlough day per week until Oct. 1. This will limit the services the Army can provide and make it tougher to make up for the reduction in funds, Dyson said.

Brig. Gen. Curt Rauhut, the director of resource management for Installation Management Command, went as far to say the service will have to ignore holes in roofs and have soldiers collect trash on post. Funding for sustainment, restoration and modernization of the Army’s installations will be reduced by $2 billion, he said.

“All sustainment will be limited to life, health and safety issues and we don’t actually have enough money to fund all life, health and safety issues,” Rauhut said.

Families on base will feel the effects of the cost saving measures. Rauhut offered a few examples.

Army leaders would have to reduce hours for child development centers on post and even consider closing them on certain days, he said. Sequestration would also mean the Army would have to “eliminate or severely reduce youth sports on our installations,” Rahaut said.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno has explained to Congress for weeks that the sequestration cuts would mean he’d have to curtail training for nearly 80 percent of the service in order to save funds for units training to deploy to Afghanistan or in Korea.

Odierno had previously suggested that units deployed to Afghanistan might see their tours extended because of the lack of training funds. However, with the shrinking force footprint in Afghanistan, the Army should be able to bring currently deployed soldiers home as scheduled, Dyess said Wednesday.

“We have not made a decision on an extension for any units at this time so I think we should stick to our plan and bring those units back because really our footprint is shrinking,” he said.

However, Dyess and Dyson said the ultimate decision when Army units return from Afghanistan is made within theater.

Sequestration will affect when Army equipment in Afghanistan is returned to the U.S. If the budget cuts with sequestration stretch into 2014, the Army will be put in a bind. During the Iraq withdrawal, the Army saw expenses increase by $5 billion in the last quarter before the retrograde was complete, Dyson said.

Army officials expect a steeper challenge in leaving Afghanistan – a land locked country bordered by Iran and Pakistan. Dyson said the Army has already seen the projected cost of leaving Afghanistan sky rocket because the service has had to depend more on air transportation due to the challenge ground convoys have had crossing into Pakistan.

“We have to fly equipment in and out of theater and our second-destination charges for air transportation have been increasing far beyond what we had projected in the budget,” Dyson said.

Maj. Gen. Robert Dyess, the director of Army Force Development, confirmed that the sequestration cuts will likely delay the withdrawal of equipment and personnel from Afghanistan past the 2014 deadline set by President Obama. Gen. Dennis Via, head of Army Materiel Command, said the same thing on Feb. 20 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Winter Symposium.

Army modernization programs also stand to lose funding at a time when the Army is set to revolutionize its battlefield radios and vehicle fleet. Dyess said that rather than cancel programs because of cuts, most will be delayed.

Dyess and Dyson made sure to point out that every weapons program will have its budget slashed by 9 percent. Dyess listed mission command, aviation and Science and Technology as the Army’s three largest accounts that stand to lose the most.

“The [budget] reductions … define a fiscal outlook that is dire and as far as I know is unprecedented for our Army,” Dyson said.

McCarthy – Denying the Libya Scandal

The vice president was dishonest during the debate.

By Andrew C. McCarthy – National Review

The desultory vice-presidential debate underscored that, even if there were not a thousand other reasons for denying President Obama a second term, the Libya scandal alone would be reason enough to remove him.

Andrew C. McCarthy

By the time the ineffable Joe Biden took center stage Thursday night, Obama operatives had already erected a façade of mendacity around the jihadist murder of our ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. officials. The vice president promptly exploited the debate forum to trumpet a bald-faced lie: He denied the administration’s well-established refusal to provide adequate security for the diplomatic team. Just as outrageously, he insisted that the intelligence community, not the election-minded White House, was the source of the specious claim that an obscure, unwatched video about Islam’s prophet — a video whose top global publicists are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — spontaneously sparked the Benghazi massacre.

Our emissaries in Libya understood that they were profoundly threatened. They communicated fears for their lives to Washington, pleading for additional protection. That is established fact. Yet Biden maintained that it was untrue: “We weren’t told they wanted more security again. We did not know they wanted more security again.”

Shameful: so much so that even Jay Carney, no small-time Libya propagandist himself, would feel compelled to walk Biden’s denial back the next morning. But the vice president was far from done. His assertion that “the intelligence community told us” that protests over the video had sparked the murders of our officials was breathtaking, even by Biden standards.

For a moment, let’s pretend that there is no historical context — meaning, no Obama-policy context — in which to place what happened in Benghazi on September 11. Let’s just stick with the freshest intelligence.

In recent months, Benghazi has been the site of several jihadist attacks. The International Red Cross offices there were bombed in May by an al-Qaeda affiliate called the “Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades” — named in honor of the “Blind Sheikh,” whose detention in the U.S., on a life sentence for terrorism convictions, al-Qaeda has repeatedly vowed to avenge.

On June 4, four missiles fired from an unmanned U.S. drone killed 15 people at a jihadist compound in Pakistan. The most prominent was al-Qaeda’s revered Libyan leader, Hassan Mohammed Qaed, better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Yahya al-Libi. It was a severe blow to the terror network, and the intelligence community instantly knew al-Qaeda was determined to avenge it.

The following day, the Abdul Rahman Brigades detonated an explosive outside the American consulate in Benghazi. According to CNN, the attack was specifically “timed to coincide with preparations for the arrival of a senior U.S. State Department official.” The Brigades recorded the attack on video, interspersing scenes of the mayhem with footage of al-Qaeda leaders and 9/11 carnage. In claiming responsibility, the jihadists brayed that they were targeting U.S. diplomats in retaliation for the killing of al-Libi. A week later, the Brigades shot rockets at the British ambassador’s convoy as it moved through Benghazi.

By midsummer, al-Qaeda’s emir, Ayman al-Zawahiri, recorded an acknowledgment of al-Libi’s death that exhorted jihadists, particularly in Libya, to retaliate: “His blood urges you and incites you to fight and kill the crusaders.” Naturally, Zawahiri was targeting September 11 as the moment for vengeance. His recording was released on that morning, intimating that a revenge strike would be the most fitting way for Libyans to mark the day when, eleven years earlier, al-Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Obligingly, al-Qaeda affiliates carried out the Benghazi massacre later that day.

Ayman al-Zawahiri in Video calling for events to begin

Not only did the intelligence community have reason aplenty to anticipate trouble in Benghazi on September 11 — reason having nothing to do with the Mohammed video. We now know, thanks to reportingby the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake, that the diplomatic compound’s surveillance cameras recorded “an organized group of armed men attacking the compound.” Mr. Lake adds that the intelligence community had a surveillance drone taking video “for the final hour of the night battle at the consulate compound and nearby annex.” Moreover, U.S. intelligence officials figured out, within a day of the attack, that the operation was pre-planned and several participants were tied to al-Qaeda affiliates.

Yet, the administration continued, day after day, blaming the massacre on the video. The claim was absurd on its face. Plus, it contradicted an intelligence tapestry signaling a well-planned jihadist operation, to say nothing of the manner of the attack — the timing, preparation, and cruelty of which veritably screamed, “al-Qaeda!” Still, even now, Biden and the Obama administration claim that the intelligence community actually believed our people were killed over a video — that Obama officials were simply repeating what they were told, not spouting what they audaciously hoped to deceive Americans into believing.

Why the deception? Because if you conclude the Benghazi massacre had nothing to do with a cockamamie video no one has seen, you soon realize Obama’s favorite campaign theme — namely, that killing bin Laden decimated the terror network — is nonsense. And you realize that what happened in Benghazi on September 11 is directly traceable to Obama’s Middle East policy.

As noted above, the recent intelligence we’ve just reviewed arose in a historic context. Beginning in 2009, the Obama administration, echoing the Republican establishment, told Americans that Qaddafi had become a key ally of the United States against terrorism. Obama even substantially increased the American aid the Bush administration had begun providing to Qaddafi’s regime. The rationale for embracing the dictator was straightforward: Not only had Qaddafi abandoned his nuclear program; he was providing vital intelligence about jihadist cauldrons throughout his country. By percentage of population, more Libyans traveled to Iraq to wage terrorist war against American troops than did citizens of any other country. And in Libya, Benghazi was the epicenter of the jihad.

In 2011, however, President Obama initiated an unprovoked war against the Qaddafi regime. Though Qaddafi had taken no intervening hostile action against the United States, and though no vital American national interest would be served by Qaddafi’s removal, Obama chose to side with the Islamist rebellion against him. Why? As demonstrated in my new book, Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, the president was determined to sell the “Arab Spring” fantasy of a Middle East seized by the desire for freedom rather than strangled by the ambitions of freedom-killing Islamic supremacists.

In Libya, Islamists were the backbone of the rebellion: the Muslim Brotherhood partnering, as it is wont to do, with violent jihadists — in this instance, al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Toppling Qaddafi would necessarily result in their empowerment. They’d insinuate themselves into any new government. They’d set up sharia enclaves where they were strong enough to do so. And they’d strengthen themselves by seizing chunks of Qaddafi’s arsenal of high-powered weaponry. Being incorrigibly anti-American, they’d use their new influence and power against the United States.

That is why some of us implored Obama not to intervene. As I argued at the time (responsively quoting a Fox News anchor):

I am not “suggesting that we would be better off with the Qaddafi dictatorship still in effect.” I am saying it outright. If the choice is between an emerging Islamist regime and a Qaddafi dictatorship that cooperates with the United States against Islamists, then I’ll take Qaddafi. If the choice is between tolerating the Qaddafi dictatorship and disgracing ourselves by . . . turning a blind eye to the atrocities of our new Islamist friends . . . then give me the Qaddafi dictatorship every time.

The “atrocities” of note at the time were twofold: the massacres Libya’s Islamists carried out against black Africans suspected of allying with Qaddafi’s regime, and the barbaric murder of Qaddafi himself — when he was abused and displayed as a trophy, just like Ambassador Christopher Stevens would later be. These opened a ready window on the type of savages Obama’s policy was guaranteed to abet.

The straight line from Obama’s Libya policy of empowering Islamists to the Benghazi massacre is rarely discussed. Maybe it would be clearer if the Republican establishment had not ardently supported Obama’s war against Libya. Maybe it would be clearer if Romney and Ryan stopped sounding nearly as delusional about the “Arab Spring” as Obama and Biden do. Maybe it would be clearer if Romney and Ryan stopped talking about reprising the Libya debacle in Syria, joined at the hip to what they call “our ally Turkey” — Hamas’s new sugar daddy and staunchest defender. It would surely be welcome if the GOP ticket started diagnosing “spring fever” instead of manifesting its symptoms.

In Benghazi, we see the wages of the disease. The pathogen was not a video. Want to know why our people were left unprotected and why mounds of intelligence foreshadowing peril were ignored? Don’t look to Obama’s vice president, look to Obama’s policy.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the executive director of the Philadelphia Freedom Center. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, which was recently published by Encounter Books.

Rhetoric, context, meaning – where's the truth?

Campaign Contexts: The Kitchen Table Issues

By  – American Spectator

We know the mess Obama has made of them. But what about Romney’s understanding?

We’ve heard a lot about “context” lately. It’s the first refuge of a scoundrel: what I said doesn’t mean what you think I said if you take it in context with everything else I said, whenever I said it.

But there’s a second part of the “context” issue, and it’s more important than the first. The second part is the context placing what politicians say into the issues that are in voters’ minds. How far apart is the rhetoric from what people really care about?

No longer does anyone claim the “context defense” for Joe Biden. When Mr. Biden he speaks, there is either no context at all, or there are so many unrelated concepts strung together that no one can keep track of them. Biden plays with words like a musician who changes the key he’s playing in three times in the course of one song.

Case in point: last week, Joe started with an accusation that Romney and Ryan would “unchain Wall Street” and ended the same phrase (sentence? paragraph? Who knows?) by telling an audience (about of which half were black), “…they’ll put y’all back in chains.” Only Joe would string together an accusation the first half of which is class warfare and the second half is the threat of a return of slavery. Rudy Giuliani had it about right in saying Biden evidently lacks the mental capacity to serve as vice president or president.

The context defense is the media’s favorite to explain away Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment, which is the sum total of his total faith in government and his rejection of free market capitalism. For the record, here’s the entire quote:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The full quote doesn’t change the meaning of the excerpt. Obama clearly said that government, not smart, hard-working business people, is responsible for the success of businesses large and small. This is a kitchen table issue. Small business owners, such as Mr. Chris McMurray of the “Crumb and Get It” bakery in Radford, Virginia, understand that. Mr. McMurray declined a visit by Mr. Biden and his entourage because of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remark, noting that his wife had just worked twenty-four hours straight.

Mr. McMurray understands that people expect that America’s economy is supposed to reward hard work and initiative. It’s an issue that is worrying a lot of Americans this year and not only because of Obama’s remark. Our economic system has been fundamentally changed in the past three and a half years by Obama’s spending, by the enactment of Obamacare (which gave the government control of about 16% of our economy) and by the over-regulation of our economy by Obama’s federal agencies.

Kitchen table issues such as that are the real context of the presidential race. And neither candidate has boiled his messages down to explain how they will solve these issues.

It’s not simply “the economy.” The economy is an amorphous concept that people think about only in terms that affect themselves. To boil it down the candidates have to reduce it to those terms: how to bring unemployment down, how to revive the housing market, how to make gasoline and other forms of energy cheaper and how to make Social Security and Medicare solvent.

And the kitchen table issues go beyond the economy. They are about how to preserve personal freedom that is under attack by the government everywhere from the entry gates at airports to the ability of businesses, both small and large, to function in the overburdening regulatory environment. They’re about how all Americans will be able to afford and obtain the best medical care. They’re about how sequestration may cost one million defense industry jobs and why Obama’s Justice Department is suing Ohio to block early voting for military members. And it’s about voters’ growing distrust of the gatekeeper media who are spending each day proselytizing for Obama.

Romney says the answer to unemployment is to spur economic growth by relieving the regulatory burden and reducing tax rates for business and individuals. But he hasn’t explained how that will work, or explained the many economic studies supporting his idea. Obama attacks Romney’s plan, but hasn’t presented any new ideas. He’s still insisting on more spending, more debt, and that tax hikes are the answer.

We know — from the Social Security and Medicare Trustee’s report — that Medicare Part A is bankrupt now and Part B will be bankrupt as early as next year. Social Security will be bankrupt about ten years later. Both Obama and Romney are now arguing about whether senior citizens will be hurt by Romney’s plan, which is written to prevent anyone over 55 from suffering any reduction in benefits. No one — except Paul Ryan — is talking about how to make Social Security and Medicare solvent.

Romney spent most of last week trying to differentiate his economic plans from Paul Ryan’s specifics. Going into the Republican Convention next week, he needs to be able to explain a unified, simple plan that he and Ryan can run on. He needs to say, specifically, how he will balance the budget by the end of his second term. Both men need to stay on the attack against Obama’s commitment to government solutions to every problem we have.

In an August 12 editorial the New York Times wrote of Paul Ryan’s budget, “By cutting $6 trillion from federal spending over the next 10 years, he would eliminate or slash so many programs that the federal government would be unrecognizable.” But isn’t that the point of this campaign? We’d love it if the government as it now stands were cut back to the point that the liberals didn’t recognize it.

That’s a promise to make, and to keep.