1. When and why did you start American Power?
I started blogging in February or March 2006 (American Power is my second blog). Before that I had been reading political science blogs for some time, and also a couple others, like Ann Althouse. I got off to a slow start because I’m a professor of political science and I didn’t want to alienate folks too much at first, but soon I found out that the milquetoast approach to blogging probably didn’t generate too much traffic. I started to take the gloves off a bit, and after being immersed in the left’s hate culture long enough, I started to fight back relatively unrestrained.
That’s really why I started blogging – to combat the neo-communist left. I was a lifelong Democrat who voted for Al Gore in 2000. The September 11, 2001, attacks struck me at a deep level, but perhaps surprisingly, it was the Iraq war in 2003 that basically forced a radical reckoning for me in terms of my own ideals, ideology, and outlook toward my profession (teaching political science). I spoke in favor of the Bush administration at a campus "teach in" against the war, the day we started to topple Saddam. Thereafter, formerly friendly colleagues treated me as beneath the lowest of the low caste. A couple of feminists literally and
prominently gave me wide berth in the hallways of my division. I became an "agent of the patriarchy." Soon, leftist professors launched a campus "progressives" club, and they allied with the neo-communist International ANSWER Coalition out of Los Angeles. Students were getting extra credit to attend rallies. The club bussed students downtown. I've periodically had confused students, non-activists, come to my office and ask why Israel was an "apartheid state." The sociology faculty showed pro-Palestinian movies and the halls were plastered with anti-Bush fliers bearing swastikas. It's become my cause as a blogger and conservative academic to fight the hatred and anti-intellectualism on campus and beyond. It's been a really life-changing
experience these last seven years.
2. What has been the best accomplishment so far of the Obama Administration? Worst?
I’m 100 percent partisan, so I’m not one to really credit the Obama administration with any real POSITIVE accomplishments. I imagine if I was in an extremely good mood I could credit Obama with adding troops to the Afghanistan deployment, but since that decision came only after nearly a year of begging by former U.S. General Stanley McCrystal --- a period which obviously cost lives and further compromised America’s ability to defeat the Lashkar-Qeada-Taliban insurgency --- it’s pretty hard for me to be so generous.
The ObamaCare health reform disaster is not necessarily the administration’s “worst” accomplishment. It’s awful, I know. But I’m confident a GOP congressional majority – followed by the election of a GOP president very soon – will begin to roll back the Democratic healthcare bill. There wasn’t a crisis when the Dems started working on it in May 2009 and it’s possible to revisit the key issues in healthcare – covering the uninsured, reigning in costs, and reforming health-related entitlements – while curtailing the policy abuses the Democrats implemented.
What’s the very worst to me is our very own president’s morale-crushing anti-Americanism. I’m pretty sure, at an almost subliminal level, most Main Street, heartland Americans feel that Obama is out of touch with their values, and that for all the “hope and change” he promised, he’s not done a good job in making their lives better. And when Obama routinely winds up on the wrong side of public opinion – on the Ground Zero Mosque controversy most recently, for example – some folks may well decide: “Hey, this is just too much for me … this guy’s out to lunch on commonsense issues of concern to me.”
3. Any favorite for 2012 yet?
I’m a Sarah Palin supporter. I don’t think she’s the most experienced potential candidate. I do feel as though she’s representing my values better than anyone in American politics for a long time. She’s been a Godsend to the conservative movement, and if she continues to polish her presentation leading into the 2012, I believe she’ll be able to make the case for the qualities necessary to lead the nation. And for me, it’s just that, in one word: Values. She has the moral clarity that’s quintessentially American, and that’s her strongest asset, with a canny
knack for almost magical political savvy and timing coming in a close second. She may not, in the end, make the sale to the American people in a general election contest. But as far as I can tell, she’s got the traditional array of assets for a top-tier nomination bid covered. I like a few other candidates as well – especially Mitt Romney – although I can’t see Newt Gingrich going anywhere as a presidential aspirant (and I’ve met both Romney and Gingrich personally, so that’s coming from the heart a bit too).
4. What's the best part of running your site?
Probably the best thing about running my blog is the same thing that’s true for anyone who
takes this medium seriously: It gives me a powerful seat at the table of media and politics, with which I can have a real impact. I’m rarely tired of blogging, and it comes like a second career to me, since I can self-publish my thoughts and go over the heads of the newspaper industry or even academic publishing in some instances. Blogging is of course a means to write for mass publication, a means that I didn’t have before, expect to shill essays to the op-ed pages of the mainstream news outlets. Bloggers don’t often get widely read – and I’m no exception – but with a little networking one can break through big time. I recently forced a correction at New York Times, for example, and some of my own citizen journalism has been widely cited across the web. It’s just rewarding in that sense. A blogger who’s serious and diligent can at some time break out and make an impact.
5. Has President Obama been better or worse in office than you believed before the election?
Obama is actually worse as a president to me, and by that I mean that I genuinely think he’s the best presidential candidate we’ve seen in generations. But those skills – speaking, fundraising, community organizing, mass mobilization – have not transferred to the Oval Office. (He’s been a lousy president in terms of the traditional measures for occupants of the office.) In fact, Obama’s already losing the youth demographic, largely on economic issues. It’s kinda funny as well, since his election was basically a theological experience for a lot of young people. No doubt by now the “Obama Zombie” effect is wearing off.
6. Anything else you'd like to add?
Only to mention that I’ve probably peaked as far as blog ranking go in the blogosphere. It takes a tremendous commitment to maintain a top blog, and by that I mean a top-50 blog with moderate daily traffic numbers. There will only be so many Instapundits or Hot Airs. And the
blogosphere’s becoming more professionalized, which will marginalize some citizen bloggers not inclined to invest large amounts of time to it. I’d like to write a book and expand my work into more traditional areas so as to INCREASE my profile as a blogger, and that sounds kinda
strange to say. But if you look at folks like Michelle Malkin, she’s a journalist by trade and an author of several books, but she’ll still tell you she’s a blogger. That’s pretty freakin’ cool. Oh, one more thing, relating to my opening comment about fighting the radical left: I’m a man of Christian faith, and I’m convinced by this time that the country’s facing a degree of evil in the world that raises millennial challenges. And most importantly, there’s an increasing danger at home – within our borders – of a hostile anti-American element that will work with our global enemies to destroy this nation. Folks thus can’t be complacent. The Ground Zero Mosque is a good indicator of the future debates we’re likely to see: Commonsense Americans against an elite – knowingly or not – working against our fundamental security interests as a people and
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