One Last Chance to Blame George Bush

If President Obama loses to Mitt Romney next week, wouldn’t it be ironic if he blamed George Bush?

Bible.Is App for iPhone and iPad

Nothing can replace reading the Bible from the page, and this iPhone and iPad app—called Bible.Is—is no substitute for that. But audio is an excellent supplement to a Bible reading and study program. This app is convenient to use and makes the Bible available in surprisingly many languages.

  • Use it to “read” whole books of the Bible one at a time.
  • Learn unfamiliar dimensions of Scripture truth from the cadences of the spoken Word (e.g., the Book of Leviticus).
  • Learn and improve your knowledge of a foreign language through audio exposure to biblical truth.
  • Memorize extended passages through repetition.
  • Listen with your Bible open and read along with the audio.

I doubt if any app does as well what this app so effectively does what it’s designed to do. It rivals every audio version of the Bible I know of. I would like to see the New American Standard Version (NASV) in its repertoire, since this is my preference for Scripture memory. But publishers of the NASV have enforced strict proprietary controls on the publication of this valuable translation, and so have, regrettably, limited its dissemination—not the fault of this app designer (though they might be able to obtain permission at a price). The English Standard Version (ESV), available on Bible.Is is an excellent alternative to the NASV.

You can also use Bible.Is from any computer with a browser. Just visit their home page here.
By the way, the Bible.Is app can be downloaded to your iOS device for free. And yes, it is available for Android, as well.


Brief Post about “Undecideds”

Here’s my take on the much talked-about “undecideds” in this general election:

Undecideds won’t go for President Obama. This explains why they’re “undecided.” They’ve had plenty of time to decide (four years), so why are they undecided? Either they aren’t really undecided and are planning to vote for Mitt Romney, or they’re undecided about Romney, if not about Obama. In the first instance, Romney wins. In the second, undecideds stay home—unless the undecideds make a last minute decision as undecideds to vote against Obama by voting for Romney. In other words, undecideds represent a referendum on President Obama.

Ditto for independents.

This assumes a rational electorate. And if the electorate can be counted on to be rational, this bodes well for Romney. Of course, the electorate cannot be counted on to be . . . . well, you know.

The President a Lame Duck Incumbent?

It’s a rare phenomenon when an incumbent seeking re-election is faced with the prospect of being a lame duck on the very eve of the election. President Obama is the incumbent in this race. He is a sitting president seeking re-election. As the incumbent, he is eligible to run for a second term and may well win a second term. He is not, in the usual sense, a lame duck president.

A lame duck holds office during the relatively brief interval between an election, when it is determined that someone else will be the next president, and the moment when the new president assumes office at his inauguration. A politician in this position is called a “lame duck” because he or she has comparatively little influence as the clock simply runs out on his or her term.

If a president has completed two terms, then he will not be an incumbent seeking re-election. His party will nominate a different candidate to run in the general election. In this case, the outgoing president will automatically be a lame duck. He will hold office until the new president-elect is sworn in.

If an incumbent president seeking re-election loses the election, then he becomes a lame duck president until the new president-elect is sworn in. He is no longer the incumbent because the election has been decided. He is still president, but his days are numbered.

An incumbent may become a lame duck, but only after the election returns. At least, that is technically the case. But the term “lame duck” is a metaphor for a president whose power is ineffectual because his term is about to run out. But does it stretch the metaphor to say that a president is a lame duck if his power is bound to be ineffectual until his term runs out, even if that won’t happen for another four years? And what if there are strong indicators, prior to a general election, that this will be the case if the incumbent wins the election? He might then that be called a “lame duck incumbent.”

This, I believe, could be President Obama’s situation. He is now the incumbent and may win a second term. If he does, he will not be a lame duck in the usual sense until the next general election four years hence. But there are indicators that Obama’s leadership, should he be allowed a second term, will be threatened by grave difficulties of his own making that could seriously curtail his executive influence, however long his second term lasts. And most recently the most severe challenge has emerged in the form of the massacre that took place at our embassy in Libya in September and the growing impression that the President shirked responsibility, both during the horrific attack and afterward during his effort to manage the flow of information until the election clock runs down.

Here’s the point: if it turns out that a thorough investigation of the facts, called for by the President and the Democrat party, reveals a demoralizing leadership failure and deception by his administration, and this investigation cannot be concluded until a few weeks after the election, and the President wins re-election, then the President will have to face a nation in shock after learning definitively of his dereliction of duty, now compounded by the fact that he was just re-elected and the electorate is stuck with him for four more years. If his popularity has been slipping in the polls during the past few weeks, his approval rating would surely plummet dramatically following the election and detailed knowledge of the events in Libya—if the President has goofed.

This would not be the most auspicious beginning to the President’s second term. And it would not bode well for the future of this country if that should happen.

Still, why think of the President in these final days before the election as a “lame duck incumbent”? That depends on what you make of the evidence against his claim to be oblivious of events occurring at the embassy in Libya when four Americans, including our ambassador, were lost. If you think that he’s disqualified himself already for enjoyment of a second term, then you may think that if he wins he will start his second term in deep trouble that will be a distraction from all else that requires presidential leadership. You may think that, given his incumbency status now, and assuming that he wins re-election, Obama is, even now, a “lame duck incumbent.”

If you think that, you may be right. And if you’re right, then Obama’s in big trouble soon after the election, trouble that will plague his second term as long as it lasts. Not only that, America’s in big trouble. Don’t be surprised if  a predominantly Republican congress calls for impeachment proceedings as soon as the investigation is concluded.

Doug to Speak at the 2012 National Apologetics Conference “To Everyone an Answer”

Doug will be speaking November 3 at the 2012 National Apologetics Conference in Santa Ana, California.

  • Conference theme & dates: “To Everyone an Answer”—November 3 & 4
  • Doug’s assigned presentation title: “Can Man Live without God?”
  • Date and time of Doug’s presentation: Friday, November 3, 8:30-9:15 p.m.
  • Other speakers include Josh McDowell, Walter Kaiser, Jr., Erwin Lutzer, Norman Geisler, David Geisler, John Sanford, and Ed Hindson
  • Location: Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, 3800 South Fairview Street, Santa Ana, CA 92704

Admission is free.

For additional details, see or call (951) 698-6389.

“There You Go Again”?

Pundits seem almost universally agreed that Mitt Romney needs to have a “Reagan moment” in his first debate with President Obama, now just two days away. The moment they have in mind is when Ronald Reagan said, in response to incumbent Jimmy Carter about misrepresentations of Reagan’s record and platform, “There you go again.” I remember that moment. It was timely and it was compelling.

Now, several decades later, Reagan’s words probably don’t have quite the ringing effect for young adults born since then. I myself have to recall the political climate at the time and Reagan’s uncommon demeanor in the moment to appreciate how effective those words were. (Reference to Reagan’s thumping of Carter has become something of a nostalgic rostrum. Many have probably over-rated that particular moment in judging that it was the turning point, very late in the campaign, giving Reagan an advantage over Carter. I think people felt, in the last analysis, that Jimmy Carter just couldn’t be trusted with a second term. Sound familiar?)

What matters in the immediate political climate—infused with media “coverage”—is that the stakes have been raised for Romney in the upcoming debate. He has to convince people that he can walk on water. Better yet if he can demonstrate his power to walk on water by doing it onstage. That’s all we ask. If he can manage that, then he might get our attention, we might think about voting for him, and a few of us might even actually vote for him.

This is silly. But it’s reality.

So I’ve been thinking about what Romney could say that would achieve the expected (or desired) effect. But is this the right concern? Let’s remember that Reagan spoke with apparent spontaneity in his remark. And it may well have been spontaneous. If so, Reagan had to have enjoined the debate with such a frame of mind that he could say, with such intensity and frankness, what he did when Carter kept up the spin.

Maybe the lesson to be learned, then, is that Romney needs to have the right instincts, cultivated by months of campaigning and by his knowledge of current events and Obama’s response, as he walks onto the dais to go toe-to-toe with the President.

One risk for any debater is a kind of “over-preparation.” In one sense, you can never over-prepare. But it is possible for a debater’s extensive preparation to hamstring his performance during a debate. One reason is that spontaneity may be compromised. And spontaneity, when well-timed delivery is good, is powerfully persuasive.

Romney needs, at least, to do two things during his preparation. First, he needs to be prepared for whatever can reasonably be expected from Obama, both in terms of his attack on Romney and in terms of his defense of his own Presidency. Second, he needs to be clear about what he can do to control the agenda and get the upper hand during the debate. (Of course, Obama needs to prepare in the same way, but there are reasons to think that Obama is at a disadvantage if Romney is effective. If Romney presents well, and Obama struts the usual stuff, there is the possibility that Obama’s presumed presentation skills will appear to be a dance around the tough issues. In other words, speaking in his usual formidable style may, ironically, cause Obama trouble. It may be observers’ perception, “There he goes again!”)

Reagan said, “There you go again.” Romney doesn’t need a cute, canned sound bite that could be his undoing if it isn’t delivered properly. He needs to be relaxed and comfortable with himself, unintimidated by the President. If he rehearses what he believes deep down to be Obama’s greatest vulnerabilities, if he is in touch with his deepest  convictions about the risks we face and what needs to be done about them, then he won’t be intimidated. Nothing is more effective than the courage of one’s convictions.

Nevertheless, Romney could be effective if he finds a way to say, not “There you go again,” but “Here we go again,” in reference to the pile-up of unpalatable effects of Obama-style leadership. Romney should be able to recite what many perceive to be mistakes made during the past four years. The most recent event in the litany is the recent debacle in the Middle East, including the murder of an under-protected American Ambassador and the conflagration that threatens to worsen. “Here we go again. And we, the American people, can’t take much more of this.” This is what we should be thinking after this first debate, and Romney has a prime-time opportunity to make it happen. We should be wondering, “Does anybody really know what an Obama second term would be like?” The first term wasn’t like many who voted for him expected. Have they learned that they still have no idea what to expect?

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