By: Amy Lutz

Today is my birthday. However, I was treated to an early birthday present in the form of a wonderfully hilarious YouTube video. Over the weekend, this campaign video from Ryan Combe of Utah was plastered all over my Facebook news feed from my left leaning friends. So, naturally, I had to see what all the fuss was about. I wanted to fill my brain with the incredible liberal logic (an oxymoron, I know) that my friends claimed this video represented. While I couldn't locate the intelligent logic, I did enjoy the video, though perhaps not for the same reasons.

This campaign video details a conversation between a college-aged boy and his "Proud Republican" parents. At the onset of the video, the boy breaks the news to his parents that he is a Democrat. In false stereotypical fashion, both parents break into hysterics. Besides the comedic value, what I enjoyed about this campaign video was its reliance upon typical Republican stereotypes and flimsy liberal arguments. It's basically a minute and a half of the liberal platform complete with easily debunked planks. Naturally, I could not resist taking this video down a peg by taking on each of the son's flimsy liberal arguments about his party-switch. Arguments like this:

"I just want to help those less fortunate than I am."

I guess the implication here is that Republicans do not care about the less fortunate? Just because you have two different approaches toward relieving poverty does not imply that one side does not care about the poor. Ideologically, the main difference between conservative and liberal approaches to poverty is the source of the assistance. Liberals tend to believe that government should have a large hand in assisting the poor while conservatives put more of our stock into private charity. The conservative argument was clearly articulated long ago by Benjamin Franklin who stated, "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." Perhaps that seems harsh to many liberals. However, it's nothing more than common sense. Conservatives favor "hand-ups" not "hand-outs." The liberal solution to poverty is perhaps more harmful to those living below that poverty line than the conservative solution. How will someone ever rise above their situation if they are made comfortable with numerous welfare handouts?

"I don't want my student loan rates to go up; but not at the expense of women and children's preventative healthcare."

This argument refers to a plan suggested by Republicans a few weeks ago designed to keep student loan interest rates from rising automatically on July 1st. The plan passed in the House includes taking the necessary funds from the portion of Obamacare known as the "Prevention and Public Health Fund." Clearly, this is an attempt to take down Obamacare piecemeal should it not be overturned by the Supreme Court. Regardless, this plan has faced opposition from people on the right and left, including from the Heritage Foundation. At least it's a solution. To place the blame for failure to reach a deal solely on Republicans is naive. One could just as easily argue that the ball in in the Democrats court and they have simply been standing on the sidelines. Where is their plan to solve the student loan crisis? For that matter, where's their budget? But I digress...While a deal perhaps needs to be made now, at least on a temporary basis, I contend that the government shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing student loans in the first place.  Government subsidized student loans both lead to increased education costs and a greater burden on taxpayers. Thus, you can imagine my extreme "delight" when I opened my financial aid package last summer only to realize that I was not 100% a client of the US government.

"We should tax the oil companies to better fund education."

This suggestion is indicative of most liberal arguments in a nutshell: Instill a punitive tax and then give the revenue from the tax to education. Adding education to anything, even tax hikes, makes people feel good about themselves doesn't it? However, this fallacy didn't stop President Obama from suggesting that Congress needs to end "Big Oil tax breaks." Well, give me a break. First off, according to an article in The Daily Caller last year, oil companies do not even receive tax breaks, at least not in the way that Democrats are portraying. Although oil is an industry just like any other industry, including those of "alternative" energy, they are often portrayed as enormous, corrupt monsters of death. Talk about vilifying success. Second, increasing taxes on oil companies will do more harm than good. Liberals might not want to admit this, but the oil industry is behind a lot of economic success right now. They have provided thousands of jobs to our fragile economy. What are the odds that no one in the oil industry will be laid off if the entire industry faces steep tax hikes? It's probably about the same as the odds of Barack Obama admitting he's wrong about. About anything. Also, you want energy prices to go up? Well, then by all means, tax the oil companies. "Big Oil" is less likely to drill for new sources of oil if they're being taxed to death. America is on a freeway towards economic demise. Next stop: skyrocketing energy costs.

"I believe that men and women in this country deserve equal rights and equal opportunities under the law."

I don't even know how to approach this one. However, I'm in a valuable position, being an "oppressed" woman and all, so let me take a stab at it. Sure, men and women face different treatment in the media, workplace, etc. but that's always been a fact and the street goes both ways. However, that's a social reality, not a legal reality. Based on law, men and women are equal. I'd like to enlighten my Democratic friends with the fact that it is 2012, not 1912. I can vote, run for office, and enter the workforce just like any man. The "War on Women," is just a construct created by the left in an attempt to get their socially liberal policies enacted. Just because I don't get free contraception and easy access to abortion doesn't mean I'm being oppressed or faced legal inequality.

"I don't think that if someone loses their job or gets sick that they should go bankrupt and lose their homes."

Sure, if this happens, it's unfortunate and sad. If people weren't so dependent upon the government, the maybe private charity could step in. However, this argument is not accurate. Most people who file for bankruptcy actually get to keep their homes. It's actually bankruptcy itself which gives people the option for a fresh start. However, for liberals, this is never good enough. They always want more and more government. But the more government programs we have, the more chance of there being abuse of the system. Our government already does do a lot for people who lose their jobs, and in the end it's not exactly a good thing. The number of weeks people can spend on unemployment benefits drastically increased last year. A safety net may be necessary, but 53 weeks of paid vacation is more like a safety bed.

"I believe in good, affordable healthcare for everyone."

Obviously, this statement implies that Republicans are against good and affordable healthcare because we oppose the destructive entitlement known as Obamacare. Rather, it's quite the opposite because Obamacare will provide healthcare that is neither good nor affordable. Thankfully (or perhaps, unfortunately) we have the "great" examples of socialized medicine in Canada and Europe to look forward to should Obamacare withstand legal scrutiny. You want good healthcare? Don't go to Canada or Europe. In the UK, a 3-year-old was denied a life-saving heart surgery because there were simply not enough beds available for doctors to perform the surgery. Another woman was denied treatment because she had the "audacity" to seek out a private doctor for relief to her crippling back pain after she had been on a waiting list for surgery for months. God forbid someone seek out the advice of a private doctor.

Neither is socialized medicine affordable. The health care system in Canada lost taxpayers approximately $3 billion dollars in 2011. That's just what our failing economy needs: another bloated entitlement. No wonder the UK is moving towards privatized healthcare. In addition, you know who's going to be the most injured by Obamacare? The youth (aka Obama's most powerful voting bloc). Young people typically pay much less for healthcare, but under Obamacare, we will have to pay much more to support the increased number of people on the government's dime. If Obamacare remains viable, our nation has nothing to look forward to but healthcare rationing, poor health care services, and an even further damaged economy.

At the end of this campaign video, Ryan Combe states, "Why aren't you a Democrat? It might not be as bad as you think." Well, if I have to judge the Democratic party based upon this video filled with inaccurate, insulting stereotypes and flimsy liberal arguments, then I'll pass. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority. This video is obviously targeted at the young and uninformed voters. Many, like my peers who seem enthralled by this video, fail to pick apart its terrible arguments. This video may be an insult to my intelligence, but I actually enjoy it. Very rarely do liberals put many of their unintelligent arguments in such a bite sized form. I'm glad I could get such a laugh from it. Now excuse me, I'm going to scout out my birthday cake and keep an eye on today's Supreme Court rulings.

Reagan National Airport: The Tenth Circle of Hell
By: Amy Lutz

As I waited in line for my ticket during a recent visit to Regan National Airport, I noticed a sign on the wall preventing what the TSA labeled “airport rage.” I would assume that most people I know would believe that this regulation would not apply to me. They would be wrong. By the time I noticed the posting on that fateful day a few weeks ago, I was a boiling pot of white hot anger. How did I get to this point? Well, let me start at the beginning.

It all started at 12:45 PM on June 18th, 2011 and I was just returning home from a conference in Washington DC. After an exorbitant $60 cab ride, I arrived at Washington-Dulles airport. I enjoy arriving to my destinations, especially those commonly plagued with long lines and random pat downs, well before I need to so I gave myself 3.5 hours of leeway to catch my 4:20 PM flight on American Airlines. Washington-Dulles was crowded, but not unmanageable. After a few minutes, I arrived at the counter and handed the agent my boarding pass. As I lifted my over-packed suitcase to the scale to be tagged, the agent paused. My connecting flight to Dallas had been delayed and he was worried that I would not reach my 6:20 flight to Kansas City on time. Therefore, he decided to send me across town to Reagan National Airport for a slightly earlier flight to Dallas that he hoped had not also been delayed. Although I was slightly inconvenienced, I told the agent that the solution was appropriate and trotted as fast as I could (in 4 inch heels, mind you) to catch a cab. When I finally arrived at DCA, my stomach dropped the second I walked in the doors. There were people everywhere, and that is not even the half of it. Lines were non-existent. Other passengers were standing haphazardly around the velvet ropes, hoping that they were in the correct location, and there was not a TSA agent in sight. I started to panic at that point, but I assumed that since I was still over two hours from my flight, I would be on the plane in plenty of time.

After unsuccessfully trying to print my boarding pass out at the kiosk, I trudged over to the line for the special ticketing counter and waited…and waited. Although at this point there were only about twenty people in front of me, it took 45 minutes for the line to even move. During that time, despite the fact that I was growing increasingly worried, I met a handful of delightful passengers who were just as frustrated as I was. I became acquainted with a British couple who were heading to Key West, two sisters who were going their separate ways, and a young woman who was carrying her cat, Brussels. Unfortunately, the cat only entertained me for about five minutes and then I was back to nursing the anger that was bubbling up inside of me. At the same time, I realized that I was experiencing shooting pain in my legs from standing in heels for so long and I finally decided to just go barefoot. The woman standing behind me literally applauded me for lasting so long without taking my shoes off.

As the line finally moved, my fellow passengers and I noticed a horrifying fact. There were two different lines, and we were in the wrong one. I and my fellow passengers tried to flag down the manager or anyone else who could help, but we were rebuffed and ignored for at least another 45 minutes. By this time, Brussels and his owner had long missed their 3:25 flight. When we finally got a hold of the manager, she told us to get behind the other line and we were forced to wait even longer. During our remaining waiting time, two of the women working behind the ticketing counter took their breaks, leaving only one agent in charge of helping the ever increasing line of people, which now totaled 66 passengers. By the time my fellow passengers and I reached the counter, we had all missed our flights. I bid them all goodbye and walked hesitantly up to the agent who had beckoned me forward. She was not able to find another flight for me on American Airlines, so she transferred me to another connecting flight to Memphis on Delta. I accepted the offer, relieved that I would not have to pull a Tom Hanks and spend the night in the Terminal. I did not want an experience that equaled the awfulness of that movie.

As I slid into the Delta line, I heard chatter behind me. The tall man to my right had been waiting for 10 hours and other passengers had experienced similar fates. Again, my stomach dropped and my anger surged. I was once again subject another hour and a half of wait time. Here we are at the beginning again. As I looked at the “airport rage” posting, I pondered if the punishment for breaking said law would equal the satisfaction I would get from screaming at the nearest TSA agent. Luckily, I kept my cool, at least from an outside perspective. When I arrived at the counter, I shrugged my shoulders, defeated. The Delta agent gave me the news that I had been expecting: they could not get me a flight that night and I was forced to stay in a hotel and take a connecting flight in the morning to Cincinnati. I reluctantly agreed.

As is customary, the airline paid for my meal, taxi ride, and hotel room for that night, but unfortunately they did not understand that I was a 19 year old girl traveling alone and needed to stay somewhere safe. I ended up bunking the sketchiest motel in Virginia where I was surely the only resident who spoke English. After I carefully ordered a limp salad from the motel, I literally ran back to my room, locked the door, turned out the light, and hoped that no one would knock on the door. Luckily, the television worked and I alternated between watching The Dark Knight, Remember the Titans, and a televised speech from Rick Perry before finally falling asleep, contacts and all. The next morning, I left the motel at 4 AM to catch my 6:45 flight. Although I was subject to the invasive TSA body scan and disorganization in the terminal was still rampant, my second journey through DCA was mostly painless. I breathed a sigh of relief when I boarded my first flight to Cincinnati. The plane ride was smooth and I even brushed past Mike Tyson in the Barnes and Noble in the Cincinnati terminal (FYI—he is much smaller in person). When I boarded my second flight to Kansas City, I felt my airport rage fade away.

As I peered out into the passing clouds, I thought about my previous 24 hours. I wondered how the airline industry, which is still not a government agency, could be so disorganized. The Reagan National Airport did not do its namesake justice in terms of efficiency. In fact, DCA reminded me far more of what the health care industry looks like under Obama than the economy did under Reagan. I have a sneaking suspicion that the chaos was a result of a collective bargaining agreement gone wrong or extra-strength government red tape. When the government and union regulations get their hands on an industry, inefficiency and incompetence are the name of the game. I found myself more and more frustrated with the ever growing size of our government and thankful for the sparks of entrepreneurship, private industry, and innovation that are still present in this country. I certainly hope that those sparks become an unquenchable flame because if our lives continue to go in a direction that resembles the turbulence of the Reagan National Airport, we are all headed for a massive case of “American rage.”