#Decision2012: Random Election Night Eve Thoughts

VoteCan’t believe tomorrow is the day.

If you’re like me, you didn’t early vote and will line up at the polls first thing in the morning. Here in NC, the polls open at 6:30 and I plan on being at mine at 6, to get it out of the way … and to hopefully avoid the ambush of liberal candidate volunteers standing as close as they legally can to the polling place shoving literature in the hands of people who don’t want to be rude.   Every time I go in the afternoon, I receive what amounts to a folder full of flyers on behalf of candidates for whom I will never vote.

Maybe not if I vote in the early a.m. We shall see … assuming the Lord doesn’t have other plans, and assuming I actually get up at 4:30 to get ready for work, eat breakfast, and head out earlier than normal.

As far as how NC will swing tomorrow in the Presidential race, things have looked pretty good for Mitt Romney since the beginning of October. He has not trailed in any poll since the beginning of that month, and has been in just a  handful of ties.   Here are the final NC numbers.  I’m cautiously optimistic that this state will flip back to red again but it will all depend on – you guessed it – turn out.   Team Obama made some last minute sales pitches here over the last several days, with Jill Biden visiting Huntersville and Asheville on Friday, Bill Clinton in Raleigh on Sunday, and Michelle Obama here in Charlotte earlier today. Political junkies will note that then-candidate Barack Obama himself had an election eve campaign rally in Charlotte back in 2008.   If Romney/Ryan end up losing tomorrow, I’d still like for this state to go red again in spite of that – it would be a small consolation considering the embarrassment many of us felt after it went to BO in 2008.

In terms of the national landscape it’s one that – for me – is “too close to call.”  Several “battleground states” have tightened up, with some surprisingly coming into play as possible GOP pickups (PA & NH, for example). The more expert prognosticators are putting their reputations on the line with advance predictions of how things will go tomorrow in terms of not just the Presidential race, but also House and Senate races, as well as the Governorships.  The only one I feel reasonably comfortable in calling is the NC Governor’s race. Pat McCrory (R) has had double digit leads over Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton for months now and, barring a last minute surge, McCrory will likely be only the 3rd GOP Governor in this state since 1901.

I have officially stopped looking at election projections, by the way. They are making me crazy.  Something else making me crazy is the fact that we have a third party candidate on the ballot here, as do most other states. Bob Barr (Libertarian) did have an impact on our results here in NC in 2008. He got roughly 25,000 votes.  McCain lost by 14,000, BO’s smallest win margin.

NC Presidential Election Results - 2008 - via the NYT

NC Presidential Election Results – 2008 – via the NYT

Do NOT underestimate the power of third party candidates in close races this year.

On to the notable “down-ticket” races in NC:

The National Republican Congressional Committee is betting on three, and hoping for four.

The GOP-controlled legislature in Raleigh set the table for a rightward shift in the state’s congressional delegation by redrawing several districts to favor Republican candidates.

Two Democrat incumbents – Rep. Heath Shuler in the 11th and Brad Miller in the 13th – decided not to run again, with Republicans favored to take their seats. That leaves two vulnerable Blue Dog Dems: Rep. Larry Kissell in the 8th and Mike McIntyre in the 7th, each busy distancing themselves from Obama and highlighting their votes to repeal Obamacare.

If both lose – McIntyre has the better shot at survival – the delegation will go from 7-6 Democratic to 10-3 Republican.

What are things looking like in your state?   What are you seeing and hearing?

Benghazi Consulate Massacre: the responsibility for not launching a rescue mission

**Posted by Phineas

Obama said “no.”

One of the enduring mysteries of the Benghazi massacre is the lack of any serious attempt to render assistance to those trapped in the consulate and the CIA annex building. We know the resources were available at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, one to two hours away by air. We know that Special Forces units were moved from Central Europe to Italy in anticipation of a “go” order. So why didn’t they go?

At PJ Media, former Navy SEAL Matt Bracken explains that the authority to cross a national border on a hostile mission, such as a rescue in Benghazi, can only come from the President. Not the Vice President, not the Secretary of Defense, not the Joint Chiefs of Staff, not even from regional commanders in the area. They can preposition all they want, but, in the end, the only person with “cross-border authority” is, for now, Barack Obama:

The Benghazi debacle boils down to a single key factor — the granting or withholding of “cross-border authority.” This opinion is informed by my experience as a Navy SEAL officer who took a NavSpecWar Detachment to Beirut.

Once the alarm is sent – in this case, from the consulate in Benghazi — dozens of HQs are notified and are in the planning loop in real time, including AFRICOM and EURCOM, both located in Germany. Without waiting for specific orders from Washington, they begin planning and executing rescue operations, including moving personnel, ships, and aircraft forward toward the location of the crisis. However, there is one thing they can’t do without explicit orders from the president: cross an international border on a hostile mission.

That is the clear “red line” in this type of a crisis situation.

No administration wants to stumble into a war because a jet jockey in hot pursuit (or a mixed-up SEAL squad in a rubber boat) strays into hostile territory. Because of this, only the president can give the order for our military to cross a nation’s border without that nation’s permission. For the Osama bin Laden mission, President Obama granted CBA for our forces to enter Pakistani airspace.

On the other side of the CBA coin: in order to prevent a military rescue in Benghazi, all the POTUS has to do is not grant cross-border authority. If he does not, the entire rescue mission (already in progress) must stop in its tracks.

Ships can loiter on station, but airplanes fall out of the sky, so they must be redirected to an air base (Sigonella, in Sicily) to await the POTUS decision on granting CBA. If the decision to grant CBA never comes, the besieged diplomatic outpost in Benghazi can rely only on assets already “in country” in Libya — such as the Tripoli quick reaction force and the Predator drones. These assets can be put into action on the independent authority of the acting ambassador or CIA station chief in Tripoli. They are already “in country,” so CBA rules do not apply to them.

How might this process have played out in the White House?

Read the rest to see Mr. Bracken’s speculations regarding what happened that night in the White House. It’s an enlightening piece from someone who knows how these situations operate.

It also sheds light on another mystery. It’s been reported that one of the former SEALs defending the Annex had put a targeting laser on a jihadi mortar crew, something he would do only if he expected help and was trying to direct incoming fire. This lead to speculation that there was an AC-130 gunship over Benghazi at time time, but that it was denied permission to fire. If Mr. Bracken’s analysis is correct, it’s quite possible a craft was launched from Sicily with the expectation that CBA would be coming soon. Did the SEAL trapped in Benghazi know that the gunship was close, and was painting the target to be ready for it?

We may never know.

But what we do know, thanks to Mr. Bracken, is that sole responsibility for the American response that night lies with President Barack Obama. Whether by actively denying permission or passively not making a decision (by going to bed?), President Obama left those men to die.

Remember that next Tuesday.

RELATED: Some other articles of interest.

What kind of lasers did they have in Benghazi?

The consulate knew it was being watched.

During the attack, Obama failed to convene a key group created for just this situation.

The consulate in Benghazi warned State of a possible attack three hours before it happened.

Egypt arrests pro-al Qaeda jihadist tied to Benghazi suspect

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)