Tuesday, August 26, 2008

“God Damn America” Convention, Day One: Wha’ Happened?

It’s Day One of the “God Damn America” Convention, and already Democrats are well on their way to showing how they would govern in January. In fact, it’s a mini reflection on what they’ve done already in nearly two years of controlling Congress: they’ve talked a tremendous amount and accomplished nothing. Even this day in age, where conventions are highly-scripted, the outcome is never in doubt, and each aspect of the message is tightly-controlled, the Democrats have failed to articulate a central theme for their gathering.

Queen Nancy the First started off prime time with a speech as ignored as her recent book, and witticisms befitting a third-grader (or Triumph the Insult Comic Dog). No matter, she had a late-arriving convention crowd chanting “John McCain is wrong!” anyway. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) made several references to the anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but didn’t quite mention the whole Skin Color versus Character Content thing. He also appeared to bury the family hatchet, as Jim Lehrer noted, in regards to his father’s remarks- although presumably not in the same place where his father would rip off.

It always amazes me how Jimmy Carter’s reputation among Democrats is still intact. Not only is his presidency widely regarded as an abject failure, but his post-office endeavors mostly include sucking up to third world dictators. He’s probably more skilled at hammering nails in to a board than he is overseeing elections, anyway: he declared Hugo Chavez’ controversial “election” to have been completely free and fair. Then again, maybe double-digit inflation, sky-rocketing interest rates, social and moral decay, a defeated, humiliated military, and an energy policy reliant on cardigan sweaters represent some sort of liberal utopia, to which Democrats are all too eager to return. We Republicans will at least have the good sense of putting Dubya out to pasture in the next couple of elections.

The most talked about event of the evening was the (un)expected appearance of Senator Ted Kennedy, who defied a malignant brain tumor to deliver an impassioned address for the nominee. After internet reporters ruined the Olympics for those of us on the west coast, they couldn’t wait to crow on this convention tidbit, which was evidently supposed to be a surprise. The liberal icon appeared to be in remarkably good shape, given his condition. To the untrained eye and ear, it would seem as though nothing had changed. Personally, I don’t agree with anything Senator Edward Moore Kennedy has to say, and I don’t even like him all that much for equally obvious reasons. But I respect him and his dedicated service to this country enough to not say “good riddance” while the body is still warm. That kind of all-consuming and obsessive hatred is reserved for left-wing websites.

Ultimately, however, it was Michelle’s night. After the customary tribute via party video, she was introduced by Oregon State basketball head coach Craig Robinson, whose claim to fame is being Barack Obama’s brother-in-law (just ask The Oregonian). Speeches by potential first ladies tend to be high risk-low reward matters. They are soon forgotten if successful, and live in infamy if not. The most diplomatic way of describing Theresa Heinz Kerry’s address four years ago was that she must have been on acid while delivering it. After watching two weeks of diving, it could be said that Michelle Obama’s convention keynote didn’t make much of a splash. While it was historic in that the first African-American wife of the first African-American nominee for president was delivering the keynote address of the night, the speech sounded just like every other “first lady candidate” speech before it. What’s more, with focus group words and phrases, the speech could easily have been given by anyone else on the floor.

Conventional wisdom dictates that these quadrennial meetings are about themes- one or two major ideas that are emphasized from different angles each night. What then is the main idea this week, or even tonight? If it’s that Barack Obama is “just a regular guy,” it would seem to conflict with the media’s messianic image of the transformative candidate. Otherwise, it would appear Night One was a missed opportunity for the Democrats to define themselves, their overall message, and their candidate beyond bumper sticker slogans. With Hillary on tap tomorrow, it would seem the party needs to get down to the business of party unity, lest some 40% of Hillary’s supporters jump ship.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Bucky Dent Hits Homerun, Obama Wins Pennant

The Drudge Report called it “Over the Top Tuesday” for Barack Hussein Obama, the day Obama finally ended the Democrats’ war of attrition. Drudge’s choice of words invoked Gallipolis and All Quiet on the Western Front, while adulation and cheers from other media outlets invoked radio and TV in North Korea. However, it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign- and indeed, her political relevancy- that was mowed down in no-man’s land. Tuesday night’s delegate count and Saturday’s concession by Hillary made official and final the demise of one of the largest, most-powerful, best-funded, and frankly ruthless political machines in recent American history- and certainly within the Democratic Party. Her failure to capture a nomination which by the beginning of the campaign was thought to be inevitably hers represents a political choke for the ages.

Her epic collapse contains just about all the hallmarks of a spectacularly futile pennant race, seen with the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers, the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, or the 1978 Boston Red Sox. Each enjoyed sizeable if not insurmountable leads throughout the season, each drastically underestimated their competition, each was brought down by what could be considered a fatal flaw, and each was beset by panic once it became too late. This was true of Hillary as well, who enjoyed a 20 point lead, according to the Real Clear Politics average, once she entered the race in January 2007. Her preseason lead ballooned to 28 points by mid-October, and the historic Democratic nomination race appeared over before it started. In a crowded field full of name recognition, Hillary polled a near majority with 48.4%. In addition, Hillary had a boatload of cash, just about every pledged elected official to her name, and the nostalgia and sheer power of the Clinton machine.

Hillary’s collapse began, however, once the first pitch of the Iowa Caucuses was thrown. She not only underestimated her competition- this time taking the form of old news candidate John Edwards and some skinny freshman Senator from Illinois with a funny name- she also underestimate the sheer number of Democratic voters, left-wing grass roots members, and the media who had simply had enough of Hillary and her husband. As a shock to just about everyone, Hillary- the inevitable, all-powerful behemoth of a candidate- finished third. What had started as anti-Clinton whispers in Iowa slowly started gathering voices. Hillary cried and then tied Obama in New Hampshire before gathering her first outright (if not uncontested) victories in Michigan and Florida. By South Carolina’s contest on January 26, a full-on chorus not only against Hillary but for Obama had gathered. Unbeknownst to just about everybody, the choke was on.

Super Tuesday was still supposed to be Hillary’s “Over the Top Tuesday,” with an unprecedented number of delegates, several large states polling favorably for her, and a national lead that was still intact. Indeed, Hillary scored impressive victories in her home state(s), engineered a major political coup by winning Massachusetts- where Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama- and collected the big prize out west, California. Nine election seasons out of ten, these and other victories she notched would be enough to snuff out a tough challenge from a political upstart. But Obama strung together lopsided victories in small states and caucuses, and forged a statistical tie (and an actual victory) when the dust finally settled on Super Tuesday.

Hillary’s fatal flaws were obvious, to say the least, and took the form of her own personal and political baggage, and of course, her (in)famous husband. Bill’s antics and missteps on the campaign trail supplied a plethora of sound bites and news clips which sunk Hillary’s campaign. His attempt to marginalize Barack Obama by comparing him to Jesse Jackson, who “won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88,” backfired dramatically. His temper tantrums and overreactions to questioners and hecklers only made things worse. Political commentators almost enjoyed beating up the star-crossed pair, calling Hillary’s would-be administration a “co-presidency” at the kindest, and exclaiming that “the circus is back in town,” at the most brutal. Bill’s uncontrollable, unpredictable prima donna nature not only doomed Hillary’s presidential campaign, it also seriously handicaps any effort for her in the future, to say nothing about a “dream ticket” in the fall. To paraphrase another political commentator, the Oval Office simply isn’t big enough for three people who think they should be President.

Panic set in with the Clinton camp after Super Tuesday, when Obama racked up eleven contests in a row, often by rather gigantic margins. Her national polling lead would disappear by Valentines Day and would not return. With clear advantages in money, exposure, and grassroots enthusiasm, Obama appeared ready to deliver a surprising knockout blow to Hillary in Ohio, and take away her pennant, once thought to be in the bag. But a string of surprise victories in large and important states turned a race which had gone from inevitable to spectacular collapse to a fight to the finish. When April rolled around, Hillary had Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania, while Obama had Reverend Wright and William Ayers. His failure to close the deal in Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky staved off the collapse until Hillary’s last strongholds and trump cards failed her. Obama gained an advantage among superdelegates, which otherwise threatened to throw the Denver convention in to chaos, and the Democratic rules committee delivered the final nail in the Clinton coffin by only seating half of Michigan and Florida’s delegates. On June 3, Obama’s historic victory was complete, as was Hillary’s historic choke.

Perhaps the best evidence to support a choke is to realize how inevitable the Clinton candidacy was. She was the Democratic frontrunner- in any campaign- by as early as January 2001, when George Bush was inaugurated for the first time. Even her Senate victory the preceding November dropped hints that she wouldn’t stay in Chappaqua for long. Once tears developed in Chris Matthews’ eyes when Ohio was called for Bush instead of Kerry, everyone knew Hillary’s run for the White House would be on in 2008. All that had to happen was for Hillary’s token opposition, in this case an unknown but passionate state senator from Chicago, to go the way of Bill Bradley. But while Hillary was at Bed Bath & Beyond selecting the Oval Office curtains, a real race had developed with Barack Obama. What was first billed as David versus Goliath soon turned out as one-sided and over-hyped as Dan versus Dave. Oh, she might be disappointed now, and she may pity whoever runs against her next time, but she won’t be back to go for the gold in four years.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Monaghan’s Top Ten Items for Victory

Sean Hannity was on the right track when he outlined ten basic items that Republicans should focus on should they want to win the 2008 elections (or at least minimize their otherwise staggering losses). The Republican Party has lost their way and abandoned conservatism as we have known it in favor of corrupt, big-spending, government-expanding, go-along-get-along liberalism. Hannity’s list was a good start, but it was too negative in attacking the Democratic Party, and barely adequate in addressing the real problems with the country and the party. Much of the proposals in this list come from Newt Gingrich’s Real Change and Dick Morris’ Outrage, because they know more about this stuff than I do.

1. The Republican Party invested too heavily in a failing strategy to combat international terrorism. We will remain the party of national security.

A. Stand by winning strategies and change failed ones in order to ensure absolute victory in the war on terror, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

B. Remain on offense against terrorism by supporting and upholding the laws and procedures that are keeping Americans safe from terrorism at home and abroad.

C. Support our men and women in uniform while on the field of battle in words and deeds, and do not lose sight of them when they return home.

2. The Republican Party placed personal pride above legitimate discussion. We will never negotiate out of fear, but never fear to negotiate.

A. Differentiate between adversaries and enemies on the world stage. Do not negotiate for negotiation’s sake, but do so to serve and advance America’s national interests.

3. The Republican Party expanded government and increased spending while ballooning the federal deficit. We will once again become the party of fiscal discipline.

A. Develop and implement a clear and concrete plan to balance the federal budget.

B. Reform or eliminate earmarks and cut wasteful spending and bureaucracy.

C. Account for every dollar spent by the federal government and balance spending increases or tax cuts against money the federal government actually has.

4. The Republican Party valued oil profits above environmental stewardship and the national interest. We will become the party of independent and sustainable energy.

A. Create a public-private partnership to research and develop environmentally and economically sound alternatives to current energy sources.

B. Through the free market, businesses, tax incentives, and consumer choices, gradually wean away from oil, coal, and other fossil fuels and inefficient products.

C. Leave oil in ANWR and the Strategic Petroleum Reserves off-limits and accessible only in cases of national emergency, not convenience.

D. Pursue complete energy independence for America’s long-term energy policy for national security, economic, and environmental reasons.

5. The Republican Party resorted to squabbling and infighting and failed to adopt necessary reforms to immigration. We will become the party of common sense immigration reform.

A. Reform America’s legal immigration system, particularly the visa system, so that terrorists do not arrive here legally thanks to lax or non-existent investigations and do not fly planes in to buildings thanks to a lack of enforcement behind their expired visas.

B. Go after crooks and not cooks. Stress a zero-tolerance policy for illegal immigrants who break American laws, punishable by immediate deportation upon conviction.

C. America is a nation of (legal) immigrants. Create incentives for those who wish to immigrate legally and embrace new American citizens with open arms. Create disincentives to arrive illegally by prosecuting businesses who hire illegal immigrants, denying government and other services to illegal immigrants, and stripping sanctuary cities of federal funding.

6. The Republican Party lost the debate of ideas on health care reform. We will become the party that sustains and transforms health care in America.

A. Create health savings accounts which will allow individual citizens to control their own insurance.

B. Work with insurance companies, doctors, and other health care professionals- and not against them- to ensure available, affordable, transparent, accurate, and efficient health care for America’s workers.

C. Adopt tort reform to prevent against superfluous lawsuits which drive up health care costs. Implement “loser pays” systems in place in most other modern democracies as a barrier for entry to the lawsuit lottery.

7. The Republican Party squandered its chance to reform education. We must champion real education reform in America and among the states.

A. As education is primarily the responsibility of state governments, the federal government’s role should be a supervisory one. Insist upon minimum standards that children must meet at graduated stages in their educational development.

B. Mend it but don’t end it. No Child Left Behind was a well-intentioned failure. It must be reformed to meet the challenges of state-by-state education.

C. Emphasize choice and greater personal involvement for parents whenever possible through vouchers and other options.

8. The Republican Party missed its chance to reform run-down entitlement programs. We will save Social Security and Medicare from their own shortcomings.

A. Medicare- and especially Social Security- as they stand today are fiscally insolvent and headed for bankruptcy. Change the situation by working within and without the party to find real solutions and take no options off the table.

B. Ensure that surpluses for Social Security are actually used on Social Security and not raided to pay for pet projects.

9. The Republican Party did not lead by example in regard to judges prior to 2000. We will remain committed to appointing and approving strict constructionist judges who interpret the Constitution as read.

A. Support and approve judges who read and interpret the Constitution and uphold constitutional precedent while placing their own political views and agenda (whether liberal or conservative) on the sidelines.

B. To the victor go the spoils. In a Democratic administration, insist upon up or down votes for all judicial candidates. Oppose far-left, activist judges by voting “No,” instead of using unconstitutional judicial filibusters which waste the Senate’s time.

10. The Republican Party, if elected, will implement the above proposals as a means for all Americans to reach and live out the American Dream and never lose sight of the people who put us there.

A. Government can solve or alleviate certain problems as easily as they can create and aggravate problems. We believe, however, that the American people are best at solving their own problems.

B. If entrusted with the duty and responsibility of government, the Republican Party and its elected members will never again use power for personal enrichment, and will punish swiftly and severely anyone who does. We will not use the conservative agenda as an excuse to intrude unnecessarily in to the lives of law-abiding citizens.

C. Our party remains committed to a bright future for Americans in the 21st century. Our beloved icons are not coming back, and our party cannot afford to be caught up in nostalgia and reminiscences of the past. Republicanism and conservatism must remain dynamic in order to suit America’s changing challenges.

This we believe, this we will strive for, and this we will achieve if entrusted with the reigns of the US House of Representatives, US Senate, and United States Presidency.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tell Us What You Really Think, Barack!

Did you hear what B. Hussein Obama said at a San Francisco fundraiser on April 6? No? I didn’t think so. Trailing by double-digits in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary, Obama described Keystone State residents- many of whom had suffered from years of economic hardship and unemployment- as “bitter” and clinging “to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

While his comments were well-received by enthusiastic donors on billionaires’ row and by Obama’s legion of left-wing zombies on college campuses, they were not quite as popular among “these small towns in Pennsylvania” and “a lot of towns in the Midwest.” While Obama’s red meat snobbery would appear to be little more than a gaffe (one of many his campaign has committed in the course of the primary race), they are in fact much more serious. They reflect an attitude of scorn which unfortunately is held by a healthy majority of affluent, urban-core inhabiting liberals.

To make sure he wasn’t talking over the heads of those bitter, gun-owning, bigoted, xenophobic, protectionist, religious zealots (meaning people who live between Manhattan Island and the California coastline), Obama issued a forceful defense in Muncie, Indiana. Lucky for him, Muncie boasts an NPR station and a couple of Starbucks. Instead of shying away from or apologizing for his earlier comments, Obama defended them head on and turned it in to criticism of his rivals:

“Lately there has been a little typical sort of political flare-up, because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois, who are bitter.” He continued, “So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country, or they get frustrated about how things are changing. That’s a natural response.” His “explanation” was greeted with thunderous applause by the heavily-Democratic audience.

Obama’s Freudian slip is the latest view of a wealthy urban elitism now dominant in the Democratic Party, which looks down upon the Red States and their inhabitants and treats them with ridicule. Northeastern blue-bloods, Manhattan socialites, and California wine-drinkers can’t stand the ordinary red-staters and view them roughly how Obama described them. The liberal elites, mind you, aren’t like the uncivilized Neanderthals from the Red States- they don’t cling to tacky, outdated superstitions like religion, or own murderous firearms, or fly the Confederate flag on the back of their internal-combustion-powere
d moving vehicle. They think of themselves as uniquely positioned above the ordinary folks and don’t dare stray outside the coverage area of an NPR affiliate. The only thing compelling Democratic candidates to visit the plebs in the great nothingness known as “fly-over country” is the Electoral College (which they also want to scrap . . . for some reason).

Instead of being cheered with the fiendish delight of tens of thousands of brainwashed college leftists, Obama’s comments should be seen for what they really are: the latest in a series of remarks, associations, and incidents which shed light on the real B. Hussein Obama, the Obama his media cheerleaders don’t want us commoners to see. Recall that his wife Michelle is proud of her country for the first time in her adult life. This came after conceiving a racially-divisive thesis at Princeton and describing America (the country which I assume she was only now proud of) as “just downright mean.” Obama’s friends include Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers (who said in a New York Times interview, coincidentally published on September 11, 2001, “I don’t regret setting bombs, I feel we didn’t do enough”) and of course, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Tack on to that the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate and a resume about as empty as mine, and you have a man who is drastically out of touch with mainstream Americans and dangerously ill-equipped to be President of the United States.

There’s no question that working and middle-class Americans are under a great deal of strife thanks to a solid economy situated on quicksand. While property in Silicon Valley might have skyrocketed and stock prices might have dropped a few points in the last eight years, real Americans from Nevada to Pennsylvania, from Florida to Idaho, are in real trouble. What’s more, based on the reactions Obama’s comments received, those bitter Pennsylvanians and those frustrated Midwesterners rather resent their lifestyle being ridiculed. While it might not be so for liberal Democrats, traditional institutions like the Second Amendment and the free exercise of religion are still important to many millions of Americans. While cosmopolitan liberals shun notions of borders and national identity, the rest of us are being hurt by the federal government’s inability and unwillingness to deal with immigration and trade issues. Instead of looking down on ordinary Americans, Democrats might think it prudent to defend some of their interests and issues. That is, if they dare to tread outside of the Blue States.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

When Battered Conservatives Snap

I don’t mean to beat a dead elephant, but John McCain’s speech before CPAC delegates on Wednesday represents a return to the honeymoon phase of Battered Conservatives Syndrome. In so wooing conservative activists in Washington today, we are supposed to forget that a year ago, when other lesser-known candidates were bending over backwards to address the annual conference, John McCain flat out refused their invitation. We are supposed to pretend that this colluding, Environmentology-preaching
, amnesty-granting, judicial confirmation-blocking, free speech-abridging, class warfare-spewing, Democrat-pandering, tantrum-throwing liberal geriatric will have a sudden change of heart and start becoming a Republican, for a change. And we are supposed to deny that Hillary and/or Obama will win a 35 to 40 state landslide over a Republican with whom there isn’t a great deal of disagreement or difference.

In the course of these recent partisan events and in light of this long train of abuse by the Republican Party of its conservative base, it seems that many within the party are ready to declare their independence and dissolve the ties that bind them to a party that no longer represents their views or interests. With many on the right vowing to do just about anything except vote for McCain (options currently include staying home, voting third party, voting for Hillary and/or Obama, and moving to Alberta), he seems well on course to do as poorly as the last Arizona Senator to win the Republican nomination. Of course, Barry Goldwater was a conservative. Indeed, in this particular time for choosing, McCain is the quintessential Me-too Republican, representing an echo, not a choice.

Whereas McCain’s speech today marks the honeymoon phase in the abuse of conservatives, McCain’s Senate career represents a decade or more of cyclical abuse of the Republican Party’s most loyal followers. Since being beaten by George W. Bush in the 2000 primaries, McCain has spent practically every waking moment punishing, subverting, tormenting, and destroying the party that rejected him. McCain-Feingold trampled on political speech and was quite simply the worst assault on the First Amendment since the Alien and Sedition Acts. McCain-Edwards gave Democrat trial lawyers a present wrapped in gold paper with the tort-happy “Patient’s Bill of Rights.” McCain-Lieberman (which is sounding more like a ticket every day) capitulated to the Environmentologist global warming hysterics and would have imposed a “cap-and-trade” indulgence system on the American economy. And of course, McCain-Kennedy would have opened the borders to criminals, drug dealers, gangsters, and terrorists as well as granted amnesty to twenty million illegal aliens in this country. The bruises and scars that John McCain has inflicted on conservatives just in the past eight years cannot be easily disguised and certainly cannot be ignored.

Likewise, this isn’t the first time the Republican National Committee has told its conservative base to shut up, to support the party with blind obedience, and to open their wallets. To date, conservatives have triumphed in conflicts with the RNC all of twice in the history of their movement. Barry Goldwater won a bitter battle with the beloved icon of the liberal northeastern establishment, Nelson Rockefeller, and Ronald Reagan was forced to put RNC man George Bush the First on the ticket in 1980 after losing out to an unelected RINO from Michigan four years before. Even Senator Robert Taft- “Mr. Republican” himself!- was repeatedly screwed over by the RNC and passed over by liberals Wendell Willkie, Thomas Dewey, and Dwight Eisenhower.

Time and again the establishment triumphed and conservatives slavishly fell in line and took more abuse. They voted for Richard Nixon one or two or three times, they held their nose and voted for Gerald Ford and George Bush the First, they tried their best to overlook Bob Dole’s lack of charisma and increasing age, and they were fooled twice by George Bush II’s “compassionate” big government conservatism. Now may be the time for battered conservatives to finally snap out of their abusive relationship with the Republican Party. In that case, eight years (or more) of President Hillary may be the alimony the Grand Old Party pays for a messy divorce with its most loyal followers.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Republicans in ’08: The Party’s Over

When I was in high school I can remember asking a teacher of mine which he thought was more likely to appear: a second undefeated NFL team or a prominent third political party in America. With the 18-0 New England Patriots playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday and with Senator John McCain driving the final nail into the Republicans’ coffin, there’s a good chance we’ll get to see at least one by week’s end. Needless to say, this has a few conservatives wondering how they got where they are now. How exactly a once mighty party went from controlling just about everything as recently as two years ago to getting tired of winning elections and throwing its most loyal base of voters to the trash heap. To make a long post short, the two are strongly correlated.

It is said that while success has a thousand fathers, failure is an orphan. In this case, however, there are enough potential patriarchs of this bastardization of the Republican Party to fill Maury Povich’s studio. Consider if you will three Republican Congresses which spent like drunken sailors who had just been given $1,000 FEMA debit cards. Or a stubborn curmudgeon of a Defense Secretary who wasn’t given his walking papers until the day after 30 Republican Congressmen and six Republican Senators were given theirs. Or perhaps a hermit Vice President, who not only redefined the nature of the office but became his own branch of government as well. Or, yes, the guy at the top: the son of a great squanderer of political inheritance who more than lived up to the family legacy while in the process trying the patience and the intelligence of even the fiercest of party stalwarts, like yours truly. Personally, it will be a championship-celebrating day in Cleveland before I forgive George Walker Bush for pissing away the permanent Republican majority we were promised in 2004.

There were other events and issues which transcend the baffling actions of incompetent men. Hurricane Katrina and a freakishly-unstable economy seemed to catch the administration by surprise, and it was wholly unable to deal with them. The war certainly didn’t help the Republican cause, and neither did waiting to take the ferry across only after all the oxen had drowned. Meanwhile, the Mexican border quickly turned in to the GOP’s Meech Lake, with the volatile issue of immigration tearing the party in two and playing Pac Man to their electoral fortunes. While the Republican establishment desperately clings to one amnesty after another in the hope of courting millions of Hispanic voters, the strongly conservative base seems ready to party like it’s 1836. Indeed, there hasn’t been this much division between the Republican National Committee and the “loud folks” who do the voting since an unelected RINO from Michigan was fighting the base (and a popular former Governor of California) for his first full term.

We Republicans were promised a three-ring circus for our first genuinely open primary season in decades, and in the end it was the party establishment (along with the mainstream media and several thousand crossover Democrats) who made the decision for us. McCain’s Double-Talk Express must make frequent stops to the land of make believe as he pretends to be both a conservative and the agent of change America seems so desperate for. After all, he does have the support of a commanding 36% of the Republican electorate. In truth, however, when not playing up his war record like a Massachusetts Democrat, McCain has spent his entire career frustrating, stymieing, insulting, cussing, betraying, dismantling, and outright lying about his fellow conservatives. After all, it was never Democrats whom McCain called “an a-hole” or “a f*cking jerk.” Conservatives know full well this member of the Keating Five Scandal (you’ll hear all about that sometime between Labor Day and Halloween) is part of the problem in Washington, not part of the solution. McCain’s ascendancy fits well with the epic and monumental collapse of one Rudolph Giuliani. America’s Mayor went from national frontrunner to complete washout in less than a year. Quite frankly, a team of New Yorkers hasn’t performed this badly in the State of Florida since the 2003 World Series. In short, his choke for the ages is like the New York Mets, Portland Trail Blazers, and Phil Mickelson put together- a number-one ranked golfer who skipped the preliminary tournaments and failed to make the cut at Augusta National.

McCain’s victory in Florida established him as the clear frontrunner if not the inevitable nominee of the Republican Party on Tuesday, and while the New York Times (and millions of fired up Democrats) couldn’t be happier, conservatives are trying their best to stay away from sharp objects, high windows, and bridges. The decimation of the Republicans as a national party will almost certainly be completed this November with McCain at the top of the ticket and Republican Senators and Congressmen retiring in droves. To say John McCain- who served in Vietnam- doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning is perhaps a bit harsh. Instead, it would be more accurate to say the 6-14 Oregon State Beavers have as much chance of winning the college basketball championships this March. The Democrats might have an equally tough time uniting conservatives for McCain in a race the base will see as between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Voting for the RNC-approved wolf in sheep’s clothing out of fear of a supposedly more-vicious wolf doesn’t seem to make much sense.

The Republican Party had a real chance to not only learn from the mistakes of the last seven years but to recapture the conservative base and the tried and true ideals of truth, justice, and limited government that swept them to office so many times before. Instead, the Republican National Committee seems content to watch their treasuries dry up, their once-enthusiastic if not fanatical base continue to grow alienated, and their candidates for higher office searching the want ads for post-November work. In the meantime, the “loud folks,” as Senator Lindsey Graham calls them, the “nativists,” as George Bush refers to them, the lion’s share of the 62 million voters who gave the Republican Party its greatest electoral victory (and probably its last for quite some time) will be right here waiting for you to return. If you ever get tired of becoming the coyote to the Democrats’ road runner in the next eight to twenty-four years, let us know. We conservatives will be happy to welcome you home with open arms and open wallets when you feel you need us again. Until then, as it was said Tuesday night on FreeRepublic.com, “John McCain can go to hell . . . and take the GOP with him.”

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Most Popular Man in Washington’s Last Hurrah

You are looking LIVE at the House side of the United States Capitol where the most popular man in Washington is about to give his last hurrah. It’s the 2008 State of the Union, Presented by Citi, live and in high definition on ABC. Welcome everybody, with my pardner Kirk Herbstreit, I’m Brent Musburger. And folks, the President’s eight year stay in the White House is almost at an end- it seems like just yesterday a newly-inaugurated President Bush was giving his first speech to Congress back in 2001, but to some, those eight years have seemed like twenty. Kirk, what can we expect from the President tonight and the Democratic Congress he faces tonight?

Well, first of all, Brent, I’m not Kirk Herbstreit, I’m Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona. Plenty of people have made that mistake, I’m sure. I think tonight you’ll see a President eager to finish strong. The re-elected President started off so well after his second inaugural before things fell apart in 2005. He lost Congress a year later and now he’s trying to put back the pieces, trying to save a recruiting class of primary candidates and voters, and trying to salvage a positive legacy. I’d look for him to focus on the important themes that have defined his presidency: strengthening and sustaining the economy, keeping taxes low, defending the homeland, and winning the war on terror. I wouldn’t expect any new or ambitious programs tonight.

One thing is certain, folks, at the end of tonight as we head in to primary season, one party will get to “Celebrate.” Tonight’s telecast is available in high definition, presented by Pioneer. Now we see the Sergeant at Arms emerging form the hallway . . . and here comes the President! The tumultuous greeting from this full House is going to be followed by the greeting from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in her second year at the post. To her right is Dick Cheney in his eighth year as Vice President, not sure what he’ll be doing in his retirement, maybe a few hunting trips would be in order. With tomorrow’s Republican Primary, that means only the Democrat candidates are here as we take a look at Barak Obama, sitting next to Ted Kennedy, who created quite a stir by endorsing him today. Sitting somewhat closer to the front is his opponent, Hillary Clinton, with her customary scowl. Expect that to stay the same throughout tonight. You’ll also notice that many Democrats have brought their own reading material to keep them from nodding off during the address.

As we take a look at the Pacific Life Game Summary so far in this first quarter, the President started by focusing on the economy with a very cautious and conservative game plan. He promoted the economic stimulus package and urged Congress not to change or add to it, went to the steady ground attack on keeping taxes low, and pushed an executive order restricting earmarks. Overall, nothing we haven’t expected to hear tonight, folks. In fact, it seems to be working so well among the Republicans in the House you have to wonder why he didn’t mention the executive order before! Now we see the President mixing passes with runs: pressing for earmarks reforms and a balanced budget while at the same time pushing for reforms to No Child Left Behind and sustainable entitlement programs. He also discussed new energy initiatives to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and move toward cleaner fuels. Again, nothing we haven’t heard before, Pardner.

As we move toward the end of the first half, we see President Bush shifting the strategies around a little bit. What was a balanced approach to start the game has now given way to a strong emphasis on his compassionate conservative passing game. He’s aiming for tens of billions of dollars in additional funding to fight AIDS in Africa and almost two billion more in fighting global hunger. We also saw him discuss faith-based initiatives and the need to help struggling private, religious, and charter schools in America’s urban areas. And with new benefits for veterans and more funding for health savings accounts, it’s safe to say the President is throwing the ball all over the field tonight. I’d expect mixed results as we head in to the locker rooms. You’re watching the 2008 State of the Union, presented by Citi, on A . . . B . . . C!

Well folks, as we move midway through the third quarter we come back to the steady ground game and a focus on national security and terrorist issues. To our troops watching overseas, we and those assembled here in the House want you to know we support you 100 percent! We see President Bush now employing a methodical running game to pound home the messages of the War on Terror. The terrorists aren’t going to quit until they’ve driven Americans out of the Middle East, so it’s up to us and our allies to defeat them, as the President says they can and must be. These plays are even getting a lot of support from Democrats, folks. What seems to be helping him now is that the surge in Iraq is working and that is taking the issue away from the Democrats. President Bush is now running off tackle and slashing in to Iran, urging them to come clean on their nuclear program, stop supporting terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East, and stop the oppression at home. He’s also running around end and condemning authoritarian governments in Belarus and Burma, while supporting free movements in Colombia, recent elections in Ukraine and Georgia, and a free and democratic Palestinian state.

Now we’re here in the money quarter with President Bush now taking on an issue that really cost him these past two seasons. Immigration was one of the factors that cost his party control of Congress and now it threatens to tear the Republicans apart. We know there are folks in the party pushing hard for amnesty and a few others who want to build a new Berlin Wall and send the illegals home. But folks, even though he pointed to stepped-up enforcement on the border and an end to catch-and-release patrol, he may have come up short again. It looks like a message combining enforcement of the borders with our tradition of compassion and good-will is going to fall incomplete yet again. I guess that means the issue is going to continue to chip away at the Republican Party heading in to the campaign season.

That’ll do it from the Capitol as we bring you the last State of the Union of George W. Bush’s presidency. Overall, I’d say it was a lot of the same plays and the same game plan we’ve seen before mixed with ambitious but incomplete passes on domestic policy issues. His best moments on the field tonight came with the power running game and the War on Terror. It remains to be seen how much of the President’s agenda will be fulfilled and how much else will be lost to history. For Kir-Congressman Jeff Flake, I’m Brent Musburger. So long, everybody! Stay tuned for the Thrifty Postgame Show with John Saunders!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

35 Years Later: Roe is Me!

Tuesday marks 35 years since the Supreme Court officially stopped using the Constitution of the United States as a guide for its decisions. In the worst and most blatant act of activist policymaking in the history of jurisprudence, the Court ruled 7-2 to strike down a Texas law prohibiting abortion for no reason other than wanting to legalize abortion. Reading the Constitution as it is written, there was absolutely zero justification for the ruling, unless one was under a great deal of hallucinogens (this was 1973, after all). The normal, sober reader would find no references to “abortion,” “privacy,” or any other supposed evidence for the seven justices coming to the pre-determined policy preferences they did. Thirty-five years later, not much has changed in the debate that has come to define social policy in this country. Congress is still forbidden from taking on the issue, Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) is still the leader of an anti-abortion group, 50 million lives have still been lost, and the ruling is still not going to be reversed.

After what must have been years of ceaseless searching, the young and ambitious lawyers Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee- with the full backing of an entire legion of pro-abortion and radical feminist groups- finally found their test case. Ms. McCorvey was willing to agree to the lie that a pregnancy she helped create was the result of rape. The lawyers knew as most familiar with the issue did that no free legislature in the world at that time would take their side and legalize this barbaric procedure (as a side note, the only dissenting votes ever cast in the history of East Germany’s communist Volkskammer came in a vote liberalizing abortion law). They sued in Texas- what more of an iconic state- and after three years of appeals (during which McCorvey gave birth), the battle was on. The hearing based on a lie was a charade from the beginning. The Burger Court, as the Warren Court before it, had an established and well-deserved reputation of liberal activism without regard to precedent or constitutionality. William Rehnquist, one of the two dissenters, wasn’t even able to hear the first round of arguments. Thus, 35 years ago Tuesday, the Court issued its arranged decision. Citing little more than their desire to legalize abortion (they even rejected Weddington and Coffee’s Ninth Amendment argument), the Court declared the procedure a fundamental right.

The results were as predictable and well-known as they are popularly lampooned on college campuses. In 35 years an estimated 50 million abortions have been committed in the United States. While Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League trumpet this figure with National Socialist-like sadism and pride, the Genocide Awareness Project is made fun of, protested, harassed, vandalized, or worse when they cite this figure on America’s havens of Stalinism we call “academia.” Certainly anyone responsible for 50 million deaths would today find themselves on a United Nations war crimes tribunal (Comrade Stalin is blamed for somewhere around ten million deaths, Hitler around twelve million), but not in this case. Abortion is a ritual to the radical feminist, and Roe liberated them.

The aftermath is perhaps less reported. Those 50 million abortions came at a steep cost the likes of Planned Parenthood and NARAL would rather Americans not know about. Abortion is a horrific procedure, the details of which I’ll not describe here, which results in many cases in severe and permanent psychological trauma. Very permanent and life-threatening injuries can also result, ranging from the inability to conceive or bear a child again to, yes, death. Shockingly, no effort has ever been made to attempt to clean up the procedure: any legislative effort to bring the procedure to within the bounds of modern medicine is seen as an unconstitutional attack on a woman’s right. In which case the procedure hardly seems safer than the “back alley abortions” radical feminists warn us about. So, counter to the slogans of left-wing pro-abortion organizations, the procedure, while legal, is neither safe nor rare. It’s no wonder that Norma McCorvey became an anti-abortion activist and since 1994 has fought to reverse her own Court decision. Maybe you saw her Tuesday in the annual March for Life in which thousands of men and women from all over the country come to Washington, DC in an ultimately futile attempt to change the decision (this is not, of course, to be confused with the annual March Against Life staged by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the National Organization for (Liberal) Women).

The sad truth is that, arguing as a strict constructionist who doesn’t hallucinate when reading the Constitution of the United States of America, there is nothing that can be done. As there was no legal or constitutional basis for Roe being decided as it was, there is also no legal or constitutional basis for it being overturned. Stare decisis- the supposed basis of our judicial and legal system- dictates that court decisions, even erroneously-decided, nonsensical, policy-preferenced ones which blatantly ignore the American Constitution, must be upheld. There are, of course, exceptions. Cases such as Dred Scott v. Sandford and Plessy v. Ferguson were overturned not just because they ignored the Constitution but because they openly defied it. The 14th Amendment clearly guarantees equal protection and due process of the laws as ignored in Plessy, which Brown v. Board eventually corrected.

In Roe, there is nothing to correct since there was nothing defied. Simply put, two judicial wrongs don’t make a right. The situation is even more unlikely to change considering the current (and future) makeup of the Court. Already there are five solid left-wing justices who will uphold abortion until the day they die (which in a couple of cases may be closer than we think) and four justices who are not particularly interested in injecting their own personal views into jurisprudence. With President Bush’s two appointments of strict constructionist precedent-upholding jurists (and with mainstream Republican nominees promising not to appoint the likes of Pat Robertson to the bench), the law is even less likely to be overturned. That perhaps is the most frustrating thing about Tuesday’s infamous anniversary. “We the People” never had a say in the matter, and we never will.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Huckabee for Chancellor

The more Mike Huckabee says these days less viable he seems as the Republican candidate. Since his recent surge in the polls he’s slammed the free market Club for Growth, defended anti-gay and profoundly stupid comments about AIDS patients he made as a 1992 Senate candidate, and insulted the Mormon faith with an ignorance that, for a Baptist minister, is baffling. Then again, with his support for illegal alien amnesty, denial of evolution, sacred commitment to solving global warming, and across the board embrace of “compassionate conservatism,” he’s starting to look more like Germany’s Christian Democratic candidate for Chancellor. So it’s not hard to see why other big-government Christians in the Republican base are flocking to Huckabee just in time for primary season to begin.

The story of the Republican primary thus far has been the lack of a “Christian” candidate that can please the religious base. In all fairness to the field, folks like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain may not wear their faith on their sleeve as Pat Robertson did when he sought the ’88 nomination, but they’re far from the godless heathens some on the right-wing message boards are portraying them as. On the contrary, candidates like Huckabee (or anyone else who raised their hand denying evolution) can learn from those able to separate their everyday and religious lives. Faith and religion are just as important to Catholic Rudy Giuliani, Baptist John McCain, and yes, even Mormon Mitt Romney.

Huckabee’s surge may only represent the latest flavor in the base’s “none of the above” disillusionment. The religious right never connected with any of the major candidates and flocked to noted actor and one-time Senator Fred Thompson, who initially was a mere speculative candidate. After taking forever and a day to declare for the race, his campaign got off to a rocky start when he chose talk show appearances over debates. Once he was firmly established in the race, his poll numbers sank, making him more popular as a private citizen and Law & Order guest star than an actual candidate for higher office. If on the other hand the Huckabee freight train continues, it signifies a serious problem within the Republican Party- one that could keep them in the minority of Congress and on the outside of the White House for years to come.

The GOP’s embrace of Christian Democracy is hardly anything new. The Moral Majority folks who claimed credit for Ronald Reagan’s election had no problem extending the state where it ought not to go. Unlike liberalism, they viewed their actions as “Christian” when they sought to impose morality and decency standards on society. “What would Jesus do,” they asked. Re-write the Constitution, mandate religious instruction in schools, sanction government discrimination against gays, create new faith-based (or secular) welfare programs, grant amnesty to illegal (but Christian!) aliens, and militantly oppose abortion, apparently. In terms of cultural and social policy, the sky was and is the limit as to where the state can go. In short, there seems to be no difference between this form of phony American conservatism and the manifestos of the Christian Democratic parties across Europe which are perfectly content with operating in a socialist system where the state lives peoples’ lives for them.

Huckabee’s rise in the polls this time of year makes the perfect present for ambitious Democrats itching to take back the White House (and make gains in both houses of Congress). Huckabee’s public denial of evolution illustrates him as being an anti-science flat world nut. His defense of profoundly stupid comments regarding AIDS and gays fifteen years ago shows him as intolerant towards those people and the very caricature of today’s conservatives. Furthermore, his rebuke of the Club for Growth and his tax-raising, government-expanding, amnesty-granting record as Governor of Arkansas shows him as incompatible with even fundamental small government conservatism. And his lack of knowledge and experience in foreign policy would give even Barack Obama the upper hand in debates next year.

His support is only skin-deep as well in a race in which practically every segment of the political spectrum to the right of Hugo Chavez is needed. One in seven non-evangelicals support Huckabee in Iowa and a meager one in twenty non-evangelicals are for him in New Hampshire. This translates to a Republican candidate who would struggle to win states north of his native Arkansas and west of Nebraska. It’s not hard to see then why Democrats- and the media- are going easy on Huckabee and letting him do all the destruction. It’s easy for someone like Huckabee to say that he’d rather be right than be President, and it’s also easy for the Christian Democrats in the GOP base to say they’d rather have someone who believed exactly the same things they did rather than someone who could best win the election. But it’s also very easy to see that with Candidate Huckabee Republicans may be “right” instead of “elected” for a long time.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Conservative Championship Series

Britain’s Daily Telegraph recently compiled a list of the 100 Most-Influential Liberals and Conservatives in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election next year. While it made for an entertaining read- especially from a foreign perspective- it was not without its flaws. Since a favorite past-time of mine is scrutinizing and compiling lists, here now are my thoughts on the Telegraph’s list. You might even see one of mine in the future.

Most Overrated:

47. Senator Joseph Lieberman: In an ideal world, all Democrats would act, think, and sound like Joe Lieberman: while liberal on social and economic issues, fiercely patriotic on matters of national defense. Still, Lieberman’s conservative credentials are as greatly exaggerated as the reports of his political demise. In truth, there isn’t a lot this “Independent Democrat” and the Republicans agree on: a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood and a 1% score from the Club for Growth, just to name a couple. Still, Lieberman made (both) their lists.

89. Senator Larry Craig: Would this man have made the list a year ago? I’m guessing not. How, exactly, a high profile scandal in an airport bathroom qualifies you as an influential conservative I haven’t a clue. I didn’t see the likes of Mark Foley on this list, for instance. In fact, far from being influential, the conservative movement has turned their scorn his way demanding he resign. Whether or not he does, he’ll be out by the time his term expires in January 2009.

96. Congressman Ron Paul: This second-tier (at best) presidential candidate is both stark raving mad and not a conservative. The Telegraph apparently made the mistake of throwing libertarians in the mix with conservatives. Dr. No (he was an ob/gyn) carries almost no interest in the movement among real conservatives and very little interest outside his small group of e-fanatics.

39. Drew Carey: Another victim of mistaken identity, this libertarian is also quite shy in his politics compared to his liberal colleagues in Hollywood. However, with his career making a comeback, he’s not a bad guy for conservatives to claim. His connection to the Reason Foundation and other libertarian causes though make him a solid defender of the cause of freedom.

38. Jack Abramoff: Along with Larry Craig (and Mark Foley), this guy’s influence will only exist in 2008 among liberal name-droppers hoping to wave the bloody shirt of Republican corruption. That is at the same time trying to draw attention away from the Democratic Congress’ 11% approval rating (the Ebola Virus got around 15% and Yoko Ono scores about 20%, by the way). Among conservatives, however, this disgraced former lobbyist is as distant a memory as last year’s electoral tidal wave. I’m sure that if Hillary wins the nomination, Democrats will do all they can to stay away from the “corruption” issue next year.

Most Underrated:

84. Ann Coulter: Love her, hate her, or wish she had been killed in a terrorist attack, when Ann speaks or writes, conservatives listen and read. If this is not influence, then influence has no meaning. She continues to be both a top draw on college campuses and a more eligible bachelorette among college-aged males than Erin Andrews. All of her books are best-sellers including her newest “If Democrats Had Any Brains They’d Be Republicans.” As the Telegraph put it, “she is impossible to ignore.” Then why put her so low?

82. Bill O’Reilly: Another (somewhat) conservative voice who was placed way too low. The O’Reilly Factor is the highest-rated program on cable news, many of his books are bestsellers, and The Radio Factor boasts millions of listeners. In fact, at this rate he’s only a bad feature film away from replacing Howard Stern as the “King of All Media.” The Telegraph calls him a “liberal hate figure,” and says “when he gets hold of an issue, Conservatives listen.” Personally, if this were my list, he would be #2 only to Rush Limbaugh among conservative media personalities.

85. Justice Clarence Thomas: When Republican presidential candidates are asked what types of judges they will appoint to the courts, Thomas’ name always comes up. Justice Thomas has been a target of left-wing hate since his name was placed by George Bush the Elder to replace Justice Thurgood Marshall. Aside from being a conservative replacement for this former NAACP litigator, Thomas represented everything the Democratic Party was against: quite simply, he was a self-made black man. Anita Hill was merely a last desperate attempt to derail his nomination to the Court, and when that backfired, Senate Democrats were left red-faced. Since then he has been a steady and reliable jurist who upholds precedent and reads the Constitution for what it is, rather than what his far-left colleagues would prefer it say. What’s more, the relatively youthful Thomas could see his best and most-influential days ahead of him.

93. Michelle Malkin: Our answer to the hate-filled anti-American blogs of the left. Her webpage gets heavy traffic and her influence on the blogosphere is undeniable: just look at the racist hate mail she gets every day! In the past, she urged Americans to “Buy Danish” when Islamofascists tried to incite a boycott of goods after a Danish newspaper ran a cartoon depicting Mohammed. Today, while still quite young, she is an experienced and tempered culture warrior who blasts amnesty for illegals and keeps GOP hopefuls accountable.

49. William F. Buckley, Jr.: Let me put this quite succinctly: There wouldn’t BE a modern conservative movement if not for William F. Buckley. He founded National Review magazine in 1955 at a time when eastern moderates and liberals like Dwight Eisenhower, Thomas Dewey, and Nelson Rockefeller ran the Republican Party and conservatives like Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan were either in the minority or not yet on the electoral stage. Simply put, Buckley was a conservative- a consummate conservative- before it was politically popular. Only his advancing age is keeping Buckley- who recently called the Iraq War a failure- from continuing to play a part in conservative politics. Still, his history and power cannot be overstated as he is nothing less than our movement’s patriarch.