Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Unbeatable Coalition

Guest post from BigDog's friend Brian.

The Unbeatable Coalition

In 2008 there was no good way to punish Republicans for overspending without abandoning them. Too many political contributions were not made. Too many volunteers and voters stayed home.

After four years of suffering under Obama's rapid and painful expansion of government, the public will be seeking relief. The need to punish the GOP will have faded. Voters are likely to give the GOP another chance.

Ideally, a governing coalition would be lasting and highly effective. The vast majority of governmental decisions are economic in nature. Freeing America's economy and defending that newly-won freedom are effectively interminable tasks. Economic freedom needs to be the central pillar of the unbeatable coalition.

Conservatives and libertarians by definition believe in economic freedom. Fortunately, conservatives plus libertarians amount to about 60% of the electorate.

Out of that number about 13% are libertarians.

Here's what conservatives need to know about libertarians. Libertarians believe that people shouldn't initiate the use of force against each other. Many libertarians don't know that the word libertarian applies to them. Many libertarians are secular.

The adolescent antics of the Libertarian Party and the 2-party structure of American politics have left most libertarians politically homeless. Here is how conservatives and libertarians can unite well enough to govern and end libertarian homelessness at the federal level.

1) Both libertarians and conservatives need to recognize that social issues are a tiny percentage of what legislators do. Both groups already have a great deal in common, e.g. opposition to gun control, opposition to judicial activism, etc., but abortion, gambling, prostitution, marijuana, civil unions, death penalty, etc. are potential points of conflict. The more we leave social issues up to the states, the more likely the federal coalition will hold. In other words, cool it on the social issues. Failure on this point means that pro-free-market nonvoters will be giving the government to the Democrats.

2) Some libertarians need to advance their thinking about national defense. George Washington did not want us to stay away from alliances. In fact, our alliance with France allowed the United States to be born. The initiation of force against the United States in this day and age means the game is already over. We simply can't wait for it to happen. The U.S. stance in the world has to be aggressive toward evildoers so they fear to act against us. The anarchic international system - so often mislabeled the "world community," is extraordinarily cruel even without provocation.

3) When conservatives recognize libertarians and vice versa they need to think of each other as political allies. I hope that conservatives and libertarians will learn to work together. If you are secular, don't be afraid of explaining to a believer how Christianity leads to conservatism via the Declaration of Independence and Edmund Burke. If you are religious, and making no progress converting a secular friend, tell her/him that Atlas Shrugged and Honoring the Self are utterly essential reading for a non-believer.

Here's the bottom line. The liberals and their lackeys are foisting an unprecedented economic tyranny upon America. Everyone who is not complicit in this monstrosity needs to join the reformed Republican Party in opposition to tyranny. New parties and third parties take too much time to mature. There is no alternative to the GOP. The unbeatable coalition can radically and rapidly improve America if we have the will to make it happen.


Rant About Republicans

Much has been written on why the Republicans could go from contemplating a permanent majority in both houses of congress in 2004, to being an out of power minority in 2009. Its pretty simple, really. Republicans - Bush AND probably even more so Congressional Repuublicans - screwed up. They had power and they misused it badly, angering their voters and giving Democrats the opportunity to credibly claim that they could do it better. "Big Tent", my ass. Democrats were saying they would be more fiscally responsible and less interfering than the Republicans. Not a hard sell given the Eff Ups the Republicans were in the majority with budget deficits, expanding government, new entitlements, irritating regulations in airports and unending 'color coded threat levels', ham handed and pointless attempts to woo government bureaucrats into changing sides by showering them with money, and weak-kneed willingness to treat Democrats as if they were negotiating in good faith when it was clear they were not - No one respects a doormat.

Victor Davis Hanson chimes in:

"But the above are peripheral issues. The real cause of unhappiness with the Republicans was simply that they could not make a convincing case for conservatism to a changing electorate because so many of them were not acting as conservatives."

"Take the seminal issue of spending and expanding government. The last Republican to balance a budget was Dwight Eisenhower. Had President Bush — despite 9/11, Katrina, and two wars — simply limited spending increases to the rate of inflation and natural growth, then he would have entered his last years of office with balanced budgets. "

"In contrast, once Republicans started talking about federal deficits only in terms of manageable percentages of GDP rather than as real money, they forfeited the entire issue of fiscal responsibility, and lost the moral high ground. Barack Obama can get away with unprecedented and astronomical of projected deficits, in part because the Republicans are not credible any more on spending."

That last paragraph is the money quote. I was insulted to be told by Republicans that the deficit was 'no big deal' because it wasn't a large historical percentage of GNP. The LEAST I expect from Republicans is a running the budget in the black. The Republicans in charge of the House almost had it whipped in 1999-2000, no thanks to Clinton. Spending one penny over income is irresponsible and unacceptable. I was really happy on Election Night in 2004, my candidates including John Thune had won. They were going to get to work and really buckle down on the deficit and debt, cut back on government expansion, right? Right?? A year later I was disillusioned and angry. I have Standards for Republicans, I expect them to meet those standards. Just because Democrats have no standards and their voters don't seem to care does not mean the converse applies. Pointing at Democrats and saying "They would be worse, so vote for us" doesn't fly. In 2006, I sneered at Republicans because they effing didn't grasp the obvious, they lost because they were acting like Democrats and Republicans - like me - didn't vote for them.

Rant off.

Part of the issue with Republicans is that they keep blathering about process and claiming they want the same things as Democrats - just not quite so much. Real winner attitude, guys. Meanwhile, the left and the media protrays Republicans as something they are not, a fictional, even mythical idea of what Republicans believe. American Thinker has this to say:

"First, adopt a flat income tax rate in which all Americans pay the same percentage of their income as their fellow countrymen. The rich would still pay much more than the poor, but that each would pay the same percentage of his income."

Flat tax or Fair Tax, I'll take either. The tax code is arbitrary and capricious, a tool for the congress to favor their friends and punish their enemies, it distorts the free market and is destructive to economic productivity, and wastes enormous amounts of time and money. The US has the second highest corporate income taxes in the developed world, little wonder many businesses leave the US for greener pastures. We are coasting on the economic success of the past, in time this advantage will fade and we will be a poorer nation in all respects.

"Second, end to all preferences in which a person is allowed into college or employment. "

Favoritism from gov't is wrong.

"Third, return abortion policy back to state governments. Some states would outlaw abortion; some would legalize; some would regulate: that is all that overturning Roe v. Wade would mean. State legislators, not federal judges, would make laws regarding abortion."

There is this little concept called "Federalism", in which the Federal govenment keeps its pokey nose out of other people's business. If you want to pass laws about these issues, the proper place to do it is the state legislature, not DC. The Republicans were wrong to try to interfere in the Terry Schiavo case in Florida a few years ago, not necessarily because they were morally wrong, but because it was none of their business. The case should have been settled in the courts in Florida and no where else. Likewise all other such issues, like abortion, same sex marriage, employment laws, welfare, the list goes on.

"Fourth, adopt policies toward federal spending and toward entitlements that ordinary businessmen would consider fiscally sound. Government financing by Ponzi scheme is just as wrong as private confidence Ponzi schemes."

If the same rules were applied to the Government that apply to businesses, everyone in congress and the President(s) would go to jail for fraud. There is no Social Security trust fund, its all been spent. Accounting practices and oversight are at best obsolete.

"Fifth, provide competition for schools and colleges and also ensure that if tax dollars are spent to educate people, that all major political points of view are treated fairly."

Meh. Impossible goal, these federal funds are distributed by bureaucrats. The best thing would be to not allocate any taxpayer funding in the first place. Like most other issues, the Fed has no business in these matters which are state and local affairs.

"Sixth, have Congress pass laws that limit the jurisdiction of federal judges to intrude into every area of our lives. Replace a society in which unelected judges govern our lives with a society in which ordinary citizens with conflicts "agree to disagree" and in which market forces resolve economic problems. "

I think recinding laws would work better, although I agree in principle. Judges shouldn't be legislating from the bench.

"Seventh, maintain a strong military and a robust intelligence service. Build a nuclear defense system to keep us safe from rogue, nuclear armed madmen. Make protecting Americans the most important job of government."

This is the first object of good governance, yet, even under the pro-military Bush administration, military spending was only 4.5% of GNP, far below historical levels. Government expenditures as a percentage of GNP is 35% and is likely to exceed 50% at current rates. We simply have too much government on one hand and of that, too little is spent on the primary purpose of government - protection. Yes, a missile defense needs to be built, not in small part because we made promises to Poland and Japan and other nations that we would. They put their trust in us and backing out now after they put themselves in jeapordy would be a betrayal. I think we need to double our Coast Guard and deploy it to deal with pirates and other threats for which using the Navy is overkill. We should have a 500 ship Navy, perhaps not all of really expensive top of the line destroyers, but filled out with lots of Sea Fighters and littoral patrol ships.

"Eighth, adopt an aggressive policy to drilling for oil and mining for coal. Limit, for awhile, the most costly environmental regulations."

Agreed in general, but the premise is wrong. It shouldn't be "government policy" to drill for oil or mine coal, or harvest lumber or any of these resource extraction efforts. Private businesses should do these things to provide service/materials and make money. Government should simply provide unintrusive minimal regulation and uphold contract law. Politicians should say "That is nice" and stay out of it. The issue here is that politicians from both parties have learned corporations can be squeezed for brib.... er, 'contributons' as long as the threat of legislation exists. Congress and the President can destroy companies and lives with the stroke of a pen and have done so.

"Ninth, recognize that we are overregulated. Agree together, as our Founding Fathers once agreed, that whatever our politics, there is a limit to what government has the legal and moral power to do. State, or perhaps restate for modern times, the limits on government inherent in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Reach a new, common understanding of what federal power cannot do and should not do."

Complete agreement. This will not be an easy. We have a professional political class which will be unwilling to give up their power. The temptation to USE the power they have an expand it is strong, even if they think its 'for good'. I think we should start with term limits and reducing the number of days they are in session. Eliminate Baseline Budgeting, and require sunsets on ALL spending. Every government agency and program would need to be re-authorized yearly.

"Tenth, recognize that every attempt to create Heaven on Earth has failed. There is a limit as to the perfectibility of the human condition, and, at some point, more intensive efforts by state or even organized pressure groups, to make us all better will, in fact, make us all worse."

The Founders of our nation knew this. Republicans used to recognize this. Its a powerful narcotic to think you can make the world a better place if only this law were passed or that activity were regulated or some moral principle were enforced. Its not easy to step back, let people make their own decisions and not 'help' them make the 'correct' choice. We are lectured and hectored and regulated every day in every way. On radio and TV, in the tax code and in the law. Its one thing to keep people from harm eachother, quite another to coerce people into doing what someone else thinks is better for them.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Open thread

This is an open thread to keep you folks busy.

meanwhile this is a vid of a cat beset by puppies set to the theme music of Neo fighting Agent Smiths in Matrix 2.

Time off

This time of year just gets crazy for me somehow. The end of the year stuff with the boys. Moving college kids home or off to jobs. I haven't been keeping up with stuff as much as I would like!

Anyway, I'm going out of town tomorrow and I won't be back until Sunday.

*BigDog will be posting while I'm gone. So keep checking back!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The New Bigotry

As noted in my previous post about John Edwards, he couldn't buy the media's attention. I mean he was just a Senator, a former vice presidential nominee, and then running for the Presidency. Why should the media be interested in a tawdry affair with a young woman paid off by his campaign while his wife endures inoperable cancer? Come on! That's not a story!

But what IS a story is a guy who asks a Presidential nominee about high taxes. That deserves the brutal investigation that he received (Joe the Plumber). Also, a young man who is the father of the child of the child of a former vice presidential nominee (Levi Johnson). Now he deserves the full "watergate" treatment by the press. Sure.

And now we have beauty pageant contestant who dares to say that she doesn't believe in gay marriage. Once again, destroying her is very important. So there are racy pics of a Miss. California and the press has found them! Imagine!!! Racy pics of a beauty pageant winner!! What? You think she's a hypocrite? I think she would be a hypocrite only if she had spoken out against racy pics.

Well, Christians are having NONE of this. Off with her head!

Or not:

Maggie Gallagher of National Organization for Marriage stands by her spokeswoman:

Because Carrie honestly said what she believed in answer to a question–marriage is the union of a man and a woman– she is now the subject of ongoing character assassination. The level of hatred directed at her is astonishing. Even more astonishing is her personal courage and strength of character in the midst of these attacks. Of course Carrie is not perfect. On a personal note, as a former unwed mother, I want to say to Americans: you don’t have to be a perfect person to have the right to stand up for marriage. Nothing gay marriage advocates can do can change the fact—we all saw it on national TV—that Carrie is a young woman who surrendered all the glitter Hollywood has to offer, because she would not become the kind of person afraid to say the truth.

Through Carrie, we are also learning, the lengths some people will go to hurt and harass those who speak up for marriage.

Ace puts this so perfectly:

This is Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber all over again. The media does not even need to be instructed to destroy the left's opponents; Obama's men hardly had to threaten Chrysler debthoders with such a tactic. They do it because they now consider it their jobs.

This should bother anyone with any ounce of decency, right or left.

The Obama Nation. Be afraid. Very afraid.

The DMV experience

Yes, that's right. Just a week after my lovely experience getting passports for my younger two, I needed to go to the DMV for my 16 yr old to get his license. I'm familiar with the place having gone through this twice already.

Like the post office, the DMV has the most inconvenient hours, so that it forces one to either miss work or school to go there. They know you have no where else to go. They know they don't have competition, and so customer service is simply not necessary.

I've learned to go with the attitude that I probably won't have the necessary documents and will have to return (because what is online is never right) or the computers will shut down (that happened yesterday when we tried to go the first time AND when he got his learner's permit 6 months ago). If you go with the notion that you will have to wait at least an hour and a half for bad service, then you won't be disappointed.

I don't like crowds and I avoid them when possible. Going to the DMV reminds me why.

Here are some tips for the general public.

1) Dirty t-shirts and houseshoes is just never a good look.

2) Having "peaches" tattooed across your chest doesn't really do anything for you. In fact, unless you are a male biker or a member of the military, tattoos are just stupid. They aren't even rebellious anymore. Your teacher or Mom probably has one.

3) Having a seizure at the DMV isn't a good idea (yes, this just happened while we were there). It's not a good idea because no one wants to get out of line to help you. I had to push my way past people to yell at the front desk to call 9-11. Thankfully the person beside the man seem to know what he was doing. The man ended up being fine and not needing to go to the hospital, thank goodness. You better believe I got my place back in line too. I don't need a tattoo to look like I mean business..;-)

4) I don't expect people to dress nicely to go to the DMV, but basic personal hygiene is something you might want to consider.

I wonder where our tax money goes. Certainly not to hire more workers at the DMV to move the lines along. Certainly not to update the computers, that were so old they were each the the size of a small bathroom. Certainly not for chairs, or TV's to relieve the boredom of waiting in line with nothing to look at but the various tattoos people shouldn't have. And most certainly not for a janitorial service.

I just have to wonder. Why do we put up with this? It's not like we would disagree about it. It's the one thing that could unite us all. Is it because we are so grateful to be done with it we just want to forget it? Like a some sort of post traumatic dmv syndrome?

Of course, this experience had the perfect ending. My son and I stop by a gas station so I can show him how to put gas in the car, and he takes the nozzle out while still holding the trigger of it and douses me with gasoline.

This is my glamorous life.

The Gay Thing

The gay marriage issue obviously isn't going away, and we are all going to have to deal with it. I wrote what I believe here back in 2006 and nothing has changed that belief.

The bottom line to me is that sexual sin is sexual sin. Whether you are having pre-marital sex, looking at pornography, committing adultery (that includes most divorces btw), or participating in homosexual sexual acts, it's all sin. I think MANY of us are very hypocritical when we point our fingers at gays and say "SINNER." We all need to look in the mirror on that one. It's the "get the plank our of your own eye before you get the speck out of theirs" sort of thing. (Luke 6:42)

Honestly, I really believe that changing the definition of marriage would open a Pandora's box we would never be able to close and marriage would mean nothing. It's barely hanging on as it is. I doubt gays could screw up marriage any more than heterosexuals have, but once the door of the barn is open, so to speak, all the animals come out. We would have lawsuits from polygamists, brother and sister, niece, uncle, and brother, uncle and brother, mother and son. Come on. Be honest. We all know it would happen.

Civil unions are the answer and most every one agrees, but the gay activists want nothing less than "marriage." So this issue will be as divisive, if not more divisive, than the abortion issue for years and years to come. Just as in abortion, making it legal won't make it go away.

"Joe the Plumber" was interviewed by Christianity Today and you might as well get ready, this is gonna be everywhere.

Q: In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level?

A: At a state level, it's up to them. I don't want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it's wrong. People don't understand the dictionary—it's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do—what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they're people, and they're going to do their thing.

Most of that answer is on target, but the thing about not letting gays near his children is what you will hear. Maybe the "queer" part too, although heaven knows that is a term that gays themselves throw around quite often. It's that same double standard with slurs. If you are friends you joke and hollar "you homo" or "faghag" or "gay pirate" or whatever you wish. I mean, you people did watch "Will and Grace," right?

I personally think Joe the plumber is wrong about his kids. I would never have a problem with my kids being around my gay friends. I wouldn't be friends with anyone I wouldn't trust around my children. But guess what? Joe the plumber has a right to say what he feels. Miss California has a right to say what she feels. This thought police thing is getting WAY out of control and I can tell you right now, it's going to backfire on the radical gay activists.

Bottom line? You aren't a "hater" if you oppose gay marriage.

If you really want a good look at my perspective then you can look at The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on pastoral care to gays here.

The document makes clear that practicing homosexuals (as well as heterosexuals involved in the sins I mentioned above) "are not in accord with God's purpose and plan for human sexuality."

I think I can say with all certainty that we, as a society, have completely screwed up God's purpose and plan for sexuality.

But the document goes on: (emphasis mine)

"God has created every human person out of love and wishes to grant him or her eternal life in the communion of the Trinity. All people are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected."

"In keeping with this conviction, the Church teaches that persons with a homosexual inclination must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. We recognize that these persons have been, and often continue to be, objects of scorn, hatred,and even violence in some sectors of our society. Sometimes this hatred is manifested clearly; other times, it is masked and gives rise to more disguised forms of hatred. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in actions. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church pastors wherever it occurs."

This is sort of a longer version of hate the sin, love the sinner. But don't imagine for one moment that you aren't the sinner too.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Goodbye John Edwards. Good Riddance

I was having lunch with a friend of mine during the primaries. A very compassionate Christian man, but not really into politics. I asked him who he was leaning toward for President. He replied, "John Edwards."

I almost spit out my iced tea. I knew this man was very pro-life. I asked him how he could possibly consider John Edwards, and he told me because of Edward's stance on the poor. He liked what he heard in that regard. I mentioned that John Edwards was a trial lawyer millionaire and a cheesy politician, and perhaps that would lead one to believe that he wasn't very sincere in his advocacy of the poor. My friend said he seemed like a good family man. I told him that looks can be deceiving.

When I saw this friend after the news of John Edward's affair broke (the baby daddy news had yet to break) He smiled at me and said, "I really know how to pick 'em, don't I?"

Never underestimate the ability of a charmer politician to make an entire nation believe he cares for one thing, when the only thing he really cares about is himself.

Now investigators are looking at how Edwards spent his campaign funds, particularly the more than $100,000 he paid to his baby Momma for "video production."

I have to shake my head at the whole ordeal. Not just because of the sleaze factor, but because if it hadn't been for the relentless pursuit of this story by a tabloid newspaper, we never would have known the real John Edwards. It's possible that he would be around to pick up the pieces of the Obama administration in the future, if it were the responsibility of the mainstream press to investigate this sort of thing.

It even took the tabloids to report last week that Edwards was under grand jury investigation for possible misuse of his presidential campaign funds. I suppose the major news organizations were too busy looking into the background of Sarah Palin's postman or something.

If he had been a Republican, he never would have gotten out of the baby momma's bed before being caught and we all know that. This sort of thing always leads one to wonder how much we don't know about our politicians that happen to have a "D" before their name. They practically have to run out into the street naked at noon to get the msm's attention.

But I digress. I can only imagine what home life is like for Edwards now. A woman scorned is a woman who will either run for President as well (like Hillary) or will write a book about what a scumbag you are. Elizabeth Edwards is doing the latter.

In her new book,"Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities, She writes this about when Edwards admitted the affair:

"I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up."

I can so relate Elizabeth, I did the same thing when Obama won the Presidency.

Again, I am digressing. Elizabeth writes that baby Momma (Elizabeth never uses her name in the book, so why should I?) seduced Edwards by telling him, "You are so hot."

I'm trying to imagine how that conversation went. Elizabeth asks John how it happened, and this is what he says??? "She told me I was so hot." That is all it took to throw away the respect of his family, the presidency, possible indictment, and any political future? This isn't even good enough stuff for a "Lifetime Channel" afternoon movie.

It might seem that Elizabeth is the complete victim here, especially considering her cancer. But I don't see it that way. Edwards admitted the affair to Elizabeth just days after declaring his candidacy in 2006. She should have insisted he end his campaign then. But she didn't.

The perfect opportunity to avoid this mess was when Elizabeth had a relapse of cancer. Remember that? The Edwards came out to a sunlit yard to face the press. Everyone was assuming that he would quit his candidacy for her. It would have perhaps saved both of them from this total humiliation. Even the tabloids would have left him alone if he had quit because of his wife's illness. But no, the narcissism and ego of Edwards would never allow that.

I have to think that Elizabeth was complicit in this. She wanted the White House as much as he did.

Kind of makes one believe in Karma.

In case you wondered....

How all this swine flu can all start....;-)

via GOC

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Remembering Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp was the first Republican I campaigned for after becoming a Republican myself. I met him at a fundraising luncheon here in Houston back in 1987. I believe that if he would have won the nomination and then the Presidency instead of George H. Bush, we would never have had to deal with and be embarrassed by the power hungry Clintons. Imagine that.

Kemp was my kind of guy. A faithful husband, a great father and he was pro-life and pro free market. But he was a "compassionate conservative" that understood that our party needed to reach out to minorities and the poor. As Peter Roff at Fox Forum remembers, Kemp spoke about our responsibility as the party of Lincoln:

"....that as Lincoln’s heirs they had a responsibility to reach out to the poor, the disenfranchised and the nation’s minority communities to show that the GOP had an agenda for them. That it wanted to help them rise up, to succeed, to acquire wealth and to be able to realize the “American Dream,” a better life for their children than they themselves had. "

He was, unlike so many politicians, simply a good man. He understood that the "American Dream" can never be given to someone by the government. It can only be achieved through hard work and self responsibility. It's a lesson so many Americans have yet to learn.

No one understood better how tax cuts generate a better and more prosperous economy.

Peter Roff:

"Kemp became a most enthusiastic supporter of supply-side economics, a theory that essential held that allowing people to keep more of what they earned by cutting tax rates would fuel growth in the economy.

History has proved him right. Today, throughout the world, the supply-side theory is a revealed truth to all those who value hard work, initiative and, above all, liberty."