I could have done this as myriad small posts, but I was in the mood for something big. I’ll separate the different ideas and issues with asterisks (after all, Obama’s promise with his unspoken asterisk has made asterisks the hot new thing in writing).
My friend (I like say that — my friend) Sally Zelikovsky has written rules for Republicans who want to win elections. They are very pragmatic rules which state that the time for internecine cherry-picking, purging, and warfare should wait until after the Democrats no longer control Washington. I’m just giving the rules. Please go to her post to see her intelligent support for many of the less obvious or more challenging rules:
(1) Duke it out in the primaries and whole-heartedly support your candidate of choice.
(2) Do not support your preferred candidate by stooping to Democrat levels.
(3) Never forfeit a “sure thing” candidate for a high risk one.
(4) Unless an incontrovertible liability, never abandon a viable candidate especially in an important race.
(5) In extreme cases, when a candidate is hurting other races, it’s okay to withdraw support.
(6) Do not use outliers to formulate strategies for the entire country.
(7) Make protest votes a thing of the past [snip]
(8) Think of the end game.
(9) Social conservatives and tea partiers should hold any elected Republican’s feet to the fire.
(10) Moderates should expect social conservatives and tea partiers to hold their feet to the fire.
(11) Do not air our collective dirty laundry.
(12) Always anticipate the leftwing response, think through your story, then stick to it.
(13) In politics, as in life, there are people in any group or organization who have varying degrees of commitment. [snip]
(14) Use the media to communicate with the PEOPLE. This is your chance to be a PR person for conservatism, even though the press is never on your side.
(15) Always promote the improved quality of life in Republican-run states andcontrast this with the diminished quality of life in true blue states.
(16) Speak with one voice on the issues where there is consensus.
(17) Where there is no consensus, speak to the fact that we are a diverse party that welcomes debate but, in the end, we are all guided by time-tested conservative principles that promote freedom.
Some of the suggestions are hard to swallow, because they continue to provide political cover for checkbook Republicans, meaning those who support a Democrat agenda, but who make loud noises about “we have to be able to pay for it.” Read Sally’s whole article and, if you feel like it, please get back to me.
Lee Smith has a brilliant analysis of what John Kerry and Barack Obama are doing in the Middle East:
So how did we reach a point where the United States is working with the Islamic Republic of Iran, while longtime U.S. allies are not only outside the circle but trying to block an American-Iranian condominium over the Middle East? A pretty good idea can be gleaned by taking the advice given by Politico in an article detailing Obama’s habit of meeting with prestigious reporters and columnists to test-drive his ideas: “If you want to know where the president stands on a foreign policy issue . . . read the latest column by David Ignatius” or Thomas Friedman, another frequent sounding-board for the president.
Read the whole thing and weep. What they’re doing is every bit as bad as it sounds, and there will be terrible repercussions.
Fouad Ajami says that Obama’s magic is gone. I like his article but I have to disagree with the core premise. Obama never had magic. What he had was a complicit media. It’s easy to win the game when the referees have determined in advance that you’ll win. At a certain point, though, the spectators begin to think that the fix is in.
Up until this past Wednesday, I tended to side slightly with the government regarding Edward Snowden — namely, that he was a traitor who stole America’s secrets. And indeed, he seems to have stolen lots and lots of secrets. What I learned on Wednesday, though, when I heard Mary Theroux, of the Independent Institute, speak, is that the government’s spying on American citizens is so enormous we literally cannot comprehend its scope. The data collection (which is in the multiple zetabytes) grossly violates our inherent Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. NSA employees before Snowden tried to blow the whistle on this beginning around the year 2000, and got ferociously persecuted by the government because of their efforts. Snowden’s spectacular leak broke that log jam.
But here’s the really important thing that Theroux said: The government gets so much data, it’s useless for the stated purpose of crime and terrorism prevention. As it comes in, it’s simply so much white noise. It certainly didn’t stop 9/11 or the Boston bombing. In this regard, think of England, which has more CCTVs per capita than any other country in the 1st world, and maybe in any world. Nevertheless, these cameras do nothing to prevent crime. As the number of cameras has increased, so has the crime rate. The data is useful only after the fact, to help (sometimes) apprehend the criminal.
Well, one can argue that ex post facto apprehension is a good thing — but it’s a good thing only if there’s been a clear violation of a pretty well known law (e.g., don’t beat people to death or don’t rob a jewelry store). We’re looking at something much more sinister here. Think of the volume of law in America and, worse, think of the staggering volumes of rules interpreting those laws.
As Theroux noted, Stalin’s chief of police famously said (and I’m paraphrasing) give me the man and I can find the crime. We Americans have a government that’s sitting on data that can be used to criminalize us after the fact the current government (Republican or Democrat or Third Party) doesn’t like us. It’s like a landmine under every American.
Since Obama is quite possibly the most inept national security president in the world, it’s arguable that Snowden’s revealing secrets along those lines (e.g., that we’ve been eavesdropping on allies) leaves us in no worse shape than we were before. After all, as Lee Smith notes above, Obama has already turned our allies into enemies. What Snowden did do with his escapade was to remind us that, when government begins collecting every bit of information simply because it can, every citizen becomes a potential criminal. We’re not at the Stasi stage yet, but our government is laying the groundwork for a Stasi society. That’s an utterly terrifying thought. We still can stop it now. Once it’s in play, stopping it gets much, much harder to stop that fascist juggernaut.
Given the debacle that Obamacare is proving to be for Obama, the Democrats, and Progressivism generally, a reader sent me an email saying that we should be grateful for Chief Justice Roberts for allowing this disaster to unfold. That email reminded me that, back in June 2012, when Chief Justice Roberts managed to salvage Obamacare, I wrote a post looking for lemonade in Roberts’ opinion and, once again, I was a bit prescient. (And yes, I am mining many of my old posts as real-time events are showing that I predicted with a fair degree of accuracy everything from Obamacare, to the shifting alliances in the Middle East, to Obama’s meltdown when the real world intruded on his little narcissistic dream.) It’s a long, wandering (and, of course, fascinating and insightful) post, but here’s the Chief Justice nub of it:
Roberts wrote the decision at the end of a 90 year continuum holding that Government fixes problems and the Supreme Court fixes Government. This approach makes “We, the people” unnecessary. Rather than elections being the corrective, the Court is the corrective — except that the Court’s make-up is controlled by the Government. (Remember the Bork debacle?)
Roberts refused to play this game. He slapped back the Democrats’ hands when it came to the Commerce Clause, telling them that the federal government cannot legislate inactivity. And he held — quite correctly — that if there’s any possible way for the Court to salvage a law, it must do so. His salvaging was to say that, this particular law, written in this particular way, with these particular controls over the people, can be salvaged by calling it a tax. It’s an ugly decision, but probably a correct one. And then he tossed the whole thing back to the American people.
I can just see Roberts’ thought-process (although he might have thought in more polite terms): You idiots elected a Congress and president that used every kind of political chicanery known to man in order to pass the biggest tax in American history and one that, moreover, completely corrupts the free market system. It’s not the Supreme Court’s responsibility to correct that kind of thing, provided that the judges can, as I did, find a smidgen of constitutionality in it. There’s an election coming up in November. Let’s hope you’ve wised up enough to figure out that my Supreme Court is returning power to “We, the people.” We will not pull your chestnuts out of the fire. We will not legislate from the bench. We will construe things as narrowly as possible. If you, the people, don’t like it, you, the people, elect different representatives.
Speaking of the Supreme Court, Ace wonders if Obama just gave the Supreme Court another bite at this rotten apple.
Power Line brought this AP headline to my attention: “In Reversal, Obama to Allow Canceled Health Plans.” Who knew that a constitutionally appointed executive had the power to “allow” canceled health plans?
It was an especially interesting headline to read because, last night, I attended a panel discussion with AP reporters, photographers, and the editor in chief of the AP photograph department. The purpose was to promote a new book of photographs that AP employees and stringers took during the Vietnam War: Vietnam: The Real War: A Photographic History by the Associated Press. It was an interesting event, although I’m sorry to say that they were boring speakers. (It seems like an oxymoron, but they were boring speakers who offered some interesting content.)
One of the things the panelists kept saying is that they have so much integrity and are devoted to even-handedness in their subject matter and presentation. We know that’s a joke when it comes to written coverage about domestic politics. AP has been a Democrat shill since at least George W.’s administration. But it’s also been a shill when it comes to photographs. Given their record, I have to admit that it was a bit difficult to listen to the panelists’ smug satisfaction about their higher calling, integrity, and even-handedness.
I like Deroy Murdock’s writing, so I liked his analysis of the Obamacare debacle. It’s fun to read. It doesn’t have the soaring schadenfreude of Jonah Goldberg’s instant classic, but it’s still darn good.
Speaking of good writing, Megan McArdle is at it again, this time pointing out in very polite, analytical language that Obama has taken on the behavior of a tyrant (not a word she uses, but it’s the gist): The law is what Obama says the law is. It’s probably worth thinking about the Snowden revelations as you read McArdle describe the way in which Obama usurps power. The media is clucking, but not with any force; the Democrats are running or enabling; and the Republicans are in-fighting. We’re seeing a weird, passive (even Weimar-ian) anarchy that creates room for a tyrant to breathe and grow.
I’m pleased to say that I never liked Oprah, so I’m not surprised to learn that she’s a race-baiting phony. Incidentally, to those who have mentioned in the comments that liberals are like beaten wives who keep coming back for more, Oprah is Exhibit A. She destroyed her TV show by endorsing Obama, and he rewarded her by freezing her out of the White House. So what does Oprah do? She keeps crawling back, defending the man who used her and abused her. I’m not sorry for her though. Her racist venom makes pity impossible.