You can just hear the crickets chirp

Pamela Geller, who blogs at Atlas Shrugs, has spent countless hours following both McCain’s and Obama’s money.  In a carefully detailed article at American Thinker, she explains that McCain’s donations are squeaky clean, while the donations coming into the Obama campaign are, to put it tactfully, questionable.  For example, Obama’s gotten more than $30,000 from a couple of brothers in a Gaza refugee camp (and that goes to my point about the anti-Israel crowd smelling a fellow wolf no matter how careful Obama’s pro-Israel rhetoric).  He’s also gotten some very large donations from people who live in Gibberish-land:

How about this gibberish donor on the 30th of April in 2008.

A donor named Hbkjb, jkbkj

City: Jkbjnj Works for: Kuman Bank (doesn’t exist)

Occupation: Balanon Jalalan

Amount: $1,077.23

or the donor Doodad,

The # of transactions = 1,044

The $ contributed = $10,780.00

This Doodad character works for FDGFDGF and occupation is DFGFDG

Geller’s outrage doesn’t stop with the fact that the Obama campaign has such poor gate-keeping that it takes any money from anybody (and it’s up to you to determine whether that poor gate-keeping is accidental or on purpose).

She’s also furious that the MSM resolutely refuses to report about these donations.  Indeed, when pushed hard enough, the MSM types do only one thing:  they go after McCain:

Despite the evidence of dirty campaign donations, crickets chirped in newsrooms across the country. The moment my Gaza story started to get some chatter on talk radio, the left and their supplicant handmaidens in the media sprang into action and created a McCain illegal campaign contribution “scandal”. The Washington Post published an inaccurate allegation and then retracted not a day later, at the risk of looking stupid. They are jeopardizing the little credibility that they have left.

….a Washington Post story detailing some suspicious looking contributions to the McCain campaign bundled by Harry Sargeant III. Shortly after posting, a correction appeared in the original report, as follows:

An earlier version of this story about campaign donations that Florida businessman Harry Sargeant III raised for Sen. John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton incorrectly identified three individuals as being among the donors Sargeant solicited on behalf of McCain. Those donors — Rite Aid manager Ibrahim Marabeh, and lounge owners Nadia and Shawn Abdalla — wrote checks to Giuliani and Clinton, not McCain. Also, the first name of Faisal Abdullah, a McCain donor, was misspelled in some versions of the story (noted by Amanda Carpenter).

So here an intrepid blogger finds a keg of dynamite of dirty dollar donations to Obama and what does the media do? They ignore it. And when forced to confront it by the sheer newsworthiness of the story, what happens? They go after McCain. They punish McCain.

It’s an old pattern and a true one.  When rumors swirled about John Edwards’ fidelity, the NYT did precisely the same thing regarding sex that the Post did about money:  It published a virtually foundation-free article accusing McCain of having a cozy relationship with a lobbyist.  It wouldn’t touch the well-sourced Edwards scandal.  SoccerDad gives a good rundown of the Times‘ intellectual contortions explaining why one fact-free scandal was news, while another fact-filled scandal remained locked in the vaults.

John Edwards — national not-father figure

Yesterday, I blogged about the fact that the British media is not only noting the John Edwards paternity scandal, but is pointing to double-standards in the American media.  (Say it ain’t so, Joe!)  Today, Deceiver.com has a splendid rundown of the scandal’s history, from the first moment Rielle Hunter appeared on the world’s radar.  It’s lucid, fact-filled and, without the need for any nasty language or below-the-belt attacks, devastating about both the American media and, believe it or not, Wikipedia.

Hat tip:  Hot Air

Eating our own *UPDATED*

I caught a minute of Mike Gallagher today, and he was talking about the fact that Republicans are more critical of Republican candidates than Democrats are critical of Democratic candidates. It occurred to me that, at least in this election cycle, that may be because there are real, substantive differences between the Republican candidates. We’ve got Ron Paul, who is a pure libertarian and possible white supremacist; John McCain, who is strong on defense, but weak on free speech, and spineless to environmental extremists; Mitt Romney, who has positioned himself as a traditional conservative who is for strong borders, a strong national defense, pro-life, etc., with a sound grasp of economic issues; Mike Huckabee, who is loudly Christian, a social conservative, and a big government liberal; and Rudy Giuliani, who is a social liberal and a hawk. With the exception of Ron Paul, all have had leadership experience, but of a very different type: McCain was in the military; Romney ran businesses and the Massachusetts government; Huckabee governed Arkansas; and Giuliani ran huge criminal prosecutions and New York. So, just as there are differences in their approach to conservative politics (and all are more conservative than not), there are also significant differences in their practical experience. Republicans have a real choice, and real choice begets real debate.

It’s different with the Dems. For one thing, none of them have any managerial experience. They’ve all been Senators, which means working with a group of 99 other people. None have them has taken the lead in the Senate, so they can’t even point to leadership experience in those august chambers. John Edwards has a bit more private sector experience than the other two but I can tell you that even the most successful lawyer cannot be compared to a manager. Managing a case is not the same as manager a system — whether that system is a business or a government. Obama was an academic, which is the antithesis of management, and Hillary was, well, Hillary managed Bill, I guess. They’re all good at manipulating people, Edwards because he’s a trial lawyer, and Obama and Hillary because they’re Alinsky disciples, but that’s not leadership or management. So, they’re pretty much the same looked at from that point of view.

In terms of politics, they’re peas in a pod: they want out of Iraq, they deny that Islamists pose a threat to America, they like open borders, and they want more government involvement in everything (parenting, health care, education, managing people’s money, controlling businesses, etc), which means more taxes on people they decide are “rich.”

The fact that Edwards, Obama and Hillary are virtually indistinguishable on paper may explain why identity politics has become so important. It’s not just Hillary’s dirty politics and it’s not just that the “identity politics” chickens are coming home to roost. The preeminence of racial or sexual identity in this race has become the only way you can tell one Democratic candidate from another. And poor Edwards, distinguished by being white and male, is precluded by political correctness from trumpeting that fact. In other words, identity, by being the only difference between the candidates, is also the only area of debate left for the Democrats. And it’s no surprise that it is in this area — the substance-free area that will have absolutely nothing to do with the way in which a Democrat, if victorious, will govern — that the Democratic debate has become most heated.

So, I guess I’m happy that Republicans are focused on substance, and using their free speech rights to hammer out important issues that will have a lasting effect on America (if a Republican wins). And I’m desperately sad that the cookie-cutter Democrats, in order to have a debate and distinguish themselves in the eyes of the voters, have almost completely backed off from any substantive issues (as to which they have no meaningful differences), and devolved into childish racial and gender name calling. If Americans elect one of them, the Country will deserve what it gets.

UPDATE: Regarding the enthusiasm gap the media professes to find between Dems and Republicans, if one does indeed exist, I suspect that has more to do with the enthusiasm Democratic voters have for a shot at the White House than with anything else. That is, I think that, even more than feeling excitement about their own candidates, Democrats are simply excited about a possible chance to defeat Republicans.

UPDATE II: For another reason why there might be an “enthusiasm gap,” keep in mind that, while Bush’s presidency is almost over, Bush Derangement Syndrome continues in full force. Indeed, with the inevitable end of his presidency drawing near, Bush haters seem to be drawing on after burners for some new energy.

Surge? What surge?

By now, it’s not news to any of you that John Edwards, one of the top Democratic contenders for the Presidency, announced that, if he’s elected, he’ll withdraw all troops from Iraq within ten months:

John Edwards says that if elected president he would withdraw the American troops who are training the Iraqi army and police as part of a broader plan to remove virtually all American forces within 10 months.

In connection with this inane pronouncement, Max Boot offers my favorite analysis of both Edwards’ and the media’s time warp mentality:

Of course it’s unlikely that Edwards will ever occupy the White House. But he is one of the top three Democratic presidential candidates, so what he says is worth considering. And what he is saying is essentially what Democrats have been saying for the last couple of years. To wit: “I have never believed that there was a military solution in Iraq, don’t believe it today. I think the issue is how do you maximize the chances of achieving a political reconciliation between Sunni and Shia because I think that political reconciliation is the foundation for any long-term stability in Iraq.” (For more of Edwards’s pensées, see here.)

This is exactly the argument Democrats were making against the surge. Now the surge is succeeding, but they haven’t yet figured out a new argument, so they keep replaying the same old DVD.

By the way, if you want further evidence of how the surge is working, check out the latest casualty figures, which show that 23 American soldiers died in December, the second-smallest figure on record since the invasion began. (The runner-up was the month of February 2004 when 20 died.) Of course that news may be a little hard to find since it’s buried in news articles like this one, headlined “2007 Deadliest Year for U.S. Troops in Iraq.” The headline is accurate but misleading, since casualties have been falling precipitously over the past six months—ever since the surge started to take effect.

‘Nuff said.

Something else that’s buried in the interview, that would have raised antennae in 1992, but that went completely unnoticed in the blogosphere, is Elizabeth Edward’s role in the campaign.  Please note in the following paragraphs both how she is described and what she does:

In one of his most detailed discussions to date about how he would handle Iraq as president, Mr. Edwards staked out a position that would lead to a more rapid and complete troop withdrawal than his principal rivals, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who have indicated they are open to keeping American trainers and counterterrorism units in Iraq.

Elizabeth Edwards, his wife and political partner, who listened in on the interview from a seat across the aisle, intervened at the end of the session to underscore that Mr. Edwards did not intend to stop all training and was prepared to train Iraqi forces outside of the country. Mr. Edwards continued the theme while acknowledging that the benefits of such training would be limited.

His political partner?  What’s that?  Is this a redux of Hillary’s and Bill’s famous 1992 promise that, with them, you’d get two for the price of one?  I’ve certainly noticed over the past several months that John sends his wife out to say the nasty things that he’s afraid to say (presumably because her status as a cancer victim will give her a pass for being nasty or stupid).  See here, for example.  It’s sort of like have a chihuahua serve as the guard dog for a toy poodle, isn’t it?  Of course, poor Edwards is hampered by the fact that, when he gets mad, he just looks silly.

Are we willing to let little Iowa determine the entire Presidential election?

I don’t like Obama, whom I consider an empty shirt, utterly devoid of experience and elevated to his lofty position only because of his skin color, something that I consider that worst kind of racial identity politics. (I just checked and it turns out that, at this particular minute, Silky Pony, the radical rich plaintiffs’ attorney is in the lead in Iowa, a change from yesterday’s news, or even this morning’s. I find him just as distasteful as Obama, especially since I think he’s a huge hypocrite, living a life few of us can imagine, while demanding that we, in the working and middle classes, turn over our money to the government for him to manage. Pfeh!)

I’m no more thrilled about the Republicans’ potential Iowa frontrunner, Mike Huckabee. Indeed, the more I learn about him, the less I like him, despite his manifest charm. He’s a nanny stater; he’s too forgiving of sin, something that’s dangerous in a political leader, whether he’s being lenient to local killers or worldwide terrorists; he’s exceptionally ill-informed about the world about him, something scary in dangerous times; and he’s a religious bigot.

As to this last point, I have no problems with Huckabee being religious, a quality all of you know I admire. I do have big problems, however, with his exceptionally nasty remarks about Mormonism. I’m perfectly willing to concede that Mormonism has some wacky ideas but, viewed objectively, so do all religions. For example, to a non-believer, the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation does not make logical sense; the Jewish belief in some sort of ancient old covenant with God, a covenant that has caused Jews until untold suffering over the centuries, is hard to fathom; and the central Christian doctrine about Jesus’ resurrection reflects a leap of faith that the non-Christian just can’t make.

What should matter in America is not doctrine, but values. You practice your faith, and I’ll practice mine (or not). However, what I will scrutinize closely is, not your faith, but the fruits of your faith as expressed in the way you live your life and, if you’re a politician, in the direction you wish to take this nation. As to this, Mitt Romney has lived an exemplary life, one of hard and successful work, family values, and fiscal and social conservatism (especially, with regard to the latter, in the last few years). Nor has he ever given any indication during his very long public and private careers that he intends to use either his wealth or political power to impose his religious beliefs, doctrines or practices on anyone. In that, he differs substantially from, say, a devoutly religious Muslim, whose faith obligates him to try to impose Sharia law against one and all, including stoning, veils, amputations, etc. Whatever Mormon doctrines are, there’s no indication that those doctrines would affect Mitt’s governance. For Huckabee to run a campaign implying otherwise is just dirty campaigning.

However, much as I may not like these guys (Obama, Edwards and Huckabee), they are still the favored candidates going into the Iowa primaries. So be it. But am I the only one who is noticing that all the punditry seems to be saying that, if they take Iowa, they’re essentially the annointed candidates for their parties in the 2008 elections? With all due respect to the wonderful citizens of Iowa, I don’t think that the outcome of a single state’s primaries — especially a state that, in terms of population, comes in 30th, behind such states as Texas, New York, California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan — should be determinative of the entire election.

While Obama/Edwards, on the one hand, and Huckabee, on the other hand, will definitely get a boost if they take Iowa, the battle between the primary candidates will — or at least should — continue from one venue to another, and really won’t be resolved until February, when the big states have had their say. I mean, do you seriously expect all the other primary candidates just to drop out, to vanish, because these guys took Iowa? To ask the question is to expose the stupidity behind it.

I also think that, as least as to Huckabee, it’s just as likely that a Huckabee victory in Iowa will so frighten non-religious conservatives in New York, Florida, California, etc., that they’ll turn out in droves to vote for someone else during the primaries. (Of course, with Republican luck, they’ll vote for Ron Paul, won’t they?)

In any event, I refuse to fall into flat despair because of the Iowa predictions, nor will I respect American voters if they simply give up after Iowa and don’t turn out to support their candidate of choice. Iowa is a great place, I’m sure, but it shouldn’t be the alpha and omega of American presidential candidacies.

UPDATE: Noooo! Say it ain’t so, pollsters! Huck is tops nationwide, not just in Iowa? Well, so was Dean once upon a time. Americans can be fickle, and they like shiny new things.

UPDATE II:  Sorry for all the typos (including the one I corrected in the post caption).  I was pretty tired last night when I wrote this, and it shows.

Freedom, but from what?

More than twenty years ago, I attended a speech that famed legal scholar Arthur Miller gave, in which he decried the fact that the zone of privacy surrounding ordinary citizens was shrinking rapidly with the dawn of the computer age. What he pointed out then is even more true today: unless you step entirely off the matrix, every time you engage in any type of commercial transaction, whether it’s using your ATM or credit card to buy a latte, using your cell phone to call your mother, or buying an airplane ticket, your transaction creates a record that a corporation owns and that the government can find. Theoretically (and in actual fact if the authorities are after you with the right warrants), someone can put those transactions together and create a comprehensive picture of every detail of your life.

I walked out of Miller’s talk knowing that he was correct and yet curiously unimpressed. I could not then and cannot now work myself into a lather knowing that some clerk in Dubuque or Bombay can have access to information about my grocery shopping habits or the number of times I called my mother. Of more concern to me has always been what people who know me might think of me if they could pry into the small details of my life. While I may be unmoved by the Dubuque or Bombay clerk knowing about my grocery list, I’d find it very unpleasant if my next door neighbor, colleague or classmate were to learn too many of the details of my life. In other words, for me, privacy is local.

In the years since I first heard Miller’s speech, I’ve often had reason to think about his thesis and about my response and I’ve come to the conclusion that I haven’t changed my viewpoint since then. Indeed, my blog is a perfect example of that fact. I’m more forthcoming with you, my readers, than I am with my immediate neighbors because I won’t run into you on the street. If I’m grumpy, I grouse on my blog, whereas I make an effort to present a cheerful face to my neighbors. If my kids are driving me up a wall, I wail in cyberspace, but make light hearted jokes to the parents I see during the day. And of course, I talk politics on my blog in a way that I never would to the flesh-and-blood people around me who believe that conservatives aren’t just misguided, but are evil. Privacy is therefore often on my mind insofar as it relates to me.

The privacy issues I’ve discussed above can, of course, be reframed as the flip side of freedom: freedom from oversight and intrusion. And in our world, there are three basic categories of people or institutions that infringe on that freedom: individuals, corporations, and the government.

Traditionally, individuals infringing on your freedom from oversight and intrusion have been the nosy next door neighbors who physically peer into your world. (For purposes of this discussion, I’m going to ignore the Peeping Toms or stalkers, who are committing out-and-out criminal acts — that is, acts that can be characterized as visual assaults.) Corporations, as I noted above, have become an increasing infringer on that same freedom. As Miller argued so long ago, the computer records they keep mean that, with a push of a button, corporations (especially banks and credit card companies) can create a comprehensive record about you.

Whether it’s a nosy neighbor or a data collecting computer, we are usually willing to put up with the infringement on our freedom because of the benefits that come with those intrusions or, at most, we place small, almost symbolic barriers in the way. As to our neighbors, we may determine that their help with the children is the price we pay for their knowing how messy our house is. Alternatively, we may close the windows when we argue or draw the curtains when we let our hair down. And as for the corporations, most of us have long ago sold our soul to that Devil, recognizing that the convenience of credit card purchases or the discounts from our grocery store’s “Club Card” are more than worth the information those Dubuque or Bombay drones (and their computers) are collecting about us. Any barriers we attempt are likely to be minimal, such as refusing to give our phone numbers to the blank eyed clerk at the local store (after having first paid with our credit card, of course). Certainly that is my world view, and one I’ve consistently held to for decades, as I believe most other Americans have.

But when it comes to the government, our relaxed attitude to these assaults on privacy suddenly vanishes, and we see ever escalating levels of paranoia about our right to freedom from oversight and intrusion. The government, after all, is huge; it has the ability to engage in spying and data gathering at an unparalleled level; and, worst of all, it has punitive powers that even the most gossipy, vindictive neighbor or the most aggressive corporation lack. And as we’ve seen, most notably in East Germany, but also in other Communist and totalitarian countries, when the government gets into the business of invading our privacy — removing all those safeguards to freedom from oversight and intrusion — individual freedom is effectively at an end.

Most of us, of course, recognize that there is practical, personal information that we keep private from others, but that the government does get to see. For example, because the government needs to be funded (a concept separate from whether we believe it’s doing the right things with those funds), we all regularly provide it with all of our financial information, something we’d be loath to let our friends and neighbors peruse. Because the government is charged with the business of running our criminal justice system, we long ago agreed as a society that it could keep data about people’s criminal habits, as well as their fingerprints. (DNA, of course, has been a more touchy subject.) Because we all pay into Social Security (whether or not we think it’s an appropriate program in the 21st Century, as opposed to the 1930s) and we all want to get at least some of that money back, we allow the government to maintain our Social Security number, which ties into just about everything, for better or for worse.

So far, I think everyone from both sides of the political spectrum would agree with my general conclusions, above, about the dangers of government infringement into its citizens’ privacy, as well as about the basic intrusions we concede are the government’s right. What’s interesting, however, is the ideological divide between conservatives and liberals when it comes to just about any other aspects of government involvement in our day to day lives.

Liberals trust the government to manage the day to day details of their lives. The most striking example of this, of course, is the current debate about health care. And the most extreme statement of this belief that government should be trusted to take care of our bodies came from John Edwards when he announced that, “Damn it! When I’m President, I’ll force everyone to go to the doctor, whether they want to or not.” Okay, I’m exaggerating, but not by much. What he really said was:

“It [his mandatory health care plan] requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care,” he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. “If you are going to be in the system, you can’t choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK.”

Wow, that’s some serious government oversight. You wonder if the lovely Edwards has thought through the kind of enforcement this policy will require. Will Stasi-style health police knock on citizens’ doors and demand evidence that they saw their doctor recently? Doubtful. What will really happen is that Stasi-style health police will carefully study the records of every American citizen, diligently checking to make sure every good American visited his or her doctor and, oh, just incidentally, getting access to every detail of each citizen’s medical records to make sure they were real visits and not just feints to mislead the health police. But that’s okay in the world of John Edwards because it’s for our own good.

Hillary Clinton, of course, isn’t that far behind, although she’s smart enough to have framed her ideas to sound more moderate. Although she claims the plan is “not government run,” she nevertheless intends to have the government oversee a program that insures 47 million people, with a cool $110,000,000,000 annual price tag. If a program that costly doesn’t have oversight it should; and once it does, you’ve got government deeply involved in the health care business. (And we won’t even touch the fact that at least some of these millions of uninsured are people who could afford insurance but for their own private reasons have opted not to get it or who are merely temporarily between insurance.)

(By the way, please understand that I would like to see more people insured. However, I most certainly do not want Hillary and her friends managing that program. And as I always say, if you want to see what it looks like when government gets in the health care business, just look at Walter Reed, our “gift” to those who have sacrificed the most for us.)

Liberals also would like government to have increasing oversight in other areas of day-to-day life, such as their desire for more and more oversight for American business; their preference that government tell us what to do with our savings (hence the deep commitment to Social Security); their craving for government control over schools (hence the strong opposition to vouchers); and their abiding belief, the 1960s through the 1990s notwithstanding, that intense government interference can control poverty.

The common thread binding the liberals’ willingness to relinquish control of their health care decisions, economy, education and business to the government is a manifest belief that the government’s collective wisdom trumps the intelligence of the ordinary person. The government, made up of experts and policy wonks, must be better at taking care of people than people can be trusted to take care of themselves. (People, of course, being defined here as the Wal-Mart shopping, NASCAR loving, country-music listening masses.) And the surprising thing is that liberals cling to this belief, not only despite government’s repeated management failures over the decades, such as the failed War on Poverty or the failed care at Walter Reed, but also despite the fact that they are convinced that the administration now in charge of the government is the most evil thing since . . . well, since Satan!

Conservatives, of course, have the complete opposite view when it comes to government micromanage of just about anything. Conservatives want to be free from government micromanagement, something Fred Thompson neatly summed up here:

In 1994 when I first ran [for Senate], I advocated the same common sense conservative positions that I hold today. They are based upon what I believe to be sound conservative First Principles – reflecting the nature of man and the wisdom of the ages. They are based upon the conviction that our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are not outdated documents that have outlived their usefulness. It is a recognition that our basic rights come from God and not from government. That government should have its power divided, not only at the federal level but between the federal government and the states. Federalism is the belief that not every problem should have a federal solution. Essentially it’s about freedom. A government that is big enough to do everything for us is powerful enough to do anything to us.

“These principles lead me to believe in lower taxes, which foster growth and leave more power in the hands of the people. They also respect free markets, private property, and fair competition. They honor the sanctity of life – the great truth every life matters, and no person is beneath the protection of the law. These principles made our country great and we should rededicate ourselves to them, not abandon them.

In other words, conservatives do not want the government telling them how to run their businesses, how to educate their children, how to invest their money, how to allocate resources for their needs (such as insurance), what kind of property they can buy, what medical care they can seek, etc. To conservatives, those are private decisions that ought to be free from government diktats. Conservatives believe individuals are better equipped to make these decisions for themselves, with an eye to their own particular circumstances, and accept as a price of freedom the inevitable fact that some individuals may make bad decisions.

(An aside here about the beneficial flexibility that comes with allowing people on the ground to make decisions. Some crosswalks are being installed near my house. It is a huge job, because it doesn’t simply involve drawing lines on the street to mark where people will cross and cars should stop. Instead, because of ADA requirements, all new crosswalks must have curb ramps installed, which involves destroying the four existing corner curbs and pouring new concrete ramps at each corner. Ramps are a great thing, not only for the handicapped, but also for women with strollers. But you see, in our neighborhood, there are existing ramps within 10 feet of each of the corners being destroyed and rebuilt. Admittedly, these ramps are driveways, but they’re still ramps, and they provide easy access to the new crosswalks, especially since the streets are wide and the traffic flow very low.

If the ADA rule had simply said that people in wheelchairs need to have easy or reasonable access to the crosswalks, and then allowed the people on the ground to review the situation, these driveways would have been more than adequate, and saved a heck of a lot of tax payer money. Since people who love government don’t trust individuals, though, and put their faith instead in government rules, we now have two ramps per corner, for a total eight ramps near the new crosswalks. And now back to our regularly scheduled ranting….)

There is one area, however, in which conservatives do want the government around, and this area falls within the traditional purview of government, so much so that the Founders would easily have recognized it: security. Because conservatives believe that it is the government’s job to protect them against external enemies and, even more so, against external enemies who are trying to infiltrate our internal structures, we tend to be more sanguine about government programs aimed at catching those who wish to harm us. We also seem to take a longer view, recognizing that the country has always recovered from the limitations on freedom our government has imposed during times of war, whether we’re talking Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, the drastic wartime powers Wilson assumed during WWI, or the ill considered decision to imprison anyone who was Japanese or of Japanese ancestry during WWII. In each case, when the threat ended, America’s Constitution and her basic commitment to freedom was sufficiently resilient to come back from these assaults on liberty.

Liberals, on the other hand, who are willing to hand over to the government so many aspects of their private lives, are loath to surrender their security to the government. Instead, when it comes to security, they look at the same government they trust to examine their bodies, make their health care decisions, educate their children, rescue their poor, and control their businesses, and suddenly start ranting that it is out to get them, whether to destroy their buildings and their citizens, listen to their phone calls, or read the same library books they do. They demonstrate a bizarre love-hate relationship with the government, that sees them on the one hand practically handing it their first born, while on the other hand having paranoid nightmares about wiretapping.

Frankly, I’m at a loss to explain this inconsistency. Whether you agree with their viewpoint regarding freedom and privacy, when it comes to government, conservatives at least are consistent — they want the government out of their lives as much as possible, except for the one thing the government does best, which is securing the nation as a whole.

(I’ve developed a rather inexplicable fascination with Patrick Ruffini’s 2008 Presidential Wire. Getting a high score there doesn’t increase my traffic, but I still find it very gratifying. So, if you think this post is worthy of a high score at the Wire, please click **here**.)

UPDATE:  Hillary continues to make my point about liberals’ willingness to bring the government into your day-to-day life, this time envisioning a situation in which you’re required to show a prospective employer that you have GovInsur as one of the conditions of employment.  And just who is going to enforce that and what kind of weird employment black market is going to develop?

The beautiful Edwards relies on his wife to take a stand

In a very neutral piece of reporting, Ben Smith, writing at the Politico Blog, notes that Elizabeth Edwards, wife of the lovely John Edwards, is the first person on the Democratic side of the aisle to come out against MoveOn.org’s distasteful ad attacking General Petraeus’ honesty, loyalty and patriotism:

Not sure it’s really meant that way, but in any case, Elizabeth Edwards makes hers the first campaign to directly criticize MoveOn.org’s “General Betray Us” ad, breaking with the Democrats’ strategy of, basically, ignoring it.

“Someone who’s spent their life in the military doesn’t deserve ‘General Betray Us,’” said Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Oh, did I mention that Smith captions the above post a “Sister Souljah moment,” a caption that helps explain the first clause in the first sentence quoted?   For those of you too young to remember, the original Sister Souljah moment occurred in 1992 when rap “artist” Sister Souljah thought that we ought to have a free day on which black people could kill white people without any penalties.  In the face of this manifestly inane, racist, vicious idea, Bill Clinton, who was already a presidential candidate, said he thought that it was, in fact, a bad idea.  By doing so, he distinguished himself from the rest of the Democratic pack, which was afraid to state that obvious principle.  In other words, a Sister Souljah moment is the moment at which someone bravely states the obvious, when surrounded by people too cowardly even to do that.

What’s interesting about this Sister Souljah moment is that John Edwards is not having a Sister Souljah moment.  He’s delegated that task to his wife because he, personally, is apparently too cowardly to state the obvious.  By the way, did you notice how Ben Smith glossed by that little disconnect by saying “Elizabeth Edwards makes hers the first campaign.”  Either I didn’t realize that Lizzie was running for office, or Smith is trying to tie Lizzie’s statements to Edwards, to make it sound as if Edwards had something approximating a moral backbone.  Maybe Silky Pony is hoping that his beauty will confuse people and they’ll think that he and his wife are the same person!

Of course, perhaps I shouldn’t pick on Edwards quite so much.  At least he delegated this task to his wife.  None of the other Democratic candidates has even attempted, whether personally or through proxies, to make the obvious moral point — namely, that MoveOn.org went beyond the pale when it launched a subsidized attack against a high-ranking General for having the temerity to tell a truth its don’t want to hear, and that they want to hide from the rest of America.

Hat tip:  Drudge

John Edwards: Hypocrite

I don’t think that there’s any doubt that Democrats are twitching with almost unseemly delight in Larry Craig’s humiliating fall from grace. Here is a man who stood for family values and was hostile to all things gay, and yet he was caught tapping his foot in a men’s room. As for me, I’d be a little dubious about basing a life destroying (for him) charge of homosexuality based on foot tapping alone were it not for the fact that there have for years been rumors that Craig was a deeply closeted homosexual.

In the wake of this story, the term that seems to be most closely linked to Craig is “hypocrite. ” Indeed, a Google search turned up 190,000 hits for the search “Larry Craig hypocrite.” Although I’m sure that not all of the 190,000 hits actually touch upon this scandal and people’s conclusions about Craig, I bet a large percentage do.

The thing is, I think it’s questionable whether Craig is, in fact, a hypocrite. A hypocrite is defined as “a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.” Under that standard, we can conclude that Craig is a hypocrite only if we can prove that he gleefully touted family values in public, all the while laughingly and without guilt, living a homosexual life in private. I doubt that’s true. My suspicion is that Craig genuinely believes in the values he publicly espoused, and that he lives an anguished dark alley kind of live trying to fulfill his homosexual urges. He’s almost certainly a failure in his own eyes.

However, I can easily think of a politician who is truly a hypocrite. He’s a man who pushes one set of behaviors on the American masses, while openly and proudly living a life that is a completely betrayal of those same demands. That is, there’s no anguish here, nor sense of deep moral failing because he can’t live up to the standards he espouses. Instead, he flaunts in our faces a lifestyle he would deny to the rest of us.

I speak, of course, of John Edwards. John Edwards is the one who only recently demanded that we give up our big cars, a demand he made despite the fact that he owns a house with two garages, garages that, I’m sure, could easily house the two SUVs he owns (and I bet those aren’t his only cars). Hypocrite.

John Edwards talks movingly of the two Americas, one rich and one poor:

Today, under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one: One America that does the work, another that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. One America – middle-class America – whose needs Washington has long forgotten, another America – narrow-interest America – whose every wish is Washington’s command. One America that is struggling to get by, another America that can buy anything it wants, even a Congress and a president.

Edwards has plans to fix those two Americas, almost all of which involve increasing the economic burdens on the solid, working middle class. His plan includes, among other things,

(1) increasing the minimum wage, which is always a good way to stifle employment (just ask Germany and France, whose minimum wages are great and whose unemployment routinely hovers close to the double digits);

(2) having the government create jobs (and when or where has that ever worked except when Roosevelt created full employment by getting America into World War II?);

(3) increasing government investment in unions (which are declining in membership probably because they don’t cater anymore to the average working guy), thereby turning unions into one more mouth sucking it up at the taxpayer trough;

(4) creating huge increases in government subsidized housing, so that the middle class can no longer afford homes, but can rest easy knowing that their taxes have provided housing for everyone else; and on and on.

Every single proposal he has requires increased government spending and increased government control over the economy. We’ve seen how well that works in Europe, which managed to live high on the hog only while America supplied a military, so Europeans didn’t have to. As it is, now Europe is collapsing under the weight of armies of old people demanding cradle to grave welfare, while declining numbers of young people (those nasty falling birth rates) mean that there is no one left to pay for the hungry maw of this welfare state.

All of this would be the usual dated socialist babble that comes from a Democratic party that is so stuck in the 1960s/1970s, that it is utterly incapable of looking at the failure of those systems where tried. The difference here, though, is that this babble comes from John Edwards.

This is the John Edwards who demands socialized medicine built on the back of taxpayers, even though it was precisely his type of misbegotten faux scientific lawsuit that helped drive up insurance rates, thereby helped driving up medical costs, thereby helping drive millions of people right out of the medical system altogether. Funnily enough, I don’t see John Edwards either apologizing for the damage he wrought, or giving any of his tens of millions of dollars contingency fees back on that one. Hypocrite.

This is the John Edwards who has a strong environmental score card, much of it aimed at getting us into small cars or better yet, out of cars altogether; that would have us be cold in the winter and hot in the summer; and that would affect America’s manufacturing abilities. All fine, if you believe being green is a good thing either because of global warming (something I, along with more than half of the world’s published scientists, haven’t bought into) or because you’d love to bankrupt the tyrannous, anti-American theocracies of the Middle East (as I very much would). The problem with Edwards, however, in terms of his votes on the environment is that they haven’t stopped him from building himself an ostentatious hog of a house, which comes in at almost 30,000 square feet, or from zipping around in gas hog cars. That is, he talks the environmental talk, at our cost, but ostentatiously does not walk the environmental walk in his own life. Hypocrite.

And getting back to that “Two Americas” war on poverty thing. Was it only me, or did it smell pretty foul that one way he set about solving the poverty problem was to work at a Hedge Fund, economic playground of the rich, rich, rich, to “educate” himself. He must have educated himself really well, because he earned so much money even he is afraid to divulge the amount — and, by the way, he’s keeping it. I also doubt that his little war on poverty is being helped much by the fact that he’s got $16,000,000 of his dollars invested in a fund that his foreclosing left and right on Katrina victims. Hypocrite.

Clearly, John Edwards is not skulking around in dark corners, wishing he could live up to the standards he’s forcing on others (which is, I suspect, where the tortured Larry Craig lurks). Instead, he’s quite open about the fact that we, the ordinary, very hard-working people must give up the comforts of life and hand over to the government ever increasing amounts of our honestly earned pay, while he gets to live an entirely different life style, one characterized by opulence and selfishness.

Given Edwards’ manifest disdain for those he claims he’ll represent, and his high comfort level with demanding of us sacrifices he would never believe in making himself, I am truly baffled when I get political emails telling me that “John Edwards has adopted sound and courageous policy positions. He has not stayed on the sidelines or attempted to straddle the middle on the key issues of our time.”

All John Edwards has ever done is adopt paternalistic and condescending policy positions — positions his very open personal behavior shows that he would never, never consider abiding by himself. Of course, if the real key issue of our time in his supporter’s eyes is John Edward’s anti-War stance, as to that, I do absolve him of hypocrisy. I’m absolutely certain that his demand that no one fight for America comforts entirely with his personal belief systems — because he’d never fight for America himself.

(If you think this post deserves prominence at the Patrick Ruffini 2008 Presidential Wire, please click ** here**.)

UPDATE: On the subject of hypocrisy, I really, really like Thomas Lifson’s ruminations about Arthur Miller, who was recently discovered to have been horrifically cruel to his Downs Syndrome son. Like Lifson, I never liked Miller’s plays either, finding them horribly bombastic and peopled with nasty, weak, immoral characters who, I always suspected, were more reflective of Miller’s own personality than the world around him.

UPDATE IIBurt Prelutsky sees the same thing I do when he looks at Edwards although, at the end of his article, he adds in a little dollop of Edwards’ actual rank stupidity.  It really doesn’t say much for American Democrats that Edwards is polling so well.