Is the House GOP leadership being blackmailed into voting for amnesty?

SpyingPeople are asking why, with a potentially successful midterm election coming, the GOP has decided to go forward with amnesty, even though (a) only 3% of Americans care about the issue and (b) the base is strongly opposed to the GOP’s plan.  On its face, this seems like an insane thing to do, since it can destroy the Republican party in two ways, first, by denying it success in the 2014 midterm and, second, by creating a permanent Democrat constituency.

I think that Glenn Reynolds might inadvertently have provided the answer by juxtaposing two posts:

GOP and amnesty

(Links to the two posts referenced are here and here.)

Has the GOP House leadership been threatened into sabotaging the 2014 midterms?  To answer that, consider that the NSA trolls indiscriminately for all cell phone and internet content.  The sheer volume of information means that it’s unlikely that the NSA can review it in real-time so as to prevent an imminent attack.  The best way to use that information is to pick a target and then, having isolated the target, to go back into the saved data and to fined content that damages the target.

Once the NSA has completed its targeting data troll, GOP politicians who have had affairs, used drugs, engaged in illegal transactions, etc., might find themselves facing a government official who says something along the lines of “Nice life ya’ got here.  Shame if something happened to it.  Kinda like the something that happened to Dinesh d’Souza, if you know what I mean.”

Yes, I know that sounds like paranoid wacko stuff.  But consider that just five years ago, we would have dismissed as paranoid wacko stuff all of the following:  IRS persecution of conservative political organizations; NSA spying indiscriminately on email and cell phone, as well as on the House of Representatives and media members; the Department of Justice engaged in gun-running; video makers getting imprisoned as Free Speech martyrs to hide an administration’s failure to prevent a terrorist attack; nuns being forced to pay for birth control and abortifacient pills; deals with Iran that effectively allow it to become a nuclear nation; and a president who uses executive orders, not to effectuate executive duties, but instead to nullify existing law or to create non-existent law out of whole cloth.

Given an administration that views the Constitution as a hindrance, why shouldn’t we believe that it’s engaging in the tried and true communist tactic of spying on opponents, getting dirt on them, and then using that dirt to force them to act against their interests?

The Hillary factor

Bill-Clinton-and-Hillary--001Roger Simon has warned conservatives that they’re taking their eye off the ball — and the ball is Hillary Clinton.  While we conservatives are fighting our internecine Rove versus Cruz arguments, Hillary is continuing to amass power.  It’s not just that the New York Times is whitewashing Benghazi on her behalf, says Simon.  Instead, it’s that she, unlike Obama, actually has the political chops (including the political husband) to consolidate socialist gains in American government:

The principal enemy for the right and the center-right is now Hillary Clinton, the vastly favored frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She is so far in front, in fact, that her competitors are not even in hailing distance. Hillary is the one who can consolidate and solidify the “gains” of the Obama era in a way Obama himself never could because she is much more politically savvy — Obama was only savvy about getting elected, not governing — and has the backing of her even more politically savvy husband. Hillary is the one who can fully remake the United States into some version of Western Europe or, yet more frighteningly, China, a permanently stratified state capitalism governed by quasi-totalitarian bureaucrats. (We can call this system Soros Marxism, meaning a ruling clique of increasingly rich corporate czars employing a propagandistic veneer of socialist equality to keep the power and wealth for themselves.)

With that in mind, how does one explain the fact that Richard Cohen, an ardent Progressive, has penned a column telling everyone that Hillary may have been harmed by Obamacare?  He argues that, if people don’t like Obamacare, they won’t like her.  That argument is a red herring.  The facts on the ground are that Hillary kept away from Obamacare.  Her own dreams of socialized medicine notwithstanding, she had the smarts and political savvy to recognize early on that Obamacare, an unholy marriage of government and insurance companies, would be DOA and start to smell very quickly.  My take on Cohen’s overacted hand wringing it is that he thinks the best thing to happen now is for conservatives to leave Hillary alone, so that she can continue to aggregate political power.  “Move along!  Nothing to see here.  Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain.”

So yeah, I think that Cohen’s article, to the extent it tries to distract attention from Hillary, proves that Simon is correct.  The Left wants Hillary to be left alone so that she can get ready for her spectacular, pre-paved emergence on the political scene.

I think, though, that Simon errs in one thing, which is his belief that the internecine war in the Republican party doesn’t matter.  Instead, it matters a great deal.  Conservatives aren’t stupid.  They know that, if another Democrat — any Democrat — gets the White House, we’ll be irrevocably on the pathway to becoming Greece.  There will be no turning back.  Knowing that, conservatives are taking a stand as to how to block that possibility:  with Tea Party, constitutional firebrands or with establishment, appeasing RINOs.  That the latter might do nothing at all to block the possibility is not something their supporters are considering.  Instead, their analysis is that the MSM has so terribly damaged the Tea Party brand that it cannot possibly win, so it’s better to back RINOs who are imperfect but might win.

The Big Lie is already making the truth irrelevant; or, Republicans are once again waiting for the manure shower

Biff manureA friend sent me a very funny email.  I don’t know if the numbers are precisely accurate, but I do know that they’re accurate enough to serve a larger truth, namely America’s overwhelming turn in 1942 from a peacetime nation into a fully armed, fully operational wartime nation. In this way, the facts stated distinguish themselves from the Progressive concept of “truthiness,” which means “fake, but [God alone knows how] accurate”:

During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the Surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the U.S. produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 military trucks.

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.

It’s worth noting, that during the almost exact amount of time, the Obama administration couldn’t build a functioning web site.

To me, living in my  head as I do, a head filled with news and political commentary, the above is both funny and devastating.  It puts into perspective the pathetic disaster that was the Obamacare exchange launch and should remind everyone that a government this bad at one thing is almost certainly also a government incapable of performing the most basic functions . . . such as protecting us from our declared enemies.

Immediately after getting the above email, I read that the New York Times is working hard to re-write the Benghazi slaughter so as to clean up both Hillary’s and Barack’s reputations. And I know, and you know, that even though the New York Times is losing subscribers like mad, that fact is kind of irrelevant, because the Times still the news source for all sorts of other newspapers across America.  Go ahead.  Check out your morning local rag.  You’ll see that at least one story comes direct from the Times or from the Washington Post or from the Associated Press.  As Conan proved in a funny, fluffy video, no matter the outlet, the story’s always the same.

The Obama administration is now boasting that one million people signed up for Obamacare in December.  Maybe it’s true; maybe it’s not.  The two things we know with certainty are (1) that the media won’t press for the truth and (2) that the media will work as one in the coming months to shill for Obamacare.  The glitches are over; the wonders are on their way.

Yes, we who have not drunk the Kool Aid know that Obamacare will collapse under its own weight, but that doesn’t matter.  All that the media hustlers need to do is keep those plates spinning until the day after the November 2014 election.  After that, they’re home free no matter what happens.

And please don’t look to the Republican Party for help.  It’s so busy trying to take out the Tea Party (it’s bad for business, doncha’ know?) that it’s ignoring the most wondrous political opportunity handed to it since . . . well, since never before.  Rick Moran sounds the warning, but don’t expect the money guys in the GOP to hear that tocsin:

Are Republicans smart enough to counter this propaganda with nightmare stories about sky-high premiums, the cancellation of perfectly good insurance policies, website errors, and other tragic experiences that ordinary people have had with Obamacare? Democrats couldn’t accuse them of cherry picking bad news when they’re cherry picking good news.

This is a long-term war to be played out over the coming years. What I don’t see yet is a commitment from the national Republican Party to engage the resources necessary to counter the Democrats move for move. There doesn’t appear to be a plan in place which means they’ll be improvising on the fly. That just won’t cut it.

With the Obamacare website now largely operational, the first phase of the battle is over. But unless the GOP stays on its toes, they are likely to be buried by the administration PR machine.

The Leftist PR machine is gearing up hard.  Moreover, with this video as a graphic illustration, please remember that the agile Democrats are already on the move, while the Republicans are the ones sitting in the car:

What should Republicans do to ensure that this serious Democrat crisis doesn’t go to waste?

Epic fail
Rahm Emanuel famous said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.“  As of today, Avik Roy explains that the Obama administration is facing a serious crisis when it comes to Obamacare:

It’s hard to come up with new ways to describe the Obama administration’s improvisational approach to the Affordable Care Act’s troubled health insurance exchanges. But last night, the White House made its most consequential announcement yet. The administration will grant a “hardship exemption” from the law’s individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance, to anyone who has had their prior coverage canceled and who “believes” that Obamacare’s offerings “are unaffordable.” These exemptions will substantially alter the architecture of the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers are at their wits’ end, trying to make sense of what to do next.

That’s just the intro.  In paragraph after paragraph, Roy details the disaster facing the administration as it makes up rules on the fly.  Like the hydra, every time the administration thinks its lopped off a problem, two or three more pop up in its place.

Presumably, when the dust settles and the private insurance market is destroyed, the Democrats will say, “See, we told you that the private market couldn’t be fixed.  It’s time to socialize our healthcare system.”  That will be their version of not letting a crisis go to waste.  It’s scary to think that Americans have been so brainwashed that it’s entirely possible that, rather than recoiling in horror and saying, “We will never let you brainless, tyrannical incompetents touch our healthcare again,” Americans will instead say, “D’Oh!  You’re right.  You’d better take over the whole thing.”

All of which is to say that Republicans and other conservatives ought to figure out ways to capitalize on this crisis too.  My instinct is that it’s best if Republicans in Congress don’t act.  After all, when your opponent is busy digging a deeper and deeper hole, you don’t throw them a rope ladder.  To the extent that Obamacare can never be made workable, Republicans would do well to keep their fingerprints off this disaster.  But that doesn’t mean they should keep silent.

So, what should Republicans say that will best enable them to capitalize on the Obamacare debacle, not just in the area of healthcare, but regarding Big Government itself?

And if that question is too easy for you, here’s a harder one:  Even though the media is disappointed with Obamacare, that doesn’t mean that its members won’t protect Obama and the Democrats to their dying breath.  They are the living embodiment of that hackneyed saying “Nobody gets to pick on my little brother except for me.”  How, then, should Republicans who are saying the right things make sure that the public hears what they have to say?

The optimist’s take on Harry Reid’s going nuclear — and why I am a pessimist

nuclear-explosion

Harry Reid has just succeeded in doing what Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t do:  he’s going to pack the court.  Yes, Roosevelt was aiming for the Supreme Court, while Reid’s only going after the district and appellate courts, but the reality is that we’re seeing incrementalism.  Today, the lower level courts; tomorrow, the minority in the Senate becomes utterly powerless.

Daniel Horowitz recommends a hyper-nuclear retaliation:

There is one simple thing Republicans can do to retaliate.  They can start by ending the Democrat super-majority on legislative issues.  They can easily pledge to filibuster every piece of legislation and deny all requests for unanimous consent until the rules change is overturned.

How would Harry Reid respond to a complete shutdown of the Senate?  Would he abolish the filibuster even for legislation?  Let him try.  But for now, he has nothing to fear from just eliminating the filibuster on judges because he knows Republicans will not retaliate.  Reid knows that there is not a single issue where McCain, Corker, Graham, and Alexander will now withhold support simply because they were stiffed with the nuclear option.

On his show today, Rush recommended the Senate equivalent of a sit-down strike:  he said that Republican senators should refuse to vote on anything that the Democrat majority brings to the Senate floor. ending even the pretense of bipartisanship.  It also means that one party will own every piece of legislation, for better or worse.  There’s a certain purity to that.

Of course, both Horowitz and Rush know that the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are constitutionally incapable of withholding the hand of love and friendship from Harry Reid and his bomb dropping pals.  So, the ideas are cute, but unworkable.

There are others who think that Republicans shouldn’t be too worried, because Reid’s hypocritical destruction of a minority voice in the Senate will hurt the Democrats more in the long-term than help them.  Ezra Klein, who’s a partisan hack, but not an idiot, recognizes that Reid may unwittingly have delivered a Trojan Horse to his own party:

There’s a lot of upside for Republicans in how this went down. It came at a time when Republicans control the House and are likely to do so for the duration of President Obama’s second term, so the weakening of the filibuster will have no effect on the legislation Democrats can pass. The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections, and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015 and then he will be able to take advantage of a weakened filibuster. And, finally, if and when Republicans recapture the White House and decide to do away with the filibuster altogether, Democrats won’t have much of an argument when they try to stop them….

William Jacobson thinks Klein is on to something.  As he sees it, the filibuster actually worked against conservatives, because it locked in incremental socialism.  For the past several decades, once Democrats got a redistributionist, nanny-state policy in place, nothing could dislodge it, an effect he calls “the rachet.”  By going nuclear, says, JacobsonReid opened the door to the complete reversal of Democrat policies.  When Republicans get their turn at the majority in Congress and take the White House (which many assume will happen at the end of Obama’s reign), they will easily be able to reverse every bad Democrat policy, something that was always impossible before:

Decades of negative and destructive policies can be reversed with a bare majority. Obamacare can be repealed with a bare majority. True Conservative Judges will not be banished due to a filibuster threat.

Yes, it’s true that the absence of a filibuster could accelerate the destructive policies. That fear is justified, particularly as to the judiciary. But face it, we were headed there anyway unless drastic action was taken.

That drastic action took place yesterday. By Democrats.

Now at least we have a chance to achieve previously unimaginable progress in a single presidential term if we also have bare majorities in Congress and a President with the willpower. It will take only one such term.

The ratchet has been broken. And opportunity created, even if dependent upon future electoral success.

It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.

Jacobson’s last sentence, however, encapsulates why I do not share his optimism:  “It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.”  “Us” happens to be Republican politicians.  I think we’re all in agreement that, as I’ve repeatedly said, Republicans have good ideas but bad politicians.  As the song goes, “If there’s a wrong way say it, And a right way to play it, Nobody does it like me; If there’s a wrong way to do it, A right way to screw it up, ha, Nobody does it like me.” That song could easily be the GOP anthem, and they rush from failure to failure without Shirley Bassey’s charm and style:

Here’s the conservative reality in the 2014 and 2016 elections, and that’s even assuming GOP nominees win:  The GOP’s all-out warfare against the Tea Party, which seeks constitutional government, tells you that the guys in the Senate have no interest in rocking the boat.  Moreover, open primaries in states such as California mean that the likelihood of having a principled conservative even take a stand against the Democrat Senate monopoly is not just close to zero, but actually zero.

Also, we’re not looking at Reid having this Senate majority just through the 2014 elections.  First, the numbers game indicates that Democrats may continue to hold the Senate by the one vote even in 2014.  Moreover, even if Republicans get a majority, it’s impossible for them to get the type of majority that will survive an Obama veto.  This means that Democrats have three years to play around with unopposed power.  The damage they can do is incalculable and quite possibly irreversible.

If you’re more optimistic than I am, though, and actually think, as Jacobson does, that the GOP has a prayer of not screwing things up, you may be asking why in the world Harry Reid would deliver this Trojan Horse to his party.  James Taranto thinks he has the answer:

In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” which we quoted in May, psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains the idea of loss aversion:

When directly compared or weighted against each other, losses loom larger than gains. This asymmetry between the power of positive and negative expectations or experiences has an evolutionary history. Organisms that treat threats as more urgent than opportunities have a better chance to survive and reproduce.

That insight is the basis of prospect theory, which posits that people will take bigger risks in the hope of minimizing a loss than in the hope of maximizing a gain. The psychological impact of the loss itself clouds one’s thinking about the risks of magnifying the loss. That explains why the Democrats went nuclear just as the perils of doing so multiplied.

Taranto and Jacobson could both be correct, but I will continue to believe until proven otherwise that the Republicans will take this theoretically golden opportunity and destroy it, because that’s what elected Republican officials do.

Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election

As is too often the case, Republicans are busy snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  Despite the fact that the Obamacare debacle has been playing out before Americans’ eyes for more than three weeks, the RNC has done absolutely nothing to capitalize on the fact.  Jonah Goldberg suggests at least sending out a letter:

If I was writing it, I would say something like, “The president vowed to you on numerous occasions (see attached document) that you could keep your insurance and that you would save money under the Affordable Care Act. This was untrue. Whether it was a well-intentioned mistake or a more deliberate deception, what the president and his party told you was flatly untrue, and we said so at the time.”

I then might go on to promise something like “the party will do everything it can, within its power, to alleviate the burden the Democrats have imposed on you and the country. We are of course limited by the fact that the president and his party control the agenda in Washington. If you think we’re due for a change, we’d love your support. If you think these changes are good for you, your family or the country, then obviously we politely disagree. If you think — as we do — that there’s got to be a better way, we hope you’ll give us a fresh look.”

That’s a nice letter.  Without condescension, it reminds voters that the Republicans predicted and tried to stop this train wreck, it offers that Republicans will do whatever is in their power to help remedy the situation, and it reminds voters that the best remedy is a Republican majority in 2014 and again in 2016.

Goldberg’s good advice notwithstanding, Republicans are silent — or, if they’re not silent, they’re still engaged in a bloody internecine war that leaves innumerable openings for Democrats to blame everyone from Cruz, to Bush, to Nixon, to generic Republicans for Obamacare.

Last night, 60 Minutes, while coyly keeping both Hillary’s and Obama’s names out of the story, revealed what conservatives have long known about Benghazi:  it was a carefully planned al Qaeda attack; al Qaeda warned everyone and his mother that it would take place; embassy security in Benghazi was a joke; the administration had been told repeatedly about the attack and about the security situation; and the administration did precisely nothing before or during the attack.

Now that 60 Minutes has broken the wall of silence, this should be a headline story in every paper and on every TV show in the land.  But of course it’s not.  And with the exception of Lindsey Graham, who’s doing some huffing and puffing, Republicans are sitting there with their thumbs in their mouths.

John McCain is going one step further, and praising Hillary to high Heaven.  (Could it be that McCain is being Machiavellian here?  One could argue that McCain hasn’t abandoned the idea of running for president in 2016.  He wants an opponent who will be easy to beat and, with the Benghazi albatross around her neck, McCain thinks she’s that opponent.  Did I just hear you say that’s an insanely stupid idea that gives McCain too much credit?  I think you’re right.  Forget I ever said it.)

We tend to see the Democrats as winning through lies, chicanery, media manipulation, and outright fraud (not to mention the whole IRS thing).  I do think, though, that we have to acknowledge that it’s not just that the Democrats win elections.  The Republicans lose elections.

McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012 were both abysmal candidates under any standards.  This isn’t to say whether they would have been good or bad presidents (although I suspect either would have been significantly better than Obama).  The problem began and ended with their campaigns:  both were boring speakers; both were flat-footed debaters; both were utterly incapable of articulating core conservative values that bind together everyone from libertarians to the fading Reagan Democrat coalition; both failed to recognize the internet’s importance in their campaigns; and both were afraid to get their hands dirty in dealing with a black man (although McCain has always been happy to fight his own political family).

My feeling now is that if Chris Christie or Ted Cruz throw their hats into the ring, and if they can survive the inevitable circular firing squad from fellow Republicans fighting in the primaries, one or the other will top the ticket.  This has nothing to do with whether they’ll be good presidents (although I’m sure each would be substantially better than anyone the Democrats dredge up).  Both, however, will be good candidates.  Unlike McCain and Romney — and unlike Obama, Hillary, and Warren — these guys are so fast on their feet that they can wow people by giving extemporaneous speeches without teleprompters and notes, and they’ll never fall into “um” or “uh” land the way Obama, McCain, and Romney did.  Debates will be enjoyable blood baths, with the Democrats doing the (rhetorical) bleeding.

When it comes to articulating a conservative position, Cruz will have the edge over Christie.  Christie has proven that, for the most part, his conservative beliefs begin and end with defanging the unions.  I respect that, I really do, but it’s going to leave him rudderless and speechless when it comes to articulating ideas that can actually win people over to something grander than union bashing.

Both will have to tone down their arrogance.  Unlike Obama, who floated through life on an affirmative action cloud, both these men are indeed smarter than most people, and they have the resumes to prove it — not just jobs obtained, but actual accomplishments.  Since the media will not be able to portray them as idiots, as it did with George Bush and John McCain, it will have to go the Romney route with both:  they’re evil plutocrats, a la Snidely Whiplash, just dreaming of ways to tie the American people to some foul capitalist railway track to let them die.  Since both tend to be arrogant, they’re going to have to find some humility, or else this media charge will stick and destroy them.

Significantly, they’re both guys who live for the fight. Christie’s going to have a bit of a hard time overcoming his bromance with Obama, but Cruz is going to come out swinging, and will take no prisoners regardless which Democrat ends up representing that ticket.

The fact that both Christie and Cruz are lawyers is disappointing. It would be splendid to see someone other than a lawyer in the White House. As an ex-military guy, Allen West would be a delightful addition to the presidential roster, but I just don’t see it happening. I think the world of him, I admire his principles, I believe he’s a fighter, and he’s a good speaker, but even by the low standards Obama set, a two-year tenure in the House probably isn’t going to convince the American people to elect West president.

Do you have predictions for 2016?  I know it’s a long time away, but it’s worth thinking about now, both because it’s a pleasant diversion from depressing headlines and because the headlines about Obamacare, Benghazi, and the economy are tarnishing the Democrat brand.

Assuming that the Republicans can stop fighting each other and start riding the anti-Democrat wave, what should they do?  And who would you like to see getting groomed for the 2016 White House?

In the long term, what will the shutdown theater’s effect be on the political scene?

The shutdown is over — the Republicans caved because no one was willing to face the risk that Obama would jettison the Constitution and allow the United States government to default. I think it’s a bit more nuanced then a total collapse, though, and I think it may still effect future change.

Those who have hung around the Bookworm Room for a long time know that I believe that it was to George Bush’s advantage that the media portrayed him as a loose cannon cowboy.  I don’t think this was a true characterization, but it certainly kept the world’s bad actors nervous.

It’s a little different with Obama.  He’s repeatedly proven that he has nothing but disdain for the Constitution and the free market.  Because we’re trying to predict his future conduct based upon his past actions, people weren’t being unreasonable in fearing that he would cheerfully invite in world-wide economic disaster.

The Left is now celebrating:  Obama won.  The Tea Party was shown to be the party of stupid killjoy spoilsports who tried to undo the law (never mind, please, that what they did was entirely Constitutional).  It’s over.  Close the book.

But I don’t think so….

Here’s what I think (or maybe just what I hope).  In about two weeks, Americans will have completely forgotten the shutdown, as they’ve forgotten almost all of the past shutdowns, except maybe for the clash between Clinton and Gingrich.  That had some high drama and good television, so it resonated a bit.  The other shutdowns, though, are down the memory hole.

There are a few things people will remember, though.  They’ll remember that the president went after the military and spitefully denied Americans access to their own outdoor treasures.  They’ll remember that the Obamacare exchanges had a disastrous debut, with stone-age technology and staggeringly high socialist wealth redistribution.  And they’ll remember that the Republicans tried everything they could to derail or delay Obamacare.  When it comes to the fight against Obamacare, the Republicans now have a record to run on.

What Republicans can and should say in 2014 and again in 2016 is “We tried, but it was an impossible task.  The only thing that can work is if we take the Senate in 2014, and then get the White House in 2016 while still holding onto Congress.  We are your last chance.”

And if that “last chance” shtick doesn’t work, it still makes for funny Fawlty TV:

Michael Walsh predicts a “Republican Spring”

In 2011, we had the Arab Spring.  Michael Walsh is now predicting a “Republican Spring” which we all hope will end more successfully than the unfolding disaster in the Middle East:

In the aftermath of Senator Ted Cruz’s epic performance on the Senate floor, a few observations:

After his disgraceful attacks on Cruz, including his reach-across-the-aisle, dog-in-the-manger response today, this should be the end of Senator John McCain as a voice of influence in the Republican party. Ditto his mini-me, Senator Lindsey Graham. Indeed, the entire Old Guard of business-as-usual “comity” fans passeth. When you care more about what the other side thinks, it’s probably time either to switch teams or step down.

There is new leadership in the GOP, whether the party wants to admit it or not: Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, and the others who stepped into the breach to spell the senator from Texas.

The popular reaction to Cruz will be immediate and noticeable; the more the old bulls carp, the more the public will rally to Cruz’s side. The country has been spoiling for a real fight since the election of 2008, and now it has one.

Conservatives have finally realized that, as it’s currently constituted, they have no home in the Republican party, which is the Washington Generals to the Democrats’ Harlem Globetrotters, the designated losers who nevertheless are rewarded handsomely for their sham opposition.

To that end, conservatives understand that rather than form a third party, their only hope is to seize control of the corrupt, rotting hulk of the GOP, which they now can do with the help of a reinvigorated Tea Party — especially with Lois Lerner’s IRS off its back.

The Cruz faction in the Senate, and its allies in the House (whose leadership is now up for grabs) must now press their advantage. The louder the Democrats squawk, the more they are wounded; the one thing they’ve long feared is a direct assault on their core beliefs as translated into actions, and the deleterious effects of Obamacare, just now being felt by the population, are the most vivid proof of the failure of Progressivism that conservatives could wish for.

Please the rest here.  Every word is interesting.

I’m actually quite optimistic because a Republican Spring will be predicted on individual freedom, unlike the Arab Spring, which was predicated on subordination to a tyrannical theocracy.  The only risk is that a party predicated on freedom tends to organize badly and have all the coherence and stability of a room full of soap bubbles.

ADDENDUM:  Things are happening quickly and in unpredictable ways.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that since our trip to St. Petersburg this summer.  As you know, Obama and the rest of the progressives keep talking about being on the “right side of history.”  This isn’tt history that’s happened yet, of course.  It’s what they assume historians in the future will say as they look back upon our present.  In other words, progressives think that they can see the future.

When I was growing up, though, no one saw the Soviet Union’s future, something made staggeringly clear to me when we spent two days in St. Petersburg this summer.  The kids, who were born long after the wall fell, could not comprehend the fact that my husband and I were still stunned by the rampant capitalism there.  Right up until the wall fell, no one could have predicted that the heart and soul of communism would have streets lined with advertisements for Prada.  Perhaps it was more predictable that it would become corrupt but, throughout the 1990s, I didn’t see that coming either.  Now, though, everyone to whom we spoke told us that life in Putin’s Russia is hopelessly corrupt, and that they’re enjoying their window of freedom while they can, since they fear it will end soon.

And on that subject, Clifford D. May looks at a possible Third Act to follow upon Russia’s twisty-turny recent past and tumultuous present.

Chuck Hagel — a litmus test for Republican weakness and stupidity

Hagel’s been confirmed.  As Sean Hannity keeps saying, “Elections have consequences.”

The Democrats did what Republicans never do, which is to march in lockstep formation behind their leader even when he chose as Secretary of Defense a man with an IQ that doesn’t exceed the double digits, and a management history that proves his role model was the Pointy Haired Boss from the Dilbert cartoons.

We shouldn’t be surprised.  The Democrats’ world outlook is collectivist, and they behave collectively.  They have given their fealty to Obama.  If he ordered them to drink Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid, jump off a cliff, or retire from politics en masse, they would obey.  It doesn’t speak well of them that they subordinate their Creator-given gifts to party politics,  but it does make them effective.

And then we have Republicans.

Herding cats

The problem with Republicans is that they’re individualists.  Trying to get them to work together, even when pulling apart means sure death, is about as easy as herding cats.  What’s worse is that they’re not cool, sophisticated, self-assured cats.  Instead, they’re the dumb cats that John Hawkins describes:

Can you teach a cat to sit? To roll over? To come when it’s called? No, because cats are stupid. Granted, dogs are stupid, too, but they’re probably on the same level as your two-year old. A cat is closer in intelligence to a geranium — if a geranium had claws and a certain feral cunning it could use to track, torment, and kill smaller plants for its own amusement.

Hawkins had his tongue firmly in cheek when he wrote that.  As for me, when I apply those words to the flailing Republicans in Washington, my tongue is nowhere near my cheek.  Republican politicians are dumb.  Really, really dumb.

I have a few words for these dummies.  I applaud them for having the courage to run but that doesn’t make up for the fact that, once they get to Washington, the collapse in a spineless puddle the moment the drive-by media turns it sights on them.

Nerd

Here’s the deal, doofuses (doofae?):  Because the media will play everything and anything to make Obama look good and you look bad, stop trying to look good.  You are the geeks in high school, the losers at the work place, the dork at the dance.  No matter what happens, you will look stupid — in the short run.

But we smart people (and that group does not include you guys in D.C.) know that those high school geeks who stuck to their geek guns made smart decisions that made many of them rich and famous.  We know that the smart losers in the work place left their cubicles behind and became successful consultants.  And those dance floor dorks?  They’re the ones who managed to avoid the vapid blonde with STDs and, instead, find pretty young women of substance.

You idiots. . . . Sorry, I mean you Republican politicians think you’re playing a long-term game that goes like this:  “If we bend here, bow here, and scrape there, the new mandarins, especially in the media, will finally give us credit and the voters will support us.”  Dumb.  Dumb.  Dumb.

What you should be doing is stand up, vocally, for core conservative principles.  If those reporters ask you about rape, ignore them.  If they ask you about gay marriage, ignore them.  Right now, the media is making these pressing issues only doing so is a cheap and easy way to appeal to people’s emotions and deflect attention from the fact that we, as a nation, are going broke.  And you guys (and gals) let them get away with this shoddy tactic, simply because you’re so pathetically desperate for New York Times‘ approval.

If you were lucky enough to be a Republican who made it to (or stayed in) Congress, voters elected you pretty much for one reason:  Fiscal responsibility.  Even if the Tea Party candidates weren’t quite ready for prime time, it was the principles they asserted that created the wave that got you guys into office in 2010, and that kept some of you there in 2012.

Sequestration

So what should you be doing?  You should be harping on fiscal responsibility.  You should be screaming to the rafters at the way Obama is punishing ordinary citizens (e.g., releasing previously-arrested illegal aliens; threatening to make the TSA even worse; and threatening old people and children).  You should be reminding them that Obama is lying about the sequester.  It was his idea and it doesn’t cut past spending, but merely slows future spending.

Be loud in your conservative beliefs.  Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, WaPo, NYT, NPR, and CNN are going to ream you a new one regardless.  Stop making conservative bloggers do all the heavy lifting.  All we can do is preach to the choir.  If enough of you in Congress start making a loud noise, the media will have to report it.  At the very least, do yourself the favor of going down like a man, or a woman, not a sniveling coward.

And speaking of sniveling cowards, those Republicans who cast a yea vote for Chuck Hagel are exactly that.  Senators have a Constitutional duty to protect American citizens from a president who chooses a cabinet member who is manifestly unsuited for the post.  Hagel’s testimony and the information that started surfacing about him established conclusively that he is mean-spirited and dumb as a rock.

Hagel is anti-Israel, even though Israel is our ally; pro-Iran, even though Iran is our enemy; hostile to the American armed forces, even though he’ll now be in charge of them; antisemitic, even though his baseless canards have their roots in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, rather than the real world; devious, as was shown by his prevaricating about his past and his refusal to release documents; and really, really, really stupid.

I guess it’s that last factor — his rank stupidity — that proves that, all of his other qualities to the contrary, Hagel can still call himself a Republican.  Dems have turned on Israel, look longingly at Iran, hate the military, have a festering antisemitism in their ranks, and routinely lie about and hide information that Americans should know.  But when it comes to butt-numbing stupidity, Republicans win, hands down.  I guess you could call Hagel the double threat, seeing as he has the worst qualities of both parties.

 

Standing closer to the RINO can be dangerous

There’s a sad story making the rounds telling about a woman on a safari in Africa who wanted to get a picture of herself in the same frame as some rhinoceroses:

Rhino photo by Angela Sevin

The Beeld newspaper reported Tuesday that Chantal Beyer said the game park owner snapped pictures and suggested that she “stand just a little bit closer” seconds before the attack. Photos show Beyer and her husband only feet away from two rhinos.

The paper said that just after the photo was snapped, the rhino attacked, and its horn penetrated Beyers’ chest from behind, resulting in a collapsed lung and broken ribs, the paper said.

The AP story shows up in paper after paper with a headline that says something along the lines of “‘Stand closer to the rhino’ results in grave wounds.”

Because I view everything through a political filter, every time I see that heading, my brain converts it to “Stand closer to the RINO results in grave wounds.“  As far as I’m concerned, that’s just as accurate a headline as the original.  RINOs are neither fish nor fowl (although they are pretty foul).  They’re Democrat Lites whose overriding principle isn’t small government but is, instead, making friends in D.C. and avoiding nasty headlines from the media.

Do I believe in compromise?  Yes, absolutely — but only when there is a good faith effort to compromise and when there is common ground.  What today’s RINOs refuse to acknowledge is that the old rules governing compromise in Washington worked because RINOs viewed conservativism as a checkbook thing:  they weren’t wedded to small government, they were wedded to affordable government.  If they kept a moderate hand on the checkbook, they were doing their job.

Fork in the road

Now that federal spending has climbed to monstrous and destructive proportions, there is no way Republicans can fulfill their traditional “moderate” role of being a check on overspending.  That horse has long left the barn.  The only thing left for ostensibly Republican politicians to decide is whether America will be a soft socialist (drifting inevitably into hard socialist) country or a true capitalist country.  The American body politic is staring at a fork in the road with no middle ground.  Politicians have to go in one direction or another.  Those who choose the Democrat direction cannot call themselves Republicans.  They’re just Democrat stragglers, and they may as well acknowledge that fact.

In today’s political world, RINOs are a dreadful thing for true conservatives, because they give credibility to the Democrat drift to socialism.  They lend a superficial gloss of bipartisanship to outcomes that have nothing bipartisan about them.  They are enablers and they are dangerous.

Republican politicians ought to fix their sights on one bright star:  smaller government.  With that as their starting point, they can have coherent, credible positions on myriad issues that concern the American people — everything from budgets, to abortion, to gun control, to immigration.  Negotiations and possible compromise can flow from this ideologically sound starting point.  Oh!  And true conservatives really need to stay away from those dangerous RINOs.

Was the tax increase a major Republican loss?

Today’s big story the new tax bill that Obama jetted off to Hawaii before signing, but that will soon (and inevitably) become the law of the land.  I don’t see any surprises.  I knew that we’d get hit hard and so we have.

I gather that sequestration has now been averted, so that Obama gets to continue spending.  As the headlines say, $1 in spending cuts for every $41 in tax increases.

Obama laughing

The media and the blogs are playing this as a major Republican loss.  Although I’m not sure it is, I actually rejoice in these headlines.  They sting, but they may have a benefit in the long term.

In my simplistic financial view of the world, there is one given that transcends any fancy economic talk from Ivory Towers and Leftist back rooms:  you cannot indefinitely spend more than you take in.  This is true whether you’re a person or a nation.  You can certainly spend more than you have for a while.  Indeed, if you’re rich (as America once was) you can keep spending money you don’t have for a long time.  You can borrow from friends who haven’t quite figured out yet that you’re broke.  And you can check kite — that is, you can use one empty account to pay off another empty account.  Essentially, you keep the same money floating around between accounts for a while until one of the banks or creditors figures out that you’re simply juggling a few dollars around and hoping that no one catches on that your accounts are usually empty.  And that’s all you can do.

Obama ran for, and won, re-election on a promise that he could fix our problems by taxing “rich” people more, while continuing to spend as before.  The voters bought it.

Another way to think of Obama’s promise, and the voter’s credulity, is to imagine that America is a corporation, with shareholders and various officers.  Obama is the CEO.  Because the CEO and his fellow officers have been spending corporate money like crazy without realizing a profit, the corporation is broke.  It’s worth noting that some of that spending involved distributions to select shareholders — those holding the fewest corporate stocks.

When the shareholders were considering making a push to fire the CEO, the CEO kept his job by telling the shareholders that he’d hire some armed robbers (i.e., the IRS) to force some of the richest shareholders to buy more shares in this essentially bankrupt company.  He made no promises about reducing corporate spending or trying different approaches to dealing with corporate debt.  The shareholders, none of whom could imagine himself (or herself) as being “the richest,” thought it was a great idea to have the “other shareholders” forced to subsidize the corporate spending binge. Those most enthusiastic were the ones who, despite holding the fewest shares, had been getting stock distributions on a regular basis.

Robber

Once his job was assured, the CEO used his renewed power to do exactly what he promised:  he brought in armed robbers to forcibly remove money from the “rich” shareholders without changing his management style, including his spending habits.  The only thing that surprised some of the shareholders was to discover that the CEO numbered them amongst the rich.

In other words, Americans — the shareholders in this nation — just got exactly what Obama promised and they voted for:  more taxing, more spending.

The question, then, is whether yesterday’s vote to increase taxes is a major Republican loss.  Certainly, the Republican party is in chaos — but it was anyway.  After the election, the Republican party was a demoralized, writhing, screaming, finger-pointing mass of loser-dom.

Pathetic loser

Given the Republicans’ already pathetic posture, is what happened yesterday even worse for the Republicans?  I don’t think so.  I think that, with the mid-term elections coming, this clarifies things for voters.  It doesn’t just clarify Republican and/or conservative principles, it also clarifies just who holds those principles.

White House Money Machine

More than that, the new taxes and spending clarify responsibility for America’s economy.  Obama got exactly what he wanted and he thinks that he’s laughing all the way to the bank.  Except when he gets to the bank, he’ll discover it’s still empty.  Within a few months, he’ll be thinking of that adage “be careful what you wish for; you might get it.”

Things are certainly going to be bad, very bad, for America in the short term.  But with a true compromise, of the type Boehner was trying to craft (proving either his good faith or his stupidity), things would have been very bad for America in the slightly longer term.  Short of a revolutionary change to America’s spending habits, which wasn’t going to happen with a compromise, America was always screwed.  Now, at least the Republicans can say “we tried to stop this, but Obama had a stronger political hand in the wake of the elections, so we were forced to give him what he wanted.  This is now, for real and for true, the Obama economy.”

Obama frowning

The one thing to remember is that Republicans had better start selling this Obama-economy message hard and fast now, while Obama and his media minions are still gloating about his victory over the GOP.  Once things go sour, as they inevitably will, Obama and the media will start blaming the Republicans.  We know that, where the media leads, the masses follow.  The only way to stop the sheeple is to drill home now the message that this is Obama’s victory, that Obama got what he’d promised and what he wanted, and that Obama joyfully accepts the responsibility for whatever flows from his glorious battle defeating the Republicans.

Remember:  Nothing, absolutely nothing, that came out of Congress today could have been good for America.  However, if Republicans willingly hand Obama this victory, the greatest likelihood is that it proves to be a Pyrrhic victory for Obama, with long-term benefits for conservative thinking and, therefore, for America.

(Alternatively, Obama could have been right all along, which will be good for America, and I’ll have to revert to my original Democrat allegiance.  Possible, but not probable.  Facts are stubborn things and so are numbers, and I’m betting that Leftist political ideology will not trump either facts or numbers.)

Republicans: the Charlie Browns of politics

NRO has little daily polls.  Today’s asked if House Republicans are blowing in on the fiscal cliff.  The voting divide as of now is pretty close:

National Review Online - Mozilla Firefox 12212012 82322 AM.bmpI voted yes, but not because I was thinking about the substantive issues (taxes increases, spending cuts, etc.).  Instead, my “yes” vote resulted because I think the House Republicans blew it on a much more fundamental level:  Budget talks should have been done in public.

Having John Boehner sneak into smoke-filled rooms with Obama (both, after all, do smoke), had two terrible consequences.  First, it made Republicans look weak because, every time Obama made a ridiculous offer, Boehner came back with a counter offer.  Second, and this is the important one, Boehner utterly deprived Republicans of the chance to make their fiscal arguments out loud, directly to the American public.  Worse, by giving Obama the shelter of closed doors, Boehner protected him and his fellow Demos from having to defend a demand for more money without any significant spending cuts.

As it is, Republicans are now stuck with headlines that make it look as if they’re unwilling to tax bazillionaires, even though the principle driving their refusal to vote for Plan B revolves around Obama’s unwillingness to cut spending.

When will Republicans ever learn that Democrats don’t play fair, whether in back-room negotiations or on the front pages of the American media?  Honestly, if Democrats are bad because they’re dishonest and manipulative, Republicans are proving that they’re worse, because they’re too dumb to live.

Peanuts-Lucy-holds-football-for-Charlie-Brown

Is it the end of the world as we know it, or just a new phase in the battle for America’s soul?

I’ve had the same ten tabs open in Firefox this entire day.  I feel like a madman, trying to create order out of the chaos in my mind.  I’m convinced that there’s a thread tying together these articles, but I can’t figure out precisely what that thread is.  Maybe it’s just that each is another indicator that we’re starting to slide very quickly down some slippery slope, and I don’t think that we’re in for a soft landing.

Here are the articles, which I present in the order the presented themselves to me as I read through my normal websites and my email today.  If you can catch the elusive thread tying them together, please let me know.

***

I admire Jack Cashill greatly.  He’s a smart man and a superb investigator.  Nevertheless, I’ve long thought he had something of a bee in his bonnet with his insistence that TWA Flight 800 was anything more than a tragic disaster.  Now that I’ve had the dubious pleasure of watching the Obama administration work with the media to cover up events in Benghazi in order to salvage his reelection, however, I’m much more inclined to believe Cashill’s theory about the 1996 plane explosion — namely, that it was a terrorist attack, possibly of Iranian origination, and that Clinton and the media covered it up in order to secure his reelection.

***

I know this sounds callous, but I think that the only way to save America is to let Obama take it off the cliff.  Here’s my thinking regarding the “fiscal cliff” talks:  The Republicans have three choices:  (1) compromise; (2) stonewall; and (3) walk away.  If they compromise, they’ve lost, as a smugly victorious Obama clearly is not in a compromising mood.  He knows that, once the Republicans are a party to any economic plans, no matter how minimal or reluctant their participation, they will get the blame when things inevitably go wrong (or, in the unlikely event things go right, Obama will get all the credit). The Republicans will be irreparably smeared and become irrelevant.

If Republicans stonewall, the exact same thing will happen:  the media will blame them for anything that goes wrong, and give Obama credit for anything that might stay right.  And as this election showed, Americans listen to the media, despite knowing that it lies and conceals.

The only thing left for Republicans is to tell both Obama and the American voters, “The voters wanted Obama and his economic plans, so they shall get them.  We wash our hands of this.”  If things go well, then Republicans will have to accept that their policies are wrong.  If things go badly — and I suspect that they will, and quickly too — Republicans will finally have a convincing platform from which to sell true fiscal conservativism, rather than once again being enablers for Progressive profligacy. That platform, I believe, is the only thing that can return America to her status as a light of freedom and constitutional prosperity.

***

California health insurance rates are skyrocketing.  The usual suspects are blaming the insurance companies for having the temerity to want to earn enough money to pay their employees, pay-out to their insureds, and have money for stockholders (who are, after all, the ultimate owners of these companies).  You and I knew that this was inevitable under ObamaCare, since people no longer need to buy insurance when they’re healthy, but can wait until they’re sick.  And we knew that the media would blame the insurance companies — just as we know that, if there’s a single Republican fingerprint on any budget plan, the Republicans will get the entire blame for any failures.  Being a Progressive means never having to acknowledge that you’re culpable.

***

Speaking of the appalling, biased media, the IDF provides a detailed glimpse into the way the media and the Palestinians work hand-in-hand to destroy Israel, both in the battlefield and in the war for hearts and minds around the world.

***

It’s official:  Harvard will have a student society dedicated to S & M (that’s “sadism and masochism” for the innocents among you). Please remind me why Harvard is still considered a respectable educational institution, worth the millions of dollars taxpayers that send to it, both by funding direct federal grants and by picking up the costs of all the taxpayer-guaranteed loans its students conveniently forget to pay upon graduation.

***

Yes, Susan Rice is every bit as bad as you think she is — and it has nothing to do with her skin color and everything to do with her personality, political ideology, and ugly track record.

***

One of my high school friends calls himself a life-long conservative, something I did not know about him back in high school.  I think, though, that he could more accurately be summed up as a libertarian, since he is not at all a social conservative.  To that end, he’s expressed dismay with the increasingly high profile of fervently religious candidates in the Republican party.  He’s wondering if he can twist himself around to believe in the Democrat party, which he sees as non-religious.  I countered his concerns by sending him Dennis Prager’s article explaining that socialism is not just a religion, it’s currently the world’s most dynamic religion.  I recognize that the Republican party can be weak and pathetic, and that it is too often made up of RINOs or true ignoramuses who hide behind religion to excuse that ignorance.  Nevertheless, my friend needs to understand that the alternative is worse.

***

One of my long-time peeves (and one of the things that turned me to conservativism) is the way that Progressives mangled Title IX, which was, in relevant part, supposed to remove hurdles to women’s participation in college sports.  Equality of access?  It’s a good thing.  What Progressives have done, though, is to demand perfect equality of numbers.  Because college women have stubbornly refused to participate in college athletics at the same rate as college men, the only way to achieve this artificial parity is to slash men’s athletic programs.  James Taranto explains here, and makes us fully aware of yet another travesty inflicted on America thanks to Progressive politics.

***

And finally, it wasn’t your imagination that, for the first time in America, the 2012 election was openly predicated upon socialist class warfare. Just to make it official, a top Democrat political action group (conveniently working with George Soros funds) has started a website explicitly dedicated to class warfare.

***

So, was I right?  Is the common thread to these links the dissolution of America at every level?

I’m sorry if I sound bipolar.  Yesterday I was enthusing about the possibility of an American Margaret Thatcher and today I’m talking about imminent Armageddon.  The latter is how I feel; the former is how I want to feel.

In any event, I’m not sure one can ever fight a battle unless one simultaneously fears the opponent and feels optimistic about ones own abilities. In other words, success requires an honest assessment of the forces arrayed against you, as well as the belief that it is possible to prevail.  Without that belief, why bother to fight?

Democrats and Republicans do indeed have very differing views of the future

The day after Mitt Romney gave his speech, Jon Stewart went to town. It was a typical Jon Stewart exercise, replete with out-of-context snippets, juvenile sarcasm, and endlessly bleeped obscenities. One part of it, though, the very first part, stayed with me. If you watch just the first couple of minutes of the video below, you’ll see Stewart make fun of Romney’s statement about the way American people have traditionally looked to the future:

Romney:  “We Americans have always felt a special kinship with the future.”

Stewart:  “Yes, yes, yes.  We Americans, uniquely among Earth’s people, move forward in time.”

Nothing could more perfectly illustrate the differing ways the two parties think about the future.

I understood exactly what Romney meant.  Americans feel a special kinship with the future because they believe that their current actions will affect the future and make it better.  And indeed, the American trajectory has proven this believe to be a truism.  Through vigor and innovation, we’ve achieved measurable improvements in food production, health car, mobility, shelter, clothing, entertainment, communications, etc.  And that’s not just comparing us to American life one hundred or two hundred years ago.  You’ll get the same result — continuous quality-of-life improvement — by comparing us to American life just twenty years ago.  We work hard, we think creatively, and we make life better.

This sense of possibilities has been part of the American mental landscape forever, although it wasn’t until modern media that we were able to capture this optimistic sense of the future.  Nothing was unthinkable or un-doable.

Americans imagined a fashion future:

They saw exciting travel possibilities:

And they envisioned clean, comfortable, labor-saving homes:

That last clip was a Disney clip, and this is no coincidence. More than any figure in popular culture, Walt Disney believed that America was on a continued upward trajectory, one that saw our lives getting better and better. He didn’t see rich plutocrats living high on the hog, while the poor provided the necessary Soylent Green. Instead, Disney believed that, in his own lifetime, Everyman’s and Everywoman’s life had improved in a way never before seen in history, and he further believed that the American personality was such that nothing could stop this trend.

Disney put these core beliefs together in his Carousel of Progress — which for me, as a child, was the absolute best part of Disneyland, even better than the rides. I too believed that things could only get better:

And lest you think everyone looks to the future in this way, think again. The Egyptians were perfectly happy to live a relatively unchanged life for 3,000 years: same clothes, same food, same agricultural economy, same housing, same form of worship. There were, of course, small changes over the centuries, but nothing that resembled the changes America has experienced since 1776.

This holds true for large parts of the third world. People live as their ancestors lived for hundreds of years before. We go and, with our modern 21st century digital cameras take pictures — they are so picturesque — and then we return gratefully to our air-conditioned cars and hotel rooms, our hot running water, our washers and dryers, and our clean, healthy food.  Even Europe can be stultifying for the American traveler.  Because it raises money by looking old, nothing can change.

So yes, Mitt is right that Americans have traditionally believed that the future isn’t just the day after tomorrow, and then the day after that, ad infinitum. Instead, to Americans, the future is a real place, one that builds on the past, but that offers infinitely more.

The Democrats also have a vision of the future, but it’s not a greater future, it’s a lesser future. On the one hand, there is the coming Apocalypse, one that will see half of the earth under water and the other half a parched, Sahara-like desert. Billions of the world’s citizens will crowd this desert, choked by filthy air from factories and cigarettes, and desperately trying to force genetically modified Frankenstein-plants to grow in the barren land. That, they believe, is the American trajectory.

The other hand offers the only way to stop this Apocalypse:  Americans must turn their back on the future and revert to the past: a past with limited transportation abilities; primitive food production, free of scientific or mechanical intervention; no air-conditioning; no modern medicine; no defensive weaponry; and, most importantly, no people.

So, while Mitt Romney spoke explicitly to Republicans about the Republican view of the future, Democrats, with their abortion-fest, are offering an implicit vision of their future. It’s one that sees American thriving by subtraction not addition — and the fastest form of subtraction available is abortion.  To Democrats, children aren’t the promise of the future; they are, instead, the promise that the future will be destroyed.

Perhaps I’m irresponsible, but I like the optimism that characterizes the conservative belief in the future.  Looking at the world through Democrat eyes and seeing a future that is a barren rock or primitive hard place, makes life meaningless.  Honestly, the best thing you can do is go out and kill yourself, so that your intellectual superiors can delicately seed an empty land with their own progeny.

“I” conflicted

The Obama administration is headed for a big showdown with judicial accountability next year. Let’s look at the dance list thus far:

1. The “Fast and Furious” gunwalker scandal, involving potential collusion from the top of our government to funnel automatic weapons and explosives to drug cartels operating within and actively undermining a friendly government. Democrats lied, people died.

2. Solyndra: potential crony capitalism whereby more-than half a billion dollars of public monies disappeared and remain unaccounted for within a private company, actively supported by Obama administration officials, that went bankrupt. Who benefited? Where did that money go?

3. Lightsquared: a privately held company in which the President of the United States was a shareholder, that potentially benefited from tainted government testimony to implement a technology that may have put our defense systems at great risk.

Something tells me there will be other scandals to surface as well.

Put it all together and the Obama Administration may find itself in a maelstrom next year… just before election time.

As even major media outlets are acknowledging, this reeks of crony capitalism and the “Chicago Way”. Unfortunately, I fear that the details will go over the heads of most Americans, many of whom would prefer to avoid the facts altogether and worry about their personal economic lives.

Here’s my dilemma: if real crimes were committed, there has to be accountability. If not, crony capitalism and 3rd world corruption will become the new norm and, as Bookworm pointed out, we will inevitably evolve into a fascist state. However, to have accountability, we would need impeachment hearings to get out the truth.

The atmospherics for this would be terrible.

I suspect that most Americans are still emotionally and mentally exhausted from the Clinton impeachment hearings. Now, in the midst of a depression (let’s not kid ourselves otherwise) and a world spiraling into a new round of economic disasters and global conflicts, the American electorate would again be subjected to the divisive, gut-wrenching politics of impeachment hearings involving America’s first black president and attorney general.

Whether or not the Obama administration skates or we engage in impeachment hearings, I see either scenario as lose-lose-lose: for the Democrats, for the Republicans and for the country. We would end up at each others throats and it could tear our country apart.

Does anyone else see it differently? If so, please enlighten me, because I find this prospect to be so very depressing…either way.

Obama’s effort to preempt the upcoming Republican debate

By now you’ve heard that the President, who’s been sitting on his jobs speech for days, if not weeks (or maybe years), has suddenly announced that he’s going to give it on the same night as a Republican presidential candidate debate that’s been schedule for months.  It’s a tacky gesture, at best (and at worst, come to think of it).  To the extent that Obama wants to address Congress, many are advising Boehner to say, “Sorry, no can do.  Save it for another night.”

Anchoress has a better idea:  given that the President’s speeches haven’t been very inspiring of late, delay the debate for an hour or two, so that it falls immediately after the President’s inevitably divisive, soporific and platitudinous speech.

I think Boehner should say, “by all means, Mr. President; we’re so anxious to hear your jobs plan that we’ll be glad to put off our debate by a few hours. Our candidates should have a chance to hear your ideas, so they can include them within the context of their own ideas about job creation. We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our stark distinctions.”

That sort of response disarms Obama, who then won’t be able to crow “they don’t care about jobs” and it arms the debate participants, who will be able to go into their debate with Obama’s plans ripe for deconstruction.

This would be an especially good tactic for Perry and Bachmann, both of whom are dynamic speakers.  It will also be good for Romney who, tho’ not dynamic, can speak about economic issues with tremendous authority.  Obama will come off looking not only petty, divisive, soporific and platitudinous, he’ll also look ill-informed, unimaginative and, basically, small.  (I do love my adjectives.)

Ace has an equally good idea, which is to have Boehner say, essentially, “If this is such an important issue, Mr. President, don’t wait.  Give us your speech immediately!”

The one thing the Republicans shouldn’t do is play this squirrely game by Obama’s rules.  As Anchoress says, rightly, “What the GOP needs to remember is that the Democrats no longer govern; they just maneuver, and they do it brilliantly. The GOP needs to learn how to do it.”

Really, when you think about it, it’s kind of a shame that my favorite pundits aren’t Republican tactical advisers.  We can only hope that the Republicans are paying attention to them, even if they’re not paying them for their advice.

Just who is running away from what when it comes to elections?

Ace has an excellent post up today about the way in which the media invariably frames Democratic and Republican victories:  when Democrats win, Americans are intelligently embracing the Democrat agenda; when Republicans win, Americans are acting irrationally, operating from fear, or failing to understand the virtues of the Democrat agenda.  As Ace says:

I’d be curious to ask a media type — put Anderson Cooper on the spot, say — if he could name a single election in which Republicans won in which he’d say the public embraced Republican policies, and weren’t simply reacting emotionally to a “flawed Democratic candidate” (Kerry, Gore) or a “poor messaging campaign” (the 2010 midterms) or having “a temper tantrum” (the 1994 Republican capture of Congress).

I don’t think they’d confess that even with Reagan, who is long dead and therefore safe for the Democrats to praise. But the media would say the public was simply reacting to the poor economic and foreign policy record of Jimmy Carter, rather than affirmatively choosing the Reaganite policy prescriptions.

Think about it:  in Media Land, it is impossible for a Republican victory to be the product of a principled ideological stand.  Republicans never win.  It’s simply that, sometimes, Democrats lose.  The default setting in Media Land is a Democrat victory.

I actually know a lot about what I call “negative decision making,” since it’s how I ended up becoming a lawyer.  Growing up, I always knew that I was going to get a PhD in history.  My tenure at Berkeley changed that certainty, for several reasons.  First, with a few rare exceptions, the history professors at Berkeley were so dreadful, I simply couldn’t see any virtue in making a history professorship a career goal.  Second, having hated my years at Berkeley, the thought of seven more years in academia left me cold.  Third, in my senior year at Berkeley, rumor had it that there were only four openings for college level history professors in the entire United States.  Paying to study for seven more years, merely so I could end up unemployed, seemed like a pretty poor bargain to me.  I decided then and there to keep history as my hobby (which I’ve done, with pleasure), and cast about for something else to do with my life.

This is where I began the negative decision making.  Having no idea what to do with myself, since the loss of my lifelong dream created a large vacuum in my head, I promptly entered into a passive-aggressive decision-making strategy.  I signed up for a Stanley Kaplan LSAT course.  Understand, though, that while this seems like an affirmative act, I wasn’t actually planning at that time to take the LSAT.  My thinking, instead, went along these lines:  “If I enjoy the LSAT class, maybe I’ll take the test.”

As it happened, I enjoyed the Kaplan class a great deal, as I learned all sorts of interesting test-taking techniques.  So, I signed up for the LSAT itself.  I didn’t have any plans for law school.  Instead, I said to myself, “I’ll take the LSAT test and, maybe, if I do well, I’ll apply to law school.”

Having learned all those cool techniques at Stanley Kaplan, I did very well on my LSATs.  By this time, I was well along the law path, despite the fact that I hadn’t yet decided I wanted to go to law school or be a lawyer.

As you can guess, after the LSATs, my next step was, “I guess I’ll apply to law school.  If I get in, maybe I’ll go.”  I ended up getting accepted to several law schools, most of which I couldn’t afford.  Fortunately, I had the good sense to choose The University of Texas at Austin, which I could afford, and which was a delightful place to be a law student.

I spent the next three years partying, studying, and promising myself that, if I graduated, I’d think about getting a job as a lawyer.  By this time, of course, the career tide was inexorable.  I eventually spent the first four years after my graduation working, quite unhappily, for a couple of prestigious law firms.  Only when I’d reach the nadir of professional misery did I finally take an affirmative stance:  I went into business for myself.  No money, but I’d finally found my way and worked very happily for more two decades.

The point behind my long autobiographical narrative is that I really understand passive, negative decision-making — and I can say with some assurance that this is not what voters routinely do.  Certainly there is a craving for something new (or, more accurately, a desire to escape from the old) every four years, and even more strongly every eight years.  For the most part, though, voters are actively heading towards something.  Having tried Carter-esque malaise and high taxes, they affirmatively seek out Reagan joie de vivre and lower taxes.  Eight years of Clintonesque corruption resulted, not a in a running away from Clinton, but in a running towards the wholesome George Bush.  In 2010, voters weren’t just repulsed by the Democrat spending spree, they were actively seeking politicians who promised to close the checkbook and hide the pen.

My hope — although the American voters have been erratic of late — is that, in 2012, voters, having tired of Obama’s and the Democrats’ profligacy, whining, national security weakness, etc., will not only reject them, but will embrace strong Republican/conservative candidates.  This will not be passive.  Passive behavior would see voters sitting out the election entirely or throwing away votes on useless third party candidates.  2012 will be active:  having learned a very painful lesson since 2006, when the Democrats took over Congress, voters will be ready to embrace, enthusiastically and intelligently, the Republican alternative.  (And don’t tell me this is a pipe dream.  I need my dreams.)

How far is too far when it comes to attacking primary candidates? *UPDATED*

As the primary season heats up, here’s a good question to ask:  If we want to end the primary season with a viable political candidate to face off against Barack Obama, are there limits limits to the nature of the attacks that bloggers launch against the Republican candidates during this primary season?

My take is that it is very important for us to learn as many facts as possible about the candidates, whether we’re learning good things or bad.  However, I’m not yet ready to leap up and castigate any candidate as the devil incarnate.  (Even Ron Paul, whom I would not like to see win, can be challenged through facts, not hyperbolic insults.)

As we learned in 2008, there are no perfect Republican candidates.  Unfortunately, the other lesson we’ve learned in the last 2.5 years is that Obama is a perfectly scary Democrat president/candidate.  This means that, when the Republican primary ends, we need the last Republican candidate still standing to have the strength to face off against Obama.  If we inflict too many wounds against our own people, the primary winner may be so weakened, s/he cannot win the final, presidential battle.  Further, if s/he’s bleeding badly from the ideological wounds we inflict, Independents will shy away, as they will almost certainly be incapable of discerning between the wounds inflicted during internecine conflict from the type of fatal flaws that spell death at the presidential polls.

As of today, I can easily say yucky things about every one of the Republicans now seeking office (especially Ron Paul):

(1) Michele Bachmann has no more executive experience than Obama did at this stage in the game, and we all rightly predicted that he was grossly unprepared for high executive office;

(2) Paul Ryan, should he weigh in, will also lack that experience, plus he’s got a geeky quality that might not play well in the media;

(3) Mitt Romney has the RomneyCare albatross and all the charm (and good looks) of a Ken doll;

(4) Ron Paul takes libertarianism to an inhuman extreme that includes jettisoning the nation of Israel and supporting Iran’s quest for nuclear arms;

(5) Rick Perry tried to strong-arm Gardasil, whether because of fear of cancer, ties with Merck, power lust, or something else, plus he’s kind of smarmy;

(6) Chris Christie, should he weigh in, has sharia ties, offends people with his outspokeness, and will have to fight the fat-taboo that governs in America.

And on and on and on.  (Please note that, with the exception of Ron Paul, who seriously rubs me the wrong way, I can just as easily say a whole lot of good things about the candidates and potential candidates listed above.)

The fact is, nobody makes it very far in political office without chutzpah, arrogance, a touch of insanity, and a whole lot of compromising.  The only people who don’t make mistakes are those who don’t do anything at all.  Being an inert lump doesn’t get one far, especially politically.

My current candidate of choice is the William Buckley candidate — the one who can win.  There is no Churchill on the horizon and even Churchill, a politician I admire with something approaching ferocity, had his disastrous qualities and made horrible decisions that resulted in uncounted deaths.  He was, nevertheless, a leader, and his core values were the right ones, especially during a time when those values were so desperately important to the survival of the Western world.

Let’s definitely get all the facts on the table.  Good, bad, in-between, whatever.  If you have opinions, by all means advance them.  But sheath the long knives.  The last candidate standing has to be in sufficiently good health to take on a sitting president with a war chest that’s reached historic proportions.  Too much blood-letting in the lead-up to the big campaign will leave him (or her) supine and helpless.  (Not to mention that the MSM will happily recycle, only with longer knives, the worst arguments made against the Republican who makes it through the primary gauntlet.)

Having blathered on here, let me say something about conservatives in the main:  As the cheerful, neat, polite Tea Party rallies showed, ours is a surprisingly congenial political party.  While we may disagree with each other, we do so with civility and respect.  Our core values revolve around personal integrity and love for country.  Debate enriches, rather than demeans.  It is within that spirit that conservatives should be analyzing, challenging and supporting the Republican candidates.  If we bring out the long knives now, we run the risk of presenting the nation with a bleeding carcass as the official Republican candidate.

UPDATE:  Rob Miller, at JoshuaPundit, expands on my point.  As always, when I read something I writes, I smack my forehead and think “I wish I’d said that.”

UPDATE II:  The Razor weighs in too.  He opens with the excellent point that we’d better get everything out on the table now, before the MSM does it for us.  I agree with that entirely.  My only suggestion is that our tone should be one of inquiry, not one of long-knives attack.

Stephen Hayward thinks Romney has the lock on the nomination *UPDATED*

Stephen Hayward advances a solid argument that Romney has the lock on the nomination.  As I read it, the core of is argument is that Romney is the seasoned Republican campaigner, whose weaknesses have already been thoroughly exposed by a hostile media.  Perry still has ahead, as Hayward says, a comprehensive and public proctological exam.  This will come from both the Left and the Right.  Pamela Geller is already raising a problematic challenge to Perry based upon his being too chummy with sharia.

As you may remember, during the last election, Romney was my candidate of choice at this blog.  The error of Romneycare notwithstanding, I thought he was the best candidate in the pack.  He may still be the best candidate in this pack.  The problem, though, is that all the drilling and training in the world hasn’t made him anything but a boring stump speaker.  He also has the RomneyCare albatross hanging around his neck.  That was a problem in 2008, before ObamaCare.  It’s a disaster in 2011/2012 after ObamaCare.  Lastly, Romney has also been out of the governance loop for quite a while now, which doesn’t give voters any idea about how he’d deal with the present crises.

Perry is, in many ways, Romney’s opposite.  He is a galvanizing speaker who says all the right things.  Subject to a few hiccups, his governing style is small government.  It’s impossible for to imagine Perry advancing “PerryCare.”  And finally, Perry has the Texas economy at his back.  It’s easy to say that, after eight years of Bush, voters don’t want another Texan, but the fact is that Texas’ economic record is overwhelmingly strong in a time when our nation and our other states our bleeding heavily.

Ultimately, Perry’s speech-making skills, his small government approach, and his state’s economic success will probably wipe out Romney’s crown prince advantage.  I say this without regard to either candidate’s actual merits.  In this peculiar election year, practical virtues and political dues paying aside, Perry’s going to have the edge.

By the way, have you noticed that the three who have become the instant Republican frontrunners are all extremely good looking people?  The same media that swooned about the jug-eared Obama’s effeminate moobs (I think they called them pecs) isn’t going to mention this fact, of course, but voters may have a subliminal response to how good any one of these three will look at the first post-election G-8 summit.

UPDATE:  JJ’s on the money when he comments that Bachmann has one big problem — inexperience.  James Taranto makes the same point, one with which I wholeheartedly agree:

The most obvious parallel is in the quantity and quality of their political experience. On Election Day 2008, Obama was nearing the end of his fourth year in the U.S. Senate; 2012 will be Bachmann’s sixth year in the House. Both came to Washington after stints in their state senates, where Obama served eight years and Bachmann six. Although both quickly gained national prominence as opposition spokesmen, neither is about to be mistaken for Lyndon B. Johnson in terms of legislative acumen or accomplishment.

During the 2008 election, much was made of Palin’s inexperience, with the logical counter being that she was running for Vice President, not President.  Here, though, Bachmann is aiming for the top position and, while her values are better than Obama’s, and I think she’s smarter, she is every bit as inexperienced as he is when it comes to the ins and outs of managing a vast government enterprise.

Helping Renee Ellmers

I mentioned last week that House Republicans, in an effort to use social networking better, are running a competition that sees members compete to optimize various social networking media.  My long-time blogfriend Lorie Byrd worked to help Renee Ellmers, a true Tea Partier, get elected, is now working to help her in this contest.

I recognize that this contest has nothing to do with the substantive issues plaguing America and Congress, but there is virtue to having Republicans better able to reach out to voters through new media.  Direct contact with the American voters is just one more way Republican politicians and candidates can by-pass the hostile, old drive-by media.

If you have a Twitter account and would like to help Ellmers, all you need to do is “follow” her here.  She’s currently competing against someone who has almost 5 times as many followers as she does before the contest has even begun, so it would be a fun underdog moment if she could win.

A clever idea from the House GOP

The GOP has recognized that, as much as anything, the next election starts on the new media.  In order to get House GOP members on board with new media, they’ve instituted a contest by which GOP representatives compete for the most YouTube links, twitter friends, etc.  In other words, to win the contest, GOP reps have to get their assistants, employees, friends and followers focused on new media.

My friend Lorie Byrd has worked with Renee Ellmers since the very beginning, so I’m going to ask to check out Renee’s YouTube page.  But really, check out any Rep you want.  The whole point is to facilitate an exciting new media that might get the Grand Old Party back into power.

Democrat, Corruptocrat!

Democrats are the friends of big business, Conservatives are the friends of small business. Democrat government inevitably ratchets its way to corruptocracy.

If you don’t agree with this, can we at least agree that Democrats favor highly regulated economies and societies and conservatives don’t?

Let me explain with two examples.

1) The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about how the EPA has decided that milk, because it contains 4% butterfat, should be regulated under the same environmental control standards as petroleum. Consequently, dairy farmers will have to file Federally approve emergency plans on how to deal with “oil spills” and such. Large dairies (some dairies in California milk 10,000 or more cows at a time) will probably be able to comply. Small dairies (goat and sheep milk farms, Vermont dairy producers etc. ) are just out of luck. I happen to know something about the dairy industry – it’s a highly politicized, highly subsidized industry that operates on very thin margins. I’m sure that they will come to an accommodation with the EPA and Federal Government…at a very steep price, politically and $-wise!

2) As it becomes increasingly clear the degree to which Obama Care really is a pig-in-a-poke, there is frantic activity to opt out of it. The numbers of entities that have received waivers from ObamaCare (other than Congress) magically rose from about 200 to 700+ immediately after the SOTU speech. Those entities are large companies and unions on the inside track. The way you get a waiver is to have a lobbyist obtain it on your behalf. Money exchanges hands. Large companies can afford this, small companies…out of luck! If ObamaCare is so great, why the rush by Congress, favored businesses and union to obtain waivers?

Increased regulation is inversely proportional to lobbying activity. The less regulation there is, the less the need to influence government. The more regulation, the more the need to petition the royal aristocracy at a heavy price. The need to petition our government for redress under regulations fostered by our government is a corrupting influence. If you lack influence and can’t make payment, you are out of the equation. Here in Chicagoland, we know all about this. Here is what happens:

Society sediments into three classes: a) an aristocratic Democrat nomenklatura that controls the regulatory and judiciary structures of society; b) a wealthy, economic class that can afford to exchange favors for regulatory exemptions and waivers…at a price; c) a lumpen proletariat, outside of the power structures, imprisoned into forced into regulatory straight-jackets (taxable prey…if you will) that they will never be able to escape unless willing to surrender at the price of their souls. It is this last class that pays the bills for the others. This isn’t new…despite its “progressive” tag, it’s a regression to 19th Century economic “shakedown” realities.

My entire career, I have been a champion of entrepreneurs and small companies. They are vital to our society and economy, as innovators, risk-takers and employers. I would hate to see this glorious period end as we slouch toward third-world corruptocracy.

I know that Democrats mouth have historically mouthed platitudes about looking after the “little guy”. I would like to think that only the truly moronic and armchair philosophers walled into their temples of abstract theory can fail to see how Orwellian and corrupting these platitudes are.

Have we as a nation arrived at a point where we can stop this from happening or is it inevitable? A Jewish relative once remarked that no Jew sleeps without two shoes under his bed stuffed with a roll of cash, in case of a quick getaway. I am starting to understand his point.