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.