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.

Allen West: The politician who won’t pander

Most politicians would have pandered in response to the question a CAIR person posed in the video below.  Not Allen West.  As he said, near the end of his own answer to the question, “I’ve been on the battlefield….”  Maybe we ought to make battlefield experience a prerequisite for honest politicians.  It seems that having faced real guns a good indicator that the politician will have the strength to face rhetorical guns:

Hat tip:  Earl

Can our government become irrevocably corrupt?

Earl sent me a link to an article about the shameful corruption that characterizes Argentinian politics.  Earl included in his email a reference to the Perons, whose malevolent aura still hangs over the Argentinian political scene:

Argentina’s government has become a massive racketeering operation. The list of international swindles the government has committed entirely openly is nauseating. The Obama administration recently suspended Argentina’s privileged developing-nation status because of its refusal to pay any arbitral awards owed to U.S. companies. That was hot on the heels of Argentina’s nationalizing a Spanish-controlled oil company and then laughing publicly at the Spaniards’ claimed valuation — another brazen swindle.

What happens in Argentina matters because the government is stealing from the American pocket.  It also matters because it should make us think about government corruption.

We all know that power and money inevitably lead to corruption.  In some nations, however, that corruption is endemic, while in others, America included, it periodically erupts, only to be stifled by our pleasantly Puritan political morality.  Yes, it continues to exist as a low, buzzing background noise, but it is not what characterizes American government as a whole.  After all, we recovered from the scandals of the Harding administration, and George Bush did a good job of pulling back from the Clinton corruption abyss.

I do wonder, though, how deeply the Obama tentacles are going to spread into the American body politic.  He doesn’t just to garden-variety power and money corruption; he does hard-core Chicago-style corruption.  To Obama, dishonest is the nature of politics, not just a byproduct.

Nothing better illustrates Obama’s view than an anecdote culled from Edward Klein’s new (and unauthorized) biography about Obama, The Amateur. The Daily Mail summarizes this particular episode in Obama’s early political life (emphasis mine):

He also had a run-in with Steven Rogers, a wealthy businessman who became the Gund Family Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Early in his campaign for the U.S. Senate he gave Mr Obama $3,000 and arranged for thousands more dollars to be donated to him on one condition: he come and speak at the school when he got elected.

After becoming a Senator Mr Obama is said to have gone back on his offer because he was too busy and told Mr Rogers: ‘Come on man, you should know better when politicians make promises’.

In a furious tirade Mr Rogers screamed at him: ‘You’re a dirty rotten m*****f*****. What kind of s*** are you trying to pull? F*** you, you big-eared m*****f*****.’

A year later Mr Obama finally showed up but by then Mr Rogers’ had all but written him off as a friend.

(Thanks to PowerLine for highlighting this passage.)

Back in 2008, a compliant media may have convinced the American public that Obama was a blank slate of uninterrupted purity, but one of the things that’s become clear during his 3+ years in the White House is that Obama has no honor:  he will say anything to obtain a political or personal advantage.  He’s also surrounded himself with people who have exactly the same attitude.  They reserve a tight, Mafia-style loyalty for each other, and everyone else (including the American people as a whole) is treated with contempt, disdain and dishonesty.

We know what Obama is.  There are no more surprises, just ugly details.  But the important question is whether Obama will leave one more dirty mark on America, to go along with a damaged economy, massive debt, weakened national security, etc.  Will he have made corruption a permanent, inevitable, and pervasive part of American politics?

Before you hand over your money

Obama wants more and more of our money, so that they government can exercise more and more control over every aspect of our lives.  John Hindraker has the bottom-line about that worldview:

The real lesson of the Sanford fiasco is, given the frequency with which politicians display appalling judgment, weak character, and a pathological lack of self-control, why would we want to entrust them with more of our money and more power over our lives?

All lies are not created equal *UPDATED* & *UPDATED AGAIN*

In response to an earlier post I did about Obama’s habit of lying about easily verifiable events, beliefs and associations in his past, echeccone made the statement, one we’ve often heard, that “every politician lies.” There’s a kind of sweeping truth to that statement, but its very broadness hides the fact that not all lies are created equal. I was just going to leave a responsive comment to echeccone, but it got so long that I decided to use my blogger privilege of elevating my response to its own post. So here is my little riff on why all lies are not created equal, and why Hillary’s and Obama’s lies fall into the worst category.

As any of us who have children or who remember our own childhoods know, lying is an integral part of the human condition. There is no toddler who hasn’t stood before Mom and Dad, staring at the paint on the living room wall, and then glancing down at the paint all over his hands, only to announce without shame, “I didn’t do it.” Said child is always punished, and the punishment comes along with a lengthy explanation about the value of truth and the danger of lies. As a society, we don’t tolerate it well when people deny wrongdoing.

However, at the same time we teach children not to tell these baldfaced, punishment-avoiding lies, we also encourage them to be nice — and to do so even when that involves a lie. “If Tommy asks why you won’t play with him, don’t say it’s because he smells bad. You can say it’s because Mommy wants you home Wednesday afternoons.” These social lies easily continue into adulthood. To the question “Does this dress make me look fat,” the answer is always “No,” regardless of truth.

We also learn as we get older to use lies to protect someone else’s secrets or security. Imagine, if you will, that you’re 10 and your best friend has just confided that she loves Billy. If another classmate asks, “Does your best friend love Billy,” the answer is an emphatic “No.” We don’t betray our friends’ secrets unless someone’s safety is at stake.

Many of these things hold true in political life as well. Of course politicians are going to say they love babies and are for truth justice and the American way (or, if they’re Lefties, for the un-American way). We don’t question them too hard on these things, since we understand that the answers will be generic, just as they are with the “fat dress” question. Likewise, we expect politicians to lie if they’re being pressed about matters that are state secrets. “Hey, Pres. Truman! Are you planning on dropping the Bomb on Japan tomorrow?” That’s another “No” answer.

We also are willing to give favored politician some latitude on broken promises. Thus, the question in the voters’ collective mind when a politician breaks an promise is, “Did s/he, at the time s/he made that promise, have any intention of keeping it?” If people believe the answer is “yes,” they’ll listen with some respect to the politician’s excuses for failing to keep that promise. If the answer is “no,” or if it is apparent that no person of reasonable intelligence should have made such a promise in the first place, then voters will be much less forgiving.

And then there are the lies that Hillary and Obama tell, likes that hark back to the toddler years: They get caught doing something bad, and they simply lie about. Hillary confines herself to denials and accusations. In the face of her intransigent denials, when the truth finally emerges, she tends to look awful. Obama is more clever. His first instinct is to deny, and then he starts leaking out the ugly truth. And by leaking it out slowly, he defuses the impact of the fact that, yes, he did engage in wrongdoing or, yes, he did associate (fairly closely) with terrorists or, yes, he did know all along that his preacher is an anti-American racist kind of guy.

The thing is that, no matter how Hillary and Obama spin it, whether through denial and accusation, or a slow, deflecting acknowledgment, they’ve engaged in the types of lies that most people find unforgivable — the kind of lies that have no social utility but that are just used by the liar in a craven attempt to deflect punishment or humiliation. That is, these aren’t lies to be kind, or lies to protect someone or something (other than the liar), or statements that time proved to be untrue. These are out and out squirrely lies aimed at deceiving people about negative aspects of the politician’s conduct, personality or associations.

And that’s why it’s simply not enough to excuse Hillary and Obama by saying that all politicians lie. All lies are not equal and some are definitely worse than others.

UPDATE: Wolf Howling has an excellent analysis of Obama’s little (and big) Wright lies.

UPDATE II: And here’s another example of Obama’s ever spiraling lies, this one about ex-adviser (or not?) Robert Malley. I mean, he’s definitely an ex something, but Obama has been spinning like crazy about whether he is now or ever was an adviser.