A revolutionary idea to win the White House and save the world

Trevor_Loudon_2_small[UPDATE:  Because I have some of the smartest readers in the world (and yes, maybe I'm a little biased), may I strongly recommend that you read not just my post, but their comments, which raise objections and suggestions.]

Last night, I got to hear Trevor Loudon, the New Zealander who believes, as Ronald Reagan did, that America is truly a shining city on a Hill and the world’s last, best hope against global totalitarian rule.  It is this belief that has taken Trevor from his once quiet life in New Zealand to America, on an endless round of research and talks, all aimed at convincing ordinary Americans that their country is at risk (as is the world’s security), but that Americans can turn it around and revitalize a constitutional America.

Trevor’s talk was eye-opening and exciting.  He devoted the first quarter of his talk to detailing how significant numbers of Congress people are currently members of communist organizations or were once open communists (who, significantly, have never repented and reformed).  In the second quarter of his talk, Trevor explained the communist long game, one that started in the 1960s or before, which enabled communists to infiltrate and co-opt American institutions. In the third quarter, Trevor got started on amnesty, which is the Left’s single most important initiative. Finally, when we were all completely depressed, Trevor offered the most revolutionary idea I’ve ever heard for winning the White House in 2016 (but we have to start working on it now, or maybe yesterday.)

I’ll never be able to replicate Trevor’s passion, knowledge, or oratorical brilliance, but I can offer you a short summary of each part of his talk. I urge you to read this entire post, because it will inform you and inspire you in ways you may not have previously imagined.  If you can’t wait to see what the idea is, just scroll down, because I’ve marked clearly where I’ve spelled out Trevor’s revolutionary idea for re-taking the White House.

The communists in Congress: It’s become fashionable of late to deny that communism still exists (“Communists? Hah! It’s just a handful of Russian KGB agents and a few old hippies in San Francisco. Even China isn’t communist any more.”)

Alternatively, scoffers will acknowledge that communism is still around, but assure people (especially ignorant, vulnerable young people) that it’s essentially harmless. This latter argument effectively erases the 20th century, along with the murder and enslavement of tens of millions of people behind the Iron Curtain, in China, in Vietnam, in Cambodia, and in Cuba, not to mention large swathes of Latin America and Africa. Modern communists, we’re told, are just nice people who want to save us from the economic depredations of capitalists as well as the moral and social slavery of traditionalists, especially religious traditionalists.

Because we’ve been told for the past four decades that American communism is a harmless chimera, we currently have 51 House members and 14 Senators all with strong, documented Communist ties. As Trevor said, while these people couldn’t pass the FBI investigation necessary to become a janitor at Fort Hood, the fact that they won an election (often through fraud and voter manipulation), means that they were able to walk right through the front door of our government. They now hold the levers of power controlling taxes, the military, national security, the border, education, etc. They dictate government policy and their goal is antithetical to the America created under the Constitution. Rather than being a government of limited powers, they are working to create a government of absolute powers.

Many of the names Trevor recited will be familiar to you because the media routinely gives them a lot of airtime to explain why Progressive plans (which are just re-labeled communist ideas) are good for America: Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Charles Rangel, Sheila Jackson Lee, etc. — they’re all on the list. You can read about these people in Trevor’s newest book, THE ENEMIES WITHIN: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress. There, Trevor provides detailed evidence documenting Congress peoples’ ties to communist groups, communist front groups, communist individuals, and communist liaisons.

Even Trevor acknowledges that it makes one sound like a conspiracy theorist to call all these serving members of Congress communists or fellow travelers, but the documentation is there. This isn’t a case in which Trevor is trying to convince a room of people wearing tinfoil hats that “Nancy Pelosi was in San Francisco on July 7, 1967, a mere four days after Mr. Communist Bigshot gave a speech in Minneapolis in which he said, ‘July is a great month in San Francisco, because it’s not so hot,’ which was clearly a coded reference telling her to subvert more of America’s youth by selling acid in Haight Ashbury.” That kind of imaginary dots connecting invisible lines is true conspiracy stuff and Trevor doesn’t traffic in that garbage.

Instead, what Trevor offers are verifiable facts:  Membership records and newsletters from openly communist organizations or communist-front groups, decades-long close associations between Congress people and open members of the Communist Party, etc. No imaginary dots or invisible lines here. These are cold, hard, very unpleasant facts. So yes, more than a quarter of the American Senate has strong and documented communist ties, and these Senators, because the Democrats control the Senate, hold powerful positions in our country.

The communist long game: None of what’s happened since 2008, says Trevor, is a coincidence. Every single part of the current Democrat agenda originated, not in small town, old-fashioned American Democrat Party outposts, but, instead, in hardcore communist circles. For example, Quentin Young, who died recently at around age 90, was a physician and an open communist. Indeed, he was so open that, during the Vietnam War, he traveled to North Vietnam and offered his medical services to the Vietcong (those would be the same Vietcong who were killing American soldiers and torturing American POWs).  Young was also Obama’s next door neighbor and his personal physician. Young was also Obama’s adviser on Obamacare. Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

The most significant example of the communist long game is America’s unions. Up until the 1990s, the AFL-CIO, America’s most powerful private sector union, was headed by rabidly staunch anti-communists. The AFL-CIO’s platform specifically stated its opposition to communism. That all changed in 1995 when Thomas Donohue took over the AFL-CIO’s presidency from Lane Kirkland. The anti-communist platform went out the window, and the AFL-CIO was suddenly inundated by openly communist members. With that membership change came a push to get communist or communist-friendly people into government.

With the AFL-CIO’s reversal on communism, and its open-door policy for communists, something happened that we oldsters never saw before the mid-1990s: Unions became integral parts of the Democrat election process. More money than ever before went from unions to politicians. Union works devoted themselves to “get out the vote” efforts, handling everything from registering voters (living or dead), to canvasing, to getting people to polls (legal or illegal), and to staffing polls. What this meant was that every Democrat elected due to union efforts owed the unions big time — and what the union leaders demanded were political acts entirely consistent with demands that communist had been making for decades: socialized medicine, socialized student loans, socialized banking, etc.

Amnesty: Today’s communists are interested in socializing this and that, but they actually have one absolutely overriding goal: amnesty. It’s not because communists (aka Progressives aka socialists aka leftists) love Latin Americans more than the rest of us do. Heck, it’s not about love at all. It’s about creating a permanent Democrat majority. Texas is the pivot point: If Democrats can turn Texas blue (which also means that Arizona and New Mexico and other still-reddish Southwestern states will turn solid blue), it will become numerically impossible for Republicans to take the White House, not just in the short term, but in the long, long term . . . maybe forever, because a solid Democrat majority will change the rules to preclude anything but a one-party White House and, if possible, Congress.

Again, this is not a conspiracy theory. Trevor detailed speeches and writings from people involved in the amnesty movement (including Antonio Villaraigosa, the L.A. mayor who turned LA into an illegal refuge), boasting about the 8 million new voters they are planning on having in order to change forever America’s political identity.

When conservatives oppose amnesty, it’s not because they hate Latinos, anymore than the Democrats love them. It’s because conservatives understand that the point behind amnesty isn’t to reward “acts of love” or to be charitable or to preserve human rights or to prove we’re not racists. Instead, its our recognition (based on Democrat admissions) that amnesty is dedicated to a single goal: destroying America’s two-party system through a tidal wave of newly legal, permanently-Democrat-Party voters. Opposing amnesty is about preserving constitutional government, not about discriminating against the illegal aliens that the Democrats (with the president’s cheerful collusion) are inviting into America and into the voting booth.

But . . . but . . . what about the Republicans who are supporting amnesty (a group that includes most of the Republican leadership)? Surely amnesty can’t be so bad, given that it’s not reasonable for these people to commit political suicide, right? Wrong.  The Republican leadership owes as much to the American Chamber of Commerce as the Democrat Party owes to the unions. The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t care about Left or Right, constitution or totalitarianism. It cares about the bottom line, and the bottom line is always better if labor is cheap.

I am absolutely not calling Chamber of Commerce members Nazis, but it’s worth remember from a political,  not genocidal, perspective, that one of the reasons German industrialists supported the Nazis was that they got free slave labor and they got to keep their profits.  The cheapest labor in America is the illegal alien or newly legalized citizen with no English and no skills. Trevor says that it’s no coincidence that the most pro-amnesty Republicans are the ones who receive the most money from the Chamber of Commerce.

That explains the RINOs and GOP’s support for amnesty?  But what about the fanatical, hysterical union support for amnesty? Doesn’t illegal immigration and amnesty hurt union members for the same reason that the Chamber of Commerce likes it, by lowering wages? Yes. And the unions, both leadership and members, understood that right up until 1995. The old leadership’s opposition to communism wasn’t just ideological, it was pragmatic. Open borders lowered wages and otherwise depressed working conditions for ordinary Americans.

The new union leadership, though, doesn’t care about its members’ well-being. Members are merely cash cows subject to mandatory dues that ultimately pay for the union members’ own slaughter.

There is hope for the future: By the time Trevor finished the first 3/4 of his talk, all of us listening were depressed. I looked around and saw slumped bodies and sad faces. Not to despair, though, since Trevor held out hope and, as I said, offered a revolutionary idea for a Republican comeback. He broke this last part of his talk into three segments: the Tea Party, Reagan’s victory, and what we can do.

The Tea Party: In 2008, all the ducks were in a row for a complete, irreversible Leftist takeover of America’s political system. What stopped it, Trevor said, was something unforeseeable, and that black swan was the Tea Party’s organic and meteoric rise.

Thanks to the Tea Party, the Democrats only got 2 years of legislative victories and, since then, they’ve been on the defensive. At every level — local, state, and national — Tea Partiers roared out their disapproval at this, the greatest flowering of the American communist party.

No wonder that the backlash was so immediate and so vicious (racist, racist, war on women, Islamophobic, homophobic, racist, racist). The Tea Party had to be destroyed and quickly too. Trevor attended a major socialist/communist party event and said it was dead boring. All they did was talk about how terrible the Tea Party is and how it could be destroyed.

Trevor said that we in the Tea Party are feeling demoralized now, since Obama took back the White House in 2012. What he says we’re missing, perhaps because we’re too close to things (unlike a New Zealander, who gets a long view), is how big our victory was. We’re like “Baby Supermen,” he said, because we don’t realize the type of power we have. Instead, we focus on our losses and then retreat to lick our wounds, yielding the floor once again to the indefatigable left.

Tea Partiers also have a problem with the GOP itself, which bitterly resents the upstarts who disagree with the GOP’s “go along to get along” policies and, most especially, with its Chamber of Commerce-funded press for amnesty, cheap labor, and a permanent Democrat majority. There is hope, though.

Reagan: Trevor reminded us that, when Reagan emerged from California in 1976 and strode onto the national scene, the GOP hated him. The Ohio GOP refused to let him speak there. Essentially, the Grand Old Party, which Reagan later owned, blackballed him, denying him the 1976 primary, which went to Gerald Ford. Reagan, however, spent the next four years coalition building like mad. With his sunny personality; his gift for taking complex subjects and presenting them in simple, but not simplistic, terms; and his unabashed love for America, he brought everyone under his umbrella. He won by a landslide that originated with his newly cohesive base, revitalizing America.

Trevor acknowledged that things are different now. Obama and his team will have had eight, not just four, years to pursue their agenda (even with the Tea Party operating as a counterweight and drag). The news and entertainment media are intractably in the bag for the Left and will throw themselves into the breach in 2016, especially for a Hillary/Michelle ticket. And we’re having conservative civil war headed by the GOP’s desire to destroy the Tea Party.

Ah, that GOP.  That nasty, weak, corrupt, amnesty-loving GOP.  We Tea Partiers would like to see it gone, just as the GOP would like the Tea Party to vanish.  There’s an unpleasant reality, though, that Trevor says the Tea Party must acknowledge:  We don’t have the time — just 2.5 years until 2016 — to put together the election infrastructure that the GOP already has. Moribund and corrupt though it may be, the GOP is the only game in town for winning elections. The task, then, is to preempt and co-opt the GOP, just as Reagan did.

The Tea Party also needs to stop trying to convince independents to get on board.  Trevor pointed out what we all know:  You don’t win elections by getting lukewarm support from fundamentally disinterested people. You win elections when your base is incredibly excited and the lukewarm people want to join in the fun (as happened for Obama in 2008).  The GOP, Trevor added, will also want to join the fun, primarily because the institution cannot afford to walk away from the seat of power.  It happened in 1980 with Reagan and it can happen again.

The main problem the conservative base has is this fragmentation and internal hostility, which extends beyond the GOP versus Tea Party fight.  Libertarians, social conservatives, and Evangelicals are also part of this cranky, disparate mix of people who are definitely not statists, but still can’t hang together enough to create a political wave advancing constitutional freedoms.  The big question, then, is How can we bring these disparate groups together, enthusiastically, to win in 2016, which will be our last chance at wresting the country from the communist-backed Democrats?

Here’s Trevor’s revolutionary idea

Trevor has what I think of as a brilliant, inspired, out of the box, crazy, entirely possible idea. To build a coalition, you need to promise something to everyone. That seems impossible when you consider how the various conservative groups have such vastly different issues. One person cannot possible be all things to all conservative voters. TREVOR SAYS THAT ONE PERSON DOESN’T HAVE TO BE ALL THINGS. The next Republican candidate should identify his running mate and cabinet now, to make sure that the GOP doesn’t suck all the money out of the system by 2015 and then funnel it to Romney (part II) or Christie, neither of whom can excite the base and, therefore, neither of whom can win.

Here’s as much of Trevor’s dream ticket as I can remember. It should be promoted, in its entirety, from the get-go (say, starting next month, or maybe yesterday):

President: Ted Cruz, a committed conservative who can talk brilliantly (and a man who happens to be Hispanic).
Vice President: Allen West, a committed conservative, a military commander (and a man who happens to be black and I adore him).
Treasury Secretary: Rand Paul (Tea Partiers and libertarians get their fiscal conservatism)
Secretary of State: John Bolton (the neocons get their national security)
Energy Secretary: Sarah Palin (Tea Partiers — and most Americans — get their cheap energy)
Labor Secretary: Scott Walker (Right to Work across America)
Attorney General: Mark Levin or Trey Gowdy, deeply committed constitutional conservatives
Education Secretary: A strong supporter of homeschooling

And so on, down the line, with the Republican ticket being fully formed from top to bottom.  Every conservative will know heading to the voting booth that the Republican ticket offers something to him or her personally.  That gets out votes.

Someone pointed out that the obvious problem with this list, which is the fact that all of these people want to be president themselves, and will not want to be subordinated to Cruz or West. Instead of joining forces, they’ll simply form the same circular firing squad that they formed in 2008 and 2012, and mow each other down again, with the Democrats cheering them on from the sidelines.

Yes, Trevor, acknowledged, some people are going to have to sacrifice their immediate presidential dreams in favor of presenting a strong united front. While the notion of self-sacrifice isn’t usually high on a politician’s list, perhaps they can be brought to see that a little self-sacrifice now provides long-term selfish benefits in the future.  By following his radical campaign plan, all these talents and egos can win in some way in 2016, setting the template for each of them to strike out on his or her own in 2024.  Alternatively, they can selfishly commit political and party murder-suicide in 2016, forever ending any possibility that a Republican will take the White House.

Trevor emphasized repeatedly that this revolutionary idea — running a president, veep, and entire cabinet in one fell swoop — must be done now. Any delay means conservative money is gone, the circular firing squad forms, GOP money rescues Romney or Christie from the bloodbath, the base stays home, the independents stay home, the Democrats win again, and America becomes a permanent socialized state that has abandoned all of its allies around the world, and serves as a materiels-supplier to the world’s dictators.

If you think this is a good idea, act on it:  Share it with your local conservative groups, put it out on Facebook, make clever posters, contact conservative leadership.  Do whatever you can do.  We have a very small window of time, and very limited resources, to reverse a trajectory that, if not changed by 2016, will be fixed forever.

The worse Obama looks, the better Reagan looks

I’ve frequently made a mea culpa for failing to appreciate Reagan when he was president.  I was too steeped in my Democrat upbringing (Democrat household, Democrat community, Democrat city, Democrat university) to see what was right before me.  I hope, though, that in my small way I’ve made up for that spectacular lapse in good judgment and common sense.

In any event, one man thinks I have redeemed myself a little bit, because he asked me to share with you a website he’s set up to make available actual memorabilia from the late, great Ronald Reagan.  Peter Johnson isn’t just a newcomer to Reagan, as I am.  He figured out in the 1960s that Reagan’s vision was the right one for a strong, vital America.

I’m going to quote directly from Mr. Johnson’s email to me, in part because it does inspire hope.  When Mr. Johnson turned to Reagan, another Johnson — President Lyndon Baines Johnson — was busy imposing the Left’s “Great Society” vision on America and America’s streets were witnessing the upheaval of the Free Speech Movement, the Hippies, and the anti-War protestors.  The economy was strong, but the country was flailing.  Reagan kept the faith, he took the White House, and he shepherded in an America so strong it took several decades (plus just five years of Obama, of course) to begin its destruction.  If we keep the faith, maybe we too can turn America around.

You’ll notice as you read that Mr. Johnson is using the website both to promote Reagan’s legacy and to make a little money for himself enabling others to have a piece of that history.  I think Reagan, that ardent capitalist, would have approved, so I say more power to him.

Anyway, here’s Mr. Johnson’s email to me:

Those who admire Ronald Reagan might find the web site “ReaganMemorabilia.com” of interest as it reflects on the details of Reagan’s first steps up the ladder towards the Presidency by his then Schedule Director and a Campaign Vice Chairman, Peter Johnson, with his background observations on working with Reagan as he planned and directed Reagan’s schedule for his campaigns in 1966 and 1970 for Governor of California.

I was a Vice Chairman of Reagan’s first campaign and also his Northern California Schedule Director in 1966. Later I served in his first administration. In his second campaign, in 1970, I was asked to serve as his Schedule Director for the entire state during the primary to train his campaign team for the general election.

The website presents memorabilia from those campaigns for sale including nine personally signed letters from Reagan and highly detailed materials from the actual schedules as well as the 57 page manual used by the campaign’s advancemen. The master campaign schedule for Reagan’s second primary campaign alone comprises a notebook of 134 pages. It is a virtual tutorial on how a campaign was run at that time. The archivist at the Reagan Library has said that they “would love to have a copy”. The website catalogues all of the materials and includes extra copies that could be contributed to the Library.

In addition to listing the terms for sale, as noted, the site also contains the personal history of my interest in politics that led to my participation in Reagan’s campaigns and relates a number of otherwise unknown campaign incidents and my observations occurring during those years.

Why I don’t like today’s war movies — it’s not the plot, it’s the people behind the movie

Someone gave us tickets to see a play called Black Watch, about the famed Scottish regiment in the British Army.  The play premiered in 2006 in Edinburgh, at the height of anti-War fervor.  It tells the story of a regiment that goes back 300 years, that bore the brunt of a bad attack in Iraq, and that was later folded into another regiment, to the distress of its members and many in Scotland.  The genesis for the play was a series of news reports about returning vets getting into bar fights, etc.  (Of course, when I heard that, I immediately wondered if these guys would have gotten into bar fights regardless, consistent with their working class Scottish demographic, and then made news solely because of their Black Watch affiliation.)

Here’s a YouTube promo that gives you an idea about the play.  I got tired just watching it:

Although everybody on the Left who wrote it, produced it, acted in it, or reviewed it insists that it’s “even handed,” I have to admit to having my doubts.  I’ll try to keep an open mind, though.  It might indeed be a moving tribute to a long-standing regiment.  (My Dad — who was in the RAF, but ended up in ANZAC, and then somehow served as an infantryman — fought aside the Black Watch in El Alamein.  He carried with him memories of being piped into battle.)

The good thing is that the actors I’ll be watching are all actually Scottish, so they’ll have the accent right.  The bad news — and the reason I have an icky feeling about the play, even if it is well-done and is even-handed — is that I’m absolutely certain that the majority of them are anti-War.  I mean, think about it:  young, Scottish, in the Arts — they’ve got to be Leftists.  I certainly don’t have proof, but I have a reasonable hypothesis, right?

What this means is that those who are ostensibly paying respectful homage to generations of Black Watch soldiers in fact think of soldiers as sadistic baby killers.  For such actors, every depiction of a good soldier is a parody, because there’s no such thing.  And every depiction of a bad soldier — whether on the field or off — feels right because, after all, that’s what troops are . . . BAD.

This is why I hate modern war movies.  It’s not just because I’m squeamish.  It’s because I know that the actors, producers, and directors making those movies hate everything the troops stand for:  their masculine culture (which is why the huge push for homosexuals generally and women on the front lines), their religion (which is why Obama’s Pentagon has hired a rabid Christian hater to work with it on “tolerance”), and their belief that war is the only way to solve some problems (“War, for the times when a ‘Coexist’ bumper sticker just won’t get the job done.”).

To me, it’s a cruel travesty to watch poncy Hollywood (or Scottish) actors bound around pretending to be masculine and brave.  It’s not just that they’re scared little boys pretending; it’s that they’re scared little boys who despise the real thing.

All of this makes it very ironic that Steven Spielberg, he of the anti-War left, has signed on to make a Chris Kyle biopic.  Chris Kyle wasn’t politically correct.  He loved war when it was just, he loved fighting, he loved the manliness of his military environment, and he absolutely and completely hated the people against whom he fought:  the savage barbarians of Islam.  One can bet, though, that in Spielberg’s limp hands, Kyle will become an anguished figure, trying to come to terms with the havoc he’s wreaked upon the innocent people of Iraq.

Incidentally, one of the reasons WWII war films worked so well, and are still watchable, was because the people in them supported the war effort.  Some enlisted, some served, some were in the Army Reserve since 1937 but couldn’t serve because of bad vision (that would be Ronald Reagan), and all believed that America needed to beat the Axis.  Yes, a lot of the actors were scared little boys pretending, but they admired the real thing, rather than despising it.

After I’ve seen Black Watch, I’ll let you know what I think of it, and whether my fears were realized.

Found it on Facebook: It’s impossible to educate Progressives about guns

Honestly, you’d think that, after weeks of information flooding the Fox TV and the internet, that some liberals would finally figure out just a little, wee bit of actual information about guns.  (And yes, I’m being extremely sarcastic here.)  I just found this gem on Facebook, showing the loony Left trying to attach Ronald Reagan to aggressive gun limitations:

Ronald Reagan on weapons

Please repeat after me (or better yet, write this 100 times on the chalkboard): Semiautomatic rifles, including those “scary” looking AR-15s, are not fully automatic machine guns. You have to move your finger to generate every shot. 

I’m pretty sure most of us agree Reagan on this one.  We just don’t agree with the Progressive yahoos who resist facts in order to advance a deeply flawed agenda.  They know that facts are stubborn things, so their goal is to be even more stubborn and pretend that the facts don’t even exist.

To win the future, conservatives need to give voters a positive image of a can-do America and a can-do Republican Party *UPDATED*

For the past four years, conservatives have been fighting a relentlessly rearguard, defensive action.  For those same four years, conservatives have lost every rearguard, defensive action that they’ve fought.  Or if they haven’t actually lost, the best that they’ve managed is a stalemate that stalls Progressivism, but doesn’t advance conservative values.  Even the stunning 2010 “shellacking” proved ineffective, as shellackings really only work if you take over Congress entirely, rather than just getting half of it.

Anger

Conservative also don’t seem to be faring too well in the culture wars.  To use abortion as just one example, in the 2012 election, conservatives lost the chance to take over Congress when Progressives successfully demonized two Republican Senate candidates who are pro-Life.  More than that, it seems as if, contrary to past trends showing that Americans are inclined to a pro-Life view, a recent poll gave a definitive victory to American support for abortion.

Ironically, right up until the 2012 election, many conservatives (myself included) thought that these tactics would work. We believed that a jobless recovery (a stock market that benefited from Obama’s crony capitalism, even as more and more people became unemployed), creeping inflation, flabby home sales, depreciating savings, rising medical costs, and all the other signs of a sick economy, would turn voters against Obama.

We also thought that proofs of corruption (Fast and Furious), incompetency (Benghazi), and crony capitalism (Solyndra), would turn voters against Obama.  They didn’t.

Sad

Sure we knew that Romney, although a good and intellectually brilliant man, was only a decent candidate, but we thought that, given all of Obama’s failures and dishonesty, Romney’s charisma deficit wouldn’t be a problem.  And had Romney been a Democrat, it really wouldn’t have been a problem.  He was a Republican, though, which meant that sterling character and brilliant economic chops were inadequate to fend off the extraordinarily vicious character assassination that the White House and the media launched against him.

We conservatives hadn’t counted on Americans buying such disgusting canards or ignoring ugly facts, but they did. Between the media running interference, general disinterest from voters more fascinated by Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shores than by politics, and Americans’ probable fear of voting a black man out of the White House, conservatives got to watch Obama win again.

In the wake of Obama’s victory, conservatives in the media and in the blogosphere have responded by amping up their previous tactics.  Considering that Obama won’t be running again in 2016, spending all of our political capital and emotional energy attacking him doesn’t seem like a good use of resources.  Be that as it may, conservatives are Obama is still Target No. 1.  There certainly is a lot to get fired up about, most notably the way in which Obama seized upon Sandy Hook as an excuse to seize guns.  Nothing will come of it, of course, since there are too many Democrats who like guns too, but Obama has successfully framed the issue to be one of life- and child-loving Democrats squaring off against gun-crazed, child-murdering Republicans.

Rather than running about like headless chickens who are still trying to peck the President to death with details, we might do better focusing on very specific weaknesses and not letting those weaknesses vanish from the public eye.  To me, the most obvious are (a) the economy and (b) his handling of Benghazi.

Backstabbing

Not content with putting even more effort into tactics that have been proven failures, Republicans are adding something new:  finger-pointing and back-stabbing.  Stephen Sondheim’s “It’s Your Fault,” from Into The Woods, summarizes perfectly the spectacle that Republicans are now making of themselves:

Here’s the thing: Anger can only last so long and fire us up so much. After anger comes depression, which some say is anger turned inward, but I say depression is anger exhausted.

If even true believers like me are turned off and are tuning out because of this relentless negativity and internecine viciousness, can you imagine what’s going on with ordinary, rather disengaged voters?  On the one hand they have an ebullient, confident President who has proudly announced an “inclusive” agenda (never mind that it excludes the 49% of the country that didn’t vote for him) and, on the other hand, we have a dispirited, mean-spirited, flabby conservative movement.

Not only do people like winners, they dislike sore losers.  Worse, the media isn’t there to pick up the pieces for us as it did when Bush kept the White House for a second term.  Instead, it’s going to prey on our relentless negativity, magnify it, and throw it back at us — all while the American people shy away from the political party that smells like old roadkill.

Well, that was my own carping and finger-pointing.  It was a necessary premise to what comes next in this post — coming up with a strategy to re-position conservatives as a winning team.

It’s tempting to begin by trying, yet again, to define conservativism.  I’m not going to make the mistake, however, of sticking myself onto that tar baby.  Unlike the relentlessly lockstep Progressives, whose allegiance to the party line helps them win, conservatives are a diverse lot.  Some have had way too much schooling and some have had less than they would have liked.  Some are already wealthy and some hope to be wealthy.  Some live in urban areas, some in suburban enclaves, and some live on farms or in the back woods.  Some have roots reaching back centuries in America (black or white, Asian or Hispanic), while some are recent immigrants from every part of the globe.  Some are pro-Choice and some are pro-Life.  Most support the Second Amendment, but with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

Patriotism

Indeed, when I think about it, there are only two things I can say with absolute certainty about American conservatives:  This first is that they truly love America.  It’s a pure love.  They believe that America is an exceptional place, not in spite of her founding principles, but because of them.  While they recognize that America has erred in the past, they also understand that she, unlike just about any other country in the world, has corrected herself, sometimes at the cost of much spilled American blood.

In this undiluted patriotism, conservatives differ from the Left, which loves America as a wife-beater loves his wife:  “I show my love for my wife by focusing only on her flaws and failings.  And because I really love her, I routinely beat the crap out of her to help her improve herself.”

The second thread binding conservatives is that they want smaller, cheaper Federal government.  They differ on how much smaller and how much cheaper, but they recognize two things about the government we have.  The first is that it’s breaking the bank, which may not worry Obama, but which is very worrisome for those who have the wits to see what happens to Western countries that go bankrupt.  Today’s news shows as Greece, which is becoming scarily primitive; yesterday’s news shows us post-WWI Germany, that responded to economic chaos by inviting genocidal socialists into the Reichstag.

The second thing conservatives recognize when they look at Obama’s inauguration announcement that he intends to keep spending taxpayer money to enlarge the federal government is that bigger government means less individual freedom.  Conservatives may disagree about the precise amount of individual freedom necessary for happiness, but they’re pretty sure that individuals aren’t happy when the state has too much control over their lives.

Knowing that patriotism and individual freedom are the ties that bind conservatives, shouldn’t we be embarking upon a campaign to appeal to them and, moreover, to show them that we conservatives are Happy Warriors, not whining, vicious losers?  It’s my rhetorical question, so I get to answer with a resounding YES.

Ronald Reagan - the Happy Warrior

Having answered my question to my satisfaction, the remaining question becomes what form should this Reagan-esque Happy Warrior initiative take?  Here’s a list of three things we can do:

1.  Write to your favorite radio hosts (Rush, Sean, Dennis, Hugh, Mark, etc.) and ask them to devote at least one hour a week to highlighting the good that is America.  Even better, have this pro-America hour reach out to minorities who share conservative values, but who have been scared into thinking that the Republicans are the party of White Supremacists and the KKK.  It’s useless to point out that this kind of racism was the Democrats’ stock in trade.  In the here and now, Republicans are stuck with that label and need to counter it.  What better way than to interview a Vietnamese woman who escaped the fall of Saigon, came to America with nothing, started a business, raised a family, and now can point to successful children and grandchildren, all of whom, after leaving college, went to work in the family’s thriving business.  Ditto for the Nicaraguan man who escaped the Death Squads, the East Asian family who fled their small village’s grinding poverty, and the black woman who broke free from the crime and degradation of America’s welfare-funded inner cities.

2.  Instead of carping about Progressives on Facebook or Twitter (which preaches to the choir without converting anyone else), keep posting American success stories that are premised on traditional American values:  hard work, honesty, self-reliance, etc.

3.  Leave comments on this blog (or write to me:  Bookwormroom *at* gmail.com), giving practical suggestions for revitalizing a positive conservativism that engages people.  I want concrete initiatives that ordinary conservatives can do on a daily basis, whether shopping, seeking out entertainment, socializing, working, blogging, etc., that will help to advance a positive, welcoming vision of conservativism that’s predicated on an abiding patriotism and a belief that federal government must become smaller and cheaper.

Everybody likes a winner.  We’re not winning right now, but it behooves us to start projecting a winning attitude.  Otherwise, we’re just going to be the crazy uncle in the attic who scares voters away.

UPDATE:  WIN!  (Hat tip: JKB and Newmark’s Door.)

The one reason Obama is not now, and probably will never be, the Progressive Reagan

The Leftists in the media were orgasmic yesterday as they again anointed Barack Obama “the next Reagan.”  Ace explains why this is a dream, not a reality:

Obama has always considered himself the Anti-Reagan — he would not only undo the Reagan coalition and the Reagan era, but do what Reagan did but for the left, create a semi-permanent liberal majority.

Obama is on the way to accomplishing that, but for one thing: Reagan’s presidency was a great success. Obama’s is not. Success tends to attract fans; that’s why people ask celebrities for autographs and read biographies of superstar athletes and innovators like Steve Jobs.

Obama has had many political successes, but he’s had no non-political successes except for the assassination of Osama bin Ladin (and that of course was built on the earlier efforts of Bush, and was a longstanding bipartisan goal).

There is nothing he’s done yet that a non-political person, or someone opposed to his politics, can point at and say “That’s a good thing.”

He won’t seal any kind of deal until he manages that, and I don’t think he will. The trajectory of socialism is failure. And yes, Obama is a socialist. And so history says he will fail.

Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith Thinks Obama Can Be Reagan Absent Any Actual Accomplishments… For liberals, Obama’s unabashed liberalism is enough.

Not so for non-liberals — and by non-liberals, I don’t just mean conservatives. I mean the great swathe of less political voters who aren’t ideological enough to have strong opinions one way or the other, but who can tell the difference between a recession and an expansion.

So, contra the liberals, no, Obama’s not Reagan yet.

Yeah.  What he said.

Of course, if Obama’s Progressive policies turn the economy around in the next few years, he may be able to don Reagan’s hat.  It’s just that I kind of doubt that spending without cutting is going to accomplish that.

No, the polls aren’t bothering me

We conservatives are very fragile.  One SEIU house polling organization (that would be PPP) and one White House press organ (that would be Politico), both of which trumpet Obama’s staggering 5 point post-convention bounce, and we’re already donning sackcloth and ashes.

Yes, it is frustrating that a president with the worst employment numbers since Jimmy Carter nevertheless still seems to be in the game.  But as Drudge and others remind us, at this time in 1980, Carter was still in the game too.  The parallels to 1980 are actually striking.

Both Carter and Obama presided over a dismal economy that utterly failed to recover on their watch.  Both of them presided over the steepest, quickest increase in oil prices in the post-war era.  Both of them made love to the Muslim world at Israel’s expense.  And both of them got a lot of media protection.

Things are a bit different nowadays.  Carter’s love for Muslims and ill-hidden disdain for Israel offended Democrats as well as Republicans, and his flailing about over the Iran Hostage Crisis didn’t help him a bit.  As the delegate floor vote at the DNC shows, Obama’s love for Muslims and ill-hidden disdain for Israel sits badly with only about half of the Democrats in this country.  Still, polls show that more than 50% of Americans believe Israel deserves American support.  What they may lack in philosemitism, they probably make-up in 2012 pragmatism — a pragmatism arising from the fact that both America and Israel have been attacked by Islamists who proudly state their desire to rid the earth of these two nations. The process is more attenuated than the Iran Hostage Crisis, but also more ugly and dangerous.

Also, in 2012, the media love is more blatant than it was in 1980.  In some way, that helps Obama more than Carter, because Obama gets such fervent support, whereas the media’s support for Carter was tempered by its old-fashioned belief that it had to appear objective.  Nowadays, the word “objective” frequently come out of media talking heads, but no one believes it.  And that means that Obama is slightly less well situated than Carter.  Nowadays, aside from the true believers, people take what the media says with a grain (or sometimes a shovel) of salt.  In addition, the internet means that anyone who is interested can investigate a subject more deeply, whether that means watching the entire speech that the media cut and spliced into scary nonsense, or reading thoughtful analyses that the media would rather die than publish.  And of course, there’s Fox (although some have noticed that Fox is embracing the antisemitic side of conservativism, which is very disturbing.  One wonders if this is an inevitable result of a major Saudi shareholder.).

Things are also the same now as they were in 1980 on the other side of the aisle:  The media loathes Romney every bit as much as they loathed Reagan.  In 1980, we were told Reagan was an idiot.  In 2012, we are told that Romney is an evil plutocrat.  In 1980, even without the internet, voters were able to cut through the noise.  In 2012, Romney is pursuing a slow but steady course aimed at cutting through the noise as well.

I think that, as happened with Reagan and Carter, the debates will be a turning point in public opinion.  Yes, the media interlocutors will throw softballs at Obama and try to tie Romney up in knots, but that will fail.  First, Americans will recognize this cheating for what it is.  It will be too blatant and they’ll resent that and root for the underdog — which, in the debate context, will be the beleaguered Romney.  Second, Obama will fumble the softballs and Romney will handle the knots.  Obama isn’t as smart as he thinks he is; Romney is indeed every bit as smart as he appears to be.  With the two men on stage all alone, even in the artificial, biased constraints of a debate, Obama will struggle.  Romney may not have Reagan’s wit and charm, but he’ll still run rings around Obama.

So, no, the polls aren’t bothering me.  A little less than two months is an eternity in politics and, as things heat up, Obama cannot run forever from his own record.

What’s in a name? As Reagan understood, whether from the Left or the Right, tyranny is tyranny.

Max Boot reminds conservatives that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, at least not when it comes to crowing about the Leftist habit of embracing dictators.  Over the decades, conservatives have done more than their fair share of dancing with bad guys:

It occurred to me, re-reading the item I penned yesterday on Western elites who kowtow to dictators such as Bashar al-Assad, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, and Mao Zedong, that the examples I chose were primarily from the left. That is not to suggest the right should get off the hook. During the years, plenty of right-wingers have fallen prey to the charms of “friendly” dictators such as Chiang Kai-shek, Francisco Franco, Augusto Pinochet, the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos, P.W. Botha, the Saudi royals, and Hosni Mubarak. (Botha admittedly, was elected, but by an electorate comprising only a small minority of the South African population.) Along the way these conservatives have made the same kind of unconvincing attempts to explain away their heroes’ human rights abuses as liberals routinely make for left-wing dictators. Even the genocidal Slobodan Milosevic had a few lick-spittles in a small corner of the American right.

Boot is right when he says that Americans of all stripes have trumpeted one tyranny or another because, at a few fixed points (or on all points) the dictatorship’s policies intersect with this or that American political belief.  Boot gets closer to the core problem when he writes the first sentence immediately following the above paragraph:

Of course, some dictators are hard to categorize ideologically….

And that’s where people make their mistake — trying to fit dictators into one or another ideological box, whether Left or Right, Military or Cult of Personality.  In fact, all dictators fit neatly into a “One Size Fits All” dictator box — they take away individual freedom and use fear to control.  That’s it.  An individual leader or leadership collective might start off trumpeting Marxist slogans or anti-Marxist slogans, or may, as time goes by, dress up the dictatorship with such slogans, but the end results is always the same:  overwhelming government control at the expense of individual liberties.

Once one strips away the ideological trappings and focuses on the practical realities of a dictatorship, it becomes easier to figure out what to do.  “What to do” invariably boils down to two choices:  castigate the dictatorship entirely, or embrace it as the lesser of two evils.

The latter analysis is where most people have a moral collapse.  What people should be saying is, “Yes, it’s a dictatorship that will have to be addressed somewhere down the line, but now it’s better than the alternative (anarchy or greater repression or genocide or whatever).”  The problem is that most decent people find it very hard to accept that they can tolerate evil, even when they are rightly convinced that the evil they embrace is actually the lesser evil.

In order to square themselves away with their pesky conscience, people will start excusing the dictator:  “He made the trains run on time.”  “He reestablished national pride.”  “He stabilized the economy.”  These may all be entirely valid points about a given dictator but they become morally invalid, if they’re followed by the qualifier that “so he’s not such a bad guy.” Once having made that statement, people are committing the big lie as to their own sense of decency.  What’s worse is that, once you’ve lied to yourself, it’s very hard to let go of that lie.  It becomes a part of ones ego and self-definition.  That’s why one finds good people in America supporting horrifically bad governments abroad.

The test — always — should be “What is the state of individual freedom in that country?”  (Incidentally, anarchy is not individual freedom, because it puts each individual at the mercy of any other individual’s or group’s unconstrained exercise of raw power.)  If it’s high, embrace that country with open arms.  If it’s low, ask the next question:  “Is the alternative to this low state of individual freedom worse?”  If yes, one can justify supporting the tyranny provided that one never loses sight of its essential tyrannical nature, and never stops working to increase freedom with destroying the county along the way.

Whatever you do, don’t get caught up in labels such as “Left,” “Right,” “Military,” “Personality,” etc.  Those all obfuscate the core issue of individual liberty.

Sometimes, of course, there are no good choices.  Egypt went from repressively Military to repressively Muslim.  Even as to that, though, America did have a vested interest in the former, since the latter, while no better for the Egyptian people (and perhaps worse), is worse for America.  I don’t envy the diplomats tasked with making nice to Mubarak, but at least they could justify their work by claiming, rightly, that the Muslim extremist alternative was infinitely more dangerous for America’s interests.  Real Politik is never a pretty thing and, as Reagan better than anyone understood, if you make Real Politik your God, you’ve abandoned your moral compass just as surely as if you wholeheartedly embraced a dictatorship in the first place.

So, it seems appropriate to remember here that today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of one of the most important political speeches ever made by an American politician — Reagan’s famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech.  Reagan, you see, never lost sight of the fact that the short-term choice may be between one ugly government and another, but that the long-term goal must always be individual freedom:

What does Dancing With The Stars have to do with the presidential elections? Glad you asked.

For several years, every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, my sister has regaled me with stories about Dancing With The Stars, which is not just her favorite television show, it’s actually the only show she watches.  For those unfamiliar with DWTS, the premise is simple:  every season, a group of TV stars, singers, athletes, models, etc., is paired with the show’s stable of professional dancers.  The guests are taught a couple of ballroom dances, and let loose on the dance floor.  The same pattern gets repeated week after week, with the show turning into an elimination game that sees the lowest scoring dancer (based on judges’ scores and audience call-ins) being let go each week.  The season ends with the top three dancers facing off against each other.

After fighting against it for a while, I gave in, watched the show, and enjoyed it.  DWTS has a wonderful “getting it right” trajectory, one that sees people who have never danced before, or never danced ballroom before, getting better before your eyes.  By the end of the ten-week season, the last three guests remaining actually look like dancers, rather than like robots who have mastered steps.

The most recent season, which concluded just this Tuesday, had an unusually good group of guests.  By season’s end, the three remaining really were head-to-head in terms of “who would have expected it?” dancing talent.  These three were William Levy, a Cuban refugee, model, and Telemundo star; Katherine Jenkins, a very beautiful, blonde, Welsh classical singer trained at the Royal Academy of Music; and Donald Driver, a Green Bay Packers football player who helped propel his team to a Superbowl victory.  William Levy sold sex (woo!), Katherine Jenkins sold precision, and Donald Driver sold himself.

Here’s sex (with the dance starting around 3 minutes in, although the Cuban refugee story preceding it is fairly interesting):

Here’s precision:

And here’s charisma, with a bit of raw muscle thrown in for good measure:

Interestingly, even though Donald Driver is the only non-performer of the three, he sells it! The other two, who are both stage professionals (one acting, one singing) lacked his star power.  Driver, as you may already have heard, won the mirror ball trophy.  I was not surprised, despite the fact that, when it came to dancing qua dancing, he was probably the least good of the three.  With very little to distinguish the three, personality was the trump card.

I’ve long been fascinated by that elusive, intangible, yet very real charm that is charisma.  I’ve written here before about the most handsome man I’ve ever met, whose face I cannot remember.  What I actually remember is his charm.  I was a pretty, blonde 18-year old in Israel for the first time.  My Mom’s friend had a 25-year old son who took one look at me and said, “Would you like to come to a party with me?”  “Sure,” I replied.  He called the host, squared things away, and off we went.  When we got there, the host greeted me at the door as if I was the most important, interesting, gorgeous person he’d ever met.  “I’m so glad you came,” he said, drawing me into the room.  I was glad too.  He made me feel precious, special, and treasured.  He had charisma.  I don’t remember his face, but my heart knows he was gorgeous.

Charisma in the political world can be a dangerous thing.  Sometimes, it lands one with a great leader, such as Reagan.  Other times, that same elusive charm sees people electing a huckster to the White House — someone like Clinton, for example.  Even Clinton’s enemies couldn’t deny his warmth and charm.  Clinton may have been grossly narcissistic and corrupt, but he genuinely likes people and wants them in his orbit.  He was then and still is a most likable bad boy.

Obama is an interesting thing.  The 2008 showed that he had the power of the true demagogue, but I’m not sure so about the charisma.  I never saw it.  Unlike Clinton, who actually likes people, Obama does not.  He’s a performer, rather than a truly charismatic human being.  If he stays on script (memorized and teleprompted speeches) and if he has a publicity department to shore him up (the MSM), he sells a simulacrum of charisma, one that, in 2008, was enough to charm a population that was looking for the un-Bush, and that was decidedly bored with the completely uncharismatic John McCain.

The problem for Obama is that winning the election meant he had to get off the stage.  Since he was faking the charm, the same audiences who cheered and fainted, were suddenly presented with a much less likable version of the man.  Watching Obama over the last few years has been precisely the same as watching a commercial in which the actor, having charmingly announced “I’m not a real charismatic politician, but I play one on TV,” steps off the set and starts screaming at his fellow cast members and the crew, as he wipes off the thick stage magic that hid his acne scars.

Over the years, Obama has proven himself ignorant (Austrian language, it’s wrong for businesses to be set up to “maximize profit,” “corpse”-men, etc.), mean (“I won,” “You’re likeable enough, Hilary,” police acted “stupidly,” find out “whose ass to kick,” etc.), inarticulate, and generally not the golden boy the media sold to American audiences back in 2008.  That’s okay.  The nature of a demagogue is that he’s deeply flawed, in an antisocial way.  Obama’s problem is that he’s not selling himself.  He doesn’t deliver insults with a charming smile.  He doesn’t giggle about his gaffes, as Johnny Carson so wonderfully did:

Obama’s many fails come from a deep reservoir of anger and ignorance, and there is no smiling that will cover it up.

So, on the Democrat side of the slate we have one singularly charmless candidate.

What’s interesting is that the Republicans also have a candidate who lacks charisma.  I like Romney.  His is a personal history of hard work and good deeds.  He’s a hugely successful ordinary guy.  The media demonizes his law-abiding success (which, in a normal world, would be a good thing) and heaps scorn upon his social ordinary-ness.

Sadly, the dinosaur drive-by media still has enough power to convince voters that the perfectly ordinary, very nice Mitt Romney — the kind of guy you’d love to have as a friend and neighbor — is a boring, goofy, bully.  What will be interesting is to see whether that same drive-by media can also convince voters that the self-involved, cold, cutting, ignorant Barack Obama — the kind of guy who is reviled in a small community — is the same charismatic golden boy who ran for and won the presidency in 2008.

There is no Donald Driver here — a good all around guy, with buckets of character.  Instead, all we’ve got are here are two ordinary men (although I’d argue that Mitt is substantially smarter than Barry), with extremely different histories and world views.  One therefore has to ask, in an election in which both candidates lack that magical, elusive charm that is charisma, will the media be able to dismiss one nice, bright, accomplished guy as a boring nonentity, while building up the other, not-so-very nice guy, as the great charmer, deserving of the great American mirror ball trophy?

Barack Obama’s deepest thoughts

Back when I was in college, I just laughed myself sick the first time I heard someone say “You can wade through Ronald Reagan’s deepest thoughts without getting your ankles wet.”  That was just so clever, wasn’t it?  Such a perfect distillation of an actor!

I’ve since learned, now that I’m old enough to pay attention to the facts and not the quips, that Ronald Reagan was never shallow.  Liberals, looking into the depths of his mind, mistook the clarity of his thoughts and the purity of his morality — a clarity and purity that allowed one to see things unimpeded by guck, murk, and mire one finds in a dirty pond — for shallowness.

Fast forward thirty years, and Ed Lasky is paying attention to the facts about Obama, facts that are often unwittingly dropped by Obama’s own acolytes and admirers.  These facts (not wishful thinking, but facts) do lead rather inexorably to the quip that one can wade through Barack Obama’s deepest thoughts without getting ones ankles wet.

Newt Gingrich and “the vision thing.”

Back in 1987, when he was campaigning for President, one of George H. W. Bush’s advisers suggested that he back off from spouting minutiae to the electorate and spend some time focusing on the big picture, So that he could better sell himself to Americans.  According to contemporaneous reports, Bush, Sr., was not impressed:

“Oh,” said Bush in clear exasperation, “the vision thing.”

Bush went on to win the 1988 election, despite his failure to articulate a vision for the American people.  He didn’t have to engage in inept abstract fumbling to endear himself to voters.  What he understood, consciously or unconsciously, was that Reagan had articulated “the vision thing” so beautifully that it covered, not only Reagan’s own administration, but Bush’s election efforts as well.

It helped, too, that Reagan passed on to his Vice President a roaring economy and a country that still maintained at least the gloss of an American identity.  Back in those days, even though I was only just out of law school (meaning I’d spent the previous 19 years in academia), I’d never heard of political correctness, community activists, multiculturalism or Howard Zinn.  I called myself a Democrat and had never heard of a Progressive.  Although these ideas were making serious inroads into American education in the 1980s, those of us who cast our votes in 1988 were still relatively untouched by the revamping of America’s self-image.  Nobody needed to tell us who we were, because (probably thanks to Reagan) we already knew.

Things are quite different as we head toward the 2012 election.  America is in a deep economic morass, college students and Communists are rioting in the streets, Europe’s economy is collapsing, China’s economy is shrinking, and the Middle East is a more-seething-than-usual cauldron of antisemitism and anti-Western hatred.  Times such as this would seem to cry out for a strong managerial hand.  It ought to be Mitt Romney’s moment.  After all, he radiates wonkish competence.

And yet Mitt Romney is not the conservative candidate of choice.  Instead, he’s the conservative candidate of “we’ll take him if we can’t find anyone else.”  If you look at the alternatives, the ones who have risen and then fallen, all have one thing in common:  they’ve got “the vision thing.”  Mitt is disciplined, effective, intelligent and decent, but he’s not a visionary — or, if he is, his rhetorical skills are too weak to convey that vision to the American people.

Mitt’s problem is that not all of America’s current wounds can be measured with economic charts and analyses about our friends and enemies abroad.  Both Barack Obama’s presidency and forty years of relentlessly Leftist education and media saturation have severely damaged America’s sense of self.  As a nation, we no longer have a unifying vision.  Our children have been raised to think that we are now and always have been a racist, imperialist, overbearing, heartless, capitalist monster that preys on weak, victim-class individuals and helpless third-world nations.  The fact that readily available facts put the lie to this ideology doesn’t help these children and young adults.  Instead, when the Leftist ideology that dominated their education meets the facts on the ground, that clash creates a paralyzing cognitive dissonance.  The result sees the members of Generation ZZZZZ marching through the streets, grimly clutching their iPhones and computers, whining about student loans incurred at fancy Ivy Leagues, and hysterically protesting against corporations and banks.

America’s impaired sense of self pre-dates Obama’s presidency.  Indeed, it was this pre-existing psychological damage that put Obama on the path to the White House.  He made Americans feel good about themselves, not in traditional terms (individual liberty, melting pot strength, world bastion of freedom, etc.), but in wonderful New Age terms:  we were all going to come together in a giant kumbaya circle, and throw our ill-gotten capitalist gains into a giant, village style collection bin set up in the heart of Washington, D.C..  Then, the Capitol, under Obama’s magical aegis, and with help from a supportive Democrat Congress, would lower the seas, clean the air, cause the lion (and myriad polar bears) to lie down with the lamb, and generally bring about an environmentally perfect socialist utopia.  If you liked fairies and unicorns, Obama was your man.

Back in the 1950s, had a candidate spouted this utopian vision, he would have been laughed off the national stage.  A generation raised on Depression and War was a bit too sophisticated to buy into political fairy tales.  Back then, Americans knew who they were:  tough survivors; a free people who, at the cost much American blood, had brought that freedom overseas; and innovators.  They did not believe in pixie dust.  This latest generation, however, raised on self-loathing, needed a fairy tale, with the kiss of a handsome prince magically making everything better.  To many, Obama was that prince.

The Obama fairy tale, sadly for his followers and sadly for this nation, did not end with the kiss and a formulaic “they lived happily ever after.”  Instead, we’ve had almost three years of utopian reality, which has been remarkably painful.  Obama and his crew have offended our allies, pandered to our enemies, presided over the break-up of a stable (although always ugly) Muslim Middle East, destroyed our gains in Iraq, presided over the longest recession in our history since the Great Depression, increased our debt and deficits to previously unimaginable limits that will burden our children and grandchildren, laid the groundwork for destroying the best medical system in the world (and that’s true despite inequalities in the systems), handed over billions of taxpayer dollars to cronies, killed American citizens with bizarre “crime fighting” plans across our Southern border, increased racial divisiveness to a level not seen since the early 1960s, and generally left Americans prey to a doom and gloom that seemed inconceivable when they elected the magical unicorn man.

What Americans feel now is despair.  Or as Jimmy Carter might have said, malaise.  Democrats are stuck with Obama, but Republicans have the opportunity to select a candidate who will articulate a core American vision.  As our desperate search for the anti-Romney shows, we don’t just want a competent, clean-cut wonk; we want someone who bring to life a unifying vision of this nation, not as some sort of post-American socialist paradise, but as an entirely American bastion of freedom and opportunity.

For all his baggage and, yes, periodic political instability, Newt is that spokesman.  The breadth and depth of his knowledge, his cheery demeanor, his up-beat campaign, his wit and erudition, his scary deep understanding of how Washington works, and, above all, his manifest love for America — all of these things promise voters an alternative vision to Obama’s 2008 “kumbaya world” or his 2011 “everybody is evil and stupid except for me” world.  It helps that Newt’s skeletons, rather than hiding demurely in closets, are out dancing merrily in the streets.  Everything about him will be hashed and re-hashed, but it will all be old news.  To the extent there are “surprises,” they will be mole hills, not mountains.

In this lost and confused time, Americans need a clarion voice.  If Romney is the chosen Republican candidate, I will happily vote for him, as I believe he will be a perfectly decent candidate, able to un-do much of the damage Obama and his cohorts caused at home and abroad.  But Romney is not a clarion voice, and Newt is.  It’s that “vision thing” that explains why I think Newt will win the 2012 Republican nomination — and take the White House too.  America didn’t need it in 1988, but it sure needs it now.

Smart things that Ronald Reagan said

This morning, I heard two men talking.  In response to something the first man said, the second said, “Trust, but verify.”  The first man replied, “That’s one of the few smart things Ronald Reagan said.”  The second man answered, “It’s the only smart thing Reagan said.”

Putting aside all the smart things Reagan did, such as helping our economy to explosive growth and fatally weakening Communism’s hold on large parts of the world, I thought I’d revisit some of the things Reagan said.  Maybe my standards are low, but I think the following quotations are pretty darn smart, whether one is defining smart as extremely clever or as extremely profound:

“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.”

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

“How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”

“I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.”

“The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.”

“But at the moment I’d like to talk about another way because this threat is with us and at the moment is more imminent. One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. . . . Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We have an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.”

“Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other

Do you have any favorites?

The relative value of actors *UPDATED*

I already mentioned how impressed I was by Ronald Reagan’s 1964 speech, which I posted here, and listed to in its entirety while folding laundry.  Listening to Reagan made that task go much faster.  It’s a fabulous speech, with each idea — most of which are as relevant today re government spending, individual freedom, and threats from abroad as they were in 1964 — beautifully developed and presented.

The speech is a great reminder that, in a pre-MTV era, in a day before spin and sound bytes, people could develop ideas.  Theoretically, they still can, but no one has the patience to listen.  My kids, who are bright enough, have a 3 second attention span.  If you haven’t caught their interest in that time, give up.

But that’s not actually the point I want to make.  I want to make a different point, about the insults that emanate from the Left (by which I really mean the media) when a credible conservative candidate appears on the scene.

I was three when Reagan made his speech.  I was still relatively young when he was governor.  This means that my first real memories of him involve his presidency.  One of the things I remember most vividly from that time is the fact that one of the “worst” insults routinely hurled at him by the media and other self-styled intellectuals on the Left was that he was an actor.  That meant, prima facie, that he was stupid.  Up until the end of the Reagan presidency, “actor” and “stupid” were cross-referenced in the Leftist dictionary.

That all changed with Clinton, when Hollywood went hog wild for a president, and he reciprocated that love.  In today’s media world, actors who are seen as credible voices on the political scene, opining on talk shows, in the news, before Congress, in the Lincoln bedroom, and at pricey White House parties.

What one discovers each time most of them speaks is that enough of them are so stupid that one is forced to conclude that, subject to a few exceptions (Reagan, Kevin Costner, and Gary Sinese, to name just three), actors really are singularly unsuited to opine on political issues.  If you check out the fun at Big Hollywood, you’ll get to see regularly the imbalance between intelligence and lack of intelligence when it comes to the Hollywood crew, with the scales weighing heavily on the unintelligent side.

UPDATE:  Two perfect examples from the entertainment area:  Sheryl Crow and Janeane Garofalo — both arrogant, ignorant and, quite possibly, delusional.

Ageless principles from Ronald Reagan

This is Ronald Reagan’s 1964 “Time for Choosing” speech.  What’s fascinating about it is that, while some of the details are dated, the overarching principles are as fresh today as they were almost 50 years ago.  That’s because freedom is an ageless concept, and that’s what Ronald Reagan is articulating.  As we watch our Federal government increasingly erase our individual liberties, we should pay ever more attention to Ronald Reagan’s understanding of the relationship between a free American and his (or her) federal government:

Looking for the Happy Warrior *UPDATED*

Andrea Shea King has an interesting post today, castigating Mark Levin for his “petty” and “envious” attack on Glenn Beck.  Her post is very useful in highlighting the divisions in the conservative side of the political spectrum, divisions that are sometimes so deep, both as to style and substance, that they might foreshadow conservatives managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2012.

As for me, I neither watch nor read Beck, but occasionally find myself listening to Levin on the radio because my carpool driving falls during Levin’s show. I invariably turn Levin off after about 5 minutes. His substance is great, but his style is so angry, I can’t deal with it.  I’m with Andrea in finding off-putting the name-calling and chronic derision.

Thinking about Levin made me think of the idea of the whole notion of the Happy Warrior. Certainly Reagan had that quality. He saw and named America’s enemies, but he had a sunny optimism that instantly destroyed any attempts to call him paranoid.

Palin has that sunny quality, but 2008 and 2009 soured her a great deal, and she’s hewing towards a somewhat more paranoid, or I should say angry, style.  Lately, one has the feeling that her political views are shaped as much by personal anger as they are by common sense and love for America.  This development is unsurprising given the unprecedented personal attacks against her, but I don’t think it augurs well for her playing a huge leadership role in the near future.

Barack Obama is an interesting study in the Happy Warrior phenomenon because he lulled willing, credulous Americans into thinking that this man with a history of personal anger and angry associations was indeed a Happy Warrior. What a lie.  But you can’t just blame Obama or the even the media.  The American public was perfectly willing to be fooled by the Magic Negro Happy Warrior, so that the voters themselves could have for themselves that happy feeling of post-racialism.

Obama’s current flailing in the opinion polls reflects, not only his policy failures, but the fact that Americans are learning to dislike this whiny, angry, arrogant and dour man in the White House.  Pre-election promise aside, he has about as much charm, optimism and warmth as “Jimmah” Carter.  This is political death.  As politicians from Teddy Roosevelt, to Franklin Roosevelt, to Eisenhower, to Kennedy, to Reagan have shown, Americans want an optimistic leader, one who believes in them and their potential.

The immediately problem as I see it is that conservatives don’t have a viable Happy Warrior candidate on the 2012 horizon.  While I do see cheery, feisty up-and-comers, such as Rubio and Ryan, they’re too young and untried for 2012.

My question for you is:  Who am I forgetting?  What true happy conservative warriors are out there to uplift the American public in 2012?

UPDATE:  With the exception of Palin, most of the Happy Warriors named in the comments (and I agree with people’s assessment’s there) are in entertainment and punditry.  Only Palin is a politician.  Based on this post, Don Quixote and I got into a larger discussion about American optimism.  We wondered if 40 years of “progressive” education, which teaches children that all Americans are either bullies or victims, has created a generation incapable of the happy optimism and love of America that characterized both Reagan and Walt Disney. Even those of us who love our country are defensive about that love, rather than boundlessly and reflexively cheerful about America’s greatness.

Obama’s belief in the power of his own rhetoric

Ronald Reagan, speaking to Evangelicals about the Soviet Union, in 1983:

Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness — pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world…. I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man.

(See also Reagan on the crackdowns in Poland.)

Natan Sharansky, regarding the power Reagan’s words gave dissidents in their daily fight against the cognitive dissonance created by living under a Soviet regime that routinely perverted simple truths:

It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell’s Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union. It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations, and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin’s “Great October Bolshevik Revolution” and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution — Reagan’s Revolution.

Barack Obama regarding citizen protests in Iran against a manifestly rigged election:

“It’s not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling … in Iranian elections,” Obama said. “What I will repeat, and what I said yesterday, is when I see violence directed at peaceful protesters, when I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, … it is of concern to me and it is of concern to the American people. That is not how governments should interact with their people, and it is my hope the Iranian people will make the right steps in order for them to be able to express their voices.”

to meddle (verb):

to involve oneself in a matter without right or invitation; interfere officiously and unwantedly: Stop meddling in my personal life!

*******************

Iranian citizens went into their election knowing it was rigged.  How could it not have been when the only candidates were four men hand-picked by the mullahs.  Nevertheless, Iranians had at least the illusion of democracy, because they could vote and, presumably, their votes would count as to those four party men.  The disillusion arose because the mullah’s expressed their disdain for even this pale simulation of Democracy.  Rather than allowing the Iranian’s meaningless votes to appear to matter, they thumbed their noses at the whole process and appointed their guy instead.  It’s one thing to suspect that you’re being played for a fool, but still to be able to assume some semblance of dignity.  It’s another thing to be exposed as a fool, and to have the small dram of dignity stripped away entirely.  Shame is a powerful motivator, and the Iranians have been shamed by their own government.

With shame at their back, Iranians have taken to the streets in numbers unseen since the revolution in 1979.  The lines are clear:  on one side are unarmed citizens demanding that their rulers reconcile their pseudo-democratic rhetoric with actual democratic acts; on the other side are guns.  Faced with this situation in the past, Ronald Reagan unashamedly stood up in support of the citizens.  As leader of the free world, Reagan understood that, if he did not speak out for freedom, he would essentially be disarming those brave citizens armed only with their belief in the American concept of liberal and the rights of individuals.

Our current President’s approach is strikingly different.  Obama has declined to make any statement whatsoever, because he is afraid to meddle.  The past meddling to which he refers, of course, is to the CIA’s active participation in overthrowing Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq back in 1953, and putting in his place the Shah of Iran. Now that was some serious meddling.

Here, Obama is not being asked to do anything, he is just being asked to say something.  As we’ve noted before, though, Obama believes his words are the equivalent of acts.  God-like, he believes that, if he were to say “let there be . . . something (such as light),” that means that there will be this . . . something (such as light).  For this reason, he believes that his taking a Reaganesque posture and speaking out openly against evil, corruption, and antidemocratic impulses is identical to the physical act of placing a bomb under the Mullahs and lighting the fuse.  In his own mind, his powers of speech are so tremendous that thought and deed are inseparable.

Taking away Obama’s belief in his own mystical powers, Reagan has proven that speech can change people’s behaviors.  There is tremendous power in making a moral speech at a pivotal time.  That was what Sharansky was saying about Reagan’s mere words:  when you live in a corrupt society that forces people to accept as true things their own senses tell them are false, having someone “call a spade a spade” is, in fact, the equivalent of letting there be light.  Speaking truth to evil shines a light on that evil and lets oppressed people believe in themselves and their cause.

The importance of speaking truth to evil is incalculable.  For people who have no tangible weapons, their only weapon is their belief in the truth.  Without that, they are simply so many targets for well-armed totalitarian regime.

What this means is that Obama, though his silence is in fact meddling, because he’s taking sides.  Without creating a light of freedom to shine the way for Iran’s oppressed masses, he is casting his (and America’s) whole weight on the side with the guns.  There is no middle ground here.  You’re either for freedom or you’re against it, and if you refuse to raise your voice for freedom, you’ve loaded another bullet in the oppressor’s gun.

Ronald Reagan gets his due — in England

An ardent Thatcherite in England has gotten approval for a statute of Ronald Reagan to be erected outside the U.S. Embassy in London.  Unsurprisingly, given the world in which we live, feelings are mixed — not from the British, but from the current administration:

An interior designer from Chelsea who is a leading light in the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward group has won approval for a statue of the great American conservative Ronald Reagan to be erected outside the US Embassy in London. The project was given the nod on Thursday night by Westminster City Council’s planning sub-committee in a break with its policy of allowing memorials only to people who have been dead for at least ten years.

[snip]

The 10ft bronze statue of the man hailed by Margaret Thatcher for winning the Cold War without firing a shot will be placed on a 6ft plinth of Portland stone outside the embassy building in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, near an existing statue of Dwight D Eisenhower, the war hero President, unveiled by Mrs Thatcher in 1989.

The architects behind the project, the same firm responsible for the statues of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square and the Queen Mother near Buckingham Palace, say that it was enthusiastically backed by the former ambassador, Robert Tuttle, who left office in February.

[snip]

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the current inhabitants of the embassy — who are still waiting for President Obama to confirm Mr Tuttle’s replacement — appear less keen to have a larger-than-life statue of the darling of the American Right on their doorstep.

“This is not something that we have requested or actively tried to get brought about,” an embassy spokesman said yesterday. “We’re happy to have our presidents honoured but this statue was not a US Government initiative.”

Asked whether the mission would take the statue with it when it leaves Grosvenor Square for its new head-quarters in Nine Elms, south of the Thames, he replied: “It’s not our statue.”

The only person who sounded an even less gracious note than the Obama administration was a representative from the Green party:

But Jenny Jones, the Green who chairs the London Assembly’s planning committee, expressed her “disbelief” at Westminster’s decision. “What a ridiculous person to put on top of a monument,” she said. “I can’t remember anything particularly clever that he said, I can’t remember anything good he did.”

What about ending the Cold War? “I think there were other factors involved in the Cold War. It would be the same as putting up a statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger — will they do that next?”

Excuse me?!  Did she just insult both my current and past governor, as well as my past President?  I’m shocked! Shocked!

But on a more serious note, is it me, or is there something deeply disturbing about the new administration’s bone deep hatred and disrespect for those past administrations that don’t comport with its statist, Leftist view of the world?

Now, I freely admit that I’ve probably said a few unkind things in the past about that idiotic, antisemitic fool, Jimmy Carter, but I’m a private citizen.  I’m not the representative of all of the people of the United States of America, nor of the continuity of American government in England, dating back to John Adams’ first appearance there.  I can afford low standards; the official American administration can’t.

On the positive side, I think that it’s crass demontrations such as these, not to mention the disconnect between media adulation and facts on the ground, that is seeing the bloom come coming off the rose.  For my Mom, an ardent, aged Jewish Democrat, the tipping point is the relentless media assurance that Michelle Obama is a beauty.  Since my Mom’s own eyes tell her this is a lie, she’s wondering what other untruths the media is peddling.  I helped hasten this process by showing her Sally Quinn’s ridiculous Mother’s Day article about Michelle’s arms, which left my Mom reeling.  For the first time ever, Mom is beginning to suspect that she’s been had.

Reagan — 1964

I believe this is the same speech Mark Levin broadcast yesterday.  It’s a marvelous speech, that carefully, clearly, factually and wittily spells out the economic and national security issues facing the United States, many of which parallel those we see today.  If you have a half hour, listen to it:

A timely reminder

As is appropriate after a disastrous election, there is a lot of soul searching going on on the conservative side, trying to figure out what went wrong so that we can do it right the next time.  I see this in phone calls from relatives, lunches with friends, gatherings with Marin’s cryptoconservatives, and the hundreds of pages of articles and blog posts from conservatives:  how can we fix this?

It seems appropriate, therefore, to remind you of Ronald Reagan’s words, spoken before Carter got elected and before four years of Carter-nomics, but still spoken at a time of comprehensive conservative defeats.  I know some are arguing that it’s time to bury Reagan once and for all and let him rest in peace, but there is no doubt but that the principles he enunciates about the role of government in American life are as vital now as they were back in 1975, when he first spoke them.  I’ve therefore reprinted his speech, below, with my comments.

Since our last meeting we have been through a disastrous election. [We know the feeling.]  It is easy for us to be discouraged, as pundits hail that election as a repudiation of our philosophy and even as a mandate of some kind or other. [Pundits haven't changed.]  But the significance of the election was not registered by those who voted, but by those who stayed home. If there was anything like a mandate it will be found among almost two-thirds of the citizens who refused to participate.

Bitter as it is to accept the results of the November election, we should have reason for some optimism. For many years now we have preached “the gospel,” in opposition to the philosophy of so-called liberalism which was, in truth, a call to collectivism.  [Interestingly, Obama won by pretending moderate liberalism and then instantly practicing a radical socialist agenda.]

Now, it is possible we have been persuasive to a greater degree than we had ever realized. Few, if any, Democratic party candidates in the last election ran as liberals. Listening to them I had the eerie feeling we were hearing reruns of Goldwater speeches. I even thought I heard a few of my own.  [My liberal husband assured me that Obama was running to the middle.]

Bureaucracy was assailed and fiscal responsibility hailed. [Obama promised to get government spending under control.]  Even George McGovern donned sackcloth and ashes and did penance for the good people of South Dakota.

But let’s not be so naive as to think we are witnessing a mass conversion to the principles of conservatism. Once sworn into office, the victors reverted to type. In their view, apparently, the ends justified the means.  [Could Reagan call it or what?]

The “Young Turks” had campaigned against “evil politicians.” They turned against committee chairmen of their own party, displaying a taste and talent as cutthroat power politicians quite in contrast to their campaign rhetoric and idealism. Still, we must not forget that they molded their campaigning to fit what even they recognized was the mood of the majority. [And this is absolutely true.  As much as anything else, Obama won because, after 8 years of relentless demonization, the majority of Americans truly were willing to settle for nothing more than "change" no matter how meaningless or even dangerous.]

And we must see to it that the people are reminded of this as they now pursue their ideological goals—and pursue them they will.

I know you are aware of the national polls which show that a greater (and increasing) number of Americans—Republicans, Democrats and independents—classify themselves as “conservatives” than ever before. [We wish.  Although it's hard to tell because, on the issues, people are conservative, but the demonization of Republicans has resulted in their proclaiming themselves to be liberals or Democrats.]  And a poll of rank-and-file union members reveals dissatisfaction with the amount of power their own leaders have assumed, and a resentment of their use of that power for partisan politics. Would it shock you to know that in that poll 68 percent of rank-and-file union members of this country came out endorsing right-to-work legislation?  [Does anyone know what the results would be now?]

These polls give cause for some optimism, but at the same time reveal a confusion that exists and the need for a continued effort to “spread the word.”

In another recent survey, of 35,000 college and university students polled, three-fourths blame American business and industry for all of our economic and social ills. The same three-fourths think the answer is more (and virtually complete) regimentation and government control of all phases of business—including the imposition of wage and price controls. Yet, 80 percent in the same poll want less government interference in their own lives!  [These words could have been spoken yesterday morning and been just as accurate.]

In 1972 the people of this country had a clear-cut choice, based on the issues—to a greater extent than any election in half a century. In overwhelming numbers they ignored party labels, not so much to vote for a man or even a policy as to repudiate a philosophy. In doing so they repudiated that final step into the welfare state—that call for the confiscation and redistribution of their earnings on a scale far greater than what we now have. They repudiated the abandonment of national honor and a weakening of this nation’s ability to protect itself.  [This time, befuddled, bedazzled, ignorant and lied to, the people did not make that same choice.]

A study has been made that is so revealing that I’m not surprised it has been ignored by a certain number of political commentators and columnists. The political science department of Georgetown University researched the mandate of the 1972 election and recently presented its findings at a seminar.

Taking several major issues which, incidentally, are still the issues of the day, they polled rank-and-file members of the Democratic party on their approach to these problems. Then they polled the delegates to the two major national conventions—the leaders of the parties.

They found the delegates to the Republican convention almost identical in their responses to those of the rank-and-file Republicans. Yet, the delegates to the Democratic convention were miles apart from the thinking of their own party members.  [Again, once one crosses out the true believers -- the nutroots -- I suspect this would still be true.  Contrary to their party leaders, blacks and hispanics do not support abortion or gay marriage.  Contrary to their party leaders, American Jews, no matter how naive or stupid, actually do support Israel.  They have a blind allegiance to the Democratic party, even as they do not support many of its key policies or ideological directions.]

The mandate of 1972 still exists. The people of America have been confused and disturbed by events since that election, but they hold an unchanged philosophy.

Our task is to make them see that what we represent is identical to their own hopes and dreams of what America can and should be. If there are questions as to whether the principles of conservatism hold up in practice, we have the answers to them. Where conservative principles have been tried, they have worked. Gov. Meldrim Thomson is making them work in New Hampshire; so is Arch Moore in West Virginia and Mills Godwin in Virginia. Jack Williams made them work in Arizona and I’m sure Jim Edwards will in South Carolina.  [And again, this is still true.  The disaster zones in American are the places in which Democratic policies have held unending sway, and this is true whether you're looking at D.C., Chicago, L.A., New Orleans, or any other historically Democratic political zone.]

If you will permit me, I can recount my own experience in California.

When I went to Sacramento eight years ago, I had the belief that government was no deep, dark mystery, that it could be operated efficiently by using the same common sense practiced in our everyday life, in our homes, in business and private affairs.

The “lab test” of my theory – California—was pretty messed up after eight years of a road show version of the Great Society. [As a victim of California public education, I can agree with him completely about what he found when he became governor.]  Our first and only briefing came from the outgoing director of finance, who said: “We’re spending $1 million more a day than we’re taking in. I have a golf date. Good luck!” That was the most cheerful news we were to hear for quite some time.

California state government was increasing by about 5,000 new employees a year. We were the welfare capital of the world with 16 percent of the nation’s caseload. Soon, California’s caseload was increasing by 40,000 a month.  [Boy, talk about history repeating itself, only a scale larger than Reagan could ever have imagined.]

We turned to the people themselves for help. Two hundred and fifty experts in the various fields volunteered to serve on task forces at no cost to the taxpayers. They went into every department of state government and came back with 1,800 recommendations on how modern business practices could be used to make government more efficient. We adopted 1,600 of them.

We instituted a policy of “cut, squeeze and trim” and froze the hiring of employees as replacements for retiring employees or others leaving state service.  [Bet that would still work, even thought it would be painful to begin with.]

After a few years of struggling with the professional welfarists [again, some things never change, and I love that phrase], we again turned to the people. First, we obtained another task force and, when the legislature refused to help implement its recommendations, we presented the recommendations to the electorate.

It still took some doing. The legislature insisted our reforms would not work; that the needy would starve in the streets; that the workload would be dumped on the counties; that property taxes would go up and that we’d run up a deficit the first year of $750 million.  [Hmm.  Haven't I been hearing something like that -- exactly like that -- unceasingly from the "progressives," only with larger predicted numbers or more dire pronouncements?]

That was four years ago. Today, the needy have had an average increase of 43 percent in welfare grants in California, but the taxpayers have saved $2 billion by the caseload not increasing that 40,000 a month. Instead, there are some 400,000 fewer on welfare today than then.

Forty of the state’s 58 counties have reduced property taxes for two years in a row (some for three). That $750-million deficit turned into an $850-million surplus which we returned to the people in a one-time tax rebate. That wasn’t easy. One state senator described that rebate as “an unnecessary expenditure of public funds.”  [Ah.  California's golden days, when people made money and government understood that it was not responsible for rejiggering and controlling society.]

For more than two decades governments—federal, state, local—have been increasing in size two-and-a-half times faster than the population increase. In the last 10 years they have increased the cost in payroll seven times as fast as the increase in numbers.  [Sadly, since Reagan's time, both in the fed and local governments, this has been true, and it's been true under both Republican and Democratic leadership.  It's worse under the latter, but exists under the former.  As I noted in an earlier post, our expectations continue to increase, with strides in medicine, longevity, technology, etc., but we're also simply greedy.]

We have just turned over to a new administration in Sacramento a government virtually the same size it was eight years ago. With the state’s growth rate, this means that government absorbed a workload increase, in some departments as much as 66 percent.

We also turned over—for the first time in almost a quarter of a century—a balanced budget and a surplus of $500 million. In these eight years just passed, we returned to the people in rebates, tax reductions and bridge toll reductions $5.7 billion. All of this is contrary to the will of those who deplore conservatism and profess to be liberals, yet all of it is pleasing to its citizenry.

Make no mistake, the leadership of the Democratic party is still out of step with the majority of Americans. [As Obama demands more and more from taxpayers and, with a complicit Congress enacts ever more extreme policies, these words will become increasingly true, I think.  And we can only be grateful that, unlike Venezuela and Zimbabwe, in two, four, six and even eight years, voters will still be able to have a say in the matter (although I wouldn't be at all surprised if, aside from messing with the census, legalizing massive numbers of presumably Democratic voting immigrants, and clamping down on a free media, the Obamanites don't also try to destroy presidental term limits).]

Speaker Carl Albert recently was quoted as saying that our problem is “60 percent recession, 30 percent inflation and 10 percent energy.” That makes as much sense as saying two and two make 22.

Without inflation there would be no recession. And unless we curb inflation we can see the end of our society and economic system. The painful fact is we can only halt inflation by undergoing a period of economic dislocation—a recession, if you will. [The actor got it.  He totally got it.  There is no way to get out of a recession without some short term pain.  If you try to avoid the short term pain, as Obama is doing with his massive spending programs, all you end up with is unending pain.]

We can take steps to ease the suffering of some who will be hurt more than others, but if we turn from fighting inflation and adopt a program only to fight recession we are on the road to disaster. [Ditto -- and completely prescient.]

In his first address to Congress, the president asked Congress to join him in an all-out effort to balance the budget. I think all of us wish that he had re-issued that speech instead of this year’s budget message.

What side can be taken in a debate over whether the deficit should be $52 billion or $70 billion or $80 billion preferred by the profligate Congress?  [Point being that, once you commit to spending, arguing over amounts is almost irrelevant.  It's like the joke about the man who asks a woman, "Will you sleep with me for a million dollars?"  When she says "yes," he asks "Will you sleep with me for ten dollars?"  She draws back in disgust.  "What do you take me for?  A whore?"  His answer:  "Ma'am, we've already established what you are.  Now, we're just haggling over the price."]

Inflation has one cause and one cause only: government spending more than government takes in. And the cure to inflation is a balanced budget. We know, of course, that after 40 years of social tinkering and Keynesian experimentation that we can’t do this all at once, but it can be achieved. Balancing the budget is like protecting your virtue: you have to learn to say “no.” [The hell with "Yes, we can."  What we should be saying is "No, we must not."]

This is no time to repeat the shopworn panaceas of the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society. [Isn't it funny how those are exactly the panaceas we're hearing this time, too?]  John Kenneth Galbraith, who, in my opinion, is living proof that economics is an inexact science, has written a new book. It is called “Economics and the Public Purpose.” In it, he asserts that market arrangements in our economy have given us inadequate housing, terrible mass transit, poor health care and a host of other miseries. And then, for the first time to my knowledge, he advances socialism as the answer to our problems.

Shorn of all side issues and extraneous matter, the problem underlying all others is the worldwide contest for the hearts and minds of mankind. Do we find the answers to human misery in freedom as it is known, or do we sink into the deadly dullness of the Socialist ant heap? [If you're an Obamanic, right now you're screaming "Ant heap, ant heap!"]

Those who suggest that the latter is some kind of solution are, I think, open to challenge. Let’s have no more theorizing when actual comparison is possible. There is in the world a great nation, larger than ours in territory and populated with 250 million capable people. It is rich in resources and has had more than 50 uninterrupted years to practice socialism without opposition.  [At this point, Reagan's speech takes off in a way impossible to comprehend today.  In the mid-1970s, the vast majority of American voters still recognized that life under Communism was dreadful and that it was a zero sum game economically.  Ironically, now that Communism is gone and people have actually been able to speak out about just how dreadful it was, the perversion of our education and media system means that people today are less aware not more aware of just how dreadful Communism was.  They think Reagan's "evil empire" concept was just a parochial American fear, rather than the recognition of the true evil that Communism really was.]

We could match them, but it would take a little doing on our part. We’d have to cut our paychecks back by 75 percent; move 60 million workers back to the farm; abandon two-thirds of our steel-making capacity; destroy 40 million television sets; tear up 14 of every 15 miles of highway; junk 19 of every 20 automobiles; tear up two-thirds of our railroad track; knock down 70 percent of our houses; and rip out nine out of every 10 telephones. Then, all we have to do is find a capitalist country to sell us wheat on credit to keep us from starving!

Our people are in a time of discontent. Our vital energy supplies are threatened by possibly the most powerful cartel in human history. [History is repeating itself -- and our Democratic leaders will not allow us to utilize our own abundant resources.]  Our traditional allies in Western Europe are experiencing political and economic instability bordering on chaos.  [Wow!  Another blast from the past.]

We seem to be increasingly alone in a world grown more hostile, but we let our defenses shrink to pre-Pearl Harbor levels. [We haven't yet let our defenses shrink, but Obama has the defense budget on the chopping block.  And unlike Reagan's time, when it was a Cold War, Islamist attacks worldwide make it clear that this is a hot war, albeit one carried out by non-governmental armies.]  And we are conscious that in Moscow the crash build-up of arms continues. The SALT II agreement in Vladivostok, if not re-negotiated, guarantees the Soviets a clear missile superiority sufficient to make a “first strike” possible, with little fear of reprisal. Yet, too many congressmen demand further cuts in our own defenses, including delay if not cancellation of the B-1 bomber.

I realize that millions of Americans are sick of hearing about Indochina, and perhaps it is politically unwise to talk of our obligation to Cambodia and South Vietnam. But we pledged—in an agreement that brought our men home and freed our prisoners—to give our allies arms and ammunition to replace on a one-for-one basis what they expend in resisting the aggression of the Communists who are violating the cease-fire and are fully aided by their Soviet and Red Chinese allies. Congress has already reduced the appropriation to half of what they need and threatens to reduce it even more.

Can we live with ourselves if we, as a nation, betray our friends and ignore our pledged word?  [We could.  We did.  And we elected the man and the party who want to do it all over again.]  And, if we do, who would ever trust us again? [Most don't.]  To consider committing such an act so contrary to our deepest ideals is symptomatic of the erosion of standards and values. And this adds to our discontent.

We did not seek world leadership; it was thrust upon us. It has been our destiny almost from the first moment this land was settled. If we fail to keep our rendezvous with destiny or, as John Winthrop said in 1630, “Deal falsely with our God,” we shall be made “a story and byword throughout the world.”

Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.  [Boy, they did that in 1974 too?  And isn't that exactly the fight that's going on right now?]

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?  [That's a marvelous point.  We don't shape the message to the inchoate voter.  We believe in the message and, if we build it, the voters will come.]

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

[And the following is the "stand up and cheer part."  In it, Reagan simply and clearly articulates conservative principles that worked then and should work now.  These statements about the economy and national security are all we need to build a platform to which Americans will come, regardless of their particular place on the conservative spectrum.]

Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.

Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people’s earnings government can take without their consent.

Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform that will begin by simplifying the income tax so that workers can compute their obligation without having to employ legal help.

And let it provide indexing—adjusting the brackets to the cost of living—so that an increase in salary merely to keep pace with inflation does not move the taxpayer into a surtax bracket. Failure to provide this means an increase in government’s share and would make the worker worse off than he was before he got the raise.

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.

Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.

Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding those who commit misdeeds personally accountable.

And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of “peace at any price.”

We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.

Taking Reagan’s name in vain

In today’s WSJ, there’s an op-ed from Dianne Feinstein, urging Obama, when president, to shut down America’s nuclear arsenal.  To make her point, she opens with an anecdote about Ronald Reagan:

When Barack Obama becomes America’s 44th president on Jan. 20, he should embrace the vision of a predecessor who declared: “We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.”

That president was Ronald Reagan, and he expressed this ambitious vision in his second inaugural address on Jan. 21, 1985. It was a remarkable statement from a president who had deployed tactical nuclear missiles in Europe to counter the Soviet Union’s fearsome SS-20 missile fleet.

What’s so funny (and, I must say, offensived), about the above quoted passage is that Feinstein finds Reagan’s remarks and his actions incongruous, rather than completely coherent and logical.

In fact, Reagan understood completely that Isaiah’s vision of a world in which swords are beaten into plowshares, so that none shall know war anymore (Isaiah 2:4), is a world in which good (which, in Biblical terms, means ethical justice) first defeats evil, making weapons unnecessary.  Neither Reagan nor Isaiah contemplated a world in which idiots emblazoned with peace symbols roll over on their backs, like dogs exposing their bellies to jackals, in the vain hope that the jackals won’t attack.

To emphasize this incredibly important point — which is that peace follows moral (not brutal) strength, it does not precede it — let me quote from Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s Biblical Literacy: The Most Important People, Events, and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible, which I finished yesterday, after several days of extremely enjoyable and enlightening reading:

Isaiah’s hopes for a peaceful world do not reflect, as is commonly assumed, a pacifistic worldview.  Unlike the twentieth-century Mahatma Gandhi, whose pacifism motivated him to advise the British army and people to stop fighting the Nazis [and I'll quote below Gandhi's insane words, which Telushkin includes in a footnote here], Isaiah was much too obsessed with stopping injustice to believe that it was preferable for evil people to triumph without armed resistance.  What the prophet hoped for was a world in which good itself triumphed, so that there would be no Hitlers, Nazis, or others who wished to destroy good people.  (p. 286, hardbook edition.)

It really doesn’t take a genius or prophet like Isaiah to understand that, when good people put down their arms in the face of evil, all you end up with is a whole bunch of dead good people.  Gandhi, interestingly, understood that this was precisely what would happen, but was okay with it.  Thus, in the footnote referenced above, Telushkin has this to say about Gandhi’s world view:

At a time when Nazi Germany seemed poised to invade England, Gandhi offered the British the following advice:  “I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity.  You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. . . .   If these gentlement [a word Gandhi apparently used without irony] choose to occupy your homes you will vacate them.  If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them”  (Non-Violence in Peace and War.)

Some call Gandhi great.  If that’s an example of his thinking, I can only say that I disagree with them strongly.  That type of thinking is idiotic.  Only a man lacking in any moral principles or decency whatsoever would advocate that approach.  (And somehow I just can’t make myself consider separate from this manifest stupidity the fact that Gandhi was deeply opposed to the creation of Israel.)

And yet here we have Dianne Feinstein — who is now, in the Pelosi/Obama era, a very, very powerful Senator — espousing precisely the same type of advice:  We should disarm ourselves so that those who have vowed to kill us can pursue their agenda.  She seems to believe, in the fatuous way typical of “peaceniks,” that if we lead by example the bad guys will just smile sweetly, lay down their arms too, and retreat to their own borders.  Gandhi at least had the decency to acknowledge that his ideas about disarmament and nonresistance brought nothing but the stench of death in their wake.  Feinstein is either too dim or too dishonest to articulate the logical result of her ideas.

So I say again that Feinstein took Reagan’s name in vain when she purported to advance him as a proponent of unilateral nuclear disarmament.  In fact, Reagan was anything but.  He fully understood that disarmament happens after justice triumphs, not before.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Smooth patriotic music from 1944 *UPDATED*

WWII was a dreadful time, with about 400,000 American military deaths suffered during those four years.  Just for perspective, we’ve been in Iraq for almost six years and, thank God, have sustained only 4,200 deaths.

Nevertheless, there’s a tendency to look back with nostalgia on America’s time during WWII, and that’s in part because the entertainment world and the news media were so completely on board with the war effort.  More than 60 years after War’s end, the historic record is bathed in a golden glow of national unity, with the conscripted troops the stuff of admiration and romance.

The era is also refreshing in that, in those pre-PC times, Americans felt no compunction about calling the enemy an enemy.  The movie makers didn’t need to pretend that Germans and Japanese were basically good people under bad leadership.  This freed them from the obligation modern movie makers feel to create only pretend enemies or, even better, paint America itself as the bad guy.  Instead, in those old movies, you knew who the bad guys were (them) and who the good guys were (us).

I’ve been watching some of those old movies, which TCM played for Veterans Day and, in lieu of any news about which I wish to comment, am including here two of my favorite clips.  The first is from 1944′s Hollywood Canteen (which is a surprisingly awful movie), and the second from Irving Berlin’s 1943 show This is the Army, which is one of my favorite wartime movies, not least because it stars a rather charming Ronald Reagan:

Reagan is in the beginning of this next clip, but the song, which Frances Langford sings, starts at 1:10:

UPDATE:  While we’re on the subject, at least one town in England has figured out that its troops do matter, and the townspeople and the troops put on a show suitable for any 1940s movie.

Prescient Reagan

This is not the first time, and it won’t be the last, that conservatives who abandon their principles go down in flames to liberals who run to the middle (but invariably govern to the Left).  Reagan saw it happen in 1975, described what was wrong, and prescribed the way for true conservatism to be resurgent.  The following is a long speech, but every word is worth reading, so I present it here in its entirety:

Since our last meeting we have been through a disastrous election. It is easy for us to be discouraged, as pundits hail that election as a repudiation of our philosophy and even as a mandate of some kind or other. But the significance of the election was not registered by those who voted, but by those who stayed home. If there was anything like a mandate it will be found among almost two-thirds of the citizens who refused to participate.

Bitter as it is to accept the results of the November election, we should have reason for some optimism. For many years now we have preached “the gospel,” in opposition to the philosophy of so-called liberalism which was, in truth, a call to collectivism.

Now, it is possible we have been persuasive to a greater degree than we had ever realized. Few, if any, Democratic party candidates in the last election ran as liberals. Listening to them I had the eerie feeling we were hearing reruns of Goldwater speeches. I even thought I heard a few of my own.

Bureaucracy was assailed and fiscal responsibility hailed. Even George McGovern donned sackcloth and ashes and did penance for the good people of South Dakota.

But let’s not be so naive as to think we are witnessing a mass conversion to the principles of conservatism. Once sworn into office, the victors reverted to type. In their view, apparently, the ends justified the means.

The “Young Turks” had campaigned against “evil politicians.” They turned against committee chairmen of their own party, displaying a taste and talent as cutthroat power politicians quite in contrast to their campaign rhetoric and idealism. Still, we must not forget that they molded their campaigning to fit what even they recognized was the mood of the majority.

And we must see to it that the people are reminded of this as they now pursue their ideological goals—and pursue them they will.

I know you are aware of the national polls which show that a greater (and increasing) number of Americans—Republicans, Democrats and independents—classify themselves as “conservatives” than ever before. And a poll of rank-and-file union members reveals dissatisfaction with the amount of power their own leaders have assumed, and a resentment of their use of that power for partisan politics. Would it shock you to know that in that poll 68 percent of rank-and-file union members of this country came out endorsing right-to-work legislation?

These polls give cause for some optimism, but at the same time reveal a confusion that exists and the need for a continued effort to “spread the word.”

In another recent survey, of 35,000 college and university students polled, three-fourths blame American business and industry for all of our economic and social ills. The same three-fourths think the answer is more (and virtually complete) regimentation and government control of all phases of business—including the imposition of wage and price controls. Yet, 80 percent in the same poll want less government interference in their own lives!

In 1972 the people of this country had a clear-cut choice, based on the issues—to a greater extent than any election in half a century. In overwhelming numbers they ignored party labels, not so much to vote for a man or even a policy as to repudiate a philosophy. In doing so they repudiated that final step into the welfare state—that call for the confiscation and redistribution of their earnings on a scale far greater than what we now have. They repudiated the abandonment of national honor and a weakening of this nation’s ability to protect itself.

A study has been made that is so revealing that I’m not surprised it has been ignored by a certain number of political commentators and columnists. The political science department of Georgetown University researched the mandate of the 1972 election and recently presented its findings at a seminar.

Taking several major issues which, incidentally, are still the issues of the day, they polled rank-and-file members of the Democratic party on their approach to these problems. Then they polled the delegates to the two major national conventions—the leaders of the parties.

They found the delegates to the Republican convention almost identical in their responses to those of the rank-and-file Republicans. Yet, the delegates to the Democratic convention were miles apart from the thinking of their own party members.

The mandate of 1972 still exists. The people of America have been confused and disturbed by events since that election, but they hold an unchanged philosophy.

Our task is to make them see that what we represent is identical to their own hopes and dreams of what America can and should be. If there are questions as to whether the principles of conservatism hold up in practice, we have the answers to them. Where conservative principles have been tried, they have worked. Gov. Meldrim Thomson is making them work in New Hampshire; so is Arch Moore in West Virginia and Mills Godwin in Virginia. Jack Williams made them work in Arizona and I’m sure Jim Edwards will in South Carolina.

If you will permit me, I can recount my own experience in California.

When I went to Sacramento eight years ago, I had the belief that government was no deep, dark mystery, that it could be operated efficiently by using the same common sense practiced in our everyday life, in our homes, in business and private affairs.

The “lab test” of my theory – California—was pretty messed up after eight years of a road show version of the Great Society. Our first and only briefing came from the outgoing director of finance, who said: “We’re spending $1 million more a day than we’re taking in. I have a golf date. Good luck!” That was the most cheerful news we were to hear for quite some time.

California state government was increasing by about 5,000 new employees a year. We were the welfare capital of the world with 16 percent of the nation’s caseload. Soon, California’s caseload was increasing by 40,000 a month.

We turned to the people themselves for help. Two hundred and fifty experts in the various fields volunteered to serve on task forces at no cost to the taxpayers. They went into every department of state government and came back with 1,800 recommendations on how modern business practices could be used to make government more efficient. We adopted 1,600 of them.

We instituted a policy of “cut, squeeze and trim” and froze the hiring of employees as replacements for retiring employees or others leaving state service.

After a few years of struggling with the professional welfarists, we again turned to the people. First, we obtained another task force and, when the legislature refused to help implement its recommendations, we presented the recommendations to the electorate.

It still took some doing. The legislature insisted our reforms would not work; that the needy would starve in the streets; that the workload would be dumped on the counties; that property taxes would go up and that we’d run up a deficit the first year of $750 million.

That was four years ago. Today, the needy have had an average increase of 43 percent in welfare grants in California, but the taxpayers have saved $2 billion by the caseload not increasing that 40,000 a month. Instead, there are some 400,000 fewer on welfare today than then.

Forty of the state’s 58 counties have reduced property taxes for two years in a row (some for three). That $750-million deficit turned into an $850-million surplus which we returned to the people in a one-time tax rebate. That wasn’t easy. One state senator described that rebate as “an unnecessary expenditure of public funds.”

For more than two decades governments—federal, state, local—have been increasing in size two-and-a-half times faster than the population increase. In the last 10 years they have increased the cost in payroll seven times as fast as the increase in numbers.

We have just turned over to a new administration in Sacramento a government virtually the same size it was eight years ago. With the state’s growth rate, this means that government absorbed a workload increase, in some departments as much as 66 percent.

We also turned over—for the first time in almost a quarter of a century—a balanced budget and a surplus of $500 million. In these eight years just passed, we returned to the people in rebates, tax reductions and bridge toll reductions $5.7 billion. All of this is contrary to the will of those who deplore conservatism and profess to be liberals, yet all of it is pleasing to its citizenry.

Make no mistake, the leadership of the Democratic party is still out of step with the majority of Americans.

Speaker Carl Albert recently was quoted as saying that our problem is “60 percent recession, 30 percent inflation and 10 percent energy.” That makes as much sense as saying two and two make 22.

Without inflation there would be no recession. And unless we curb inflation we can see the end of our society and economic system. The painful fact is we can only halt inflation by undergoing a period of economic dislocation—a recession, if you will.

We can take steps to ease the suffering of some who will be hurt more than others, but if we turn from fighting inflation and adopt a program only to fight recession we are on the road to disaster.

In his first address to Congress, the president asked Congress to join him in an all-out effort to balance the budget. I think all of us wish that he had re-issued that speech instead of this year’s budget message.

What side can be taken in a debate over whether the deficit should be $52 billion or $70 billion or $80 billion preferred by the profligate Congress?

Inflation has one cause and one cause only: government spending more than government takes in. And the cure to inflation is a balanced budget. We know, of course, that after 40 years of social tinkering and Keynesian experimentation that we can’t do this all at once, but it can be achieved. Balancing the budget is like protecting your virtue: you have to learn to say “no.”

This is no time to repeat the shopworn panaceas of the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society. John Kenneth Galbraith, who, in my opinion, is living proof that economics is an inexact science, has written a new book. It is called “Economics and the Public Purpose.” In it, he asserts that market arrangements in our economy have given us inadequate housing, terrible mass transit, poor health care and a host of other miseries. And then, for the first time to my knowledge, he advances socialism as the answer to our problems.

Shorn of all side issues and extraneous matter, the problem underlying all others is the worldwide contest for the hearts and minds of mankind. Do we find the answers to human misery in freedom as it is known, or do we sink into the deadly dullness of the Socialist ant heap?

Those who suggest that the latter is some kind of solution are, I think, open to challenge. Let’s have no more theorizing when actual comparison is possible. There is in the world a great nation, larger than ours in territory and populated with 250 million capable people. It is rich in resources and has had more than 50 uninterrupted years to practice socialism without opposition.

We could match them, but it would take a little doing on our part. We’d have to cut our paychecks back by 75 percent; move 60 million workers back to the farm; abandon two-thirds of our steel-making capacity; destroy 40 million television sets; tear up 14 of every 15 miles of highway; junk 19 of every 20 automobiles; tear up two-thirds of our railroad track; knock down 70 percent of our houses; and rip out nine out of every 10 telephones. Then, all we have to do is find a capitalist country to sell us wheat on credit to keep us from starving!

Our people are in a time of discontent. Our vital energy supplies are threatened by possibly the most powerful cartel in human history. Our traditional allies in Western Europe are experiencing political and economic instability bordering on chaos.

We seem to be increasingly alone in a world grown more hostile, but we let our defenses shrink to pre-Pearl Harbor levels. And we are conscious that in Moscow the crash build-up of arms continues. The SALT II agreement in Vladivostok, if not re-negotiated, guarantees the Soviets a clear missile superiority sufficient to make a “first strike” possible, with little fear of reprisal. Yet, too many congressmen demand further cuts in our own defenses, including delay if not cancellation of the B-1 bomber.

I realize that millions of Americans are sick of hearing about Indochina, and perhaps it is politically unwise to talk of our obligation to Cambodia and South Vietnam. But we pledged—in an agreement that brought our men home and freed our prisoners—to give our allies arms and ammunition to replace on a one-for-one basis what they expend in resisting the aggression of the Communists who are violating the cease-fire and are fully aided by their Soviet and Red Chinese allies. Congress has already reduced the appropriation to half of what they need and threatens to reduce it even more.

Can we live with ourselves if we, as a nation, betray our friends and ignore our pledged word? And, if we do, who would ever trust us again? To consider committing such an act so contrary to our deepest ideals is symptomatic of the erosion of standards and values. And this adds to our discontent.

We did not seek world leadership; it was thrust upon us. It has been our destiny almost from the first moment this land was settled. If we fail to keep our rendezvous with destiny or, as John Winthrop said in 1630, “Deal falsely with our God,” we shall be made “a story and byword throughout the world.”

Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.

Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people’s earnings government can take without their consent.

Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform that will begin by simplifying the income tax so that workers can compute their obligation without having to employ legal help.

And let it provide indexing—adjusting the brackets to the cost of living—so that an increase in salary merely to keep pace with inflation does not move the taxpayer into a surtax bracket. Failure to provide this means an increase in government’s share and would make the worker worse off than he was before he got the raise.

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.

Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.

Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding those who commit misdeeds personally accountable.

And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of “peace at any price.”

We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.

Does this sound like treason to you? *UPDATED*

Treason is a pretty simple concept.  Here are a few choice definitions:

A violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or to one’s state.

Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

1. a crime that undermines the offender’s government
2. disloyalty by virtue of subversive behavior
3. an act of deliberate betrayal

Have you got all those definitions firmly in mind?  Now read this, from Amir Taheri, reporting in the New York Post:

WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington,” Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops – and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its “state of weakness and political confusion.”

When I was a young adult, one of the absolute worst charges Reagan’s political opponents leveled at him was the claim that, while he was running for President against Jimmy Carter, he reached an agreement with the Iranian revolutionaries that they would not release the American hostages until after the presidential election — something that would reinforce the American voter’s impression that Carter was weak and inept.

In the 1990s, both the House and the Senate investigated these charges and found nothing.  Nevertheless, amongst Democrats and those further to the Left, mention Reagan’s name and this charge comes up as yet another example of the Left’s ability to believe simultaneously that conservatives/Republicans are yokels with two-digit IQs and evil manipulators whose savvy enables them constantly to double-cross naive Democrats.

There is no doubt in my mind that Obama grew up knowing about this charge against Reagan, and saw  it as yet another example of Reagan’s and the Republicans’ myriad calumnies.  Heck, I don’t even doubt that Obama dismisses the official debunking and believes it’s completely true that Reagan engaged in this heinous act.  Or, let’s put it another way — an act that was heinous when a Republican committed it against a Democrat.

I also have absolutely no doubt that Obama used Reagan’s alleged negotiations with the hostages as an inspiration for his undermining the American government, not during a “crisis,” but during an actual war.  Nobody in the Justice Department is going to do anything about it, of course.  Nevertheless, we can at least call ‘em like we see ‘em — if the Iraqi Foreign Minister spoke the truth (and this is not merely an inchoate conspiracy theory, but something straight from a possibly reliable horse’s mouth), Obama committed treason, plain and simple.

And this is the man that approximately half of the country wants to see as Commander in Chief?  Someone who will betray his own country and keep American troops at risk for an enterprise he believes is unnecessary simply for his own personal aggrandizement?  If we needed any further evidence that Obama is unfit to walk through the door of the White House, this is it.

Others blogging:

Wizbang
Instapundit
Hot Air
Lucianne
Brutally Honest
The Anchoress

UPDATE: Charlie from Colorado made such a good point in the comments that I think his point and my response need to be moved up here, to the post:

Charlie (Colorado):

Bookie, this is the one case where the definition of a crime is established in the Constitution:

Article III Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

I think it would be pretty hard to claim this was an overt act of levying war or of adhering to the enemies of the USA.

Now, if you wanted to suggest it was a violation of the Logan Act I’d be right there with you.

Bookworm:

Interesting point, Charlie. Did Obama give aid and comfort to the enemy? From his own point of view, I think he did.

My take on the War — and this particular time in the War — is that our troops our in Iraq trouncing the bad guys. Obama’s point of view is now, and certainly was back in July, when he made these statements — that the war is a failure, and that our troops are there as target practice for some amorphous “insurgents.” (I say amorphous because the Democrats keep denying that these are Al Qaeda people and they’ve assured us that Islam is a religion of peace.)

Because Obama’s view is/was that our troops our in the equivalent of a turkey shoot, with them being the turkeys, when he specifically requested that those same American troops be left to the depredations of those amorphously identified insurgents, Obama provided aid and comfort to the enemy. More American turkeys for them to shoot could only be a good thing from their point of view. (Mind you, I’m looking at the Iraq theater through the Obama prism.)

Likewise, by bad mouthing our administration abroad and implying that it is ineffectual, Obama is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Certainly, we’ve taken heart from captured communications between Al Qaeda and its fellow travelers in which the writers speak badly of their own command and troops.

And you’re right, of course — Obama’s also violating the Logan Act.

McCainiacs thinking outside of the box

In 1980 (and again in 1984), Ronald Reagan won in significant part because traditionally Democratic voters abandoned their party to vote for him. Those same “Reagan Democrats” have shown up frequently in the news today.  Indeed, McCain is specifically targeting those same people and demographics.  US News & World Report explained back in May:

As the Democrats struggle to select their nominee, John McCain is quietly finalizing his fall strategy. One of his goals will be to attract white working-class and culturally conservative Democrats who supported Ronald Reagan and now have their doubts about the Democratic presidential candidates, especially Barack Obama. This trend was particularly clear in the May 13 primary in West Virginia, where Obama did poorly among such voters. “The Reagan Democrats are in play more than they’ve been in a long time,” says Frank Donatelli, a senior official at the Republican National Committee and former White House political director for Reagan.

I have my doubts, though, about McCain being able to replicate precisely the same Reagan Democrat trend that occurred in the 1980s.  Don’t get me wrong — I think this is another election that will see renegade Democrats tilt the balance in favor of the Republican candidate (color me hopeful).  I just don’t think it will play out on precisely the same lines as before.

For one thing, back in 1980, the Democrat in question had a record on which to run and, boy, was it a depressing one.  Carter’s ineffectual waffling almost certainly aided the Shah of Iran’s downfall, and his manifest weakness when it came to the situation in Iran was a green light for the Revolutionaries to seize American hostages and to lord that fact over the former super power of the world.  Old-time northern Democrats may have liked their unions, but they liked American strength and security even more, and they weren’t about to put their faith in this pathetic American leader a second time.

The economy also suffered mightily under Carter’s tender economic ministrations, which relied heavily on high taxes and high government spending.  Even long-time Democrats who believed in an expanded and strong central government could see that this approach wasn’t working.

Carter was also so damn equivocal.  He seemed to have no fixed principles whatsoever.  A friend of mine  once tried to explain his waffling away by saying that Carter was an engineer and that he constantly recalculated things every time a new piece of data came along, thereby rendering himself completely ineffectual.  That explanation sounded plausible back then, but I’ve come to believe that, in fact, Carter actually doesn’t now and didn’t then have any fixed principles.  Be that as it may, Ronald Reagan, with his cheerful personality and his strong moral and political beliefs, was a welcome antidote to the vacillating, weak, grim boob occupying the White House.

Obama, unlike Carter, has virtually no record whatsoever on which to run — and this means virtually no highly visible political record that is repugnant to voters.  It’s only by the most diligent digging that people who care have managed to find out information about his politics.  And the sorry fact is that too many people don’t care.  We who peruse blogs believe that all other Americans share our heightened interest in politics.

I suspect that the opposite is true.  Most people are headline readers:  They might scan Drudge, but their news major intake may be limited to reading the cover and back page of Time Magazine while waiting in the checkout stand at the grocery store.  And, perhaps, they watch the first 5 or 10 minutes of the nightly news.  If those are indeed their sole news sources, they keep hearing that Obama is fresh, that he’s brilliant, that he’ll change things — and since things don’t seem so hot right now, and since Bush is not an overwhelmingly popular President — change can only be for the better.

It is true that people are beginning to figure out that all is not as it seems in Obama-land.  He’s pompous, he’s egotistical, his affiliations range from the silly to the scary, he’s ill-informed, he is an unprincipled vacillater, he’s hostile to many traditional American values, his politics come from the far Left end of the political spectrum, he misspeaks with almost unusual frequency, etc.  But again, that news is only slowly trickling into the awareness of the average voter, especially since the mainstream media is assiduously working overtime to protect Americans from Obama’s less savory and flattering aspects.

All of the above is McCain’s first problem in courting conservative Democrats:  Obama is a cipher and, while that’s not good, it’s better than being one of the worst Presidents ever.  In other words, Reagan got lucky that he was running against Carter.

The second problem, and one that I think is even more serious than the first, is the fact that, in many communities, conservatives have been run underground in a way that was inconceivable even in the politically polarized 60s and 70s.  Those decades were still transitional periods, during which traditional values, which still held sway in such cultural markers as the media and schools, were being given a good run for the money by the new Leftists, and were also starting to appear in the media and in schools.  This meant that a lot of the old time Democrats were rethinking their political allegiance in the face of new Democratic politics that, increasingly, had little to do with FDR’s New Deal, and a lot more with Moscow’s old deal.  There was, therefore, a great deal of fluidity that we don’t have now.  This fluidity meant that there was room for open public debate within people’s own communities.  This flux and freedom allowed for political movement.

Things are different now.  Conservatives slink around, afraid of public attacks and social isolation (something I’ve blogged about here and here).  In Hollywood, which has the most visible, vocal liberal community in America, departing from the prevailing liberal orthodoxy can spell career death.  (See here, here and here for articles spelling out what’s going on in Hollywood.)  Liberals speak with increasing frequency of prosecuting political speech with which they disagree, and have resorted to thuggish tactics to suppress donations to conservative causes.  If you’re reading this, I probably don’t have to remind you of the way in which conservative speakers are either barred entirely from America’s campuses or are harassed and attacked.  This is not a fluid time politically.  It’s one that is very fixed.

What all of this means is that people who have historically self-identified as liberal, and who live and work in liberal communities, are very isolated.  They don’t feel as if they’re part of a movement.  The younger ones are especially hampered by a culturally dominant belief that Republicans are hate-filled old fogies who want to suck money away from poor people in America and who keep KKK hoods hidden in the back of their closets.

The problem, then, in true Blue Communities is to give conservatives positive visibility.  In this way, the ones who waver can look around and think, “Hey, I didn’t realize What’s His Name was also thinking of voting for McCain.  We ought to get together and talk.”  There’s really a heady rush that goes along with discovering that you’re not alone, especially if you’ve made a rather painful journey from one end of the political spectrum to another.

I discovered I wasn’t alone in Marin when I bravely journeyed out to my first Marin for McCain meeting.  I learned at this meeting that at least half the people there were former Democrats and that, of those, half of them are scared to let anyone know about their political transformation.  Significant parts of the organizational meetings, therefore, are given over to brainstorming ways to convince Marin’s shy neo-cons (or anti-Obamites) that it’s okay to be a conservative.  I wanted to share with you some of the thinking outside of the box that goes on at these meetings as we work to break through the monolithic liberal attitude that pervades Marin, and other Blue communities.

My favorite suggestion, and one that I think will play well all over America, is to co-opt the concept of Flash Mobbing.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, here’s the Wikipedia definition:  “A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse.”  The idea is a good one right off the bat since the flash mob concept is closely tied to emails and text messaging — it therefore has a young feel to it.

A conservative flash mob could work this way:  Politically active conservatives would agree to show up at some agreed-upon location (a mall or a farmer’s market) wearing their McCain t-shirts.  There’s wouldn’t be anything threatening about these appearances.  That is, the conservatives wouldn’t group together or do cheers.  Instead, they’d just be there, at the mall or the farmer’s market, in their McCain shirts, showing local residents that McCain voters actually exist.  Someone would then take photos of these McCainiacs wandering through the mall or mulling over the fresh fruits and vegetables, and send these photos to a website — providing further proof that conservatives exist in Blue regions.  For the conservatives who show up, there would be a wonderful feeling of camaraderie.  And for those who hear about it and see the pictures, there would suddenly be a visible reminder that they are not alone.

Other ideas for enabling conservative Democrats to become McCain Democrats include using bloggers like me, with stories of breaking away from the computer and working for the McCain campaign; making the McCain headquarters a welcoming place for police and firefighters by offering food, drink and toilet facilities for them; finding local conservative musicians (they do exist), to liven up the campaign headquarters; taking out silly ads in local newspapers (with the latest idea for our dog crazy community being an ad showing dogs in McCain way); and handing out free M&Ms to remind people that Marin is for McCain.

As I said near the start of this post, I believe quite strongly that, as the election draws near, more and more people will be become frightened of Obama and back away from him.  (Or if Hillary comes back, enough people are already frightened of her to render that avoidance prophecy true.)  The challenge is to get these frightened people to take an affirmative step.  They shouldn’t just avoid voting for Obama; they must vote for McCain.  And its our job in the coming months to make that, for them, very big step, as easy and fun as possible.

If you have ideas that can entice those old Reagan Democrats into becoming McCain Democrats, let the active McCain supporters know.  You can email me at Bookwormroom*at*gmail.com, or just contact your local Republican or McCain headquarters.  Don’t be shy.  It’s fun!  And it’s for an awfully good ’cause if you don’t want to see a scary repeat of the Carter era.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News