Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category.

What The Buddha Can Teach Democrats and Republicans

The Buddha taught everything changes, and that the root of human suffering was our resistance to the acceptance of this reality. Congress could use a few Buddhists right now because the way both parties are acting one would think that we’ve achieved some sort of permanent status in Washington DC.

The Republican Party lost its mojo last election after drinking tea to victory in 2010, and is acting like it will never be in power again. Likewise the Democrats are acting as if they will be the majority party in perpetuity and Obama won with a landslide last November even though he won fewer votes in ‘12 than he did in ‘08. Both statements would be true if time stopped today and never flowed again, but that isn’t its nature. The former prince of a tiny kingdom in India 2,500 years ago understood that and did so without polls, political consultants or reading op-ed pieces in the Washington Post.

Republicans today should be proposing legislation that benefits the majority party. Why? Because things change. It will find its groove again will likely retake the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016. In order to prepare for that day, they should be agreeing to the legislation being put forth by the Democrats. End the filibuster? Absolutely. Expand Executive orders? Yes. Give the president the power to raise the debt ceiling? We’re on board. Today the President talks of using an executive order to restrict gun rights. That will set a precedent for a Republican president in four years time to use an executive order to restrict abortion rights, so the GOP should cheer and the Dems should reconsider their support of such an expansion of executive power.

Similarly the Democrats should be proposing legislation that protects the minority power because it is likely they will become that in two years time and it takes time for laws to be legislated and put into place. They also should be putting into place laws that build strengthen the legislative branch over the executive because it is likely they will return to Congress under a Republican president.

Of course neither party is willing to do this because it would appear they are giving in to the other, but back in the day party leaders like Tip O’Neil and James Baker would have had the foresight to see an election or two down the road and recognize the rhythm of American politics, the pendulum that swings from the left to the right and back again, marking the passage of time in the Republic. For Republicans today it’s hard not to despair, but to quote from another great man a few thousand miles to the west of the Buddha (although only a few hundred years before Him), King Solomon who pondered the eternal truth of the statement, “This too shall pass.” And the Democrats who are exultant and ready to remake history as Progressive ideals conquer all, a reminder: “This too shall pass.”

It would behoove both Democrats and Republicans to prepare for today’s passing because as the Buddha taught, whether or not we like it, it will.

If You Have to Ask Who The Sucker Is…

If you thought the 98% was safe from tax hikes, that the leviathan we call the Federal Government would be sated with the blood and treasure of the top 2%, think again.

Senate-Passed Deal Means Higher Tax on 77% of Households

More than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes. Among the households facing higher taxes, the average increase would be $1,635, the policy center said. A 2 percent payroll tax cut, enacted during the economic slowdown, is being allowed to expire as of yesterday.

Ah, but that 2% cut is to keep Social Security solvent for your future, so it’s not that bad, right? Well, yes it is that bad. Remember all that talk a decade back about keeping Social Security in a lockbox? Well it was just that: talk. Social Security funds are not saved and spent only on retirees. Instead that money is added to the general fund and replaced by an IOU. So that $1,635 extra you pay this year could easily go to Hollywood movie studios or rum producers in Puerto Rico. It does not add to the solvency of the fund; it’s just extra cash for the federal government, which is not unlike an extra gram to a meth head.

Some Democrats are now noticing the damage to their paychecks.

“What happened that my Social Security withholding’s in my paycheck just went up?” a poster wrote on the liberal site “My paycheck just went down by an amount that I don’t feel comfortable with. I guarantee this decrease is gonna’ hurt me more than the increase in income taxes will hurt those making over 400 grand. What happened?”

It’s interesting to see the assumption made by the poster between comfort and taxes, especially when he’s taking the hit and not some faceless Two Percenter. ““Obama is the biggest f***ing liar in the world. Why the f*** did I vote for him”?” Because sir, you are a sucker.

So pass this news along to your smug liberal friends who screamed about the wealthy paying “their fair share” and voted for Hope and Change in 2008 and 2012, and ask them where their going to find the extra $136.25 to send the people who own the President and his party.

RIP Senator Daniel Inouye

Rhymes with Right has a moving piece honoring the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye. Inouye was a member of the Greatest Generation, but fought for a nation that didn’t trust him simply because of his ethnic heritage, becoming a hero in more ways than one. Just because a man has a “D” behind his name doesn’t make him less a man; in fact in Inouye’s case I think he had more guts and sense than any of those he most recently served with having “R”s behind theirs.

Aloha, Senator, and Requiesce in Pace after a life lived with honor.

Force Wealthy Liberals to Pay Their Fair Share

Speaking of insanity, when will Republicans stop their fetishistic devotion to the wealthy after the party has been abandoned by them? As Victor Davis Hansen point out, 8 of the 10 wealthiest counties in America voted for Obama in November 2012, yet the party continues kowtowing to the uberrich by most recently exempting Hollywood from animal cruelty laws. Hollywood isn’t exactly supportive of the GOP, yet that hasn’t stopped the party from cosponsoring and supporting legislation such as the DMCA even going so far to fire  Derek Khanna, formerly of the Republican Study Committee for daring criticize the legislation that protects the film and music industries at the expense of artists and consumers.

It’s time to cap the tax exemption on charitable giving. Why not a cap on say, $10 million? Everything beyond that is taxable. Such a cap won’t hurt charities like Goodwill or AmVets, two charities that are largely supported by small donations from individuals, but it will put a dent in giving to large high profile charities and foundations supported by liberals that in return support liberal causes. Hansen suggests limiting the mortgage interest tax deduction to a single mortgage on the primary residence to the first $100k with no interest tax deduction on second or vacations homes. After all why should taxpayers subsidize mansions and multiple homes of the wealthy? Also, disallow the tax deduction for state and local taxes. For the average taxpayer this won’t result in much, but it would kill those who live in Blue states such as California, Illinois and Connecticut who are allowed to deduct their high state taxes from their federal taxes, in effect forcing people living in low tax Red states to subsidize the wealthy in La Jolla and the Hamptons. As Ann Coulter states, “You want high taxes, New York and California? Then pay them — with no deductions for state and local taxes on your federal returns.”

Coulter also points out that the reason why capital gains are taxed at a lower level than wage income is that most people pay taxes on their labor and then invest the money, so capital gains are a form of double taxation. But for the likes Warren Buffet who are compensated completely through capital gains, they do in effect pay a lower rate than the doctors, engineers and others who have to work to get the cash they need to invest. She writes, “Close that loophole. Almost no Republicans will be harmed in the making of this tax change. (There’s a reason Sen. Chuck Schumer fought so hard to save it.)”

Then there’s the Hollywood excise tax that Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has suggested re-instituting the excise tax on Hollywood that was repealed in the 1950’s. Hollywood has replaced the blacklist and slavish devotion to anti-communist ideology of the 1950s with their leftist equivalents today. The industry provides an outlet for a leftist interpretation of history (watch any Oliver Stone film to see what I’m referring to) while enjoying the benefits of conservative tax policy. As Reynolds notes, “Why should movie stars and studio moguls, with their yachts, swimming pools and private jets, not at least shoulder the burden they carried back in Harry Truman’s day—when, to be honest, movies were better anyway.”

Update: Victor Davis Hanson weighs in.

If the country is going to turn redistributionist, then we might as well do so whole-hog — given that eight of the wealthiest 10 counties in America voted for Obama. Why not limit mortgage interest deductions to just one loan under $100,000 — while ending tax breaks altogether for second and third vacation houses?

Under the present system, the beleaguered 99 percent are subsidizing the abodes of Hollywood and Silicon Valley “millionaires and billionaires” — many of whom themselves have been railing against the one percent. Should the government provide tens of thousands of dollars in tax breaks for a blue-state one-percenter to live in tony Palo Alto or Newport Beach when there are plenty of fine homes far cheaper and sitting empty not far away in Stockton and Bakersfield?

Blue states usually have far higher state income taxes that are used as deductions to reduce what is owed on federal income tax. Why should working folks in Nevada or Texas have to pay their fair share, while Wall Streeters get huge federal write-offs from their New York or Connecticut state income taxes?

Why California (Still) Matters to Conservatives

What is the purpose of government?

Is it to provide for the collective needs of the citizenry that the people cannot provide individually for themselves, or is it to exist for the purpose of improving the lives of those working for the government itself?

This is an answer that California is determined to learn. According to former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as reported by Bloomberg, half of the state’s budget is devoted to government employee salaries, health care and pension benefits and other compensation. According to the Census Bureau, in March 2011 there were 671,942 full time public sector employees in California. The state also employed an additional 310,298 part-timers for roughly a million workers. The Census estimates in 2011 California had a population of 37,691,912. The 2011-12 state budget was $85.9 billion. So if what Bloomberg reports is true, 2.7% of the population of California is gorging on 50% of the budget while the remaining 97.3% makes do with the rest.

The public sector unions, of course, see nothing wrong with this situation. Bloomberg reports:

“At the time we accomplished our biggest gains, I actually felt I was losing the recruitment war,” (Jon Hamm, chief executive officer of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, the union for CHP officers) said in an e- mailed statement. “I think it is clear that when our biggest gains were negotiated I did not feel they were ‘excessive;’ in fact, almost the opposite was true.

So the high compensation was necessary to recruit the best and brightest. Where have we heard that argument before? With CEO pay, another group whose pay some, such as the Soros front group ThinkProgress, have argued is unjustifiable. Note to Lefties: When you start using your opponent’s defense as your own, guess what? You have become your opponent.

Albert Einstein reportedly said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (I think this guy says it best.) When Democrat Gray Davis took the governorship the state had $12 billion surplus. Gray immediately went on a spending spree, throwing money at every possible Democratic constituency in existence. He did the job so well the damage outlasted his successful recall from office and blighted the terms of the governors who followed him. But instead of revolting against their politicians they keep electing the Democrats over and over again. Today the state is a one party Democratic state. There is no opposition to these policies that enrich the few while causing the many to suffer. The California GOP lacks any power to fight the continued plundering of the state by the rapacious minority of public sector workers belonging to unions who support the Democratic party alone.

Californians choose this of their own free will. It is a damning testament to Democracy, one that undermines faith in the form of government elsewhere in the country. It would be easy for conservatives and libertarians who believe in the separation of federal and state power and live in the remaining 49 states to write the state off as a basket case and wash their hands of its problems, but doing so ignores the sheer economic weight of the state. At a GNP of $2 trillion, 1/7th the entire US, the state’s economy is tied with Italy’s for eighth largest in the world. We may smirk as the EU struggles to maintain its cohesion and even compare California’s fate to the supposedly lazy Greeks, but California’s economy is 5 1/2 times the size of Greece’s.  That means we have over five Greeces, an EU sized mess,  in our own American back yard. An economically dysfunctional California isn’t just a threat to itself, it could wreck the American economy for years.

It is only a matter of time before California goes cap in hand to Washington DC, and when it does it will be met with howls of protests from conservatives and libertarians – and rightfully so. But the truth is California isn’t going to go away; we can’t kick it out of the Union the way the Germans are contemplating doing to Greece, but at the same time we can’t ignore it either. It is in our own interest and the interest of the country’s to help get the state back on its feet and to do so while balancing the needs of its people while getting them in touch with the responsibilities they shirked in the past.

Party Like It’s 1999? Why I’m All For It

I’m not a fan of Steve Forbes but his essay President Obama, Clinton Prosperity Requires Clinton-Sized Government is proof that even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes. In it Forbes counters the unspoken assumption by Democrats returning to Clinton era tax rates Clinton era growth will follow, pointing out that the federal budget back then was half a trillion dollars smaller and the Fed wasn’t printing dollars like a bunch of coked up monkeys running the printing presses.

In 1998 the budget for fiscal year 1999 Clinton submitted contained $1.7 trillion in spending and $1.8 trillion in revenue for a $9 trillion economy. It was the first balanced budget in 30 years, and resulted in a $124 billion surplus.

Contrast this with Obama’s 2012 budget. $3.8 trillion in spending and $2.5 trillion in revenue resulting in a deficit of $1.3 trillion. To put it another way the 2012 deficit alone is roughly 3/4 of Clinton’s budget. The US economy has grown to $15 trillion in 2011, making it about 66% bigger today than it was in 1999, but the rate of government spending has increased 124%, almost double economic growth that period.

So where has the money gone? Defense obviously. In 1998 when the ‘99 budget was being formulated American troops were deployed on a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Today the world is different and America has deployments not only in Afghanistan but covertly in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Northern Africa and wherever Islamic terrorists like to hang out, so in my opinion the expense is justified to a degree. But I am not averse to defense cuts. How long do we have to protect Europe from the Germans or Russia? Isn’t 70+ years of American boots on the ground enough there? I’ve even advocated drawing down troops in Japan and South Korea, although these nations may not be so keen to see our backs given China’s rise to superpower status.

By comparing the 1999 and 2012 budgets by budget function, what’s interesting is the lack of divergence between functions over the 13 year period. As a portion of the total budget defense’s portion grew by 2.56% between 1999 and 2012, the largest positive shift of budget resources. Considering how things have changed in the world a 2.56% allocation to defense seems modest. Other notable changes include a nearly 9% decrease in Net Interest – a fact that strikes me as some kind of budgetary gimmick or error, and a 2.53% decrease in Social Security payments (don’t we have a higher percentage of elderly in our population today than in 1999?)

1999-2012 Budget Comparison
Comparing the FY1999 to FY2012 US Federal Budgets

When I look at the budget figures for both years, nothing leaps out at me and says “Here’s why we’re $16 trillion in the hole.” Bush didn’t add a whole new category of spending, and neither has Obama. The reason our budget mess is not apparent in these figures is because it’s a problem of scale. To use another analogy, it’s not as if any slice of the pie has grown over the others, the entire pie has grown beyond inflation and outpacing the economy. If the government grew at the same pace as the economy in the period 1998-2011 the federal budget in 2012 would have been $2.50 trillion dollars, $1.3 trillion less than the actual 2012 budget and coincidentally, the same figure as last year’s deficit. The entire federal government expanded and I find that disturbing because that implies uncontrollable growth, and a single statistic proves it.

How much does federal spending make up the economy? Dividing the 1999 $1.7 trillion budget by $9 trillion GDP results in 18%. Using the same numbers for 2012 and we get 25%. The federal government now owns 7% more of the economy than it did in 1999. 7% of an imaginary number like $15 trillion is meaningless on the face of it, but when we realize that while we weren’t looking the federal government added to itself an economy the size of Mexico (2011 GDP $1.15 trillion) or South Korea (2011 GDP $1.11 trillion) that it didn’t possess in 1999 and things start to look a bit more serious. Perhaps those Tea Partiers weren’t as crazy as the mainstream media portrayed them as after all, unless of course you assume government control of the economy isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

If we add state and local spending, the situation gets worse for a Tea Partier, better if you are a socialist, adding another 14% of GDP for combined government spending of 38.9% of GDP. Ranked against other nations in the world that puts us roughly tied with Canada, a few points ahead of Japan and Australia and a few points behind Spain and Ireland, two nations that are struggling to stay afloat in the EU.

Total US Govt Spending as Percentage of GDP 1903-2011
Total US Govt (federal/state/local) Spending as Percentage of GDP 1903-2011

It is ironic that the administration of President Bill Clinton, a man so detested by the GOP establishment they tried to have him forcibly removed from office would serve as the epitome of small government at the same time as his Democratic successor strives to emulate his tax policies to fund an even bigger government. But it is what it is; up is down right is wrong, good is evil and the Clinton era stands as a shining example for small government libertarians and conservatives to strive to recreate. So party like it’s 1999 and embrace the smaller government ideals that underlaid its prosperity.
Calculations used in this article can be accessed here in their entirety.

Democrats Should Watch What They Wish For

Watching liberals freak out over a possible Romney presidency would be entertaining if it weren’t sad to those of us hoping to see Washington work again for the good of the country. If one were to believe the hysteria, minutes after taking the oath of office he is going to take away everyone’s health insurance and force them to buy private plans from insurance companies his friends own, send all American jobs to China, force women to emulate the Mormon wives portrayed in Big Love, invade Syria, Iraq, Iran and any other Middle Eastern country the angel Moroni tells him, and unleash torrents of crude oil into the wilderness all the while sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office tapping his fingers together and maniacally laughing. I’m sure forcing people to drive with their dogs on top of their cars comes his second day in office.

People on the right don’t get this at all. While liberals relished the spectacle of Republican Primaries where each candidate defined him or herself as more conservative than Mitt Romney by portraying him as a liberal RINO (Republican In Name Only), they evidently failed to notice that of all the GOP candidates Mitt Romney is the most liberal on many issues important to conservatives. He is after all the grandfather of Obamacare, the issue that nearly sank him in the primaries, and worse, wasn’t the governor of Texas, the way George W. Bush was, or California (which once had a flourishing conservatism) like Reagan. No he was governor of the bluest of blue states, Massachusetts, a state that many on the right refer to as Taxachusetts due to its tax code that more resembles socialist France than small-government loving New Hampshire. Face it, a Republican in Massachusetts is like a Pomeranian. A Pom is as much a dog as a Rottweiler. It may bark like a Rottweiler but if you are going to stroll through a city park at night you’ll note the salient difference between the two dogs and want the Rotty, not the Pom, at your side.

The rise of the Democratic party is directly the result of the election of 2004. Had Kerry defeated Bush that year it is unlikely that the Democrats would have taken over Congress in 2006 which laid the groundwork for the Obama election in 2008. By the time Congress came into session in January 2007 Bush was already a lame duck, despised by the electorate with no political capital to spend in Washington. What were the great achievements of his second term? See for yourself. He pacified Iraq of course, but that’s already unraveling. Domestically the only thing that can be loosely classified as an achievement is the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005, a bill sponsored by then Senator Joe Biden which I vehemently opposed. As a rule second terms always disappoint. Clinton’s was marred by scandal and the failed attempt at impeachment, so he did what presidents often due to burnish their entry in History by chasing after foreign policy illusions. Reagan had Iran Contra, and Nixon, well let’s just note that ended badly for him.

There is no reason for the pattern to break. In a second term Obama will have a Republican House and possibly a Republican Senate. The GOP rank and file will follow the Democrat’s example and purge itself of all the establishment figures that shoved Romney down the throats of the Tea Party faithful, forcing the GOP further to the Right in the same way that Kerry’s failure forced the Democrats leftward. In the long-term this will be good for Conservatives because it will be nearly impossible for the Democrats to win again in 2016, and so the GOP will choose a candidate that will make Michelle Bachmann look as liberal as Nancy Pelosi. But he or she won’t be defeated in the primary by a centrist establishment candidate, because the establishment will have been purged of RINOs in the same way that the Democrat Party purged itself of conservatives like Zell Miller, Dick Gephardt and Jim Webb.

If Obama wins it is unlikely either the House of Senate will move back into Democratic hands. So in 2016 when America voices its desire for change it will elect a much more conservative Republican than Mitt Romney, and will hand him or her a unified Congress. If this doesn’t scare liberals today, it should, because had someone told me in 2004 that my vote for “W” would have resulted in the Democrats controlling both halls of Congress and electing the most liberal president since Carter, I would have voted for Kerry and encouraged my libertarian and conservative brethren to do the same.

Mitt Romney is many things, but he is not a conservative. He may claim Reagan’s mantle, and the GOP will pretend it’s his, but don’t fool yourself: Romney is a liberal Republican and honestly at this point that’s okay for me. I’m tired of extremists of any stripe, and would welcome a moderate in the White House. The question is whether the Democratic Party wants to remain relevant in the long-term by losing the election this November and likely retaking Congress in two years, or desires to re-elect Obama now and give up control of Congress until 2018 and risk electing a Republican extremist in 2016. Elections have consequences, Obama once said. They sure do, and Democrats should remember that before they cast their votes.

The GOP: The Short Bus Party

Being a registered Republican is a constant reminder that I’m a member of the party that evidently took the “short bus” to school. For all the accusations by the Democrats about how the GOP left a mess for the Democrats to clean up, the GOP simply doesn’t have the smarts to point out that the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for much of that period, had the entire federal government and the majority of state houses the first half of the Obama administration, and that the CEO of Countrywide Angelo Mozilo, the leading subprime lender, ran a “Friends of Angelo” program that gave sweetheart deals to Democrats. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee received a deal estimated to be worth $1 million by Michael Moore – no friend of the GOP. Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND), Fannie Mae CEO and Democratic Party kingmaker Jim Johnson also received special deals from Mozillo. Countrywide also financed deals for other Democrats including Nancy Pelosi’s son, Senator Barbara Boxer and Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton Donna Shalala and Congressman and current Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC). While Republican Alphonso Jackson made Angelo’s list, the rest of the list is skewed towards the Democratic Party not necessarily because Mozilo is a Democrat, which he may be, but that’s where the power was at the time.

Has the GOP run ads about this, carpet bombing the media to fight back against the meme that it is to blame for the financial crisis in 2008? It’s very simple. I’ve seen Barney Frank and Chris Dodd on CSPAN clips from the era protecting the subprime mortgage industry, resisting tighter regulation and denying that anything was wrong. The RNC can’t figure out how to edit the video and put these clips together? For every punch in the face by the Democrats I see the party and its leaders step back and raise their hands shouting, “See, this guy doesn’t fight fair,” and refusing to punch back. Meanwhile the Democrats mug their Republican enemies, brutalizing them with below the belt tactics like a robber kicking the crap out of an old lady on the sidewalk all the while yelling, “See? Self-defense! She started it! Ouch! She hit me! She’s just as bad and morally culpable as I am,” in the hope that the media and independent voters will buy their narrative, believing that either they are the morally superior party or at least, that the GOP is just as bad as they are. If people become jaded and don’t vote they win because Democrats will rely on union thugs to canvas cemeteries for votes on Election Day. Wait, that’s an exaggeration. They won’t use union activists to canvas cemeteries; that’s the local Democratic party’s job.

The stupidity of the GOP is endless to the point on verging on the pathological. One would think that of all industries the entertainment industry would be one of the least popular among conservatives and their libertarian allies. The former are constantly offended by negative stereotypes of white men and the military as well as the undermining of cultural values, while the latter bristles at the entertainment industry’s war against their own consumers through the DMCA and anti-piracy crusades. The DMCA was sponsored by a Republican congressman and has received strong backing by the GOP on the principal that’s what’s good for business is good for America. This thinking goes back two generations to the repeal under President Eisenhower of the 20% excise taxes on movie theater gross revenue put in place by liberal icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Professor Glenn Reynolds argues that the GOP should stop carrying water for their political enemies and call the Democrats’ bluff on higher taxes by re-instituting FDR’s movie tax. The entertainment industry does not back the GOP and Democrat parties evenly; support is skewed heavily towards the latter. By agreeing to the tax the GOP would show the industry that actions have consequences, something that Hollywood and the music industry have forgotten. It’s easy to support calls for higher taxes when you enjoy low ones; it’s easy to call for fair trade when you already enjoy the benefits of free trade.

The GOP must begin to fight back. It must realize that it will not win by holding back attacks or taking the moral high road while the electorate believes that it is just as vicious and amoral as the Democrats. A good start would be to conduct a seance and channel Lee Atwater’s ghost. Atwater was the brains behind the GOP wins of the last half of the Reagan era and is arguably responsible for getting Bush I elected in 1988. He was the brains behind the Willie Horton adds that painted Dukakis as an enabler of Massachusetts rapist/murderers, and makes the liberal archnemesis Karl Rove look as politically powerful as Mr. Rodgers. As long as people believe the GOP is fighting dirty and is ethically challenged, there is nothing to be gained by acting nobly. It won’t be reported by an antagonistic press, and it won’t be believed by a jaded electorate.

The GOP should call for the repeal of the DMCA on the grounds that it protects monopolies and discourages innovation. It should call for the 20% excise tax on Hollywood as well as an end to tax deductions on union dues as part of a general agreement with Democrats on a budget deal. It should also oppose offshoring subsidies and tax breaks that are enjoyed by high-tech firms such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, companies whose employees and CEOs favor Democrats. Finally, it should encourage educational innovations that weaken the stranglehold the teacher’s unions have on public education including the usage of vouchers, charter school, home-schooling support and long-distance learning initiatives. College professors are 90%+ Democrat, and colleges and universities have become more expensive and less relevant in the 21st Century. People need to be taught how to think, not indoctrinated, shown how to adapt and survive economic change instead of protesting against it. Such knowledge doesn’t require $50k in debt or institutions where administrators outnumber teachers.

It is time the GOP brought a gun to a knife fight. The Democrats claim they have, the media broadcasts the lie and people believe it. It must embrace the spirit of Lee Atwater It has nothing to lose by doing so except the election.

What If They Gave a War and Nobody Came? The Republican’s Faux War on Women

Like most conservatives and libertarians I know, the majority of my friends are liberals and leftists of one stripe or another. Since the arrival of Facebook and my begrudging acceptance of social media, this means that I am regularly presented with liberal views of one sort or another and varying degrees of offensiveness. Since I have this journal for my own political thoughts, I use it to explore political and social issues, leaving Facebook for cat and kid photos and George Takei posts. I don’t comment or block anything my liberal friends post, no matter how much I might disagree with it, I just let it pass and within a few hours it disappears. What this process does is allow me stay in touch with people who might be offended

Let’s face it: social media is a terrible place to discuss or debate ideas. Most issues can’t be condensed into a Facebook post with a ‘read more’ tag beneath it, let alone a Twitter post. Federal spending in 140 chars or less. OMG! U suk! FTW!

The process is good for a political writer. It’s good because it keeps me abreast of the liberal zeitgeist from my perch out her in Exile and provides mental fodder for posts here.

The big topic among my friends is Senator-wanna-be Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments and how they support their belief in the GOP’s War on Women™. A long time ago I remember watching the GOP get all hot and bothered over flag burning. President George HW Bush said, “Flag burning is wrong. I believe the importance of this issue compels me to call for a constitutional amendment.” It fired up the base and gave them something else to rally around instead of Bush’s record which, in 1992, wasn’t all that much to tout.

I don’t think Obama is Bush I – I think he is far, far worse – more Nixon than anything. But he and his team are employing the same tactic obfuscate his terrible economic track record with the War on Women™. Let’s look at the components of this war. There are several specific efforts cited by Democrats as exemplifying the War which can be boiled down to the following points: the GOP platform banning abortion in all circumstances including rape or incest. This is the same wording that has been in the platform since 2004. Prior to that the platform was much less restrictive on the procedure. Second, attempts in Congress to de-fund Planned Parenthood and eliminate federal funds for family planning.

I don’t pay attention to party conventions for the simple reason that I’ve always thought they were pointless. So when my liberal friends became up in arms over the GOP party platform, I had to look it up. Honestly it’s easier to find pictures of dancing cats than it is to find actual platform text. Walter Russell Mead gives a withering critique of party conventions and platforms.

...the honest truth is that no party platform means anything in American politics anymore. No president refers back to the platform in framing legislation, no congressional leader uses it to set the legislative agenda, no living soul ever reads or quotes it for any purpose whatever. No historian of American party politics goes back to study them, no journalist refers to them more than a week after the convention. They are dead letters, produced out of a sense of ritual and to the extent they have any purpose whatever, they are idle playgrounds aimed at keeping clueless party zealots busy counting coup and scoring imaginary points.Party counts for very little in America today, and their platforms count for even less. Presidential candidates don’t feel bound by them in the slightest, and they shouldn’t.

The GOP platform is completely worthless. It excites zealots – both GOP and Democrat – and that’s what it did among my liberal friends.

As for Planned Parenthood, the organization was founded during the eugenics movement of the early 20th century, particularly of the racist variety. Since the ethnic stock I derive from was at various times the target of such a movement, I’m not a fan. I’m sure the KKK does some good, but given PP’s founding steeped in eugenics and racism, and the organizations continued flirtation with racism today, and I’m happy not seeing my tax dollars going to fund the organization. If people want to fund Planned Parenthood or the Klan, that’s their business but it shouldn’t be the federal government’s.

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood Founder

All the other examples of the supposed War are talking points such as H.R. 358 which the organization claims

5) In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

Unfortunately, that’s not what the bill says.
IN GENERAL- No funds authorized or appropriated by this Act (or an amendment made by this Act), including credits applied toward qualified health plans under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or cost-sharing reductions under section 1402 of this Act, may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except
‘(A) if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest; or

‘(B) in the case where a pregnant female suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the female in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

(emph. add.)

What rankles the anti-Life crusaders is the lack of language forcing a Catholic hospital or a doctor opposed to abortion to go against their moral convictions or a transfer the woman to a hospital where the procedure could take place. But that’s not the intent of the bill. The bill covers appropriation of taxpayer dollars: it has to do with payment for the procedure, and in the case where the woman’s life is endangered, the bill authorizes such payment.

And look at the details of the case: a woman dying who can only be saved by the murder of her unborn child / excision of the fetus who is receiving care by an institution or doctors who believe it is immoral for them to harm the child/fetus. How often do such cases occur, and is it appropriate for a law to exist to cover each possible exception? This is one reason why I support legal abortion even though I am morally opposed to it. A government cannot possible create laws that cover every possible contingency without hurting someone. Yet failing to create such a contingency becomes ammunition in support of the GOP’s War on Women?

Such a run to turn an extreme event into a is common the Left, from claiming the Tea Party had blood on its hands over the Gabby Giffords shooting (perpetrated by a lunatic leftist) [h/t TheRightPlanet] to Todd Akin’s statements, where the entire Republican Party broke the sound barrier distancing themselves from his comments, to no avail from the Obama administration echo chamber in the media which pounced and portrayed every Republican as a religious zealot.

Judging by the social media comments of my liberal friends I notice that some of the same people claiming the moral high ground over the Akin episode also support Julian Assange, accused of rape in Sweden. Instead of rallying around his accusers in Sweden (both women) they cheer Assange’s flight from facing justice in the bastion of socialism often trumpeted by the Left as a moral example – except when it comes to rape then suddenly Sweden is Louisiana just with better looking rednecks I suppose. What about his accusers rights to justice? Where is the moral outrage for two women who may have been actually raped versus Akin’s statements in which no woman was harmed?

I have discussed cognitive dissonance, or the holding two opposite and conflicting opinions throughout this journal, but I’m still amazed when I see it at work among people whom I would consider otherwise intelligent. The malady is insidious, and we all must regularly question our own beliefs, especially our most deeply held, to prevent falling into its trap.

As Charles Krauthammer noted, “If you vote for Romney he will kill your mother with cancer, throw your dad out of work, prevent your sister from getting contraceptives and kick your son out of college.” There are plenty of reasons not to vote for the GOP candidate this year, but the War on Women shouldn’t be one of them.

The Democratic Party’s War on Children

Much talk is being made about the Republican War on Women. But there is a war on that people sense but don’t really talk much about. It’s a war with real casualties and suffering. It will devastate lives of the innocent and guilty without differentiating between the two. It is the war on children being waged by the Left that dominates the Democratic party.

The war starts before birth with the elevation of abortion to sacramenthood including gruesome battles such as the legalization of partial birth abortion and the killing of infants who survive (both laws supported by the High Priest in Chief, Barack Obama.) These battles are supported by Malthusian fears manifested in the religion of environmentalism that views bearing children as sinful, except for the high priests such as Al Gore and “Population Bomb” author Paul Ehrlich who are free to procreate as they see fit. In light of this view the Left has supported one-child policies and forced sterilization that has led to sex-selective abortion and infanticide of females in India and China. It’s ironic that the enlightened feminists of the Left who continue to support these policies do so to the benefit of the patriarchy and detriment of women in these countries, leading to the births of 120 boys for every 100 girls in China. The New York Times attributes the “imbalance almost entirely to couples’ decisions to abort female fetuses,” yet China’s One Child Policy continues to be lauded by scions of the Left such as Tom Friedman. Yes, for connoisseurs of Irony the Left provides an endless buffet.

The war wages after birth, as the interests of children are ignored by the Left’s disparagement of traditional marriage even though children fare better with two parents in a stable relationship rather than in single parent or divorced parent households. Since the 1960’s the Left’s clarion call has been freedom without attendant responsibility, and that has resulted in broken homes or in many cases, no homes. Children in single parent homes are poorer than those in mixed parent (divorced) homes who are then trumped by children living with their birth parents together under one roof. The traditional family has always been uncool to the American Left, and as a result children have suffered.

The Left’s stranglehold on education has damaged children for life. Public schools are geared more towards providing teachers and administrators work than they are towards teaching children. Teacher’s unions have fought reform efforts such as vouchers and charter schools every step of the way. Curricula across the country have been dumbed down in an effort to indoctrinate the next generation with Leftist ideology. Since every culture is equal, precious time is frittered away discussing the contributions of minorities while downplaying the role of “dead white men” in American history. The rigor of mathematics is ignored because boys do better at the subject than girls so neither is taught. Boys are taught the same way as girls even though boys need more physical activity and learn better while active than girls, who do well seated and in a calm environment. Leftist dogma refuses to recognize sex differences so instead boys are sent home with notes insisting that they be medicated to make them as placid as girls, with the added benefit that they thus become easier to control.

Children in-debt themselves to attend colleges and universities filled with non-teaching administrators and staff in environments that would make Stalin proud. Hate speech codes limit free expression thereby ill-preparing children for the day when they enter the world and are forced to deal with people who do not think like them and perhaps even hold opposite opinions. Codes of conduct control interaction between the sexes, protecting young women from the responsibility of their actions while burdening young men with the knowledge that a man can be accused of any crime on campus without the constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair trial. Courses are geared towards the interest of faculty or the short-term attention spans of students instead of providing the skills necessary for successful careers and intellectual achievement after college.

It’s not the matter of teaching college kids how to program in C#, it’s teaching them how to evaluate and argue a position, something the Greeks do well but being dead white men are politically incorrect to teach. So kids exit college knowing how to spout slogans without how to evaluate the ideas behind them or to argue their points because they lack the intellectual tools to dissect an idea or persuade. The result is an entire generation that believes winning a debate is forcing your opponent into not responding to your sound-bites, and as a result talk past each other incapable of understanding others as well as their own opinions.

Finally, the war on Children reaches its Waterloo with the mountain of debt. $1 trillion of student loan debt. $16 trillion in federal debt. $1.2 Trillion in state debt. $355 Billion in underfunded private pension debt. $673 Billion in underfunded federal pension debt. $2.2 trillion in underfunded public state and municipal pension debt.

Add up the numbers and assume that the US population size and age ratio don’t change (the former won’t, the latter will, requiring even more young people to send checks to doddering old farts who yell at them to get off their lawns) and I get $21.5 trillion to be paid for by 120 million workers. That’s roughly $180,000 waiting for each child to enter the workforce. Estimates for average lifetime earnings are around $1.6 million, so that $180k represents  11%, so we can expect that American children are going to have roughly a 10% lower standard of living thanks to these debts than their parents or grandparents.

This is real money that won’t disappear. It must be paid either through the current generation living within its means, working longer, accepting higher taxes, benefits cuts, reduced services and ultimately a lower standard of living. Somebody is going to be eating cat food, and maybe even a few cats, but $21.5 trillion will be paid by someone. It won’t be inflated away. The government can’t borrow that much to pay off that debt. Instead children, even those lucky enough to escape the “choice” of abortion, are expected to be enslaved to bear this burden. Vice President talks about Republican’s wanting to put black people in chains, ignoring his own personal responsibility as a congressman and senator for nearly 40 years during which time he helped drive the country into debt and its future children into economic slavery.

Well how about the rich? Isn’t it time they paid their “fair share?” In this case, fair share means everybody’s debt not just theirs, but let’s assume that we hold guns to their heads and give them a good mugging just like the Soviets did in the early 1920’s. We could use the most recent issue of Forbes’ Top 400 richest Americans as our economic hit list and confiscate the wealth of everyone on it, from Bill Gates (net worth: $59 billion), through Warren Buffet ($39 billion), who can finally lose his guilt for paying a lower tax rate than his secretary, George Judenrat Soros ($22 billion) who can perhaps finally atone for his war crimes, all the way down to Peter Lewes ($1.05 billion), the progressive chairman of Progressive insurance. Wiping all 400 out, leaving them with nothing except the promises of the Socialist State, medicare and social security, will net us a whopping $1.5 trillion – leaving us $20 trillion short. We would need 14 Bill Gates’s, Warren Buffets, Peter Lewes’s and 14 times the rest of the 400 list to pay for it all. Instead the Democrats intend our children and grandchildren to pay for it.

And that’s not even covering  Social Security. Remember that lockbox talked about 12 years ago? Well we never went to the store and bought one so Congress raided it. At a time when we should have been socking away surpluses to pay for the retirement of Baby Boomers, we blew the money on what? Blow and hookers? Beats me, but the money’s not there. Disability will be underfunded starting in 2016. Social Security itself won’t last for more than a decade beyond that and requires an investment of $200-300 billion per year to remain solvent – and relevant – for when today’s children need it.

Someday America’s children will grow up and understand what the Democrats have done to them, but by that time the only memory of Joe Biden will be a street named after him in Scranton and Obama will replace Jimmy Carter as the doddering old fool of the Left who the Democrats cart out at conventions to remind America how psychotic the party leadership has become after purging sane members like Dick Gephardt and Zoell Miller. I hope he lives long enough to see America’s children realize they have been the other side in a decades long civil war, and they fight back.

Obamacare Survival No Guarantee of Obama’s This November

What, you honestly didn’t think it would be this easy did you? Just because a partisan measure passed without 0 Republicans in either the House or Senate, then rammed through the latter using a procedural maneuver, one that has become increasingly unpopular as the details are discovered since its passing, you didn’t seriously believe a divided court’s ruling would determine the President’s fate in November?

Obama has passed a huge, unpopular tax on the American people. Taxes are powerful incentives for change. Don’t forget that it was a tax that started us on the path of independence nearly 240 years ago. If the GOP isn’t scripting ads promising to repeal this unfair tax (unfair because it penalizes young people who don’t consume much in the way of health care in favor of older people who do), then it doesn’t deserve to win back the White House.

Nothing worth having comes easy. Let the president have his victory lap and his bump in the polls, but begin the attacks. Ann Althouse already has.

The Lessons of Walker’s Recall Election Win

Walter Russell Mead writes the best postmortem of the Walker Recall effort in Wisconsin. In it he explains how government solutions bind the disparate groups together on the Left, and how the public sector unions provide the glue.

Two big things unite them: a general sense of being on the same side in opposition to the economic and social right, and the belief in a strong, well-funded state. Some want the state to enforce mandates and empower them to reshape and uplift the bitter clingers. Others want the state to fund their universities, create jobs for their communities or otherwise provide concrete benefits. But for all of them the progressive, bureaucratic government machinery of the 21st century is both the prize for whose control they struggle and the agent they hope will make their dreams real.

The problem is that this alliance has damaged the Left and turned it into a backward looking conservative group.

In contemporary America, the public sector unions are essentially a conservative constituency. That is, their core goal is to get more resources in order to fight all but superficial change in the structures their members inhabit. They want ever growing subsidies to the postal service, the public school system, the colleges and universities, even to health care — but they do not want the kind of reforms that could make these institutions more efficient, more productive, more serviceable.

To the extent that these unions shape the Democratic agenda, Democrats aren’t just the party of government; they are the party of inefficient, expensive, unresponsive, bureaucratic government. They are the party of government workers first and foremost, and if there is a clash between the interests of the providers of government services and their consumers (between, for example, unqualified, unmotivated life-tenured public school teachers and kids), the unions come at these issues from the standpoint of protecting workers first, others second.

In terms of the blue social model, they are the party of the bitter clingers: the power of public sector unions among Democrats is a power that inhibits Democrats from putting forward innovative, future-facing ideas (about schools, health care, and so on) and keeps them focused firmly on the defense of the past.

The failure of this group to win the recall, an election that it chose in a state where it thought it could prevail, makes Walker’s survival (and the survival of his lieutenant governor and three of four state senators who also were on the ballot) so damaging to the Left. Unfortunately the Left has chosen to ignore the lesson, viewing the loss as a conspiracy between corporations, the GOP and the Supreme Court (which struck down prohibition against corporate donations in the Citizen’s United case.)

After reading about the recall results from several different sources, I’ve noticed that funding sources supporting Walker are identified as coming from outside of the state: “Democrats and organized labor spent millions to remove Walker, but found themselves hopelessly outspent by Republicans from across the country who donated record-setting sums to the governor’s campaign,” (AP). “Unions pointed to Walker supporters’ outspending his opponents by a more than 7-1 margin, 70% of it from outside the state,” (CNN). “Gov. Scott Walker’s victory Tuesday night in a recall election in Wisconsin raises tough questions for President Obama and Democrats nationally as they scramble to assess what it means for the enthusiasm of their voters, the power of their ground game, and their ability to compete against the huge sums of money Republicans have been raising,” (NY Times). Mead counters this, writing, “For one thing, the left had more money on its side in Wisconsin than many reports acknowledge; $20 million from labor groups,” according to an estimate by the MacIver Institute that shows how Big Labor allotted close to $16 million that personally targeted Walker. It is doubtful that this money came from within Wisconsin.

Where did the “outside spending meme” come from? “Adding to this gargantuan challenge of recalling only the third governor in American history was the flood of secret corporate cash distorting our democracy—a dangerous example of a post-Citizens United America,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said. While $20 million may not be a flood to a well-heeled union leader like Trumka, it’s not exactly a drizzle to those who aren’t as wealthy as a union boss.

Mead worries that the Left has missed the point of the election. “(T)he lesson of the election isn’t that the right has too much money; the lesson is that while the left still has plenty of passion and fire, it has, thanks in part to the power of public sector unions, largely run out of compelling ideas.” While I agree with him that a healthy, dynamic left wing isn’t a bad thing (seriously, it’s not to a libertarian like me who supports pieces of what has been tarred as the “liberal agenda”), I do hope the Left stays distracted from the truth by misreading the lessons of this recall election until after the election in November. Then after that I hope it gets its act together and presents Americans with choices that aren’t torn out of the UK’s Labor Party platform circa 1955.

Be sure to read Mead’s entire article in its entirety here.

Did Elizabeth Warren Steal from a Minority?

Every white person below the age of 50 or so understands why Elizabeth Warren lied about being a minority. Every college applicant forced to tick the “caucasian/white” box on an entrance application, every job applicant forced to do the same knows the cost of that mark, how the color of your skin determines whether or not your application is accepted or you get the interview. It’s hard to fight affirmative action quotas designed to redress racial discrimination decades or even centuries before you were born, so if you can’t beat the system, why not play it?

And that’s exactly what Warren did. Warren became a minority because it benefited her career. It made her stand out from all the other white faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania. More importantly it carried a certain cache important to a monied liberal like herself working with minorities in Philadelphia; a little street cred with her students that perhaps encouraged them to relate more to her. Sure she may have been playing fast and loose with the System, but that’s what everybody does, right? Besides, it was for a worthy cause: the minority students whom she would mentor and lead to better lives.

What Warren never considered was how playing the race card at UPENN may have kept a real minority out of the position. Faculty positions are limited so she beat someone out of the job. Faced with a real minority and a fake one like Warren, it’s possible that she was chosen for the position because she was blonde and blue-eyed and a minority as well. It’s the best of both worlds to some university administrators: a woman they can feel comfortable with who shares their same culture and upbringing yet a minority that they can add to their diversity statistics.

A lot of white people have stretched the truth in the cut throat world of academia. The only difference is that most of them don’t run for the US Senate a quarter century later and get caught.

Self-Reflection and Regressive Progressives

I’m becoming increasingly amazed at how deluded Obama’s supporters are. They call those of us who oppose him sheep of the Koch brothers or racist troglodytes waging a war on women, and think the “Rethuglicans” are a corrupt party of big business. They pride themselves on how tolerant and open-minded they are even as they wage an ideological war to silence anyone who questions what Obama & crew have done. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a blatant display of self-delusion exhibited by a group since the Jonestown Massacre of 1978. These people aren’t just drinking the kool-aid, they are bottling it, advertising it and selling it as champagne.

Obama has always acted in the best interests of the groups he represents. Everything he has done has been to feed one leftist interest group or another. His close friends and golf buddies hail from the largest companies in the country including banks such as Chase and Goldman Sachs. I’ve even stopped thinking of him as a socialist since that would require him to adhere to something bigger than himself and I don’t think he believes anything is. His ego knows no bounds. He’s more in line with 3rd world dictators who take power and immediately set about making their friends and family rich. The only differences between him and Hugo Chavez is that the source of Chavez’s wealth is oil and for Obama it’s taxpayer money, and at least Chavez really believes in socialism whereas Obama only believes in himself.

Does a liberal question his or her beliefs? There isn’t a day that I don’t wonder if I’m wrong, that I’ve somehow gotten caught up in some kind of right-wing hysteria, so I try to be objective. I work hard to recognize my biases and question my assumptions. I try to listen to alternative opinions and not dismiss them without due consideration, thinking critically about facts and opinions regardless of source. I’m just as skeptical about claims by the Right as I am over claims by the Left. It’s the way I was educated, first by a no-nonsense mother and later by the Jesuits. The result of this is that over the years I have changed my opinions on issues. The only consistency I’ve found is I maintain a strong populist streak thanks to my upbringing by extremely poor parents. That’s not an exaggeration; my parents often went without food to feed my siblings until the mid 1950’s, saying they weren’t hungry while the kids ate dinner.

I look at liberals and I’m amazed at how closed minded they are. Instead of thinking of them as “progressive” I’ve begun considering them as “regressive” because that’s how they are increasingly appearing to me.

Take the “war on women” meme that has exploded in the blogosphere. No one is banning birth control. No one is demanding that women be paid less for doing the same job as a man or expecting her to stop working, return home and raise children. It’s all a straw man. The Left knows it can’t win the argument that the Catholic church shouldn’t fund contraceptives. So they start this attack, and the idiot Rick Santorum just makes it all that much easier for them by dancing to their tune.

Some of my liberal friends will shake their heads and say, “Scott, you’ve got this all wrong. There is a war on women and you’re just as blind as you claim we are.” And I’ll ask, where’s the proof of that? They’ll claim Santorum wants to ban contraception. Two points to this. First, where did he say that? Second, you realize you’re ignoring the GOP front runner, a man who has more than double the amount of delegates than Santorum? Regarding the second point, a recent liberal commenter from abroad on this blog thought Rick Santorum was “batsh*T insane” yet made no mention of Romney. Either the commenter wasn’t aware that Romney was the front-runner or didn’t understand the primary process (for this I hold the RNC partly to blame.) Evidently while Santorum is getting the press, Romney is getting the actual delegates. Given my dislike of Santorum that’s just fine by me.

As to the first point, liberals such as Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews have claimed Santorum wants to ban birth control. Okay, so show me where Santorum himself says that. What Santorum actually has said is that the states should decide contraception laws for themselves. I watched the CNN debate where he said that and he was booed by the Republican audience and attacked by the other GOP candidates. His point was a constitutional one, that there is no right to birth control in the constitution and federal laws on the subject are an example of federal overreach. The constitution is clear that powers not outlined in the document fall to the people and the states. It’s a constitutional argument but a narrow one and nowhere near a “ban” that the Left claims.

They could then bring up Sandra Fluke’s testimony in front of Congress and how Georgetown, a Catholic Jesuit-run institution, must offer to offset the cost of contraception for her and other women. A war on women? Seriously, this is the best you’ve got? Fluke’s perjured testimony ignores three fundamental tenets of Roman Catholicism that has been at its core for hundreds of years if not longer. First, only those married should have sex because the purpose of sex is procreation. Second, that procreation is a process controlled by God Himself and should not be interfered with by humans. Third, that life begins at conception and current birth control techniques such as the morning after pill and some IUDs destroy early stage embryos. These three tenets are not negotiable in the eyes of the Church.

Catholics themselves struggle with these tenets and most probably break them, but just because they have sex before marriage or use the Pill doesn’t mean the institution’s foundations need to be rebuilt. No, it means Catholics must strive to live up to their Church’s teachings. If they can’t do this then they must leave it. I understand this because as a man born and raised Roman Catholic and trained by the Jesuits I decided that I could no longer accept the Church as it is, so I left it. It wasn’t an easy decision for me and it’s one that I continue to question at times but I knew that I personally could not accept the Church’s teachings anymore so instead of trying to destroy the Church or undermine it in any way possible, I simply left it in my heart as well as my head. I am not a Catholic, and I have very good reasons for my leaving the Church of Rome. But they are my reasons and even though I am no longer a Catholic I still have a deep respect for Roman Catholicism and those who practice it. They are good people and don’t deserve the hatred that has been flowing their way.

What hatred? This hatred.

Liberals have gone beyond the pale and I have to ask myself, is this what you want? Is this the hope and change you voted for in 2008? Today the “progressive” movement advocates religious intolerance by attacking Catholics and Christians. Progressives are behind efforts to silence opposing voices and points of view through boycotts, legal threats, slurs and even violence. It supports censorship through hate speech laws and anti-pornography crusades. It infantilizes women by turning them into victims that are incapable of defending themselves and who are so weak they swoon like some Victorian Lady of the House over a single word, forcing the State to step forward like some chivalrous knight to defend their honor. And for what? A poorly written health care bill that’s possibly unconstitutional and does nothing to curb health care costs or access?

There is a war on women just not the one progressives think. All over the Middle East and Europe the freedom of women is being curtailed or destroyed completely by Islam, a religion that Progressives have allied themselves with. While they have gone, to quote my liberal commenter “batsh*t crazy” over the Catholic church’s stance on contraception, they have completely ignored the increase of assaults on women in Europe by Muslim immigrants, the rise of honor killings in the West, and the complete rollback of basic human rights throughout the Islamic world. What access to contraception do women have in Pakistan, a place where women are discouraged from walking without a male “minder,” or to pursue a career in post “Arab Spring” Egypt? When people like me raise these issues we are immediately attacked as being “islamophobes” because liberals are blinded in their politically correct belief that all cultures and people are the same, ignoring the comments of a true Progressive nearly two centuries ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson who said ““The wise man shows his wisdom in separation, in gradation, and his scale of creatures and of merits is as wide as nature. The foolish have no range in their scale, but suppose every man is as every other man.”

The progressive movement has become exactly what it fought against. Intolerant of dissenting opinions. Bigoted. Uncompromising. Anti-intellectual. Pro-censorship. Anti-freedom. In fact it’s the same movement I fought against a generation ago when I protested against the Religious Right. Perhaps I haven’t changed as much as I thought. I’m still fighting against dehumanizing forces, only the names of these forces have changed.

Does Romney 2012 = McCain 2008?

Like many Republicans I’m concerned selecting Romney as our standard-bearer guarantees a repeat of McCain’s defeat in 2008. Today the “accepted wisdom” by supporters of Gingrich and Santorum is that McCain was too moderate, and that by selecting another moderate as the 2012 Republican nominee we are doomed to lose in November. In order to better evaluate where Romney stands today it’s necessary to consider McCain’s mistakes during the last election cycle from the November 2008 perspective. Thankfully on election night 2008 Jennifer Rubin posted The Top Thirty Errors That Doomed McCain. I’ve reviewed these and divided them up into the following error types: Attack, Domestic Policy, Internal Campaign, Personal, Media Handling and Sarah Palin.

Rubin points out several reasons for McCain’s defeat  related to Sarah Palin. Rubin recognizes that McCain’s campaign team blew Palin’s rollout, and worse, immediately began trashing her in private. Unfortunately for McCain – and a Sarah Palin thrust into the public eye for the first time – things didn’t stop there. The disparaging remarks about Palin began leaking to the press and became public. Instead of recognizing Palin’s innate charisma with average American voters including independents and rolling her out whenever and wherever possible, McCain’s campaign team hid her and treated her as badly as the liberal mainstream media that lampooned her mercilessly as ignorant, “I can see Russia from my backyard,” and a wild-eyed soccer mom drenched in moose blood. Any decent campaign team would have been able to short circuit this treatment with the truth. For instance, Palin actually said about Russia, “They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska,” which anyone who’s ever looked at a globe or even watched an Alaskan themed show on the Discovery Channel would know is true. As for Palin’s hunting acumen, where I live dead deer carcasses are common in the backs of pickup trucks during hunting season, and anyone who’s ever eaten Bambi knows that deer meat is delicious and one of the healthier meats available. Perhaps maybe that’s why Sarah Palin is even more popular today in these parts than her former running mate ever was.

The handling of Sarah Palin points out other mistakes by McCain and his campaign staff. McCain should have shown some integrity by personally canning the staff responsible  for its handling of Palin. In fact McCain should have exhibited much greater hands-on control with his staff throughout his campaign, preventing other errors Rubin points out such as his failure to better control his team, preventing arguments and in-fighting from going public and exhibiting a campaign in apparent disarray. If he had a better campaign team, McCain wouldn’t have wasted time and resources in Iowa instead of putting those into Virginia, a state with more electoral votes at stake.

Of the 30 errors Rubin describes, these mistakes account for just under a quarter. We’ll throw in “Waiting until the final Saturday Night Live before the election to show self-deprecating humor,” to push it over that mark. We could also add McCain’s failure to find a credible economics adviser at a time when economics was the key issue of the election, made worse by McCain’s response to the financial meltdown where he called off the debates in order to show he was serious about handling the crisis, and his failure to come up with a credible economic plan in the final weeks of the campaign. So over a third of his mistakes are related to the internal machinations of McCain’s staff and the apparent bumbling of an old man out of his depth, resorting to public theater to appear relevant.

Will Romney react similarly? First off Economics happens to be Romney’s strength. McCain seemed uncomfortable with economics, much preferring interest in foreign policy. That’s not surprising since foreign policy is one of the few powers reserved for the executive branch. For a former Cold Warrior and POW like McCain economics must seem pointless. After all, a good conservative would know that sometimes the best  economic action is to do nothing, not that McCain was a good conservative (Rubin’s Reason # 28 “Too much hostility toward conservatives offering smart strategy and policy ideas.”) Romney’s business acumen directly translates to economic matters. Secondly there will be no Sarah Palin repeat this round, unless Sarah Palin appears at the convention and accepts the nomination with Romney as her VP (if so, remember folks you read it here first!) Romney will most likely choose a known quantity, a conservative with credentials that could help seal the deal with his base. Ron Paul would be a solid choice, or to allow me to breathe for the next 4 years Rick Santorum, Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal or Tim Pawlenty. The best VP might be another Rick, Rick Perry from Texas. There’s already precedent for a moderate candidate from Massachusetts selecting a conservative from Texas to be his running mate after all. McCain tried to seal the deal with conservatives with Palin, but only a few conservatives knew about her and the MSM was so shocked, and the McCain response to the Palin attacks so lukewarm, that the Media was able to use McCain’s VP choice as a cudgel to beat his campaign into the ground with.

For being as wise and experienced as McCain is, he also had Media problems as the Palin episode proved. McCain whined about the Media and he didn’t control it the way Gingrich does. Established GOP figures like Gingrich understand that belly-aching about media bias does not make headlines or win votes, but smacking them around sure does. In fact the minute Romney’s camp feels mistreated by the MSM it should take out their frustrations by having Romney chew the head off the first reporter that gets in his way just as Gingrich did to CNN’s John King. Romney’s team must understand that John King and the media loved Gingrich’s response at the January 19th, 2012 debate almost as much as Gingrich’s audience did. At the same time it could learn from Gingrich’s treatment of the media behind the scenes. No one schmoozes the MSM more than Gingrich. He has treated the press well and never blocked their access to him, whereas McCain’s team cut off access the traveling press’s access to McCain and declared war on the MSM without understanding that such actions are like beating the tide back with a broom. Yes the media is liberal, and it holds conservative candidates to a higher standard, but that hasn’t stopped conservatives like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush from reaching the Oval Office.  There are ways to handle the liberal press that allows the conservative message to get out, but it’s not easy and it shouldn’t be left to amateurs as it was in 2008.

Finally, the key to McCain’s failure according to Rubin’s reasons is what I would describe simply as McCain’s failure to go on the offensive and attack Obama and the Democrats at every opportunity. Four years on I am left with the impression that McCain tried to fight a boxing match according to the Marquess of Queensberry Rules but instead the Democrats mugged him before he even got inside the ring. I’ve identified 13 of Rubin’s 30 reasons as resulting directly or indirectly from McCain’s failure to attack Obama and the Democrats. As Rubin points out the McCain team failed miserably at “oppo” research. They failed to attack Biden for his earmarks and lobbying on behalf of the banking industry, the most powerful industry in Biden’s home state of Delaware. They managed only lukewarm attacks on Obama for his cozy ties to Chicago’s Daly Machine and Big Labor, and failed to make an issue of his ties to the racist Rev. Wright, terrorist Bill Ayers, and indicted financier Tony Rezko. McCain failed to explain the Democrat’s role in the financial meltdown including ties to Countrywide’s CEO Angelo Mozilo, proven by the lucrative deals handed to “the friends of Angelo” like Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi’s son Paul Pelosi jr, Barbara Boxer, James Clyburn and Donna Shalala. McCain could have created a steady drumbeat of scandal that became a rhythm throughout his campaign, tainting the Democrats and particularly their standard-bearer then Senator Obama, but instead McCain wasted his time talking about bipartisanship, allowing the Democrats to dodge their role in the economic meltdown and blame the crisis on the GOP. I’m not sure why McCain chose this path on these issues. Perhaps it’s because he has never had to fight for his political life as a senator in Arizona, or the shellacking he received by the Bush team in the South Carolina primary in 2000 left him feeling that a scorched-earth attack policy wouldn’t sit well with his conscience. Regardless McCain had the opportunity to not only paint Obama as a tool of corrupt interests but the entire leadership of the Democratic Party. Had he successfully done so he could not only have won the election but employed long “coat-tails,” taking back the Senate and maybe even the House for the GOP.

It is too soon to determine whether Romney has held back attacking the President and the Democrats. Unfortunately the Democrats have already inoculated themselves and their president from the charges that could have damaged them in 2008 but won’t today. Romney has focused Obama during most of the debates, but his team has been mostly busy in putting out the fires caused by the insurgencies of the “not Romney” candidacies of Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich and Santorum. Although I have argued that a brutal vetting of our candidates will create a more effective one to go against Obama and his allies, I’m beginning to have my doubts, although it’s good to remember that by this time four years ago Hillary was still the one to beat for the Democratic nomination. Still I’m getting to the point where I believe the GOP is facing diminishing returns by distracting Romney, forcing him to pour his resources into fighting first Gingrich then Santorum instead of developing a consistent attack strategy against Obama.

Rubin’s article is just one opinion of why McCain lost, but it goes a long way to rebutting the claim that McCain was somehow too moderate or “Obama-lite” to win that floats around conservative circles these days. The problem wasn’t McCain’s ideology or the lack of fervor he inspired among conservatives, it was the fact that his inept campaign failed to punch back twice as hard. The battle for the presidency isn’t just a euphemism. It is a physical fight, one the Democrats understand instinctively how to win and the GOP recoils from. If there is any lesson to be learned from 2008 it’s that the GOP must develop a stomach for the fight and a willingness to take it to their opponents. Romney’s scorched earth tactics against Gingrich in South Carolina prove that he has both. The only questions are will the GOP nominate him, and once nominated, will Romney do what it takes to win?