Category Archives: Conservatism

My Take on the Debt Ceiling Fight

Like many (whose job doesn’t entail following the news minute by minute), I find myself having a hard time keeping up with the twist and turns in the debt ceiling debate. One minute, there is a deal, the next…who knows. As each day goes by, there simultaneously seems there will be no raise in the debt ceiling and that a last minute deal (to avoid some supposed default) will be struck because neither party wants the default albatross hung around its neck.

However, the GOP seems to have won this particular battle. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has signaled that, despite his on-the-record rhetoric, the Senate is not looking at tax increases as part of any Senate deal. This is a singular blow to the White House, and a tacit admission of victory by the House GOP caucus. It seems that perhaps Reid is pushing this issue out another day or two to score some points with his party’s base, before he folds up the proverbial tent, “for the good of the country.” Reid knows that the Democrats’ position in this debate does not enjoy the support of most people, no matter how many times grandma is scared.

Despite all this, the GOP is not out of the woods yet. This issue, seemingly more than any other, has brought into stark relief the division between the class of 2010 and the pre-2010 Election members. The 2010 class, by and large elected through the energy of the tea party and other conservative grassroots movements, came into office with a clear mission to stem the growth of the federal government and stop or slow down the policies being pushed by President Obama and Harry Reid. The debt ceiling debate touches on all of the issues that mobilized so many conservatives in 2010 and will probably do so in 2012. House Speaker John Boehner has seemed able to manage the rift in his caucus up to this point, but some cracks have shown in the facade during this debate. Many of the House freshmen, and their more conservative colleagues, have the fresh memory of the last Continuing Resolution and the many (phony) cuts in spending that were touted by the Speaker which were used to get many of these same house members on board with it.

Of course, all of this talk of default could come to naught. There is the possibility of a government shutdown to avoid default, however that is by no means a long-term cure. Any shutdown, rest assured, will be laid at the feet of the Republicans by the mainstream media and the Democrat party. There is also differing opinions on when a default may actually occur. Despite the perceived public relations damage, Republicans should stick firm to the idea of no increase in taxes. They already have a tacit agreement from Reid, and the President is going to be under ever-increasing pressure to sign anything that comes out of Congress (which the White House alluded to over the weekend). Is the package everything conservatives want? No. Will we have to hold both our Congress members’ feet to the fire to get real, meaningful spending cuts, especially if a debt reduction commission is put in place as part of a deal? Yes. But this was never going to be the singular battle. This is, to use the old tone, a war of attrition. Our system did not become dysfunctional overnight, and fixing it will take just as long, if not longer. Let’s take what we can, and move on to the next fight.


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Filed under Conservatism, Debt, Economy, Spending

Yes, we ARE serious!

As I write this post, we are probably no more than 24 hours away from the government taking yet another move to further control its citizens and deny individuals the freedom to do as they wish. By all reports, what little resistance the Republicans could muster in the Senate has largely melted away, and for Christmas, the United States of America will take a large step towards government control over its health care system. For Progressives and other Leftists, despite their public protestations, this is as close to their dream as they have been able to come in the one hundred plus years of the Progressive/Socialist/Communist movement.

In the laundry list of repugnant items that are in the health care bills is the individual mandate. Out of all of the items within these bills, this is the one item that does the most damage to individual liberty. For those of you living under a rock, the individual mandate portion of these bills will make it illegal to NOT have health insurance that meets the criteria that will be determined by the Federal government.  That means that the government will now make the service of a private company mandatory to own/purchase in order to be a citizen in good standing of the United States of America. This, to put it mildly, is unprecedented (and no, Liberals, car insurance is NOT the same).

To any serious student of the Constitution, and of our country’s history, there is little evidence upon which one could argue that Progressivism is aligned with the Constitution. In fact, it is hostile to any instrument which places restrictions on the state (read that the government). As our current President has lamented, the Constitution is a list of “negative rights”. It defines what the Federal government cannot do, not what it should do. As such, the Constitution is despised by collectivists of all stripes, since it shackles the very thing they rely on to force others to bend to their will.

This explains the incredulousness of Nancy Pelosi recently when she was asked where in the Constitution is the authority given to mandate that the government force people to buy a particular good or service, in this case health insurance. Her reply to the question: “Are you serious?” In so many words, this is the answer given by every Senator or Congressman that has been asked the same question. The dirty little secret in all this is that, not only is it NOT in the Constitution, they do not care that it isn’t there.

One of the biggest lies that has been promulgated by the Progressive movement is that of the “living Constitution.” Being a product of the public education system in the United States, I was fed the lie throughout my education that the Constitution has to be able to change and grow with the times. Luckily, I had some matter left between my ears after my sentence, er, education, so I was able to deduce for myself that the living Constitution thingy was a load of Leftist poo.

Luckily, the Left has felt so sure of itself over this past year that it has abandoned many of the smokescreens and double-speak that it has used for years to cover up their true intentions. So, instead of feeding us some line about constitutionality and compassion and lawyers (apparently, Mary Landrieu did not get the memo), Ms. Pelosi felt she could reveal her true derision for the Constitution.

As we approach 2010, and an election year, it is important for all those who love liberty and respect the true, original intent of the Constitution to continue keeping score. We must deliver a message that is so clear and so unmistakable, so as to be noticed by even Ms. Pelosi.  Yes, we ARE serious…now answer the question!

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Filed under Conservatism, Constitution, Health Care, Politics

Today’s The Day

Well, it looks like today is the day on health care reform. After a summer of town halls, tea parties, back room negotiations and language changes, it seems that Comrade Pelosi has had enough of waiting around for the brave new world to arrive. It appears likely that there will be a vote on health care reform sometime this weekend.

I am not an expert at counting votes, and I have little insider knowledge to allow me to pontificate on whether she has enough votes to ram this through. I do know one thing: if it comes to a vote on the floor, she will have enough.

If it does pass the house and manage to pass the Senate, there is going to only really be one way to fix it and that is vote in conservatives (as opposed to RINOs) in the 2010 election cycle and vote in a conservative President in 2012. Even if the Congress goes back to Republicans in 2010, Obama would never sign something that repeals or significantly curtails the program he and the Congress are trying to ram down the American people’s necks.

There is some hope in the way of a state “opt-out”, but depending on how it is structured (assuming it makes it into some version of this monstrosity), it could be an empty promise for those states that tend to be conservative and don’t want to have this particular millstone around their necks.

We could go down the road about how we got here, the state of our society, etc., but that is another topic for another day. It is time to make those calls, emails, and even physical visits. Supposedly, there may be another gathering at the Capitol Building today. If you are near there, please go for those of us who can’t be there. Maybe we can hold this thing off again, as we did this summer.

Cross posted at RedState.

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Filed under Conservatism, Health Care, Politics

Conservatism and Minorities

Found a great article today in the Wall Street Journal by Shelby Steele regarding why conservatism has such difficulty gaining traction among the various minority groups in our country. Instead of rehashing his argument, I highly recommend that you read it here.

I freely admit that this is a question that I have struggled with. Traditionally, most minority groups in this country, especially African-Americans, have tended to side with Democrats. On the one hand, it is easily understood, with the link between John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and the civil rights movement. On the other, the argument can by made that the Democratic Party of JFK is not the Democratic Party we have today.

However, I think the issue goes much further than that, and Steele touches on it. It is not so much of a problem of substance, but one of image. To put it bluntly, conservatism suffers from a marketing problem. We tend to not be a bunch that engage in very much sign holding, protesting, or other actions that bring attention to our cause (although this may be changing…it is too early to tell). Let’s face it – a three day policy conference about how to deal effectively with some societal ill is not nearly as exciting as carrying signs and chanting slogans about that same ill.

The issue – the conundrum – is that conservatism, at its root, seeks to instill the very things that many minorities in our country are looking for (at least I think they are). Individual liberty, equality of opportunity, and the ability to provide as good a life for you and your family as you are willing to work for are all things that would seem to resonate loudly with minorities. Instead we have been tarred by the Left as xenophobic, greedy, racists, and mean to puppies and kittens. I am sure there are some that label themselves as conservatives that are…but I would put forth the argument that they either misunderstand conservatism at its root or use it as some sort of anti-liberal tag.

Unfortunately, I have few ideas of how to fix this. I do know it starts with passionate, articulate champions of conservative ideals…from all walks of life. The next is to give them as much opportunity to talk to the people of America about what conservatism is (and is not) as we can. We also need conservative politicians who put values over politics, ones that will say what they think, and vote what they say. But that is the topic for another post.

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Filed under Conservatism, Politics

More News and Notes

Dear readers, I would suggest that you may want to play the lottery today, lucky as you are to have TWO posts today. However, I would not want to offend my Baptist brothers and sisters.

However, two items have caught my attention that I just could not pass up. The first (how could I have forgotten this in my previous post) is regarding the meeting between Rep. Nancy Pelosi and none other than Pope Benedict. For those of you who do not know, Rep. Pelosi is a practicing Roman Catholic (by her own admission). She is also “pro-choice” in both word and deed. So her policy positions (and votes) do not reflect much of what her own religion teaches. It speaks volumes when there was no Vatican photographer present at the meeting (unlike his meeting with every other public figure) and the Rep. Pelosi was unavailable for comment afterward. Oh, to be a fly on the wall…

Another article from NR caught my eye today, by Victor Davis Hanson. He talks in more depth about a point I brought up the other day, regarding the difference between running for office and running the office.  I cannot expand much on what Hanson says, but I use to point out that if you have not read any of his books (Carnage and Culture and Ripples of Battle, amongst others), allow me to urge you to do so. Hanson is a classical historian, and focuses on the military history of the Greeks. He draws amazing connections between how the Greeks fought their wars and the ways in which the West formed culturally, including how the West continues to fight its wars. He also published a great compilation of his writings in the days and weeks after 9/11 called An Autumn of War. I highly recommend it, for posterity’s sake.

Also, I came across a website recently that had me laughing a great deal. Called The People’s Cube, it fits the description found on it’s homepage as being “the Stalinist version of the Onion”. It is highly toungue-in-cheek, and is probably highly offensive to liberals. Hey, liberals get their SNL…Lewis Black….The Daily Show….so, consider this payback.

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Filed under Conservatism, General

Paul Weyrich, R.I.P.

I am day late in posting on this, but one of the giants in the American conservative movement, Paul Weyrich, passed away yesterday. The interesting thing about getting the news yesterday, which I heard on my local talk station’s Associated Pravda…err, Press…news break was that he was only identified as one of the founders of the Moral Majority (unsurprisingly, this is wrong…what Weyrich is given credit for is coining the term “moral majority”). They left off what is probably his most enduring public accomplishment: the founding of the Heritage Foundation in 1973. He also started what has become the Free Congress Foundation, which helps support conservatives in Congress.

Weyrich, while one of the influential people that helped define modern American conservatism, was seemingly more at home in the strategy and the “doing” of conservatism, more so than many of the others that philosophically underpin conservatism as we know it. To that end, I offer up a reprint of an article he wrote for the National Review back in September 1990. The amazing thing to me is that, outside of the references to events in the 1980’s, Weyrich could very well have written that piece this past September. It gives a sense for how far conservatism had (and has) to go, even after the decade of Ronald Reagan. Ever the strategist. he gives concrete, pragmatic examples of how to shape then-current government programs to make them more in line with conservative ideals such as self-reliance and freedom. He also pulls no punches – such as my favorite line from the piece:

Most of all, by affirming traditional values and the common sense of mainstream Americans, our agenda will effectively polarize the political debate and expose the left-wing agenda as the product of a fringe element hostile to our culture and our civilization.

Awesome! Rest in peace, Mr. Weyrich.

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Filed under Conservatism, General, Politics

The Auto Bailout, the President, and politics as usual.

I have tried several times to sit down to write my thoughts about the looming auto bailout (and bailouts in general). Just when I get something crafted, the situation changes – which, I suppose, is the price one pays for writing about politics, society, and culture. I sought yet again this morning to put words to paper on the subject, but then I read this piece by Deroy Murdock in today’s National Review Online. I am not sure I could be any more cogent on the subject.

While Murdock suffers from the same love of hyperbole that I do, I am not sure that he means it in a half-joking manner when he refers to Bush as “Comrade”. His point, however, is one that is largely lost on the lefty (read that “mainstream”) media and those that think CNN is “fair and balanced”. Most conservatives, especially fiscal ones, have been at best uncomfortable with Bush’s seeming desire to spend like a Democrat. I freely admit that I have been willing to give Bush a pass on spending throughout most of his tenure because of his hawkish foreign policy and his social conservatism.

However, the past few months have brought the proverbial chickens home to roost, spending-wise. The amount of money the Federal government has thrown at the economic problem (which, in my view, is largely of its own making by meddling in the free market) is beyond most people’s comprehension. However, it was clear that most people in the country were not up for such a bailout. It passed anyway, and all we can hope for is that Paulson is in fact the genius he is made out to be.

The auto bailout, however, is another matter entirely. Whether you agree or not with the President’s decision to use TARP funds to circumvent the Congress (three guesses as to my position), did anyone really think this wasn’t going to happen? The people were largely ignored when it came to the bailout, so raising a large voice of opposition to bailing out the auto industry (except Ford, which may have just bought them a new customer next time I am in the market) didn’t seem, well, worth the trouble.

The question that needs to be asked, by all involved, is this one: “How did we get to this point?” From my perspective, Public Enemy #1 might be the UAW. Someone needs to get the message to the leadership ofthe UAW that the times, they have a’changed. This isn’t the 1930’s – the days of class warfare are over (if they ever existed in the first place).  No disresepct to anyone working for these firms, but the fact that the Big Three’s average labor cost is $79/hour says everything that needs to be said. I am all for people getting paid well for their services, but that figure is a wee bit ridiculous. Hey, auto yourselves a favor, and pry the UAW out of your factories.

On to politics as usual…I thought of writing something about the Blogo scandal in Illinois, but quite honestly…I can’t decide to laugh or cry.  I feel bad for the people of Illinois, and specifically Cook County, because once again, you are being made the laughing stock of the country. It is bad enough that Chicago gets mentioned right along with Tammany Hall in the History of American Politics 101; this just adds yet another chapter to that sad story. The problem is that the system there has been so corrupt for so long, the chances of it ever cleaning itself up is slim to none. Blogo, unfortunately, is the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

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Filed under Conservatism, Economy, Politics