Tuesday, November 10, 2009
My Boycott of the Democrats Might Last a Little Longer Than These Guys Intended, but Still…
Okay, so me pushing a boycott of the Democrats is both self-serving and, maybe, a bit off-base, but since I support the goal I thought I would point it out:
One of the things that I find most odd about the Obama administration’s unwillingness to follow-up on its promises in reference to gay rights is that, unlike many of the administration’s higher priorities, gay rights might be an easier sell. Consider: allowing gays to serve openly in the military not only doesn’t cost our government another penny, but it keeps competent, patriotic citizens in the position to serve their country. Compared to new programs that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and could make it even harder for small businesses to create new jobs, ending don’t ask don’t tell should be simple.
Of course, this is one of those areas where I lose a lot of my more conservative friends (along with supporting gay marriage) and have heard the dreaded RINO title uttered. If there really were a purity test for Republicans, this might well be where I would be tossed out of the party. Luckily, that isn’t the case; while their must be some standards as to what constitutes a Republican (and, even more, what constitutes a conservative), there has to be room for dissent and discussion. I trust that most people will agree with me that this is one such area.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Told You They Were Killing Themselves (In a Political Sense, That Is)
The post-election talk of a permanent Democratic majority is looking a little funny now--and, whenever I run across a true believer spouting the same kind of talk over the last few weeks in blogs and message boards, it’s downright hilarious. While the American public staged a painful spanking of the GOP, that doesn’t mean it isn’t noticing the bullying, hypocrisy, and overreach by an increasingly out-of-touch and belligerent Democratic majority. While we’re still a long way out from the actual voting, it would be pretty surprising if the right doesn’t take a big chunk out of that supposedly unassailable Democratic majority. Enough, in fact, that they might be able to function as a strong opposition party--a feat that they would be utterly incapable of right now if it weren’t for the left’s incompetence, increasing public outrage over government spending and the handling of some of President Obama’s signature policy issues (specifically, health care and cap-and-trade), and the blue dog Democrats who have made it possible for the Republican’s paltry numbers to be meaningful in this debate.
The GOP should be thanking Joe and Jane Public for taking interest in the political process this year and rank-and-file Democrats for treating Joe and Jane as if they were un-patriotic buffoons for daring to question their policy dictates.
Politically, for the left, the health care debate really is starting to look like political suicide.
As I’ve said before, though, if the GOP really wants to capitalize on this moment in a meaningful way, it needs to do more than sit back and watch the carnage. It needs to offer a meaningful and substantial alternative to the left’s excesses; it needs to be, again, a conservative party with principled conservative leadership that stands for something other than merely being better than the alternative (and not always even that).
For Democrats, it’s a tough situation. Any Democrat in a centrist or conservative state and any Democrat that won small in their last election probably wants some cover going into the mid-terms. They want the freedom to vote against unpopular legislation regardless of their own position on the subject. With health care, they aren’t getting that cover, and it may well be the defining issue going into the next elections.
It doesn’t help that the president is proving to be less popular and more divisive than many of his supporters expected. Staring down the muzzle of more than doubling the huge national debt over the next decade certainly isn’t helping his cause, but neither is the dismissive tone coming from the White House.
Is the Obama presidency already in danger? Hardly. The Democrats still have numbers and the public still harbors some mistrust of the GOP. But every week that goes by sees the president further and further back on his heels and he is in danger of losing the health care debate--a loss that would probably define him as more politically weak than anyone could have guessed.
For me, this is a tough thing to watch. I had hoped that Obama would govern well--that he would be moderate and careful, that he would reach across the aisle and help give the country some common cause to rally behind. I didn’t vote for him, but I wanted him to succeed (which, in case you’re reading this wrong, meant that I wanted him to have the right policies, the right ideas, and the right kind of leadership for our times). I don’t like watching any president fail because that means that the country is in worse shape at the end of his tenure than it was beforehand.
I’m becoming increasingly worried that we’re going to experience a profoundly failed presidency and that the damage is going to stretch far into our country’s future.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Oh, Yeah, Now I See It…
Now I see how some folks could believe that those town hall disruptions and the public’s antipathy toward the Democrat’s health care plan is planted solely in right wing loonies, paid big pharma flacks, and Republican party apparatchiks. The public support is, otherwise, overwhelming.
Because, no, Americans still aren’t fans of the idea of single payer systems and are highly skeptical of anything that might bring us there. Bullying techniques (and, yes, the push to pass something on some ridiculous timeline in a similar style as the cap-and-trade push absolutely is bullying) looked remarkably desperate. That the left had to abandon their efforts in the face of public push-back and party defections was, without a doubt, a big loss for the Democrats. Ridiculing protestors, calling them Nazis, and telling them that their opinions are manufactured and bought by insurance companies and the GOP hasn’t proven to be a good strategy for winning hearts and minds, either.
With a massive public debt, increasing unemployment, unprecedented Federal government spending, and a population increasingly worried about their own futures and the future of the country, now doesn’t seem to be a good time to be piling on a giant new public initiative. Some--like Paul Krugman--would disagree, but the town hall protests seem to show that a good portion of the public shares my concern. Democrats are betting that they bull through some kind of a package, and some are betting their futures on their constituents finally lining up behind whatever reform package that they pass.
That seems unlikely.
The Democrats are losing the mid-term elections right now. For that matter, Obama may well be losing his next election right now, too.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Birther Moment
I keep hoping that the Birther moment will pass and that otherwise serious people could get back to fighting battles that matter. I wanted to ignore the issue until it went away.
Doesn’t seem to be happening.
So here are some links:
And that’s about all I need to say on that particular subject.
Well, if it’s Been Disastrous for Them, Think How it Must Feel for the Rest of Us
The Hill’s headline, “Analysis: July has been disaster for Obama, Hill Dems” almost made me laugh.
See, if July has been disastrous for Obama and the Democrats, then it’s been absolutely brutal for the people who have lost jobs, seen their housing values continue to decline, watched the dollar sinking, and wondered when the promised recovery would begin. Disaster for politicians mean bad poll numbers, potential ouster, and a multi-million dollar book deal supplemented by paid speaking engagements. For the rest of us, the disaster is a little more meaningful.
Not that the story is wrong. There is a sense that less than a year into his first term, the political ground is starting to shift away from Obama’s hope and rapid-fire progressive change, although what precise political rewards the GOP might gain from his administrations stumbling are still more than a year away. That’s a long time in politics. There is no doubt that some of the early “wins” are sapping the President’s political capital--the cap and trade bill was rammed through but the public is skeptical both of the bill and the tactics used to get it done, the stimulus seems more and more of a failure with every passing month that leads us to higher unemployment and economic uncertainty, and the prodigious Pile o’ Debt is doing a better job of scaring voters than it is in scaring up new jobs.
I think a charitable reading would be that the administration overplayed a few hands and are still paying the cost, but it will take a bit to understand the repercussions both for the administration and for those of us who have to live with their decisions.
None of which changes the fact that Republicans should be cautious. Not only are voters still distrustful of their governance, but when some of the plans fail the blame will be placed at the feet of the Republicans (regardless of the fact that if Obama could rally his troops effectively, there isn’t a thing the Republicans can do to stop legislation from powering through). So, if health care reform fails, the headlines during the midterms will be about the health care crisis and the obstructionist Republicans.
Which isn’t a reason to sell principles for votes--that is, there is no reason for principled conservatives to sign on to a reform package that doesn’t fit conservative principles. It is, however, a warning to both better explain why we’re opposed to these reforms and to find better solutions that do fit our principles. If we can’t explain why we oppose something and offer a better alternative, then we aren’t going to win any hearts and minds in the voting booths.
Strangely, there could be danger for Republicans in some of Obama’s failings.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
That Would Be…
Actually, I kind of like that interview. There’s nothing wrong with the President of the United States getting in touch with his inner sports fan.
Not everything has to be politics. Not everything has to be confrontation. Not everything has to be “gotcha.”
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Can I Get an Amen? (The Thinkin’ About a Tea Party Edition)
That is wildly deserving of an amen.
I find myself wondering how conservatives who bought into the rhetoric of hope and change, who believed that Obama would be governing from a moderate’s position, and who ended up voting Democrat in the elections are feeling about their decision right now? I’m feeling more and more that I voted the right direction: McCain.
Now, the current economic crisis isn’t Obama’s fault. There are a lot of names and administrations that can share the blame for bad regulations, overspending, and refusal to deal with the American economy as something built on money that doesn’t come from the Free Money Fairy. And then there are the people--that is, “we, the people"--who helped by demanding more government services and less fiscal sanity. In fact, we, the people, made it downright difficult for a person to be elected if they threatened our slice of the pie, a fact that has made blue hairs such an important voting block and rational conversation about the future of Social Security such a political hazard.
So, no, it’s not Obama’s fault.
But I remember watching one of the televised debates and hearing McCain promise a spending freeze followed by deep cuts in the budget coupled with a belief that raising taxes on any Americans right now would be foolish and irresponsible. Obama, in contrast, spoke breezily about cutting the budget, but thought that a spending freeze was a bad idea and an increase in taxes on the wealthy (whatever “wealthy” might mean) was a brilliant idea.
I remember thinking that this was one of only two defining issues for me (the other being continued resolution to maintain the most powerful military in the world--surprisingly, continued prosecution of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan was down the list a ways for reasons best discussed in another post on another day). Obama might indeed have intended to govern from the center, but even that night he couldn’t get away from a knee-jerk need by the left to increase taxes (on the right people) and massively increase spending (to the right people).
If the Republicans hadn’t lost the moral high ground on the economy over the last eight years, I imagine that we would be talking about President McCain and his obstructionist tendencies right now.
McCain may have had a hard time leading, given the state of the GOP in both House and Senate, but I think he would have gleefully used his veto pen to kill off this stimulus package and would have forced the Democrats into a fight. Instead, the left pretends at compromise with the complicity of a couple turncoat Republicans and then bulls ahead with whatever the hell it is that they wanted to do in the first place.
Because they won.
I don’t think that trend will last, though, because Americans are already starting to worry about how this latest stimulus package is actually going to help create jobs, foster economic stability, or do much other than run up well over a trillion in new debt. Bush has been criticized, rightly, for the debt that he ran up during his terms in office; a month into Obama’s administration and it’s become apparent that he not only intends to continue down that path, but, indeed, he’ll be upping the ante.
That’s a phrase--"upping the ante"--that I use very specifically. There is an element of the bad gambler to the way our government is handling the crisis, and Obama is cheering on the bad behavior. If you’ve ever seen a guy losing big at the craps tables, you’ll know what I mean.
That guy probably started with relatively conservative bets. He played the come and the pass lines and didn’t place any of the hard ways or other high risk bets. But he was losing--every few rolls of the dice set him back a little bit more until he realized he was down quite a bit. So instead of walking away, he believed the thing that every bad gambler believes: his luck’s going to turn. There were so many bad rolls that a good roll is just bound to be right around the corner.
And when he believes that, the bets get bigger because, when his luck turns, he believes the payout will pull him right out of the hole that he’s dug himself. So he starts betting bigger and he starts betting the high risk/high reward bets. There is luck involved, of course, and he’ll win some rolls. More than that, though, there is simple math: even when he wins a roll or two, he’s dug that hole so deep that he’s still deep down in the dark and he has to keep playing to try to break even.
What he doesn’t realize is that he’s already lost. The money is gone and he needs to be smart enough to step away from the table, go home, and figure out how to rebuild what is already gone.
Our government is that guy: the stimulus plans are getting bigger, the hole is getting deeper, and they believe that one more stimulus bill could hit it big and make those losses go away. Meanwhile, the deficit gets bigger and someone else is going to end up paying the bill because our government has gone way the hell and gone beyond the money that they brought to the table. They’ve borrowed from everyone they know, they’ve maxed the credit cards, they’ve taken out mortgages on our futures--and they’re using it all to place a bad bet that will only take us closer to financial ruin.
And Obama is the one leading us down that path, cheerfully telling us that this is the bet that will make it all better. I don’t believe him.
McCain wasn’t the guy who sent a thrill up my leg. He wasn’t my perfect candidate and he didn’t mesh with my beliefs on a number of issues. I have a hard time imagining that he would have travelled this particular path, though, and I believe that this path is one that could ruin our nation.
Republicans, libertarians, and all nature of fiscal conservatives will be fighting at a disadvantage for the next few years (at least), but anyone who believes that our salvation is to be found in fiscal responsibility need to start pushing back now. We’re losing the battles right now, but we can’t afford to lose the war.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Out of Curiosity
Is the honeymoon over yet?
I mean, I’m pretty much ready to jump into the ”loyal opposition” role, you know?
Dissent can still be patriotic in my household, and, with Obama issuing new and exciting executive orders that seem ripe for scrutiny, I’m feeling eager for a little analysis and criticism.
Frankly, it’s a lot easier to be on the losing side, as I imagine the left will come to realize over the next few years. Solving the world’s problems is easy enough when you don’t actually have to do anything other than nitpick and snipe from the sidelines. It’s tough as hell when you have to come up with the right answers.
I think I might enjoy being in the easy chair for a bit…
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