Sunday, November 30, 2008

Obasms and the Obama Threat Matrix

As a counterpart to the term Rush Limbaugh coined eons ago, "Gorbasm", let me coin the term "Obasm", as that expression of adulation the Obamedia and the liberal global elites express over Obama's every word and deed. An example is this Canadian columnist saying in the wake of the election: "Proud to be American once again ... Americans are about to get their country back, and so am I."

Obama makes the liberal MSM swoon precisely because he is simpatico to every instinct of the liberal intelligensia, not just in the US, but in Europe as well. Harvard Law equals "smart" to them, being multiculturally progressives equals "worldly", and managing to be a black man who conveys tele-prompted platitudes of 60s liberalism equals "statesman".

Now that Obama has made some actual governing moves, his administration, still a vague and fuzzy future, is starting to take shape. The appointment of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State will confirm it. Obama's Clinton-retread appointments, and his mix of 'moderates' (i.e., what the media calls moderates but who are liberals who are not ideological hard leftists) and more liberal members is signalling a more conventional administration that some of the progressives might have hoped for. Obama has time and time again now, starting with his VP and the selection committee, gone with DC insiders, Democrat heavy hitters (Clinton, Richardson), and bureaucrats steeped in Government. For good or ill, this will make his administration more partisan (no Republicans thus far), conventionally experienced, and less "change"-like than his campaign conveyed. Meet the new boss, not much different from the Bush-Clinton-Bush era old boss, and with many of the same players intact.

Yet for conservatives, that only amplifies the threat, because in fact the serious left-liberal advances in the Clinton administration was in the quiet destruction of good administrative policy and its replacement with encroaching liberalism. Obama will seem to be restraining the left, but in fact he will be merely throttling it to enable a sustainable pace of advance, like a governor on a steam engine.

I have used the phrase "Obama threat matrix" as a shorthand for the specific actions the Obama administration and Democrat Congress would take to advance left-liberalism. In fact, the "Obama threat matrix" is precisely the threat of mainstream liberalism. It is precisely what make the liberal intelligensia swoon that makes me concerned. The focus of this "Obama threat matrix" will be the legislation that comes up in the Democratic Congress: CO2 regulation, ending the union secret ballot, amnesty for illegal aliens, higher taxes, budget busting stimulus spending bondoggles, etc.

What people really think of spending on alternative energy

In the same election that voted for Obama by double digits, California voters voted down two ballot questions:
Proposition 7 would have required utilities to generate 40 percent of
their power from renewable energy by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025.
Yes 3,294,158 35.1%
No 6,102,907 64.9%
Proposition 10 would have created $5 billion in general obligation bonds to help
consumers and others purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles,
and to fund research into alternative fuel technology.
Yes 3,742,997 40.1%
No 5,581,303 59.9%

Romney says No to Big Three Bailout

Romney says Big Three automakers need real change, not a bailout. His point that the bailout will stop real transformation in the US carmakers is correct. The cost structures won't get fixed by a bailout. Only a bankruptcy that allows them to tear up the UAW contracts will do that. So the bailout is really a bailout of the UAW's overpaid union members.

How Obama got elected

This is a most informative series of video-taped interviews that show the effect of the media in keeping the voters ignorant, and the knowledge level of Obama supporters:

Stupid voters can't fill out a paper ballot properly, and they get to decide who's the Senator for Minnesota. Scary.

No More Texas Drivers Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Illegal aliens no longer getting a free ride from DPS:

Maria has a Texas driver's license, which she got after coming here 16 years ago on a temporary visa. The visa expired long ago, meaning she is no longer in the country legally. Maria renewed her license anyway, because the Texas Department of Public Safety did not require that she prove her visa was still valid. (Maria — not her real name — and other unauthorized immigrants spoke to the American-Statesman on condition of anonymity.)

The DPS says it does not know how many noncitizens with expired visas renewed their licenses over the years, but it stopped the practice in May.

Now, under a regulation that took effect Oct. 1 in the name of national security, the state has tightened its license policy more by requiring foreign nationals to prove they are lawfully here before they can get an original, renewal or duplicate driver's license or ID card.

Good, follow the law; this is change we can believe in. One of those things - you write a Statesman article about illegal immigration, you get 300 comments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Show me state election tips

How to win an election, notes from a Missouri state race.

The social conservative roots of libertarianism

American Spectator calls it "Defining Libertarianism down". It's a snarky commentary on a Reason article that curiously is declaring victory for libertarians in the midst of possibly the greatest retrenchment towards socialism and biggest expansion of Governmental power expansion since, er, the New Deal; after all, they are all making 1930s analogies. The snark is well-deserved, since the advance of freedom is basically premised on the advance of prosperity, the advance of individualism, and cultural trends that Bork called "slouching towards Gomorrah". The glorification misses the Elephantine Government in the room. Global UN Government; larger Federal powers; no abatement of socialism; education that is worse than ever. As AmSpec put it:

This means that when Obama-Daschle bring socialized medicine to America, I'll still get to order a chai latte and update my Facebook status to read: "We're screwed!"
As one key indicator of the tin-ear of libertarian self-congratulations, the Reason article celebrated the legal abortion-on-demand as one of those 'liberating' experiences that signalled the advance of libertarianism: By the end of the 1970s, the Civil Aeronautics Board was in the dustbin of history, sharing much-deserved space with price controls, the reserve clause, and back-alley abortions.

So in their book, liberty is advanced by denying the most fundamental right - life - to the most helpless of humanity, the unborn. Well, doesn't that beat all. Get thee to a declaration of independence, libertarians!

I've come to understand that (l)Libertarians who go around hating social conservatives are like teenagers who diss their parents. Thirty years later, they will find out that they are actually rebelling against the roots of who they really are. I was a teenaged libertarian once, thanks to a well-timed reading of Ayn Rand and others, but as I grew and matured, I understood that freedom unmoored from its foundational moral roots is like a house built on sand. (Matthew 7:26 in case you didn't know.)

The common complaint from the libertarian side, in discussions about the Republican party, is to get rid of the social conservatives and to view them not as ideological siblings, but as something entirely different, an alien and hostile force. For example, this comment was made at AmSpec on line:

"In fact, Republicans today, especially at AmSpec, seem to relish the cultural conservatism of the religious right."

And why not!?! The most reliable conservatives in Congress are invariably also social conservative Christian members. Check the pedigree of men like Tancredo, Coburn, etc. The Catholic church is standing up for the one fundamental and un-compromisable right - the right to life - while the Libertarian Party wallows the pitiable folly of 'choice' to kill humans.
The church also was instrumental in standing up against Communist rule in Poland, helping Solidarity, and thereby putting the cracks in the Soviet empire that made it crumble.

Meanwhile, here is what 30 years of Libertarian Party activism has wrought: Liberal Democrats winning some close elections they would have lost and NOTHING ELSE.

The Natural Law, a concept that grew out of Christian philosophy, is the moral foundation of liberty. Christian underpinnings of conservatism inform us that man is a creature of God and life is sacred, that there is a higher authority besides Government, that there is a right and a wrong and a difference between the two, that the ends do not justify the means, that rules/laws must be followed ("render unto Caesar"), etc.

Libertarians are right to love freedom, but are wrong to disavow the ancestral values and moral temperment that birthed that concept and gave it shape. The roots of libertarianism are social conservative roots and the soil it grew in was Christian soil.

Bailout Blues

From Blue-dot-Blues:

Total to date, including the Citi bailout, is $4.6165 trillion.

Numbers from Bianco Research:

  • Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
  • Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
  • Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
  • S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
  • Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
  • The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
  • Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
  • Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
  • NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

Commentary on these numbers from Red

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2008 results and 2010 state-level preview

Redstate - the case for focussing on 2010 state elections, points out the redistricting that is at stake and where we need to win. Texas Statehouse is one place where that is needed. It has a county-level map of the 2008 results.

Obama Threat Watch - Strategizing a response

what's the best way for the GOP to start off on the right public policy footing beginning January 20th, 2009?

The above question was asked on NextRight by Matt Moon. He thought the answer is a shadow cabinet. I disagree.

What we need is a UNIFIED CONGRESSIONAL OPPOSITION EFFORT. We need a rallying point where the Republicans choose which battles to fight to slow down Obama's socialism as a unified 'loyal opposition'. That means that in effect we have a Congressionally-led party. Bad as that sounds, since that's like herding cats, the Dole-Gingrich combo in 1993-1994 did just that and it WORKED. It stopped some (but not all) bills and it led to success in 1994. Why and how did it work? Simple - we were able to say NO to bills that we exposed as flawed and became unpopular.

We can only have an impact via - filibuster, persuasion of blue dogs, and legislative slow-down efforts. Getting the public on board and highlighting key issues is how to get back in the game. Drill here drill now was a good model for this.

Here's a simple fact: A $1 TRILLION deficit will NOT be popular with the people. It just wont. Shoving all the Obama spending , and piling on with cap-and-trade ... that will be a disaster. The Obama/Schumer/Democrat stimulus bill will be an earmark and pork barrell extravaganza. We need to be ready for it.

There is no need to 'formalize' any 'shadow govt' that takes us down the path of presumption that we had with Obama's 'vero possumus' stuff. In fact, it is better not to have a specific target, since unlike a parliamentary system, such a 'shadow govt' would be a non-real entity. On the other hand, the 2012 contenders should be 'on call' for being a voice of the Party and the RNC should make multiple such personality the KEY PR FOLKS. Fred Thompson, Jindhal, Romney, Palin, Sanford, other governors.

OUR FOCUS SHOULD BE ON CONGRESSIONAL EFFORTS, since we are voiceless in the executive branch, and our only leverage is to slow down congressional action or temper the bills. IN ALL SUCH CASES WE NEED TO HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE.




4. GOP ALTERNATIVE TO CAP-N-TRADE (this one is easy; the earth is cooling right now; simply say "The earth is cooling, and so is the economy; rather than rush into new regulations, let us wait 24 monts or a mere 2 years and then debate and discuss this further; now is not the time to shackle the economy for an uncertain risk that seems to be less real every day.")


Matt makes a point about UNIFIED MESSAGING. It's well taken. We need RNC, and the House and Senate leaders and top Governors to be on the 'same page' on items and preaching the same themes.

Obama Threat Watch - Amnesty

Obama's Amnesty will be first up:

Q: Will there be as much of a fight on immigration as last time?

A: We've got McCain and we've got a few others. I don't expect much of a fight at all. Now health care is going to be difficult. That's a very complicated issue. We debated at great length immigration. People understand the issues very well. We have not debated health care, so that's going to take a lot more time to do.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reichstag Fire Socialism

I will surely be blogging more about how Obama's socialism is getting implemented on the backs of a concocted and exaggerated crisis. Yes, the recession we are entering will be a serious one. But, no, nothing the Obama team plans to enact will in any way alleviate or forestall this necessary economic adjustment.
The claims that this is worst crisis since the Great Depression is hogwash. The only risks for a comparacle scenario will play out if Government over-involvement is repeated as it was then.

Spengler calls them "One Trick Wizards". My cynicism is well intact with Spengler's reminder of how poorly Obama's 'brain trust' has figured things out:

Has Brooks checked the markets? The cleverest people in the United States, the Ivy-pedigreed investment bankers, have fouled their own nests as well as their own net worth, and persuaded the taxpayers to bail them out. If these are the best and the brightest of 2008, America is in very deep trouble.
The plans for $700 billion to make or save 2.5 million jobs? IBD says it doesn't add up:

If Obama just manages to hit the post-World War II average, there would be 3 million more jobs by 2011.

What's more, Obama's promise doesn't keep pace with projected growth in the labor force. The BLS projects that roughly 2.6 million new workers will enter the labor pool over the next two years.

If that's the case, Obama's plan would leave the unemployment rate slightly higher in 2011 than it is now. Moreover, Obama's stimulus plan could eventually total $700 billion, the Washington Post reports. So, as former Council of Economic Advisers chief Gregory Mankiw notes, each job Obama "creates" will cost $280,000.

There is a 'cargo cult science' mentality to all the funny games they will play to justify the Government's wasteful and pointless spending of money it doesn't have, to fund programs that don't work, to show progress that would be greater if only Government got out of the way.

Quote of the Day: Frederick Douglass

“I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.” -Frederick Douglass

The Eyes of Texas are upon Independence

I saw this on a message board, and it was too thought-provoking not to share. Texas could be an independent nation, and would probably get along JUST FINE without the many additional burdens the Federal Government places on us. Food for thought as we contemplate surviving the Obama-nation!

Please note that Texas is the only state with a legal right to secede from the Union . (Reference the Texas-American Annexation Treaty of 1848.)

We Texans love y'all, but we'll probably have to take action since B. Hussein Obama won the election. We'll miss you too.
Here is what can happen:
#1: Barack Hussein Obama becomes President of the United States , Texas immediately secedes from the Union .
#2: George W. Bush will become the President of the Republic of Texas .
So what does Texas have to do to survive as a Republic?
1. NASA is just south of Houston , Texas . We will control the space industry.
2. We refine over 85% of the gasoline in the United States .
3. Defense Industry--we have over 65% of it. The term "Don't mess with Texas ," will take on a whole new meaning.
4. Oil - we can supply all the oil that the Republic of Texas will need for the next 300 years. Yankee states? Sorry about that.
5. Natural Gas - again we have all we need and it's too bad about those Northern States. John Kerry will have to figure out a way to keep them warm....
6. Computer Industry - we currently lead the nation in producing computer chips and communications--small companies like Texas Instruments, Dell Computer, EDS, Raytheon, National Semiconductor, Motorola, Intel, AMD, Atmel, Applied Materials, Ball Miconductor, Dallas Semiconductor, Delphi, Nortel, Alcatel, etc, etc. The list goes on and on.
7. Medical Care - We have the largest research centers for cancer research, the best burn centers and the top trauma units in the world, as well as other large health centers. Dallas has some of the best hospitals in the United States .
8. We have enough colleges to keep us going: University of Texas , Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Rice, SMU, University of Houston , Baylor, UNT ( University of North Texas ), Texas Women's University, etc. Ivy grows better in the South anyway.
9. We have a ready supply of workers. We could just open the border when we need some more.
10. We have essential control of the paper industry, plastics, insurance, etc.
11. In case of a foreign invasion, we have the Texas National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard. We don't have an Army, but since everybody down here has at least six rifles and a pile of ammo, we can raise an Army in 24 hours if we need one. If the situation really gets bad, we can always call the Department of Public Safety and ask them to send over Chuck Norris and a couple of Texas Rangers.
12. We are totally self-sufficient in beef, poultry, hogs, and several types of grain, fruit and vegetables, and let's not forget seafood from the Gulf. Also, everybody down here knows how to cook them so that they taste good. Don't need any food.
This just names a few of the items that will keep the Republic of Texas in good shape. There isn't a thing out there that we need and don't have.
Now to the rest of the United States under President Obama:
Since you won't have the refineries to get gas for your cars, only President Obama will be able to drive around in his big 9 mpg SUV. The rest of the United States will have to walk or ride bikes.
You won't have any TV as the Space Center in Houston will cut off satellite communications.
You won't have any natural gas to heat your homes, but since Mr. Obama has predicted global warming, you will not need the gas as long as you survive the 2000 years it will take to get enough heat from Global Warming.
Signed, The People of Texas
P.S. This is not a threatening letter - just a note to give you something to think about!
One Nation Under God

Rebuild the Party Website

Click here to check out the new "Rebuild the Party" website.


There are now nearly 6,000 grassroots Republicans endorsing the plan to rebuild the Republican Party. Join us!!

The Campus Goosesteps to the Left

Mein Kampus is about leftwing indoctrination in college courses:

Is Mein Kampus a more descriptive term for many colleges in America today? Once politically correct thinking was limited to those disciplines which deal directly with politics. Today biologists must have politically correct views on Darwinism, geologists must have politically correct views on global warming, and criminal justice professors must have politically correct views on President Bush.

Bennett to GOP: Lets go to work

Bill Bennett interview has a lot of good insight.

RedState update

Wisconsin Democrats screw taxpayers and pay off the teachers unions by removing an instrument of fiscal responsbility.

Stop Obama's CO2 Regulations Now.

Pete Sessions is new NRCC Chair, will recruit more.

Obama's Socialized Health System Will Kill Conservatism

A scary article on how the Obama's nationalization of healthcare could cause a realignment of voters: How Tom Daschle Might Kill Conservatism:

Passing Obamacare would be like performing exactly the opposite function of turning people into investors. Whereas the Investor Class is more conservative than the rest of America, creating the Obamacare Class would pull America to the left. Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute, who first found that wonderful Markowitz quote, puts it succinctly in a recent blog post: "Blocking Obama's health plan is key to the GOP's survival."

Stopping Obama's Socialism has the 'fierce urgency of now'.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama the elitist hypocrite

Obama will be spending $57,884 to send his children to elite private schools. He voted against school choice for the poor people of DC in failed public schools but wont send his own children to public schools. He will blather on about the need for better education but is so in hock to the teacher's unions that he blocks real reform that can save the children.

Yet he won't let his kids be subject to the system that he inflicts on families too poor to choose an alternative. This is the kind of elitist out-of-touch behavior that leads to politicians not understanding nor caring for the real needs of real Americans.

Obama's web-enabled campaign

Obama Had 13 Million E-mail Addresses and Raised Half a Billion Dollars Online

13 million e-mail addresses.

$500 million raised online.

6.5 million donations from 3 million donors with an average donation of $80.

3.2 million Facebook friends (to John McCain's 600,000).

2 million profiles created.

One million participants in Obama's cell phone text messaging program -- this is less than the 6-8 million rumored but still massive.

400,000 volunteer blog posts written. 200,000 volunteer events created. 35,000 local and affinity groups created by supporters.

Quote of the Day - Eisenhower

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” - President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Joy Of Bankruptcy

So good it has to be passed on in its entirety.

The Joy of Bankruptcy

Congress is back in session this week to discuss a bailout of the car industry, and, as of Wednesday, the S&P 500 is down over 7.4% in three days. Americans, who have seen their 401K’s cut by 40% on average, and the value of their housing by as much as 25%, will be called on to support the full retirement and healthcare benefits of GM, Ford and Chrysler management and union employees, as if these are sacred.

It is true that many jobs left Detroit, but mostly for car plants in Tennessee and the Carolinas, where union work rules and health benefits didn’t add an additional thousand or so to the cost of a car. Supporting failed companies has been tried before and failed—in Japan. The Japanese rolling bank bailouts became widely known among Wall Street professionals as “zombie banks” that kept walking after they were dead. The Japanese banks did not want to lose face, or suffer the shame of a liquidating bankruptcy, so the government supported them for what is now known in Japan as the lost decade of the entire 1990’s. For the most part, they were neither rehabilitated nor sold. So they were zombies, living in the twilight zone. While the Japanese are very competitive in the car industry today, their depressed economy led to a major decline in their birthrate, so there will be fewer Japanese in the future and it is unlikely that Japan will ever recover the vibrancy it had before the invasion of the zombies.

Now the zombies want America. The Big Three and the UAW made an unholy alliance in the 1950’s that resulted in unsustainable labor costs ($73 per hour!), including runaway pension and healthcare costs, and too many unprofitable car brands, resulting in a loss of market share of over 90% in the 1950’s to less than 50% today. When they were teetering on the edge, the federal government kicked them over the cliff by burdening them with increasing requirements like ever higher mileage standards that make cars more expensive. By one estimate, the new 40 mpg average mandated by Congress by 2020 will add $6000 to the cost of the average car.

When this news hit last year GM was trading at $40 per share, and Ford was over $8 per share, but it cast a shadow over the ability of these companies to raise more equity. Now, thanks to a perfect storm of a housing slump (people often buy cars when they move to a new house), the extinction of car loan credit, the looming retirement costs of workers and a generally poor economy, GM shares trade under $3 per share and Ford shares trade at a little over one dollar per share. Over $50 billion of equity value has been wiped out in a year. At these prices, the car companies cannot raise the money they need to survive without bankruptcy, and, like everyone else, they need to slim down. Bailing them out, without a bankruptcy, will not save GM, Ford and Chrysler, their management, workers, lenders or shareholders. And even with this damage, Congress is insisting any additional money be tied to the presentation of a business plan requiring the car companies to get even more mileage out of their fleets on top of last year’s new standards.

President Bush, who has already allocated $25 billion to their rescue under the TARP program, advocates that the funds be released without any additional green standards. So, as the Wall Street Journal points out, not only does Congress want a second $25 billion granted to the industry, but it wants the money allocated in a green fashion, giving higher priority to environmental concerns than near term job losses. Greenliness is clearly next to Godliness. Any program that emerges with the first $25 billion for a bailout, let alone the second $25 billion will not make America substantially greener. It will only prolong the agony, and leave us with fewer resources to establish real car companies with real cars that people actually want even without subsidies, subsidies which are never sustainable in the long run against tough local and foreign competitors.

In Japan, the troubled banks were insolvent by 1991, but there was no liquidation of a bank until 1996, when Hanwa Bank was liquidated. Throughout the 1990’s, the emphasis in Japanese bankruptcy law was liquidation rather than rehabilitation, until US style reform of Japanese bankruptcy law in 2000. In Europe, for multi-jurisdiction loans, on a practical basis, rehabilitation bankruptcy is either not available at all, or in part, when a business has failed because creditors cannot be stopped from foreclosing, so there is no second chance for management. “Everything must go,” especially in Germany. So they have experienced slower growth because over the years they have not adapted to new economic conditions as rapidly as we have and management has to go down with the ship.

America is already the home of second chances. We learn from our mistakes. But our Congress, more eager than ever to save people from their own bad behavior wants to bailout the car industry without bankruptcy. Bankruptcy in America should be seen for what it is: a redemptive affirmation of life, where commercial sins are forgiven, and you can get an orderly second chance because everyone gives something.

The point of having a bankruptcy law is that we want people to take chances. Not all the brands that make up GM would disappear in a bankruptcy. The viable plants and brands would survive, perhaps managed by the same management and built by the same unions. The weak brands and plants would be liquidated making way for new growth in other industries. The idea of having middle class America save the management’s and the union workers’ bacon is repugnant and unfair, particularly if they do not have to sacrifice. Without a traditional bankruptcy auction, where anyone can bid on assets, America’s taxpayers will never know if they were cheated, so they must assume that they have been. And if we bail out GM, where do we stop?

Congress had a major hand in placing burdens on GM, Ford and Chrysler that caused them to fail, and now it wants our money to fix its mistakes and their mistakes without anyone acknowledging fault. An America that has embraced change ought to be able to move on from an auto industry that has not adapted, and a Congress that is willfully blind to its own fatal side effects. But without acknowledgment of mistakes, there can be no redemption.

We already have good laws and commercial practices that allow for second chances way more than most of the developed world. We just need to be thankful for, and use, what we already have.

Eric T. Singer

Congressional Effect Management

The Smartness & Coolness Factors

There is a major pissing match between the populist Palin-lovers and a few conservative "intellectual" Palin-haters. One, Columnist Kathleen Parker has gone off the deep end over it - see Jonah Goldberg on it here. Apparently, after getting so much flak for her Palin criticism, she's decided to dig the whole deeper and go 'drama queen' over "It's a God problem." Actually, no, it isn't, and it is sufficient evidence to point out that social convervative issues, like Prop 8, ran well AHEAD of the Republican ticket; or that we did not in fact nominate a man known for being in the 'armband religion' contingent.

David Frum, has a more measured furrowed brow, with the point:

I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated … The answers to the Republican dilemma are not obvious and we need a vibrant discussion. I think a little more distance can help everybody do a better job of keeping their temper.
I am frightened too, and the young and the educated (and those who are both) are critical part of why the Republican party went backwards in Travis lately. But just so people don't gnash their teeth too much, let me give away the plot. The problems are identifiable and can be boiled down to three factors - Smartness, competence, and hipness.

I earlier spoke of how we should elect politicians based on 3 factors - character, competence, and vision. The Republican party lost and is running well behind the approval levels of their own ideology because they have been blasted on a number of non-ideological factors. Lesser voters don't use 'character', but a fuzzier view of a person - affiliation, likeability, etc. For the youth, the affiliation factor can simply be expressed as "coolness" - how cool was it to be an Obama supporter versus being a McCain supporter? The question answers itself. From cool branding, to Facebook entries to age differences, to how they presented themselves - Obama was youth-targettign and McCain was ... not. And since the youth had no love for the Iraq war, the appeal of a pro-war (to them) warrior 50 years their senior was no appeal. The media has blasted and pegged the GOP as out-of-touch, not very competent, old fuddy-duddys; oh, and that sidekick was a stupid moose-hunting bimbo. Never mind the realy here, this was the image. They annointed Obama as the opposite on all counts.

The smartness issue is related to competence, and goes back to Bush and how the left and the media has attacked him and the Republican party. To a "Daily Show" view under 30, the GOP is the party of gap-toothed creationist hick hillbillies and a President who cannot seem to tie his own shoelaces (never mind the Harvard MBA).

As a result, the GOP is behind in terms of how people view them in three critical areas:
  • Competence
  • Smartness
  • Hipness
I mentioned the competence issue in a previous post, "Moderates want competence, not mush." We lost some of the 'moderate' voters - who are in fact non-ideological and less-informed-on-ideology voters - over these important non-ideological factors.

Does the 'smartness' issue make the Palin-bashers right? No.

The Palin-bashers claim the banner of intellectualism, when in fact the ‘intellectual’ is merely a goods seller in the ‘marketplace of ideas’, so we must consider whether their ideas are shoddy or valid. The best intellectual on the right today - Thomas Sowell - is great because he expresses ideas clearly while shunning the trappings of sophistication, which is a path to sophism and pseudo-intellectualism. But rejecting the world of ideas itself is beyond stupid for conservatives.

We live or DIE by our ideas - we don't have fake celebrity media bias on our side - ALL WE HAVE IS THE STRENGTH OF OUR IDEAS. Well, here's a thought: In 4 debates, there was only one person in one debate who mentioned the conservative idea of personal responsibility - Gov Sarah Palin. It doesn't make her a towering intellectual, but it does recall that our leaders need to express ideas - and she managed to do that with a bit more consistency than the other guy on the ticket, adept though he was in his own way.

When some intellectuals and elitists (urban east-coast latte-sippers) reacted poorly to the Palin pick, this was not about intellectualism at all, but a cultural division. Now, open-minded people should recognize that Palin is a gifted, capable and honorable public servant. She will never be all things to all people (we shall leave that for Obama), but let's not make her a scapegoat. She is a lightning rod for the concern that we lost some electoral segments - segments that were lost for far different reasons.We truly do have an image problem with respect to 'smartness'. One solution is a revamping of the intellectual side of the conservative movement and a revistitation of how the conservative intellectuals engage with the grassroots and with the wide community. The worst thing we could do now is shut ourselves off from new ideas that help us get back in the game politically.

Obviously, one cure for getting back the GOP brand when in comes to "Smartness" would be to recruit and RUN SMART PEOPLE. People who can articulate conservatism without blundering, who have a consistent core, and who can execute effectively. I can understand Parker's "Palin Derangement Syndrome". There was a guy who oozed competence and smartness, and got beat by McCain. Romney, Parker's pick.

Well, whoever we pick in 2012 - Romney, Jindhal, Palin - let's vet them on the SMARTNESS FACTOR. ... and the coolness factor too.


Who's the anti-intellectual? A reminder of the left's attack on intellectual integrity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quote of the Day - de Tocqueville

“After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” - Alexis de Tocqueville -

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winning the Youth Vote for Republicans

A NextRight aricle on Three ways the GOP can win back the youth vote got me to think about this, and reply:

Establish a Young Voter Outreach arm of the Republican National Committee

Good! Let's add more punch to it ... Every single state level party needs to establish a young voter outreach arm and reinvigorate the Young Republicans and College Republicans and get more youth involved in discussions and decisions on the party direction. Establish youth outreach for local parties as well. (I will advocate this for our county party as an official outreach position.) This outreach is not just to colleges, but to High Schools, to get more opptys for Republicans to spread the message at the high school level.

Differentiate from Democrats Through Ideals of Limited Government

I would add that branding is not about logos, but about associations and affiliations. we need to rebrand the Republican party as standing for something.

Here's the "core values" that I see the Republican party needing to represent:

Here's my take on the Republicans core principles: The GOP is the party of liberty, limited government, judges who rule on law and not make them, law and order, traditional values and family values, free enterprise, equality of opportunity, strong national defense, Federalism and Government as close to the people as possible, support for the truly needy, Constitutional rights and individual responsibility.

In addition to the core values, we have to get people to think of themselves as Republicans. Consider that only 31% of Americans are Republicans but a lot more are conservatives (depending on the poll). Yet only 20% are self-described liberals and the Democrats get a lot more people calling themselves that. Why? They have a better brand, a wider one that makes people think its okay to be a Dem.

We need a "I am a Republican because ..." ad where men and women from all sorts of walks of life explain why they are Republican, probably because they believe some of the core values expressed above. We need to get the GOP back to the people. The Dems have successfully demonized the GOP leaders to the point that even Republicans talk of Republicans as "them" like the only Republicans in the country work in the west wing... WRONG! ... WE ARE ALL REPUBLICANS (if we voted the R side of the ticket). It needs to become a "Party of the Patriots" in the minds of the members and of all Americans.

Branding is not about colors and logos but about whatever it takes to build the positive associations and affiliations. Brand the party with core values, then associations and affiliations.

Random Bytes on the GOP and the bailout

Pejman's prescription for the GOP's recovery at The Arena.
Grover Asks Feds for $700 Billion and he has a better use for it than anyone else.

Paul Greenberg : Rx For Conservatives

Frum Does a Texas Election Post-Op

David Frum asked readers "What happened to Harris County" and here are some answers he got:

11/08 09:41 PM

11/08 09:46 PM

11/10 11:00 PM

The lesson is one we can apply across multiple states - demographics are moving against us - "modernize or die":

11/16 08:21 AM

Sunday, November 16, 2008

FDR lengthened the Great Depression

Some works have taken a revisionist approach to point out that FDR's economic policy errors hurt our economy. Books like The Forgotten Man, Rethinking the Great Depression, and FDR Folly are three works that make the case that FDR made errors that lengthened the Great Depression. FDR's Folly has the following liner note endorsement:

"Admirers of FDR credit his New Deal with restoring the American economy after the disastrous contraction of 1929—33. Truth to tell–as Powell demonstrates without a shadow of a doubt–the New Deal hampered recovery from the contraction, prolonged and added to unemployment, and set the stage for ever more intrusive and costly government."
Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate, Hoover Institution
Via Parapundit, we learn that UCLA economists calculate FDR lengthened the depression by 7 years:

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."

This is stunning but unsurprising work. If you study the economic history of many nations, you can see how socialism has created poverty and hurt economic growth in many situations. But the Great Depression remains a misunderstood era, due to that 'popular' history written by liberals; they wrote the history without asking the question of whether the "New Deal" policies actually worked (or assuming they did work). But the verdict now is clear: The New Deal was an economic failure for the United States, even if it was a political success.

If you want to know why I am worried - we have people comparing BHO to FDR and other liberal Presidents who were equally bad for our economy. Be very afraid.

Harris County Releases Illegal Immigrants

According to a story by the Associated Press, thousands of illegal immigrants were released from Houston jails this past week.

Many of these people were charged with minor charges, but 177 of the inmates were arrested for felony assault charges, rape, child molestation, and homicide charges. While the percentage of those committing major felonies is small, the fact that the felonies were committed at all is a travesty. Over 3,500 of the inmates released told jailers they were in the United States illegally.

The reason these criminals were released was because ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) did not file the paperwork to detain, prosecute, and deport the criminals.

While many of us will disagree on the the immigration debate, we must all look out for the welfare of our citizens. Most of the immigrants who come to the United States are here to seek jobs and to pursue the American Dream. There are others who come here and commit heinous crimes against American citizens. These heinous crimes cannot be tolerated.

When dangerous felons are released from prison due to the inability of the prosecutor to file the necessary paperwork, we have a problem. How many more lives will be affected by these dangerous criminals who are in our country illegally before we begin to seriously address the illegal immigration problem? How many repeat assaults will we tolerate before ICE deports these criminals?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Global Warming .. going, going, gone!

Hey Austin, enjoy that early winter freeze!

Where Did All The Global Warming Go?

UPDATE 11/19/08: The temperature trends are convincing me, as data should: Global Warming is a sham - the icecaps they say were melting - ARE NOT. The sea ice that was gone - IS BACK. The warming they said was inevitable - DIDNT HAPPEN. We have seen a major cooling trend for 2 years now and its not abating. We now have global temps below 10-15 years ago - NO WARMING - it contradicts models and breaks the theories and wild claims. Worse, the real driver of temperature - the sun - it going through a dead zone of sunspots that indicates we may have cooler temperatures for the forseeable future.

We need to wait AT LEAST 4 years before we can show that global warming isn't anything but a sham based on flawed models that only looked good for a short while because of natural climate variability. Obama and the Dems want to pass the job-killing govt takeover of the energy business before people realize "Hey' it isnt actually warming."

Roy Spencer, PhD has a perfect explanation for what is REALLY going on.

48 to 52

Redstate: 48 to 52 messages, a response to the lame 52-to-48 campaign, include the one word post "No" and this: Elephant never forgets.
A businessman answers the non-profits who liked Obama's spread the wealth message:

The following organizations have seen substantial contributions from my businesses over the last 2 decades. Most of these organizations sided with the "52" this year.

I have informed each and every one, using (paraphrasing here, as each response was different, based on the exact activities) their behaviour as a guide, that we will no longer support their organizations.

The City Mission-shelters The Food Banks The United Way American Cancer-Heart ... etc ... societies.

And a variety of other charities ...

The basics of the letter I sent each ...

*Dear Sir/Madam:

Ww have supported your causes for many years, but this year, we have declined to continue with our support.

The American people - or 52%, to be exact, have decided that business owners are the problem in our country, and we need to be punished with confiscatory taxes. We were even told that our current tax rate of 37.9 % by the Federal Government alone was not enough, and that we can expect the Federal government to start taking 50-60% of our hard work, in order to give our hard earned money to those who did not earn it.

Further, by voting against this increase, we were told by our newly elected president that we are "selfish".

As the majority of the American People decided that government was the solution, and that private business was the problem, we are bowing to their wishes.

We wish you the best of luck in getting the required funding for your organization from the Federal Government.

Best Regards,


Every business owner I know has severely cut back on charitable giving since 11-04. It is not going to be a good year for charities. Perhaps, in the future, there will be an appreciation for what businesses do for our communities. In the mean time, this is but one weapon we have to fight this trend towards socialism

The response I have gotten back from some of these organizatons led to a phone call. I heard many exclaim thoughts along this line:

I had no idea that the new taxes would hit businesses so hard.
Amazing what you can do to educate people by simply saying "No".


on YouTube: Aftermath- some thoughts from a young, black conservative.

Defending The Traditions of the Republic

A book excerpt from "Defending the Republic", a series of essays "honoring the eminent scholar George W. Carey of Georgetown University" who has studied the founding documents and the historical polical tradition in America. The essay excerpt explores Carey's contributions and views:
From the very outset, Carey’s writings on the American political tradition have taken issue with what he has sometimes called “the official literature” — that is, with the account of that tradition which has dominated academic scholarship during the course of his career. Basic Symbols, for example, challenges the widely held views that the American tradition’s highest commitments are to “‘freedom’ and ‘equality,’ the tradition of ‘rights of the individual,’ or, if you like, the natural rights of the individual,” and that its intellectual origins are to be sought in the thought of John Locke and the French philosophes — or, in sum, in the secularism of “the so-called enlightenment.” Basic Symbols also takes issue with interpretations (whether emanating from the left or right) asserting that the American political tradition was created de novo by the Declaration of Independence. On the contrary, it argues, the Declaration as well as other key documents of the founding era such as the Constitution and Bill of Rights cannot be understood properly if they are read through the prism of one or another interpretation of Western intellectual history. Rather, these documents must be read in their natural context of the organic unfolding of a distinctively American political tradition, a tradition that was already “old . . . when the Declaration was written.” ...

From this starting point, Basic Symbols contends that the American political tradition can be understood only by a return to its beginnings. Both historically and theologically, these beginnings lie in Puritan politics and reformed Protestantism. To be properly understood, the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights must be read against the backdrop of earlier documents such as the Mayflower Compact, Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, and Massachusetts Body of Liberties. When read in this context, Basic Symbols argues, these documents make it clear that the central commitments of the American political tradition are not to individual rights and equality but to self-government under God: to “self-government through deliberative processes” under “a higher law . . . which can be used as a standard by which to judge . . . the determinations of . . . law-making authorities.”19 Thus understood, the American tradition is not individualist or egalitarian but organic and communitarian; its supreme values are not individual rights and equality but justice and the general good. The freedom it celebrates is not the freedom of the autonomous individual but the corporate freedom of the people to govern themselves through representatives of their own choosing.
It's thought-provoking and well worth reading.


By Bob Ward
Nov. 14, 2008 - There are any number of things to be concerned about in a Barack Obama administration but among the most serious is his attitude toward the judicial branch.
In a 2001 interview on National Public Radio, Obama discussed the Supreme Court’s role in the civil rights movement. While the court affirmed the basic civil rights of blacks, he recalled, it “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth.” The reason the court failed to redistribute wealth, according to Obama, was that, “It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
While most Americans would consider it appropriate for a court to adhere to the Constitution, Obama sees it otherwise. The Constitution, he said, “reflected an enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on until this day.” And that blind spot, he continued constitutes “the fundamental flaw of this country.
”During the Obama administration, our judges – at all levels from District Court to the U.S. Supreme Court – will be appointed by someone who believes it is their duty to “break free” from a flawed constitution.
Obama plainly believes courts should disregard the Constitution in order to redistribute wealth. It is unclear in what other areas he thinks the Constitution should be overruled. There is strong sentiment among Democratic leaders in the Congress to re-establish the “fairness doctrine” in broadcasting. The old fairness doctrine was abolished under Ronald Reagan and the result was the rise of talk radio. This medium, dominated by conservatives, is a raspberry seed in the molar of liberals. There have been attempts by liberals to emulate the success of conservative talk radio and they have all been dismal failures.
Under the fairness doctrine a radio station that aired Rush Limbaugh would be compelled to devote three hours to liberal talk that nobody would listen to. Stations would respond by changing their formats to less controversial programming.
The legal basis for this intrusion by government is the fiction that the “airwaves” belong to the public and the statutory requirement that stations licensed by the Federal Communication Commission operate “in the public interest.” These conditions do not apply to non-broadcast media which are protected from government interference by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
However, Obama believes the Constitution is flawed and courts should “break free” from it. It is notunreasonable to expect the Federal government, under Obama, to attempt to control other media. Most vulnerable is the Internet with its bloggers who operate without the editorial “gatekeepers” that keep the mainstream media in line and usually without the discipline of the marketplace as well.
And if the mainstream media become victims of Obama’s judicial philosophy, they have only themselves to blame. They gave this guy a pass overall, and specifically, this interview with National Public Radio should have gotten widespread coverage early in the campaign instead of turning up on a few conservatives venues just days before the election.
Churches are another area where the Constitution is on shaky ground. There are already constitutionally suspect limits on what pastors can say or do if they speak for their congregations on public issues while enjoying a tax exemption. Liberal pressure groups are constantly filing complaints with the IRS in an attempt to silence conservative clergy.
Under an Obama administration, such groups could succeed beyond their wildest dreamsand without the complication of involving the IRS. A pastor who spoke out against homosexuality, forexample, could be charged with a hate crime, as happens in Canada, and the U.S. Justice Dept. would deal with him.
Creative U.S. attorneys could find new ways to enforce the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law to silence critics during the critical weeks just before an election. And Federal judges who subscribe to the Obama view of the Constitution will uphold these prosecutions.
The First Amendment guarantees of free speech and religious freedom are not the only rights that canbe violated once our courts are populated by judges who consider it their duty to “break free” from a flawed constitution. Life, liberty and certainly property are at risk once Barak Obama begins to appoint judges and the Democratic controlled Senate starts confirming them.

To Get the Numbers, Get the Vision

Two interesting post-election articles on the Texas GOP website ...
GOP Needs a Compelling Vision

History Favors Republicans in 2010

While Rove's number-crunching is helpful and interesting (like much of his vote gains over Kerry were from increasing share of minority votes), any takeaway that relies on inevitable shift in tides of history without actually learning from this election is doomed. Parties bounce back because and when they've learned to get more competitive. Ken Blackwell puts it this way:
But the truth is the only way the Republican Party can regain power is through having better ideas. State constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage passed in several states, including liberal California. Other conservative measures passed in various states. These show America is still a center-right nation. Voters have not rejected conservative principles, and in fact still favor them.

In one sense, elections are simply mathematics. If the GOP wants to regain power, it must communicate an agenda in such a way that it gets more than half of the voters to vote for it.

The electorate, however, is changing. Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama over Mr. McCain. The Obama campaign also made gains among Catholics, immigrants, churchgoers, women and young voters. If Republicans want to retake the White House and Congress, they must find ways to appeal to those voters.

In short, to get the numbers, get the vision right, and communicate it well to those voting groups that you are trying to reach.

11/21/08 Rob Portman's advice:
The renewal of the Republican Party starts with an embrace of the core principles of fiscal conservatism, smaller government, traditional values, personal responsibility and ethics, not just when we campaign, but when we govern.

But adherence to these core principles is only a starting point. The key to success is turning these principles into compelling policy solutions to real-world concerns.

Dallas ISD used False Social Security Numbers to Hire Teachers

We constantly hear that the government must continue to fund education. We hear of the No Child Left Behind Act, spending money "for the children," Texas Education Agency guidelines for success, standardized testing, and a countless number of other initiatives to improve education.

What we are hearing about now is as disturbing as all of the alphabet soups of failing programs combined. The Dallas Independent School District hired a number of bilingual teachers in the last couple of years and gave them FALSE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS to hire them! Let me repeat that. The Dallas Independent School District, who's Superintendent makes more money than Governor Perry, who sports an astronomical amount of debt, who has some of the highest dropout rates in Texas, now is also been caught by the Texas Workforce Commission with employees who were given FAKE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS by the school district.

Link to Source Story

The citizens of Dallas should be embarrassed and ashamed. Not only does our public education system not produce enough skilled workers, but now one of the largest school districts in Texas is caught breaking federal law by falsifying social security numbers. How can we expect our children to abide by the law when our school districts cannot do so themselves?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Legislative Budget Board agrees on State Spending Cap

Today in Austin, the Legislative Budget Board agreed on the state spending cap for the 2010-2011 biennium. The Legislative Budget Board is the bipartisan budget committee that develops the state budget before each Session of the State Legislature and monitors state economic growth in determining the proper growth of the state budget.

The Legislative Budget Board agreed unanimously to use the economic growth rate of 9.14% to apply for the 2010-2011 budget. The State Constitution dedicates appropriations and expenditures within the state budget. The non-dedicated state funds written into House Bill 1 for the 81st Legislature will be $79.6 billion unless there is a resolution to break this spending limit.

The 9.14% economic growth rate is less than the growth rate used by the Legislative Budget Board in 2006, which was 13.1%. In other words, while the economy is still growing in Texas, the Comptroller and the Legislative Budget Board believe the state's economy will grow at a slower pace than in the previous biennium.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SOS - Money Bomb for Saxby Chambliss

Money Bomb for Saxby Chambliss, just a little money to save us from the terror of a Democratic filibuster-proof majority.

Wow, has it come to this? A runoff win and a few hundred stolen votes in MN and we have a 60-seat Dem majority? Yikes.

SOS - Stop Obama's Socialism.

Remembering the Veterans

Observations on Veterans Days from veteran Steve Morgan of Bryan, Texas. He observes:

While watching the participants in the parade pass by I could not help but meditate and reflect briefly on friends of mine that served with me in Vietnam; especially those who died there. In 1968 we came back to a hostile and treacherous reception and I’m grateful that veterans serving now seem to be more appreciated. I wondered why there had been no mention of the six Americans massacred in Afghanistan less than twenty four hours earlier. Especially on Veterans Day, the day we honor all who have served for their bravery and sacrifice. None of their families or loved ones will ever be able to enjoy Veterans Day again as I have and will again. My thoughts and prayers were with those families; the motivation of any and all six of those men was to keep us free and we should honor their bravery.
He closes with this good quote:
It was the ancient Greek Historian Thucydides (460 B. C. ~ C. 395 B. C) who said “Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. Therefore do not take lightly the perils of war.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

US Govt may Lost Its AAA Rating

US Government Financial Rating may fall from "AAA":

The United States may be on course to lose its 'AAA' rating due to the large amount of debt it has accumulated, according to Martin Hennecke, senior manager of private clients at Tyche.

"The U.S. might really have to look at a default on the bankruptcy reorganization of the present financial system" and the bankruptcy of the government is not out of the realm of possibility, Hennecke said.
Deficit Bailout Spending will be the cause. $1 trillion this year alone, and a large increase in debt load as the US takes on bad assets and bad loans. Japan made the same mistake and got mired in a zero-growth economy. This is what bailouts without end' will lead us to - financial ruin of the whole country. We need to stop the bailouts, now, before it's too late.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Answering 'couldbetrue' on the Bush legacy

Couldbetrue made some comments on the Moderates want competence" article, and I think answering the comment perception/meme here is worthwhile...

Couldbetrue: Katrina is a perfect example. Small government says you're on your own.

Actually, it does NOT say that. You are repeating a liberal Democrat strawman. "That government is best which governs least" by Thomas Jefferson, is not quite "That Goverment is least which doesn't govern at all." To be a small Government conservative is not to be against any government safety net, indeed that is usually how it is described. It also is to be FOR voluntary charity and encouraging efforts of community building.

So, what exactly is Katrina an 'example' of? Here in Texas, Katrina was an example of neighbor helping neighbor, both with government aid and with voluntary charity. We had people who were taken in at numerous place, and volunteers and state and local Governments, from Gov Rick Perry on down to our Austin Mayor, and people in Austin and other cities who helped give a place to live for a while to people who had become homeless by the flooding in New Orleans. My wife helped a refugee get around town and go shopping.

In New Orleans, Katrina was an example of the incompetence of the local Democrats who ran New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. Nagin packed 20,000 into a superdome and gave them food for 24 hours, and they were stuck there for 4 days. He failed to order the evacuation in time, even though President Bush called him prior to insist on doing it. Not more than 1/4 mile from the superdome was a fleet of schoolbuses to be used for evacuation purposes. They were left there, underwater, even though it would have been easy to take them to high ground and use them for evacuation. Governor Blanco dithered rather than call out the national guard immediately to stop looting and disorder in New Orleans. Meanwhile, the military that Bush ordered out rescued many hundreds from rooftops. And FEMA became the scapegoat for the failures of Nagin and Blanco, even though in dozens of other disasters like this, FEMA was no slower and no faster in response; in any disaster, it takes time for FEMA to respond and they say that local and personal means are needed in the first 1-3 days.

So Katrina was also an example of Democrats scapegoating the Federal Government and Bush for failures at more local Government. The contrast with Mississippi is telling. There was no scapegoating there, even though the devastation was severe. There was no scapegoating of FEMA in Ike, even though Galveston was hit terribly by it. There was no scapegoatig of FEMA in Rita, etc. You get the picture. Katrina is a special case because ... New Orleans is a basket case and Democrats wanted to hurt Bush so they shifted blame. An example of a city that has absorbed the wrong lessons of how to be. Instead of self-reliant, they were and are dependent on others; instead of responsible, they expect others to shoulder their burdens. As a result, they will blame others when they make a mistake.

To me, Katrina is an example of the futility of dependence and the folly of thinking the Federal Government is the right solution for every problem. It is not.

Conservatism says that Government is best when it is closest to the people. The highest form of Government is self-Government, and that is called individual responsibility and self-reliance. The next highest form of Government are those voluntary institutions, the family, the church, and neighbor helping neighbor, that makes life work on a personal level. Beyond that, the local community, then the state, and the Federal Government. As Government gets more remote, it is more prone to error and unresponsiveness.

We shouldn't act surprised if FEMA cannot act swiftly to a sudden threat of the worst hurricane in 100 years. Self-reliant individuals who are alerted can do far more to protect themselves and will weather a storm like that far better than people with a dependency attitude that wait for the Federal Government to save them.

Most Americans were appalled at Bush's 'incompetent. i.e. principled' lack of action.

Most Americans were lied to by a biased media then, because that description is complete fiction. First, Bush had and has FEMA and Dept of Homeland Security to address these issues. There was PLENTY of action. The record of action and the policy is clear that they DO act. And in Katrina, they did act, as well as an bureaucratic organization could.

Who didnt act appropriately? Governor Blanco:

Now Governor Blanco also made major mistakes. LinkAfter asking and getting the federal government to declare the hurricane zone a disaster area two days before the storm hit, the governor failed to send any National Guard troops in to secure New Orleans and the surrounding parishes before the storm. Why?
She also failed to ask for more troops from the feds, knowing she only had about 6,000 to control the city of 1.3 million. Why not ask for more?
Like the mayor, Governor Blanco has no explanation. Surely she knew the potential for chaos. Why not send the Guard in immediately?
Then when the levees were breached, the Guard found itself unable to get into New Orleans. They're outside. It was not until Wednesday, August 31st, three days after the storm hit, that Blanco admitted she didn't have enough security in the city.
What Really Happened in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina? Bill O'Reilly, Fox News; Wednesday, September 07, 2005.
The biased liberal media has made mountains of criticism out of molehills of errors on Bush's part in katrina, but if you look carefully, you will find that even the people of New Orleans knew better who really screwed up:

ABC News producers probably didn't hear what they expected when they sent Dean Reynolds to the Houston Astrodome's parking lot to get reaction to President Bush's speech from black evacuees from New Orleans. Instead of denouncing Bush and blaming him for their plight, they praised Bush and blamed local officials. Reynolds asked Connie London: "Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?" She rejected the premise: "No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in.” She pointed out: “They had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people."

Not one of the six people interviewed on camera had a bad word for Bush -- despite Reynolds' best efforts. Reynolds goaded: "Was there anything that you found hard to believe that he said, that you thought, well, that's nice rhetoric, but, you know, the proof is in the pudding?" Brenda Marshall answered, "No, I didn't," prompting Reynolds to marvel to anchor Ted Koppel: "Very little skepticism here.”

Reynolds pressed another woman: “Did you feel that the President was sincere tonight?" She affirmed: "Yes, he was." Reynolds soon wondered who they held culpable for the levee breaks. Unlike the national media, London did not blame supposed Bush-mandated budget cuts: "They've been allocated federal funds to fix the levee system, and it never got done. I fault the mayor of our city personally. I really do."

Deregulation is another example showing corporate greed triumphs over all including their own companies' sustainability. Massive pollution is a by product that hurts even CEO's grandchildren.

Nice talking point, that's a rather bizarre assertion given that there hasn't been deregulation at all in the environmental area, and that 'massive pollution' is something that is not happening today.

Facts Not Fear on Air Pollution: (PDF) Air pollution of all kinds declined sharply because of cleaner motor vehicles, ... us worse off. Myth No. 1: Air Quality. Is Bad and Getting Worse
Air pollution has been declining for decades across the United States, yet most Americans still
believe air pollution is a growing problem and a serious threat to their health. The reason: most information on air pollution from environmentalists, regulators and journalists — the public’s main sources for information on the environment — is false. Air quality in America’s cities is better than ever.
Couldbetrue: You should be as offended about being lied to by people fearmongering over exaggerated environmental threats as you probably are offended over the CIA's "slam dunk" mistake on Saddam's WMDs. They are preying upon your fears.

Bush's use of force as his first and last choice for diplomacy exposes another failure of principle in the real world.

This is yet another strawman. We have tried diplomacy in Iran wrt nukes, in the Israel-Palestine conflict (for 35 years!), and have jawboned Russia over Georgia.

Norquist's view of small government has been exposed as a failure, as has Cheney's Neocon view along with business run wild.

The conservatives would argue - correctly - that Bush has been a Big Government conservative. So where oh where have we actually TRIED 'small government' lately. When Bill Clinton said in 1995, 'the era of Big Government is over', we actually had a government that in nominal terms spent half of what it is spending now. Let's not forget that we had the largest entitlement expansion, the Medicare drug benefit which passed in 2003, and this year the Pelosi Congress has gone on a bailout spree to the tune of $1 trillion, the wall st TARP bailout, the housing bailout ($300 billion), covering the Fannie Mae mortgages ($200 billion), economic 'stimulus' checks. And so it goes. The era of small government never happened!

Likewise, the business run amok comment doesnt match reality. The Sarbanes-Oxley bill in 2002 increased financial regulation of business firms, and there was no serious deregulation of business in recent years.

Going down the religious trail had short term wins Tuesday, but mixing religion and government is a long term losing strategy, too.

Nobody is more in favor of true religious liberty and the first amendment freedom to worship rights than the Christian Right. We don't want government meddling in religion. The Christians just want to be left alone to practice and live their faith openly, and not have to have their own children indoctrinated into the secular humanist religion in public schools.

For some values issues, it is a mistake to confuse the legitimate desires to have traditional moral and cultural values expressed as 'mixing religion and government'. It is not inappropriate to infuse your religiously derived values in laws, so long as those values are not forcing sectarianism on others. Rev MLK was a preacher, should he have stayed home instead of pushing for civil rights, which to him was a religious issue? Or was the religiously derived abolition movement wrong? The anti-abortion and other values movements are no different. They are taking the faith's concerns for a segment of humanity (ie the unborn) and pushing for the recognition of rights of that segment of humanity. It was justice in civil rights movement and it is justice here as well.

I would love to see your party rebuild. But, you need to offer something that works.

I am a conservative precisely because I know FREEDOM WORKS. The truth that freedom works is why I use the handle FreedomsTruth, as truth and freedom are my core political values. I understand that others don't have that core commitment or understanding, due to either not understanding or studying it from my perspective, or simply letting other (false) ideological perception cloud their vision. So my task, if I want others to see things my way, is to bring out those facts that confirm that indeed, freedom does work. In other words, pragmatic validators lead those non-conservatives to wake up and go "Oh yeah, maybe there is something to that." Example: I can show how low tax rate countries with smaller governments have higher growth, by pointing out the case of Ireland, which became the 'celtic tiger' due to a program of lower tax rates.

When it comes to 'truth', there is a point at which you do have to discard ideology and look at ''what works" and "what happened". I've blogged that Bush's failures, both real and perceived, are responsible for our loss. I've noted that on Katrina, it was a lot more perception than reality. So on that, and on some other minor items, it was Bush's PR efforts that were mediocre (e.g., that terrible press secretary Scottie McClellan). On other issues, like spending, Bush was not a small Government conservative; he spent at a relatively high rate. We are close to $3 trillion dollars a year away from "you're on your own." On Iraq, there were mistakes and errors, which in my mind were due to execution, e.g., two big mistakes of disbanding the Iraqi army and keeping troop levels too low in 2003-2006. None of these and few of Bush's controversial decisions were philosophically conservatives. His appointments of Roberts and Alito were conservative bright spots, and both were among his best appointments.

I never thought the immigration amnesty would "work" except to incite more illegal immigration; I don't think the TARP bailout will 'work' except to suck the financial sector into the Federal Government and socialize and weaken that industry; and I dont think bailouts without end will work.

So to summarize a long post: Despite your comments, I stand by my statement that the failures of the Bush administration were mostly non-ideological and were not failures of conservatism at all. Still, whatever the causes and excuses for it, Bush's low performance ratings harmed conservatism and Republican party in this election. Them's the breaks when our guy underperforms and it is our job to convince people we won't fail on the competence issue next time. The irony is this: Obama promises change, but you will see that he is actually more of the same - more of the Big Government spending that has been accelerating in the past two years.

Leftwing Hatemongers Attack Christian Church

Michigan liberals attack Lansing congregation in the middle of Sunday worship.

In California, at Saddleback church, a similar attack took place by hatemongers who protested the results of the election there - the passage of Proposition 8, which protected traditional marriage.

Consider the contrast with the post-Obama-election calls for unity. We could turn it back on them and say: The proponents of gay marriage need to admit that the American people reject gay marriage and these proponents should be gracious, concede the point, and work together with those who want to protect traditional marriage for the success of American families.

UPDATE: Gotta send this note out to the Prop 8 sore losers.

Prop 8's 52-to-48: The American people do NOT want gay marriage and never will. Even in the most gay-friendly state in the union you lost. That's 30 states and counting that have it in their state constitutions. You can keep agitating and the other side can use your own extremism to bring out votes for social conservative candidates.

It's a bridge too far. give it up and learn to accept that homosexual couples may deserve freedom to live their life, but dont have the right to redefine the traditional concept and institution of marriage.

And you should accept that its probably a good thing anyway, as the civilization requires a healthy environment for the raising of the next generation and the best environment is a married mom-and-dad family.

Everyday Republicans

Who should be the face of the Republican party?How about Everyday Republicans:

If the party wants to grow, it must be able to relate to people in everyday life. The best spokesman for a party isn't necessarily, nor should it be restricted to, the top leadership. It is the every day person who actually believes and can articulate those ideas. They have the most credibility and are a "force multiplier".

UPDATE: Some Faces of the future GOP

Quote of the Day

"Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!" - Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Moderates Want Competence not Mush

The question arises: To win, the GOP needs a share of moderates as well as conservatives, so how do we win them both simultaneously? What do we do?

I had multiple conversations in this election where it became clear people were voting with practically zero ideological inkling at all. And in reviewing the election results, seeing how moderate and conservative Republicans were hit equally, it hit me as to why the GOP was losing moderate voters who seemed to lemming like run to liberal Democrats: This was not an ideological loss at all - ie neither the RINOs nor the conservatives were rejected for their respected ideologies. ALL the Rs were rejected for a simple reason: Failure to perform up to snuff in office.

We've been here before. Here's a study from 1982 from an academic who figured out that the Reagan win did not indicate a conservative shift in the electorate:

Moderates and conservatives picked Reagan because Carter was a failed President. Some voted for Reagan because he shared their values, others because they just wanted

I mean, think about it - how many people actually up and decided "I am voting for Obama because he is very liberal and so am I." With only about 20% of the electorate self-identified liberals, perhaps no more than half did that. They voted for "change". but change from what? Change from things getting screwed up.


Stop trying to pander to liberal moderates; address moderates as a group.

We have tried pandering to moderates by chucking out our principles, or by pandering too much. It ends up not working. Why? For the simple reason that you end up serving mush and its not "MUSH" the moderates want - its COMPETENCE. They want what works and are not actually "in between" conservatives and liberals, but are rather like cafeteria pickers, they have picked some from column A and some from column B. they want to go with what WORKS.

So what they really need out of us is COMPETENCE. So how to win them:

  • Stick to our core principles, but present them in reasoned and non-threatening ways. Don't be extreme.
  • Don't be meanspirited/racist/denigrating towards any group
  • I suspect that negative campaigning that paints the other side as extreme without making you look shrill would work (but shrillness backfires viz. Dole ad)
  • Exhibit and excude confidence and competence - show that you are for what WORKS and can deliver on it.
  • Similarly, you will want to win them on other character traits, ie , openness, honesty, integrity, ethics, intelligence/thoughtfulness, caring/compassion, willingness to listen to voters, pragmatism

I dont think right-wing elected officials lose based on ideology per se, they lose the middle voters when they can be cast in negative personal light due to their positions. Did they not listen to voters, did the come across as too rigid, or did they fail to show that they are thinkng and caring? If you CAN show you are thoughtful, caring and are listening to voters, then you CAN win the voters over while still holding to conservative principles (although they may need to bend to pragmatic considerations from time to time).

Moderates want COMPETENCE not mush. And if we deliver it consistently, we can get back to winning.

Maybe this whole article calling out competence as an issues is a "Doh!" comment, but it should put to rest that silly notion that a particular ideological position is the linchpin to success or failure. It should put to rest the discreditable view that moderation is the only way to win elections. The real way to win elections is to score high on character, competence as well as vision.

UPDATE: 11/16/08 - NRO has an article by James Gimpel that shows that So -called moderate voters are actually just less informed and attached and amenable to social influence in voting:

What characterizes the centrist voter is not some peculiar set of policy positions, but rather ignorance of policy issues in general, coupled with vague impressions of the “goodness” or “badness” of the times. So-called centrist or moderate voters can’t even be counted on to vote.

Consequently, they make a lousy starting point from which to frame a campaign platform. A campaign doesn’t move toward them, but instead attempts to inspire them to come in the candidate’s direction. The incoherent center moves to the left or to the right, inspired by the candidate’s enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of his supporters. It is foolish for the candidate to move to the center, because the center is never a fixed position to move toward.

Moving centrists toward one’s candidacy is not a process that hinges on taking the right policy stands, either. Instead, it involves the enthusiasm and social contagion that builds around exciting candidates. We know from several volumes of political-science research that less-informed voters commonly substitute someone else’s judgment for their own. That someone else is often a spouse, workmate, or neighbor knowledgeable and enthusiastic about one of the candidates. Support for a candidate spreads through social influence processes.

In short, less-informed voters will go for the popular guy who is liked by people who this person knows. Yes, Obama used this technique to the hilt, using modern technology to effect it.

Newt Gingrich for RNC Chair

I am thrilled to see the ideas that Patrick Ruffini has been putting forward on fixing the party and the "Rebuild the Party" effort:

My own thoughts on getting back to victory as a party are here:

My point #1 is "Servant-leadership"

It starts with leadership. We need local leadership and elected officials that re-engage and re-energize the grassroots. These need to be servant-leaders that show the way by encouraging broad participation. The model is a ‘big tent’, but it is based on core principles as the tent poles that brings activists in and energizes them. We need to re-connect our own leaders with our own base, and need to develop new leaders out of grassroots by getting broader activist participation.

Without a leader who 'gets it' our efforts to rebuilt the party will be valiant but futile.
To that end, I think we need to draft Newt Gingrich to be RNC Chair:
1. He embraces the use of new technology
2. He shows he 'gets it' when it comes to leveraging grassroots networked movements, as shown by his American Solutions effort.
3. He is the most articulate spokesman we have and is high-profile enough to be able to represent the face of the Republican Party and carry some weight. He is a recognizable figure to unify the GOP that has no natural leader at this time. He can go toe-to-toe on Sunday talk shows, can and is already a draw for audiences.
4. Being an outsider of the past 8 years and a critic of Bush administration, he is not tainted by administration's failures and subsequent unpopularity. He has critiqued the execution of the Iraq war, opposed the bailout, and been critical of administration on spending and immigration. In short, he stands with the people on issues that the Bush WH lost popular support over.
5. He has never wavered from solid conservative principles, taking popular and correct stands, on drilling, on the bailout, on spending, on fixing Iraq, on immigration. He has credibility with the Republican base.

6. He engineered the 1994 victory, and 2010, in our best-case scenario, could and should be a similar repeat. Who better to win in this situation than to bring out the man who won this type of battle before.

Most critics of Gingrich will say "oh, we need a new face" but in fact, Gingrich, like Churchill, has had his 'wilderness' years. Most conservatives WANT the tried-and-true Reagan formula, and they want a leader they can trust not to waver from those principles. They want us to return to the principles that won Reagan the white house and the GOP the Congress. I cannot disagree. When I think of the GOP core principles, I come back to the Reagan formula as the principles to stand on.

Gingrich knows that, and he won't wobble as others have from articulating a consistent conservative message. BUT ALSO HAS SPENT HIS LIFETIME TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE. It is a rare and valuable combination that we need at this time. If the GOP stays as stuck-in-the-muds, we lose; if we shed our principles to chase futuristic butterflies, we lose too. Gingrich is unafraid to embrace the future while adhering to core conservative political principles.

We need new conservative leadership in the GOP and we need it NOW - in the RNC! Newt Gingrich is our man.

Draft Newt Gingrich to lead the RNC.


Poll: Gingrich or Steele for RNC chair