Archive for the ‘Ron Paul’ Category

Delegate Drama: Brokered Convention Still Feasible

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Brokered Convention Still Possible?

I just received this video via email, and I thought I should share this with readers because it provides an interesting report on the matter of delegate counts, and whether this primary is really over after all.  More, it provides some interesting tidbits on the activities of the RNC.  As you know, Ron Paul is still in the race, as is Mitt Romney, and the reason that’s important is because RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has directed staff to “open up channels of communications” between Romney’s campaign and the RNC. That would most definitely seem to violate the RNC’s rules while there are more than one contestant in the race.  We’ve known the RNC was in the tank for Romney for some time, but once again, this serves as further evidence of how they will do anything to advance their chosen candidate.  Here’s the video report from Ben Swann on Cincinnati’s WXIX News:

As you can see from this report, if the “unit rule” isn’t applied, then Mitt Romney may be looking at an open convention after all.  Look out!  “It ain’t over ’til it’s over…”

Swann also provided the link to thereal2012delegatecount.com in the course of his report.  At present, the count shows 697 delegates for Romney, but he needs 1144.  It would provide the irony of ironies if Ron Paul actually wound up forcing a brokered convention.

Ron Paul Doesn’t Like “Etch-a-Sketch:” Why Not?

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Will Paul Send Romney the Bill?

It’s hard to understand why a politician would run an ad that seeks to minimize the story that is doing the most political damage to one’s chief rival.  In my view, to hit Gingrich and Santorum while leaving Romney untouched hints at another motive.  Ron Paul’s camp is running an ad slamming the two non-Romneys for their focus on Romney Communications Direct Eric Fehrnstrom’s “Etch-a-Sketch” remark.  He apparently thinks it’s ridiculous to be focused on what he considers a sideshow, but I wonder if that’s his real objective.   After all, he’s been rather friendly with Mitt Romney, and at times it has seemed he was working on coordinating his attacks on the others with the former Massachusetts governor, who one would think would receive the most scrutiny from the Paul camp, since Romney is clearly the most liberal of the four.

Here’s the ad:

Not once in this ad are viewers informed about the nature of the controversy, although you do get a clip of Fehrnstrom’s remark,  but what viewers receive is a series of repeated iterations of Gingrich, Santorum, and media saying “Etch-a-Sketch,”  portrayed in such a way as to mock the subject.  Romney’s been playing damage control ever since his Communications Director’s remarks, and they’ve tried several approaches to change the subject.  I suppose if all else fails, you let Ron Paul’s campaign do your dirty-work, and try to downplay the meaning and impact of the “Etch-a-Sketch” remark.  Of course, this could be Paul’s way of trying to get a little attention, but whatever his motive, I think it’s dishonest to downplay the significance.  After all, if the Romney campaign will bear a resemblance to an etch-a-sketch if he secures the nomination, one would think this is information all of the other candidates would want voters to possess.  To me, this looks like an attempt to minimize the damage to Romney.  Is this part of a collusion between Paul and Romney?  Nobody’s certain but it’s odd that Paul’s campaign would posit a thesis that reduces the damage to an opponent.

 

Many Notice the Paul-Romney Tag-Team

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Santorum Sandwich

It’s not surprising to me that while the Washington Post inadvertently proves my point about the Santorum double team carried out by Paul and Romney in Wednesday night’s debate, they fail to understand that Santorum represents one leg of the conservative stool, as the media celebrates Paul and Romney attacking a leg on which Santorum is not really resting.  First of all, let us be clear that Ron Paul is not conservative.  He’s libertarian.  Second, let us be likewise clear that Romney is a liberal masquerading as a moderate.  For Paul to attack Santorum from the right is no surprise, at least on economic and liberty grounds, but for Romney to join in is a bit like being attacked by Barack Obama for being too liberal.  There’s something annoying about an attack from Romney on earmarks, as he’s lobbied for them in his own gubernatorial career.  It’s an inconsistent attack demonstrating Romney’s desperation that shows how willing he is to recalibrate himself to situational demands.

More, the double-team(and this gives that term new meaning) clearly demonstrates that Santorum was the victim of a set-up Wednesday night.  The questions were scripted, the audience was stacked, and Paul and Romney carried out their hit.  The thing many people are missing, including the Washington Post, is that in truth, Santorum actually managed to bear up well.

One of t he things people claim is that they want politicians to tell them the truth.  I think that’s a bunch of aimless happy talk, because when they do, they are frequently crucified for it. Whether you like it or not, or agree with it or not, what Santorum said on Wednesday night about politics being a “team sport” is true: You simply can’t get legislation through if you’re a perfect purist.  Witness Ron Paul.  His legislative agenda witnesses few actual successes, but it’s easy to be uncompromising in this context if all one is really doing is making a political statement with no actual intention of implementing one’s ideas.

Of course, some compromises aren’t really that at all, but are instead complete surrenders. Knowing the difference between real compromise and surrender is important to succeed in a legislative branch that consists of 536 voting members(when the Vice President presides over the Senate.)   When Santorum admitted that while serving as Senate Republican Conference Chair, he had to push bills he didn’t necessarily like, that’s true, I’m certain.  The problem is, most Americans don’t know that position exists, or what its holder does, if they’re familiar with the term at all.

This is a year when such nuances may not matter to voters.  Instead, many seem caught up in the huff-and-puff of the media memes of the day, as they come and go. Details don’t matter, and I think this is what Romney’s banking on. As I concluded some time ago, this whole primary season seems to be a scripted affair, as one after another of the alternatives to Romney have been pushed hard, obtained front-runner status briefly, and been ditched with a clearly coordinated effort to keep Romney out front.  Go back to the beginning, and look at the charts.

Bachmann went up, won the straw poll, and was chopped up by Perry’s entrance as she was portrayed as a wide-eyed loon with simple picture selection in the media. Combined with a few gaffes on her part, she was quickly eclipsed.  Perry rose, and became front-runner, and stayed there until an “oops” moment in a debate that added to his previous weak debate performances, and soon he too was on his way down.  Then we had the rise of Herman Cain, and right on cue, as he had attained the top of the polls, here came the stories claiming he was guilty of this, that, and the other. Down he went, and then along came Gingrich.

In Iowa, Paul, Santorum and Romney all hammered on Gingrich, and this sent him downward, but the problem is that Newt wouldn’t stay down, so they hammered on him a bit more, Drudge going nuclear, and Rick Santorum wound up the beneficiary.  Today, Santorum should realize what has been done as they are now doing to him what they did to Gingrich, and Cain, and Perry, and Bachmann, and anybody else who rises to challenge Romney.  The most disappointing part to me is how willing conservative voters have been to be driven along in this way.

It’s bad enough that it’s been plain for some time how this is being managed, but when I see Santorum and Gingrich getting sucked into this, I think they’re both missing the point.  They’re both being picked off, one at a time, but rather than put their heads together to cut off the head of the snake, they spent too much time going after one another.  Finally, I think the two of them are beginning to realize it, and if Santorum didn’t see this last night, he never will. If he’s smart, he will try to form a strategic alliance with Gingrich much as Paul has done with Romney.  This is what Gingrich began to do before he was ambushed in late January, when he brought along Cain and Perry in support of his candidacy.

If Romney and Paul can get together for their own nefarious reasons, it might be time for Gingrich and Santorum to consider the same. I think it’s fair to suggest that a strategic alliance aiming at the elimination of Romney is a good idea, but the only way they’re going to do that is to begin exposing Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts.  Romney likes to talk about his time in the private sector, and his management of the Olympics, but he avoids talking about his record as governor, except to tell us he managed to balance his state’s budget four years in a row.  What he doesn’t advertise is the fact that it is required under law.  Santorum made that point in Wednesday night’s debate, but I think the significance is lost on some people.

Will Romney ever face the sort of examination the others have undergone?  It’s looking unlikely, as the media is saving all its best dirt for the general election.  Bank on it. I Paul and Romney succeed in making this a two man show, Romney will win the nomination, and Paul will be able to exact some sort of promise for his role.  I think it’s fair to say that if Gingrich and Santorum don’t wake up to this reality, they’re in big trouble. While most clear-thinking Americans have noted the apparent Paul-Romney tag-team, the two people who most need to notice it and work against it have not: Gingrich and Santorum must start to think about how to coordinate a bit. Knock out Romney, and it’s a new ball-game.

Ron Paul Won’t Touch Romney in Debate – Now We Know Why

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Like Father Like Son?

It’s all coming down to this:  Ron Paul is staying in this race in order to assist Romney, because he wants his son to be on the Presidential ticket with Mitt Romney.  As he travels around stumping on the basis of his limited government position, all he’s really angling for his to get his son on the ticket with the most liberal candidate in this race.   I wonder if the people who are supporting Ron Paul know this, because if not, they’re in for a big surprise.  I’ve never seen such a thing.  Talk about opposites:  Ron Paul wants Mitt Romney because he’s considering his son for the VP slot, but the problem is that the only way he can do that is to defeat Rick Santorum, and in tonight’s debate on CNN, the elder Paul had every chance to criticize Romney, but he didn’t, and instead spent his time hammering Santorum.  This is not a coincidence, as the article linked about makes plain.

I like many of the things Ron Paul stands for in the domestic arena, but the problem is that I now know he’s a shill candidate, and it’s been increasingly clear for some time.  This is a sell-out of the first order because irrespective of whether the younger Paul is on the ticket, the problem remains:  Romney can’t win, but even if he did, Rand Paul will be nearly powerless to effect policy changes, and virtually none of Ron Paul’s positions will be adopted.  If Ron Paul’s supporters are willing to stand for that, frankly, I don’t know what to make of them any longer.  Romney’s presidency would be the antithesis of everything Ron Paul has advocated.

At the conclusion of the debate on CNN, Anderson Cooper came on as the stage emptied of the candidates, and I watched with interest as Mitt Romney got up and directly went to shake Ron Paul’s hand and exchange a few words with him.  He should have kissed his backside instead, as Paul never failed to attack Rick Santorum throughout.

Now that I better understand Ron Paul’s actual agenda, it’s easier to walk away from him. He may be willing to settle for a campaign that ends with getting his Senator son on the Mitt Romney ticket, but I certainly am not.  This is why people become so frustrated with politics:  Politicians sell them out while soliciting their donations, and broker behind-the-scenes deals for the sake of personal expedience.  Unreal.

Ron Paul Flashback: 1988 Video

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Ron Paul 1988

One thing is certain: Ron Paul has been pretty consistent in his ideas.  Back in the late 1980s, there was an infamous television show hosted by Morton Downey Jr.  I never saw the show at the time, because I was out of the country serving in uniform, but I’ve seen a few clips subsequently.  In this episode of the program, none other than Ron Paul, then a former congressman, appeared on his show to talk about drug legalization.  I don’t know the woman in the beret, but after roughly three seconds, I wished I could cut her microphone.  The other interesting thing is that none other than disgraced congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY,) appears on the show via telephone.

Whatever we may think of Ron Paul, it’s fair to say he’s been consistent in his views for a long time.  This video should provide a little insight on that, whether you agree with him on this particular issue or not.

Ron Paul’s Mitt Romney Ad Is a Hoot!

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Perfect Android Politician?

I have been watching to see if somebody would send me a link to an anti-Mitt ad run by Ron Paul, and my real focus was on televised ads.  I’m still looking for evidence(since I don’t live in any of the first five states) to suggest he ran one on television as part of a paid advertising buy.  I know he did run lots of anti-Gingrich and at least a few anti-Santorum ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, but I wasn’t there to see all of those ads.  Now comes this ad from early January, and I don’t know if it actually aired anywhere, or has been merely a web ad.(There are many more of the latter floating around.)  This ad aims squarely at Romney, and it is exceedingly effective.  If this ad aired anywhere, and you know about it, please let me know.  If not, it should be brought up to date(Perry is a minor player in the ad) and aired somewhere, because it’s devastating. Truly:

Ron Paul Sold His Soul to Mitt Romney?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Working Together?

I don’t know if this is true, but some of the facts are well-known, and if it’s true in any measure, the people who are supporting Ron Paul will be asked to shuffle across the convention floor to support Mitt Romney, not in exchange for the Vice Presidency, and not even for a cabinet posting, but for a speech for Paul and his Senator son in prime-time during the Republican National convention.  Ron Paul supporters should know that this is the extent of the goal of this entire campaign, and that Mitt Romney has designs on their support.  This is the reason that throughout these debates, and throughout the campaigns, Ron Paul hasn’t run one negative ad against Romney, and hasn’t even ruffled Mitt’s feathers in any of the debates.  He has a strategic alliance, and he’s willing to carry out this charade in order to get a speaking platform for he and his son.

This leads me to several questions I have long suspected I would have to ask of the folks who have with such vigor and diligence supported Ron Paul, through thick and thin, and against the taunts of most of the other campaigns or candidates.  Is that what you Paul supporters have been angling to achieve?  Will you put down your Paul signs and pick up Romney placards instead?  Is this the ultimate meaning of your money bombs, your poll-slamming, and all the other activities in which you have participated in support of Ron Paul’s agenda?  How much influence do you now think Paul will wield in a Mitt Romney administration?  Do you think Romney will legalize drugs?  What about the military and foreign aid budgets?  What of the commitment to the Constitution?  What becomes of eliminating the Federal Reserve?  What will you do when you discover that not only has your candidate undercut you, but that all he managed for your trouble were twenty-four dollars worth of costume conservatism?

I know the diehards will be unable to believe this, much as we who support Sarah Palin couldn’t grasp for some time her announcement of the 5th of October.  Knowing at least a little of what they will ultimately feel, I am angry for them, not because of the alliance, but that it’s been so well-hidden from them in plain sight.  I agree with much of Ron Paul’s spending cut agenda, and I agree with his stance on the Federal Reserve, but if all this has been in pursuit of a speaking platform, I must ask them if this entire exercise will have been worth it for a few minutes of prime-time exposure of your issues.  To my friends in the Ron Paul legions, and you are my friends in many important ways despite our disagreements, because I know you love liberty, I must confront you with this not in order to say “I told you so,” but instead to commiserate with you. You may remember that some time ago, I decided myself that if Paul could only make himself a little more palatable on foreign policy, I could potentially support him.  I told voters in Virginia that to vote for Paul as their only alternative to Mitt Romney was a vote in the name of restoring the party.  Now, you see, I advised those Virginians to what appears to have been no more than a ploy.

In truth, this sickens me, and I am tired of the manipulations this entire primary season has revealed.  As time goes on, it may yet get worse, and if it does, I’m going to say so without apologies.  Some things are simply “a bridge too far,” and the idea that a politician would use their influence with supporters in such a way is frankly unforgivable in any context.  I realize that there will be attempts to gain some promises from a potential future Romney administration, but for the love of all things good in the world, that seems a tiny prize to exact for all the laborious efforts Paul’s supporters have poured into this.

Some of you will remember when I said of Paul that I love his domestic spending agenda, and his general temperament toward government growth, but you and I know that Mitt Romney will not follow that plan, as he already offers glimpses of “strengthening the safety net.”  My friends, I would not blame a one of you if you took one look at this and simply walked away.  Really.  I feel for you.  I do.  This abandonment of principle in the name of  such pathetic rewards makes me steam.  Surely for withholding his fire against Romney in the early primary states, he should have gotten more than this dry bone to toss to his supporters. If it is true, I expect the backlash may be ferocious, and it would be deserved, but there’s one person I really wouldn’t want to be, and his name is Ron Paul.  Maybe they’ll take some of their inevitable anger out on the GOP establishment that deserves no small measure of the blame.

GOP Scandal: Florida Violated Another Rule?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Another Victory Lost?

Most of you will remember that Florida, by moving its primary up to January, waived half of its delegates to the national convention.  As it now turns out, they may have violated another rule, and it stands to benefit Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, all to the detriment of Mitt Romney.  It seems that there is another rule that forbids “winner-take-all” primaries and caucuses prior to 1 April.  This is being covered by a variety of outlets, but Burns and Haberman at Politico have given in-depth coverage.

They have outlined the problem, and actually quoted the GOP rules:

“Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first day of April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis. (Rule No. 15(b)(2))” (emphasis mine)

Uh-oh Mitt. You see, if we are to accept that the Virginia GOP mustn’t change its rules to permit others who just missed qualification for the ballot access in that state, we must also conclude since the GOP is a party that follows its own rules, it must follow this one.  I have read accounts that the Gingrich camp is already pursuing this, as they should because as the Romney camp  hurries to remind us about Virginia, “rules are rules.”

Myself, I think this is perfect justice.  The Florida GOP hurried up its primary to help Mitt Romney sew up the nomination early, and waived half of its ninety-nine delegates, but now it seems that if this turns out the way the rule is written, the Florida party will have no choice but to apportion the delegates by percentage of vote, and if so, Romney will get twenty-four delegates rather than fifty. Gingrich would come away with fifteen or sixteen.  Instead of handing Romney the ninety-nine delegates they might have handed him later, they may now hand him one-fourth of that number, and I think this is a perfect answer to the entire fiasco of the accelerated schedule.

Florida Poll – Election Eve

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I have two questions for you in this evening’s poll.

Please answer them both.

No double voting!

I will be comparing this data with South Carolina data, and I will report to you any shifts in the support of the candidates.

Thank you for participating!

Thursday Night Debate

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Another Night, Another Debate

I was suspicious about this debate when I heard Tammy Bruce play audio on Thursday of Romney telling his supporters who couldn’t get tickets to shove their way in, so I wasn’t surprised to hear rumors as the debate wore on that the audience was stacked with Romney supporters.  The scuttlebutt is that 900 additional Romney supporters were brought in by the Florida Republican party, but I’m looking for confirmation.  It seems that the Florida GOP did control 900 of the 1200 seats, so if they wanted to rig it for Romney, they certainly could have, but as of yet, I have been unable to confirm that it was disproportionately given to Romney supporters, but the fact that the Florida party controlled them means it could have been.

If I had to pick a “winner,” I would say Rick Santorum, but that’s provisional, because I think while he definitely made some excellent points, and put Romney in the position of making an ass of himself, I also suspect most people didn’t catch one thing he said that would actually damn him in my book, and theirs if they thought about it.  If I had to say who was most honest in this debate, I would say Ron Paul, followed by Gingrich and Santorum in a tie for second, with Romney getting the evening’s Pinochio award.

You might ask why I would give Mitt Romney such a distinction, but it has to do with what he said about his vote in 1992.  In the primary that year, he voted for Paul Tsongas, in the Democrat primary, so I’m a bit confused about what he said during this debate.  The other significant issue was his use of the whole Gingrich “ghetto” business in relation to language.  What Newt had been discussing was that he didn’t want to see people locked into ghettos defined by language barriers because they had not learned English.  It had nothing whatever to do with the Spanish language, or those who speak it, as Romney and his ad attempted to imply.   These two lies were the worst among lesser ones, but definitely noteworthy.

Ron Paul was steady, and CNN did not let him answer the Israel/Palestine question. Had he answered it, he might have gotten a black eye, and that wouldn’t have served CNN’s purposes.  As usual, he was right about fiscal matters, and monetary issues also.  The problem is that he only touched on his defense and foreign policy stances, and this made him seem much more acceptable than usual. That was the point.

Rick Santorum had a pretty good debate, and his exchange with Romney surely put the former Massachusetts governor in a defensive position, so much so that he said “there’s no reason to be angry.” Frankly, there’s every reason to be angry about the way in which Romney conducted himself during that series, because he lied repeatedly.  More than this, however, the manner in which he said this to Santorum was more condescending than usual, and that’s quite a bit. Santorum was  spot-on to point out that Romney, particularly would have difficulty contrasting himself with Obama, and that to nominate Romney is to give up the issue of Obamacare.

Unfortunately, there are two areas in which I think Santorum failed. Let me put the last first, and that was in his answer to the final question.  When he spent time attacking Gingrich and Romney as a part of his answer, it came across as desperate, and a little non-responsive, because while what he was saying was largely true of the other two, the question was about why he could beat Obama.  Instead, he squandered part of his time telling us why the other two could not.

The other issue I had with Santorum, and the one I think damns him in my view, was the discussion of taxes, when he effectively endorsed a “progressive” income tax, albeit with slightly lower rates.  I don’t think many people noticed this, but what it implies is that he would do little or nothing to rethink the entire question of taxes.  I think that’s a shame, because what it came across as being was an appeal to class envy, or at least pandering in that vein.

Santorum did well in answering other questions, but this one would hurt him if most people noticed, which I doubt.  Had a not said that, and if he had focused on his own virtues and electability with that last question, I’d be prepared to call him the winner unreservedly.  As it is, I’ll call him the winner, but I’m putting an asterisk next to his name.

Gingrich was flat. I don’t think he bombed, but I don’t think he shined.  I also noticed that the way the questions were structured, it was clear CNN wanted to set up certain responses, and they got them.  The problem is that in the FoxNews debate of Monday last week, it wasn’t a bunch of leftists asking the questions.  In this debate, a leftist asked every question, except those from the audience, but clearly those had been screened and selected for the same reason.  Let me explain.

This debate was rigged.  Romney’s one “shining moment” was supposed to be his moment equal to last Thursday’s “Newt moment,” but it looked contrived and rehearsed, which I am now certain it had been. He’ll get away with it, of course, because there will be no proof, but it was served to him on a golden platter, and of course he hit it well.  The driving idea behind the management of this debate was to keep Gingrich off balance, and to push Santorum and Paul up a little, hopefully scavenging some support from Gingrich.  At the same time, Romney was supposed to find some separation, and in a world wherein most of the audience won’t have noticed his two biggest lies, he will have prevailed.

Factually, of course, Gingrich is right about the immigration question, and I’m surprised when he didn’t capitalize when Romney made the best point in favor of what Gingrich had said: This isn’t about eleven million grandparents.  That’s true, but if grandparents are the thing on which Romney hangs his criticism of Gingrich on this issue, didn’t he actually demonstrate why Newt’s proposal is not altogether unreasonable?  In other words, it’s a small segment of a greater issue, so tormenting Gingrich on behalf of the point seems preposterous.  More, Gingrich is right:  Grandparents will not “self-deport.”  Their families here legally will care for them and shield them from the law, along with their churches, as Gingrich made plain.  It’s true.  In this sense, Gingrich was being honest where Romney was being disingenuous at best.

Romney did make one criticism that is true, about candidates promising things to voters in various regions to get their support.  That’s true, but the problem is of course that Romney has done it too, so the value of his truthfulness on the one point is negated by the fact that he is guilty also.

All in all, I think it was one of the poorer debates, in large part because it was managed in order to obtain one predictable outcome: Newt Gingrich was not to be allowed to prevail.

Mission accomplished…

South Carolina Primary: Poll

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Palmetto State Polls

As voters in the Palmetto State head to the polls on Saturday morning, I thought it would be interesting to put up a some poll questions, not only for South Carolinians, but for readers generally.  Obviously, there’s quite a lot at stake in this small southern state, but given the media focus on the contest, and all the controversies that have surrounded it, size seems not to be an issue.  Candidates have been pressing the flesh and volunteers have been working overtime, as the media bombardment of advertising has hit an all-time record, not only in the sheer volume of it, but also in terms of the content.  By many accounts, this has been one of the nastiest campaigns people on the ground in South Carolina can remember.

Many will be happy when this day comes and goes, so their phones will stop ringing with robo-calls and their mailboxes will contain anything other than the SuperPAC junk mail that has been flooding the state.  Finally, they’ll  be able to turn on the television without being bombarded by political ads,and we will know who this state has chosen.

Here are three poll questions for you, and I will reveal the results after the polls close in South Carolina.

CNN Debate In South Carolina: Newt Owned It From Outset

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Making a Monkey of Media

Usually, these debates start slow and wind up to a crescendo.  That’s the way the media likes it, because they want to keep the audience tuned in.  There were really just a few key moments in Thursday night’s debate, and the biggest of these was the opening question to Newt Gingrich on the subject of his second wife’s accusations on ABC News.  His response knocked moderator John King for a loop, and rocked the auditorium, receiving not one, but two standing ovations in rapid succession.  The other candidates really had no choice after that but to follow suit and make statements that more or less followed the former Speaker.  He seized the initiative, and from that point on, it would be hard for anybody to wrest it from him without some fatal error on his part, but no such egregious error on Gingrich’s part ever materialized.

Here’s Gingrich answering that opening attack:

Another key moment in the debate was when Santorum pointed out the flaws of Romneycare, and the notion of a health-care mandate, and how that issue would be something used by Obama to negate Romney’s or Gingrich’s arguments about Obamacare in a general campaign.  Romney was ineffective at deflecting this criticism, but it was naturally strongest against him because he had actually implemented the program.  Gingrich, by contrast, did a much better job of countering Santorum’s criticism with respect to his own record, and pointed out that he helped shepherd Medical Savings Accounts legislation through the House that Santorum was sponsoring.  That had a blunting effect on Santorum’s criticism, but I also must note that Santorum came off a little angry or annoyed Thursday night.  I’m not sure of the cause, or if it was just a bit of the anxiety of “the man on the bubble,” because while he started with a strong positive statement about the fact he had indeed won Iowa, he lost that positive note somewhere along the way, and seemed to get stuck in a bit of a tantrum.

Watch Rick Santorum take Romney to task here:

The last big moment came when it was announced to the audience that Gingrich’s tax return had been released as this debate commenced.  This prompted the question that led Mitt Romney into a pitfall that really made him look poorly.  He was asked, as were the others, when they would release their tax returns, and Paul said he wouldn’t, Newt said “about an hour ago,” and Mitt hem-hawed, as Santorum said he would do so once he had been home to prepare his taxes, something he says he does on his own.  The question returned to Mitt Romney, however, when CNN’s John King asked him about the story I have reported to you, being that George Romney, Mitt’s father, released his tax returns in November 1967, twelve years worth, in preparation for his own run for the nomination.  King asked if Romney would follow his Dad’s example, and he continued to vacillate and in the process, was booed by a segment of the audience.   This moment was Romney’s downfall, and it should be clear that this remains a huge obstacle for him in this primary season. He’d be best to dispense with it quickly, before it does him more damage.  If we have a repeat of this in Florida, it may well cost him the nomination.

Here’s video of John King asking Mitt about his father’s precedent:

Ron Paul actually had a few good one-line retorts, particularly to Santorum, which may have accounted for Santorum being off his game a bit.  At the same time, it should be noticed that there was little mention of foreign policy in this debate, and it tended to focus on economic issues, and practical issues that effect voters directly, apart from the shoddy opening attack CNN engineered for Gingrich, but from which he seemed to have come off the better from the exchange.  There was one other odd moment, and I had to replay it several times to realize what had happened.  Romney was answering a question, but wanted to shift back to an earlier question, and had a momentary lapse in remembering what that other question had been.  He searched for it, and then looked almost pleadingly at Newt, who shrugged and made a joke, which bought Romney a moment, and then he finally remembered his place and went on to attack Newt in answering it. For a moment, and if not for Gingrich buying Romney a second or two, it threatened to be a Perry-style “ooops” moment, but Romney recovered and it probably won’t hurt him.

Mitt Romney’s almost “Ooops” moment:

All in all, it was a good debate, but the biggest fireworks were at the beginning.  That set the stage for Newt to merely confirm his superiority in this sort of arena, and all Newt needed to do thereafter was avoid any huge pitfalls and over-confidence.  He did so, and even though I think the opening question was set up to try to evoke the “angry Newt” we saw after Iowa, he maintained his composure and actually thrived in the moment.

South Carolina will be tight, but I think Newt may have clinched it with this debate performance, particularly that opening, because it permitted him to clear the air right at the beginning, to remain composed, and to return to form throughout the remainder of the evening. While it wasn’t the runaway victory he had on Monday night, I think it’s because he peaked early and effectively, and from there, the rest of it was fairly routine, boiler-plate content, and the rest of the participants really couldn’t catch him.  I think had Rick Santorum come across as a little less angry as he did at several points, he might have done substantially better.  It was clear that while he would take shots at Gingrich and Paul, it was obvious to me that he was angry with Romney, undoubtedly due to Romney’s negative ads in South Carolina.  Romney has a good deal of money to spend, and this is taking a toll on Santorum.  You can read it in his eyes: He’s tired, and he’s running on empty. He’s usually a little better composed, but he seemed anxious or annoyed or both, and this may have been magnified by what looked like plain old fatigue.  At present, he appears to be the man on the bubble, and he seems to know it.

Good Night For Perry, Gingrich; Goodnight Ron Paul

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

South Carolina

Perry had his best debate of the season, although to be fair, that’s not exactly saying a great deal, but he didn’t seem to fall asleep after the half-way mark, and he didn’t stumble through any lists, in part by avoiding them. Gingrich absolutely clobbered Juan Williams who looked like a man besieged as the crowd erupted into thunderous applause that went well beyond the cut to commercials according to people on the scene. Gingrich seemed to return to form, staying primarily positive, and taking on the media, including the noteworthy exchange with Juan Williams.  I’d be willing to say that on style as well as substance, you would be right to give the nod to Newt Gingrich as the “victor,” whatever that means in this context.

The replay of Williams being booed is worth it:

Ron Paul’s inability to articulate his views on national defense really hurt him Monday night, because when he stumbled and stammered a bit through one long answer(to which Perry aptly remarked he should have gotten “the gong”,) he seemed to lose track, and it showed he wasn’t as quick on the turnaround as most would hope, and while I think I understood what he was trying to say, it’s only because I’ve seen him say it more effectively and much more cogently before.  Tonight, he fell flat.

Rick Santorum gave a decent performance, and when he confronted Romney on the question of voting rights for paroled felons who had done their time, he came across as holding Romney’s feet to the fire.  Of course, you could see his set-up coming, but it worked, and Romney looked foolish in most respects on the issue, because in the end it was revealed that he did nothing while Governor to advance his stance, meaning it’s not a sincere position.  Romney came off sounding snide and petulant, and a bit arrogant too.

Speaking of Mitt Romney, as I pointed out in a blog posting Monday night, if he won’t tell us what’s in his tax return now, before we vote for him, there’s no reason on earth that we should. Period.  He gave a number of other well-rehearsed answers, but he really came across as plastic, as usual.  He really seemed under duress over the whole Tax Returns question, and with good reason.  Every voter in South Carolina and around the country should now be suspicious unless they simply like living under a rock.

All in all, I liked the debate only because it was less crowded and allowed for more full responses, and it was less littered by ridiculous questions formulated in some leftist dungeon.  As we get closer to the South Carolina primary, just a few days away, this will help generally because it was before a South Carolina crowd, and it revealed one particular thing about one candidate:  Mitt Romney doesn’t want his tax return filings out, and you and I know there must be a good reason for it. He got nervous, because there was a bit of blood in the water and he was happy to change the subject to anything else.  I think we need to put pressure on him on this point precisely.

Rand Paul Returns a Half-Million in Unspent Budget to Treasury

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

What Fiscal Responsibility Looks Like

Politico is reporting that Senator Rand Paul(R-KY) has returned one-half million dollars to the treasury unspent.  This was roughly 16% of the allocated operating budget for his Senate offices, and it represents an unusual act in terms of ordinary government practice.  In most government operations, every last dime is spent, right down to the penny, in order to justify a demand for even more in the budgeting process for subsequent years.  The freshman Senator from Kentucky, and son of Texas Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul said the following at a news conference in Louisville, presenting a symbolic check to the tax-payers:

“I ran to stop the reckless spending. And I ran to end the damaging process of elected officials acting as errand boys, competing to see who could bring back the biggest check and the most amount of pork.”

He continued:

“I hope this sets an example for the rest of government – at all levels,” he added. “We can carry out our duties in a fiscally responsible way. Government can be both smart and efficient. We are proving that – and trying to convince the rest of Washington.”

That’s fantastic. If we could only get the rest of Congress to match this, we could save something in the range of a quarter-billion dollars.  Of course, I won’t be holding my breath and neither should you.  There is talk of Paul possibly seeking the presidency in 2016, but that’s been speculation.  In any event, it is nice to see at least one Senator is living up to his promises to cut federal spending, and while the amount is trivial in the context of a $1.5 trillion federal deficit, it’s also true that it’s another half million that our children won’t be forced to repay someday.  Of course, this is a symbolic act in terms of the news conference, but I think it’s a positive development that for a change, a member of the Senate took the notion of making cuts even when it hits their own operations budget.

This stands in stark contrast to a FoxNews report that Barack Obama has requested an additional $1.2 Trillion in money we don’t have.

Ron Paul Campaign: Others Should Drop Out

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

In what might have been called a “cheeky” remark in years gone by, Ron Paul’s campaign staff has called on everybody but Mitt Romney to get out of the race.  This is a remarkable statement, but it may not be altogether unreasonable.  After all, what if at this late date, Ron Paul has arrived as the one consistent non-Romney?  Of course, this would demand that he do equally well in subsequent states, including South Carolina and Florida, and that may not be so likely to occur.

I have to admit that I was not all that surprised at this, because I’ve concluded long ago that Paul’s strategy was to be a consistent second-place so as to make this claim.  In one sense, while I shudder at the thought of Paul’s foreign policy positions, I am almost – I said “almost” mind you – desperate enough to go that way to displace the GOP’s establishment.  You see, I have come to believe that if we do not nominate a real conservative this cycle, we will lose the election, but we may also lose the country.  It’s something to consider, and as I said, I think this appeal is one part bravado, and one part delusion, but here is the statement by Paul’s campaign:

“Ron Paul tonight had an incredibly strong second-place finish in New Hampshire and has stunned the national media and political establishment.

“When added to Paul’s top-tier showing in Iowa, it’s clear he is the sole Republican candidate who can take on and defeat both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

“The race is becoming more clearly a two-man race between establishment candidate Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, the candidate of authentic change. That means there is only one true conservative choice.

“Ron Paul has won more votes in Iowa and New Hampshire than any candidate but Mitt Romney.

“Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have been shown in national polls to be the only two candidates who can defeat Barack Obama.

“And Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the only two candidates who can run a full, national campaign, competing in state after state over the coming weeks and months. Ron Paul’s fundraising numbers — over $13 million this quarter — also prove he will be able to compete with Mitt Romney. No other candidate can do all of these things.

“Ron Paul is clearly the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney as the campaign goes forward.

“We urge Ron Paul’s opponents who have been unsuccessfully trying to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney to unite by getting out of the race and uniting behind Paul’s candidacy.

“Ron Paul has the boldest plan to cut spending, a dedication to protecting life, and a lifelong dedication to the Constitution and limited government. He also has the necessary support to campaign nationwide against Mitt Romney.

“Our campaign is already planning ahead for South Carolina, Florida, and beyond. Soon Ron Paul will head to South Carolina to begin a feverish round of campaigning.

“Ron Paul is in this race for the long haul. And he is ready to fight.

“See you on the campaign trail.”

You must admit that this takes guts.  Don’t expect his crowding-out tactic to work, because too many Republicans view his foreign policy as intolerable, and many of them would rather vote for Romney if Paul is their only alternative.

 

New Hampshire: A Win or a Repudiation?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

The Best Mitt Can Do?

Here’s the truth, and there’s no getting around it: Mitt Romney won in New Hampshire with an unimpressive 37% of the vote.  This is roughly the same percentage of the New Hampshire population that is in favor of Obamacare.  Almost half of the voters in today’s primary in New Hampshire weren’t even registered Republicans, since the Granite State holds open primaries.  Meanwhile, Ron Paul finished around 24%, and Huntsman pulled roughly 17%.  What this tells me, and what it should tell you is that Mitt Romney is not yet a viable national candidate, and may never be.  That he can lose such a large percentage to the others in moderate New Hampshire merely reinforces the point. Rather than a great victory, this is a repudiation of Romney’s supposed electability.  The reality you ought to grasp in the wake of Romney’s underwhelming victory is that this race is far from over, whatever the media hype to the contrary may claim.

For Romney to secure the nomination, he must begin to break the 40% margin, and he must do it soon.  If he fails to make that threshold in South Carolina, there’s almost no way he will beat Obama.  Going into Florida, Romney must not merely be the victor, but a solid front-runner.  New Hampshire is a poor approximation of a bell-weather state in the Republican primaries, and it should be remembered that its greatest value is a public relations victory for the winner.    Expect to hear and read a lot of happy talk about “Mitt’s momentum,” but just know that momentum in politics is more fleeting than candidates’ positions, especially Romney’s.

Already, the media is running with the theme that this means Romney has all but locked it up.  I want you to think about this carefully: An election that counted fewer total votes than there are residents in my own semi-rural county in Texas now speaks on behalf of the nation’s Republicans? I don’t think so, and neither should you.  Why should the course of the country be determined by a small and politically moderate state like New Hampshire, by an election in which roughly half the voters were not even registered Republicans?

Ladies and gentlemen, please remember that this primary contest in New Hampshire was supplemented in the Romney camp by a number of Obama supporters with nothing else to do this year.  Also remember that Obama’s supporters know, as do you, that Romney is perhaps the weakest Republican he might face. This wasn’t so much a victory for Romney as an embarrassment for him, although the spin-meisters will never tell you that truth. He should have won this state with 40-45%, and the fact that he couldn’t do so merely means that the whole notion of his alleged “electability” is nonsense.  Just as you might consider the New Hampshire primary a victory of the non-Romney over Romney, you can expect the same results in just ten short months: If we put this guy up against Obama in November, we lose.

 

 

A Challenge to Gingrich, Perry, Romney

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Attacking or Governing Like Libs

A number of Republican candidates have begun to assail Mitt Romney on the basis of his time with Bain Capital, notably Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, but the criticisms they level miss the mark in most respects, and worse, play upon the very worst arguments of leftists who say capitalism is inherently evil because it seeks profit and will occasionally lead to short-term job losses.  I have no problem criticizing Mitt Romney when it’s deserved, as these pages witness, but I have definite problems with this approach to attacking Romney.  It’s not that he’s immune to attack, and as I have covered, not everything ever done under the banner of Bain is beyond reproach, but this idea that buying companies, and subsequently liquidating them to turn a profit is a bad thing is quite obviously not one of them.

I have some pointed advice for former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and my own Governor, Rick Perry of Texas:  If you want to criticize Mitt Romney, stick to those parts of his record where he actually did something wrong.  Don’t berate him with the same things Obama will use to appeal to  his base, but instead concentrate on those things that appeal to the conservative base.  In short, focus on how Mitt Romney governed.

It’s amazing when even Ron Paul defends Romney on this point, while Gingrich and Perry attack.  None but the ignorant who live in a capitalist nation should have a problem with the aspects of capitalism that seek profit, sometimes by liquidating assets.  That’s not altogether unlike you having a garage sale and getting rid of things you aren’t using, or that are not up to snuff any longer, trying to recover some of their value before they become effectively worthless.  The money you re-capture by such a sale certainly helps you to pay other bills, or buy new items that more fully suit one’s purposes.  You can take the cash and invest it in a completely new venture.  This is an important function in any market, including in business, and to besmirch it as somehow wrong is a terrible disservice to the entire notion of capitalism.

I can name a number of things that Mitt Romney has done while governor of Massachusetts that deserve more than a little derision.  The problem is that neither Gingrich nor Perry are apt to say much about them, since they’ve advocated or  implemented similar.   Gingrich formerly favored healthcare mandates, and while he’s reversed his position on that, it’s hard for him to take pot-shots at Romney on this basis without somebody pulling out the label “hypocrite.”  Perry pushed for his Gardasil vaccine, and that too is a mandate, though of a different character and scale, but both speak to the same basic problem Romney has, and it’s worthwhile to note that where Gingrich and Romney differ on the healthcare insurance mandate is this:  Only Mitt ever actually imposed one.

I have addressed Romney’s imposition of health-care mandates and the various other programs of a socialist nature he imposed while governor of Massachusetts, and it’s true that in terms of what he has actually enacted, he is certainly the most socialistic big-government-inclined politician of the bunch.  He is definitely the candidate the media will attack most vigorously for both his vices and his virtues, but it is disappointing to see Gingrich and Perry attack on this basis.  If they’re smart, they’ll stop it, but part of the problem is that they’re falling into a well-laid trap set by the mainstream media:  The media is left-biased in the extreme, so what Gingrich and Perry are doing is to pick up the criticisms that will travel farthest in the media.  The media loves these attacks, and will revisit them many times over if Romney gets the nomination, but the attacks conservative Republicans should be aiming at Mitt Romney are not things the overwhelmingly liberal media wants to attack.

Falling for this is a terrible mistake, because it will not be the liberal media that chooses the Republicans’ nominee.  Gingrich is right to point out that Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare plan is a terrible leftist disaster, and that Obamacare had been largely modeled after it.  Perry would be right to raise Mitt’s “Welfare Wheels” program, or any of the other big government ideas that advanced while Romney was governor there.  Either would make perfect sense explaining how Romney was a friend of Teddy Kennedy’s legislative agenda, or how Romney was the beneficiary of crony capitalism on a few occasions.  Nobody on the conservative side would be offended by that.  The problem is that both of them are vulnerable on similar issues, and while perhaps to lesser degrees, they still have some explaining to do.  The problem is that it’s all the easier to simply attack Romney from a point of view more appealing to leftists in part because the media will transmit that message more willingly, but also in part because they believe they will get away with it.

I’d issue this challenge to Governor Perry and Speaker Gingrich:  Tell us the things about Mitt Romney’s record that condemn him as a big-government statist, and those things that mitigate the timber in your own eyes on these issues, and we’ll get along famously.  I’d issue a further challenged to Governor Romney:  Be prepared to explain in some sensible terms why tyranny imposed at the Federal level is bad, but at the state level, it’s no problem at all.  His pathetic “federalism” excuse for  Romney-care doesn’t cut it, and never has.   Governor Romney can impress the hell out of me by explaining to the American people why capitalism is good, but then he’s going to need to explain why he undertook so many programs and laws as the governor of Massachusetts that did nothing but undermine it.

This has been the sick irony of this insufficient field. It’s why 58% of Republicans don’t really like any of these candidates.  Gingrich and Perry had better drop the politically expedient attacks that are merely anti-capitalist rants, and instead hammer on Romney for those things that were egregiously offensive to liberty, and they’d better prepare when questions are raised about their own big-government reflexes.  Otherwise, voters just might get wise to this whole sad game, and walk away from the party this fall. After all, what is worse?  A nominee like Romney who would effectively govern like Obama, or a nominee who relies upon Obama’s tired class-warfare and anti-capitalist rhetoric?  Neither do I want a nominee who subverts capitalism in governing, nor do I want one who assails it in the press.  We need a president who will undertake to restore capitalism, and I don’t see much evidence that any of these three will do so.

Ron Paul: Soros Puppet?

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Dynamic Duo?

I don’t know how seriously to take this, but there are certain facts that seem unavoidable.  FrontPage Magazine is carrying a story alleging that Ron Paul may effectively have permitted himself to become a tool for George Soros’ agenda.  This all goes back to a July 2010 effort in which Ron Paul and Barney Frank jointly rolled out their Sustainable Defense Task Force.  This plan promised to cut more than $1 trillion in defense spending, scrapping carriers, and all sorts of current assets in our combined defense.  The panel was stacked with Soros-affiliated members, 9 of 14 members having direct links.  That Ron Paul actually took part in this, lending his name to this “bi-partisan effort” should tell you a bit about how he’s willing to lend his name to certain causes, but the troubling part is that he doesn’t seem to have noticed, or didn’t care that the panel was rigged with members of Soros-funded groups.

This wasn’t Paul’s only joint effort with Barney Frank, teaming up with the disgraced(and now retiring) Massachusetts Congressman in an effort to legalize pot.  Whatever else you may think of Ron Paul, I doubt he’s the sort that would knowingly lend himself to what many would consider a treasonous effort to reduce the United States’ defense capabilities, if he knew that was in fact what he had been doing.  The problem is that on the matters of foreign policy, Dr. Paul has seemed incredibly naive, and his fervor for reducing defense expenditures may occasionally lead him onto very shaky ground in the alliances he forges in the political realm.  I will not go as far as Daniel Greenfield in concluding that he might be knowingly involved in what clearly seems to be a Soros plot, but even if he didn’t know, didn’t he have a responsibility to find out?

In this sense, it’s one of the troubling aspects of Dr. Paul’s career that he will occasionally forge alliances in pursuit of an end without consideration of the character or motives of those with whom he is forging those alliances.  As the article points out, a Soros-funded organization, AAEI(Americans Against Escalation in Iraq) ran an ad in the last election cycle praising Ron Paul.  That Paul didn’t disclaim association with that group doesn’t speak well of him.  By now, somebody who’s been in Washington DC as long as Dr. Paul should be able to recognize a set-up of this sort fairly readily, and the fact that he lent his name to the effort is troubling, because he either did so without knowing it was a set-up, or because he didn’t care.  Either way, it’s one more reason Ron Paul probably shouldn’t be considered as presidential material:  We can’t afford a president who will lend his name to efforts that are effectively Soros-driven operations to undermine the defensive posture of the United States.

Note: Page 2 of the linked article by Daniel Greenfield at FrontPageMag.com contains some of the more damning allegations.

A Question of Morality

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Whose Moral Standard?

I’ve heard a great deal of panting, breathless speaking by various conservative pundits who point to Ron Paul’s statements, as late as 2009, that he wouldn’t have sent troops to fight Hitler, even if he’d known about the camps where Jews, gypsies, and others were being starved, tortured and murdered.  On its face, most people will gasp at the thought that anybody would seek to intervene, and almost immediately, conclusions are drawn about Ron Paul’s moral character on this basis, fueled by an emotional reflex, but often without considering it fully.  I find it interesting because it offers us an opportunity to learn about Ron Paul, his supporters, and his critics, and it gives us a chance to consider what we believe.  The premise put forth by so many commentators is that Paul’s position is an exercise in moral abdication, while a few note that he maintains his philosophical consistency.  Who’s right? Is it possible that both are correct?  It’s important to understand the moral underpinnings of Ron Paul’s position before we leap into the fray and join in condemnations of him, if for no other reason than because we hate this sort of thing when it is done to us or the candidates who we support.

Many people screech about the “moral implications,” but before we can answer that, we must first ask:  “Whose morality?”  Or: “Of what does that moral code consist?” This is key to understanding Ron Paul. Here is the question and answer at controversy:

And so I asked Congressman Paul: if he were President of the United States during World War II, and as president he knew what we now know about the Holocaust, but the Third Reich presented no threat to the U.S., would he have sent American troops to Nazi Germany purely as a moral imperative to save the Jews?

And the Congressman answered:

“No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t risk American lives to do that. If someone wants to do that on their own because they want to do that, well, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t do that.”

Ron Paul is a libertarian, and the first thing to know about libertarians is that they believe first and foremost in individual rights.  To understand how this position makes for completely different judgments on issues such as the question of Paul’s statements about Hitler, we must first understand how his moral context differs entirely from that which has been deemed the conventional wisdom on the matter.  Most people hold that it was right to intervene in Europe in the second World War, if for no other reason than to put an end to Hitler’s campaign of ruthless destruction waged against the Jewish people of Europe.  The position is that such a thing should never be permitted in a civilized world, and that from the moment Hitler commenced his holocaust, every nation had a moral obligation to attack his death machine.  This is the moral context we understand, and most of us accept in uncritical agreement.

What does such a position require?  For starters, it meant mobilizing armies and armed forces of every description against the Nazi war machine.  What does that entail?  It meant building ships, planes, tanks, rifles and machine-guns in gargantuan numbers, and it meant supplying them to our allies as well.  It meant spending vast sums of money that the American taxpayer would work for generations to repay.  It meant drafting young men into the armed forces, and compelling them to take up arms against a distant enemy.  These are the direct necessities of such a war.  This is not imagination, or pondering, but the blunt fact of what was done.  Now, let us consider all of these things through the moral lens with which Ron Paul and other libertarians consider it.

Only a statist mind views one man’s life as the means to its own ends.  By this method, one could call anything a “moral imperative” according to a particular moral standard, and demand that others serve those standards.  What Ron Paul and other libertarians assert is that one person has no right to make such moral determinations for another.  For instance, and as only one of endless possible examples, consider this formulation:  Imagine in 1942, you’re a robust eighteen-year-old male, and you’re working your way through college working at the grain mill in your small town.  You receive a draft notice in the mail, ordering you to report for duty at some location, to serve in the Army.  Stop.  We enacted an amendment that makes slavery or indentured servitude illegal.  That Amendment, the thirteenth, reads simply:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

On what basis can you be drafted into anything?  Please demonstrate for me that portion of the United States Constitution that permits conscription on any basis whatsoever.  The constitution only mentions that Congress may “raise and support Armies,” but nowhere is Congress granted the authority of conscription.  If it had, the 13th Amendment would make it illegal, having amended whatever came before it.

On this basis, I ask you again:  According to what moral imperative may you demand of a young man that he place himself in harm’s way, though he may not agree with your moral judgments, or the object of your moral imperative?  Would you then demand, as a statist does, that the young man place his future in the service of your purposes?  Ron Paul’s stated position is that as President, he would not.  This goes a long way to explaining why so many of his supporters are young men who have only recently been compelled against their better judgment to register with the Selective Service.

You might argue that they have a moral obligation even if they’re too young or unwise to know it.  I’d say to you that this is no better an argument than leftists who tell me daily how we ought pay more taxes to support the welfare state, as an act in accordance with a moral imperative I am too stupid to recognize, so they say.  Just as I reject the leftists’ claims of a moral imperative whereby I work away my life in service of their moral ends, I likewise find myself rejecting those claims wherever they arise, and from whomever may give them voice.  I am not fodder for anybody’s ends, and neither is anybody else, and yet what people are insisting about Ron Paul is that he’s abandoning morality.  I ask only: Whose morality?

Now come those who will point out “but hey, Mark, you were in the Army, and you served at the leisure of the Commander-in-Chief.”  This is true, but when I enlisted, I did so for my own purposes.  I believed that if I wanted to live in a free country, I ought to help bear that burden.  In short, I was willing for a time to pay the price associated with the freedoms we enjoy.  Still, none of my four brothers ultimately shared that view, but my sister did.  Among the six of us children, only the eldest and the youngest chose that course.  Do I consider my four brothers who did not serve to be lesser men?  No.  I know that such matters must be a question of one’s own internal moral choosing.

This is the argument, therefore, at the heart of Ron Paul’s statement about whether he would have sent men to war only to stop the holocaust underway in Europe.  Paul, to his credit, remained true to his philosophy, which is to say it would have been more popular to say “Yes, I’d have sent Patton to personally kick Adolph Hitler’s backside.”  It also would be to abandon what Ron Paul believes about choice, and the individual rights of all people. The question his position poses is this:  What right does a President have to make this life-altering decision on behalf of others, for purposes and ends that may not serve those others at all? By what right do you claim the authority to send others to fight your moral battles?

Now, rest assured that Ron Paul’s notions don’t end there.  He would tell you that even had every serviceman been a volunteer, ready to go off to war in order to liberate the Jews being tormented and murdered under Hitler’s boot, still he would not have sent them only for this purpose.  You might ask why, and I will tell you that he views the money taken in taxes to support such an effort as involuntary, and in this respect, no less egregious in moral terms.  When the government comes to collect the tax it believes you owe, it isn’t in the form of a plea for support, but instead in the form of a stick-up man with a gun to your head.  Ron Paul’s moral position holds this as a great evil too, but you might be surprised to know that in the main, I agree with him here also.

After all, whether you collect the value of my labor directly, or some time after the fact, if you do so by virtue of compulsory means, it is no less slavery except that in the form of the income tax, I have one bit of choice: I can choose to have no income. What Ron Paul argues, and where I would surely agree, is that it is morally unconscionable to leave a person with the choice:  Produce, and we’ll seize your production;  produce not and we will leave you in peace.  In short, if you are willing to live under a bridge, or as a ward of the state, they will not tax you substantially.

This may all seem far afield from the original thesis of this post, but in truth, it’s no more than a short distance from demanding one’s life in servitude to demanding one’s labor in servitude.  Both signify precisely the same thing: You have not ownership even over your own person.  Realizing this, I’d ask you to re-evaluate Ron Paul’s stance in a light different from what has been presented to you by the mainstream media.  It simply isn’t fair to suggest that Paul takes this position because he harbors some ill will toward Jews, or others.  The simple fact is that he sees no basis for which to demand that others pay with their lives and labors in a purpose not their own.  The founders did not demand other men serve.  George Washington’s army was not comprised of conscripts, but instead only of volunteers.  Various states had a variety of forms of militia requirements, but the United States had no national conscription in any form until the Civil War, a fact that leads many, including Ron Paul, to view Lincoln as a great tyrant.

I recognize that some of this will cause some heartburn among many who consider Ron Paul a “kook” or a “loon” precisely because of statements like his response to the question on Hitler, but I’d urge you to reconsider his position in the full light of the philosophy behind it, even if you disagree.  Remember, Ron Paul is a doctor, and in treating his patients, he is sworn to observe the Hippocratic oath, and “first, do no harm.”  This means that before he can prescribe a course of treatment, he must be sure it will not kill the patient it was intended to treat.  Does a President of the United States impose his desire to save the lives of non-Americans upon the lives of Americans?  This is really what Ron Paul is asserting:  A President of the United States must first serve his own people and their interests, before he worries about the lives and interests of non-Americans, whatever the cause.  It is essentially the same argument we have had over the question of “nation building,” but writ large on the pages of history.  After all, the Marshal Plan was nothing if not nation-building, and so was our occupation of Japan after their surrender.

At the same time, one might ask of those who decry Paul’s position as “heartless” whether we ought not have done as Patton suggested and march on Moscow right after the defeat of Germany.  Stalin was doing as much killing and brutalizing as Hitler, and some time later, Mao did even more.  Why did we not intervene in China?  If “moral imperative” is the reason, why don’t we intervene in Venezuala, or Iran, or Syria, or North Korea, or any of a hundred places in which brutal dictators make chattel of their fellow man? The job of the President of the United States is not to press its war-fighting capabilities to the humanitarian purposes of the moment, but to defend our nation from attack, and take up that cause when it happens.

All of this is a hypothetical exercise, because in truth what I will now be asked is whether I would have made war against Hitler’s Germany were I to be placed in the same proposition.  My answer is simple:  Germany answered the matter for us when after Pearl Harbor, Hitler declared war upon us in accordance with his treaty with the Empire of Japan.  Roosevelt had promised not to send our sons to war, and he was well aware of what was going on in Germany with the “evacuations” of the Jews.  He was stuck until such time as Germany made open war against us, or joined with others who did.  Pearl Harbor settled the matter along with Hitler’s declaration of war, making moot all of these questions in the context at hand.  FDR did not launch war against Hitler to stop the holocaust, and to suggest otherwise is to repaint history with an altruistic brush that never was.  Our liberation of those camps was a side-effect of our eventual victory, but they were not the objective when the corpses of our young  men piled up on the beaches at Normandy, as their blood ran into the English channel.  The more relevant question that still remains to be answered is this, and it is the question I would ask of Ron Paul if I could:

“If you were in place of Franklin Roosevelt, and Pearl Harbor had been attacked by the Imperial Navy of Japan, and Hitler and in the aftermath, Mussolini likewise declared war against the United States, would you engage that war?”

Put this way, I wonder if Paul’s answer would be different, and upon that answer rests his suitability for the presidency.  What Americans should want to know is to what degree and under which circumstances Ron Paul would act in defense of the nation.  That’s the role of President.  If we find he is unwilling to take up arms against those who attack us or who openly threaten attack, then he is not suited for the job, but his unwillingness to use the United States military as an instrument of humanitarian objectives makes no breach of that office or its high qualifications in my view.  Would he honor treaties with allies?  Would he protect direct American interests?  Would he defend our nation when attacked, or when attack was imminent?  If he would only do these, that would be satisfactory, because his inclination to think first of American lives is precisely the mindset every soldier who volunteers to serve wants to recognize in a commander-in-chief.

The Virginia Mess and the Establishment’s Gambit

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Rigged for Romney?

I would ask my readers to look around.  You’re being herded, and if you haven’t noticed it yet, you should begin to notice something odd about the events in Virginia, and more, the happenings in the media.  At present, there are to be only two valid candidates on the Virginia Republican primary ballot for the presidential nomination: Willard “Mitt” Romney, and Ron Paul.  All of the others have been disqualified for insufficient valid petition signatures, and while there is a controversy arising surrounding the validity of signatures for Gingrich and a potential recount, what’s clear is that some sort of monkey business is going on.  There are those who are seeking to use this as an opportunity to build a write-in campaign for Sarah Palin, but the question is then whether those ballots would themselves be valid.

The idea is to deny Virginia’s convention delegates to Romney, but this approach using a write-in candidate may not be a valid method.  If so, this would cause voters to throw their votes away, and more, would still guarantee Romney the delegates.  As all of this goes on, the all-out war in the media against Ron Paul has gone nuclear.  There can be only one reason for this timing, and it’s really quite simple:  The establishment knows that they must make Ron Paul so thoroughly unpalatable to mainstream conservatives and Tea Party types that the people of Virginia will not support him as a protest vote against Romney.

I’ve been looking at some of the suggested approaches by grass-roots types to stave off a Romney win in Virginia by agitating a write-in campaign.  Since Virginia is a winner-take-all state, where any candidate who gets more than half the votes will walk away with all of the delegates to the national convention, the only way the votes are apportioned is if no candidate manages to make 50%.  With only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney in the race as valid candidates, somebody is going to make 50%, because it would take at least a three-way race to prevent that outcome.  What the proponents of the write-in campaign are suggesting is that a write-in that would siphon votes primarily from Romney would enable an apportionment, and at least prevent Romney from walking away with all of Virginia’s delegates.  The problem is that the question of how such write-in ballots would be treated.  They may be discarded, and therefore not count in the total, making no difference whatever to the final percentages, and presumably, the Romney-takes-all scenario.

There is only one method that is certain to deny Romney the delegates that will be awarded in Virginia, and it’s the only way I can see under the law that this is possible: Virginia Republicans would need to choose Ron Paul, giving him all of the delegates.  Now this may be distasteful to some, as Congressman Paul’s record on foreign policy is pretty hard to swallow, but that’s not the question that now rests on the table before Virginia’s primary voters.  The question is:  Are you satisfied being denied your choice for the Republican nomination by the establishment that so thoroughly dominates Virginia’s Republican party?  If you’re in Virginia, and you’re a supporter of Bachmann, Huntsman, or Santorum, you know your candidates did not even make a serious effort to get on the ballot.  Have you asked “why?”  If you’re a Gingrich or Perry Supporter(and Gingrich still polls as the front-runner in Virginia,) you might want to know why there was a rule change to the method by which petition signatures were validated just for this election cycle.

Here’s the thing you must understand, however: If you’re left with the choice of Ron Paul and Willard “Mitt” Romney, choosing the latter helps him defeat the candidate you prefer in the overall delegate count necessary to win the nomination.  Consider it another way:  If you sit home, saying “screw the primary,” out of disgust and dejection, you’re not choosing Romney, but you’re not voting against him, either.  If you go to the polls and reluctantly support him, you’re killing off the chance that Gingrich or any of the others will be nominated.  If you go to the polls and support Ron Paul, you’re voting against Romney, you’re voting for a candidate who will not likely get the nomination, and if he wins all the delegates, it hurts Romney much more than it helps Ron Paul.

This is why the flurry of stories about Ron Paul have been going viral these last few days:  They must make Ron Paul unacceptable to you, so that you don’t support him as a form of protest vote.  I’m not suggesting to you that Paul’s statements make him palatable, because they don’t.  I’m not telling you Ron Paul should get the nomination, because I don’t believe that he should, particularly based on his foreign policy views.  What I’m telling you is that if you want to derail Romney, Ron Paul presents the best vehicle for so doing, at least in Virginia.  In other words, I’m not suggesting you nominate Ron Paul, but I’m asking you to think strategically like those in the establishment have been doing. If you want any candidate other than Willard, this may be the only way to stop him.

Put it this way, if you like:  If Gingrich and Romney battle closely in states where delegates are apportioned, it will be close, but if either candidate captures significant states where the rules are “winner take all,” that upsets the balance, and the race becomes a blow-out.  Since there are now to be only two candidates on the ballot in Virginia, it is guaranteed that one of them will get all the delegates to the convention.  If it’s Romney, it’s almost certain to sew up the nomination for him. If you’re a supporter of any of the non-Romney candidates, Virginia now offers him the opportunity to finish your candidate’s chances of capturing the nomination.

With so many states having yielded half their delegates to the national party in order to move their primaries up to an earlier date on the calendar, it was already going to be difficult to defeat the establishment GOP’s will in this contest.  You can bet all of those additional at-large delegates will wind up supporting whomever the party insiders decide should be the nominee.  That’s right, you’ve been hosed, again, and this is why for those of you in Virginia who don’t like Romney, but also can’t stand Paul, it’s time for you to join the world of making choices from the point of view of the “big picture.”  It’s therefore a simple matter at present, and assuming Gingrich is unable to get his name on the Virginia ballot,  voting for anybody other than Ron Paul effectively gives Mitt Romney the nomination, despite roughly 75% of the party finding him to be something between poor and completely unacceptable.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, and I realize walking into the voting booth and holding one’s nose while throwing the lever for Ron Paul seems unacceptable to many, but let’s be blunt:  That may be the only chance you, or anybody else in this country has to affect the outcome of this process in any substantial way.  It’s been rigged, and by now you should know it, and if you don’t, it’s time to wake up.  Otherwise, the “inevitable nominee” will be, and you’ll spend the fall wondering why we’re losing to a jerk like Obama.  If Romney wins the nomination, think “Bob Dole,” and remember how well he did.  Romney will fare no better.

IMF: Global Economy Threatened

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Another Day, Another Euro

This has to be one of the most ridiculous pronouncements made by a governmental body in some time, not because it is inaccurate, but because they’ve apparently just now taken notice.  YahooNews is reporting that the IMF’s worried about the global economy, and it’s new head, Christine Lagarde is pointing out the problem as a “crisis in confidence in public debt.”  No, really, she said this.  (For her next trick, Lagarde will likely tell you the sky is blue and that the sun rises in the East, while she’s giving out revolutionary information.) What Lagarde doesn’t mention is the IMF’s role in all of this, and the fact that the grotesque amounts of public debt have been augmented by loans from the IMF itself, in propping up all of these nations.  This is much in keeping with the failed policies that have threatened the world economy, but rather than re-think the strategy that has only deepened our troubles, Lagarde criticized nations that seek to shore up their own economies and financial markets, and while she didn’t name names, it’s clear that she’s talking primarily about the British.  She offered this:

Part of the problem, she said, has been national calls for protectionism, making it “difficult to put in place international coalition strategies against it.”

Lagarde added: “National parliaments grumble at using public money or the guarantee of their state to support other countries. Protectionism is in the debate, and everyone for themselves is winning ground.”

Let me translated Lagarde’s lament:  Politicians in much of the world (excepting perhaps only the US) are beginning to heed the voices of their people, who are beginning to demand that their politicians begin to look out for their own nations first, before worrying about the sovereign debt crises of others.  So Britain, for instance, that is doing the smart thing and walking back its relations with the European Union and its failing currency is a bad country, while we in the US who continue to shovel dollars into the IMF via the Federal Reserve are “smart” and “thoughtful,” and the rest of that patronizing tripe that only works on liberals and statists.  Meanwhile, those of us who live in Realityville, USA, are beginning to understand that this crisis is largely the result of bad ideas promulgated by statists the likes of Christine Lagarde.

This announcement is an insult to every thinking person on the globe, and it show just how far these people will go in order to prop up a lousy idea, or a whole play-book full of them.  As if this wasn’t bad enough on its face, Lagarde offers still worse advice by way of a warning:

Emerging countries, which had been growth engines for the world economy before the crisis, have also been affected, said Lagarde, citing China, Brazil and Russia.

“These countries, which were the engines, will suffer from instability factors,” she told the newspaper.

In other words, these countries that have all seen burgeoning exports are now beginning to contract because general consumer demand is down in the importing nations, including the US and the EU. In short, Lagarde doesn’t want you to notice that she’s making an admission about the future prospect of the EU, with its currency in turmoil, and the US, where currency in large amounts has been sent to prop up this entire mess.  What she doesn’t say directly, and dares not admit, is that the coming collapse is already beginning in a more serious way, measured in the GDP of what had been the leading growth engines prior to the onset of the financial crisis.

In short, Lagarde is asking, or even chiding countries to continue a policy that is nothing short of suicidal, all on the basis of the proposal that the IMF be provided more money to loan to nations already deeply indebted. This is both the financial and moral equivalent of urging the family with twice their annual income in short term debt to apply for another credit card or two.  What she is pretending is that the situation can be repaired by some notion of restored confidence among investors and consumers who now [rightly] fear that nothing but collapse lays along this road.

They’re right to doubt, and the people of Britain and every other nation are right to worry as what Lagarde seems to be suggesting to European politicians, but indeed politicians everywhere, is that they should take one for the team, not as politicians, but as sovereign nations.  Britain would be right to reject her words as the ravings of a con artist, selling the same old Ponzi scheme again and again.  We in the US could only improve our position by following the British lead away from the EU, and the Euro, but our current financial and political leadership is instead tying us more closely to it.

It’s time to face reality:  The Euro was a doomed currency from the outset, and inviting in those nations with questionable currency and dishonest fiscal policies was never going to make anything but a disaster, but the people of Europe were suckered into it, and now the US is going along.  Their shrill warnings of dire collapses if we don’t go along are merely a postponement of a greater crisis with each subsequent delay.  It’s time to face the music, and as the old saying goes, we must refuse to put even more good money after bad.  So bad is it now that it would be more accurate to say that we are putting bad money after even worse.

The only way to prevent a global collapse is to cut our losses now. Stern fiscal policies must prevail, and money must grow tighter.  At this very moment, at the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve, they’re concocting plans to export your future wealth to Europe in order to buttress a currency that won’t be saved, and each dollar they pour into the effort only devalues the ones in your pockets.  It’s time to put a stop to all of this, and if we’re to save our country, we must start here, and we must start now, and short-run extensions of payroll tax-cuts won’t get it done.  We need real, drastic spending cuts that sharply curtail our budget deficit, something on the order of what Ron Paul is proposing, in the realm of one trillion dollars or more in spending cuts immediately.  If you want sound currency, it has to start at home, and whatever else you may think of Ron Paul, he’s right about this.

 

Iowa Governor: Ignore Ron Paul Victory

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Ron Who?

This is ridiculous.  I can’t believe the party that professes to be the “law and order” party, and the party that supports the rule of law will now pretend that Ron Paul didn’t win, even if he does pull off the win in Iowa.  I’m not a Ron Paul backer, and his adherents will be quick to point out my lengthy criticisms in my coverage of this campaign, but I am also critical of the sort of machinations I’m now witnessing in Iowa.  As I have repeatedly told readers, I believe Ron Paul has a naive view on foreign policy that disqualifies him in my view, but I won’t I support the GOP establishment attempts to dominate the primary process.  If we won’t play by the rules, why have them, and if we pretend the winner isn’t the winner, why have an election at all?

Of course, this is all prospective, because no votes have been cast, and we’re a long way from declaring anybody the winner in Iowa, but we should consider carefully what establishment figures are saying about all of this.  After all, it is the establishment that gave us this accelerated primary schedule, and if it now plays to the advantage of the one candidate they had hoped to weed out early, that’s not the candidate’s fault, but their own.  As a matter of fairness, should Ron Paul win in Iowa, I will not engage in the down-playing and minimizing the Republican party establishment now seems to be setting up.  This ought to tell us something important about the GOP, and it’s time we rank-and-file folks recognize it.

When I read in Politico that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said the following, I knew I was seeing the culmination of years of establishment domination of the party in that state:

“People are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third,” said Gov. Terry Branstad. “If [Mitt] Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire and the other states.”

You might wonder why Branstad would seek to ignore the victor, and the answer is that it may well be Ron Paul, Republican Congressman from Texas.  In fact, the very premise of the story is offensive to me:  “Will Ron Paul Kill the Caucuses,” is the question asked in the Politico article’s title, and I have to ask in reply: Will the GOP establishment kill the caucuses?

Again, it’s not that I favor Ron Paul, but a sense of fair play dictates that I ask the question, because in my view, if Ron Paul has organized and motivated people in the state of Iowa to support him in sufficient numbers to win, why shouldn’t he be considered the victor? It’s as though the governor of Iowa is saying: “Well, just ignore that Ron Paul fellow, because he may win, but he’s not representative of thinking in our state.”  In fact, others are making that argument, almost precisely.

Here’s the real problem with that thinking: If we have a respect for the rules, and Ron Paul has played by them, and he manages a win, we might wish to ask if that isn’t the most relevant consideration.  After all, if he can get enough support to pull this off, even against the better-funded Romney or Perry, why shouldn’t we consider him as a serious candidate?  Are we now supposed to submit to the argument that the winner of the Super Bowl hadn’t been the best team?  Oh, you might make that argument if you thought another team better, but the problem is that by the rules, and according to the system, the winner is the winner.

This points out a deeper problem in the Republican party that arises from too many years of accepting establishment candidates with an uncritical campaign. Here we have a whole slate of candidates who are to varying degrees rejected by voters, and yet the one that pleases the most voters is to be considered unacceptable?  If this should come to pass, I may need to rethink my view not only of the idea of the Republican party, but also the notion that they’re willing to play even by the rules they’ve established.  I find it unconscionable that should Ron Paul win in Iowa, he would be treated as anything less than the victor and the presumptive front-runner.

You can argue for this one or that one, but my question remains: If they’re so damned good, why didn’t they win?  Of course, all of this is a bit presumptive, because nobody has voted, but I find it curious that people who worry that Ron Paul would run as an independent and thus derail a Republican nominee’s bid to unseat Barack Obama would likewise suggest that if Ron Paul remains in the party and plays by the rules, he cannot win even if he wins.  That’s absurd, and it’s embarrassing, and anybody thinking that way should be ashamed, no matter their preference.  The whole notion of this process is to go with the candidate that the most people can agree to support.  If we won’t abide by those rules, let us dissolve the process, let the establishment tell us who they want, and to devil with the rest.

In other words, if this process is to be rigged in such a way that Ron Paul cannot win, even if he does, what’s the point to the process at all? Why bother? Why make the pretense at a democratic process if what we really have is a process whereby the least objectionable establishment candidate will be selected for us?  If you want to argue that somebody is killing the Iowa caucus, we should not point the finger at Ron Paul, and instead admit that if Ron Paul wins, but we didn’t want him, it’s our fault. Any charade aimed at negating the significance of a Ron Paul victory will be met on this site with scorn and derision. Why? Is it because I think Ron Paul is the superior candidate?  Clearly, this is not the reason.  Instead, I believe that if Ron Paul plays by the rules and wins with a plurality, since none are likely to attain a majority, then I will consider Ron Paul the winner.  That goes for any of them.  My question is this:  If we would accept a Gingrich, Romney, Perry, Bachmann, or Santorum victory, by what moral or intellectual contortions could we suggest that Ron Paul isn’t eligible by the same standards?

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the things you tell me without reservation is that we must have consistent candidates who do not sway in the breeze with political expedience.  You argue passionately for the sort of people who abide by their principles, and do not surrender them when times are tough.   I have agreed with you unreservedly, but now I must ask:  Shouldn’t the same be true of us?

One Factor That Favors Ron Paul

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Washington's Nightmare?

I think if you ask most conservatives and Tea Party folk what makes them angriest about the Republican party, they’d tell you without much hesitation that it’s the establishment wing of the party that denies its own existence.  We all know the players, and we all know how it works:  Election after election, they trot out their conservative credentials when they think they need us, but the rest of the time, their basic answer to our complaints is roughly: “Take a hike.”  This may be the one factor that makes Ron Paul more viable than the others, inasmuch as while some have considerable heartburn with his unrealistic foreign policy, as the Washington Examiner points out, if he were to win in Iowa, the long knives would come out from all quarters to attack Ron Paul.  They make a very worthwhile comparison to Patrick Buchanan’s losing campaign, and they’re right:  If Ron Paul manages to pull off a win in Iowa, the establishment wing of the Republican party will join with the leftist media on a tactic of scorched-earth against Ron Paul.

It’s plainly true that if there’s one candidate the whole establishment in Washington DC hates, it is certainly Ron Paul.  Perhaps only Sarah Palin could have roused them to greater vitriol, but since she’s not in this race, Ron Paul may be the recipient of their rage, particularly should he manage to pull off the win in Iowa.  I would expect that within moments of such an event, the GOP would begin to trot out its spokesmen, official and otherwise, to minimize the importance of Iowa in the grand scheme of things.  You would in such a case be told that Iowa is symbolic only, and a poor predictor of electoral prospects.  In the mainstream media, dominated by leftist thought, there would be a sudden and undeniable sympathy for the GOP and its moderates, leading readers to believe that “if only we had a more moderate candidate,” there might be some hope of defeating Obama.

Those of who watch politics closely can scarcely be unaware that the only thing more frightening to Washington DC than the prospect of their opponents’ victory is when it is somebody considered out of the Washington establishment mainstream.  It’s true that Ron Paul fits this mold to a large extent, because his views on many issues are not in alignment with the party chieftains from either side of the aisle.  They will call his views on entitlements “extreme,” and he will be constantly challenged on his foreign policy ideas.  Even Republicans will scoff at the notion of cutting $1Trillion dollars of spending in his first year, as the Congressman proposes, and the notion will be quickly spread that he would feed granny dogfood and poison the water, and all of the other charges ordinarily made by Democrats against conservatives, the solitary difference being that this time, those making the charges will be Republicans, only backed up and aided by a willing leftist media.

Whatever else you may think of Ron Paul, it is undeniably true that his platform is of the sort that poses an immediate threat to much of official Washington, because it promises a return to limited government.  Most all Democrats, and all of the establishment Republicans will be on a search and destroy mission if Paul should happen to pull it off.  Polls suggest some tightening in Iowa, so it may be that he will offer a serious challenge, and if he does, expect Iowa to be minimized in its import in the reporting that follows.  While I am on record as having said repeatedly that I think his notions about foreign policy are naive and irresponsible, I favor much of what he has to say on the matter of domestic policy, and this election may favor domestic issues given the economic disaster through which we’re now living.  If something significant happened in the economic sphere, for instance the collapse of the Euro, expect for Ron Paul’s credibility in his discussion about the Federal Reserve to achieve a whole new level of political capital.

Only fifteen days from Iowa’s kick-off, we’re apt to see fireworks in the coming two weeks, and you can expect the stump speeches to become ever more heated.  So much for “tidings of comfort and joy.”

A Conservative’s Dilemma

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

The Choices Before Us

I’ve been receiving a number of emails today, some of which were authored by those who think I’ve been too rough on Congressman Paul, Governor Romney, or Speaker Gingrich, or any of the other candidates I may have from time to time examined.  A couple of very important and consistent conclusions can be drawn from all of these emails, and I thought it would be proper to consider them together with you.  Nearly every one of the notes goes on at length to defend the candidate in question, and each of them goes on to tell me in one way or another that I’m falling for some media narrative or other.  This suggests a confusion about what I believe, and I’d like to clear that up for readers, both new and old.

With Newt, I’m “too harsh” because I’m a “Beckerhead,” despite the fact that I’ve been critical of Beck at times.  With Mitt, I’m “too inflexible” because I’ve noted that he’s been all over the place on various issues. In the case of Ron Paul, I’m being told that I don’t know what conservatism is, despite spending much of the last half-year discussing that very subject.  So arises the question: “What’s the truth?”  The truth is that like so many of you, I am unhappy with the current roster of choices, and none of them offer me much hope with respect to electing a “conservative,” as I conceive that term to mean.

Of course, this necessarily leads to the question as to what constitutes a “conservative.”  Various people will offer you a range of definitions, and the dictionary will focus on the notion of “conserving traditions,” but I think that’s a tortured application of a term that in our political context has almost no discernible, concrete meaning any longer.  In part, it stems from the redefinition of terms over the last century or more of political discourse.  The statists sought cover under the labels “progressive,” “socialist,” “liberal,” and more recently, “libertarian.” We’ve concocted new terms to try to differentiate, and most of them have been misused or misapplied with absurd results.  Of all the abuses of terminology that makes me angry, it is the misuse of the terms “liberal” and “conservative.”  These two have been stretched and twisted and reshaped until they in no way resemble the people who claim them as labels.  What this argues for is a little truth in advertising by way of labels.  I’ve tired of this nonsense in respect to the way in which it is used to pigeon-hole people into associations with beliefs and ideas they do not share.

Rather than try to tell you a definition under any of the bastardizations of the modern usages, I’m going back to a time when these terms still had some meaning.  I wish to go back to the days of our founding to explain to you what it is that I believe.  In the end, you will brand me with any label you find useful, but I would have it that you understand at the very least what I believe, and take from that understanding what it implies about the sort of candidates I choose to support.

In the era of our founders, I would have been called a “liberal,” in the precisely classical sense that characterized Thomas Jefferson’s inclusion under that label.  It would in no measure imply the sort of collectivist reflex with which the current uses of the term “liberal” are nowadays stained.  In the specifics of my belief, I need little beyond this from the preamble of our Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[74] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

I believe that such a government must regard the people it serves as its master, mindful of their individual rights in all things.  In this respect, I see government in the place of an honest umpire, neither for nor against any particular person, but in favor of a standard of right and wrong according to an objective set of rules the object of which is only the guarantee of those rights.

I also believe that government, in pursuit of the guarantee of those rights, must exercise its delegated authority in the name of an organized defense.  This means I believe in a vigorous national defense, but it also means I do not believe the purposes of our government should include military conquest. It means that I believe in a strong enforcement of our laws against criminals, but it also means I do not believe law should be placed in the service of plunder by some citizens of others.  It is this last that under modern constructs and usages characterizes me as a “conservative.”  I believe acts of government must serve all citizens simultaneously.  In today’s political discourse, there are those that would thereby label me a “libertarian,” and again, I would reach merely to history to make my case that it is not the object of government, as envisioned by our founders, to redistribute wealth or favors or benefits.  In this, I adhere to the sentiments of James Madison:

“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.” — James Madison

This would nowadays be called a “libertarian” by some, but this does not answer all that a government is or must do. It merely speaks to what a government must not do.  Madison here offers a warning that our nation’s government has long ago discarded in reckless pursuit of the very objects against which he warned.  This is not the government of our founding, nor the government of its re-framing under our Constitution.   The argument of some is that we have a living constitution that permits reinterpretation, but that would be a detestable reinterpretation itself.  Our founders thought this Constitution ought to be flexible, and so it is, but not in the manner now described by modern “liberals” who I call “statists.”  The framers of our Constitution laid a foundation for our republic, and for change of its laws, and most important among the things they enshrined in the Constitution are the only valid method by which it was intended to be flexible.  Article V:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

If you want to know the means by which ours was to be a “living constitution,” there in Article V you will find it.  Notice that it does not say that the meaning of the law is to be amended by reinterpreting its words.  It gives us the ability to change the meaning of the law by changing the law itself, either by the Amendment or Convention procedures as outlined therein.  I am a strong believer in this, because I know full and well how the statists have long preyed upon the ignorance and indulgence of the American people.  It offers me some hope that so many now finally understand what has been at stake in the progressive era, begun arguably with the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, but nevertheless in full swing by the time of Woodrow Wilson’s inaugural.

This would at first make the case of those who say I am therefore a modern-day “libertarian,” but I eschew that definition by virtue of all that term has now come to encompass.  Under this definition, I would necessarily reject any foreign involvements at all, but this is not so. I recognize as all conservatives do that there is the matter of reality from which one cannot escape.  Am I satisfied with the manner in which we have tended to a changing reality?  Hardly.  Am I satisfied that the measures we’ve undertaken were “necessary?”  Not at all.  Despite this seeming contradiction, I believe that we must fundamentally address this if we’re to  restore our constitution to its proper meaning.

As an example, I don’t believe the method by which we’ve circumvented the Constitution’s restrictions on military establishment is right and proper.  In our modern world, with push-button warfare of potentially devastating arms, it is necessary to consider that we ought to have not only a standing Navy at sea, but also a standing Army, which we do in fact have, even if Congress has continued the charade of no appropriations to that purpose for more than two years in technicality.  The National Security Act of 1947 does not amend the constitution, but merely adds to the charade.  I believe we ought to  amend the constitution to provide for this necessity rather than carry on with the fiction.

One must look at Madison’s quote above, in consideration of the government we now have, and wonder which Amendments provided for the growth of all those things against which he had warned.  The answer, of course, is simply: There haven’t been any.  Nowhere will you find an amendment providing for the welfare state, or education, or NASA, or a million other things that were considered by our framers as obscenities.  Whether I support them or not, still we have not amended the Constitution to permit them, but have instead acted on the notion of “necessity” as a matter of pure political expedience.  For this, I would be called a “radical” inasmuch as I present the radical notion that we ought and must adhere to our Constitution, or dispense with it and call our government something else, but it is not the government prescribed by the US Constitution, and has not been for many years.

This will lead inevitably to the question put forth by the adherents of Ron Paul, who will argue summarily on the basis I have outlined that I must be his kind of “conservative.”  This too is erroneous, for in fact what troubles me about Dr. Paul is that which has troubled me about much of modern “libertarian” dogma with respect to matters of national security: An unwavering belief in the absurd, the impossible, and the Utopian.   It is the key consideration among such “libertarians” that we must not involve ourselves in any matters but trade beyond our border, but since that will remain largely within the conduct of the private sector, the government need not be involved.

This is a lie, and an abrogation of our responsibility to the truth.  When Thomas Jefferson dispatched the Navy and its Marine forces to Tripoli in combat against the Barbary pirates, he did so not as an adventurist, but as a defender of American shipping.  It is preposterous to suggest that one’s trade will be sufficient intercourse with the world, because in truth there is yet another underlying and fundamental flaw that lies at the heart of such contentions: The abiding assumption that all others are guided by a similar reverence for those natural, unalienable rights of man that government exists to guarantee.  As Michele Bachmann said in Thursday night’s GOP Debate on FoxNews, only a knave or a fool believes this to be the case, and yet with nearly every dose of modern “libertarian” thought to which I exposed on the matter of defense and foreign policy(including Dr. Paul’s,) this juvenile, almost hippie-like presumption about the motives of all men emerges to a degree and extent that makes of their positions a laughing stock in the face of reality.

Contrary to the latter-day peacenik propaganda, we do not all “cherish the same things.”  If that were so, there would be no crime and no war and no strife anywhere among men, and yet it persists in our world, in our nation, and even in our neighborhoods and homes.  No unreality is more dangerous than such an assumption of the sort of Utopian relation of men and civilizations.  For what purpose do we have a government if not to defend us against those who do not share our views of the rights of man?

Damn me if you please, or if you feel as though you must, but do not permit yourself to believe I have not fully considered these issues.  Of late, I’ve given consideration to little else.  This entire blog is in service to that consideration, and to arouse yourselves to the belief that I would so casually entrust the future of this country, or its government to somebody on the basis of an unthinking support is patently absurd.  I don’t care if you call me “conservative” or “libertarian” or “liberal,” because I know in our current context, all those terms have lost their original meanings, but this much I do know:  I know what sort of candidate I would happily support.

I would support a candidate who shares my reverence for the Constitution in terms of the government’s relationship to its masters: We the people.  I would support a candidate who understands that our government now needs vast reforms, that some would call “sudden and relentless,” because our government has inverted its role in our lives, by which means it has become the master and we have become its servants.  I would support a candidate who understands the cruel and dangerous realities of our world, and is willing to act to bring our government and its operations into compliance with them by legal, constitutional means.  These are all the things, in general, that I would support, but I will not support any candidate absent any of these to any substantial degree.

These are the characteristics of the candidate I would support, but therein lies my personal dilemma, whatever you choose to call me:  None of the candidates now in the field have shown me that they are substantially, and in the greatest measure, what I believe such a candidate ought be.  I suspect the rapid climb and descent of one candidate after the other means that while many of you may not share my views entirely, the greater number of you are dissatisfied with your choices, and you now find yourself choosing from among what you consider an imperfect lot. In truth, I expect many people feel as I do in this matter, but this may be the nature of the choice we will have in 2012, and I fear, as do so many of you, that it will be insufficient to the grave national tests that lie ahead.  This may be my dilemma, but many of you share in it, and I wish for you the wisdom of Solomon.  We cannot afford to see this infant be rendered in halves.