A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

April 18, 2009

The March of States Towards Gay Marriage

A thoughtful and sane analyis, written by Froma Harrop, of current trends of states legalizing (or normalizing) marriage between gay partners appeared in the Providence Journal.

In this article she posted many of the changes which have occured recently. 

She reported:  “The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a ban on same-sex marriage, providing a toehold in the heartland. And the Vermont Legislature legalized gay marriage, marking the first time that elected lawmakers, rather than state judges, initiated such change.”

This latter development is important and it is well that Harrop notes this.  While one may agree or disagree regarding gay marriage, the legislature making the move, rather than judges making a decision is an important step in this process.  Legislators are elected and can be held accountable.  The move towards democratization of the process is a positive step as the representatives of the people are in fact, doing their job.

She later wrote:
“There’s much to be said for letting states settle the question of gay marriage, one step and one jurisdiction at a time. This pragmatic approach does not always sit well with gay rights activists. They consider marriage a basic human right that should not be honored in one place and abridged in another.”

This is also true.  There is a deep divide whether marriage is a right, and one that the need for licensure seems to give weight that it is not an inherent right.  While one has a right say to free speech, they would have to obtain a license to exercise that free speech in certain conditions.  The same is true for heterosexual couples as for homosexual couples.  The states have statutory authority to restrict or grant licenses, and the people have a right via the legislature to express their voice.  Granting the rights of legal status are not analogous of limiting exercise of property rights, visitation rights, and expansion of benefits of employment, public housing and services etc. to homosexual couples.  Many gay activists understandably wish for the process to be expedited, but this is not in their long term interests.  Roe v Wade is still not accepted by large parts of the nation, and as Harrop reports, is still looked on unfavorably from a Constitutional vantage point by many “Pro-Choice” legal experts.   In the end states will make this decision, and for all parties this is the best remedy.  States are closer to the people and in that view are more democratic than federal interventions. 

Harrop also reports on the changing of cultural norms:

In a poll done shortly after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court threw out the ban on same-sex marriages, over half those residents surveyed said they wanted a state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to between one man and one woman. But a poll taken three years later found that 56 percent of the Massachusetts respondents would oppose such an amendment.

What happened in Massachusetts? Gay marriage had become legal, and the sky hadn’t fallen in.  People got used to the idea.

The strongest ally for homosexual partners who wish to become legally married is the changing of cultural perspectives on the norms of human relationships and sexuality.  Harrop does not report about another factor that leads to shifts in cultural norms and mores, the role of the media.  Right or wrong the media has framed homosexual relationships in positive light or at the very least in neutral lights.  This along with homosexuals become more visible and vocal in society has lead to the formation of new cultural perspectives regarding this aspect of human sexuality.  Younger people are more attuned to viewing homosexuality as an alternate form of human sexuality and not an aberrant or discrepant form of sexual expression.  The media has played a large part in this normalization process, and an occlusion of the old paradigm has coalesced with the formation of a newer paradigm. 

There is also the perception among many that this issue is a human rights issue.  Once that perception becomes the reality, in a democracy the outcome is inevitably going to side with the group that is seeking a rise in their status to acceptance.  This is not inherently a bad thing; while for some it may be emotionally painful.  It is merely the reshaping of the norms of a society and has happened throughout history.  Of course many will reply that homosexuality is the bane of a powerful culture and a sure sign its demise is imminent.  That is a ludicrous proposition based on emotion and not fact.  Homosexuality was practiced by segments of society that were rather formidable in history.  Cultures decline for other reasons, usually economic and military, apart from the practices of people regarding their sexual choices.

Harrop correctly concludes that the “straight path” to change is often not as beneficial as the slow steady road that this issue seems to be taking in American society.

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November 9, 2008

Opinion: Why President Elect Obama Won

Here is my analysis of a few key factors that elected our new President.  First just a few points.  This was not a landslide, not even close.  While Mr. Obama has in my view a clear mandate, he still has 46% plus who remain unsold.  However, gathering 52% is a good sign for his administration.  Secondly, statistically speaking he did NOT inspire people to vote more than in past elections.  The percentage of the voters relevant to total population was statistically insignificant in 2008 than 2004 and 2000. 

1) Ability to stay on message.  This is called by Jim Collins “The Hedgehog Principle”.  Hedgehogs in the business and political world have the ability to stay focused and on message.  They know what they do well and they make that their selling point.  The Obama campaign was highly disciplined.  Other than the occassional gaffe that he made against certain radio show commentators, which hurt him in all probability, the campaign, also helped by media which did not press the stories, would not allow themselves to be taken off their message, which was simple.  The message was, things are bad, we can bring about change.  The changes sought were tied to the current dissatisfaction the country has with the Bush Administration, but was generally short on details.  This was picked up by many as being vapid.  However, give credit to the Obama Campaign handlers.  They made a choice to keep him away from town hall venues and press interviews where he could be hurt.  I believe his relatively poor performance at Saddleback showed their wisdom in this and solidified their resolve not to let events they couldn’t control, such as the economy alter their message of change.  If anything they took the events handed to them and used the events to be an echo of a broad theme.

2) The financial debacle.  One of the things that in contrast to Sen. McCain’s reaction of “I must do something” was that the Obama handlers used the event to broadcast their theme.  This was in disregard to many of the inconvenient facts – the much of the problems of the banking mess were caused by policies created under President Carter and greatly expanded under President Clinton.  The correlation picked up by some in the media – mostly print – of ties to Fannie and Freddie and high ranking Democrats never was picked up.  Obama stayed out of the fray but framed the fray to buoy his premise that “change is needed”.  It worked.  While the crisis was not cooked by campaign, the decision to stay outside the mess initially showed him being detached, and that is not always a bad thing as it is more objective.  Many polls showed that McCain was gaining traction and had a slight lead up to this point.  This was caused in part by some slips by the Obama campaign, the momentum of the GOP Convention – which was effective, and the initial excitement of Sarah Palin into the foray. 

3) Ability to appear credible.  Sen. Obama’s largest hurdle was to keep the excitement of his base, youth and left to left of center Americans and expand his credibility to John and Mary Q. Public who are Center to Center Right.  America was seen, and most identified themselves as “Conservative”.  There is one bit of news that shows this to be true, at least socially.  California’s repudiation by the voters of same sex marriage – in a year where the left and center left continued to show their appeal over right and center right candidates by a 15% point margin – indicates that even among “blue states” there is a cultural position of maintaining the status quo.  Although he fared badly at Saddleback, and any objective reporting of the event along with the shift of pubilc sentiment alludes to that, the fact that Sen. Obama was visibly comfortable with the Evangelical community is important.  There is a reason.  Although politically many ” ‘Black’ Evangelicals” are left and left of center, culturally many of them are right of center – to include school reform (vouchers, NCLB) and most notably views on homosexuality  This allowed those Evangelicals who are more Centrist and whose interpretation of their Christitanity leads them to value social activism and bread and butter issues highly – such as The Soujourners – to ally with Mr. Obama.  Obama also showed a shift – and it was a major one – during the debates.  Stating that “conditions on the ground” would dictate American policy in Iraq was startling and far more hawkish than anything he or any other Democrat had said during the primary season.  This combined with his statements of expanding the war in Afghanistan and putting pressure on Pakistan took away the “wimp factor” in many.  Mr. Obama’s shifting to the center from the hard left of the Democratic base is as old as politics.  Run to your base in the primary, tack to the mainstream in general election.  It will be interesting to see how he governs.

4.  Weariness of the Bush Administration.  This is the real reason why Sen. Obama won the election.  I will not offer conjecture if Sen. Clinton would have fared better, but I think it would have been about the same.  By all counts this was the nation speaking with their ballots of their dissatisfaction with Iraq policies and the numerous failures of the Bush Administration – and there are many to bring to light.  The Bush Administration started losing this election with their victory in 2000.  Fifty percent of the nation was not happy with that result.  President Bush did enjoy many political and policy victories.  NCLB will remain with the nation in some form for many years.  Efforts to change the political and social framework in Africa will also remain.  Also, it is likely that US policies in the Middle East will remain in some form and that the “War on Terror” will be funded with many of the policies once opposed by the Dem base suddenly accepted.  The NYT reported about GITMO on Wednesday and it was amazing how suddenly GITMO was no longer the first level of Dante’s Hell.  
However, the many debacles of the Bush Administration including the handling of the Iraq War after the initial objectives had been achieved, the perception and reality of the “out of touchness” that the President had whether it was by not listening to then NSA Rice message to “Get back to DC NOW” or the realities and perceptions of the sluggishness of federal response to Katrina.  Throw in the perceptions of ABU and you get the picture.  Most reasonable people understand that the POTUS does not have a big say in economic trends.  They either benefit or take blame from the markets, but what Presidents can do is frame perspective.  Whether or not the latter is Mr. Bush’s fault – although many have viewed him as a “lame duck” since ’06, the people’s loss of confidence in the outgoing administration was in many ways deserved.  Sen. McCain had to fight against a skilled opponent and his own Party’s brand label.  Even Sen. Obama wouldn’t have been able to overcome those factors.

Summary:  All of this is prologue.  The interesting part to watch will be to see how Mr. Obama governs as President Obama.  If a President Obama is able to do as well as he did with the first three points in his administration it will likely enjoy success and populrity.  However, he won’t have George Bush to kick around after the first few months.  The onus will be on him and Congress to truly bring about policies that unite America.

I also believe he will shift back towards the left from the smaller moves he had made to the Center.  In many ways he should if you believe as I do he had a mandate.  The media and the Dems were correctly criticial of the Bush Administration – particularly from ’00 to 06 in not being inclusive.  I have a feeling the same will happen, and in some ways that troubles me as I am more Centrist than either the Bush or forthcoming Administration will be.

While I don’t believe he will make the US a “Socialist” country, I would be shocked if policies that favor Big Government a la New Deal and Great Society are not reintroduced.  There are other concerns that are shared.  Mr. Obama’s declaration of a “Civilian Defense and Security Force” equal in footing and funding to the US military is as vague as it is troubling.   I also think that this administration will be as partisan as President Bush’s was partisan, as President Clinton’s was partisan.  

Some things won’t change.  That is something you truly can believe in.

May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell The Moral Majority and Me

A short report about the death of Rev. Falwell.

One short comment, I am sickened by the vitriole that some of the left wing blogs are showing.  I mean you can disagree with a man, but the moment of their death isn’t the time to do so.  What should I expect though from pigs, but grunts.

I started college in 1979 and became interested in GOP politics shortly thereafter. My family had a split political history. My mother was a staunch pro-labor, Irish/Catholic Democrat. My grandfather had been one of the founders of the NYC Electrical Workers Union, and was called “The Great White Father” for pushing for minorities to be allowed into the union in the 1920’s. I am very proud of his work on the behalf of working people. My father was a staunch Republican and was Protestant. However, he had become a minister when I was about thirteen, and my mother had left the Roman Church beforehand. In 1976, they both backed Jimmy Carter, and it was odd not to hear the political debates, as they thought they had found a candidate they could agree upon. Boy, did they get hoodwinked on that one.

Early on I was not overly impressed with President Carter, and the Iran crisis sealed the deal. I had actually always been a bit more Conservative on military and foreign policy issues than my politically divided house, and I think Carter was the straw that broke the camel’s back with regard to supporting Democrats.

So when I received a newspaper from this organization called “The Moral Majority” I didn’t know what to think. I read the paper and found out that I agreed with many of the their positions. I was in favor of supporting Israel’s right to exist along with the concept that I trusted those guys more than Muslims and Arabs. I was concerned about the lack of respect that many in the country had towards our nation. I was a troubled about some of the content of the political process. I was – and still am – in favor of limiting abortion. I was fearful about some of the language in the ERA movement and mostly I was ticked about Iran and the hostages. I joined the organization at 17 in 1979. My wife rolled her eyes when I told her that one and had one word, pathetic, as a rejoinder. At 17 in my first year of college I should have been partying, getting drunk and laid, and not lining up with social conservatives. I guess you can tell she and I are a bit different in our political outlook – but she did wave a “W” placard and campaigned for President Bush in ’04. Her family still doesn’t talk to her!

I think what Rev. Falwell meant to me, at that age, was that there were people who were concerned not just about politics as usual, but who were concerned with cultural climate and its rapid change. Maybe they saw a connection between the dots – and that social outlook was related to economic policy and even a world view towards foreign policy.

I know that my views were a bit different from the Moral Majority, but there was enough agreement for me to join and to send my fees in cash – talk about naieve – in $10 increments, as I was indeed a struggling student in my first year of college. From that launching point, I became involved first in George Bush (41) campaign for the nomination, and later switched to Reagan when he won the nod. I guess that choosing of Bush over Reagan showed that I was a bit more centrist than dyed in the wool with the “MM”, but I knew that I was more comfortable with that crowd than the “rabble” I saw endorsing – and the rabble has gotten worse – Democrat candidates.

I with my still soft positions upon some social issues, such as abortion and rights for homosexuals (I support civil unions as policy), put me at odds with many of the antecedents of the Moral Majority, but I am understanding of their views, and I view our slight differences as a friendly disagreement within the family. I still feel that they are my people. So, for that, I am thankful for Rev. Falwell’s life. He profoundly shaped my growth as a person in the political realm, and though I still politely disagree with some of the social agenda of him and others of the harder Evangelical Right, and I do profess my own Evangelical foundation as a view of life, I recognize their value as a part of my family. Most importantly, I know that Rev. Falwell, despite some of our differences held a strong view upon the value of loving God. He also understood that the love of God requires action. Although in many ways I take that interpretation to promote egalitarianism, something that many of the Moral Majority/Christian Coalition/Focus on the Family crowd typically endorse, I find that we are using the same source, and in the end probably have similar intentions. This is how a person who is still, a good deal more Centrist – and still thinks that while Reagan was Great, and he was, that I like Bush 41 more for his intellect.

Let this be my final thought towards Rev. Falwell; May you wake to find you are resting on quiet shores.

May 11, 2007

Rudy in Texas: “I support a woman’s right to choose”

From Newsday.com

HOUSTON — After a week of criticism over his ambiguous views on abortion, Republican presidential contender Rudolph Giuliani Friday directly addressed his views on abortion, gay rights and gun control, and forthrightly supported a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

Okay, are you all ready for the drum roll? Are any surprises about to come forth?

Giuliani, a New York Catholic who once considered becoming a priest, chose to make his stand before a conservative, anti-abortion audience at Houston Baptist University here, in an address that was arranged just last Wednesday.

Giuliani told the audience that the two most important issues in the presidential campaign were fighting terrorism and preserving the tax cuts, deregulation and privatization of the economy, and that the social issues were secondary.

Amen, though I guess my Evangelical upbringing is coming forth, as that is not typical interaction with Catholics, then again, he was speaking to Baptists, so perhaps I am covered.

He also downplayed his differences with conservatives on gay rights — saying marriage should be only between a man and a woman — and guns — saying the Constitution protects an individual’s right to having a gun.

But I want a bazooka! I NEED a gun capable of throwing 600 rds/minute downrange for “personal security”. Sheesh, I hope that this quiets up two of the nervous Nellies of the right of the GOP.

But he acknowledged many conservatives might disagree with his stand on abortion, which he described as supporting a woman’s right to have one, but also allows restrictions such as the late-term abortion ban upheld by the high court recently and restrictions on federal funding of abortions.

Don’t worry, because most Conservatives these days can’t even agree on what a Conservative is anymore. The
current ilk of Conservatives wouldn’t like Barry Goldwater’s (AKA the Founder of Modern Conservativism) views.

Seeking to clearly define his views on abortion after blurring them a week ago in a Republican debate, Giuliani described what he called “two pillars” of core belief.

“One, I believe abortion is wrong,” he said, adding he would counsel a pregnant woman to keep the child and put him or her up for adoption rather than abort.

And secondly, he said abortion supporters, especially women, are “equally moral, equally decent, and equally religious” and fervent in their beliefs as abortion foes, yet have come to a different conclusion.

“So therefore,” Giuliani said, “I would grant to women the right to make that choice.”

But he also stressed that he, like most thinking people, also had an evolving view of abortion, and proceeded to lay out a more nuanced position.

What heresy! You mean you dare to be conflicted about a moral issue and government’s involvement in a moral issue. Why, we “want” government snooping into ALL areas of our private life and choices, isn’t that what “Conservativism” is all about?!?! Furthermore, the heresy that YOUR beliefs shouldn’t always be translated into Federal law, why Mr. Giuliani, don’t you support the idea of ruling by caveat and the fiat of your will (to borrow a quote from John Calvin about – GOD). That people could actually see “shades of grey” in an ethical decision, why that’s just plain out too reasonable!

His belief in those two principles will guide his decision-making on abortion, he said.

“It means I am open to considering ways to limit abortion,” he said. “It means I’m open to seeking ways to reduce the number of abortions.

Afterward, some members of the audience conceded they admired his principled stand, even if they disagreed with it.

Robert Sloan, president of Houston Baptist University, afterward agreed that Giuliani’s appearance was a little bit like entering the lion’s den, both because he is Catholic and because of his views on social issues.

The last quote highlighted says it all, it’s called principaled LEADERSHIP. Now, I happen to share similar views to Mr. Giuliani, although they also have shifted, as once I was rabidly anti-abortion. While I still don’t like the practice, I realize that my likes and dislikes often are not best translated into national policy. I am more likely than ever to vote for Mr. Giuliani because of his reasonable position on a complex issue, and the guts he has to speak out about it.

That he is likely the only GOP contender who can win nationally, is just a bonus.

May 5, 2007

A Most Unusual Caucas of Christians Marches In

From the Baltimore Sun

This most unusual Christian coalition is between Evangelicals, fundamentalists, and many African American clergyman. Though there is often a wide gap between them, this and in some instances NCLB and/or vouchers really do make “The Saints Come Marching In!”

Proponents say the bill – similar to one the Senate is expected to pass in the next few weeks – is a moral imperative. But some Christians are depicting it as a “thought crimes” bill attacking 1st Amendment freedoms of speech and religion. A coalition of evangelical, fundamentalist and black religious leaders is mounting a furious assault on the bill, airing television ads and mobilizing members to stop its progress. President Bush has said he might veto the measure.

This is a tough one to call as it has equally compelling arguements for its passage and its rejection. I’m already using my legal eye on this bill, because I can’t see this one not eventually becoming a tune for the Supremes to sing. The level of support would make a veto interesting as this is a bill does cut across party lines, and enjoys broader support than the recent, and only second veto of the Bush Administration. Is this bill worth the political exchange of coin, must be on the President’s mind.

“This legislation strikes at the heart of free speech and freedom of religious expression,” said Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition. “Statements critical of sexual orientation or gender identity can be prosecuted if those statements were part of the motivation of a person committing a crime against a homosexual or cross-dresser.”

The bill’s supporters say that such an assertion is nonsense, and that a sermon could never be considered an inducement to violence unless it explicitly advocated it.

While to a reasonable mind, it is hard to imagine that any sermon would advocate hurting a person based on sexual preference, or any other factor, one must remember that there are many voices of hate using the guise of religion to score points. This is in no way to state that anywhere near a majority or plurality of the members of this crusade are of such view, but having been raised within the Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Charasmatic culture, I have heard a few interesting things in my time. I also have little faith in the statement made by proponents that they would go after free speech. Someone stating a position such as “homosexuals are condemned to hell” could be construed in the minds of some prosecuting a case, as a an intent to give spiritual license to promote giving such people a head start to that destination. As little as I trust the capacity of people to arrive to false conclusions based upon what “they heard”, I hold an equally distrustful view of giving the state license to link criminal intent to words of one party to actions of another party. I have great faith in the creativity of lawyers to create crime and intent, particularly prosecutors, as it is in their interest to do so.

Hoyer, House majority leader, said before the vote that the bill was necessary “because brutal hate crimes motivated by race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and identity or disability not only injure individual victims, but also terrorize entire segments of our population and tear at our nation’s social fabric.”

Again, one must look at some of the crimes being committed, and happily the number of crimes such as those brought horrifically upon Matthew Sheppard and other victims, may not qualify as “entire segments” of the population, as asserted by Rep. Hoyer.

Opponents argue that the bill is un-American, in that it effectively creates a two-tiered justice system. In defining only certain groups as legal victims of hate, many argued, the law’s supporters were leaving out other categories of people deserving of protection, such as members of the military, pregnant women and the elderly. An amendment to add these groups to the hate crimes law failed in the House shortly before the bill’s passage.

Onemust wonder why these groups are excluded. Wouldn’t rape if a man said, I’d like to have a piece of that, or the attacking of American servicemen, after calling them slurs or spitting upon them, which has happened, in the former far too frequently, and in the latter, at a shockinginly rising rate, qualify as hatred based upon another factor?

“All violent crime is tied to hate in some way,”said Carrie Gordon Earll, a spokeswoman for Focus on the Family, another conservative group opposing the measure. “The Virginia Tech shooter said in his diatribe that he hated rich kids. Well, rich kids aren’t protected in this hate crime bill. If we’re going to start choosing categories of people for additional penalties when they’re victimized, where does the list end?”

This assertion, perhaps the best summation of the case against this law, and a case will come if it is signed into Federal law.

All violent crime should be punished harshly. The aspect of retribution is an inherent part of any legal system dating back to Hamurabbi. The right of the state to mete out punishment to show its collective ire at those who would dispense harm or other felonious acts towards “any” member of society must be restated. In a perfect world, Federal assets would be applied to all victims of violent felonies.

However, that doesn’t mean this legislation is not without merit, or unreasonable. If signed, and I don’t forsee doomsday for Free Speech if it does, I do see a very long and possibly negative Judicial Review forthcoming. Those Supremes tend to take the First Amendment pretty seriously, and if you remember your history, the Founding Fathers didn’t mind to let the fur fly, at least with regards to speech.

May 4, 2007

Survey USA Poll: Giuliani Beats Opponents in Debate

A poll of 317 viewers watching the debate were asked to rate the performance of the candidates:

Rudy Giuliani 30%
Mitt Romney 12%
John McCain 11%
Jim Gilmore 8%
Duncan Hunter 7%
Sam Brownback 4%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Tom Tancredo 4%
Ron Paul 2%
Tommy Thompson 2%

UPDATE: Drudge report is having an interactive poll, but it does allow for multiple voting, so pretty worthless.

The Debate: Who Won and Why?

You see the title; what is your answer. I will reply after I think.

Updated: Well I thought and I will now take out my teacher’s red pencil and give each a grade in no particular order.

Rep. Tom Tancredo – Looked frustrated at times. I think part of it is that his campaign is struggling for air, and the format hurt him as he tried desparately to get out his views and distinguish himself, particularly on immigration. I also think that people saw that frustration and it didn’t help. Grade D

Rep. Duncan Hunter – Was clear, concise, and strong in many of his answer. One area that may hurt him was he was the most aggressive on Iran, and to a country that is not at all happy with Iraq, showing this posturing towards another nation in the area, one that does make everyone nervous may hurt with many even among Hawks. His trade and pro-worker solutions were noteworthy. Grade B-

Mayor Rudy Giuiliani – He was strong on war on terror and framing himself in his model of Conservativism. The questions on abortion won’t help with the base, and will help him with those who are softer on pro-life/pro-choice. He stumbled on that area, but did make his case with his time as NYC Mayor. I still support him. Grade B-

Sen. John McCain – Anyone who said that he lacked vigor got the reply in spades, he was energetic, perhaps too much so, to the point of aggressiveness in tone and body language. He also really had a problem keeping to the time, and wasn’t held to the time limits strictly. He didn’t hurt himself, but I don’t think he helped himself too much. He came out fairly strongly against President Bush, with saying numerous times, “The war was mismanaged”. He seemed passionate and assertive, but perhaps too agressive. Grade C+

Gov. Mit Romney – Of all the candidates the former Bay State Governor stood out. I am not a big Romney fan, but if I had to declare an overall winner, it would be him. He was able to frame his “flip flop” on abortion, and gave a reason that was credible. He also was well versed on the issues and inviting. Grade A

Gov. Jim Gilmore – Did very well tonight too. He was able to state that he was the “consistent Conservative”. He also did well to elicit his positions. However, there are few moments that make him stand out, and he probably won’t see his coin rise. Grade B-

Gov. Tommy Thompson – Did very well on many areas, but there was one area that may hurt him, and that was the question about firing people due to their sexual practices. I also believe that there was a pause that would have allowed him to nuance his position, and his silence was pregnant. This will be picked up. I don’t know if this is a valid reason to terminate an employee in the private sector, other than religious organizations, such as a parochial school, which are exempt from such restrictions and understandably so. His Iraq solution is interesting and deserves a look. Grade B-

Sen. Sam Brownback – Made some good points tonight, and particularly in his stressing the need for the political process to have a more dominant role in the process. His stands on abortion will help only with those who don’t know him, as they are well known. He also held up his credos to the bases fondness of evangelical base. Overall he may have helped himself, but like so many in the second tier is so far behind. Grade B-

Rep. Ron Paul – Made his stand as the maverick in the field. He also came across as passionate, principled, and had a good wit. However, his views on foreign policy are going to hurt him in the end. As much as America may wish to go back to isolationism, that ship has sailed. He advocated himself well, but his views won’t hold. Hard to grade with this dynamic, but based on his performance, and not his substance B.

Gov. Mike Huckabee – He had some good moments, and probably the biggest yuck of the night with his joke concering “The Governator”. He came across as genuine but may have suffered from the format as his positions are hard to define from some of the others, and nuance of his stands may be lost in the shuffle. Grade B-

Overall big winner has to be Romney. He did very well, and being slotted first, by the draw helped him. I think the big loser was Tom Tancredo, and this is not a slight, but he seemed frustrated and this won’t give him much of a bump.

I think that the only shift will be Romney moving up, but the question is who will pay for this hike Giuliani – who probably won’t lose support, McCain or maybe the non-announced candidate, who will also miss South Carolina’s debate, Fred Thompson.

If I had to be like a reality show and only promote five I think these five will likely be in SC.

Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Rep. Hunter, and either Sen. Brownback or Gov. Huckabee.

Then again, I could be wrong.

May 3, 2007

Where You Stand Politically

So, you want to  know where you stand and how you can get that cool little icon like I have on my blog?

Well, just go to this site and take the quiz.  I would put no opinion if you are not sure about something.

Please post your results, and you get BIG TIME BONUS POINTS for reasonableness if you score Moderate, Conservative or Liberal!  I “hope” I have constructed a place where divergent views are allowed and where we gain from seeing each other’s perspective.  I also hope that sometimes someone will say, I see your point, or something like that.

So often politics are too personal, so maybe this would at least bring back agreeable discussion and dissent to the forefront.

I’m posting this on all topics to hopefully get maximum participation.

IF you wish to take the quiz it is here.

Thanks!

The Second String’s Positions on the Issues

UPDATED!!  Thanks for Feedback; I will add to the bios.

As promised I am listing the positions of the B List GOP Candidates for President. I expect tons of praise heaped upon me for providing this public service for you supporters of a “B List” candidate! IF you have information about these candidates PLEASE add them to the comments and I will update as I am able to do so. I always try to be fair.

I am not using the term as a perjurative, but any candidate at this point who is hovering near 1% in national polls may think they’re in the game, but unless things change radically, they aren’t.

Gov. Mike Huckabee I couldn’t find a Presidential site, opposes abortion rights, but respects rights as law, opposes same sex marriage, opposes Federal funding for medical care, favors privatization of Social Security, moderate towards school reform, strong anti-crime supporter, strongly supports gun ownership rights, favors path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, supports expanding free trade, no stated opinion on Patriot Act, favors strong military spending, supports anti-drug laws. Gov. Huckabee would be considered a Conservative/Centrist

Rep. Ron Paul (1988 Libertarian Party Candidate) favors lowering taxes, opposes free trade, opposes Iraq involvement, favors strong reform of immigration including fences, stronger enforcement of visa laws, no path to citizenship, no welfare for illegals, and end of birthright citizenship. opposes Patriot Act, opposes stem cell research funding, and is strongly anti-abortion, a fervent supporter of gun ownership rights, is opposed to drug laws, and is in favor of legalizing marijuana. Ron Paul would be considered a centrist/libertarian in the political view.

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Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) favors lowering taxes, favors Social Security Reform via partial privatization, favors change in energy policy (I would assume this is ethanol), opposes same sex marriage, very strong opponent of abortion, believes in human rights being placed to the forefront, strongly supports current Iraq policy, believes in strict constructionist judges, supports a new “Homestead Act” and agricultural reform, particularly towards ethanol production, stronger supporter of gun ownership rights, is strongly pro-business, supports tough drug laws, pro free trade, voted no on CFR, supports the Patriot Act, supports Guest Workers having a path to citizenship. Sam Brownback would be considered a Conservative/soft libertarian in the political spectrum.

Rep. Tom Tancredo Strongly supports “securing borders” and opposes “paths to citizenship”. Strongly supports gun ownership rights, Supports Iraq policy, supports flat tax, supports privatization of Social Security, supports school vouchers and opposes NCLB, supports market forces in agriculture with limited subsidies, supports limited spending of Federal government, strongly opposes abortion rights, opposes judicial activism, supports Federal Amendment to ban same sex marriage, supports The Patriot Act, supports business interests, supports current drug policy, has a mixed record regarding Free Trade. Rep. Tancredo would be considered a Conservative/Centrist.

Gov. Tommy Thompson Supports welfare reform, supports school choice, opposes partial birth abortion, supports stem cell research, fiscally Conservative – vetoed 255 spending bills as Gov. of Wisconsin, strong anti-crime record, supports war on drugs with treatment options, moderate on Energy policies, supports Free Trade, supports safe schools legislation, moderate supporter of gun ownership rights, moderate on public health issues, few statements regarding immigration. Thompson’s site has limited information, but based on his record as Governor he would be consdidered a Moderate/Centrist.

Rep. Duncan Hunter Strongly opposes abortion rights, opposes embryonic stem cell research, supports balanced budget amendments, concerned about eminent domain intrusions by SCOTUS, opposes same sex marriage, strongly supports gun ownership rights, supports “Conservative” justices, opposes hate crimes based on sexual orientation; feels current laws are sufficient, strongly supports war on drugs, supports moves to restrict gambling-particularly on internet, supports vouches and opposes NCLB, supports The Patriot Act, supports business, supports “Fair Trade” and generally opposed to “Free Trade”, strong pro-military voting record, strongly favors restriction towards immigration, favors some privatization of Social Security, supports Iraq policy. Rep. Hunter would be considered a Conservative/Centrist.

Gov. Jim Gilmore  Opposes abortion rights, opposes same sex marriage, strong anti-crime record, supports war on drugs, moderate on education issues, favors Social Security Reform, moderate support of Iraq policy, moderate on health issues, strong support of gun ownership rights, his statements had seemed to favor path to citizenship for illegal aliens, but recently has spoken strongly towards not allowing amnesty for illegal workers, supports increased military spending. Gov. Gilmore would be considered a Conservative/Populist.

 

By the way A Voice of Reason would be considered a Moderate/Centrist, but at times I do vary between Centrist/Populist.

IF you wish to take the quiz it is here.

Hint: If you are neutral I’d click no opinion.

May 1, 2007

Back to Basics: Meat and Potatoes Conservativism

“We’re the new liberals of the Republican Party. Can you imagine that?” Barry Goldwater

Notwithstanding any Adkins or Vegans who may chance upon this missive, it may be time for the GOP to reconsider their voyage into the New Social Conservativism, and remember what the Conservative movement was founded on. There are three factors:

1 – Fiscal responsibility shown by restraint in spending and in taxation.

2 – Concern about invasiveness of government into people’s life.

3 – Strong policy with regard to defense.

What is important is not what is stated, but what is left out. Many “RINO’s” are Conservatives in the true mold of the movement, but have been hijacked by those who kind of forgot #’s 1 and 2 on the What is a Conservative Memo. Maybe social hot button issues are best left to the state’s, hmm, what a Constitutional idea, and let government do what needs to be done in a lean and mean fashion. Of course some interaction with the Feds and the State government is needed, but since when does a person’s view about sex, abortion, marriage, the breeding habits of the manatee (okay, I digress, but you get my point) define one as a Conservative. They don’t.

Let’s go back to the Reagan playbook. It worked pretty well, didn’t it? It also allows for A Big Tent, which includes social moderates and independent voters. If you haven’t been keeping up on current events, the GOP needs every vote they can get.

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